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Monday, February 24, 2014

The year that was

As I mentioned in my last post, last summer was truly filled with many firsts. Losing a job, even as part of a massive layoff, hits one hard. It feels personal – as though it was somehow your fault, even as one part of your brain tells you that it wasn’t. I had a hard time reconciling between my head and heart about how things had played out at work. On one end, I had 7 glorious years where I met a lot of my now close friends, climbed the corporate ladder and learnt a whole lot of new things. On the other end, was me having to look for something new on not exactly  my own terms. 

I do admit it was fun to be at home and spend time with my family during the summer - I could do many things that so far had been neglected – from my reading, to exercising, to meeting friends, to spending quality time with the little ones. But personally for me, in my own head, being  able to support myself in my own way was very, VERY important. It didn’t matter what anyone else had or brought in – this was my way of independence, my way of saying thanks to my parents who let me learn what I wanted to learn, my way of saying ‘I support you’ to my husband (even though he earns more than I do), my way of telling my boys that girls are their equal, no matter what “manly” superheroes you adore today.

But looking for a job is no easy task. First there is the resume I hadn’t updated in a while. Then there is the dreaded question 'What are you doing these days?'; to spending the hours on end on the computer combing through different job sites. The worst was when you would get cold calls from recruiters. You did your best to present yourself only to realize that they were just hunting for names – possibly to fill their quotas of how many job seekers did they add to their database. Frustrating? Terribly so. There were days when I would get call backs and interviews scheduled which would lift my spirits to days to when I heard nothing that would just as easily bring me down.

But like the saying goes, once you are down, the only way to go is up or like in my case build a tunnel to get back up. I started my tunnel by finding things I could do. I applied for workers compensation, I took to a career counselor (that was part of my exit package) who helped a lot with my resume and interview questions. I kept myself busy at Kochu’s school from field trips to reading in class to becoming our school’s PTA media coordinator. I kept in touch with my friends who had lost their jobs as part of the restructure and we built a rapport. It was not easy but along the way of tunnel digging I realized that just because you lose your job you do not lose your identity. Self worth, confidence comes from many other factors - from your family, from friends, from your thoughts, and finally our OWN deeds. I concentrated on my health, on my kids and on God's work. There had to be a reason for this change and even though I had no idea what it was I had to believe that there was something on the other side that was awaiting for me.

It probably started to show in my later interviews as well (I think) as towards the end of 2013 I started feeling a whole lot better. I finally got a job offer and just like that the ball was back in my court. Granted it is a contract role that will run its course in a few months but I the tunnel I have dug for myself has landed my on a new shore with new horizons to follow and explore. I will be back looking for a more permanent role soon but for now I am going to take a breather and enjoy my view. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

The summer that was ....

Summer is over!!

But this summer has been the most productive and most happening in our household. For this kids and for me personally as well ...Let's see

Summer activities
Road trip - Check
Camping - Check
Beaches, sun, playgrounds - Check

First tooth fell - Check
Learning to ride the bike - Check
Losing a job - Check

Learning new things
Table tennis - Check
Riding the bike without training wheels - Check

Some were fun events like the road trip and teaching Kochunni to ride the bike, some disappointing like losing my job. We never see the full picture of our life story so taken out of context each of these events  seem to stand out and paint a bizarre picture. Some events have added more color around them as time as gone by like when Kochunni wants to ride the bike every evening, or exited about losing his next tooth and getting more money from the tooth fairy; while others are still unclear. My job hunt is going on, market is good but I don't sell myself well at interviews. Our first camping trip we survived but we have more ways to go before we can be true campers. And so onwards I look to the approaching winter ... hoping for more clarity as the wind chills around us.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Birthdays and Big Boys

Time waits for no man ... 

You only have to look at two energetic boys to know the truth in that.

As Kochunni turned 7 a few weeks back we noticed changes in our once little baby that previously escaped our attention. Two of his teeth have started to move and he is super exited about the 'Tooth Fairy' visit. He is taller and asking questions and answering questions that show his complex thought process. He was probably already taller and already asking questions but it was his birthday event that made us realize that our life with him began just 7 years ago and in this short span of time (when compared to our 30+ years in this world) he has become so intertwined that we hardly notice the little changes. Gone are the days when his "Firsts" made big news at home or on this blog, but all the same, they seem to occur ever so often.

Kunju on the other hand, is called the baby and probably will remain the baby of the house and yet he insits every time that he is now a big boy. We laugh at it, but in our hearts we know it is true. He is definitely taller than what Kochu was at his age; talking more than what Kochu did and yet has a little babyish charm that makes us forget that years are passing by.

A William Henry Davies poem that I had learned such a long time ago somehow seems to haunts me today -

...A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Road Trip!!!

I have always wanted to do a road trip, ekdum US style - RV, camping, small towns and big roads. Usual trips just take us to from point A to B and after spending a few days checking out place B we return, not ever stepping away from the main highways. This summer we decided it was finally time to test the waters.

We headed in our van (Yes I know, next time the big RV) on a 10 day road trip - which ended up being a 11 day trip (change plans on the road, check). Out paths took us along the Calfifornia coastline up to Oregon.

We started early in the morning and headed to Florence Oregon. The beautiful landscape of trees and blue skies along the highway made way to coastline and sanddunes by evening.  As we settled into our small town B&B, the typical Oregon weather assaulted us with rains and dark skies. Our hopes of a grand road trip looked bleaker as we thought about Kochunni's asthma and other troubles. We decided to grab a bite and head to safe corners of our room and see how things turn out the next day.

On our buggy ride over the sand dunes
Mornings always seems more hopeful and joyous than the dark nights and with the rains slowing down a bit we decided we need to first get some reinforcements. We hit the local store and bought raincoats for everyone and drove up to the sanddunes to ride the RTVs. As Goddess Luck turned to shine on us, we basked in its glory as they let us go on the smaller buggies than the bigger ones that we were supposed to go on. Smaller buggy meant double the fun as the driver took nose dives and turned around pushing sand everywhere. We experienced the awesome windswept dunes and rode along the beach while the boys screamed to their little hearts delight. The rains kept away through the morning and late afternoon for us to linger and enjoy the small town.

The next day we headed to Sea Lion caves that is a wonder and a delight in itself. As we took the elevator down to the caves the temperature dropped and we stepped into a cavern filled with sounds of the sea lions, ocean waves and sea birds hooting. On our way back we stopped by our first lighthouse of our trip at the Heceta Head Lighthouse. The little overlook reminded the boys of pirate ships and wondrous journeys that old seafarers took back in the day.

From Florence, we headed to town of cheese - Tillamook.
Kids on the airplane at the air museum
Post a tour of the cheese factory and bountiful helpings of ice cream we headed to call it a night. Of course, not before a swim for the boys at the hotel pool. As we let go of our need for appointments and seeing everything in the alotted vacation days we adjusted well to late nights and sleep-ins - this  another check for our road adventure.

The next day we treated the boys to little bit of time travel as we took them to the days of world war 2. We took them to Tillamook Air Museum which is actually a former hanger built for blimps. Today it holds around 30 airplanes that the boys checked out in great detail. Their fascination piqued we had to entertain them with toy air crafts from the gift shops as we exited. We then traveled to our second light house.

After the couple of small towns we headed to the bustle of Portland. There we visited the Multnomah Falls, a 611 foot drop of icy waterfall display. The boys and I took to only the first tier of the water fall display, while hubby decided to trail all the way to the top of the waterfall- to see the vantage point over the second tier's whopping 69-foot drop. Kochu, Kunju and I headed back to the nearby restaurant to have our lunch. It was possibly our first time at a real sit down "nice" restaurant with just me and the boys and for a change they behaved. There was no cringe worthy display of tantrums or talk backs and we enjoyed our meals while we waited for a call from husband about his trek.
Suspension Bridge
Post ice creams and some more time at the falls we headed back. The next day we headed to the to Washington to see Mt. Helens - an active stratovolcano. Unfortunately, we lost our way and ended up in south side that though gave us the view of the mountain did not get us near the Lava Dome of the mountain. But what is a road trip without its share of adventure. Plus this gave us a rare and unexpected opportunity to hike up the Canyon trail that led us the springy suspension bridge over the Muddy river.

The thrill of hike was not only the views and the bridge but also getting Kochu to be my little helper - holding Amma's hand to help her cross and climb down steep and slippery rocks. He was (as expected) extremely proud of his little achievement. The next day we headed to the Enchanted Forest theme park and the Wildlife Safari as we headed back to California. In the evening we headed to a river cruise that one big thrill ride. Along the Hood river the ride was both exhilarating and breathtaking. This was a great way to finish off our Oregon trip or so we thought.
Kunju looking out from our van at the animals

Our friends suggested we head back via Crater Lake and I am glad we took their suggestion as this breathtaking beauty is not to be missed. The deep blue clear waters and surrounding mountains are so serene and unadulterated that it reminds us of what the earth might have been  thousands of years ago.
Crater lake

The extra day was indeed well spent and we headed home happy.

The road trip was adventures and a great way to start the summer. It was probably not the ultimate  road trip but as our first family road trip it will go down as a memorable one.

Until the next one, Bon Voyage!!!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Different but same same

I had always known that the boys will have their own personalities, same likes and lots of in-between. But it is interesting to see how similarly different they are at times and how differently similar they are at times.

On the one end is the sameness, both want to be first to get into the car, to get off from the car, to run to the bath or whatever else it might be. They love to dance and sing to bollywood dance numbers from Chamak Challo to Bol Bachchan.  Boys will be boys and their fascination with 'poop' and singing nonsense is uncannily similar that it is often hard to disearn who started it this time.

In the middle of the spectrum is the imitation/flattery angle. Here is the little one trying to imitate his big brother on the bike. At 2 he already mastered the little bike. Kunju wants to do, and learn anything the older one does. At the playground, he has no fear of the big slides or monkey bars and if we try to slow him down, he looks at us like we must be out of our minds to even suggest it!

Where Kochunni was all into cars from the time he was 6-7 month old and collected so many cars, Kunju was never very fond of them. Of course since he grew up around the said cars that he probably was not in awe of any of them.It's the same with everything be it food or toys. Older one wants chappati, little one wants rice, though both like to munch off Amma's plate whatever that might be!

I am sure as they grow they are going to be poles apart and yet I hope that the bonds they share today will help them stay close and in contact forever.

Friday, February 08, 2013


Kunju started to go to Kochunni's old daycare this past week. In preparation, the weekend before I was asking him his name in English to ensure he will not have any trouble at school. Without battling an eye, he responds "Kunju and Baby". Yes of course, he is the baby of the household and we often refer to him as that and apparently he has taken it to heart!

A few months ago Kochu was inspired to write some poems, it started out as wanting to rhyme and then realizing that he was able to write a few lines he was not only impressed but also super exited to send the poems off to his aunt who is pretty good at these kind of stuff. Yesterday evening he came up with another one that I thought was rather cute --
Trick or treat, trick or treat
Give me something sweet to eat
Cookies, chocolates, jelly beans
Happy, happy Halloween
Trick or treat, trick or treat
I can sing and dance to beat
That’s the trick to make you smile
Happy, happy Halloween

I have no idea why Halloween was the chosen theme of the day, but as long as he is trying something new, I guess it doesn't matter.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Another beginning

It's been ages since I have lifted my pen, or rather sat down and opened blogger to pen down my musings. Of course there is always something or the other and yet I seemed to have lost my motivation to write. Things happened - big and small - everyday things and milestones - and yet I wasn't moved. My mother, even she tried, but somehow their wasn't enough time in the world.

As the new year starts I decided I need to at least make the effort of doing a year end post to note things I still remember from last year. Kochu closed out kindergarten in style and enjoyed every minute of school. He made many new friends and by the end of the school year grown to love his teachers, his school and his new friends.  Now in First grade he seems to be building his social skills some more. He tried his hand at basketball and continue to flourish in swim lessons.

Kunju had his second birthday and he seems to have skipped being a baby altogether. Learning about superheroes and ninjas, he bypassed the whole PBS days of curious George, Thomas the train and other things. Picking up from his older brother saying No to everything is often times the first answer to everything. The terrible twos phase is passing us by - hopefully the new year will curb it some.

During summer we made another Europe trip - this time to Paris, Belgium, Amsterdam and a ride through German countryside. Traveling with two boys had it's own share of adventure and craziness. Paris was just like the movies - all the flair and not much substance. Belgium was a surprise - absolutely great food (fries - actually invented here and not France, waffles, and chocolates - YUM). The car ride through Germany was a great experience in terms of traveling through small towns and enjoying the true countryside. The people were friendly and the places around the Rhine river was just breathtaking. Like someone once said, it was beautiful to take the road less traveled - to wander, to slow down and enjoy the moments.

This past month we went down to Lake Tahoe and Kochu for the first time tried his hand (or should I say leg) at skiing. He took to it like fish to water. Enjoying going downhill and playing with his cousins and friends we made most out of the snow. Halloween, Diwali, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year celebrations had it's own style and fun. The boys dressed up as Captain America and Iron Man for Halloween while for Diwali they blew phuljharies and lit diyas outside the house. We did many day trips around the bay area and enjoyed all the holidays.

As the new year starts, new things are beginning to shape up; just as old things keep us strong. Kochu starts back on swimming and basketball lessons. He is learning chess and wants to enroll into piano as well. I have take a new job and Kunju should soon start at daycare. No idea how my writing will shape up ... but we'll give it a shot.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Way of the Life

A friend commented on Facebook a while ago -

"8 year old kids today have Facebook, Twitter, phones, iPod. When I was there age, I had a coloring book, crayons, chalk, and imagination." A lot of responses lamented the fact that today's kids have the latest tech gadgets and have no three dimensional friends.

My take on this is entirely different.

As a parent, I think 8 years is too young to be on Facebook or Twitter; but many 8 year olds have a Wii or X-box and play many online games. By the time they are in their early teens, they are sure to have a Facebook account. I can't even imagine how these kids will be when they are adults in their 30s and 40s. Would they have hit a "thousands of friend" mark or invented new things by then?

But going back to the statement, it doesn't seem fair when you take step back and look at the bigger picture ... did our parents have TV when they were kids or did their parents have radio when our parents were kids... no! Every generation has invented something new and shiny that changed our way of life up until then ... children fought with parents to get those coveted items, and parents set out to set time limits and curfews around them.

One big change though is that with the Internet things like Facebook, iPhones, Twitter all happened in a relatively short period of time, which took many by surprise - completely foreign a while ago when inventions seem to take a much longer time period to occur. Information is fast paced were before one had to wait for the 9 o'clock news to know what even happened within one's own country or state.

Going back to the statement, maybe we are moving into a world of no more crayons and brushes for art, but on the other hand the kids today are connected to their school friends forever, instead of searching Facebook to find them and re-connect after years. They can be connected to their teachers and families from all parts of the world, where their past is essayed into pictures and videos that can live on forever. We cannot be sure what all this means but hopefully when we are grandparents, we can continue to look fondly at the memories and the next generation will still have a true view into the past. In my mind, everything has its good and bad. As parents we need to set limits just as my parents set what they thought was best for me. To lament about the new shiny toy is just setting ourselves to a losing battle.

Your thoughts?

*Image courtesy Google

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Saying the wrong things

At Kochunni’s pre-school the teachers started a reading challenge some months ago. Every time the kids read a book they got a little magnet to take home and put on the poster. The idea is to encourage kids and give them the magnet as motivation to get through the 15 or so books. As you can imagine these are just simple books about a few pages long that help kids start to blend, rhyme and read.

A while back, Kochunni finished all the 15 books and gladly posted all the magnets on the fridge (he insisted that he wanted to get all of them before he put up anything) and that’s when we noticed that he had received two same magnets and was missing one. I told him that we take one of the similar ones to school tomorrow and exchange it for the one he was missing.

The next day when I went to pick him up I took the additional magnet and took it to the teacher. Now I might add, the teachers are usually still with other kids and the policy of the school is that if you want to chat with teachers you set up an appointment. So usually we just smile and say our goodbyes unless something has occurred like a child fell and bruised himself/herself or did not take nap or something.

So I went up to the teacher and mentioned the issue with the magnets and she started to check her cupboard to see if she had the missing magnet to give it to me. Kochunni was eagerly waiting alongside to get the same. Unfortunately she did not seem to have the one that we were missing so she asked that we check back later. Kochunni said ok and started to walk towards the door; and I was about to do the same, when the teacher said –I have to say something, today he said to a girl “I will ask my mom to kill your mom” and girl started to cry. We talked to him about it, but wondering were he got these ideas. Does he watch much television?

To say I was shocked would be like saying it rained today. I was blown over!

I told her, “no not really we only let him watch some TV over weekends which is still the kids stuff on PBS. She continued, “Its ok, he is just becoming mischievous these days, if you could also talk to him about it.” I said I sure will and looked up at Kochunni who was standing a few feet away near the door.

As I stepped out of the class, I asked him, what exactly did you do today to hear his side of the story. He immediately pouted and said he said what his teacher said he did. I asked him why that was the case and isn’t it a bad thing to say? We continued the discussion on the car ride back home. All the while he would cry at times or pout or at times try to defend himself by saying how she (the girl) would not play with him. I would try to counter each his arguments from pointing out his mistakes and telling him how “not playing” at a certain time did not warrant such a remark from him.

In my head, I had thousands of questions and not many answers.

As I was reaching home I decided that he needed to at least acknowledge his mistake clearly so I told him that he will need to write an “I am sorry” note and take it back to his teacher the next day. When he was afraid he couldn’t do it all by himself, I told him I would help him with the spelling and that it important for forgiveness to happen. I told him that I still loved him but that I am a little sad by what he did and expect him to do better next time.

As we turned to our lane, he cried once again that now even his Ammamma will be angry with him so I promised that I will not bring this up with his grandma, as long as he promises to never do or say something like this ever again. He nodded his head solemnly at me. Upon reaching home he rushed to have his snack and when I asked him about the note he was ready to write without a whine. He asked me again on how to give the letter and if that he could paint on the other side of the letter. I told him that I would bring it to school and it’s ok if there is no picture as this is note and not a birthday card. The next day I shared the note with his teacher. She mentioned that it was totally not necessary and smiled at me. She confirmed that there were no episodes that day.

The incident is over and a few weeks have passed. But I still question myself not only on my actions but also if this would be the last of its nature. Kochunni definitely has a temper but he is a good kid too. He possibly could have meant to say something completely different and went on to say the wrong thing or could be testing the boundaries, but I guess only time will tell if these digressions will occur again. All I can hope for is to continuing to teaching him good from bad and have the sense of mind to say/do the right thing at the appropriate time. Its at times like these that I realize the being a parent is a very hard responsibility, there are no magic answers and only time will tell if I handled the situation appropriately or not.

Friday, May 13, 2011

And off he goes ....


Kunju has been trying to walk for a couple of weeks now but yesterday he seemed to be more sure of himself and took many steps together. He still prefers to go on all fours when he wants to reach something quickly but he is definitely more sure of himself as he take steps towards us.

With his Ammamma and Muthu around he seems to be learning new tricks everyday from giving us High-fives, to knowing where the trash goes to switch on the lights and open garage doors for us in the morning. His antics seems never-ending. Every day he wants to listen to "Paatu" (songs) on the large TV (TV is connected to player that streams Pandora music) - so much that he knows the order in which we turn the gadgets on. He will give us the TV remote first and then the DVD remote. His vocabulary is still limited to "Amma", "Acta" (dad), "Ettan" (brother) and Paattu. But he converses with us greatly by pointing to things and tweaking his tone of voice - questioningly at time to more urgently when he wants things to be done his way.

Kunju is becoming more assertive (read screaming mad) at times when Kochu grabs the toys from his tiny fingers. If that doesn't help he looks at one of the adults and cries out hoping that one of us might admonish Kochu. We are trying to instill upon both brothers that they need to share the toys and yet at the same time take turns when they play with one, though its a lot more tougher when you a baby who doesn't understand the concept. Of course, he loves his big brother. Any time he gets he is hugging, kissing (read drooling over him), laughing out loud with his brother. If left alone, he loves to pull things out - our hairs, the kitchen drawers, the books from the bookshelf, anything he can lay his hands on. Nothing according to this 13 month old should be in its place but rather on the ground or more ideally in his mouth.

He eyes our food like a hawk and any chance he gets loves to try them out and goes at it with relish that one would think he was starving up until that very moment. But the cutest thing he does these days is when we asks him where is Kunju is, he uses his little index finger to point at himself and smiling brightly at us.

Here's to you my baby, keep smiling, keep laughing.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Big One

Happy Birthday, my baby.
Happy Birthday!! Happy Birthday, Kunju.

Today was a double whammy celebration at our house, with Vishu falling again on the 15th of April and our little baby turning one, and yes we had a blast.

We set up the Vishukani the previous night and also talked about it to Kochu so that when we would wake him up early morning he will not be upset. As expected, the appealing factor to him was about hearing about "vishukaineetum".

Early morning, Amma set up the diyas and woke the rest of us. After we saw the beautiful kani, I woke up Kochu and holding my hands over his eyes brought him over to see the beautiful sight. An hour later Kunju woke up and we brought him to see the beautiful array of things. He seemed to be intrigued with all the items and kept pointing out to things. He received Vishukaineetum from him Ammamma in form of a gold chain and I continued the tradition of silver coins for the boys. With all the family around, Kochu also made $30 that he been asking to buy chocolate with. (I have kept the money away telling him that we will buy soccer cleats instead, lets hope he will agree at the time of actual shopping).

Post breakfast and bath, everyone got to wear the new clothes and the ladies started to prepare the sadya. We made the usual suspects with avial, moru curry, payasam, papadam, ingi thaiyer. Since it was Kunju's birthday we also ordered a small cake at the local shop. By evening both the boys were on sugar high and Kunju seemed to be in seventh heaven having tasted most of the treats for the first time. He also received a little musical toy to which he kept dancing. In the evening we made a trip to the temple and had a good meal together as a family once more. By the end, everyone was tired and ready to hit the bed by 10.

Looking back at the day, the day was indeed is a great day. Somehow having family around and just knowing its a special day puts a smile on everyone. The big party with friends is not until next week and my party planning will be in full swing next week.

As the celebrations continue, here's to you my little one. Hope, Wish and Pray for many more wonderful days.

Monday, April 11, 2011

In Memory

Dressed in a white, full-sleeve shirt and a mundu I remember my Chachan (maternal grandfather) as a very God fearing, humble, down-to-earth person. For as long as I can remember his mornings were spent in reciting Gita and other prayers, the only break he took was for a half an hour for breakfast and then he would go back to his prayers until afternoon. After his prayers he would offer everyone in the house some Chandanam or flowers. In those days, I found the whole meditation process needless to say boring … I would much rather sleep in, waking up around 10-11 AM and having a late breakfast that my dear ammamma (grandma) would have made. Sometimes when he would be done with his prayers and bring the chandanam, I would still be in my pajamas and he would give me a knowing, mischievous smile (a smile that I see reflected in Kochunni).

Most summer vacations, I spent my time in Bangalore and it was during late evenings that my grandfather had the time to spend with me. He would tell me stories of Krishna’s exploits or books that he had read like The Three Musketeers or we would point out the stars and the planets on a starry night. He had a wealth of knowledge that he was ready to share, never treating me like a baby but would rather discuss matters.

One summer afternoon I remember our trip to watch the movie Durga. After the movie was over and everyone was discussing its merits, my grandfather mentioned he was disappointed with it and when pressed further he said, "I assumed the movie was about Goddess Durga, and not the standard run-of-the-mill affairs". We must have told the above story umpteenth times to family and friends and had a hearty laugh, but today when that man passed away I regret not realizing his innocence and his unshakable faith of God. I never recall him preaching his faith or his way of life to anyone - not to me or to any of his 5 kids but he seemed to have a firm belief in Lord Guruvayoorappan; so much so that even at age 90 he was ready to make a trip to Kerala for His darshan. He was always ready, willing and able to take on any challenge that life would throw at him.

When I was back in Bombay, he would tell me to write him letters describing in detail my school trips and other mundane activities. He would always respond with warmth and insight in the next correspondence. In a way, he instilled in me a love for writing.

A few years ago, he had been very sick and was at the hospital. I myself being here only had conversations with my mom about his health and battle to survive. At that time the memory of my gradma passing was still quite fresh - I had seen her last at my own wedding and was never able to a say a proper goodbye. I could only pray and hope that he survived, and for some unknown reason I was drawn to a picture of myself, my Ammamma (grandma) and chachan(grandfather) from my younger days. I looked straight at Ammamma and asked her to be patient and somehow make my dear chachan live on, and that I was not ready to let go just yet. And he did live on to see me and later my son and even learn about my second pregnancy.

This lovely, wonderful person passed away last April. I firmly believe that he joined my ammamma (grandma) in Heaven and they are now looking down on us happy and content that they are finally together -- forever. I do regret that he did not get a chance to meet Kunju, but one of the unexplainable little things, Kunju was born exactly 13 days after his passing.

This year as Kunju’s birthday approaches I remember those wonderful evenings of stories, those mornings waking up to a loud, distinct voice reciting the Sanskrit hymns, the wonderful man I knew as my Chachan. Love you, forever!!!!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

The Gentleman's Game

I am a definite lover of sports, and cricket like many Indians is one of my favorites - to watch, to cheer and to cry. Though I haven't followed it closely for many years now especially after moving to US, I still get connected when there is a big event like the World Cup. That is to say to some extent.

When they make Sachin Tendular into a modern day God and idolize him I find the whole matter dis-respectful to my faith and ridiculous to say the least. I understand that he is a good, ok maybe a great player, but thats it. He does what anyone else does on a daily basis. Be good at our chosen profession. Dumb luck that some of our professions is not so colorful as one might have hoped for and we don't get the same mass following that he does. But everything else is the same. Of course he can be an inspiration to the team, but what else would you expect of a seasoned player, or a VP of a company? Good folks in turn lead the rest and continue to do so in all walks of life.

Now the game, I love it. I can watch a good match and sit at the edge of the seat cheering our team. But I don't get completely sucked into it either and I don't want to. To those who have superstitions on what color of shirt to wear to a match to which God to ask favor on, I say it doesn't matter at the end of the day. Only the best team (yes TEAM) wins. Take our final match for example, at the beginning it looked like Sri Lanka would be all out for something like 150 but they came back and gave us a score that would give any team some fear. Then when we started our wickets fell like ripe apples. Even now I recall the face of a lady on the stands as they announced that Sachin was out - her mouth wide open, the shock and almost fear of us losing was well written in her eyes. But then Ghambir stayed on and turned the pace somewhat into our favor. Yet up until the last few balls, it was a tight race on who will become champions.

But post the win, we are back at being ridiculous and seemed to have crossed the lines of jubilation! One can offer an incentive to win, to do well on a job but only so much. If the BCCI has already offered 10M per player, you don't need states offering up their states player additional money or offer land for each of the players. This is all excluding their pockets over-flowing from endorsements they do. To be fair, since companies are answerable to their shareholders so at least they are likely to ensure the player continue to endorse the products. But states spending so much money without a care in the world for its people seems outright unfair.

I still will stand-by the good game of cricket, but will not stand by for this. But for the time being I am proud of these boys, they delivered. What a victory!!! I don't remember the last World Cup win, but this one will be etched in memory. Hats off to you Team India. Good work!

* pics courtesy Google pics

Monday, April 04, 2011

Off we went

Just got back from a 3 week trip to India – specifically Bangalore and what a time it was. To start off I was traveling for the first time with two kids. I knew going in it would be one hell of a 24 hours but all I could think of was seeing family and friends after a gap of almost two years that I was without worry. As it turned out the forward journey went off without too many hassles. I got a bassinet seat row, so there was enough space for the little one to move about; and with many Disney movies on the flight Kochu was entertained and his day was made with watching 3-4 movies in a span of 18 hours.

Once in Bangalore, Kochu had the best time by going to every shop with his Muthu on the scooter. Every time Muthu stepped out to run to the local shop he would want to join him and insist on taking the scooter even if the shop was within walking distance. Another highlight of the trip was watching TV – cartoons like Chota Bheem, Krishna and Balram ran non-stop continuously. He enjoyed their adventures so much that he now considers himself Balram, and the baby Krishna. He was in seventh heaven when I found a small plastic "gadha" that he now brandishes around.

Unfortunately all wasn’t peachy with jet lag the first week and then Kunju’s fever during the middle of the vacation. He really scared us by getting a 103 degree fever. The bigger issue was trying to find a doctor at short notice. We had to call our neighbors and cousins who had young kids to see who their paediatrician was, find out if the doctor practiced close to where we live so that we could get their quickly (Bangalore traffic is horrendous). After some frantic couple of hours we found a doctor and met with him. It turns out he had a virus infection and with 2 days of medication he was much better; though he seemed to have lost his appetite all-together. This was a real damper as by the end of the trip the little one lost at least a couple of pounds and looked pretty weak though he was still active and vibrant self.

For a change this vacation was unlike my previous trips to India in respect of traveling back and forth within India. We stayed at my mom’s house and to me it was truly a vacation with complete rest and a few shopping days thrown in for retail therapy. My best friend from college came down from Mumbai and we had a great 2 days of bonding and laughter. Even Kochu warmed up to her so quickly that it seemed he had known her all along and I was the outsider! After a long time or sorts, we even did a small Bangalore tour for my friends benefit and it was nice to see Lalbaug and other prominent places as an adult. The traffic and the congestion of Bangalore was quite apparent and like my friend I missed the convenience of Mumbai trains.

The highlight of the trip was just being away from the daily grind and spending a much needed time with the company of the two boys. It seems every time I stop and look at them, I realize how much they have grown and continue to.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Kunju's affairs

Kunju has been keeping a pretty low profile on the blog, though that is not the case at home. He is a very vibrant kid, though being in awe of his big brother he seems much more laid back.

It's now 9+ months since he joined us and as Kochu's euphoria has died down he can't seem to wait for Kunju to join the fun. He still wants to help though he wants to keep touching the baby much more. But Kunju's personality sometimes shines through as he starts to yell when his big brother keeps tugging his arm. Of course, the moment I separate the two and big brother walks away in a huff, the little cheek follows him leaving me wide eyed!!! The bond of brothers and all that ... I guess. But I am getting ahead of myself. Since last year turned out to be very less time on bogging and the poor fella did not seem to get a fair share, I decided to pen all my memories of the last 4 months down.

After his Choroonu Kunju started on rice cereal and post 6-month checkup gone on to some carrots, avocados, peas and bananas. He eats them with relish though seems to show what he doesn't like just as easily. His motor skills are much advanced especially when we compare him to his brother as he already starting to stand up and even taking a few steps along the sofa. Its probably the fact that there is an older child in the house that makes him want to explore faster.

He loves to babble and a few words shine through like the constant "Amma" or "yee-tha" for ettan (older brother). Sometimes when we spend hours talking about his nose or book, he seems to repeat it back to us. He loves listening to my bad singing with an all knowing smile that makes me want to cuddle him some more. If we play one of the jazzy Bollywood song he starts to shake his butt to the tune and sometimes come running to me expecting me to hold him and dance. A true music lover!

He pretends to know more about the TV remote than we do and expects every time he picks it up; the TV will turn on automatically turning his head constantly towards it. Of course with an older brother at home it is much harder for us to keep the TV out of his life, though we have managed it to some extent.

Sometimes on weekends, he seems to forget that everyone is home and every time he sees a new person he acts surprised and runs to them like he missed them for ever. It works like a charm on the people, enough for us to pick him up and now carry him around everywhere.

The two boys are truly an entertaining pair and in some ways I can't wait to see them grow up together - playing, fighting, loving each other and at the same time I want it to go real slow - for me to cherish the baby-ness of my little one.

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