I am back

I am back from our trip to India. And surprisingly I am sulking. For someone who has boasted all her life that she likes her solitude, here I am craving for people, chaos  and mess. It wasn’t like this the last time. Tsk tsk.

As for our trip, things never go as planned. We had made grand plans – people to meet, places to visit, things to eat and do, in fact narrowed them down to weeks and days as we thought this was a short trip (yea we consider 4 weeks as short). I didn’t met half the people I wanted to, couldn’t even call some of them. Hubby was better off in that I suppose.

Kiddo thoroughly enjoyed Ganpati. He woke up early morning, had a bath and went with hubby and other relatives to bring home the idol. He was all excited to recite the aartis, perform puja (in his own way) and put flowers. He was also thrilled to see that Ganpati always had his one hand up to say “Hi!” He used to come rushing to me and say that Ganpati is saying Hi to him!

The other thing he enjoyed immensely was riding in cars and auto rikshaws. Every morning after he woke up, he would go to the balcony and look out whether our cars are still there in the parking lot. Going for a ride in Honda City was almost a daily event which was often followed by a ride in the auto.

And then there were the gifts he received!!

My brother gifted this jumbo ferrari car to kiddo. Their bond is surely getting stronger. Men and cars I tell you.

The food…!!!

My mum made these delicious modaks on the occasion of Ganpati. No wonder they vanished within minutes.
FIL got this jumbo Pomfret a day before we were leaving!! Yummy doesn’t suffice!
My sis-in-law made this scrumptious cake. From scratch. Yes. Even the flowers. How beautiful is that???

First impressions

Let me begin with saying that I am amazed at the kiddo’s nature to adapt. He was an angel during the flight. I think he actually enjoys the travel – the experience. He is always super excited when we travel by train or even by bus. Although, I think he was a little overwhelmed with all the emotional welcome and affection thrown his way by his grandparents and other relatives. He recovered soon and on our entire trip from airport to home, he was a chatterbox – counting the buses, autos, trucks and tempos.

I, in turn had a little adventure. I made my husband pick up someone else’s bag – (not on purpose!) when we got them off the conveyor belt. Thankfully our own bag had our number on it and the bag’s owner called us before we left the airport. Luckily for me, the saint had to deal with the security officers 🙂 After this minor mishap, I truly felt that I have landed in Mumbai! 

Kiddo’s cousin, my SIL’s son, is eager to play with him and surprise surprise! the kiddo plays with him too. In our last visit kiddo had turned into a human magnet and stuck to me all the time whereas now, both are behaving as if they are kumbh ke mele mein bichade hue bhai. I am hoping things will be so for the rest of our trip. I doubt whether he will be the same when the rest of the family joins in for Ganpati. I am trying to prepare him, as much as possible, for the number of relatives who would soon join us for Ganpati festival.

Two things have amused him a lot:

  • The ceiling fan – he can look at it for hours and he wants to switch them on every time he walks into a room
  • His cousin’s antics – enough said! 

It is a truth nationally acknowledged that a grandchild who lives abroad must be in want of continuous overwhelming attention from his/her grandparents on his visit to India. He must be showered with constant affection, love and gifts on a daily basis. I have come to believe that the line between affection and obsession is very thin indeed.

In such cases as this, the grandchild soon falls under the impression that he is a superior being who should be worshipped and be the centre of attention. Given the current situation the kiddo will soon be the above example.

As for me, I am hit with nostalgia and I go awwww at even small things…a familiar lane, atmosphere, even the vegetable and fish vendors lining up a street. Having said that, I also end up cursing the heat, pollution, dust and such sundry stuff that is part and parcel of Mumbai. At one time I am craving to travel local trains and at the very next, end up frustrated at the crowds that I would encounter.

Family and friends are eager and excited to meet us and hopefully we will find time to meet everyone. All this attention makes me feel as if I am a celebrity or at least someone very important… hee hee.. soon I would be waving and blowing kisses at random people I see on the road. 🙂

Back to reality

More rants from the NRI…

For more than a year now, we have been living in a city with no illness. Two days after coming to Mumbai, diarrhea struck kiddo. After living abroad it is now ingrained on my mind that kiddo needs to build his immunity and no medical attention is required for such infections. However, after a day of no relief, we finally took him to the doc. The anti-bacterial medicine didn’t help and we had to put him on antibiotics. This is the first time we gave him antibiotics. He has not completely recovered from dysentery but it is down to a couple of times a day.

While in Edinburgh, he never suffered from dysentery or diarrhoea. Ever. In the past one and a quarter year. We went out a lot on day trips and holidays, gave him outside food, juices and drinks but never once did it upset his stomach. Is it any wonder then, that I am bad mouthing Mumbai, its weather, pollution, water, milk, everything!

Kiddo has always been thin. Like me. He has never been the chubby cheeks baby. Neither was I. I had a secret hope that when I come back to Mumbai, he will get proper ghar ka khana from his grandmothers and that might help him put on some weight. Now I seriously doubt that. He will taste a variety of delicious food here but am not sure whether that will help him put on any more weight.

It is not even one week since I arrived in Mumbai and I am already eager to take him back to Scotland, feed him some brandy in the chilly winters when I reach there.

Sad Situation

I was roused from my afternoon slumber yesterday when hubby called to inform me that three blasts have taken place in Mumbai. Frantic calls to family and friends followed. We heaved a sigh of relief when everyone back home was safe and accounted for.

This is the second time in the last four years of my marriage that I am out of India and these terror attacks took place and on these both occasions we talked to family, they said, they were glad, happy in fact that we were out of Mumbai. Yesterday, my FIL told me to continue our stay here in Edinburgh for as long as possible. That was his conclusion. This is what it has come to. It’s better if you are an NRI.

Later last evening we took sonny out in the gardens for his play and to buy some groceries. He is reluctant to sit in the pram now and is quite happy to walk. We don’t have to grab him by the arm, or keep a watch on him from fear of someone kidnapping him or him getting lost in the crowd. Here he is free to walk, stroll, run as he pleases, in the garden and even on the footpath. Could this ever be possible in Mumbai now?

Later when I spoke with my dad, he said that this one is comparatively better than the train blasts which took more lives! At least the death toll is less. As if that makes this attack okay somehow. We have adjusted to such low standards of security. We have so less expectations.

Who is affected and who does really care? The families of the dead ones are so grieved with the deaths, they don’t have the strength to lash out and blame the government, the families of those who are injured are busy taking care of them and worried about their health. When my dad was injured in the 1993 blasts, we were more worried about his health than questioning the government. And then there are those who are well and come out unharmed from these attacks, like us. We are relieved that we are safe, our families and friends are safe. We watch the news, blog, comment, express anger and frustration – but in the end we are just bystanders, helplessly watching the dismal conditions around us. Next day, we get up, get ready, go to offices – of course we have to meet the project deadlines. We have to earn our bread and butter after all.

We are in a loop. Terror strikes, people respond in anger. Blame government, media, politicians, our hopeless situation. Few days pass, anger subsides, people get sucked back into their lives problems, attacks are pushed at the back of our minds, we continue with life until the next strike comes. There is no solution.

The common man’s life is of no importance in Mumbai and in India. You have no job security if you stay back home scared from these attacks. Here in Edinburgh, when it snowed last year for an entire week and the roads were covered in knee-deep hardened snow, people were advised not to leave their houses unless necessary and that didn’t include offices and work. Schools were closed, holidays declared and offices were shut down early in the coming days. That is the level of safety precautions that this government took due to a week of heavy snowfall. And we Mumbaikars are back in offices and kids in school on the very next day of such deadly attacks. Have terror strikes and blasts become a way of life in Mumbai?

It’s a very sad situation.

Rainbow at my window after a thunderous weekend and comfort books

The rains stayed well into the weekend with lightning, thunder and heavy showers but ended with a rainbow. This was the scene outside our drawing-room window when it finally ended.

Rainbow at my window
Every time see I rainbow, and believe me, I have spotted it a lot of time, I fall in love with this city all over again. I mean, back in Mumbai, how many times do you get a chance to relax and look out of your window at home, spot a rainbow and smile? I love this escape from my hectic life in Mumbai. I absolutely love watching rainbows with my son and I know this is one thing I will always remember about this city – the relaxed life and spotting rainbows with sonny. It is so very comforting.
Although I didn’t eat pakoras, this weather had me wrapped under a blanket with my favourite book – Pride and Prejudice. Almost all of us have our comfort reads..books that are on our shelf for keeps. Books that we go back to when we need a guaranteed entertainment.  

Pride and Prejudice
Image by elycefeliz via Flickr
Books that fulfill this function for me are any of Agatha Christie‘s and Pride and Prejudice. And sometimes we wish to watch a movie instead of reading a book. For me that would again be, P&P, the Colin Firth mini-series, Father of the Bride – both parts, Devil Wears Prada. Surely, you all must also have such lists. Tell me, which are your comfort books and movies?

War on Mumbai

It is hard to put down logical, rational and coherent thoughts after the incidents in Mumbai. The scale at which the terror attacks were – are conducted in Mumbai can only be an outcome of unprecedented and planning, adroit co-ordination with a strong monetary support. The audacity of the terrorists and brazenness of this tragedy is another example of the failure of government officials.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi condemned the terrorist attack and called it a challenge for India. There is a statement she made which struck me as most ironic. She said that she hoped the resilience of the people of Mumbai remained undeterred. I mean how much more should the people of Mumbai or for that matter the people of India suffer until they put their foot down and prosecute for a safe place to live. Isn’t it already more than enough?

The terrorists had come well equipped with AK-47 rifles, RDX and automatic guns. They had come fully prepared and knew what their targets were. The Intelligence had, until now, no idea who these people are, what do they want and what their targets are, how did they gain access into Mumbai without raising suspicion, from where did they get access to such a huge amount of ammunition and explosives. It’s only that after the catastrophe has occurred that they come out with statements as to which group the terrorists. Pakistan, also, comes up with new names every time for owning responsibility of such a calamity. I think it’s a game for them. Their potentiality to conduct such tragedies only intensifies with each attack. It;s high time to return the favour with more vigour and adroitness.

Mumbai is known for its undying spirit and getting back on her feet after any disaster of a large magnitude. But what use is it to get up and go back to your normal life if you don’t live long enough to see the future. Or what if there is no city left, no office buildings, no work (with the economic downfall) and no people in the city.

All foreign presidents and prime ministers and Indian president and leaders have condemned the attacks. Well, that is understood or a given. Just making a statement won’t do now. After such a magnitude of terror attacks, its high time to look at terrorism from a disciplined standpoint. It should be chastised. The city of Mumbai and India should be safeguarded in such a manner to instill a belief among the terrorist nations that it cannot be bugged and intercepted in any manner. I hope neutralising the terrorists in hotels and around the city, declaring that the situation is under control and announcing which group conducted this disaster isn’t the end of it all. It should only be a beginning in attempt to root out terrorism from the country.