Still alive


Random thoughts:

My son turns 10 this month. Double digits. A decade old! Where has the time gone? I can almost have an adult conversation with him. At each stage in his life so far, I have thought it was the best one until he grew another year and surprised me. He is his own person and cannot be influenced by the opinions of others.

I suppose that’s an excuse to write something on the blog. Give it a sense of survival.

I have completed a year at my job! That’s a sentence I never thought I would be able to say if you asked me a few years ago.

I am still skeptical about driving. Although I can drive my husband’s car (a gigantic metal tin) I am worried about the geometry of it. With the narrow roads of Edinburgh, one can bump into anything if one is not careful.

Gone are the days of me sitting down for a couple of hours and reading. I can’t remember the last book I read. Here’s something else I noticed. I tend to forget the books and the plots of those books that I read on the Kindle. Is it because they all feel the same? No texture no uniqueness.

Hopefully this won’t be the only post this year!

Progress report

Just back from the very first parent meet. I have come back with three very heavy work folders. The teacher talked about good reading, writing and math skills. The truly awesome thing was when she told me that S is a very good friend. He mixes with all the kids in his class, the bigger kids during outside play time and is a very happy and chatty kid generally.

Some of his friends do ‘tell on’ him but he never does that to them. I like it that he doesn’t get into the he said she said things. He stays clear of that kind of negativity. I am happy that he wouldn’t back-stab his friends and report on their mischiefs. I’m glad that he has that kind of understanding. Playground can be a cruel place and not everyone is considerate. I’m just happy that he is a kind person. 🙂

Mummy kehti hai bada naam karega…

My son just finished his second colouring book. He has shown patience to complete a whole a page before jumping on to the next, ability to keep the colours within the lines and has torn only 2 of the 15 pages – a vast improvement from the previous one which is lying in shreds somewhere in the dark recesses of and beneath the sofa.

When you are young life is so beautiful around you. Everyone appreciates you, motivates you and makes you think that you can achieve almost anything if you put your mind to it. You feel anything and everything is possible for you. You just need to walk out of the door of your house and there’s a whole world of possibilities out there for you to grab.

Such are the thoughts that I get when I look at my son.

Possibilities. Adventures. Opportunities. Bright future.

Life is very beautiful for him right now he can turn it any which way he prefers.

In this last year he has learned so many new things and diverse activities that given the opportunity and infinite resources at his disposal, any activity of his can be considered as a serious career opportunity. This is another manifestation of our unachievable ambitions and dreams. Here are a few that are at the top of our minds:

Artist/Painter: The colouring book number 2. Just yesterday he coloured for an hour. Continuously. He was even humming to himself during that time. I agree he gets confused between light blue and dark blue and most often the clouds are red instead of grey but then he can always paint a modern art. Here are his masterpieces:

While we are talking about modern art, check out few of his samples. I mean do you really think he should give up on such talent?

Greeting card for Mother's Day
Painting at playgroup
Clouds and sky - another painting at playgroup

He loves to draw on his erasable slate. From son, moon – sorry moon crescent to smileys, fridge, mobile, Tom and Jerry. He can even draw himself and my ma ki nazar can make out an uncanny resemblance. Once he even drew a fat dad and a thin mum who oddly resembled a long thin broomstick. My son is very talented I tell you.

The Smiley
Self Portrait

Travel and living: Not travelling in Mumbai and living in suburbs. That’s horrible. This is more like what they show on the Discovery channel. This one is also a secret ambition of my husband, an alternate career if you like. Since coming to Scotland, we have been on many trips – Amsterdam, London, highlands for short trips and many day outings and the son has enjoyed it. As long as he is outside the house he is happy. On weekends, when the kiddo wakes up and realises that Daddy is at home, he asks, ‘Where are we going today?’ He has his daddy’s genes. The husband can never stay at home for an entire day. He has to go out even if it is for grocery shopping or just to take a walk. The son is the same. The husband is enchanted with the Discovery channel and can watch it for hours specially the programmes in which  the host travels to exotic locations. You get the idea.

Modelling: This ambition is nurtured by the kiddo’s grandpa, my Father-in-law. Bachpan se, the kiddo’s looks have been compared to that of Ranbir Kapoor. I don’t know what the connection is. He doesn’t look like Ranbir and I for one had a crush on Rishi. Anyway, I have been told that my FIL had this ambition for one of his nephews as well who he thought looked like some good-looking actor at the time. The FIL’s further secret ambition is to be his Manager. No comments. Here’s our model for you:

The model in a stylish camera friendly pose

Chef: Cause, let’s face it cook is just mediocre. This again I believe has been the secret ambition of my hubby’s and since the kiddo shows some excitement about what’s cooking, we now have daydreams about his becoming a Chef. Not SRK in Duplicate, more like Jamie Oliver. Oh how my daughter-in-law would bless me!

Singer: ‘The wheels on the bus’ has close to 50 odd versions if not more. Did any of you know that? It’s been more than a year now and this is still the kiddo’s favourite song. It is played on Youtube throughout the day and when it’s not playing on Youtube, the kiddo is singing it. At the top of his voice. The best part? I have to do the actions for round and round, beep beep beep etc etc every time he sings it! He definitely has the sur and taal.

Dancer: He also has the laya. Apart from jumping around in circles and some other dance steps, he has perfected Dev Anand‘s walk! Dev Anand style walking he says. Now Dev Anand has been my first crush ever since I saw Paying Guest. Husband doesn’t like him, never did and makes fun of me every time I sit down and drool over his songs. The son doesn’t know who Dev Anand is – but he vaguely considers Ganesha to be Dev Anand – it’s the Dev in it, I think. The husband doesn’t want Dev Anand to be his dancing inspiration and idol and I am just happy that he picks up the beat for ‘beep beep beep from Wheels on the bus’ and can clap 3 times on it. Perhaps I should show the kiddo the song ‘Khoya khoya chaand‘. I haven’t yet told my husband that I sometimes secretly dream of enrolling the son for Kathak classes. 🙂

Acting: He sure can act and on cue. He knows when to throw tantrums, when to make that baby face that makes us go awwww.. and has perfected the tear faced look – when his eyes are filled with tears but not a single drop drops and his face looks dejected and saddened. What else do you need – dancing and singing along with acting! He is a boy wonder.

Writer/Composer: This child prodigy of mine has composed a song of three lines. I mean that’s something. And no, he poem is not like Rosesh’s. He has even composed a tune for it. I have already started nudging him to write a story because let’s accept it, most people like to read novels instead of poetry. At bed time though he does compose some short stories to tell us so I have hope.

Footballer: This is another one in his long list of passions. He loves to play football. In the house. He cannot bend it like Beckham as yet but he makes it up in speed and accuracy. He knows just how to kick the ball in the air and aim it at the ceiling lights without breaking a single bulb. That’s timing and accuracy. He can even aim it at the TV without breaking the glass. Seriously football it is for him!

Cricketer: He already has the timing, you know placing the ball and all. He doesn’t play cricket with the huge football. He likes the small tennis ball. My only disappointment is that he is a left handed batsmen, I would have liked him to be a right-handed batsman but then I guess that’s too much of expectation!

Seriously, why would you want to be an engineer, doctor, teacher or an IT professional when you have such brilliant talents and glamorous career options. Besides, those are just jobs and these are careers, mind you. That’s why I have excluded them.

So, you have any unfulfilled wishes that you want to intimidate your child with? 🙂

The things on my mind…

It’s been seven months now in Edinburgh and to say that I have enjoyed my stay here is to put it very mildly. The place, the seasons, the sheer thought of living in such a picturesque country elevates my thoughts and puts me in a wonderful mood.

Even though winter is still on with winds and cold, the days are getting longer and there’s just something bright in the air; I can’t quite put a name to it, but everyday I wake up it feels like spring will be here soon. And I can hardly wait to experience it!!

In this short span of time, I have experienced many a things that will go down in memory lane as “kodak moments”, autumn, the first snowfall, visits in Cambridge, Norwich, Bury St. Edmunds (which reminds me that I still have to put up that post about our trip on christmas and new year). These small towns are so beautiful and have so much character. I could have spent days there just walking around all over the town, sipping coffee in the small stylish cafes. It just felt completely like home.

Another most important reason perhaps why I am enjoying it this much is because am spending time with my family, specially with my son. In this short span of time he has achieved so many milestones of his own and that in itself is some feat; but being there the very first moment is heaven – the first walk, the first words, the first run. What pure magic it is to see your own child grow in front of your eyes rather than have someone else tell you at the end of the day when you return half dead, tired from office. These moments would never have been the same.

I know I won’t be with him throughout the day once I go back to India, but am here now during his very early formative years and that would help him immensely. He has not yet started throwing tantrums and is quite easy-going and calm but is quite assertive in many situations. I think it’s a good sign though it’s too early to judge. He does lack peer engagement but his school will start soon and am quite eager to observe him behave in that environment.

Making him independent is my main goal with him. He already helps me a lot in my household activities and seems very pleased with himself when he does so, unloading the dishwasher is a favourite and so is tidying up his toys after play. He is too small to allow him to cook but am sure when he is old enough he will be quite a lot of help in the kitchen. He also loves carrying things for me. He will  take out the dry laundry from the dryer, pick up my cell phone if it’s ringing and will give it to me. He can’t actually put out the clothes to dry but today he put a wet hanky on the chair and was grinning afterward to show what a great achievement it was. He loves to do different things everyday and quite often is successful in his effort. He knows his mind so far, haven’t seen him cranky or confused except when he was ill. Though he hasn’t started speaking a lot, he understands almost everything that we say. Commendable for a twenty month old, eh?

This post has turned into a mamma post which was quite unintentional but you got to say whats on your mind and that’s just the tip of where am coming from!

Am running out of titles here!

Shantanu has another trick up his sleeve lately. Every time he kicks me or his dadda, or knocks us down with his head or slaps us, he will very sweetly come up to us while we are moaning in pain and kiss us. Then he makes those dove like eyes and smiles coyly just to add a touching effect. Seriously, from where do kids learn all these tactics is completely beyond me.


Me and hubby were watching this programme “16 and Pregnant” last night. It follows the stories of pregnant teenage girls in high school dealing with the hardships of teenage pregnancy. Most of the episodes end with the girl realising that it was wrong decision to get pregnant and that she should have waited until she was independent and mature. In one of the episodes we watches yesterday, the teen mother said something to this effect, “Sigh, I don’t think I am ready for any of this.” Taking cue, me and hubby also said collectively, “Neither were we, sigh!” I went ahead and said that I don’t think I was even ready to get married, I wish I had waited or I wish I hadn’t got married at all. Hubby said, “me neither.” Then we sighed some more. I said to no one in particular that it would have been great to just have a job and go out with friends and he said, yea and then maybe we could have just lived together, no strings attached! It would have been better yet! 🙂

…and I said, “O”

Such is the deeply intellectual conversation we have!

I’m back! :)

So been a long time huh? Where have I been? What was I up to? I know you all are dying to know, the few handful of you who read me.

Well, this is the second Diwali I spent in another country. It’s been alternate years now since marriage that I am in different countries celebrating festivals. The biggest excitement this year though was that Shantanu was able to comprehend some part of it. He realised that something is different with all the lights and sweets. Sweets! my parents and in-laws sent in packages of sweets and Diwali mithai. It really brought out the festive mood in our home. With lights and diyas and firecrackers we had a fantastic Diwali.

I want to note here that this was the first time that Shantanu ate the Diwali sweets and enjoyed the lights so much so that he wanted to keep them turned on the entire day. We shot a lot of videos of Shantanu playing and laughing and talking and sent them back to my parents and in-laws.

The kiddo has come a long way now since my last post about him. He can now easily climb up the chairs and tables, can speak up a lot of words and keeps adding to the vocabulary every day. Touchy-feel books are his favourite and he can recognize a lot of objects in them. Pushing the TV buttons, eating and gnawing the remote controls, mobiles and books is another of his favourite activity. He is even strong enough now to pull and push the TV. He loves to pick up the letters that arrive by post and brings them to me. He leaves all that he is doing when the mailbox flap makes a big sound and runs to collect the letters. When they are quite a few and heavy ones, he ponders and brings the light ones first and keeps the heavy ones for his last trip. He helps me with the laundry by putting clothes into the washing machine.

During Diwali, when we dressed him up in new clothes, I realised that he was a little boy now and not a little baby anymore. Hmm, I miss those days when he was a baby with all that baby smell. Now I have a tot tumbling all around me.

The stolen TV and other updates

With the approaching autumn the trees in our garden have turned beautiful red and yellow and I feel so delighted to experience the English autumn after reading about it in books. The days are growing short and cold. The internet provides little entertainment and hence after much deliberation, we decided to get our stolen TV in working condition. Hubby finally bought the cables and boxes and now we get to watch 75 channels.

We took Shantanu to the doctor last Friday. After examining him, the doctor said that the spots that appeared on his body are not of Chicken pox, much to our collective relief. It is some kind of a reaction to the viral fever that he had last Sunday. He assured us that these would go away in a week’s time. However, he may still get chicken pox later. He did not give any medicines nor did he suggest any change in the diet. We have started giving him a banana a day to clean his system.

Shantanu has started saying a few words now. “aai, aaba, me, kaka, kaki” are the regulars.
“dada = daddy”
“Coppa = helicopter”
“pachati = chapati”
“gooo = gol”
“meeee = me, mary poppins”
“pa = paani”
“aaatiya = atya”

He can now climb on the chairs of the dining table but dares to do so only when we sit on them. When he doesn’t stop even after telling him so repeatedly, I sometimes just stand at the table and have my food. Next, when he starts climbing on the table, I think we will be having food right off the pots from the stove. He also switches off the TV just when something interesting is about to happen.

I just finished reading Pride and Prejudice and then went ahead to watch the movie as well as the television series. I am so so in love with Mr. Darcy. I find it hard to decide whether I love Rhett Butler more or Mr. Darcy.

Did I tell you am in love with Mr. Darcy. Sigh.. if only such men existed in real life.

Voices in my head when I cook:
“Always heat the pan well before pouring the oil..”
“Everyone has a unique way of rolling out dough while making chapatis. You will eventually find yours.”
“Don’t open the cooker before the pressure is out.”
“Heat the milk before pouring it while making sheera.”
“Saute the onions properly before putting the veggies.”
“Separate and remove all the water from the kheema before applying the masalas. This will help not form lumps in it.”
“You will be able to make out if the dish is prepared well just by smelling its aroma. Don’t fret and don’t taste.”

I hear these voices of my aunt and grandma every single day when am cooking. I mean I really hear them. Ever. Single. Time. Okay I wasn’t into cooking before marriage, nor after it for a long time. But just before I travelled to Singapore, I had made my aunt and grandmother give me tips on cooking and the above is just a few of what they said that time. And now, every day when I go to cook, I hear it in my head as if they are standing next to me instructing. I recall it word to word. Maybe, I should have made them recite my studies, I would have remembered it much better.

That’s all for now. I shall go and appreciate the colour and fragrance of the lavender and think of Mr. Darcy!

One hell of a weekend

So much has happened over the weekend. The mind is exhausted and me needs some serious sleep though I have slept through the night for 10, no 11 hours straight. Anyway, in my last post, when I was typing away to glory and patting my back in between sentences, I forgot to mention that hubby had informed me that the guest won’t be having dinner on Friday since he would come late at night and would have had food on the way.

Wrong! so so wrong! Late Friday evening, hubby announced that the guest would be having a full meal. The next 10 minutes were spent in arguing of course. Hubby was adamant that he had said so specifically last night and I was sure he hadn’t mentioned it. As I rushed to the kitchen and started banging opening shelves to check if there’s any leftover food that I can cook, hubby sheepishly admitted that he had forgotten this small little detail. Now I know why MIL asks him the same questions 101 times to make sure his answers are the same. Anyway, hubby was pinned down with angry sideways glances the whole time I cooked. Luckily, for me, when the guest arrived, he was quite famished and gulped down whatever I had cooked.

On Saturday, they both went out – boys day out I guess to roam the all of Edinburgh and feel the autumn. Another day for me with Shantanu, laptop and the toys. And it was sunny for most part of the day! Yay! Funny how seeing the sun shine brings a smile on my face. Anyhow, all was well and me had lots of time to cook and clean.

Wonder how you do some things instinctively? Or is it the sixth sense. I prepared some huge quantities of food all that I cooked, most certain that it wont be consumed in one meal.

Sunday started with a very cranky Shantanu. He usually isn’t cranky except when he is hungry or sleepy. That’s it. He had his morning feed quite reluctantly, which is surprising. And then for the next hour he kept crying and crying and crying. He just won’t stop. This was very weird and the last time he did this was when he was four months old and had his vaccination. He didn’t cry much during the later vaccinations. After crying for this long, he got exhausted I think and went to sleep for another couple of hours, which is again weird. Then when he woke up, he refused to have his feed. Very Very weird. And then the fever got him. Before rushing him to the doctor, sometime in between, I prepared breakfast from the left over food last night. Remember, the sixth instinct?

Till the time we made an appointment with the doc, both hubby and I were on the phone, almost all the time. He with the hospital doc and me with the ghar ka doc. Not that I really needed any moral support, it’s just that in situations like these, common sense takes off and you don’t think of simple things. Aunt, grandma and mom suggested a couple of things, and yes, I need to call all three and when they suggested the same things and gave the same advice I decided to follow it.

The doc assured us that it was only viral and we shouldn’t be worried, just had to keep him on paracetamol and let them know if the fever doesn’t subside. He slept till evening and wouldn’t take any feeds. Only at night when he felt a bit better did he have some food. He slept through the night without any temperature and is back to his normal self since morning now.

Did I not ask you god, not to jinx it since I mentioned what a wonderful child he is? Anyway, we shall deal with that later. As Shantanu slept for most of the day yesterday, the drawers in the kitchen stayed shut, the toys weren’t punched, the wires and switches lay still, the papers were not torn to pieces and the house was quiet, very quiet. It was then that the dullness of it all hit us with force.

I keep wishing that Shantanu grows up fast so that all this mess would stop. Not anymore. All this mess is what my life is all about now. And from today morning, the order in the chaos is restored.


…and my home is spotlessly clean. Ever wondered how the imminent arrival of a guest works wonders for home cleaning? That is what this weekend is about. Kiddo isn’t doing much to drag me away from the laptop and run behind him. The nice quiet content little baby that he is, I think he is the wonder kid which all moms pray for. And lucky me, I got him. Ok, god, please don’t jinx it now that I have declared it out loud. I know he is just too small to create havoc but I have heard and read tales of other kids that send shivers down my spine. Come to think of it, kiddo has never given me any trouble even before he was born. I was one of those blessed few who had little trouble during pregnancy. His routine was also much less troublesome. Anyhow, I must write another post on it, I digress.

So we have a guest coming this weekend, tonight actually and even before hubby could complete this sentence, my mind was already listing the things that need to be done to make this mess of a place look like a warm welcoming home. We rushed to the nearest mall and got all kinds of fancy cleaning liquids and sponges and what not. I get to use a new spray on my kitchen board! Yayyy!

Sigh! That’s the height of excitement in my life folks.

I need a life.

Anyhow, four months into staying in UK and we have kind of adopted the culture. Dinner’s at 8 and light outs at 9:30. Damn! Reading this am sure MIL will miss a heartbeat. What? lights out at 9:30! Are you kidding me? That’s like the time we started warming up in front of the TVs with wine! Ok. end of digression.

Last night after the early dinner, I sponged and cleaned the kitchen to a glorious sparkle needless to say I was quite reluctant to cook today from fear of spoiling it again. But the stomach needs food! All the clothes have been magically fit into closets and the other remaining pieces of laundry are stuffed into our bedroom for drying. And voila! the house is clean.

I want one of those best housewife awards now!

Modesty? What is that?

These are a few of my favourite songs…

The kiddo has taken a liking to music I must say. With me bombarding him with a variety of songs, he doesn’t have an alternative but listen to them. The songs are a must while eating his meals. Though he likes almost all the children toon songs, he has his favourites…

Bada natkhat hai re – I don’t know why he really likes this song. It’s a slow one. I guess it’s because I once made a montage of his photos and put this song as the bachground score.

Ichak dana – I guess it’s the words and rhythm for this one that he loves. And I equally love it watching with him.

I love to laugh – well, one day kiddo was really bored with all the songs and it suddenly struck me that I haven’t once made him listen to the Mary Poppins songs. It was one of my favourites when I was a kid. Once I showed him, he was hooked. Who wouldn’t be? 🙂 This one is an all time favourite of his. He starts laughing the moment he sees this one.

Jolly Holiday – Another one! He loves the umbrella and the stick dance in this and also the tortoises.

Penguin dance – What can I say, the penguins are adorable.

Step in time – He loves the dance. Again I think it’s the rhythm that makes him jump up and down.

mach gaya shor – am baffled but he loves this one and starts dancing. 😛

So, what are your kid’s favourite songs?