Monday, December 24, 2007

Seven Months of Puttachi

Puttachi is uncontrollable. If she is still immobile and so uncontrollable, how on earth it is going to be once she starts moving? I cannot even start to imagine.

She hasn't yet started crawling - technically, that is. She can get at an object a metre away by some clever acrobatics, but that's about it. She gets into the standard crawling position and tries to move forward, but falls flat. But in the middle of the night, I wake up to see her in the crawling position, eyes blinking sleepily, hair falling over her face, big eyes staring at me blankly from behind the mosquito net over her crib. I giggle helplessly before I reach out for her.

Her solid feed times are totally crazy periods. She doesn't sit still, but holds me and pulls herself up. On the way, she bites my thigh, my shoulder, and if she can reach, my cheek. By the time we are done, both of us are covered from top to toe in food. I did away with bibs long ago, since they were of no use. I now need something to cover her from top to toe to protect her clothes. I'd rather change her entire clothing after every meal. Its that crazy. As for me, even an apron is not enough.

I started strapping her up in her car seat and feeding her. It is now slightly better. Only she and the car seat get dirty. I escape unscathed.

Some time ago, S~ and I were discussing the use of a high chair for Puttachi. I had said it might not be of much use, and we had suspended the discussion. But now I think it might come in use. Tie her up at one place and feed her, and perhaps allow her to eat some by herself. Do you think it will be useful, or is it just a waste? Is a car seat enough? Please chip in with your advice.

She now dances to music. A gradual shift from just enjoyment, to swaying, to actual bouncing and giggling. Delightful.

Her sleep schedules have slightly regularized. She sleeps for half an hour each in the morning and late afternoon, and for an hour or sometimes more after lunch.

Here's the funny thing - she sleeps in slots of half an hour. Half an hour, one hour, or one and a half hours. That way. If she is sleeping and I see that it is 35 minutes since she fell asleep, I know that I have 25 minutes more! Strange, huh?

Her night sleep continues to be pretty good.

She has become far more responsive and interactive. I now actually feel that she understands what I am telling her - at the basic level.

Life with Puttachi is getting better, and crazier.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Township Tales - Sports Enthusiasts

There was a man (not in our township) - let's call him SM Sir. He was upset by the lack of stress on sports in his sons' school, and decided that he would start a sports group for children. He called it ASHA (Academy of Sports, Hobbies and Athletics). His sons' friends, and their friends joined the group, and soon, it reached our township. Since there was a lot of space for games, and we had indoor games in the Community Centre too, SM Sir started coming to the colony, and soon, he had recruited many of us into ASHA.

Some parents were hesitant, saying that it would interfere with their children's studies, but SM Sir was great at PR - he convinced everybody, and his enthusiasm was really infectious. Many of us joined. My parents were thrilled with the concept, and my sis and I needed absolutely no convincing to do - they said Yes almost immediately. There was a monthly fee for membership. I don't remember how much it was, but it was quite reasonable.

He would come to the township nearly every evening, and we played all kinds of games in the lawn. He taught us rules for all the games that we so far had just played blindly. He taught us tips, and tricks. He introduced me to Table Tennis. I hadn't even held a TT racket before he came on to the scene. And once I picked up a TT racket, I was hooked. To this day, it remains my favourite game, and I have only SM Sir to thank for it.

Besides games, he trained us in fitness. Every morning, he would expect us at a field about half a kilometer from our township. We would rise at five, drink something, get into tracksuits, and a group of us would go to the grounds, and there, he would make us warm up, and then jog round the field as much as we could. He kept an eye on each of us - he made sure that we increased the distance periodically, according to our ability.

After about an hour or hour and a half, we got back home, bathed, ate a monstrous breakfast, and then went to school. I don't remember ever being tired at school. Just very, very fresh.

This was perhaps the fittest period of my life. I was about 12 or 13. I had the stamina, I had the strength, and the energy. And the interest. I cannot believe that I rose at five every day for so many months. The mornings were beautiful. The sun rising, the birds chirping, the crisp, cold, morning air biting our cheeks, and a group of us friends, young, spirited, happy, quite sure that we were training to be the next Flo Jo.

We went on a couple of treks too, to hills around Bangalore. Those were wonderful experiences - something we had never done before. Once, we walked all the way from Malleshwaram to Kanteerava Stadium, through the greenery of Sankey Tank. We "trained" at the stadium and had a great time. After these outings, we always returned tired, but very enriched.

He also organized many events. We regularly had potluck dinners, or parties on contribution basis. We even brought out a simple, cyclostyled monthly journal for a time, where we were the writers, editors, everything.

And apart from all this, of course, we grew better and better at sports. Because of my experiences here, I got many prizes in school too. There was one year, I think the ninth standard, when I won prizes in running, relay, shot put, long jump, and TT.

I would have won in high jump too, hadn't our PT teacher insisted that I jump without my specs on. I told him a hundred times that I needed to see the bar which I would have to cross. But no. He said my specs would fall and break, and he wouldn't be held responsible. I told him that I have done all kinds of acrobatics with my specs on, but no. He refused to let me participate with my specs on. Duh. I ran and directly hit the bar instead of jumping over it. No, my eyesight wasn't, or isn't that bad. It is just that I didn't get the right perspective to plan my jump. Hmph.

Back to SM Sir. Does anything in India work without politics? Some people in the colony raised objections about the dust we kicked up playing in the lawn. So the management forbade SM Sir from coming to the colony, or some such thing. Bang. He lost out on a place where he could conduct ASHA's activities. He started having it elsewhere, many, many kilometers away. We were too young to travel so far, and going every day was out of the question.

We gradually lost touch with him. A pity. I wonder where he is now, and what he is doing. I hope ASHA is still functioning in some form or the other, and giving kids some respite from sedentary school life.

Next: Celebrations

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My sis is here!

* My sis PeeVee has come down for a visit after 1.5 years. She and Puttachi met for the first time, and they are thrilled with each other. Puttachi is in that stage where she talks to strangers from afar but bawls if they carry her. But she went to PeeVee and settled down with her as if she has known her all her life.

* PeeVee has grown 1-2 inches taller. I need you people to tell me if it is possible. For someone to grow after a certain age, after you have thought she has stopped growing. I thought people grow till they are 21 years old, but PeeVee is quite past that age. There is no doubt she has grown... she was always petite, and much shorter than I was, now she is just an inch or two shorter than I am. She bikes a lot at her school. Is that the reason?

* She has done a good amount of very thoughtful shopping, and has brought personalized gifts for the family. Amazing, with the little time and money she had!

* One of the things she has brought is a pain-relieving ointment called Bengay. Now the funny thing is that in Kannada, "Ben-gay" means "For the back". This has totally cracked me up - I can't get over it.. I keep imagining a conversation:

Person 1: Bartha angadi inda novige ointment thanni. (Please stop by the drugstore and get me a pain-relieving ointment.)
Person 2: Sari. Yavudu? (Sure. Which one?)
Person 1: Bengay.
Person 2: Gotthu ninna bennovige antha... aadre yaava brandu? (Yeah, I know it is for your sore back, but which brand?)
Person 1: Helidnalla, Bengay. (I told you, Bengay.)
Person 2: Gotthappa ben-gay antha, aadre ointment hesarenu? (I know, pa, its for your back, but what is the name of the ointment?)
Person 1: Bengay.

It could go on and on :D

* Having a good time chatting away into the night with PeeVee -- and enjoying watching PeeVee giggle over Puttachi's activities and drool over mom's cooking.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Spotlight Series at Blogbharti

We have started the Spotlight Series at Blogbharti, where well-known bloggers/writers have been invited to write on contemporary issues. Two essays are already up, and there are many, many more to come. Do hop over, and join in the discussion.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Township Tales - A shady hangout

There was a nice, leafy, woody area in one part of the colony which we called "C-type", after C-block, next to which this area was situated. It also happened that the house that we lived in for a major part of our stay in the colony, overlooked this area. In fact, my table was next to the window overlooking this place.

This area also housed the main water tank of the colony. We always dreamed of climbing the spiral stairway inside it, all the way to the top, but we were never "old enough" for it. This place also had the "pump room", and the vicinity of the pump room seemed to be the hangout of the electricians, plumbers, etc., who worked in the colony. In later years, the iron man of the colony, i.e. The Dhobi, put up his stand here, just underneath the passion fruit creeper, full of gorgeous passion fruit flowers.

This place formed an important part of our non-game activities. Chatting, planning, one-to-one bonding - stuff like that. My earliest memory of playing in this place was just after the rains when it was teeming with earthworms, and we used twigs to cut the earthworms in two, and watched both halves wiggle.

When we were learning about Harappa and Mohenjodaro at school, my friend (the 25-years of "best" friendship one), whom I will call Bab, and I, went to C-type, and dug the earth with stones and twigs, hoping to find "ruins". Sure enough, we found a piece of a clay pot, and a stone with a very neat shape. We were quite sure that we had unearthed some ancient ruins, and that the stone was a stone-age implement, and the clay pot was an important relic. We even named the new ruins "Bashru" ruins, and even discussed whom to contact, and how to keep this discovery a secret until we found more evidence. Later that evening, our parents brought us back to reality. :(

C-type was the picnic venue too. We would decide to have impromptu picnics, everybody would run home and bring whatever there was at home, starting from half a packet of Parle G biscuits to a couple of bananas. Or even home-made chakli or "mixture". If there was time, we would run to the house opposite the township, where they stocked Nilgiris products, and bring some snacks (I would bring Vanilla drops).

One of us would bring a mat or a bedsheet, we would spread it out, sit on it, share all our eats equally, hog, and then go back to play. Such simple pleasures, really!

And oh, since my mom's kitchen overlooked this area, she would sprinkle water at us and then hide :) I, of course, knowing my mom, would know where the water came from... my friends were left puzzling over it for a long time!

Next: Sports enthusiasts.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Township Tales - Playtime in the Lawn

One fine day, we woke up in the morning to see that our lawn had new guests. A slide, a merry-go-round, an "A" monkey ladder, and a round monkey ladder. We watched with bated breath as they affixed it to the ground with cement. We couldn't wait to try them out, but no - they had to be painted. So, painted they were. And they told us that we could play on them in the evening.

I haven't seen such a turn out before that or ever since. All the kids in the colony were out in full force that evening. There were queues to play each game. Come to think of it, we were pretty decent kids - we queued up, didn't push each other - quite a feat for kids so young, I must say. The paint hadn't dried yet, but we were least bothered. By the way, the frock I had worn that day bore the stains of wet paint forever.

As time passed, the attraction faded. But they were still special. The slide was the favourite. We never climbed the slide from the steps. It was usually from the slope that we climbed, and slid back again. Even the sliding was not done sitting decently on our bottoms. We slid lying down on our backs, on our tummies, on our tummies head first, on our backs head first, running down instead of sliding.... you name it, we did it.

Then we started climbing the slide from the supporting poles at the sides. Have you seen these men climb coconut trees? Just like that. One of my school friends had visited me once, and she saw me climb up the slide from the side, like a monkey. She was shocked and thrilled at the same time. The goody-goody Shruthi, who is neat and quiet and does her homework regularly - is actually a monkey! My friend had gone to school and spread the word. By being a monkey, I had become just that much more human!

There was this kid who loved to climb the slide and then pee down the slope from top of it. Yeah. Yuck. And invariably, after he did this, someone would carry mud up and pour it down the slide, so that there were streaks of mud down the slope. Till today, I don't know who washed it, or whether it was washed at all, but after a few hours, it would be shiny clean, and then, ensuring that someone else has slid down it before us, we would follow suit.

The merry-go-round was for us adventurers. Sitting on it was for kids - hmph. We would stand on it and ride it. It was this little four-seater thingy that you see in children's parks. We would bring it up to speed with our feet, and then we would stand while it was turning. If we leaned backwards completely, it would slow down. The moment we leaned forward, towards the center, it would go at dizzying speeds! Without our knowledge, we were imbibing physics ;) In hindsight, it was a pretty dangerous thing we did.. but we were never scared!

The "A" monkey ladder was, you guessed it, shaped like an "A". We would sit at the apex and discuss "important" issues. And kick with our feet those who came to eavesdrop by sitting on the horizontal bar of the A.

The "O" monkey ladder was by far, the least popular. It was shaped like an O, sort of, if you looked at it from atop. We devised some game that saw us all inside it, and the "Out" person was outside and had to catch us by putting her hand in and trying to touch us. Dangerous game, I got hurt very often during this game.

Do you remember this programme called "Alpha Plus" on television? It was a sort of competition that tested physical and mental skills. First there was a military kind of race, where the participants had to climb nets, jump walls, hang on ropes - that kind of thing, and the second part was a kind of quiz. Well, we adapted it to suit us. We would note the time taken by each one of us to climb the slide, slide down, run to the merry-go-round, go two rounds of it, go in and out of the "O" monkey ladder, and then cross the "A" monkey ladder, and reach the starting point, and the quickest person was the winner.

For some reason, writing this reminded me of the bottle-brush tree, with the spiked leaves, and red flowers shaped like the brushes used to clean bottles with - the tree with a unique smell. I had even forgotten this tree! Phew! why did I remember this? Was it our starting point for Alpha Plus? Perhaps. I don't remember. Strange are the ways of the brain.

Next: A leafy area in the township.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


You know that you have been married for a long time, when - When a movie is mentioned, you no longer ask your spouse, "Have you watched it?" but "Have we watched it?"

P.S. It is also a sign that you are getting old and losing your memory.

P.P.S. - Thanks for all your wishes. Puttachi and I are doing much better.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Tooth

Yes, Puttachi is sprouting a tooth. So far, it can only be felt (rubbing her gums with a finger), and heard (when she rubs her gums against the spoon when I try and feed her). But it hasn't been sighted yet, one - because it seems to have only just emerged, and two - you are lucky if she opens her mouth for you to peep in!

On one hand, I am excited about the new arrival, but on the other hand, I am going to miss her toothless smile.

In other news, it has been a very sick week. I will spare you the details, but Puttachi is only just getting okay, and I am still quite bad. I grab every spare moment and use it to sleep, and hence the slowdown in posting.

I will be back soon.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Township Tales - Fads

Kids - impressionable, to say the least.

Remember the series on Jesse Owens and Nadia Comaneci, aired on TV? After the Jesse Owens series, out came our shorts and running shoes, and we ran and "trained" morning till evening. We played long jump, high jump, sprinted, marathoned, and what have you.

But the Nadia Comaneci series drove us crazier. Overnight, we turned into gymnasts. We were pretty convinced that by the year 2000, one of us would be India's Olympic gold medallist. We cartwheeled day in and day out. There were bars in the car shed, on which we hung and swung, and tried to perform great feats. We ended up with calloused palms, and nothing else to show for all our efforts. This fad died out as suddenly as it had begun.

Then there was this period when Tennis was a craze, but we had only a Badminton court. So we named ourselves after Tennis players and played Badminton. I was Jennifer Capriati, for some unknown reason. My sister had to be Steffi Graf. She was Steffi's greatest fan on earth at that time. She even had a lifesize poster of hers hanging in the room. This fad also passed quite quickly.

Then one of us got a cycle. Overnight, all of us had acquired cycles. We learnt cycling, fell, bruised ourselves, and then once we had the hang of it, we cycled all around the lawn, on the main road, other roads, hit each other, gave each other "Dubs" (pillion rides).

I had a problem - I couldn't get down gracefully from a cycle. I would brake, and then jump. In hindsight, I must have looked like a clown. But back then, I didn't understand why the boys would wait and watch me until I got down and then burst into laughter. Many days I went home in tears. I have no idea when I learnt to get down gracefully, but I did, pretty soon.

Oh, a word about my Avon cycle. My dad and I went to buy it in a street off Commercial Street, and ate at Woody's while it was being set up for me. I chose a green cycle. 700 rupees. Not your ordinary olive or bottle green cycle. It was a light green, which faded into white. It was very unique, and to think of it, funny. No wonder my father asked me half a dozen times - "Are you sure?" But in my eyes it was beautiful. Unique. Rare. It couldn't be missed. I didn't have to, like others, look for my cycle in the cycle stand. It just stood out. Even after I started taking it to school, I had no problems like the others - "I have parked it near the third pillar, blah blah". I would walk straight to it. Perhaps the others used my cycle to mark theirs - "I have parked it near the green cycle" - who knows!

And then it was skating season. Somebody got roller skates. And then all of us got roller skates. I bought mine at Olympic Sports shop next to Mac Fast Food on Church Street, off Brigade Road. 140 rupees. Mine had rubber wheels. Ahem ahem. Which didn't harm the surface skated on.

We skated mostly in the community center. I don't remember the learning process at all, but I seem to have picked it up pretty soon. We did nothing but skate all evening.

But I had gone crazy. Skating had taken over my life. I wore it all day long, and I mean all day long. I would have even gone to school skating if it had been allowed (I anyway used to get dreams that I was skating in the school corridors after school hours). My addiction was so bad that I never walked at home for a long time. I only skated. I wore skates while doing homework, while eating, drinking.

I even wore skates to the Indian-style toilet once. Really. Just to prove a point to myself. My mom told me repeatedly - don't lock the door, Shruthi. Careful, Careful. She stood outside, wringing her hands, waiting for the crash and the cry for help. It never came. I came outside, triumphant. I even washed the skates, because they had been in the toilet.

Another time, there were guests, and since I loved to serve tea in a tray, my mom made the tea and asked me to bring it out and serve. She had forgotten that I was wearing skates. I skated into the kitchen, picked up the large tray, with about ten cups of steaming tea, and skated into the living room, pushing the curtains aside with my elbows. The gathering fell silent. They held their breaths as I served them tea - one by one, one by one... only after the last cup was safely in the hands of the last guest, did everybody breathe.

Even now, I rate skating as one of the greatest joys of life.

Next: The Lawn

Monday, November 26, 2007

Township Tales - Games we played.

We were a lot of us in the colony, and there was hardly a boring moment. We played a huge variety of games, adding and subtracting rules, making variations - never ever tiring of it.

Running and Catching - Of course, the old favourite. And we played it with many variations.
Sudden Touch - where, the moment you are caught, you lash out and touch the person again, and she is out again, and then she touches you immediately, and you are out, and this could go on unless one of you dodges your way to safety.
Short chain, where you are safe if you hold on to someone else when the person who is "Out" comes to catch you. Long Chain - When the "Out" person catches you, you join hands with her, and together catch the others. Then you catch the third person, and the three of you go as a chain to catch the others.
Lock and Key - When somebody comes to catch you, you say "Lock", and you are Locked, she cannot catch you. But you remain "Locked" until someone else comes and touches you and says, "Key".
Tree Tree - We had lots of trees in the Lawn, and in this game, all of us gather at one tree, and the "Out" person names a tree, to which you have to run without getting caught. You are safe as long as you are in contact with any tree on the way, or in contact with a person who is in contact with a tree. We even had names for the trees - Fatty, Thinny, and so on. By the time I left the township, Thinny was very fat indeed!
We played variations of Tree Tree too - Pole Pole, Bush Bush, and when our dads bought cars - Car Car.

Then there was my pet hate - Hide and Seek. The problem with this game was that if you were "Out", you go around the colony looking for hidden people, and you have to find every single one of them. But before you found a person, if he jumped out at you and hit you on the back and says "Dubba!" you have to go back to be out. When I was Out, I was always Dubbafied. Along with that insult of being Dubbafied, was the physical hurt - my back stinging with the resounding slap of Dubba. So whenever I was out, I used to wait until everybody hid, then run back home and curl up with a book. And then my friends would come looking for me. Ha! Some kind of indescribable joy that was! I then decided that it would be kinder to just not join in the game!

There were other girlie games, that involved a lot of clapping and hitting shoulders and thighs and chanting stuff. I think I enjoyed them. There were other Statue games, where you shouldn't move or you are Out. These were for hot afternoons.

There were other games - variations of Dog and the Bone, and something called Crocodile Crocodile which involved colours.... we also played Kuntebille (hopscotch) quite a bit - with a small piece of asbestos sheet that we called "baccha".

Badminton was another favourite. We would emerge with our rackets, and since there were so many of us, but only one shuttlecock, we didn't play matches, as they would take long. We played a kind of Round Robin game, where you have to stop playing if the Shuttlecock hits your racquet and falls in your own court, and another girl takes your place, and so on.

But invariably, the shuttlecock would get stuck in the jacaranda tree. Then we would waste half the time trying to retrieve the shuttlecock. We would throw one chappal into the tree. The shuttlecock would come down, and the chappal would get stuck. So we would throw the second chappal, and - you guessed it - the second chappal would get stuck and the first would come down. After a lot of effort, we got all our belongings down, along with a shower of pretty mauve jacaranda flowers, and then the game would continue.

We played a unique game of football - boys vs girls. Our Lawn had a waist-length hedge. The gap in the hedge on opposite sides of the lawn were the goals. The moment football was announced, my friend Su would run home and come back in an old Jari Langa(traditional silk long skirt, with a zari border). She would be the goalkeeper, and would stand at the goal, and spread her legs wide, so that the skirt was stretched taut, and covered the entire goal. Any prospective goal was foiled by the ball bouncing back promptly from her skirt. The girls always won. The boys protested. "Not fair. Su is wearing a langa." We would chorus, "If you want, you also wear and come, who asked you not to?" And then we would roar with laughter. The boys would fall silent. After a while,they stopped playing football with us, what a pity.

We played cricket sometimes. My knowledge of cricket was even worse then, than it is now. Despite being in the batting team, I would field, and I once accused the umpire of not taking a catch. Well. I was that bad. But I could hit a mean sixer. And that was perhaps the sole reason they took me into their teams. And no, I haven't broken any windows.

Next: Fads

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Akashvani Sangeet Sammelan 2007

I am overwhelmed by the mails requesting me to put up the Akashvani Sangeet Sammelan schedule for this year, like I did last year. I am still looking for it. If I find it, I will put it up here. Please watch this space.

Btw, it started yesterday. Tune in to your local station every weeknight at 10 pm, and at 9 30 pm on weekends.


Update on 29th Nov 2007 - I got the schedule, and here it is. Thanks to Dr. H.R.Krishnamurthy, (Dy. Director General, Prasar Bharati (South Zone), All India Radio, Bangalore), who promptly sent the schedule to my parents.





29th Nov 2007

10 pm

Jayaprada Ramamurthy


30th Nov

10 pm

Prof Ritwik Sanyal

Dhrupad Dhamar

1st Dec – Sat

9 30 pm

Charumati Ramachandran


10 30 pm

Haridwaramangalam A.K.Palanivel


2nd Dec – Sun

10 am

Kailash Sharma


11 am

Debashish Dey


9 30 pm

Vid Poornima Chaudhuri


10 30 pm

Faiyaz Khan

Tabla Solo

4th Dec – Tue

10 pm

Pt. Giriraj


5th Dec – Wed

10 pm

Seetakadu T.G.Murugavel


6th Dec – Thu

10 pm

Shubha Mudgal


7th Dec – Fri

10 pm



8th Dec – Sat

9 30 pm

Pt.Vishwamohan Bhatt


9th Dec – Sun

10 am

Pankaj Kumar Banerji


11 am

Dr. Kumar Das


9 30 pm

D.Sheshachari and D.Raghavachari (Hyderabad Brothers)

Vocal Duet

10th Dec – Mon

10 pm

Keka Mukherjee


11th Dec – Tue

10 pm

Dr. K.Vageesh


12th Dec – Wed

10 pm

Santosh Kumar Mishra


13th Dec – Thu

10 pm

Suguna Purushottam


14th Dec – Fri

10 pm



15th Dec – Sat

9 30 pm

Palai C.K.Ramachandran


10 30 pm

Srimushanam V. Rajarao

Mridangam Solo

16th Dec – Sun

10 am

Sriram Umdekar


11 am

Meeta Pandit


9 30 pm

Premkumar Mallik

Dhrupad Dhamar

10 30 pm

Pt. Madanmohan Upadhyay

Tabla Solo

17th Dec – Mon

10 pm

Dr C.A.Sridhar


18th Dec – Tue

10 pm

Manojit Mallik


19th Dec – Wed

10 pm

Prof R.Vishweshwaran


20th Dec – Thu

10 pm

Padma Talwalkar


21st Dec – Fri

10 pm

Satish Prakash Quamar


22nd Dec – Sat

9 30 pm

Vid. Dr.N.Rajam


23rd Dec – Sun

9 30 pm



24th Dec – Mon

10 pm

Pushparaj Koshti


25th Dec – Tue

10 pm

Uma and Geeta

Vocal Duet

26th Dec – Wed

10 pm

Satish Vyas


27th Dec – Thu

10 pm

Chengalpattu V.Muthukrishnan


28th Dec – Fri

10 pm

P.V. Ramaprasad


29th Dec – Sat

9 30 pm

Pt. D.K. Datar


30th Dec – Sun

9 30 pm

Mohanlal Mishra


10 30 pm

Anil Chowdhury

Pakhawaj Solo

1st Jan 2008 – Tue

10 pm

Naresh Malhotra


2nd Jan 2008 – Wed

10 pm

Shyamlal Nath


Shri S.K.Dasgupta, Sarod (on 14th Dec) is a close family friend. My father learnt from him (Hawaiian Guitar) many many years ago. They were colleagues and remain good friends to this day.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Six months old

My sweet Puttachi,

It is impossible to believe that you are already six months old. I remember my first look at you six months ago....though you were inside me for so long, you were a stranger to me! Now, I know every whimper, every cry, every grimace, every look of yours - I can read you like a book!

Six months - half a year - You are no longer a little baby - you are my big baby now. How time has flown!

If I am asked to describe you in one word now, it would be Playful.

I love the way your eyes dance with mischief. You already steal hearts with your winning smile.

You are happiest when you are standing, holding on to somebody or something. Whenever you get any kind of support, you hurry to pull yourself up. And then once you are standing, you look around with delight, and make excited noises. You even try to take little steps with your tiny, pretty feet, holding on to somebody. No matter how sleepy, tired, hungry, bored, or weepy you are, the moment you stand, everything disappears and your face splits into a smile!

You have been sitting unsupported for about a month, and you look so much at home, as if you have been doing it every day of your life. You protest loudly if made to lie on your back for any reason at all.

When you are lying down, even if anybody says "Baa, baa" (come, come) or "Edda, edda" (Childspeak for Get up, get up) from the next room, you get hyperexcited and start banging your strong limbs all over, and lift your stomach up again and again in anticipation. It is really amusing to watch you.

Your eyes light up the moment your Papa walks into the room. It is such a pleasure to see you then (no, I am not talking about how jealous I get, though!). And when he dangles the baby carrier before you? You almost jump off the bed in your delight!

When you are playing, but are hungry, or sleepy, and if you spot me then, your whole attitude changes, you start whimpering, and look at me with a pleading look - it makes me giggle helplessly. Then your obvious pleasure when I pick you up - how lovely that is! And of course, the special smile reserved only for me - makes mommyhood even more special than it already is!

Puttachi, I know you hate to be put on your back, but really, if I could change your nappy with you standing or sitting, I would have done so. But I just cannot. So please, please, cooperate with me! If you don't wiggle so much, I can finish the job in half the time, and you can go back to your games!

Similarly, sweetheart, don't resist going to sleep. Can you play with your eyes half closed? The sooner you sleep, the sooner you can wake up and play! So please go to sleep quickly. And err... while you are at it, do take longer naps! 15 minute naps are for adults, not babies!

You are showing signs of wanting to crawl forward to get at - of all the things - a Kitkat wrapper! You foodie, you! Do you know how you lick your lips whenever you see one of us eating something, or even when you see something you know is edible? :D Of course, it is another matter that edible or not, everything finds its way into your mouth.

Puttachi, our lives have changed completely ever since you made an appearance. Life has always been beautiful, but you have more than doubled the reasons for me to smile ever since you arrived.

I assure you that Papa and I will do everything in our power to ensure that your face doesn't lose that smile. Ever.

We love you.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Township Tales - Getting into Trouble

I was quite the quintessential Miss Goody-two-shoes. But what is childhood if not for the occasional rebellion? I did get into trouble sometimes.

We were not allowed to go out of the colony gates unsupervised. There was a bar at one end of the road, and a lonely Water Supply Board area on the other. So it was a strict no-no. But once, someone told us that there was construction going on somewhere on our road, and there was a huge mound of sand with CLAY! So shall we go? I went. Without permission. My heart thudded, but a sand mound was too tempting. As I sat there, playing, my luck ran out - my dad , coming back from office, spotted me. My poor dad is one of the sweetest dads ever - he has hardly ever raised his voice with us. My mom too, for that matter. But yet, I was shocked and scared beyond belief. My father didn't even react. He gave me a friendly smile and a wave and proceeded towards the township. But I cried all the way back. I went home, and my dad and mom were talking. My dad had perhaps not even thought that the event was important enough to tell my mom, they were probably talking about something else - but to my guilty mind, they were discussing what to do with me. I went right in, confessed and apologized and cried - my parents just said - Don't do it again. And I am sure, they laughed up their sleeves at me later!

There were a couple of public toilets in the colony. These stank royally. We hardly went near them. But once, my mom saw one of my friends use that toilet. She told me, "Look, that girl used that toilet - make sure you don't." So, obviously, I just HAD to. It made no sense actually. While playing outside, if I needed to use the toilet, the toilet in my home was closer than that stinking public toilet. But since it had been forbidden, I HAD to go. And I went. My mom's friend spotted me. And told my mom. When I went back home, my mom was wild with rage. "Kaal muridu kaige kodthini!" She said. (I'll break your legs and put them in your hands!) I believed her. And howled all evening. [That was the worst scolding I have got in my life from her. Really. I am a spoilt brat.]

Then there was this time when a friend told me that tamarind leaves taste as good as the fruit themselves, and so I plucked a handful of leaves (I don't recall how I could reach the leaves, though) and ate them, and puked all over myself. This time, my mom was more concerned (about my health or my stupidity, I don't know) than angry, so I was let go with just a warning.

One more. We weren't allowed to go up to the terrace of any building. The doors to the terraces of all the blocks were always locked, except that of one block, which had a separate spiral staircase from outside. Though climbing this staircase was explicitly forbidden, I had gone up once. And had been so overcome with guilt that I had come down almost immediately! I was that goody-goody. Yawn.

Oh, and here's another incident - strictly not one where I broke rules... but it is kind of unforgettable. One boundary of the colony consisted of a low parapet, on which were iron railings. Jasmine creepers hugged these railings. Once, I climbed the parapet to pick jasmine flowers, and then I jumped down. My skirt got caught on the railings, and for one moment, I dangled by my skirt. The skirt then tore, and I landed on the bed of the Jasmine plant with an undignified thump. Right on the spot where my friend Pi had buried her dead goldfish. I escaped unhurt, but the skirt was one which I loved, and it had torn so much that even my mom's magic fingers couldn't repair it satisfactorily.

Next: Games.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Township Tales

For nearly twenty years of my life, I lived in a township in a quiet road in beautiful Malleshwaram.

Today, if I am a friendly, confident person, it is entirely due to growing up in that township. I spent my entire childhood there, and naturally, I have some wonderful, unforgettable memories. A couple of days ago, I thought, "Oh, I must write them all down - I might forget" - and naturally, my blog popped into my head. So, be prepared, I am going to subject you to some nostalgia in, I hope, a series of posts on life in the township.

I was a very shy child. When we moved into the township, I was about four years old. There were already a number of children of my age, and they would play outside every day. No matter how much my mom pushed and prodded me, I wouldn't go out to play with them. So, my mom took down from the shelves her treasure of excellent, educative board games that she had brought back with her from Germany, and she started calling those kids home on quiet afternoons to play the games with me.

I was now comfortable as I was on home ground, and slowly, as the kids became my friends, I ventured out to play with them, and soon, my mom reached a stage where she must have wondered - "why on earth did I encourage her to go out and play?" - coz I didn't want to come back home.

I grew up with those kids, and am in touch with many of them even now. There is one, among them, who has been a "best friend" right from then, until now. We will be celebrating 25 years of friendship next year. Another of them is C, a wonderful person - I know you must be reading ... I am sure you will enjoy this - you were the one who first put this thought into my head :)

Our township was a public sector colony - all our dads worked in the same place. There were 68 houses in all. There was a Community Centre, where we could play indoor games and read India Today, Filmfare and Wisdom. There was a big lawn, which was definitely a lawn in the beginning. But as it saw more and more of our games, not a single blade of grass could be seen in that poor lawn. The newcomers to the colony called it "Ground" - more appropriate. But for us, it remained the "Lawn" until the very end. This of course, was the centrestage for all our games.

There were a lot of trees in the township. There were some in the Lawn, and lots of tamarind trees behind one of the blocks. Naturally, the story was that ghosts lived there, and we would not go there after six pm even for a million bucks.

Our regular schedule during school days was - come back from school, gobble up something, do part of the homework in a flash, and out to play - and not going back until our moms had called us a hundred times, and after many, many "Amma, five minutes". Then, rest of the homework, dinner, and sleep. There was TV, in its ancient avataar, with only good old DD, but it didn't stand any chance - playing outside was far more attractive.

During holidays, we would get up, bathe, finish our breakfast, and run out to play. Then, back for lunch, sit uncomfortably still through the afternoon.. [Our moms - Don't play outside in the hot sun. We - Ok, can we play in the cold sun? Hyuk hyuk]. The moment it turned 5 pm, off we went again, and during holdays, we were allowed to go back outside after dinner (no running, though). Sometimes.

Next: Getting into trouble.

Friday, November 16, 2007


... to the old look. Much as I liked the new look, it was just not "me".

Have you ever seen and loved a dress in a shop, bought it, and then come back home and worn it, and felt totally uncomfortable? This was exactly how I felt with the new template.

So I am back. This is boring, but this is more "me".

Am tied up with lots of things - apologies for not replying to your comments - but I am reading each one of them, do keep them coming!

Posting might be light for a few days... don't go away! :)

Monday, November 12, 2007

The flip side!

I see that many of you are getting influenced by my baby posts, and you want to have babies too. Ok. But a warning. Not everything is roses in baby-world. It is just that I choose to write only about the positives. BUT. Since I realize that you innocent beings are getting influenced by this hunky-dory picture, I thought it was time to present the right picture before you. So here goes.

How is it, to have a baby? What does it entail? Here is a picture - of the first six months at least.
  • Being available 24/7. No breaks. No slacking.
  • Baby becomes primary, the centre of the universe. Everything and everybody revolves around it.
  • Sleep? What's that?
  • Having a bath in 5 minutes, with one ear on the door for the sound of the wail.
  • Excellent control on bladder and bowels.
  • There is no time that you don't think of baby. Even if you are away. If I leave the baby and go away for a while - to the parlour, to the shop around the corner, to the doc, to the neighbour's house or even on a small walk, I call every five minutes. "What is she doing?"
  • When husband calls from office and asks, "What's my sweetheart up to?", he doesn't mean you.
  • All that you seem to talk about with husband is about the baby. So, you decide, let's set aside an hour where we'll talk about something else. The hour starts now. And baby wails from the next room. Sigh.
  • TV? Theatre? Movies? Concerts? What's that?
  • Days seem to be a continuous haze of feeds and nappy changes.
  • Endless hours of walking the baby to put her to sleep.
  • Innumerable attempts at transfering baby from arms to crib without waking her up.
  • And then kiss her and wake her up. Sigh.
  • Excruciating back-aches from carrying the baby around.
  • Before the baby, when you had to go out, all you had to do was - pull on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, run a comb through your hair, and you are set. Now. Try to pull on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Find that they don't fit any more. Don trousers and a loose kurti instead. Dress the baby. Diaper. Frock. Light jacket. Booties. Check baby for signs of hunger. If hungry, feed. If not, proceed to packing the baby's bag. Diapers, wipes, cotton, water, extra set of clothes, mat, napkins to wipe drool, plastic bags to put soiled diaper in. Extra diapers. Extra pieces of cloth (just in case). Sweater (what if it becomes cold?). Wrap. Extra wrap. Check, recheck, re-re-check. All set, get ready to go. Open the door. Baby soils diaper/shows signs of hunger. Back to changing/feeding. Repeat process until successful. Unless it is too late to go.
  • Make an attempt to look good, then go out with your baby - everybody looks only at baby. Nobody even glances at you. You could have as well gone in pyjamas.
  • Visit someone's house with baby. You ring the bell, husband is trailing, carrying baby. Door is opened, and the host says, "Hi.. what.. where is the baby?" Looks beyond me, sees the bundle in husband's arms, then says, "Oh ok, come on in, then".
  • Grin and bear all the advice and comments on how you look after baby. Nothing you do can be right. Case in point - pick up a crying baby, and you are spoiling it. Don't pick up a crying baby, and you are heartless. It is a lose-lose situation.
  • Make major changes in career, family life, relationships, friendships.

I can't remember the other points I had made in my head - coz I am sleepy and tired after a long day - and this is the only time I get online... there you go.. one more point!

So, here you have it. This is what it means to have a baby. Lots of work. No rest. Ok? Now, all of you who have been influenced by my rosy baby posts - you can stop reading now.

For the others - All these hardships are real, yes, and yet, at the end of it, you look at the innocent, trusting, delightful creature in front of you, and all that you can say is, "It's all worth it."

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Look! New clothes!

Ta-daaa! The amazing GrafxGurl designed a new template for my blog. I love it.

Grafx, thanks a ton!

Friday, November 09, 2007


JustFemme, a women's e-magazine, perhaps the only one of its kind, has been launched today. Do check it out! You are welcome to contribute too!

[And while you are there, look for my write-up too :)]

Feedback about the magazine is welcome. Mail to: justfemme DOT in AT gmail DOT com

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Special Moments!

*Gushing and mushy Mommy post alert!!*

Some moments can never be captured for eternity. The only place where it can exist is in the mind. But for such moments to exist undimmed in the mind, you need to recall it from time to time - and what is better than to write it down?

There have been many moments I have had with Puttachi, which I know will never come back again - and I wrote a few down, lest I forget. Then I read them and thought, well, let me share it with everybody!

* A baby's touch is so subtle. Really, what is in a baby's touch that is so special?

That tentative, exploring, delicate touch - the soft, tender hands - they touch you, but don't linger. Before you can savour it, the restless hands move elsewhere. But that momentary touch - it is so beautiful.

And when Puttachi grasps my finger, or explores my face, her touch is so trusting, curious, playful - it evokes in me a tenderness I never knew possible.

* When Puttachi falls asleep in my arms, I can sit like that for ages, just holding her and gazing at her. Her eyes are closed peacefully, with her thick, long, eyelashes sweeping her cheeks. The eyelashes are so long that they are sort of entangled with each other.. makes me want to take a tiny comb and comb them out - but then, they would lose their perfection! One cheek is pressed against my arm, and her perfect red lips are moved out of alignment just that bit, because of the squashed cheek. The other cheek is smooth, round, the skin flawless and almost transluscent. It has the quality of a porcelain vase - smooth and shiny, except that her cheek is soft and warm.

* After I give Puttachi her feed, I seat her upright on my lap, and pat her on her back to burp her. With each pat, her cheeks wiggle, and her cockatoo tuft of hair rises and falls comically. It is very funny and I always end up giggling. Puttachi realizes that there is something happening behind her, and tears her eyes away from the object that had in the meanwhile caught her fancy. Then she swivels her head around completely with a Dev Anand-like wobble, looks at me, sees me laughing, and breaks into a wide, toothless grin herself. And that makes me laugh all the more, and I end up squeezing her hard until she squeals!
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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Schmooze Award - And a Tag

Cantaloupe's Amma and Bellur have awarded me with the Schmooze Award!

At first sight, "Schmooze" sounded like Smooch - did they like my blog so much that they felt it deserved a smooch?
Then it looked like "Snooze". Was my blog so boring that they felt like taking a snooze when reading it?

I looked up the Dictionary, and it said -

Schmooze - To converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection.

Award accepted graciously without any comments :)

And Award not awarded to anybody else. I know, spoilsport - but didn't you know that?


Bit Hawk and someone called "Life Rocks" (URL?) had tagged me long back for the middle name tag. I kept postponing it coz I don't have a middle name, and even if I did, I wouldn't know what to write. Anyway, here is an attempt - I choose "Shru" as my middle name, and I am supposed to write something relevant to my life with each letter of "Shru"

S - Sweets, or food, for that matter!
H - Hills, and mountains - love them.
R - Reading - a passion.
U - Understanding, up to a point.

Done! Any more tags pending?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Condensed Milk

Every Saturday, I read Vikram Doctor's excellent column in The Economic Times - "Garam Masala", and decide to blog about it that night. The muhurtha, as they say, had never arrived, until now.

Vikram Doctor, in my opinion, is a terrific food-writer. One, he loves his food. Two, he
knows his food. Three, he has the knack of writing about it in a wonderful way. You are left mentally licking your fingers at the end of it.

Each time I read the column, I decide to alert my foodie readers about it, but then, as I said, I forget.

But this time, it didn't slip my mind - because this time, he wrote about condensed milk. Yes, that luscious, sweet, rich, sinful, viscous liquid that sends you straight to heaven with each delicious spoonful.

Vikram Doctor says it best -
As thousands of children have discovered over the years, condensed milk straight from the can is one of the most blissfully yummy things you can eat.
Both Nestle and Amul sell their condensed milk as an ingredient for home-made desserts, with recipes often provided helpfully on the can wrapper. I have never really been able to bring myself to make most of these, since good as they sound, they never sound quite as good as the plain product itself.

Needless to say, S~ went out immediately after reading the article, and bought both Nestle's Milkmaid and Amul's MithaiMate. It had been so long, and man, am I enjoying it!

Do read the article. And yes, if you like your food, don't miss Vikram Doctor's column each week. You will not be disappointed.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Little Snippets

I forgot these little things in the last update. Adding them before I forget.

* Puttachi loves to stand. She keeps pulling herself up to standing position on my lap, and she loves to look at the world from that position.

* She loves it if I make her dance or sway to music in that position. She laughs a lot.

* She can sit unsupported for about 2-3 secs after which she loses balance. She sometimes, supports herself with her arms and sits for quite a long time, nearly 10 secs, then she loses balance again.

* She is fascinated by our hands. She needs no other plaything. She observes hands for any amount of time. While playing peekaboo, if I use my hands to cover my face, she looks at my hands and forgets to play peekaboo. So I have to use a plain white cloth to cover my face for peekaboo :)

* Yesterday she crept forward, and covered a distance of about half a foot. Then she grew frustrated that she couldn't get at the toy in front of her, and bawled until I picked her up.

* I wrote this whole post with her on my lap. What is she doing? Observing my fingers fly across the keyboard.

* She is losing patience. Ta ta!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Some more snippets.

Puttachi completed five months today. Its been a while since I did an update on her, so here goes.

* Puttachi bites. And hard. She wants to chew on everything. Everything finds its way to her mouth. If she is lying on her tummy and doesn't have anything else in hand, she licks whatever she is lying on.
Her favourite object to gnaw on is the human hand. If she finds one within reach, she pounces on it just like - just like the predator pounces on the prey in those National Geographic shows. And she gnaws on it like the predator eating off the prey. With equal fervour.

* She dives. And how! Wherever she is, whatever she is doing, her roving eye finds an object, she sets her heart on getting it. In the movie "The Greatest Game ever played", when this champion golfer is taking a shot, everything else vanishes - the trees, the spectators, everything except he and the hole. This kid is like that. When she wants something, only that object seems to exist in the world. She doesn't care about space, distance, height, anything. She just dives. Or if she is on the floor, she pushes her head down, or her knees, or her toes and tries her hardest to move forward and get it. I don't think it will be long before she starts moving forward. And then, Heavens save me.
And oh, why did she want the object that she has set her heart on? For the sole purpose of putting it into her mouth.

* She had the second haircut of her life. We started cutting her hair when she was asleep, but she woke up before we could complete it. So I broke the "NO-TV-for-Puttachi" rule, and switched on the TV. She sat and stared at the screen transfixed, and we finished the job. Now I know why moms put their kids before the TV. For a moment's peace. I have started rethinking my "No-TV-for-Puttachi" rule.

* Shortly after my plea for help, asking you for advice on how to make Puttachi sleep, her sleep habits improved beautifully. "Putting her to sleep" became a non-necessity. If it was her naptime, she just drifted off to sleep while taking her feed. That's it. That simple. But now, suddenly, she is a tad older. And that makes her very distracted. She finishes her feed and cries. Now, its back to square one, trying to "put her to bed". But her night-time sleep habits continue to remain very good.

* She is mine and S~'s daughter all right. She loves her food. After Ragi didn't agree with her, I started her on Nestum - plain rice cereal. I then started adding little somethings to it - Mosambi juice, Dal water, mashed carrot - she loves it. She gobbles it up with pleasure, with the appropriate satisfied noises. It is beautiful and so satisfying to watch her. I can't wait until she is older so that I can give her regular food!

* I can see her personality actually developing. Very active and restless, very curious and enthusiastic, fun-loving, vociferous. with strong likes and dislikes. of course, I don't want to label her, but its fun attributing certain characteristics to her.

* Pictures in books excite her, and as I have already said, music does too. Hail Hariprasad Chourasia for having the ability to calm her at a moment's notice!

* She is such a delight. Just as I think she cannot get any prettier or any more delightful, she does. [Alert! Doting mom!]

* People are cruel. When Puttachi was a new-born and looked like an alien, everybody said that she looked just like me. Now that she has blossomed into a cutie, everybody gushes about how much she looks like S~. Hmph.

Monday, October 22, 2007


This is my 200th post. I didn't realize when 100 passed by, and so I thought I would make a big deal about 200.

200. Never thought I could write so much. When I first started this blog, I did so doubtfully, thinking - what will I write about? Apparently, I do have a lot to say.

Coincidentally, it has been nearly two years since I started blogging regularly.

It's been a ball - thanks, all of you - you kept me going. Your encouragement, your comments, and your friendship! So, thank you, to you and you and you.

It has been lovely knowing you all, meeting some of you in person, and getting to know some others better through email/phone. I have met many interesting and like-minded people through the blog, and that I count as one of the greatest advantages of blogging. I will not be exaggerating if I say that right now, I am more regularly in touch with my blog friends than I am with my "other" friends.

Blogging under my real name, and having all my friends and family and family's friends and friends' families read my blog, makes things difficult at times - I cannot spew out everything that's on my mind. But I wouldn't have it any other way. This suits me just fine.

Blogging has another major hazard. Many of my friends keep track of me through this blog, and when I write or call them and ask, "Hey, what's up, been a long time".. they say, "Oh yeah, sorry, I know what you have been up to, because of your blog, and I didn't realize that I haven't kept you updated."

So, you, and I mean YOU. Please close this page (after you have read till the end), open your inbox, and send me a mail. And yes, I mean you. Thank you.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Of Nobel laureates..

So, it turns out that Leonid Hurwicz, the Economics Nobel laureate is known to my Dad's maternal uncle, and he has even had dinner at my dad's cousin's place. That is probably the closest I have come to knowing a Nobel laureate.

Unless, of course, one of you in the future becomes a Nobel laureate. Then I can open my blog (if it still exists and if I remember the url), and show people your comments and say, "Oh, s/he was my blogger pal!" And if I win a Nobel, you can go ahead and flaunt my name, I will not mind.

Ok, back to Nobel laureates. Actually, coming to think of it, I kind of know another Nobel laureate. Or rather, a Nobel laureate's home. My school was adjacent to C.V.Raman's compound (now all you North-Bangaloreans know where I did my schooling!). My classmate in primary school, let's call her Sma, lived in the outhouse in that compound. C.V.Raman's large house, situated in the middle of that huge compound, was uninhabited,, and always locked.

Now this compound contained a variety of trees - jackfruit, mango, silk-cotton, tamarind, and many more - it was actually a mini forest. A beautiful green place in the midst of busy Malleshwaram - we all envied Sma.

I would go to Sma's home to play sometimes, after school or on the weekends. Sometimes our games took us to the main house. We would play in the wide, sweeping portico, with the thick columns and pillars. We would go round the house and try to peep in at the windows. Once, looking at my enthusiasm, Sma's father got the key, opened the doors and let me look inside. It was large, spacious, with a high roof - a typical old-style home. The furniture was heavy, luxurious. The sofas had long, curved handles and printed cushioned seats. CV Raman's armchair was very heavy, dusty, and broken. His writing table was large and foreboding. I sat on his chair, sat at his table, and felt very important indeed.

The memory of that house still gives me the creeps, for some strange reason. It was obviously once a very beautiful and elegant and house, but it seemed to be falling apart - dusty, musty, and echoing with our hushed voices.

So there ends my tryst with Nobel laureates.

My sis and I had once chalked up a plan on "How to win a Nobel". We listed the categories and contemplated upon which Nobel it would be easiest to win. We first struck out Physics, and then went Chemistry. Medicine fell next. Economics wasn't even in the reckoning, as we had no idea what it even meant. All that was left was Literature and Peace.

Literature shouldn't be so difficult - just write a few books and you are good to go. But Peace, we decided, was the easiest. All we had to do was preach peace with zest, and we would be awarded the Nobel. (We were just 11 and 7, please!)

I still have a fascination for the Nobel, and am in awe of Nobel laureates. I am sure some of you are out there rubbing shoulders with Nobel laureates. When my sis got an admit to Stanford, somebody told her that in that University, if she stood in the cafeteria line, the guy in front of her and the one behind her would be Nobel laureates. I don't think that has happened to her - yet.

So, do tell me - have you met/interacted with Nobel laureates? If yes, who, when, how, where?

Monday, October 15, 2007


The maid's daughter is six months pregnant. And the foetus is male. And how did she find out? The doctor who conducted her scan told her. Yes.

And me? The ultrasound clinics I went to had large posters with foreboding red lettering which warned me that "Foetal sex determination is illegal and a punishable offence". I had to sign declarations that I wouldn't ask the doctor to reveal the sex of the foetus, and the doctor had to sign in the report that s/he hasn't disclosed the sex of the foetus to me. And this is when I was ready, to welcome with open arms, either sex, be it a boy or a girl.

And the doctor reveals the sex of the foetus to the maid's daughter, she from that class of society, who are more likely than us to treat girls as burdens, and would tend to abort female foetuses. And as I gather, the doctor offered the information just like that. No money seems to have exchanged hands.

Did he offer the information because the foetus is male? Would he have done the same if it was female? But if he had the reputation of revealing the sex of the foetus, wouldn't his silence indicate that it is a female foetus?

In fact, when I was expecting, the same maid asked me if the doctor did not tell me the sex of the foetus, and that in her village, they "take a photo" and tell them the sex of the foetus. But this scan was done right here, in Bangalore. Where is this clinic? "There", with a vague wave of the hand is all the information we get from the maid about the whereabouts of this place.

This tells me how widespread sex determination is. And we scream ourselves hoarse about female foeticide.

Update on Jan 8th: The girl delivered the baby yesterday... and it turned out to be a girl!

Arranged Marriages

Someone came to my blog looking for "How to check out a guy in arranged marriage". Poor girl, she probably found only this - A taxonomy of marriages.

She won't get further help from me, coz I didn't have to go through the motions of an arranged marriage. So let's help other Googlers - if you had an arranged marriage, do tell me how you "checked out" the boy or the girl. If you are single and looking at an arranged marriage, tell me how you intend to decide. If you don't fall into either category, but would still like to contribute your mite, you are very welcome. The comments section is open.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I read this news about a dark-haired Czech couple who had DNA tests conducted to quell rumours about their blond-haired daughter. But as the tests revealed, the baby was not theirs. They went to the hospital to find that there had been a mix-up, and another couple had their daughter. So now, the parents have decided to SWAP their babies after TEN months of caring for the wrong baby.

How heart-wrenching it must be for them! As I always tend to do (bad habit), I tried putting myself in that situation. If it turned out that there had been a hospital mix-up and Puttachi was not my biological daughter, what would I do? Give her up? NO WAY! But then the girl out there was my biological daughter, the one I had carried in my tummy for 9 months! Would I not want her too? I would, I am sure. I would willingly look after both the babies. But of course, so would the other mom! What a horrible situation.

My heart goes out to those parents. By agreeing to swap daughters, they have perhaps done the logical and practical (in the long run) thing. But I cannot bear to imagine the heartache that they must be going through.

I just realized how unimportant a "blood" relation is, when it comes to children. Would I have loved Puttachi even an iota less than I do now, if she hadn't been my biological daughter? I don't think so. My love couldn't have been any less. Then, by inference, it hardly matters whether you have a biological child or whether you adopt a child! So why go through 9 months of pregnancy and increase the population of the world, when you can do everybody a world of good and adopt a child and give her a good home? Is it that "our flesh and blood" is so important?

I would love to hear what you have got to say.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Shoe Woes

The Mad Momma mentioned somewhere on her blog that she has over a 100 pairs of shoes. A 100 pairs of shoes! Now the first thing that came into my head was not where she keeps them or how she maintains them, but this: that she has actually liked a 100 pairs of shoes enough to buy them.

Why doesn't that happen to me? At last count, I own probably, 8 pairs of shoes, and that includes walking shoes and hawai chappals. Why is it that some shoes go looking for people, and nothing seems to be right for me even if I move heaven and earth to find them?

Not that I am asking for anything wonderful.

All I want in my shoes, in no particular order:
1) Sturdiness - obviously, if I pay good money for it, I want it to last.
2) Style - and why not?
3) Have a Soft and flexible sole - After my ligament tear, hard soles give me an ache in the leg.
4) Flat, no heels - same reason as number 4.
5) Back-strap - I am a vigorous walker, and slippers without a back-strap tend to fly off my feet. Go on, Laugh!
6) The Right size - you won't believe how many perfect shoes I haven't bought because they don't stock them in my size.

Am I asking for too much?

More often than not, I find myself compromising on one of the above aspects, just so that I can have something to walk in. For this very reason, I hate to go shoe-shopping, coz I tend to get depressed. Really.

S is wonderful at getting me shoes to wear. He accompanies me patiently to any number of shops, says "Come on, let's try just one more shop!" when I say that I have had enough, and doesn't rest until I've found shoes that I like. If you have seen me in nice shoes in the past three years, it is entirely due to him.

It was on one such shoe-searching expedition that I found the shoe of my dreams. It was a Woodlands shoe - perfect in all respects. Then, what happened, you ask? Well, shortly after that, because I was expecting Puttachi, my feet expanded, and later in the pregnancy, they swelled up a bit, and I couldn't wear the shoes any longer. If you are wondering why I can't wear them now, the answer is that when your feet expand during pregnancy, they don't really return to their original size. Really. Look it up if you want.

So now those shoes are a tight fit. I knew it was too good to last :(

Got a new pair last evening - again thanks to the persistence of S. I was going around in a temporary, ugly pair of soft slippers (compromised on backstrap and style) which I had bought before Puttachi was born, because those were the only ones that were comfortable. Before I could start cribbing again about the ugliness of those slippers, S dragged me off to a shoe shop and wonder of wonders, I found something that I liked, immediately. But even an optimist like me becomes pessimistic when it comes to shoes. I am already wondering when the strap will snap.

Sigh. Please tell me I am not alone!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Song Tag

I Love Lucy tagged me to disclose which "our song" is.

Do S and I have a song? Yes we do. And how well both of us remember the song! That night, dark, silent, warm...a sense of expectation and anticipation.... S was holding my hand....waiting... and waiting.... and suddenly, from out of the silence, burst forth the song - the sweetest we had heard.... the one we had waited for, for so long... so long.......

But the anticlimax was that the moment he heard that song, S let go of my hand and went off in the direction of the song. Can't blame him though, I would have done the same had I been mobile.

Ok, ok, I know you already guessed what I am talking about - I am talking about the day Puttachi was born - and the song? Her cry of course!

*Ducking to avoid rotten eggs and tomatoes* Please excuse me, and indulge me a bit! We are brand new parents!

Hmm... and to prove that we do have a life besides Puttachi, here it is - The songs that I consider "our songs" are Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd, and Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton.

Please note the use of the word "I" and not "we" in the previous sentence. I am sure S will read this and ask me, "Really? Are those "our songs"? Why?"

That brings us to the second part of the tag - Why these are our songs. I will leave that for tomorrow (Tomorrow never comes). I have already spoken too much, and speaking more can be hazardous to my health. That's what comes from blogging in your real name and having all your friends and family read your blog.

And now. the interesting part - I tag - Ano, Madhu, Poppin's Mom, Devaki, Abhipraya, Shyam, and Shark. Chitra(Same Old Anon) , C (stop gazing at Lake Burley Griffin and comment, lazy bum!) and R(you long-haired charmer, I know you are reading this!), please write yours in the comments section - Do you guys have "a song", which is it, and why? Go!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Cancer Survivors

If you can read Kannada, please check out the Oct 11th 2007 "Sudha" (in the stands today). The cover page article is "Cancer Geddavaru" (Those who won over Cancer) by my mom Brinda N.Rao. You can also read it online on (You will have to register, though).

My mom battled and survived cancer about six years ago. It was a very difficult phase for all of us - and I cannot believe how beautifully my mom has emerged from that crisis. More active than before, and full of life as usual, she has continued her radio programs, given music concerts, and continued with writing and taking translation assignments.

She attributes her optimism during the treatment, and her positive attitude now, to timely counselling by Dr.Brinda Sitaram, the leading psycho-oncologist in India. The article is about Dr.Brinda, her institute COPER(Center of Psycho-Oncology for Education and Research), other cancer survivors, and my mom's own story.

Feedback welcome.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Change of Name

The Little One will henceforth be known as Puttachi.

"Puttachi" in Kannada essentially means the same as "The Little One". "Putta" means "Little", and "Achi" is something that is added out of love. And since this is what I usually call her in real life, it makes a lot more sense to use it here too. Anyway, "The Little One" was getting cumbersome, and many of you were asking for a nickname too, so here it is.

Well, I had never intended to blog about my baby, so I hadn't bothered to think up a nice nickname for her... but as it turns out, I can't stop blogging about her (heh heh)... so I thought it was time for a new name. Better late than never, what say?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Loudspeakers and the police.

So it is that time of the year when Ganesha pandals are put up and a lot of ruckus is made in his name.

As usual, a function is going on about a kilometer from my parents' home, where I am staying now. The music was so loud that I could not hear myself speak.

As usual, calls were made to the police. Not one, not two, but a dozen. And not just by us, by many of our neighbours.

As usual, it was of no use. [Ok, this is slightly unfair of me. There have been times when the police have gone and switched off the music or lowered the volume].

Anyway, today, this is what happened:

7:30 pm - Call made to local police station, they say they would dispatch a Cheetah (police patrol mobike) immediately.

7:45 pm - No change in situation, another call made. Policeman says that the association has already taken permission and they cannot do anything. When asked whether the permission includes blaring loudspeakers at unspeakable decibels, there is no satisfactory answer. They say that the Cheetah has gone elsewhere, they would dispatch it as soon as it gets back.

8:00 pm - No change in situation. My dad personally goes to where the function is going on, and makes a request to the organizers to lower the volume. They say they will, and dad comes back.

8:05 pm - No change in situation. Just as I put my baby down on the crib, Himesh starts howling, and my baby wakes up bawling.

8:10 pm - My parents decide to call 1-0-0. It is busy. Yes. 100. Busy. This wasn't an emergency, so it is okay. What if there had been a burglar in the backyard? What would I do? "Please wait, Burglar Uncle, 1-0-0 is busy. Let me search the directory for other emergency numbers". How on earth can 100 be busy? Are they nuts? Shouldn't they have enough lines to cover any and all calls originating in this burgeoning city?

8:15 pm - My parents call the DG's office. Policeman answers politely, says he understands, and that permissions don't mean that they can play music so loudly, and says that he will dispatch a Hoysala (Police Patrol 4-wheeler) immediately.

8:45 pm - No change in situation.

9:00 pm - My baby still bawling, I call the local police station. As I start to complain, the policeman says, "Some people are having some entertainment, why should so many of you call and complain". My BP rises. "Can you hear a baby crying? She cannot fall asleep because of the noise. If some people want entertainment, why should others suffer? What are you police for? Please do something!" Policeman's tone changes. "Oh baby not sleeping? Tch Tch... will dispatch a Cheetah immediately". I recognize the tone. Indulgent. I hang up, without much hope.

9:15 pm - No change in situation. Call again to the local police station. Same reply. Wonder how many Cheetahs are bounding about this area, if they are to be believed.

9:45 pm - Put on loud, soothing music to cover the other noise. The baby falls asleep, more out of exhaustion than anything else.

10:00 pm - No change in situation. Another call to police station. Aren't loudspeakers banned after 10 pm? Ah yes, madam, we will dispatch a Cheetah right away.

10:30 pm - Volume slightly lessened.

11:00 pm - Function concluded, and then silence. Golden, golden silence.

Please draw your own conclusions. I'm off to bed.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


When I was a toddler, I lived with my parents in Erlangen, Germany, for a year. I obviously don't remember much of my stay, but the snaps taken then show me as a little kid with a mop of thick black hair, and cheeks the size and colour of apples. The indoor snaps usually show me eating or drinking something, and the outdoor snaps show me covered from top to toe in warm clothes, with only my cheeks popping out.

Aside 1: The mop of hair remains, but where did those cheeks go, do you ask? I used to wonder too, but now I know. They were in hibernation, and now they have come back and attached themselves to my baby's face.

Aside 2: Georg Simon Ohm - he of the Resistance fame - was born in Erlangen, and that's why he came back twenty years later to haunt me when I studied Electrical Engineering.

Well, though I am technically not supposed to remember anything about my stay in Erlangen, being very little, the point is that I do. I remember:

  • Looking down from the window of our 19th storey apartment.
  • Feeding bread crumbs to swans in the lake near our home.
  • Playing with my Indo-German friend An in her water-filled inflatable tub, and crying when asked to get out because it was time to go home.
  • Wanting to eat the beads on An's rubber band, because they looked like peppermints (Greedy pig right from childhood, yes).
  • Feeling out of place at a children's gathering because all the kids spoke only German.
  • Sitting on my mom's lap and eating something while she showed me pictures in a book.

Most other memories have probably come from snaps, so I won't add them here. These are the memories I am sure I remember without external aid. I remember these perhaps because all of them must have induced extreme (at that time) emotions in me - happiness, greed, loss, loneliness...

Ok, so why on earth did I start talking about Erlangen out of the blue? Well, I was looking at the Sitemeter of my blog and clicked on "Who's on", and found a reader from Erlangen. And that, I can tell you, gave me quite a thrill. I later realized that it was a "" domain, so it could well be possible that my reader wasn't really sitting in Erlangen, s/he could have been elsewhere reading my blog through a server situated in Erlangen. So, anyway, if that reader is you, put your hand up, please, delurk, and let me know. JFK, as we would say in college - Just For Kicks. Thank you.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


What do you get when you cross a

with a
Cockatoo? (Courtesy)

My baby's hair.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The sound of a baby's laughter.

As soft as velvet.
As bubbly as a brook.


Brings a smile on any face.
Induces hope in any heart.

The sweetest sound on Earth.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Champ Mom

Lindsay Davenport won the Bali Classic Tournament on Sunday.

What's so special about that, do you ask?

She won this just three months after she gave birth to a baby.

Let me face it. She had a baby after I did, and she went out there and won an international tournament yesterday.

I am ashamed. If Lindsay can win a tournament, I should at least be able to climb a flight of stairs without panting.

I need to start my fitness regimen. Now. On second thoughts, not now, considering that it is 11 o clock at night.


Do I see a smug look on S' face?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Water, water, everywhere....

It has been pouring non-stop for the past couple of days. But even I was taken aback when this photo jumped out at me from the front page of the newspaper today. Hosur road flooded with water, and these people are moving about in coracles. Coracles! On the roads of the Software City's IT hub!!

Everything else apart, the first question that popped into my head was - Where did they get these coracles?

Bangalore does not have any rivers in its immediate vicinity, other than Vrishabhavati [1], (in which no one in their right mind would willingly go riding on coracles), and I don't think any coracles go about on Bangalore's lakes either. Then, where did these coracles come from?

Did some enterprising businessman start transporting coracles to these IT offices the moment it started raining? Or wonder of wonders, have companies started storing coracles?

Maybe companies have included this in their disaster management plans, something like - 20 coracles should be stored in the basement to ferry employees when the roads get flooded during the monsoons.

Who knows?

On another note, two nights ago, after attending to the Little One when she woke up for her night feed, I felt hungry and popped in at the kitchen for a drink of warm milk. As I sat sipping the comforting liquid, I watched the rain. I saw gallons and gallons of rain water flowing down the road. Some of it will seep underground and groundwater will be replenished. Yes. But how about the other water? So much water going down the drain - literally. How much opportunity there is for rainwater harvesting!

Fact: Bangalore receives about 970 mm of rainfall every year. The number of rainy days is close to 60 (over a period of eight months). 54 percent of the rainfall is due to the south-west monsoon. Rainfall in Bangalore can be expected to arrive on time, and without fail. Due to these extremely favourable conditions, rainwater harvesting is a viable solution to the city's rainwater harvesting problems. In fact, it has been estimated that over 40 percent of Bangalore's water requirements can be fulfilled by Rainwater Harvesting.

Fact: A 100 square meter rooftop can yield upto 90,000 liters of water annually.

Fact: Bangalore is the first city (in India) to include rainwater harvesting in its byelaws. The law says that “ every building with a plinth area of exceeding 100 sq mtrs and built on a site measuring not less than 200 sq mtrs shall have one or more Rain Water Harvesting structures having a minimum total capacity as detailed in Schedule”. This specification also means that adapting rainwater harvesting costs less than one percent of the total cost of the construction.

A lot of information can be got from the Rainwater Club.

[1] Vrishabhavati was a beautiful river, which is now the sewage and effluent canal for the city.
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