Monday, January 28, 2008

Home again, home again, jiggety jig!

Guess what? We're currently on an impulsive trip to India, tagging along on one of Moppet's Papa's business trips. He's had to go back, of course (oh the things he has to do to put food into our bellies!), but Moppet and I are here for a couple of weeks.

I'm pleased to report that unlike the last time, Moppet appears to have adjusted quickly and well, and I hope to get a lot more R & R this time around. (Anti-jinx! Anti-jinx! Anti-jinx!).

There have already been adventures galore, not least of which was getting hit by an out-of-control garbage truck while on our way to visit a friend. We were lucky that with Mumbai traffic being the way it is, the truck wasn't going too fast, and our car's boot took the brunt of the impact, so we emerged shaken, but unscathed. The car was in bad shape though, so Moppet and I continued our journey in a taxi, while the driver (and the inevitable Mumbai crowd of bystanders) dealt with the police and the truck driver.

I must admit to feeling rather relieved that we got off as lightly as we did - 'Death by Garbage' wouldn't have looked very nice on my epitaph, would it? :-)

I know there's a cold wave on - Mumbaikars are feeling temperature lows that they haven't felt in a decade, and the nights and mornings certainly are a bit nippy - but I do think it rather funny the way everyone's walking about in monkey caps and mittens in lovely, sunny 22-23 degree day weather. At my friend's place, her poor kids were bundled up in socks and sweaters and here was Moppet in a sleeveless vest and skirt. (Before you accuse me of neglecting my only child, as my friend most rudely did, let me tell you that Moppet refuses to wear all manner of warm clothes, and anyway, it was 24 degrees and sunny that day.)

Ahmedabad is certainly colder - I've been feeling the need for a shawl or a light sweater indoors, and I definitely need slippers around the house. Moppet however, still refuses socks and sweaters, and the only thing I've been able to trick her into wearing is an inner vest under her shirt. It's a good thing I brought her beloved pink slippers along to wear around the house - it's her only concession to the cold.

Actually, it's colder indoors than out, so we're spending a fair amount of time on the lawns, basking in the mild winter sun. 'Ouside' is anyway Moppet's preferred place to be, and more so these vast lawns with birdies and squirrels and doggies and flowers, so she's really happy. Apart from all that running around, she also navigates the stairs inside our house 2 or 3 times a day, and as a result she tires herself out and falls asleep fairly easily.

So far, so good! Posting will be sporadic (not that it wasn't before!) until we're back.

Be good, y'all!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bloggy love

Less than a year ago, a few weeks into a lonely life in a new city, and adjusting to an unaccustomed stay-at-home lifestyle with only my 11 month-old for company, I wrote this. At the time, I had read exactly one personal blog, and I didn't have a clue where I was going with the one I had started.

Within a month, I found myself drawn into this warm, wonderful, community of bloggers, and I wasn't so bored any more. Over the months I have come to feel a kinship with some of these folks despite never having met or even spoken to any of them. So this Blog Buddies award from Kiran is particularly special, and I display the badge with pride.

Passing on the bloggy love to some of my blog buddies:

Dotmom, Poppins, Kodi's Mom, Just Like That, and Noon

Spread the love, our world can always do with more!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

But I'm an angel

One would think that Fuzzy's wicked tag would be easy for me. After all, she is so fabulously wicked, and I do consider her my twin.

But here's the thing. She's the sexy evil twin with the pitchfork and pointy red horns. Me, I'm the one wearing that shapeless white dress and sanctimonious expression.

As a result, my career in wickedness has not exactly been stellar. I have had a few moments though:

As a 2 year-old, I was a jam freak. Shopping with my mom at a small co-operative store and noticing that she hadn't bought any 'daam', I toddled off to get some myself. Undaunted by the discovery that the rows of glass jam bottles were neatly arranged out of reach, at the top of the shelf, I proceeded to climb the shelf to get one. The shelves not being built for climbing, came crashing to the floor, glass bottles and all. And what did I get for trying to be helpful? 3 stitches and a scar on my forehead that I carry to this day.

In high school, no one ever suspected model-student-me of being the co-author of a popular parody of a Bollywood hit. Each high school teacher had a verse dedicated to her - they provided such rich material for this that it was ridiculously easy to compose the 7 stanza song. It was sung in school for weeks, with modifications and additions made by assorted anonymous song-writers, so that by the time one of the teachers heard it, it was too hard to trace its origins back to the real culprit(s).

In college, I took the state-wide entrance test for MBA admissions - just for fun. By the time I took the test, I already knew that I was going to one of the IIMs, making the results completely irrelevant. I promptly forgot all about it.

So when one morning, my mom answered the door to a reporter from a local newspaper who informed her that her daughter was the highest ranked girl in the state, she was genuinely surprised. She hadn't even known that I'd taken the test. She called me into the living room and we proceeded to stupefy the reporter with the following conversation:

Mom: "Did you take the state MBA entrance test?"
Me: "Oh that! Yeah, a couple of months ago. Why?"
Mom: "Apparently, you're ranked 6th in the state and first among the girls."
Me: "Really? That's not bad. But how'd you know?"
Mom: "She told me."
Me: "Oh, thanks. That's good to know."

The reporter, used to being fed sweets by ecstatic parents, and receiving quotes from students about how hard work and the blessings of God and parents made it all possible, decided that she had got the wrong address.

Reporter: "Are you Ms. P____ M____?"
Me: "Yup, that's me!"
Reporter: "Aren't you happy about this achievement?"
Me: "Sure." (a shrug) "It's a good feeling."

At this point she gave up, and with a mumbled request for a photo (that I said I'd send her but never did), set off in search of more normal rank winners who would give her a better reaction and some quotable quotes. Poor thing.

And then there was the time I danced on a table in a full mess hall at dinner time, dressed as Scary Spice, along with 4 other girls pretending to be the Spice Girls. (Which reminds me, there must be photographic evidence of that somewhere. It must be found and destroyed.)

So you see, I really am an angel. Right?


Friday, January 11, 2008

What does Moppet say

- when she sees Papa sitting too close to Mama?
"MYYYYYY!" (in loud warning tone, complete with a proprietary hand on Mama's shoulder)

- when she almost falls off the sofa but manages not to at the last minute?
"Oh my gott!"

- before she leaves for her first day of school after Christmas break?
"Bye-bye Papa, be good!"

I am beginning to understand now why all parents think their children are geniuses. For me, all Moppet's milestones before this pale in comparison. Sure it was exciting to see her roll, sit, stand, walk, run, and climb, but this - the talking - it just takes my breath away.

When she marches up to me and gives my hand a little shake and says 'How ARE ya?', flashing a toothy grin and looking for all the world like a pint-sized politician canvassing for my vote.

When she runs up with her little doodle board and asks me to draw her a motoboat, sailboat, fishboat, tugboat, and fewwyboat, all from the memory of the pictures in one of her books.

When, desperate to get away from my tickling fingers, she yells "Mama foal hans!" copying a trick we use (fold your arms) when she gets too fidgety.

When she climbs into a taxi with me and instructs the driver in a firm little voice to 'Lee kwa' (liaw khwaa, meaning 'turn right' in Thai).

When she points out the sights as we drive along, "Mama look! Pink umbella. Billoo kaa. Chishmish tee. Ellow bus. Again bus. Big bus. Wheels wound and wound. Mama sing!"

Somewhere in the back of my head I am aware that it's really just a normal part of growing up. All kids do it. But watching it unfold right before my eyes, at a speed that I cannot believe is real - it's like watching one of those Nat Geo videos where you see a flower bloom right in front of you.

There's nothing quite like it. Despite 25 plus years of using the english language, I still can't find the words to describe it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Father of the bride

Moppet's Papa and I were stretched out on our matching recliners, watching Moppet potter around the living room with her toys and blocks, and singing 'Happy to you' at the top of her baby voice.

It was a lovely, lazy evening during the festive last days of December, full of warmth and cheer and contentment, so I was particularly shocked to hear Moppet's Papa muse out loud, "Hmm, there's a double barrelled gun in our family. I must remember to get the license transferred to my name."

What?! Did I hear that right?

"Whatever for?" I asked, staring at my boy-faced husband of 5 years, wondering if there was some murderous facet to his personality that I hadn't seen yet.

He rolled his eyes at me, impatient at my inability to see the obvious. "To scare away all her unsuitable boyfriends!" he said, nodding towards Moppet who was engaged in the demure and dainty act of dismantling the roof of her toy castle and smashing it with her plastic maraca.

Ah, of course! I smiled broadly, and then quickly supressed it when I realised that he was not entirely joking. "Not that it looks like she'll need much protecting though", I said, as straight-faced as I could manage. His only response was to shake his head, but the thought 'how little this woman understands' hung thickly in the air.

I do understand, actually. There can never exist any man good enough for your little girl, and that's a fact that every father knows is true. I'm sure my own dad wished he had a double barrelled gun handy when I first brought home that 'someone I think you should meet' . Nevertheless he certainly did his best to scare him off by sheer boredom - the first hour of conversation revolved entirely about the weather in 5 different cities :-) It didn't work though, as is evidenced by the fact that I eventually married that someone and produced the unholy terror otherwise known as Moppet.

I somehow doubt that the double barrelled gun would be any more effective. But for now at least, it provides some reassurance to yet another hapless father.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Predictions 2008

On the first new year's eve after Moppet's Papa and I got together, he told me we should spend the first day of the year doing what we liked best so that the rest of the year would follow the same pattern. Now, this is the sort of sentimental twaddle that both of us would ordinarily have scoffed at, but we had just started dating, and this was as good a reason as any to spend the whole day doing what young couples in love do.

That was 8 years ago; the flush of young love has long since faded, and the brain is back to being (mostly) rational again. Yet there is still something appealing about the thought of making the first day of the year a model day for the rest of it.

Every new year's day since that first one has been different. Some were spent with friends, some with family, some just the two of us. Some were begun at snazzy countdown parties, others cosily at home. They have all been fun, memorable days, and strangely enough, it felt like the day did indeed set the tone for the year that followed.

This new year's day got off to a rough start. Moppet (and as a consequence, both Moppet's Papa and I) slept fitfully and woke up in a foul mood at an unneccessarily early hour. She then spent most of the morning throwing tantrums at the slightest excuse and lying face down on the floor, whining about something incomprehensible.

On the plus side, while Nanny took the whiny little creature down to the park for half an hour, I managed to produce some fairly edible, if inelegant dosas. Moppet's Papa and I had the kind of breakfast we haven't had in a long while, standing and chatting cozily by the stove, sharing the dosas as they came hot off the tava.

Lunch and a good long nap helped with Moppet's mood a little, and it gave Moppet's Papa and me the chance to get away for a while, have a nice lunch, and indulge in some retail therapy. Sick to the gills of hearing me complain about not getting a gift for my birthday or our anniversary this year, Moppet's Papa decided to silence me once and for all with a gorgeous designer watch. His I'm-such-a-good-husband halo is so bright right now I can barely look at him without blinding myself. (Maybe we should get me those designer gogs too, sweets? :-)

We came back home and woke up a still cranky but overall better-behaved Moppet. Another stint in the park for her and a brisk evening walk for her parents worked well and everyone came home tired but happy. Post-dinner family time was pleasant and tantrum free, with Moppet plying us with chai from her plastic tea set, giving out unsolicited hugs and kisses, and spending some rare quiet time 'wocking' in the recliner next to her Papa.

And now, since Moppet's Papa is on bedtime duty tonight, I can put my feet up and blog about my predictions (hopes?) for 2008, based on the first day of this new year:

1. We will eat a lot more idlis and dosas.

2. I will be the happy recipient of lots of great gifts, some of them even 'just because'
(Too much? Yeah, I know, but a girl can dream, right?)

3. I will get a lot more exercise this year, and hopefully end the year in better shape than I started it.

4. Moppet will continue to plague me and will come within an inch of being put up for adoption, saved only by her ability to look me in the eye with a wicked smile and say 'Moppet nice? Yes?' in a tone that brooks no argument.

I hope you all had a perfect new year's day and that 2008 will be full of the things you like best.