Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Of first pets...

My first pets were four lovebirds. I named them Tuni, Muni, Mou and Tushi. Not sure what I was thinking, as two of these - Tuni and Mou, were male. I was later told that names don't mean a thing to them....so they wouldn't have problems with their gender identity. What a relief!

Baba and I got them from the Shyambazar markets, early one morning. I was probably 8 or 9 years old then. When they got home, we discovered that Tushi wasn't moving at all. She was alive and awake, but simply wouldn't move. I broke into tears, thinking I had somehow hurt her foot in transit. Determined to make it right (as mothers usually are), Ma took her out of the cage and rubbed Amrutanjan on her leg (I'm not kidding). Within minutes, Tushi became the most active bird in the cage (whether that was her personality or the effect of Amrutanjan, we could never tell).
She was also the first to lay eggs, which never really hatched because her clueless lover Mou, thought they were little toys and kicked them around like a lunatic.

I have several such memories of my loony lovebirds, who have now become part of our favourite family stories.
Today, we brought home Shanaya's first pet, Rojo (meaning "red" in Spanish). Here's hoping he gives her stories and memories that will always bring a smile to her face.

Edited to add: Roho died on the 18th of July 2017. We buried him in front of our house, and said a little prayer.. S keeps asking me if fish turn into fairies when they die. I do not know. But I know that Roho will always hold a special place in my heart.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Our wanderlust wall

Our wanderlust wall. Red bindis to mark the places we've been to together. Here's hoping that we always find a way to add more dots...

Come, let's tidy up

My scribbling on The Indian Express on Aug 14, 2016:

Come, let's tidy up...

Conversations with My Little Girl

Oct 16, 2016

"Mummy, put on the 'bubble base' song", says my 3-yr old.
"I don't know which song you mean", I say.

I try looking up nursery rhymes, nevertheless...hoping I'll find the one she means.
Turns out she wanted "I'm all about the bass".

Quite relieved she thinks that the lyrics say "bubble base".

Sept 21, 2016

Shanaya: Mummy you're hurting my ear.
Me: But am not even touching you, Shanaya.
Shanaya: But you're hurting my ear by talking.

Sep 2, 2016
Shanaya: Me hot. Mummy, you not hot.
Me: What? Where did you learn that from?
(aghast at her honesty and her ability to judge female hotness at 3yrs of age!)
Until I realised that she was feverish. And I was not.

Aug 24, 2016.

Me: Shanaya, I can’t sit here for an hour at dinner time, poking your cheeks to remind you that you have stored food in one corner of your mouth. You need to chew, swallow and take the next spoonful.
Shanaya: Mummy, no need. I can poke my cheeks…see?
And with that, she pokes the little mound on her cheek and chews for a whole one second. The swallowing and taking of the next spoonful did not follow. But she is convinced that she can single-handedly manage the poking of her cheeks.

On "growing up"

As kids, we were often awestruck by certain things that grown-ups did and thought in our heads "When I am able to do that, I'll be a grown-up".

I remember two such things -- drinking tea from dainty (and very fragile) tea cups (our drinks were usually served in plastic tumblers...so those Corelle cups always held my fancy).
The other thing was folding sarees neatly within seconds. I often watched Ma do it....and tried it myself several times later. But never without burying myself in a pile....clueless about which side to hold up and fold.

That day, I folded all my Puja sarees away while talking to Ma on the phone. Later, I realised I didn't even need to pay attention to the task. I just did it effortlessly.
It was a strange feeling. I could see myself as the awestruck little girl...only, this time, I was looking at the grown-up me.

While I have been a grown-up for years now (too many years!), this totally mundane task was like an epiphany. Not only was I folding my Puja sarees like a pro, I wasn't feeling the usual pangs of sadness that always marked the end of Puja for me as a child.

I had grown up indeed.

Waiting for fairies in our garden

This post is part of the Letters to My Little Girl series.

Dear Shanaya,

You will probably forget all about this weekend. So years from now, when you are reading this, I hope it makes you happy. As happy as you were helping Mummy and Daddy with setting up our backyard garden.

This weekend was about several trips to the local nurseries, getting our hands dirty in cow manure and potting mix, playing with water guns in the backyard, chasing bees in the morning and waiting patiently for nightfall when the garden fairies would visit.
You were such a big help, pottering about the backyard, singing songs that you made yourself.

Our garden is complete, well in time to enjoy the colours of Spring. I really hope the fairies you're waiting for, come visiting soon.

Lots  of love,