Monday, October 29, 2007



Its finally 30th!! Do you notice how incredibly slowly time passes when you are looking forward to something? I am off on a vacation to Manali and will not be back until the 12th. So Happy Blogging in the meantime people...and Happy Reading!!!

Will have lots of posts when I get back, I promise!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Bangalore Blues

Y had left a comment in my last blog about the terrific Bangalore traffic. Now before the Bangalore lovers go after Y with a bludger, let me hasten to add that she had very nice things to say about Bangalore and was merely inquiring about the state of traffic as it is today in Bangalore.

As anyone who has heard anything about Bangalore would know, talking about traffic in Bangalore is as good a conversation filler as talking about the weather in any other part of the world. Everyone cribs about it, everyone hates it but everyone will go out and purchase two cars for the family and think it is beneath them to use public transport.

Y's comment set me thinking about all my favorite traffic peeves that I come across everyday. My office is 3 Kms from my house and I make 3 trips between my house and office. I have been driving in Bangalore for almost 5 years now. Given my background, I think most of you will agree that I have some right to comment on the state of traffic and the general attitude of Bangaloreans on the road. So here they are, my pet peeves:

1. I hate the auto drivers. They are rude and arrogant and do not come anywhere. And when they deign to, they almost always spoil it by not giving the change back when you pay them. Needless to say, most of my auto journeys always end up in unpleasantness. They are my most favorite peeve to date.

2. I do not like the way Bangalore treats its pedestrians. I mean, for heaven's sake, you do not want to drive in the maddening traffic and so you decide to walk. And what happens? You literally are putting yourself in mortal danger by crossing the road. Apparently, the 2 seconds that the car guy has to wait to let me cross the road will cost him his life.

3. The other day, hubby and I were driving and we saw this most horrifying sight. This poor guy who was standing on the edge of the platform suddenly had a swooning fit and fell on the road. A car almost trampled him but thankfully stopped just in time. And NOT ONE motorist stopped to help the poor guy back on to the platform. (In our defence, we were quite far away when this happened and by the time we got there, some pedestrians had helped him.)

4. I completely go nuts at the insane one ways that Bangalore Traffic Police dreams up of. Its like Vadivelu asked in a famous comic track...okkandhu yosippangalo(I think they strive to come up with more and more innovative ways to pain the population more!)

But just when I thought the soul of the commuting Bangalorean is tainted beyond redemption, I noticed certain things over the last few weeks which have given me hope.

* Like the time when a dog stood in line at the Zebra crossing and crossed with great aplomb when it was its turn and everyone stopped for a second to smile.

* Or like the time when a cop stopped the menacing traffic on all four sides to hold a bunch of kids by their hands and help them across the road.

*And today morning, where this maniacal Toyota Innova guy almost pushed me off the road to overtake me, only to stop a few yards later, to let an old woman cross the road.

*Or the calf, which just sat nonchalantly, bang in the middle of Banerghatta Road and the laughing cop who was trying to move it.

So you see guys, there is still a flicker there somewhere. There is hope yet. I think if we all made an effort to stop everytime a child or an aged person is trying to cross the road and just let them, we will make Bangalore a lot less petrifying for them..and in the process, we will learn a wee bit of patience ourselves.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A day in the life of a working mom

The last couple of days have been absolutely crazy at work!! My prediction about life being crazy after kuttan comes back have come true!! I hate it when I have to sit idle at office the whole day and then just as I am getting ready to go home, some weird issue pops up and I have to stay late to resolve it.

No matter what anyone says, I think it is best for the kids if they have some family staying with them. However, what is best for the kids may not be what is best for the adults and so you end up making compromises and convincing yourself that it is ok for you to work, it may be even good for your son to see you go to work (It helps young males respect women, apparently!Findings of a popular women's magazine, not mine.)

And then on days like this when you are sitting in office at 8 in the night trying to convince some gora saab of some totally inconsequential thing, and your hubby is doing the same from his office, and it is raining cats and dogs, and your son is all alone at home with the maid....that's when you wonder what the hell you are doing with yourself.

You decide to think seriously about taking up an alternate career, may be part-time. You drive through the crazy, maniacal Bangalore traffic and add to the chaos by leaning on the horn all the way home coz you want to reach faster. You go home and do not discipline your child when he is breaking things and throwing tantrums because
a. You are too tired for a confrontations
b. You are already feeling guilty about staying late at work and dont want to spoil everyone's mood by scolding during the little time you have together.

You go to bed edgy and too tired to even talk to your hubby...

You wake up the next morning at the first ring for the alarm, for once. Your son behaves like an angel. He wakes up on time, drinks his milk and eats his breakfast, like a charm! Hubby is in a good mood and the maid is remarkably efficient. You start to work early and find a mail that the issues of last night have been resolved.

You spend the whole surfing the net and blogging and you think..'This is nice!! And they are paying me for this!! Is quitting such a good idea really? After all, there are the EMI payments to think about. And I just got appreciated for the delivery I made last week. I'll surely get a good performance review this year. Maybe I made a hasty decision last night.

You decide to start early and are eagerly waiting for the clock to reach a decent hour at which you can slip out without raising too many eyebrows. And then...5 minutes before that time, you get an email. The subject says ...bug#125472. Priority: High.....

It starts all over again!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Kuttan is back!!

My son is back in Bangalore, after vacationing for 3 weeks with my mom and dad. Life is not always easy when you have a full time job, a home and a 2.5 year old to look after. Add to this the issues of managing the domestic help, the nanny and keeping the home fires burning ( 3 hot meals a day on the table is all I mean by that!), and you have a pretty much exhausting 24*7 job. Please note that managing to spend some meaningful time with hubby did'nt even get into the list above. I am talking survival folks, not luxury!!

That was why when my mom offered to take my son to her place in Coimbatore for 3 weeks, hubby and I sorta jumped at the chance to get some time for ourselves. I had the nagging feeling that its not going to be quite as easy as I thought but hubby assured me we had plenty to do. We would enrol ourselves into new classes, I could work late whenever I wanted to without feeling guilty and we could get some quality time for ourselves. Now, I am sure you have no clue what I mean when I say quality time, or, if you do, you are getting it all wrong.

By quality time, I mean the simple pleasure of being able to talk about our mutual financial bankruptcy without being interrupted a dozen different times. When my son is around, a typical conversation goes like this.

Me: Hey, dont we have to pay the LIC premium?
Hubby: Yeah, I...
Son: Where is my ball?
Hubby: Goes off searching for the ball
Me: Go after him, prompting...yeah, what abt the policy?
Hubby: Yeah , you transfer the money...
Son: (shrieking) Play with me, play with me, play with me
Me: (Calling out to the maid) Play with him for sometime, Asha
Me: yeah, so should I transfer the money?
Hubby:(Who is busy by this time watching India getting thrashed again by the Aussies) Huh?
Me: (very softly) My policy?

By this time, my son has had some kind of a fight with his nanny and I go off to referee the two and hubby is left alone in peace to watch that retarded game they call cricket.( Seriously, I have to write one on that!).

So now you know what I mean when I say, quality time. A little bit of uninterrupted silence to bug hubby a little more on the long pending issues. Now after we dropped our son and came back we actually enjoyed the peace and quiet for the first couple of days...hubby enrolled himself in swimming classes, I got to sleep late and still be able to get up and not miss my morning walks , and, the best part, I did'nt have to cook!! Our son was obviously having the time of his life back home, being spoilt rotten by his grandparents. Everything was fine!

Earlier, being able to walk down a mall and browse through the dresses was a long forgotten luxury. I think all moms get a little cross-eyed from trying to keep an eye on their hyper kids running crazily around and eyeing that 'I-must-definitely-have-that' dress on the display. So after the first couple of days, when the house had become too quiet for us, we went to malls. And for some reason, I could'nt find any dresses which were the 'I-can't-take-my-eyes-off-you' kind. And hubby and I would keep talking about how much kuttan enjoyed the escalator and the McD's mascot.

By the end of the 3 weeks, I was just pining for my son to be back with us again, where he belonged. No matter how naughty he is, no matter how topsy-turvy he turns our lives, he gives our lives so much meaning. He gives us a reason to go on. Life is back to its crazy old self. I had to work like a whirlwind to get everything ready and then had to run behind him for 40 minutes trying to feed him breakfast. And then, I had give specific instructions to my son's nanny about what she needs to feed him for lunch and his evening snack. I was rushed and late by the time I was out of the door in the morning. But you know what, I'm Loving It!! Life is right again!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mami, Sundal !!

Yay, the weekend is finally here!! And I am off to my mother's house for Saraswathi pooja. I will be seeing my son after 3 weeks...can't wait!!

Navarathri is a very important occasion celebrated with a lot of gusto across the country. A lot of people talk about how it is a celebration of the sacred feminine and 'Shakthi', the female side of all things. But for me, navarathri is associated with golu. For the uninitiated, golu is a practice where they arrange dolls in steps in as artistic a manner as possible. Not all families do it. I dont. But my mother started this a long, long time ago and still continues to this day. The story is that when I was 3 years old, I went to someone's house to see their golu and came home and cried that I wanted one too. And she started it. And kept on doing it year after year. Amma started off small, with just 3 steps and kept on accumulating dolls with each passing year and the golu tradition grew and flourished along with me.

I remember, we made a park once, with a lot of grass and sand and little dolls of people and animals. I know that everyone who has ever had the tradition of Golu must have made a park at least once. But my mother did it long before it was in vogue and huge crowds from the neighborhood turned out to see it. I could'nt stop smiling, I was so proud of it!! I still have a photo of me standing on a chair alongside the Golu, clutching my bunny rabbit doll.

Sundal is a very important part of golu. Navaratri, more than anything, is a social occasion. You go to people's places and invite them to come over to your place. And when people come, you give them the usual kumkum and vethalai, pakku and stuff and sundal, which is a navarthri special. When I started learning carnatic music, it became a PAIN to go to these golu affairs. I was going through this shy, anti-social phase and wherever I went, people would tell me, oru pattu padina dhan sundal.(You get sundal only if you sing a song.) Well, some of those mamis' sundal was so bad that I'd shut up and not open my mouth at all. The other mamis made sundal that was to die for. Amma and I would go house to house and collect our booty and bring them all back home where appa would be waiting with all his tastebuds in readiness. And then the analysis would begin...some looked so bad we would'nt even open the covers. And there were others we would fight tooth and nail over.

As I grew up and moved out for college and later to Bangalore after marriage, amma could'nt maintain the scale of the festivity all by herself. Down came the number of steps again, till they became nothing more than just symbolic golus with just one step and a few old dolls. This year, I did not eat any sundal at all. Usually, I make it a point to at least invite a couple of people over but work was so crazy that I could'nt even do that this time. But I did one bright thing. I sent my son over to my mom's place. I could see a spring in my mother's step again this time. She tells me she has a very pretty golu this year again, after all those years. And she tells me my son has had his heart's fill of sundal. As for me, I am going to get my first sundal of this year tomorrow from the mami who makes it best in the whole world - my mother.

What's with being thin?

No, this is not a post where I would talk about the benefits of being the correct weight or the correct BMI or the correct waist-to-hip ratio or any of the other hundred different ways they seem to have invented to make you understand that you are FAT!! In this post, I am going to talk about...babies.

You know, in the last few years, there has been a lot of focus on child obesity. A lot of things are being said about it, a lot of things are being written about it. And a lot of doctors are warning parents about its ill effects. Unfortunately, this whole 'movement-to-reduce-child-obesity' seems to have COMPLETELY bypassed ALL the people I have ever known. And by that, I mean, right from the woman I buy vegetables from to my own mother. Ok, also includes me.

The moment I found out I was pregnant, I went into ecstatic dreams of this rounded, chubby, little baby who I could hug and cuddle. Now, where did I get that picture from, you might ask. If you had seen me, you would'nt need to. I am pretty much the adult version of my idea of a dream baby. So, considering that, and considering that hubby was also quite chubby as a baby, and considering the number of ice creams I ate during my pregnancy (I swear they opened a branch of Corner House just for me!), you would think that the least I can expect is a nice, round baby. And with all this build up I have given you, I think you might have guessed what happened next. My son was puny. He weighed just 3 kilos (which I later found out was quite decent by Indian standards). Needless to say, I was crest fallen. Went into desperate measures to fatten the poor guy up.

People did not help. Let me put out a pearl of wisdom into the universe from my blog here...I, or anybody else in the world, do NOT like being told that their baby is ugly. And another thing...all babies are ugly. They are just the most beautiful things alive for their parents!! And that's ALL I heard from all the people(invited and otherwise) who came to see the baby. Oh, how come he's so dark? Why is he so thin? Is he feeding alright? What, the doctor has told you not to give him water? What sort of an idiot doctor is he? Both of you are so fat, how come your child is so thin? Try giving him ragi. Try giving him cerelac. Try giving him that and this and every bit of crap under the sun.

And you know what, fool that I was, I listened to ALL of them. Started ragi when he was just a month old. Started cerelac when he was two. Did EVERY bit of experimentation on him possible. And grew more and more despondent by the day. Why was'nt he growing fat? Look at all the other babies..they look so big and chubby. And look at how scrawny he is. It never occurred to me that my poor baby obligingly put up with all the stuff I tried on him and never fell sick once in protest. Oh no sirree, I had given up my job for this baby. The least I could do was have a socially acceptable 'beautiful, chubby' baby. I obsessed about his weight. I read every book from 'What to expect..' to 'Dr.Spocks'. I was convinced that my baby had a condition called 'Failure to thrive' and made his doctor suggest a bunch of tests( I think he just did to get me off his back). And we put him through a blood test and chest xray and a whole bunch of monstrosity. And he was fine. BUT HE STILL WOULD"NT GET FAT!!

My son is close to 3 years now. He is still small for his age. It took me a long time to realise that he is thin but its ok. He is fine in every other way. I still get pangs of regret when I look at other chubby babies. But I know I am lucky in so many other ways. My point is this....I almost missed enjoying my son's baby months because I was too busy listening to what other people were telling me. No matter what people tell you, don't let them spoil those magical days, gone in the blink of an eye, for you. Your child is the most special, precious, perfect gift God can ever give you. No matter how fat or thin or fair or dark or slow or whatever else people think he is. Enjoy him..and enjoy your life with him.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Me and my world

Now for a little bit about me and my world. I live and work as a software engineer in Bangalore along with my husband and my 2 and a half year old son. And before anyone asks, no we do not have any immediate family living in Bangalore. Its like women all across Bangalore are linked by an invisible thread running through them. I get and ask the same questions everywhere I go, by and to everyone I meet.

Q: So, are you working?

Q:You have somebody living with you?
A: No

Q:Oh! Who takes care of the child?
A:I leave him in a daycare/with relatives/with a maid.

And then they launch into a lengthy dialogue about all the good/bad/ugly experiences they have had with that particluar brand of child care. I think all this stems from a genuine desire to reaffirm to yourself that you are doing the right thing for your child. That your child is not going to turn into some dark character or deprived for love because you chose to work. That, given the circumstances, you really have chosen the best way that there is. As for me, I always ask other women these questions because I am hoping that someone has a better solution than I do. Or because I am always hoping that someone will tell me that its ok. I really am doing everything I can and my son will turn out just fine. I am still waiting.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Look...I am blogging!!!


The first time I heard of the concept of blogging was in the year 2001. I think it was all the rage and this friend of mine sent me his blog with his name on it and I remember being very impressed. After a few lame attempts at writing, and uploading a few of his favorite songs my friend gave up. I did not follow on the blogging phenomena after that till fairly recently. For the past few months now, I have been reading some VERY well written blogs. And I felt the urge to blog again. Whenever I thought of it before, I always would think ..What would I write about? I mean, my life is so regular. Just like thousands of other people living in the city. But then I realised that that in itself is a reason for me to attempt to reach out to a lot of people like me.

So here it starts. I think for most people like me, trying to balance the needs of a career, home and a child, there must be enough adventures to write least once in a while.:) Hope you enjoy reading.