Piya Gaye Rangoon

D left for Netherlands just few mins ago…gone for two weeks. Thankfully my parents came to help me out during the time. Kudos to those moms who handle a baby 24×7 alone!!

I have done it only once till now when D went on a 4 day official trip to Pune in October. It went well but two weeks??

The day he had returned from Pune, it was already midnight.Keya had slept off at her usual time. At around 4.15 am she started doing regular restlessness..I tried soothing her as usual…in that she must have opened her eyes and saw someone was there. She curled up to me and started peeking ..peek and hide….peek and hide. Then she confirmed it’s a known and loved person…crawled to her dad and started giggling so much, slapping her palm on his face (her way of showing adoration), laughing. It was so touching to see. She became full awake and I told D “all yours” and slept off. 😀😀 He fed her, changed her… she slept at 6.30 am.

Let’s see how Keya responds when she sees him again after two weeks.

Perfect Mother

 

“There is no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one” ~ Jill Churchill

So the most common question whenever someone talks to you after you have a baby is “So how is motherhood”….And I feel there is an expectation to hear “Ohhh its wonderful, so charming etc etc”only..If you don’t say that there is an underlying fear of being judged and labelled as not having motherly feeling. But the truth which I am sure many moms want to say is its tiring, hectic, exhausting, challenging etc along with the happiness, joy, the high you feel. And I usually can’t fake my replies so I say “it has its own ups and downs” or I say “its different” 😀

This motherhood thing… sometimes I think the famous position in human relations, the epitome of sacrifice, love, etc etc , the person about whom stories are written, shlokas are there…the position about which legends are there…I have become one of them. Mother. It is going to be one year but it is yet to sink in. It also makes me fearful of the level of responsibility, love, sacrifice, dedication, patience etc it symbolizes….God knows if I have that in me…I don’t think so. God knows if I m doing and will do it right. Sometimes I feel I m just winging it. In what world do people get ready for motherhood?? Even after years of getting mentally ready, I think I just got ready for pregnancy and delivery, not the after part of it.

I think every mother faces this thought scores of times in a month. The utopian or lofty image of motherhood is created by media (be it old literature or new portrayals) by people raised by imperfect and human moms but to these children their mom is their mom. So unless there’s a serious psychiatric problem that creates an unsafe situation for the kids – we are all good moms. We all have it in us because motherhood is primal basic and homely. It’s not uniform… it’s unique to each family and individual. It’s not a formula of a stone dropping 1 m in vacuum, it’s variable and a continuous process of feedback and error correction like a flight.

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Whatever you have in you, with your flaws and limitations, that’s the perfect motherhood in your context. Your neighbor’s idea of a perfect mother maybe totally different. Not to mention your mother-in-law’s idea WILL BE totally different.

In fact my idea of this whole parenting thing is its like a rugby match…the rugby ball is the child, you are trying to make a touchdown or whatever they do in rugby…and all the players running towards you trying to stop you are Judgement, Unsolicited Advice, Competition, and Comparison. 😀

If you ignore all this and do what is right for a child in terms of nutrition and development – physical, emotional, behavioral and mental, then you are the perfect mother for your child. Remember you are human….not the superhuman image of mother which has been imprinted in our minds. You are allowed to be imperfect and make mistakes.

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Motherhood Insights

I was toying with the idea of compiling my tweets on motherhood as a post since many days. Now when NaBloPoMo has come along, what better way to write a quick post? 😀

So here are few of my reflections on motherhood…This may as well become a quarterly post series because the reflections and insights are going to continue for a long time!!

#1 Eyes poked,nose bitten,lips pinched, stomach trampled,back beaten,neck slobbered on,face slapped,hair pulled…. Violence mothers face!

#2 So Indigo announced “quiet zones” aka child-free zones in their flight. Whoever came up with the idea that a child-free zone can save passenger from noise of a bawling baby inside an aeroplane,has never traveled with one. Unless of course those special seats are surrounded by noise proof walls. Bose headphones would serve better.

#3 Whoever said we must chew our food 32 times before swallowing, didn’t have a baby.Mothers should win fastest eating competitions.

#4 Dear MorisonsBaby why would you stick flowers on baby shoes? Baby pulled it out. Decor should be sewed on baby stuff.

#5 I intentionally skip pages in touch-feel baby books,those which when scratched make horrible sound like chalk on board or nails on wall.

#6 Giving your marriage saree’s blouse for alteration after few years and motherhood shows how “far” you have gone. Not to mention it’s depressing.

#7 The key beings behind the whole social structure, the act of socializing etc are babies. They make you open up to neighbors, strangers, all. From not talking to neighbors & not knowing 95% of them, I’ve become quite social now.As long as there is no unsolicited advice. And maybe soon I will join the ranks of people posting coloring competition certificate their kids won in kindergarten. *Eye Roll*

#8 Doctors say sleep is very important for babies’ physical and mental health..baby’s sleep is important for mom’s health too especially mental.

#9 Baby laughing in sleep is just another one of the cutest things in life.

#10 I feel cannibalistic instinct when baby is so cute.To nibble those toes,pinch those cheeks and chomp on that butt.But you just suffice with kisses.

#11 Shake shake..bang bang…mouth!! No that’s not lyrics of any song. That’s the process steps of “how to deal with an object” by baby.

#12 Nobody knows “perfect timing” better than babies.The moment you take off diaper they pee and Nobody knows “in nick of time” better than mothers.

#13 The person who came up with lift-the-flap books idea didn’t have kids of his/her own. Or maybe those flaps are meant to be torn apart.

#14 Even a newly wedded wife doesn’t wait for husband to come home from office as eagerly as an alone stay-at-home mom.

#15 Babies are superheroes with their capes aka bibs on their front rather than on back.

#16 Goddess Durga wud have been great at feeding time….one hand to feed, one to entertain,one to hold,one to scratch a sudden itch etc. Mulling on Goddess Durga…she takes multitasking to another level.

#17 Necessity is the “mother” of all inventions not father because moms arethe ones that need to come up with new tricks to feed, change, bathe etc

#18 The original version is “Smelly mom,smelly mom, what is the baby spitting on you? Smelly mom, smelly mom It’s not your fault”

#19 Two persons can never ever have cleanliness OCD …maids and mothers. One will lose income and the other sanity.

#20 That time of life when instead of worrying about body curves, we worry about the percentile curve of length, weight & head circumference and shape!!

The Birthday Dilemma

November is a special month for us. It will be Keya’s first birthday on 26th November!! From being 2.77 kg and 3 weeks early to a healthy strong 9+ kg one year old! From being a fragile little thing to a walking, tumbling, exploring human!! How time flies….

Earlier I used to believe that celebrating first birthdays is just for the pleasure of parents and grandparents and torture on the babies…they get irritated at the crowd, it interferes with their schedule, makes them cranky and it is hard to handle the baby and enjoy the party. Now the difference is I still believe that but yet I want to celebrate her first birthday! I am fully aware of the task..still I want to create and capture that memory because she won’t be one again! I want to celebrate my one year of successful motherhood! Even though money is tight, I want to celebrate with the usual “taam-jhaam” of cake, decor, return gifts, photo booth etc etc!

What gives me strength is the fact we already celebrated her annaprashan (first time rice eating ceremony) at her paternal grandparents’ home (a new strange place for her) in Kolkata (first time long journey) with 100+ guests at home!! That is a tale which deserves a separate post! Anyway , so how hard will a birthday party with 45-50 guests at a party hall will be??

So the dilemma is do we take the plunge…brain says no but the heart wants what it wants.

NaBloPoMo – Do I Dare Do It?

15 mins remaining for the clock to strike midnight and for 1st November to end…Now I got time to sit with the laptop and type out something to revive this dying blog. That’s what happens when  a mother of an active and feisty 11 month old decides to take up the NaBloMoPo challenge. In the last 3 years I have neglected my dearest blog and my blogging hobby so much that my sadness cant be explained in words..but no one is to blame except my laziness. Readership is at rock bottom..deeper than Mariana trench. So, when Swaram posted on Facebook asking if anybody’s game for NaBloPoMo in November, I answered with a question “Do I dare do it with a baby?”. Her encouragement and my urge to reconnect with the blogosphere, old readers and bloggers made me take up the challenge. Another positive thing is my parents have come to visit us so I guess I will get half an hour in a day to post something. *Fingers crossed*

Let the madness begin!!

*Rushes to click on Publish before its midnight!!*

New Journey

This time I didn’t dare to even open the annual WordPress report that comes at the year end. Last year I just wrote one post!! And the year before that 6 posts!! Sigh!! I won’t resolve any more or make any more promises to myself, my blog and my readers. It is better to keep quiet and just do it.

So 2015 was a happening year. A year in which our lives changed forever and for the better.

On 17th April I took the test
My sister wished me the best
The second I saw two line segments
I knew I was pregnant!!
Month end we went for the first scan
The heartbeat told success of our plan
A bundle of joy was on its way
who will share its father’s birthday!
In May, Mommy-to-be got a scare
Had to rush to hospital emergency care
Scan showed a tiny subchorionic clot
That day Mommy-to-be cried a lot
She was advised to be on bed rest
The first trimester was really a test
Dadu and Didu flew in to take her care
Without them God knows how she would fare
Flour, tea, milk became hard to digest
Hormone capsules she had to ingest
Vomiting had caused her weight loss
All junk and risky food went for a toss
In June, scan showed clot wasn’t there
She joined her job back with dare
The second trimester was easy
Her work kept her very busy
The baby was growing very well
Its kicks Mommy-to-be could tell!
For it Daddy-to-be would sing song,
And play guitar ting tang tong!!
The third trimester was festival time,
Skipping bhog would have been a crime.
Mommy-to-be prayed to Durga mother
Strength for her, well-being for another
November she went on maternity leave
Her tummy was getting hard to heave
Moving around required much power
Granny hosted a fabulous baby shower.
One afternoon suddenly her water broke
“It’s time” on call to Daddy she spoke.
The baby seemed to be in a hurry
3 weeks before! Reason to worry!!
Afternoon turned to evening then night,
Relief from labour pain wasn’t in sight.
The baby movement was slow
Amniotic fluid was getting low
There was no time to deliberate
The doctor decided to operate
Inside OT Daddy-to-be also went
Moral support to his wife he lent
“Baby is coming out,baby is coming out”
Mommy-to-be heard the doctor shout
“It’s a healthy girl baby” the doctor said
Mommy-to-be felt all the pain fade
She laid eyes on the cutest thing
An angel had come without wing!!
So this was my eventful 2015 tale
Will blog more amidst poop,pee,wail!!

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Shivasamudram Chronicle

Ghumakkar Chronicles

Bangalore is a great place in terms of one day and weekends trips. There are so many places one can go to take a mini break from routine and city life. One of such places is the Shivasamudram Falls. Shivasamudram Falls are located at around 136 km from Bangalore by car if you take the Bangalore-Kanakapura-Malavalli-Shivasamudram route. One can go via Bangalore-Maddur-Malavalli-Shivanasamudra route too. The Kanakapura road is a state highway road. It is not in that great condition but it gets better after you cross Kanakapura. Also unlike Mysore road, there are no good restaurants or stopovers on Kanakpura road. So carry your snacks etc.

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DSC06870Shivasamudram Falls  are situated on the banks of the river Cauvery. One of the first hydro-electric power stations in Asia was set up in the year 1902 at this location. The plant is still functional. Shivasamudram falls are of the segmented steep cascade waterfalls…

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Resolution for 2015

How time flies! It is 2015 now. In my 2013 review post, I had taken the resolution to be more active in blogging, reading and commenting in 2014. Well…that didn’t happen obviously. Don’t you think taking a resolution is actually jinxing that thing? 😀 Only 6 posts in 2014!! My yearly WordPress report is going to have a “D” grade 😀 !! I have still not seen the report!! My last post, a book review,was in September. Sigh!!

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Book Review:- Private India

When I saw a book; a thriller nonetheless, co authored by Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson in the pre-order section of Flipkart, I was excited. Then when I saw that the same book was up for review under BlogAdda’s Book Review Program, I jumped at the chance and signed up for it. I got selected for the first time to review a book under BlogAdda’s Book Review Program!!! Yayy!! Though I read the book within the stipulated time, the review got delayed due to my hectic work life. Sigh!! That deserves a post in itself. Anyway so here goes the review.

 Book Details :-
Author: Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson

ISBN: 9781780891736

Publisher: Random House

Price: Rs. 350 (Rs 193 On Amazon)

Genre: Crime and Thriller

The Book Blurb:-

In Mumbai seemingly unconnected people are dying, strangled in a chilling ritual and with strange objects carefully arranged with the corpses. For Santosh Wagh, head of Private India, the Mumbai branch of the world’s finest investigation agency, it’s a race against time to stop the killer striking again. In a city of over thirteen million, hed have his work cut out at the best of times but this case has him battling Mumbai’s biggest ganglord and a godman who isn’t all he seems and then he discovers there may be an even greater danger facing Private India. Hidden in the shadows is someone who could destroy the whole organisation along with thousands of innocent Mumbai citizens.

19186402I have never read any work of either Ashwin Sanghi or James Patterson and hence I am unfamiliar with their individual writing styles. Also I am unaware of the “Private” series set in other countries. So my review is, you can say, my first impression.

My review:-

The serial killings begin with the murder of a lady doctor from Thailand. She had been strangled using a yellow scarf and small, strange and seemingly unrelated objects had been placed around the body. There is a flower on one hand, and a fork on the other. There is also a small, Viking toy helmet tied to one of her toes. After that, many such killings follow and the Mumbai Police seeks the assistance from the Indian branch of the world’s finest detective agency. Mr. Santosh Wagh and his team from “Private India” join the investigation and the chase to catch the killer begins.

The protagonist, Santosh Wagh, reminded me of Dr. House of the famous series House M.D. because of the cane and drinking habit portrayal of the character. He has a troubled past that haunts him. But I think this “troubled past-addict-brilliant-sharp-fighting inner demon protagonist” characterization has been done to death and readers need a change.

All the characters have been given their respective background stories and are well developed, making the reader relate to their present behaviour. The description of the killer’s own haunting past is good. The story takes the reader all around Mumbai’s famous places from Dharavi to Haji Ali. I guess that is for the benefit of International readers. Again for their knowledge of India (and then we complain about Hollywood movies stereotyping India), I assume, there is Indian history, mythology, Mumbai underworld (gangsters), poverty, godmen, corruption, religion, child abuse, sex, prostitution, transgender sexuality, human trafficking, politics, beggars, begging racket, Bollywood, Mumbai local trains, terrorists, Pakistan’s ISI, match fixing, status of forensic labs in India and of course crime!!! Did the author miss mentioning the famous dabbawallas in there somewhere? I don’t seem to remember 🙂 It seemed as if this is the last work of Ashwin Sanghi so he has tried to put everything in it. Too many subplots have spoiled the story! If you want to write a murder mystery stick to murder and if you want to write a terrorist story stick to that. Moreover,

The plot gives the reader few red herrings which after having watched so many episodes of CSI, CSI NY, Criminal Minds, Castle etc seem pretty obvious as red herrings. Apparently, Ashwin Sanghi is famous for mythological references in his writings. His famous touch is evident in Private India, where we come across insights into an ancient Indian cult “The Thuggees” (which kind of reminded me of that Indiana Jones movie), the Navratri festival and even nine form of Goddess Durga. But there is a slackening in the storyline as the investigation progresses. The final connection between the reason behind the murders and the modus operandi of the killer seems very implausible and not that impressive. The reason behind the killings, the psychology/mindset of the killer and the choices the killer made for his/her identity should have been delved into deeper and should have been better weaved together with the concept of nine forms of Durga and hatred of women. The build up of the suspense to the profile of the killer falls flat somehow near the climax. And when you think the story is over, its not. There is a second parallel plot still remaining to be completed, which makes one think “shouldn’t the side story finish before the main story”?

All the CID and Criminal Minds stuff keep coming in mind while reading the book, especially with the description of high tech gadgets and techniques. Also I wondered does a serial killer actually kill so many people within a week? If a killer is on such a killing spree, can he/she be so calm and normal in appearance and behaviour? Then there is the writing style and the language. Despite the excellent cover, the language gives the book away as not of being of international standard….as being one of common novels that keep releasing in India every month. Maybe the author wanted to keep things simple for all grades of readers. Missing punctuations, inappropriate sentence structures and grammatical mistakes (for example look instead looked in page 98) point towards the need for better proof reading. Excellent proof reading is something I find lacking in Indian paperbacks. This should not have been an issue when there are two authors!

The story is a page turner, without any doubt. But towards the end even if you skip 1-2 pages, you don’t miss much. The short chapters (112 chapters!!) and the large font size help along with the speed of reading making the book a easy breezy read.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5

 This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Food at Doorstep

So Masterchef Australia has started on Star World Premiere HD [which by the way I nagged D to subscribe as top up channel to our current subscription :-D] There was only one Indian participant, Deepali Mistry, who had cooked dhokla and some potatoes with chutney to get selected in the top 24. Then once she cooked “Gujarati Chicken Curry” as she called it. Gujarati chicken curry??? really?? Gujarati food culture and chicken don’t go together. It is an oxymoron isn’t it? But apparently I am wrong. Google god informed me there are bloggers who have written the recipe for Murghanu Shaak or Gujarati Chicken Curry. Hmmmm!! My food knowledge increased.

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Anyway so this business of cooking..I love doing it and I am even thinking of starting a food blog; but the moment it becomes a daily affair…a monotonous chore…. I dislike it. Thankfully D is a wonderful partner and cook!! Hats off and deep respect to my older generation – my mother, my MIL etc who cooked daily and that too so much variety. I am amazed at the women of my generation who do that with other family responsibilities and jobs…but then the reasons are many. Two of my colleagues don’t own a refrigerator (unbelievable in modern world….reason unknown) and they cook daily after reaching home at 6.30 pm from job. Some other women say their husbands like freshly cooked food daily and some say mother in law wants freshly prepared food daily. Some grumble about it and some don’t.

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But I simply can’t do that!! Daily cooking myself with job and home ..it seems impossible!! Not only I find it boring, but also restricting and exhausting. Thankfully D and I have the same opinion on this!! We have a fridge and we use it. 🙂 Thankfully MIL also doesn’t support being stuck in the kitchen all day everyday. The only difference in opinion is that MIL strongly disapproves of eating outside. 😀

Some days after a tiring day at work, when we don’t feel like stepping into the kitchen; we tend to go out for dinner. But some days we are just too tired to even go out and wish to get food delivered to our doorstep. There are limited options for ordering food to home…Dominos or Pizza Hut ..that too in my locality only Dominos or Ammi’s Biryani. Other options of food are not available. For such occasions, an online food ordering website like Foodpanda proves to be a blessing! All we have to do is select our place, then choose a restaurant and place our order. The restaurant delivers to our home and we can pay cash on delivery or online!!

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That is such a big rescue and time saver for people like us. Dining out means missing TV serials too!! If I get food delivered to home using Foodpanda I can eat peacefully while watching my favorite show Masterchef Australia at 9.00 pm!! And they have many discounts too at their website for different cities.

In other news I finally got a smart phone. Till now I was a poor Nokia Symbian owner. D gifted me Moto E as a birthday gift in advance. 🙂 So among one of the apps that I installed [One of the first being Candy Crush ;-)], I installed the Foodpanda app.

Anyway so inspite of my reluctance in cooking daily and laziness to blog, I have decided to launch a food blog because that is a new thing I have not tried yet. I have a regular though dormant blog, a travel blog and a photo blog. So why not a food blog?  Any suggestions for a good name? Apparently Undomestic Goddess and Reluctant Cook are taken. 😦 But I think to write exact measurements and stuff in the beginning of a food blog is not my cup of tea. I think my food blog will be more casual type. Hmmmm….

That’s it for now. Hope to post again soon as the academic session has ended at work and now I will get some free and relaxed time till August.

P.S. This is a promotional post for Foodpanda.

Movie Review – Shaadi Ke Side/Effects

The sort of prequel to this movie “Pyaar Ke Side Effects” starring Rahul Bose and (shudder) Mallika Sherawat (who surprisingly actually acted and did it well) is one of our (D and I) favorite movies. We love the song “Jaane Kya Chahe Mann” from that movie!! So it was only natural that when the sequel Shaadi ke Side/Effects was announced, we were very eager to watch it. We went to watch it on 1st March and here is the review.

ImageThe Story:- Sid (now played by Farhan Akhtar) and Trisha (now played by Vidya Balan) are a modern happily (and newly?) married couple. Soon after a drunken night of love-making where Sid forgets to use protection, Trisha discovers that she is pregnant. Though she wants to have the baby, Sid does not and they agree for an abortion. But Sid changes his mind and they decide to become parents. Thus begins the story of a young couple and more importantly that of a young husband’s journey in becoming a father.

The Review:- To begin with, the movie is almost entirely from the husband’s point of view. So maybe the husbands could relate and maybe the wives could take some jokes on themselves and open their eyes; but the way life changes for a woman, how overwhelming everything becomes for a mother and wife is just done away with a dialogue which upon hearing after the movie has started to stretch and become a bore, becomes negligible and lost on the audience.

The lead pair is brilliant in their acting but it is the story that fails. The first half is witty and hilarious and reminds us of the prequel but since we have seen some of the humorous dialogues in trailers on TV, they fail to induce laughter again. The intuitiveness is lacking in the script. The writer has missed out on so many small things of a married couple which could have spiced up the depiction of the side effects!! For example – whether to keep the ceiling fan on or off during the night because in most of couples, one partner feels hot whereas the other one feels cold. Right? 🙂 The only example of a lie is NOT when a wife asks “am I looking fat in this dress” and the husband replies “no dear”. There could have been better examples.

The second half is just like a story moving without direction and purpose.  Too many new characters are introduced with no meaningful contribution to the story be it Sid’s stoned room-mate played by Vir Das or the governess played by Ila Arun. Its sort of confused and exaggerated and doesn’t work towards culminating into a good climax and a superb ending. The crispness of the screenplay is gone. But yes the climax is a bit surprising but not in a pleasant way.

The songs don’t leave an impression in the mind to make us hum later. [After watching Lego the movie I kept singing “Everything Is Awesome” the whole way back home :D] Nothing worth downloading and listening to over and over.

Overall just a one time watch for married couples with or without children.

P.S. # The dialogue “Biwi apne pati ke bina reh sakti hai, bai ke bina nahi” [ A wife can live without her husband but not without her house-help woman] is kinda stolen from ME!!! I always say that to my friends and even tweeted it. I should have copyrighted it!! 😀

# They have tried to show 2 major side effects of a marriage – child and maid. But they missed out the first one which comes in the marriage even before a child does. So as I tweeted, the movie Shaadi ke side/effects is like a dish which lacks salt because they have missed out on the most important side effect – as many of my female readers will agree – the Mother in Law!!! 😀 😀 😉