29 April, 2008

Oh !! What a Ride It Has Been !!! :-)

“How come the posts have slowed down on your blog ?” asked a friend of mine, the other day. “Haan yaar, I was wondering too” said another. And all I could do was smile. And tell them that I’d been rather busy.

So just in case, any of you noticed a slowing down in posts across many pitstops in Blogsville and just in case you’d been wondering why – I’m sure you know the answer by now. But if you want to hear my version of the events, go on and read on.

Posts had kind of slowed down because all over the globe, stationed in many different countries in various different continents, situated in various different time zones – girls – not too many, mind you – just about 70 + girls – were busy planning, plotting, scheming and ringing up a Baby Shower. A virtual baby shower, a online baby shower, a geeky baby shower, if you may.

A baby shower for a group of ladies – some of whom were expecting their second babies and some of whom were expecting their first babies.
This group of 70+ girls planning the baby shower had to have a collective name too. Quite simply put, we were The Doula Gang !!!

And what a ride it has been !!!

Almost a month of planning, trimming, finetuning – and the whole party which began on the 31st of March with the starting of the “group page” culminated in the grand finale – The Baby Shower itself on the 25th of April 2008.

Were we planning to make it easy on the Mommies ? Nah !!!! Where’s the fun then ? So then, we came up with the idea of A Treasure Hunt. A Treasure Hunt that would send the Mommies To Be zipping across continents, across oceans, over the top of hills and through Canyons, into the valleys and through a whole maze of bylanes. They had to bloghop across 49 blogs (to be exact) to get the “keys” which would help them figure out the username and the password to unlock their treasure.

The treasure was a lovingly designed and crafted blog which was filled with tonnes and tonnes of good wishes, recipes, tips, information, links – all of which the mommies could fall back upon at times when they needed information to something.

But wait. Was that it ? A treasure trove of information ? Was that all it was ?

It was a lot lot more than just that. It was a space which was filled with affection, good wishes, camaraderie, sensitivity and most importantly Love – loads and loads of it. There was so much of genuineness and honesty in the wishes that had piled up on the blog. The warmth, the love, the affection shone through each post like sunrays on a bright day. One could actually bask in the warmth that was being generated in the blog. It was a project of affection and love and those were the sentiments that went on to create some of the most amazing vibes in The Treasure Trove that was created for the Mommies To Be.

The entire process was almost akin to bringing up a baby itself. Right from the conceptual stages to the actual visualization – it had a fair measure of everything, of every emotion that parenting brings alongwith it.

Excitement, euphoria, tiredness, exhaustion – almost to the point of no return, that eventual comeback from the exhaustion right back into the centre of action, the thrills, the travails, the tribulations. It was all there. That buzz that a surge of adrenaline brings about, the pure pleasure of seeing things take shape, the total delight that at times electrified and last but not the least – that unmistakable sense of adventure, of an escapade being planned, that of an exciting journey.

There were many a moment of silent contemplation, many a moment of delight, many a moment of hyperventilation and many a tears of frustration at things turning out just that little bit not-right.
Many a session of brainstorming, many behind the scenes discussions way into the wee hours of many mornings. Lots many ideas and thoughts came into play and the fabric of a dream began to be woven.
And out of all this, with 70 odd girls pouring their hearts and souls into it, The Treasure Trove was born.

And pretty much like parenting itself, this whole voyage turned out to be an emotional roller coaster ride too. It was all there – all the elements - that need to let-go, that need to nurture, that need to care for, that need to help bloom, that need to let loose and have fun, that need to make others have fun and alongwith all this came the realization, that warm fuzzy feeling of bonding. There is a very strong element of bonding that’s taken place over the past one month.

That feeling of being “involved”, of working towards the same goal brought out the best in each and every one of all the 70 odd members who were involved in this mammoth project. This was and did turn out to be an epic endeavor. One that is not going to be forgotten for a long long time to come.

And to each and every one who was involved in this vast journey, I, for one, doff my hat. As also to the Mommies To Be, all the lovely souls who proved to be such wonderful sports – zigzagging and zooming in and out of the maze of 49 blogs that had been set out for them and spending a couple of sleepless nights in the process – hats off to you guys.

Being a part of the whole endeavor has been a very unique experience, as I’m sure is the case with all the girls who have been involved in this project. Women from all different corners of the globe have shared their backgrounds with each other in what could well be the new beginnings of a lifelong friendship.

William Arthur Ward once said

"When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves."

And that, very succinctly, sums up the very essence of what’s happened in Blogsville over the past month or so.

As to the question of what everybody felt about the baby shower. The byline in the group page sums it all up very nicely in saying

Oh !! What a blast the shower has been !!! :-)

The Mommies To Be had this to say

And this is what some of the other Partners-In-Crime (members of The Doula Gang) had to say
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24 April, 2008

Riddle-me-Ree, Who can she be ?

Greetings wonderful MTBs!!!
and good work to all of you!
For having solved the riddle before
I give you all this clue.

The letter " R "

Write it down, add it on...
And let’s move on to the next little song.

“This bay area gal is a guru of sales
Also the girl next door, she regales
With tales of her son and being a mommy
She says her son is as cute as can be
Miracle of life is a birth
Thus spoke this mom in mirth.”

Solve it and you get your lead
Misguess, and you lose your speed
Solve it slow but solve it now
And before you go, take a little bow

Go to 'Comments' and leave me a clue
Tell me which blog you are off to.
Good luck! Good luck! Be on your way.
You have your work, cut out for the day!

23 April, 2008

All By Meself !!

Happened today morning. Mommy was in the shower and Abhay was ...... errr..... nosing around the house. Mommy could hear his feet pitter pattering all over the house and he seemed to be looking for something. Couple of minutes went by and Mommy could still hear the frantic flurry of pittering pattering feet, interspersed, at times, by a thumping noise of feet jumping onto the floor.

"What is he doing ?" thought Mommy to herself.

And finally decided to ask "Abhay - what are you doing ?".

"I'm looking for something Mum." came the reply and this was quickly followed by

"Yay !! I found it !! All by Meself.".

Mommy, in the meanwhile, had not the faintest of ideas as to what he was upto. Worry niggled because there were no extra pair of eyes to keep an eye on Abhay when Mommy was in the shower. With Grandma having gone back to Bombay on Saturday last and with Vic having gone off to work and Aparna off to school, it was just Mommy and Abhay at home. And with Mommy in the shower, Abhay, quite literally, had the whole house to himself.

"As long as I can hear him around the house, it should be fine" thought Mommy.

And that thought came a few minutes too soon, because a while later, there was total silence around the house. No running feet, no jumping feet, no one hollering "Mum" every couple of minutes - nothing !!!! There was pin drop silence. And pin drop silence never bodes well when there is a child on the loose !!!

"Abhay - what are you doing sweetie ?" asked Mommy from the shower.

No reply.

"Abhay - what are you up to ?." asked Mommy again, in the hope of eliciting a reply.

No reply.

Fingers crossed, hoping and praying that he was not upto some prank, Mommy hollered yet again "Abhay - what are you doing sweetie. Please come here."

A couple of seconds later the little face did peek in and all Mommy could see was those eyes gleaming with delight and a wide grin on his face. The gleam in those eyes, fortunately, was not wicked and Mommy heaved a small sigh of relief.

"What are you doing sweetie ?" asked Mommy

"Something, Mum" came the reply with a smile to match.
(So much for direct answers. Kids nowadays !!!!!!)

"Doing something naughty ?" asked Mommy

"No, Mum" came the serious reply, dripping with honesty.

"When you finish your bath Mum, I want to show you something" said Abhay with a wide grin and ran off before any more questions could be fired his way.

Question marks floating all around her head and a huge question mark on her puzzled face was how Mommy must have looked when she headed for the living room after her shower.

And there he was, standing on the carpet with a proud smile on his face.

Taaa Daaaa !!!!!! came the proclamation with those hands spread out wide.

"Look. See what I made Mum" he said.

And when Mommy did look, she was quite gobsmacked. For a "almost five year old" who had worked on his own, it was pretty good work :-).

Here's what he'd been upto.

He'd used the small design book (which had come with the magnetic board) for reference.

"I made this Mum." said Abhay with a grin.

"All By Meself."

Harry Browne once said

"The important thing is to concentrate upon what you can do - by yourself, upon your own initiative."

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19 April, 2008

Tongue Tied ............ Yet Again !!!!!!

This time around, Mommy was out to invite trouble and needless to say, she got all twisted and tongue tied in the process. Not to mention - being left speechless. Yet again !!!!!!!!

Now while taking his shower, Abhay loves to really lather up the soap on the palm of his hands. Initially, he used to lather the soap up and then wash his hands. Slowly, it sunk in that the lather could be used rather creatively. Say - on Mommy's head, for instance. While Mommy diligently soaps away all that dirt on both those little feet, the little hands are busy at work. Smearing, shaping and "sculpting" on Mommy's head with soap lather - lots of it !!!!!!!!!!

While most of the lather just dissipates by itself, there have been a lot many times when Mommy's emerged from the bathroom looking like one of those judges with those white "wig looking" things on top of their head. And it looks rather realistic too because Mommy invariably has lather down the sides of her head too !!!!!!!!

Now to get him from venting his artistic capabilities on Mommy's head, Mommy tried to distract him by asking him to use all that lather on his tummy. Was working just fine until Mommy opened her mouth and put her foot right in. Just to jazz things up a bit Mommy went ahead and told Abhay "Wow !! Now your tummy looks like Antartica. All white and fluffy like it has snow on it."
And he was thrilled to bits. For a day, the Antartica story held good and Mommy was kind of priding herself on the lack of lather on her head - all thanks to the Antartica thingy - until the next day.

While showering the next day too, Abhay was busy creating an "Antartica" on his tummy. "Mum - you told me this is Antartica ?" asked Abhay. "Yeah sweetie" beamed Mommy. "So Mum - can you tell me where are the penguins now. Because there are always penguins in Antartica."

Mommy has kind of decided to take the easy way out and look like one of those judges anyday !!!!!!!!!

The second incident happened yesterday while Mommy was getting Abhay back home from school.

We were already into the lobby of our block when Mommy noticed that distinctly mischevious gleam in Abhay's eyes. That gleam which really gets Mommy's guard up.

And sure enough, there it was - "When the lift doors are closing Mum - can I put my hand between the doors ?". His Highness was perched on the sofa in the lobby and mommy was waiting near the lift doors waiting for the lift to arrive at the podium.

Now not wanting to get into a protracted discussion by saying "No. You cannot put your hands between the lift doors when they are closing.", Mommy decided to use reverse psychology. Because Mommy knew only too well that he would do nothing of that sort. "Go ahead sweetie." said Mommy with an equally sweet smile. "Go right ahead and stick your hand between the lift doors as they are closing." There was that split second hesitation when he knew his bluff had been called, but like I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, the recovery was even swifter and he landed perfectly on his feet.

"Mum - big people first Mum. Mummy put your hand between the lift doors first when it closes and I'll sit and see from the sofa. After you finish, I will try."

What mommy is still trying to figure out is this - Why and How does she manage to get herself into such situations ?????!!!!!
Like Franklin P. Jones once said
"Children are unpredictable. You never know what inconsistency they're going to catch you in next."
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14 April, 2008

Happy Vishu !!!

If your first step is wrong, it is often said, the whole journey will be wrong. All over the world, strong emphasis is laid on beginnings. Getting off to a good start is essential, as the beginning is the foundation upon which everything that comes after, rests.

Indian culture, perhaps more than any other, stresses the importance of beginning things properly. The position of the stars and planets is taken into consideration to ensure auspicious beginnings, homas are performed and stotrams are chanted to Lord Ganesha in order to remove potential obstacles before the start of any undertaking.

In Kerala, the start of the Zodiac New Year—when the sun enters into Sidereal Aries, Ashwini nakshatra—is celebrated as Vishu.
It is said that what one sees when one first opens one's eyes on Vishu morning is an indication of what one can expect in the year to come. Thus on Vishu, effort is made to ensure that one opens one's eyes before an auspicious image—the Vishukkani.

While the festival is called "Vishu" only in Kerala, across India festivals sharing the same spirit—such as Ugadhi in Andhra Pradesh and in Karnataka, Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra, Bihu in Assam and Baisakhi in Punjab—are celebrated around the same time of year.

The Malayalam word kani literally means "that which is seen first," so "Vishukkani" means "that which is seen first on Vishu."

Arranged in the family puja room the night before by the mother in the family, the Vishukkani is a panorama of auspicious items, including images of Lord Vishnu, flowers, fruits and vegetables, clothes and gold coins.

Gold—both in colour and in coin—is central to the Vishukkani. Kanikkonna, a golden-yellow flower associated with Sri Krishna is used liberally throughout the puja room. This flower only blooms when the sun is in its most exalted position astrologically—the month surrounding Vishu. In the puja room, the flower represents the sun itself, the eyes of Lord Vishnu. Gold coins are symbols of monetary affluence, as well as cultural and spiritual wealth, which the elders of the family must share freely with the younger generation. Vishukkaineettam, the distribution of wealth, is another aspect of the festival. It should be given freely and accepted with reverence

The grandmother or mother who arranges the Vishukkani will sleep in the puja room after she is finished and then, waking during the auspicious hour of the Brahma muhurata (4:00 to 6:00 a.m.), she will light the oil-lamp wicks and take in the auspicious sight. She will then walk to the rooms where the rest of the family is sleeping and wake them. Covering their eyes, she will then lead them to the puja room, where she will allow them to take in the auspicious sight.

Upon opening one's eyes, one is overwhelmed with the glorious darshan of the Lord. The mirror—which is symbolic of Bhagavati (Devi), not only increases the lustre of the Vishukkani via the reflection it offers, but also shows our own face, reminding us that God is not someone sitting in the heavens upon a golden throne, but the pure consciousness that is our true nature. The mirror also points to the importance of making our mind pure enough to render this truth unadulterated.

Vishukkani points to a year of abundance—both spiritually and materially. Food, light, money, knowledge—all should fill our life. Taking in the Vishukkani we should pray that the vision remains with us throughout the year. It is not enough that the joy we take from viewing the Vishukkani stops just at being a visual delight. It must reflect in our thoughts and in our actions. The auspicious start of the year—which has come to us due to the grace of beginning it with a divine vision—is not for us alone. It is up to us to spread this love, happiness and hope to the rest of society.
(Article source : amritapuri.org)
I leave you with pictures of the Vishukkani at The Krishnans'.

"Here's wishing everyone a Very Happy Vishu.
May the coming year be filled with Peace, Love, Happiness and Good Health."

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09 April, 2008

The Three Hundredth Post !!!!!!!

Wow !! Has it really been that many posts ?

I don’t, for the life of me, feel as though there have been that many. I certainly did not expect there to be that many. But my blog says something else :-). And since Math has never been my forte, I’ll take what blogger says. And blogger does indeed say that I’ve published 299 posts on Tiny Tidbits.

Blogging has been and still is such a wonderful experience. When I first started blogging, about 20 months back, the sole purpose was to chronicle the growing up years of the nutty siblings.

During the earlier days, there was hardly any traffic to my blog and I would find just a single comment somewhere in the midst of many many posts. As the months rolled past, I did realise that there were quite a few people out there who did visit Tiny Tidbits to read the escapades of the nutty siblings. Slowly but steadily, traffic to the blog grew further and further and the comment box began to fill. And this served as further motivation – not entirely in a narcissistic sense but also as a gentle and steady reminder that motherhood or parenthood serves to bring so many people under one single umbrella.

It also brought about a concrete realization that the joy, the angst, the worries, the thrills that parenting brings along – is a common thread that is shared by parents universally and that this thread is a very very strong one. It is a thread that is very solid and extremely resilient. It brings virtual strangers together as each one knows exactly what the other is going through. And empathy is a very strong emotion.

The other day, I happened to be browsing through my own posts – which had been published when Tiny Tidbits was babe in the blogging woods and I was a totally fresh blogger. I found myself automatically pulled down-memory-lane while reading those early posts. And I did find myself wondering and marvelling at the fact that just over a span of a year and a half or so, the nutty siblings have grown and changed so much. There have been so many new shades added to their personalities and many shades that have been shed over this period of time.

And those few minutes of travel that Tiny Tidbits took me on, back into the past which had already flitted and flown past, came the feeling that this was precisely what the blog was intended for. Serve as a memory capsule for those moments already gone by.
I do so hope that this online journal serves as a rich source of delight for the nutty siblings too, much later in the future. Once they grow up, it would be nice to see them delving into these memoirs and saying rather sheepishly "Hey. Did I do that ?" :-). Wishful thinking, huh !! ??

I was and very much am indeed glad and thankful to the many people and that one Universal Force that looks after the entire Universe, for having nudged me into this world of blogging, for showing me a path, for having directed my thoughts towards the possibility of writing and publishing something online. And to Vic in specific, as he was the driving force that took me that one last mile that I had to traverse in order to take the plunge into this wonderful world of blogs.

Not in the wildest of my dreams had I imagined that blogging would open up a whole new world for me. On a micro level, in terms of having a vent wherein I could channelise my thought processes and pen them down. On a macro level, the number of friends that the blogging world has brought me. This is indeed one of the greatest blessings that I’ve had.

Never had I imagined that one day in my life, when I sat down with a globe or an atlas in my hand and dreamt of travelling to places far and wide – there would be an additional dimension – that of meeting up with friends who are spread all over this globe. It is a feeling that never fails to delight me. Never did I imagine that the bonds that formed online would grow so very strong.
They did.
My online friends have become one of the greatest sources of encouragement and support. And the camaraderie that I feel with many of them is a treasure beyond description.

And last but most definitely not the least, I do owe a huge word of thanks to the nutty siblings for providing me with a continuous and steady stream of raw material to be penned and published on Tiny Tidbits :-).

So here I am, drumming up my 300th post on Tiny Tidbits. And as I do so, I cannot think of a better way to end this post than with a saying by Jelaluddin Rumi (a 13th century Sufi poet), which perfectly describes how this foray into the blogging world began for me.
“Drumsound rises on the air,
its sound, my heart.
A voice inside the beat says
“I know you’re tired, but come.
This is the way.”

And what a lovely voyage it has been so far. I do very much hope to continue chugging along on this railroad as long as I can, with all my heart and soul lovingly invested in this journey.

Like Confucius once said

“Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.”

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07 April, 2008

Mr.Exasperation thinks on his feet !!!

Mr.Exasperation is being, errr……, pretty much exasperating nowadays. But then again, what’s new ? He’s always lived up to this name of his. Exasperatingly enough, for the most part, Mr.Exasperation is exasperatingly correct in his explanations. To his advantage is the fact that he thinks out-of-the-box. Not a conformist, this one – atleast as far as his thought processes go.

Among the many other traits that I see in the younger sibling, the one thing that stands out ever so remarkably is his ability to think on his feet. In that single flash of an instant, before one can bat an eyelid, before one remembers to exhale the breath that had been inhaled just a nanosecond back, those synapses inside of his head have collected data, analyzed it, evaluated it and the brain has already sent an answer that needs to be vocally fired.

Even today, in the fourth decade of my life, the ability to come up with an instantaneous response, a witty rejoinder or a timely riposte still fails me. It is not something that comes naturally, there is a rather prolonged thought process involved.

A few days back, for instance – Abhay was giving us a detailed description of the drawing that he’d made when he’d been for his Primary School Interview. The theme they’d been given was “Family” and he’d drawn all four of us – dad, mom, Aparna and himself.
Aparna went ahead and asked him as to why he’d not drawn Thathi (Grandmom). And this question held enough validity because Thathi has been staying with us for well over eight years now. Why then, did you not draw Thathi as part of your “Family” drawing, persisted Aparna.
There was a momentary silence, just a split second before he came back with a rejoinder to her query.

“Aparna – when I was making my drawing, Thathi had gone out for her exercise walk. Thathi was not at home. So I did not draw Thathi.”

I was speechless and so was Aparna. It was a perfectly logical reply and what astonished us was the speed with which he landed on his feet even when he’d been momentarily tripped.

In fact, when we were alone later on, Appu did mention to me “Even I would not have thought of that answer”. Well, neither would I have even imagined it.

Then there was this other incident.

A few weeks back, Abhay pulled out (from all his collected bits of artwork made at school) the Food Pyramid that he’d made at school. Then he began a long explanation about the different sources of food and how one should have atleast 3-4 helpings of vegetables and fruits in a day. Now, come hell or high water, he will not eat his vegetables. And he seems especially allergic to the greens. We waited for him to finish his explanation of the food pyramid theoretically and once he was done I asked him “You say you are supposed to eat vegetables. But you never eat any of these (pointing to the veggies on the food pyramid)”.

Again, it was just a momentary bit of silence on his part before pat came the reply
“But Mummy – I cannot eat these vegetables (again pointing to the very same veggies on the food pyramid). Because mummy – this is paper and I cannot eat paper.”

Yet again, last weekend, we were getting back home after an outing. We were in the MTR and Abhay was trying out his newfound reading abilities by reading out the names of the stations on the MTR route map.

There was this sign on the MTR which read “emergency exits” with a symbolic picture of a person with arrows pointing towards either ends of the train.

Vic asked Abhay if he could read what was written on that signboard. Those eyes scrunched up in concentration and the brows furrowed as he tried to figure out the word “emergency”. When he realized that he could not figure it out fully, he simply said “it means that you can go that way or that way” pointing towards both ends of the train with his left and right hand.

And once he realized that his explanation was bought, he sought help in figuring out the word “emergency”, which, since then has been added to his dictionary of words.

Again yesterday, we were on our way back home after a lovely outing and trail trekking on The Victoria Peak. On the bus, a rather tired mommy was staring into nothingness, idle thoughts just swirling and twirling inside of her head when Abhay sprang into action suddenly and started to shout excitedly “Mummy there is a level crossing here. Look – a level crossing Mummy – look !!”

Mommy did not bother to look out of the window. “We are on the road Abhay. How can there be a level crossing here ?. There are no trains here.” said Mommy, pretty much like a horse with blinkers on.

“No Mummy. Look – there is a level crossing here” said Abhay, not budging even a millimeter on this one. “See There Mummy – there are tram tracks and here is the road. So it is a level crossing Mummy.” he said.

Sure enough, there were tram tracks on the road and theoretically, he was right.
Mommy had the good grace to look and feel totally sheepish.

I don’t know if this ability of his to think on his feet can be classified as wit but it sure serves its purpose. And one thing is becoming rather clear – it would be a safe guess to say that this quality is getting honed and sharper as the days go by. Mommy sure thinks twice and looks around and makes sure that she cannot be cornered before negating him or telling him “that theory of yours is wrong”. One never knows what kind of a surprise explanation he has in store.
And like I said before, he is exasperatingly right many a times.

Like G.K.Chesterton once said

“Wit is a sword. It is meant to make people feel the point as well as see it.”

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