Times They Are A Changing…

It’s quite a good winter here… the chill feels nice against the skin and the nip in the air feels crystal clear J I love winters… my favourite of all seasons…

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Moina’s third winter… do you know what that means?! She will soon turn three…oh, my gosh, wasn’t she just born!!!!!! Time flies and how?! My little lady has already started school. Although it’s got a slight speed bumper in the way that she fell ill. Again!!! I am now trying to use more common sense to calm my nerves when it comes to her because I cannot afford to live on the edge of paranoia as a mother. Her circle of exposure is increasing and that’s also opening new avenues of exposure for her, exposure to people, infections, various foods et al. So I am just trying to substantiate her misses with nutritious food. As much as possible.

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Moina is now slowly becoming a fussy eater. Not fussy because she is not enjoying foods, but she is more distracted these days. I used to lose my patience earlier and get all mad at her and that caused heartache at both ends. So now the trick that I have picked up is that I need to engage her. Tell a story, ask her about her day (I am a working mother so we end up meeting only late evenings), so I get into a story telling of her day, my day etc. What can I do? I don’t think I am spoiling her or that it’s going to create other baneful habits of not eating together et al. Right now this is what the scene is and the outcome has to be for her to eat her meals 🙂 So if she needs a story, a story she gets 🙂

Of late I had a few of my friends asking what books to buy for their children…well, my lil’un is almost three but I have always bought her books that I grew up with… simple but beautifully illustrated fairy tales, bed time stories, some pop-up books and Amar Chitra Kathas. I have also continued to bring in a steady stream of Bengali illustrated folk tales because that’s my mother tongue :-). But then the other day a very dear friend of mine who is also a new mother got me gifts for my baby. She got me something really priceless…she found a store in our little but very delightful city which sells ONLY Children’s books, beautifully illustrated and written only by Indian authors and storytellers. I mean, WOW!!! Indian designs and artistes just bring in a beautiful grace into any visual and you will know it when you see the pictures. The stories are short, crisp and absolutely imaginative. Love it. And Moina loves it too 🙂

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Image Courtesy: tulikapublishers

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Moina’s First PopUp book

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Panchatantra 🙂

I recently went home to my Mom and Dad along with Moina…these trips are always the most cathartic and indulging. It’s so always full of love, good food, great conversations and lots of laugh, hugs and sweet nothings. And I always learn something new about parenting. I noticed Mumma started engaging Moina in some small house errands and my little munchkin was more than happy to help and she did it all with great elan. And mum said engaging kids in housework gives them great delight and a sense of achievement. Also keeps them more productive and initiates a sense of discipline. That almost took me back to one of my grannies who runs a Montessori school and she had told me that kids love to work. You should always engage them in household chores…little by little and see how harmonious it gets managing a tot 🙂 Well, I am still trying.

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Moina now has started school and with my husband and me both full time professionals, I managed to negotiate a governess cum cook so to speak for her. So managing the lady’s timings, ensuring she takes care of the baby, does what she has to do around the house and all that is a new experience. I am not so fulfilled doing that because I reallllllllllyyyyyy wish I could feed her, tuck her into bed, dress her up etc. Especially when I go back home and realize that she is not dressed the way I wanted her to be, or she is down playing with her snacks half eaten, a little part of me gruntles and sinks in guilt and disappointment. I want to be with her, I want to work, I want to do her hair, I want to make that kick ass presentation, I want to cook her a delicious snack, I want to discuss my Client’s corporate strategy, I want to read her a story, I want to grow in my profession… what all I want?! And is that wrong?! I don’t think so… I just wish I could manage better, organize better… Tips anyone?!!!! Am all ears.

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Of Salt Pans and Sand Dunes

About a place I visited 13 years ago and something I wrote five years back. Couldn’t but help sharing it 🙂 Hope you enjoy it.

I wanted to write  this on February 24, since it was that day  eight years back that I visited that place and I am so thankful to God I got the opportunity. The place was Kutchch. 

We were in our final year of graduation and the coin was tossed to choose between Mount Abu and Kutchch for the Kutchch Mahotsav. And we all chose the latter 🙂 An overnite journey of just 36 odd girls and  we all landed at Gandhidham from where we were taken to Bhuj in a hotel that was still being constructed. But we did not mind it. Our rooms were done up and we were excited. Even as we landed in the middle of February the sun was beating down on us and the rising mercury did not care much about what we thought of the weather, which was the hottest, driest, sunniest ever. I mean, everything was sunny, yellow, and you would see coloured blotches of sun every two minutes, if you know what I mean. If you know what Looh is in Hindi(dry, extreme, hot breeze with dust), then great…coz that was what it was all about. But who cared. We were a bunch of teenagers who were just happy to be in a place which I don’t think we would have visited otherwise.

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The order of the day was gulp down as many  glasses of Chhaas and water, since en route on our bus journey to the rest of Kutchch, that was what we would be in dire need of. But wouldn’t want to ramble on the amount of sunscreens and the sun strokes we all got…what I really want to share with you is the colour that met my eyes, the smiles that touched my soul, the land seeped in history and beautiful strong men and women bejeweled with the most exquisite silver finery you can ever see.  Every summer I am reminded of the beauty that exists in the deserts and barren mountains of our country.

Bachao and Anjaar, places that have now disappeared from the face of this earth (The worst ever earthquake that hit on January 26, 2001) were famous for their weapons and superior quality artistry amongst the blacksmiths who carved magic in those weapons and also for their vegetable prints and handlooms that burst in colourful richness and brilliant threadwork that was the result of nimble diligent fingers working day in and day out.  Flourishing with almost twenty different tribes, we had a glimpse of their religion, culture, their dance and song, their celebration and talent. 

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We visited the palace of the King of Kutchch (which you see as the British headquarters in the film Lagaan) . We were witness to original forms of Garba at the Dhrang mela where men and women danced in gay abundance and such free spirited they were, so oblivious of the temperatures that scorched the very epidermis of the bodies was brilliant.  In the three days and four night trip, we were witness to sand dunes and salt pans, peacocks and rare species of birds that flew from the North Pole to the sanctuary, we paid obeisance to the gods in age old Jain temples and chatted with  soldiers who showed us the Indo-Pak borders far away in the horizon. We tried to communicate in a language that was not Gujarati and Kutchchi spoken by people in the cities and the rest of us just stared, gawked and used some arbitrary sign languages to get across 🙂

We rode camels, ran across forests, wide empty scorching roads and watched in amazement as peacocks flew all around us like house sparrows. They were beautiful men and women and even innocent children. And I was thrilled we visited them.

It hit me hardest when I realized that we went from cities that celebrated the hype, the craziness and the mindless advent of the new millennium…while for them who walked the sand dunes and salt pans, it was just another hot day, with the women working on their colourful threads, the men still holding shops selling their talent to tourists who marveled but of course…it was just another day in the Rann of Kutchch  and I felt ashamed of our pseudo beliefs and events that mean nothing beyond champagnes and effervescent exchange of emotions, frenzy that makes me wonder whether we are celebrating the dawn of a new day which is as mundane as yesterday…

….and yet those just another days in the Rann of Kutchch were the few of the best moments of my life. Am attaching a couple of pictures, of what it was then that may not exist anymore.

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This trip was one of our most memorable trips. In the final year of graduation, we chose Kutchch over Mount Abu. Don’t think we regret it. One year before the earthquake, we saw everything that that beautiful land had to offer. Colourful embroidery in the middle of nowhere, bedecked camels, men and women, silver glitterati in scorching sun and the traditional Kutchch Mahotsav…Beautiful!!!