Sunday, August 31, 2008

Who me?! :)

The title that I chose has become a cliche now in the blogosphere with the 'Brilliante Weblog Award' doing the rounds, but really thats the way I felt when two of my dear friends Noon and Preethi, whose blogs I love to read regularly and wait with anticipation for the next post, honored me by passing on this award to me.

Noon, I know you strive for being the real you, unpretentious and gentle always and I have to tell you again that you really are. Your posts bear testimony to just that. I think I have said this before but in my mind I imagine you sitting with KB and KG, loving them gently, singing to them - you know the picture of a perfect family. :)

Preethi, who claims to be going through a mid life crisis, but instead of doing her any harm, it has done much more good. Her blog posts get funnier by the day. She keeps experimenting with the templates always to end up with great results and dear dear Nantu. I think of him every single day, which is not tough at all considering that I pass a convertible almost every day :)

As I accept this award, let me also take this opportunity to thank my mom and dad, ever supportive and ever encouraging. My mom who leads by example, making me strive to be like her, so very patient and so very active. Even as she is bed ridden for the past 8 weeks owing to her accident and 2 surgeries, I still feel in awe of her as I hear about her progress and refusal to be affected by it.

I thank my husband for always being extremely supportive in any endeavour I wish to pursue, for not saying a word when at times the housework naturally suffers because of the said endeavour and in fact telling me that its okay to just let it be at times :)

And of course my adorable little children. Not surprisingly are they called miracles for who else can become the purpose of your life as soon as he/she enters it. This blog is because they are.

And now for the rules,

This award is for blogs whose content and design are brilliant as well as creative.The purpose of the prize is to promote as many blogs as possible in the blogosphere.
Here are the rules to follow:
1. When you receive the prize you must write a post showing it, together with the name of who has given it to you, and link them back
2. Choose a minimum of 7 blogs (or even more) that you find brilliant in their content or design.
3. Show their names and links and leave them a comment informing they were prized with ‘Brilliant Weblog’
4. Show a picture of those who awarded you and those you give the prize (optional).
5. And then we pass it on!

I would like to pass on the award to:

Dipali of Of this and that: I am amazed at her varied interests and how heartily she pursues them - be it reading, music or poetry. And then she avidly blogs about them which I absolutely adore to read. I can never say this enough Dipali, you are an inspiration!

Suma of aalochane and Cub tales: What do I say about dear Suma - I look upto her for advice through the comment box because she has her feet so firmly on the ground. It shows that she is one cool mom her kids are lucky to have. And the hobbies she pursues so avidly, reading and writing, I am in awe of you dear :)

Boo of Boo's Baby Talk: She sure is hilarious. I look forward to her posts to see what new situations she has twisted and turrned to churn out side splitting results :) An amazingly confident personality to boot.

~nm of Do I Write and Anirudh's World: She writes on such a variety of topics and the simplicity in her posts is refreshing. A darling of a son she is raising as well, not to mention the culinary experiments she conducts with appetizing results and pictures.

Mystic Margarita of Another Shot at Life: I consider her one of the most talented bloggers I read, vis-a-vis the writing style. Some of her posts like the one about the dream about the dragonfly and her dialogue with her tresses :) shall stay in my mind for a long long time beacuse of the power they had in spite of being very short ones.

PG of That's my Richie: A very simple, honest and down to earth person in spite of the huge talent she has and the conviction with which she raises her Richie. A quiet person in the blogosphere but she writes about her weaknesses as honestly as anyone would write about their strengths.

Tharini of Winkie's Ways: She needs no introduction for most of us. Refreshingly lucid, she weaves magical pictures with her words transporting the reader to where she is. An incredibly equanimous person who strives to get even better at that, she is truly brilliant.

Bev of Rainbow Days: I have started reading her only recently but her hard work and conviction for what she believes in shine through in her posts. I love the everyday special moments she creates for her family and writes about.

Thanks again dear Noonoo and Preethi for thinking of me worthy enough for a Brilliant award.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Because ...

Some time back I overheard a pre-teens' conversation and learnt that a convenient answer to any why question, gaining extremely quick personality, is "because". Plain and convenient, indeed! It probably means that you don't really know the reason behind the why or probably are just feeling lazy to reason with the converser and so just answer "because". Little did I know that my 3 year old son would catch up so soon with the latest talk in town! So these are a few examples of short and not so sweet conversations in our household.

I want not to eat apple!
Me: Why?

I want not to do nai-nai (take a bath)
me: Why?

Convenient indeed! Now mommy tried to pull the same card in an attempt to give the little master a taste of his own medicine.

Me: Vansh you sleep now, I'll sleep after some time.
Vansh: Why?
Me: Because *beaming that I have hit the nail on the head*
Vansh: Because what?
Me: errr ...because ...err ....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

We love our neighbors ...

My posts have become fewer and the reason, apart from Word Twist and Word Challenge on Facebook ;), well our neighbors. No this is not a post about the nuisance they are, the noise they create or any such thing. In fact about how lucky I feel to be blessed with the wonderful neighbors I have who have now become such good friends, especially after the rehearsals for the Independence Day program, where we saw each other practically all day, looked after each others' kids, exchanged notes on all sorts of things all while gaily getting ready for the actual event. It brought us all so much closer.

And while I am at it, I am also going to write about the first truly good neighbor I had till last August who then moved elsewhere. It'll be good for me to look back on this post and count my blessings, for good neighbors are truly nothing short of a blessing. Unlike our friends and enemies, we have almost no say on what kind of neighbors we are going to end up with. It'll also be good for the kids when they grow up, very far away from the people to whom they are closest to right now, to be able to remember the times they spent with them when they were little.

Sarita was the first person who actually made me realize what all a neighbor can be. For the most part when we had her as a neighbor, I was pregnant with Jiya and she actually cared for me like a younger sister. She would ask me every now and then about my pregnancy cravings, what I felt like eating and almost every alternate day, if not everyday, there would be something yummy coming from her house to mine - home made namkeen, saboodana khichdi, saboodana vadas, ragda patties, the list was endless. I joked to her that my kitchen had more of her plates and bowls than my own and for the first time in my life I returned them empty many a times because I just couldn't keep pace. I could share a lot of my feelings with her and loved her company especially in the harsh winters. Arnav, her son, was Vansh's first best friend and inseparable for a long long time. He was about 15 months elder than him and helped him get potty trained, increased his verbal skills, aroused his interest in building blocks and many more such things. Arnav and Vansh spent nearly 3-4 hours with each other every single day and more often than not Sarita offered to have them both at her place so that I could get some rest/some chores done with the toddler away. We also made two trips together to Wisconsin Dells and Los Angeles, apart from the daily walks together, and needless to say we had a gala time. They left last August and for a long time Vansh took their names in the same breath as his own family and still if he sees a 5th person drwan in a picture, after naming papa, mummy, Jiya, Vansh for the 4, he still usually says its Sarita aunty or Deepak uncle or Arnav depending on whether its a man's, woman's or child's picture.

I met Vani, who stays just a couple of doors away, for the first time in the neighborhood park when Jiya was just about a month old. Inba, her little boy, was touching 2 and she had just started sending him to a daycare as she searched actively for a job. We chatted for a while and just a couple of days later I found her at my door with 2 bowls of cooked vegetables and a gift for Baby Jiya. This was not expected at all and I couldn't thank her enough for the same. Vani is such a gentle person and though we do not see each other for days on end, owing to her job and then catering to a little one after that while me being busy in the evenings myself with dinner and the kids' activities, she stills holds a very special place in my heart and its always so soothing to listen to her calm and sweet voice and catch up with her when we do. She is so sweet that when she and her culinarily talented husband cook something special and it turns out nice, she calls me to say just that and share it. The jalebi, you shared yesterday was awesome Vani (I'll share this post with you, so I know you'll read it!)

Sindhu is such a delight. Bubbly and young and such a truthful and honest person, always so willing to help. She has been here for a while now and our relationship has grown slowly and subtly. I first met her at Sarita's place playing with Arnav and thought probaly she was a visiting niece or relative, probably in her late teens. When Sarita introduced her to me, it came as a bit of a surprise that she was married. We were out of touch for some time after Sarita left, in spite of the fact she stays practically next door. I think we started meeting again when another neighbor's parents were visiting them last year and they spent a lot of time with me and Sindhu since their own daugher-in-law was working. She and her husband surprised us on our anniversary by bringing us flowers and chocolates. Slowly she started getting attached to Vansh and Jiya. Vansh treated her and still does like his own buddy. Funnily Arnav used to ask her if her dad (actually her husband) had returned from office. She is the only person from whose lap Jiya refuses to return to my own. Which is not surprising at all for both she and Pravin, her husband treat them like their own kids. We go to the complex swimming pool together many a times and I feel equally safe leaving my children with them for a few minutes as I do with Ashwini. Innumerable times I leave my kids or the baby monitor with her when I need to be away from the house for a short time and many a times she adjusts her own schedule to suit mine saying that mine is dependent on my children and she is free that ways.

Last and by no means the least, dear Lopa :) Thinking about her brings a smile to my face. She moved here just 2 months back and I feel like I have known her for the longest time. She has literally brought a totally new dimension to our neighborhood. Knocking on my door and Sindhu's and then having a meeting right there be it to discuss her kids' (she has 7 year old twins - boy and girl) costumes and how she can add more effects or to ask us what sari to wear herself or to just tell us the latest scoop that happened in another building, she is a delight. It has come to a point where as soon as two of us are outside, the third one immediately comes outside too hearing the other two's voices. She calls herself half mother to my children and I love that feeling that they are loved just as much as they are at home, when they go to play there. Sabar and Antara, her children, show off Jiya like their own sister to their friends telling them with pride that she comes to play at their house everyday :) She was the one who sent out an e-mail to our apartment's yahoo group at the time of rehearsals that anyone who would like to participate in any program and is not being able to do so owing to little children could go ahead and leave their children with her while they practised. It takes a lot of love in one's heart to make an offer like that. And she is such a natural with any child. She would herself come and take Jiya with her even if I hesitated in taking her to Lopa's place.

It is so wonderful to have that kind of support system when we are so far away from family. I really have to consider myself blessed to have such good friends as my neighbors. Its such a wonderful feeling to be able to celebrate festivals and special days, exchange sweets along with recipes, and on regular days know that you can just walk out your door and knock at theirs at any time without being unwelcome ever, to know they'll be there to share joys and sorrows or just a cup of coffee.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Of elder siblings ...

With the kind of personalities Jiya and Vansh have these days, where Jiya is not too wary of new people, smiles at everyone and is willing to go to people who play with her a little and Vansh on the other hand takes his time to watch and observe people at length preferring to stay by our side before letting a select few in his circle of trust, quite naturally the former is an instant hit with almost everyone and invites quite a few compliments on her mannerisms and cuteness. If the interaction with friends or acquaintances is short, Vansh is usually absolutely neglected because he has still not entered his comfort zone with them and started a conversation. And if its long and he does strike a conversation with a few, still somehow the focus shifts and continues to be at Jiya after a while.

As a mother, I am not liking it at all. And even though I do make an effort to make people talk to him but when we get e-mails or messages from friends saying that they miss the kids, especially Jiya, I feel bad. For Vansh too is a splendidly lovely child and although I say that with my vision tinted with maternal love, even then I know its true. His teachers who get to know him well testify my statement.

I really hope and pray its a phase. And even if it is, I don't know how he feels for when I look at him while others play with Jiya, he always has a smile on his face at the silly things she is doing. And so I don't know whether and what I should talk to him about.

Have you as a parent of two or probably an elder sibling yourself gone through this?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Indian Independence day celebrations

This time the Indian community at our apartment complex, which has grown to be quite sizable in number, decided to celebrate Indian Independence Day. It all started with one of our friends taking the initiative a little over 3 weeks back, formation of a yahoo group and adding friends and friends of friends, putting up a few fliers in the apartment buildings and then there was no looking back after that.

The famous quote by Majrooh Sultanpuri would be most apt here:
Main akela hi chala tha janibe manzil magar/Log aate gaye aur karvan banta gaya.
Bit by bit, one volunteer after another decided to contribute their time and effort for the same, adding one program after another in the list and the whole evening turned out to be an enchanting mesmerizing memorable event.

There was a fancy dress titled 'National Integration' where the children represented some freedom fighters and the various states of India. It was a scintillating program with some of the costumes being absolutely stunning and inviting loud wow's from the gathered crowd.

There were some speeches by the visiting parents of some of the residents and it was good to hear about the independence or the flag or those times by someone from whom it was just like yesterday. Solo performances by some of the amazingly confident little ones were a treat as well. A 5 year old boy dressed as a soldier sang "Nanha munha rahi hoon" amidst cheers and claps.

Both the dances, one by the little girls and the second one by the ladies were show stealers, requests for "once more' were received and gladly accepted for both :)

There were a couple of songs "Saare jahaan se accha" and "Jayastute shri maha mangale" sung by some of our lady friends and "Vande Matram" and "Jan Gana Mana" sung by the children beautifully.

There was also a small quiz on freedom fighters hosted by another resident friend.

It was a big hit. We were thrilled to bits after the hard work put in. Our yahoo group has been flooded with congratulatory messages and pictures being shared by everyone. Some of the comments we later came accross were

- We were aware that the ladies are doing something about Independence day. We never expected it to be such a big and well organised event.

- It was really carried out in an almost professional way.

- An elderly parent of a resident told us - I am not sure whether my son and his family would be here next year but you please infrom me about this program and I'll make it a point to be here.

I shall let the pictures do rest of the talking.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

And another someone ...

Is wondering what its like to be a girl :)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Looks like ...

Someone's taking their oral hygiene very seriously :)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Updates after a long time - Part III -Social and general disposition

As I think about this time next year, if everything goes as planned, Vansh would have started school full time by now. And as I look at his blooming personality now, as he continues to become a unique person, sharing some common traits with friends, nurturing the same kind of interests with others, and yet being a unique person like no one else around, I oft find myself wondering about how is he going to go about his day in school? How is he going to interact with other kids? Is he going to get himself into a lot of tiffs? Would he know what to do when in one? Is he going to put across not just his needs but also his feelings, things that make him uncomfortable, to his teachers? I read about other friends' kids on their blogs and wonder what would Vansh do if faced with such a situation?

As of now he is such a transparent child. Sends out vibes literally to everyone around. Just one look at his face and you don't even have to know him to tell whether he is having a good day or a bad one. He walks with unmistakable jigs in his steps, still lets out unabashed baby like squeals when he is extremely pleased. Always popular as the giggler, his giggles are actually contagious. Equally obvious is his displeasure - taut body, shoulders stooping down, worry written on his face in bold. However he cannot pin point the cause of his displeasure. He is so much a child of the present moment that 5 minutes after something made him happy or unhappy, he would continue in that state, having no inkling at all what caused it in the first place. There would be other things catching his attention and he would tend to those, giggling or whining, depending on what happened 5 minutes back. No surprises that he doesn't come running to us with the day's stories. He just doesn't remember them. Ashwini was surprised to see 2 reasonably big marks (he had bumped into the corner of a small stool) on his chin last evening and even more surprised that he didn't mention it to him till the time he went to bed which included brushing his teeth which must have surely hurt. We wonder how are we ever going to know whether he got into some trouble unless we see a physical mark.

And then there are times he makes me so proud of him. The other day we had a very new friend visit us in the late afternoon with her 2-1/2 year old son A. A was exactly like what Vansh used to be one year back. Immediately acting on his instincts - putting some toy animals on top of Jiya's hand gently at first and suddenly doing that roughly not realizing that it might be hurting her, pretending that he's a dinosaur and push Vansh in the process and the likes. His mother was constantly on her toes and having been the exact same situation myself I knew it was no one's fault. He was a high energy child who was still pretty young to understand ways to handle his energy. Probably I would have been very judgmental but my little guy has wisened me up in these matters. Vansh was uncomfortable around him from the word go. Had this guy come into our house like that a year before, I am very sure Vansh would have hit him or pushed him and I would have been constantly physically holding him back. He uses his 'roars' now when he is unhappy about someone getting physical with him. So he roared several times. And he is a perceptive little guy, very observant and extremely aware of the present surroundings, almost to the extent that he would sense when the next blow to Jiya or himself was about to come when we wouldn't have a clue. I, as a result, would shush him saying that A was playing calmly and it was not nice to be so loud at him then. But the blow would follow very shortly. After some calm time had passed, Vansh did try to befriend A. His way of befriending someone is acting silly with them, making them giggle at his antics which include at times gently snatching something the other child is playing with, giggling and then giving it back. Now the other little guy was too possessive, for even the very short moment Vansh took one of the animals he was playing with, and the pushes and the roars started again. At this point, I saw Vansh just get up from there and go to his room. I thought I'll go to talk to him after giving him a few minutes alone. However just after about a minute, he started banging the door of his room, something that makes me very very nervous and as a result he retorts to to get my attention when he needs it immediately. I went in there and he had gotten back to sitting on the bed there and had just picked up a book. He saw me and told me he was angry and had come here to cool down. I told him I was proud of the way he was handling his feelings and asked him whether he wanted me too read a book to him or would he do it himself. He chose the latter. I asked him if I could leave. He said yes. I kissed him and told him to come back when he's ready. Which he did after about 10 minutes and then the way the boys got along was pretty amazing. Vansh was more willing to share some of his toys he earlier wasn't, even the ones he is quite touchy about, but only for a few minutes and then he would take them back.

But being a mother isn't easy - worry is quintessential. Would always he be the absolutely benevolent one deciding to give up his special toys in an attempt to be friendly. I was shocked when one of his friends at summer camp saw his latest prized possesion - a steering wheel with some sound effects et al, Ashwini got for him 2 days back - something he eats, sleeps, dreams of ever since, asked him whether he could have it for a day and without batting an eyelid, Vansh said "Yes!" The said friend's mother is a good friend and I didn't know what to say since Vansh had already said yes but it literally stung as if I was parting with my personal favorite belonging for a day. Was this what I had repeated "Its nice to share" for! It might sound making a big deal out of nothing but this was my initial reaction for a thing Vansh was not ready to part with for even a single moment. Now this kid M is generally an extremely 'street-smart' kid in our language, amazingly energetic and already knows the ways of the world, what works where. And Vansh is so fond of him that he gets away with doing a lot of things to Vansh that any other child wouldn't. Is it Vansh's fear or is it awe, I don't know. If I ask him he simply says I like M and I don't want to ask him why in spite of the fact that he snatches your things or acts rough with you at times. What I worry about is - is he going to be okay just giving away things or favors to those who he is in awe/fear of like this little M. Complexities in friendships are arising already :)

..Shall have to continue this one as its turning out to be pretty long.