Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Restroom Story!

I would like to continue with the series on restroom episodes, if you don’t mind!  :-)

I bumped into P’s first grade composition. She had written pages on her bathroom , I mean, restroom adventures. And I thought I was the only one who had such experiences worth noting down. She was just a 6 year old kid then, and in 2 years of  elementary school..she had so much to write on this aspect of her life!  Then, I should be able to write a book on mine!

She writes of her experience of bumping into her sisters or her best friend (from that time) in the restroom and gossiping across the doors with each other. In another, she describes an incident where she had to take a restroom excuse while doing some class work, cause she was in a rush to go.  She was expressing excitement at being able to go to the bathroom alone, which I can understand because, it reminded me of my experience of standing in lines right from my school and there’s been no change in it as I grew up. Not even when I came to USA, where, you have a bathroom, I mean, RESTROOM everywhere and so many of them! So, this doesn’t change in any part of the world uh!…Emerging countries or developed ones, its the same story. It reminded me of the night from long long back, before the kids were in our lives, from one Dec 31st.

Being newly married and having our friends over, we had decided to set out to the place of all to be in, on New Year’s eve, to the New York city’s ball drop event.  New York city is a beautiful place to be in during the holidays. During the weeks before Christmas until the New Years’ Eve. The decorations are amazing, the crowds are amazing, the holiday spirit can be felt to its fullest, shopping is in full swing and in and around Rockefeller center rocks.

 DSC_0079 (2)                                      DSC_0133DSC_0143  DSC_0053 DSC_0239          (The christmas tree on the far end at the Rockerfeller’s. Didn’t dare to walk out there with my kids, but we were there! this year 2010…)


DSC_0255     ( Driving towards the Times Square!)

DSC_0313 (2)          (TImes Square in the far end…Road was cordoned off to traffic)

It was biting cold that night on New Year’s eve. Hadn’t experienced such cold in a long time…We landed at Penn Station NY and started to walk towards Times Square. The usual ways were all blocked and cordoned off. We were made to walk through other streets and it felt like for ever, to reach the spot. The crowd was like I had never seen before. We managed to reach the spot but by then, all of us had to go to the restroom! There were no public restrooms nearby. Most of the restaurants had the sign on their windows saying..”No Restroom available”. 

Since we couldn’t wait any longer and felt like our nose and ears were just about to freeze and break off from our faces. Unable to stand the pushing from the crowd and the pressure from our bulging bladder, We took a poll and decided to go back home because this whole thing seemed way crazy for us to handle. So, we started walking back and it took us a while to reach back to Penn Station. When we came was almost a mile long line to the restrooms. A little exaggeration, but u get the point...! We had no choice, we waited and luckily none of us had any episode and were able to save our wastes to be dumped into the respective commodes.

Then we took the first train back into New Jersey. This was so calm because, most of the crowd was travelling into the city and we were leaving the city. We reached home just in time to watch the ball drop being shown on TV. That’s when all of us realized it would have been so much better to have just enjoyed the New Year’s eve at home with friends. Then, we all wondered, how the crowd there was able to take this. Were they all in diapers or something!  Didn’t people have to go to the loo?

Going to the bathroom (well, that’s what they are called in India) at school in India is an experience of another sort. The WC or loo was different and the omnipresent line existed during the intervals. We had to squat over the porcelain bowl that was at ground level, with our butt in the air.  Bathroom tissue is a recent phenomenon( just like the western commodes). They didn’t exist in my times. I don’t know how I survived so many years in India without tissue paper. Yes, water is good but, one needs a tissue too, isn’t it?!

When I came to the USA, it was such a relief to find cleaner RESTROOM’s with hand wipes too, wash basins with running water(!), soap! But, what was this, the doors didn’t close peep-tight! There were peep gaps below, front and everywhere. How should I undress and seat my butt on this seat that somebody else had just touched, when I know anybody can peep in, if they choose to!  I had felt really uncomfortable but, when you got to go, you got to go! It took a while but, eventually one gets over it and conforms to the new ways.

Now fast forwarding to the time my kids were born. This time, God was about to teach me a new lesson. The babies were all girls (like that was any news !)

“All yours, All Girls!!!”, people said.

“So what! Fine with us..”, we thought.

They grew up and the excitement of first time parents to potty train your kids set in. They were all potty trained by 18 – 20 months. Proud Parents we were!

“Good!” we applauded ourselves, “You are on the right path as parents”.

All was fine for a while until, my girls realized the fun of going potty outside in people’s home, in rest areas, in hotels, everywhere else except at home. And all of them being girls..I was the naturally appointed one to take them to relieve themselves. Then the fun would start

“Kids, Don’t touch anything..Let me help you.!!” I could be heard shouting in the restrooms and repeating it incessantly.

Then, I would start cleaning the potty’s seat and around so the kids wouldn’t be touching any germs.  For me, one sick kid meant 3 sick kids,  eventually!

Couldn’t risk that. I had auto-magically turned into a Mysophobic. Then, I would seat the first, then the second and then the third on this shining cleaned up potty. All the while, yelling at the other 2 who weren’t on the potty, to not touch anything..(repetition was the key…to handle toddlers, they taught us well!).

Then I would be all set to wipe the wash basins, because, my kids would just rest their arms on the sinks to wash their hands. This was so exciting for do grown things in grown up sized basins and bowls.

By the time I was done with their hand washing and run to the door before they touched the knobs, I would have completed about 20 minutes of back breaking lifts. 

Pavan would be done with his business and waiting for us outside the restroom. After months at this, I started to revolt. I told him, it was time he took over some of this responsibility, even if it meant taking the kids over to his restroom and the girls had to see weenie's all around.

In moments of rage, this didn’t feel unreasonable at all...  This wasn’t fair, all the time , he gets to gloat showing his biceps to me and it was I, who was actually doing all the lifting.  The girls on their part, helped the situation by saying..”I want Mama”.

I tell you, these were the times, the only times, I wished they had all been boys instead of girls. Then, I would start to cry and say..

“God, this is not least there should be some balance here so, Pavan could take a couple of his restroom.”

Actually, If I think about it…I’m sure I wouldn’t have trusted boy children with Pavan to be taken to men’s restrooms too. Who knows, how careful Pavan would be in keeping the kids safe, from the germs!

Now the girls are bigger and smarter and I don’t have to say this anymore. Hopefully, they are following all the hygiene at school and washing their hands before they exit the restroom. It isn’t as hectic to take them to the restroom now, but, Richa is still a toddler who needs assistance so, basically, my position has still not changed.  I’m still in charge of taking toddlers to the restroom when we go out.

AH!! I’m so done with that!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Potty Training Conquered? Not yet!

“I guess, I am going to give up now!”, I heard R saying from the bathroom. What was she going to give up already, at such a tender age? you wonder.
I had sent her to pee on the potty, before bedtime, even though she had told me that she has done it a little while ago. My “…” is empty!, she tried explaining me. Still, my mommy mind was sure, she could do some more.
When I had my triplets..I always used to fear as they grew out of infanthood, how I was going to potty train my kids.  Studiously, as soon as the calendar showed they were a year old, we had bought 2 potty chairs for them. The musical kind. The ones that sing when one pours something in it.  That would surely impress them..enough to pee into it, we had thought.
Why 2 potty chairs? Why not 3?  I had guessed, not all may want to go potty at the same time, and the fear of bumping into potty chairs when I have to go to the restroom at nights was terrifying! As it is, walking around at nights, without stepping on any of their toys had been difficult to cope with.  As first time parents, we didn’t know an alphabet of what Potty training really meant and its complications.
We had set those 2 chairs on the counter top of our bathroom. Our bathroom had this convenient long counter without a wash basin. Why such a HIGH setup, you ask?
To keep them at eye level of course!  Be reasonable, you say?
Can you imagine a 1 year old, who listens, when spoken to? My toddlers were no-where close to that.  They just did what their mind told them to.   Picture this! I just brought P to the chair, then I go to bring N to the other then, P would have walked away. And, potty chairs don’t come with seat belts right! The only way to lock them on their seat was to place the chair such, that, they couldn’t escape!  The first 10 seconds were so heartening. P and N tried to gossip with each other. We were already feeling elated that this is not going to be difficult after all, that the kids are understanding the fun of this exercise, so soon!
No sooner we thought that, they started to fuss about being on the seat, I got one down.   Then, it was K’s turn to get on the potty, I put her along a sibling of her’s who was willing to stay on the chair. I stood there, so she could be close to my chest..Suddenly, K started screaming and crying as if the whole world was going to turn apart or the gravity that is keeping us to the floor is going to fail and we are going to be thrown into the atmosphere.  So, I got her down and calmed her. Then, I tried putting her on the chair again. Same reaction. Days turned to weeks, she screamed the same.  I kid you not, I could feel the walls behind her…shake a little bit.  She was this tiny little thing, a literal feather weight, but, she had this cry that could move a mountain.
Without giving up..(like I had a choice there!), I continued this everyday. Soon, P and N  were comfortable to stay seated on the chair..they spoke with each other, while they sat on their chair. It had become their gossip spot. And one fine day, one of them ( I think it was N), PEED into the bowl for the first time ever!  I hadn’t felt this thrilled even when I had trained my dog to roll on the ground, on command.  Actually, that’s so much easier.
She had gotten scared and excited to see me scream like I had, out of joy!!  It had felt more like my achievement, than the kids’. I had achieved something that no mom had achieved so far. (Well, it felt that way!), I had gotten one of the triplet to pee in the potty, after weeks of seating them on the potty!
Soon, they were able to pee in the potty consistently, for at least one time of the day. The first pee of the day..The morning call!  After that, I couldn’t track when they wanted to go and they couldn’t tell me that. They were left in diapers for the day.  When they were about 17 months, we went to India. I had loaded about 3 suitcases of diapers because, we were planning to stay there for more than a month..for almost 2 if we could. Since, we didn’t have carpets over there, I took the liberty of leaving them without diapers. They peed on the floor sometimes, but soon, they were trained to pee in the potty at least during the day.
Eventually, K also got accustomed to sit on the potty chair. By the time we returned from the trip, I had kids that didn’t need a diaper during the day. Can you believe, our diaper costs dropped so much?  But, this turned into another problem. Being first time parents, and watching the pressure that fellow parents put us through…
“Are your children trained? … Have you started potty training them?” and being a little excited ourselves..we sure had gotten them trained but, they were tiny toddlers with a tiny bladder. They needed to go every so many minutes. We were to learn this lesson of the day too!
Once we had ventured out from home for more than 2 hours. We had even used the pull ups on them, just in case they had to go!  Soon, the kids did have to go. The kids cried that they needed to go in a potty, and they refused to pee in the diaper.  I can’t forget the way we had rushed home that day. We were a good 20 minutes away from home.
After that incident, we started to carry a potty chair with us when ever we went out. In this excitement of being good parents, we had potty trained our kids before they were ready.
So, when it came R’s turn, I was wiser 3 times over(At least I thought so!). Even though, I did feel the pressure as she was crossing the 14 month and then 15..month mark. I had not done a bit to let her know this basic manner we humans use to Pee.  But somehow, she had watched her elder sisters do their potty on that big bowl. She wasn’t scared of it. She was willing to sit on it. She also tried to repeat this chore, (the sitting part) after her sisters.
Soon, without any input from me she started clearing her bladder on the big POT.  Then, it came time to train her for the nights..During the time she was turning 2…Hubby dear had taken on himself to get her to be trained for the nights. R had got so scared of this pressure that she started to wake me up at nights to go potty. I realized that it had made her so nervous and was disturbing her sleep somehow.  I asked Hubby dear to back off and didn’t pressure her as much after that.
Now, she is going to be 4 next month and she still wets her diaper now an then, at nights. She is so ashamed of this in the morning that she removes her diaper herself, disposes it and comes down dressed to greet me, nervous that she’s going to be asked that horrendous question..
“Did you wet your diaper?”
If she did, she is all “I’m sorry Mama…I’m not going to do that again!”
“I can make silly faces for you Mama”, she says trying to placate me, trying to make me forget it.
That’s one reason, we insist that she empties anything in her bladder before she goes to sleep.  She for her in to this rule. For if not, she knows, she’ll not able to keep her diaper dry at night.
There’s another problem of kids getting independent with their nature calls. They would go potty themselves, wipe themselves and we wouldn’t even know they went. The triplets used to help each other too, during potty times. I wouldn’t have a clue, they had gone potty. Later, when I see the messy underpants, I realize, she went and I needed to clean her up.
I had made it a rule for the triplets that they always call me, when they need to go potty. I’ve made the same rule with R too.
This is one part of parenting, I’m still nervous about. That I’m never going to conquer, even if I had to train a dozen kids. Each kid is unique and has their own way at it. Now that this is said…Shouldn’t it be me who should be saying…
“I Guess, I’m going to give up now”!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My budding Map reader!


This cutie sees a map in everything that has instructions written on them.  Either Dora or that imaginary alien that she talks to (who she calls  BAKA), has clearly done the magic on her. She just can’t ignore and walk away from a set of instructions that comes her way. How can she? Her tiny, soon to be 4 year old mind, is programmed to be an explorer, at least, for the next few years, while she is gaining hands on experience. If not for the snow outside, she would be trekking around outside with BAKA, like Calvin for more of such experiences.image

She seems to know the knack of reading maps better than me (Just to remind you my prowess at reading could click here) taunting me each time she manages to make the instructions seem so simple!  And, I couldn’t find the road on a map that was clearly right in front of my eyes?! I’m sure, it wasn’t the case of a bad eye sight.

She finds maps when I open the dryer to put in clothes to dry, or above the washer, when she sits on it, to watch the water flow when the wash cycle is in progress. She found a map behind the last row of seats of the van. It instructs us, how to flatten the seat. Not to mention all the items we buy  have maps on them too. The simplest of candles have maps, that instructs us that we need to light them up with a “Chook” (Her way of referring to the lighter or a match stick”). Even the wipes have maps, showing us where to use them!

DSC_0898 DSC_0901

Sometimes, she misses them so much that she could invent one if needed, at the oddest spot. She invented one such map for her potty chair.  She has created a set of instructions for me, how to remove the bowl to flush her stuff.   There’s always a simple explanation to everything that seems so complicated to Mama!

“Mama, the map says that we need to get into the van and sit on our seat. Then we have to pull this belt, this way and stick it here!”

She has made me realize how many instructions are available on anything and everything around us, that I had never cared to look at earlier…

“Look mama! look at what the map says…”, pointing to the box of retractable ball point pens…”We need to do “Kee Cook” and we can write with this”.

And look at this map that she found…This map says the story of 5 uncles and 1 aunty who are riding the horse whom she will never miss knowing, as she turns into a women!!!  Well the 6th uncle is not visible completely right!..  image


The other day, she got her “Squiggly” chair, the one that rolls and takes you from one spot to another.  Yey!  After she put up a fair and brave battle that she deserves to have a chair of her own along with her Didis(elder sisters) at their study table. When it was time to assemble the chair, who better to rely on..for instructions. Reading them, she gave instructions to her Papa how he could assemble the parts together.  It was installed without any problems.


I want to wish my budding map reader to keep at it and tell me all those simple stories of the maps she reads, that my so called, wise mind, of so many years isn’t able to think off! How else to say cheers to childhood and all the fun of it , but, with a quote from Calvin and Hobbes rather than with a glass like thingy! (in the list of most used words of my triplets dictionary).

“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want”

Monday, December 27, 2010

Story of the plastic flowers.


Today marks the end of 14th year we committed ourselves into this beautiful relationship as husband and wife. Wow!! Already 14 years we said “I Do” in court that day, with 2 people to witness our joining as husband and wife, while the third witness was lost on the streets of NJ trying to find her way to the court. She made it along with her heartfelt wishes to our home after the ceremony :-). Not even cell phones were common then! Today, every car is equipped with a GPS as standard.

I had felt so overwhelmed when it was my turn to say “I Do” as the mayor of the town was reading the wedding vows.  These were the same 2 words I had replied to his query, in my very first email reply to Pavan.  He was a member of the Indian Students Association and had made arrangements for the new Indian students coming to the university, to be picked up from the airport, before he had left for his job in New York. He had already graduated from the university by the time I had arrived.  I had written to him from India asking information about the town and the campus when I got his contact information in my admission package.

After I had settled into this new place, I had received this email from him..”Do you remember me?” to which I had replied saying “I Do”. He had replied saying “Be careful, what you say!”  I had wondered what was wrong with what I had replied. It was the best laconic answer I could have given. I had turned to my office mate to understand what was wrong in what I wrote.  She was such a lively girl and she had shouted saying…”Ooooo, you say that when you get married”.

I had dressed in this flashy sari and was looking totally out of place compared to the other people in the court hall that day. But, I had no other “Flashy dress” with me and we both had nothing extra in our pockets to buy ourselves something new although, we did buy rings for each other, lest the mayor refused to marry us without them :-).  It was a silk sari my sister had loaned me when I had come to the US to pursue my studies.

marriage dec 27 1997-2

Our families being in India, we had decided to tie the knot before we leave to India, in January, for the real Social Ceremony.  Pavan, had seen another reason, a financial one, why we should complete this before the year ends. For if we marry before Dec 31st, I could be considered his dependent for the whole year, giving us a tax break!!! My God! Heights of being Practical!  And here I was..nervous that we were about to be married.

I don’t know why I had even felt all these medical emotions that Hobbes describes…for this man!!

image  (If this is difficult to is the link.)

If I told you some details that our courtship involved, you would wonder why too!

The first time he had come to meet me, I was hoping that he would be bringing some flowers for me.  That would be a very nice romantic gesture I had thought. Instead, he had handed me this box of donuts that he had munched on, during his drive, as he entered my home. It had been such a disappointment. Sure, he had driven 7 hours to meet me for a weekend, still, how could he have been so thoughtless, I had thought.

During our conversations later, I had let this disappointment slip of my tongue. Soon, he had made another trip to meet me, driving another 7 hours, all the time munching on donuts and coffee to keep him awake.  I had gone down to greet him as I saw his car park.  Without turning to face me, he was unpacking from his car, handing me things..That inevitable box of donuts, his bag..and a bunch of white plastic flowers. OMG! I couldn’t believe this. This guy is giving me flowers, that were white and they are not even real!  Later, I came to know that he hadn’t even realized the flowers were not real. I could have called him unfeeling, insensitive and many more such at that moment . He couldn’t make out real flowers from fake ones?!!!

The next time..he came to meet me. He surely didn’t forget his box of donuts, but, this time he handed me a bunch of pink silk flowers! What’s with this guy..I had thought, He surely had graduated to bringing pink colored silk flowers so, clearly, he is not color blind but, does he even feel my made me think of his tactual abilities.  He still hadn’t figured out that he had picked artificial flowers!  It had taken quite some focus on his part to make this part of him functional.

I remember, during the spring break when I had gone to his place. As he stood at the airport terminal waiting for me, with a bunch of 4 red roses.., somebody there had asked him ..

“Hey Man! are you going to pop the question to your lady, now?”

I had asked him what that was, ..and he had replied..

“Each of this red rose has a word to tell you....Will you marry me?”

Wow! he had come a long way since our first episode with flowers. Till this day, those 2 bunches of artificial flowers sit proudly on our dining table, telling the story of our courtship to all the curious minds who are interested in knowing it without retorting back at us..” That’s the 20th time you are telling us this story!!”


How “Olds” are you?


“Mama your too old’s”,

Richa said as we walked from the Christmas Party(s) of her elder sisters, in their class, towards our Van in the parking lot. I had not gotten a spot close to the entrance of the school, since, I was one of the last mom’s to reach school for whatever Party’s were in progress. It had been one of the coldest day of the week. The wind was not helping either. We both were trying to save our ears, lest it froze and snapped off, while we raced to the Van.

She had enjoyed this Christmas party so much. Even though she had one in her class just the day before, I’m sure it was all erased from her mind after, what she experienced today.

DSC_0034 (3)                               (Richa’s class party)

Parties in 8 year olds’ classes are really cool.  They don’t always need to stay at their chair. They are even allowed to make Pancakes in their class!!


Almost all her sister’s classmates had followed her in the classroom and she had bonded with them in a way she had never known before.  She had always felt great to be friends with her elder siblings and copy them but, it had not been this much fun.  All the kids had joined in and started this “Tag ME”, “Tag Him” game and she was so obliging to do it..for them.DSC_0081

“Baby, can you talk?” they had asked her when she had entered.

“Richa, Talk to them!”, N had coaxed her .

 DSC_0070 DSC_0046

Then after a while she had opened up after they posed with her for lots of pictures, hugging them, and they read stories for her. They had taken a while searching for books that they could read for her.  One of the Moms had made a puzzled face when she saw her son calling Richa, a baby.

“Then what are you?”, she had asked him.


The teacher hadn’t been able to stop the “Tag” game that got out of hand with the class. After a while she announced that it was the end of the party since the parents were not moving out :-)


I has hoped to stick around for some more time as I had to attend K’s Christmas Party in her class after this. But, when I was almost kicked out of N’s class, I thought, it was Ok, if I would go about 10 minutes early to K’s class. I went to K’s class which was just next door,  only to find that the play that was on their agenda, had already started. And, K’s part was done!!!

I know, she wouldn’t have looked for me in the sea of these huge people, which were the parents’ in front of them.  The kids looked so tiny and over shadowed with so many parents and other teachers in the class. I was all armed with my camera that even clicked video’s! But, I didn’t need to use it because, the part I was to tape was over!

When all the play was over, one of K’s teacher spotted me and said, she did great! “Maybe this is her calling!”, she said.

I was too embarrassed to confess that I had missed her part. I don’t think K  likes to ask me..

“Mama, did you see my part? How was I?”

She hasn’t asked me that still and I hope she never asks me because, I may have to lie ( I hope I will be forgiven for it, if I ever have too!).  I don’t want to disappoint her by telling her that I had actually missed her part. This is what happens when Mommy’s have so many things to take care of on their “to do list”.  I had marked her class party time as 11.30am instead of 11.00am in spite of being reminded so many times of the time.

“N, you remember it and send me to her class, when I need to be there”, I had told, unable to remember. N didn’t remember to push me out of her class. Blame it all on her?!!! The kids are so sweet that..if I had to tell this to N, she would reply saying…

“Yes Mama, this is all my fault. I’m so sorry”. 

(A grown up lady had once told me during my triplets pre-school days..”when they will be around 6-10 years of age…that will be your honeymoon period of motherhood, especially with girls”).

As for Richa, she had felt so bored during this part where the play was being enacted. So, she lay down on the floor of the class,  with her back up and resting on her elbows, she was trying to write/draw something on her paper, her project of course!

Once the play was done, she asked me where K was and ran to her. K felt so proud showing of her little sister. Something about girls and having baby sisters…(well, however old the younger sister, they are always a baby sister to them!).  Even the boys were interested in playing sitters to this baby and she enjoyed this attention.

DSC_0106 DSC_0101


Soon, Richa and K were in a tiff.  Richa wanting to use her crayons and K was saying,  “They are new, I haven’t even used them yet!”

I told Richa that a box of crayons were waiting for her at home, even newer than the ones K claimed hers’ was, and we got out of the class, to go home.

That’s when I thought..

OMG, am I appearing so old, that my toddler is telling me

“Mommy, you are too olds”.

Then she said..

“And, Papa is one olds, and Didis(elder sisters) are 3 olds”.

I took a sigh of relief..Ok, she was talking about our age, as she saw it.

“I was two olds, Papa was one olds and Didis were 3 olds and she was 8 olds!”

If this is how aging was, …I didn’t mind growing a few more years older! :-)

(P.S. K did ask me how she did her part…on Christmas Day. I had to tell her the truth since, I had no control of the words coming out of my mouth. She then read out the whole play again for us and we video taped it.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Story of my “Name”!


This is the first time I am posting for a Writers Workshop. Of all the prompts from the list, I want to choose this topic not because, I have a story to tell, of my name. There isn’t any that I have thought off, but,  my 8 year old daughter has a story to tell of “her name”! In fact, its in the form of a POEM, in her own words.

The other day, I came across this sweet poem that she had written about her name. I was so touched and amazed at this talent of hers’. Obviously, she is very happy and proud of her name. (At least there is one thing I didn’t make a mistake of…Naming Her!). She has this very shy and sweet girl personality with an attitude that couldn’t hurt a single soul in the world. She finds so much comfort in putting her thoughts in her book that she maintains, rather than expressing them with people as this is very intimidating to her.

DSC_0341  Here she is in the middle being hugged by her 2 identical siblings.

Five ways I would describe her :

1. Shy

2. Gentle

3. Cute

4. Beautiful voice.

5. Very proud and happy with her name.

Her name is “Kauvya”. In Sanskrit, this means a “Poem”.  This is the poem that she had written in her journal about herself. I’m printing it with her permission and she is going to be so happy to get some encouraging comments. (Reminds me that I need to share this hobby of hers’ with her teacher so she can be guided in the right way. We have been trying to find some niche of hers’ that she could identify with as “hers”,  to be different from her 2 other sisters, to boost her confidence.)


Poems are natural,

Poems are sweet,

I like Poems, because they are neat!

My name means Poem,

I feel like a Poem.

Even my stomach growls poems, whenever I need a treat!

I feed on Poems,

I need Poems,

When I write them, I’m told, “What a great FEAT!”

I can make a poem out of hats,

I can make a poem of cats,

I can make a poem of anything, even  sheets and streets and flat-feet!

I can write a poem fast,

I can write a poem slow,

I can also write a poem in a Heartbeat!

when I remember something, I write a poem,

when I see something, I write a poem,

My favorite activity is writing a poem, because,  it makes me feel complete!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ramblings of a disturbed mind.

Recently, my blog had been mocked at for being a weather man, for talking too much about my kids. I could give some value to the weather man stuff but why poke at talking about my kids? Wasn’t this supposed to be a MOMMY BLOG!  And, this Mommy happens to reside in a cold place right now!

It also made me wonder, Did I put the content up for people’s review?  And, why would anybody spend time creating another article off of an obviously not so interesting content…was it for lack of a subject!  Don’t we just move on from blogs that gets uninteresting?

A big part of a Mommy blog is about indulging us mommies while we drone on about our kids. Not because we love the sound of our voice, but because nothing in the world seems more sensible or important enough. My blog is not a place to find smart literary pieces with pompous language (although, there are lots of mommy’s out there that write about their kids with the versatility and finesse of a published author).

I thought, I was writing a simple mommy journal, jotting down all the precious, funny moments, cute moments I have with my kids, so that these moments don’t become vague memories, just like it says on my profile. There was no hidden agenda to this blog.. Of course mommy’s, especially mommy’s of toddler kids and mommy’s of multiples repeat stuff. They have to! Its imperative for their survival. Its how they keep their children safe and themselves sane. Then after a while, something else starts to happen, they become programmed at it like a robot. Imagine, If one has to repeat

“Wake up ..girls” four times multiplied by the number of reminders it takes to really wake up the kids. If one starts to account for these calls (that sound like a rooster shouting on the roof top) from the first call of the day till we complete all calls for the whole day, from getting their kids to eat breakfast to getting them dressed to reminding them to take the right bus and return back home from school. From getting them to complete their homework and not forget to take it back to school, to having their dinner and brush before they go to sleep, all this, while dealing with a cute toddler who throws tantrums…we would come to an unimaginably obscene humongous number!

Can you imagine what this can do to you? It starts to seep into your system, into your cells, into your DNA, thus creating this new gene in your body that the next offspring you have,  will have to inherit this new trait.  This new breed of kids would love to repeat and love the sound of their own voice for doing it. Interesting case of a not so genetic MUTATION!

I feel bad, I didn’t drone as much when the triplets were toddlers. Failure to do this, had almost made me forget how they were as babies and toddlers. I almost forgot this peculiar way of talking that N would do..It had taken us a while to figure out that she was saying the words backwards. That had been a difficult learning process, filled with episodes of helplessness and frustrations.  The kid, frustrated at her mom, for her inability to understand her and the mom being helpless about this, until suddenly, this light bulb flashed with a brilliance of a star making it clear!

Oh!! means ka-pa  for cup,

Oh!!..Ta-ba means ba-ta for button.

These would have made good stories at the time, if I had started this journal so many years ago. Its difficult to catch the interpretation of a parents’ feeling, even if they succeeded in capturing the moment in pictures and videos. I surely missed out on journaling the most precious parts of the triplets’ toddlerhood days. The triplets would surely miss this account of their lives when they try to read through these blogs as they grow and try to look back.

I didn’t want to repeat this mistake again. So, I had set off, jotting down every little quirk and sound of my current cute talking toddler. Every little situation my kids made here after would be mulling in my head to write about.  There was no intention to produce commendable works of literature or show off my prowess on how creative I could get at writing, because, I have none. Because, this gene somehow  had escaped me or blame it on my schooling! Nor had I ever expressed my intention to be an accomplished writer some day, or aspire to join a prestigious writer’s guild.

I enjoy funny, so, I try a bit myself, at my own cost. I also visit blogs with humor on their agenda to fulfill this need of mine. I admire how neatly and simply they are able to portray everyday of their life in such a funny manner most of the times, poking fun at themselves.  My blog was clearly devoted to accounting my travails as a parent of four kids of which 3 happen to be of the same age.  Bringing up kids of the same age does have a challenge of a different sort.  I’m sure many of you are interested in knowing the dynamics between the triplets.

So, for those of you interested in reading my blog, here is a promise. I will continue to post content that relates to my family and my life with a little bit of photography, gardening, music  and art involved because these happen to be some of the things I dabble in everyday.  I am going to whine about what my kids put me through, because, this is my outlet too!  Not because I want to complain but, because it makes be feel better.  I don’t make fun of other people’s blogs if it didn’t suit my taste..Self deprecation is one tool I love to use sometimes to make the blog sound funny. To me, this just shows confidence and acceptance of one’s imperfections. Imperfections are the reason a character looks so perfect! Maybe like a mole on somebody’s face, that gets out the beauty of the face.  I cannot promise that the literature will be smart enough to satisfy the needs of an  intelligent mind. There will be no preachy messages, (Who am I to tell anybody to try out silence?!).

I feel so grateful that many of you drop in to know what’s happening in the life of this mom and appreciate the time you take to read and sometimes comment. The comments I received goes a long way to boost my spirits as I unceasingly continue to babble on about my kids. Through these comments, I know that I’m not the only one going through whatever I am, that I have a friend, that I have support. A valuable gift that is.

Personally, I follow blogs I enjoy and move on from blogs that fail to catch my interest because every person who is blogging is doing it with a particular intention. They have their personal tastes and traits coupled with their experiences and their power of expression, ease with which they can do.  I envy that quality and try to imbibe some of it. I leave comments at blogs that I feel with sincerely.

Although this blog did start off with the right momentum of a “disturbed mind”..Now I can say, it has changed to the ramblings of a mind that has made peace with everything, is ready to accept its shortcomings and still continue on with this journey.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Learning Phonetics and other English language arts.

I am doing this through my kids. Its like I’m going through the whole gamut of English Language classes from Kindergarten to present along with them(I should actually include Pre-school too..because the sounds of A, B,C’s started from there…right!). So, I guess I’m in the third grade with respect to that. Now everything boils down to this..forget Hindi, forget Telugu, forget all the languages that I blabber in, or have any knowledge of,  forget any Abstract Math or Applied Math, forget Computer Science..forget my experience as a Software Engineer (Yeah! I love the sound of my accomplishments!!!! Who wouldn’t?), if I’m not able to talk well in English, especially with my kids(since that’s the only language they talk with me in), how can I justify being their Mama if they are able to pronounce better than me. I’m not able to talk to them saying “PhINK” for Pink or say “ThALK” for “Talk” or “ChHIN” for “Chin” "or “ChAT” for “Cat” and so on.   All my "P’s and T’s are messed up. They were fine while I was in India. I’m sure of that.
This realization hit me when I stepped into the USA and I had to spell words using P as in “Peter”, N as in “Nancy”, G as in “God” and so on..Oh Man! what’s wrong with me, everybody could understand me when I spelled in India. Even the sound of my name started to sound different during the same time.   It became “ga-yaa-ta-ree” instead of its usual sound that was like “guy-thri”.
Then, the learning started with the set of leapfrog video’s that I bought for the triplets when they were in pre-school. It said something about sounds of letters. But, don’t we just sound them as A, B, C….What?! E has an “eh” sound!! That’s why Elephant sounds as ELEPHANT!  Then why do we say “Eat” or “Ear” using the alphabet “e” sound?  It was like some blur came clear after so many years from my eye when I understood it, and I let out a long OOOOOO!!!!  loudly, sounding it like Raag Bhimpalasi!
You see, I got enlightened. There was this concept of Phonetics, something that had to do with short vowels and long vowels and how they sound. But, aren’t vowels just the ones we know off, when did they get long and short. Again, when I understood that part..Oh!! That’s why “Bit”  sounds like that and “Bite”  has the “I” sound!   Another one I learnt was the rule of two vowels walking together..”When two vowels walk together, the first vowel does the talking”. That’s why the difference in sounds of “Bet” and “Beat”.
There are about 6 such Phonics rules. We didn’t learn all this in school. Not even in high school. Not in my school!! Yes, we did have an English class, and we had stories like “Kutchu’s Glasses” or “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and even Leo Tolstoy short stories where that cobbler was watching everybody’s shoes..sure we had all this in the syllabus but they forgot to teach us the very first part of it! How to read it right, how to sound it right!  I went through so many years of school and college and learnt everything I know, that was written in English and now, I see where I stand in terms of my English language. Maybe, dumping 60 kids in a class, had done the trick. It had not mattered to the teacher how the kids spoke. Anyway, she wouldn’t have time to listen to anybody, anyways!
It was supposed to be a convent, a very highly regarded one in the city. The rumor was that the classrooms were actually the horse stables during the British times.  It was St Ann’s ….something!  But, the truth is, whatever its history….the teachers were local, Anglo Indians..speaking like “What Re..” Anyways, what’s done was done..No point in pondering over it so much, so, I started learning fresh.  
Now that my kids are in third grade..I’m learning something more complex.  While we were taught to spell by memorization, they are being taught that there are patterns to spelling. There is a reason why a common suffix as “ing” or “ed”  makes some words add a double letter while some are unchanged.  THen we have this case. We spell “Facial” with a “cial” while others are spelt “Essential”. Basically,  spelling it with “cial” if a vowel precedes it, and with a “tial” if a consonant precedes it. Its so amazing, this whole new world, this whole new science I am learning from my third graders.
Lets look at the rule to add the suffix “ing” for 3 particular groups of words . For VVC, it is e-drop and for VCC its no-change and for VC, it doubles a letter (V=vowel, C=consonant),  That’s why “Guide” becomes “Guiding”, “Roar” becomes “Roaring” and “Get” becomes “Getting” while “Ask” becomes “Asking”.  Look at “Run, Running, Rest, Resting, Plug, Plugged” and so on..Another one, why is Cabbage spelt with an “age” and College is spelt with an “ege”. In fact, there are only 3 words that spell with an “ege”. They are, “college”, “privilege” and “cortege”.
Other than millions of such rules they are learning (I mean, I am learning!!) about spelling, they are ( I am!!) also going through this rigorous workshop on writing.  It started way back when they were in kindergarten, when they were made to write short moment stories with illustrations of their own. Just some tiny moment of their lives which they wanted to write as a story with a beginning, a middle and an end.  They were doing non-fiction then.
This year, they’ve been creating fiction of their own. The other day when I had to meet the kids’ teacher for their performance review and the teacher talked about their writing training, I came out of the class with my jaw dropped down wide open..I was so overwhelmed.  They are being taught to first define characters, characters have traits,they are told..For this, they learnt lots of words that define character traits. Physical, Emotional and other. While a character could be perceived as greedy because it wants to earn lot of money, it could also be perceived to be very ambitious or hard working..They are being taught to create characters with different traits and make sure their characters maintain their trait through out their stories..not change as they go along…OMG! I don’t think any school, at least during my times took this upon themselves to bestow their students with all this fundamental knowledge of reading and writing. We were the “Rat-ta” lot of students. Memorization was the mantra.  Creativity…Who knew that?! Not even the teachers did. We didn’t ask questions like , Why?! or How?! or dared our teachers to explain something. Just heard anything information that was broadcasted in the classes.
So now, I am going to school at home and my teachers are my children and they teach me what they learn from school.  I for my part, am trying to make sure, I put myself on a higher pedestal by putting them through Hindi School.  Now they have come to a stage when they have to create 2 letter Hindi.
And, thus our learning continues!!
P.S. Surely, I don’t make a good student because I didn’t get the basics of writing. It needs a beginning, a middle and an end I was told.  I don’t know where the middle of this write up was, and surely there’s no end!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Let’s play hide and seek!

Since I’m having nothing better to write about these days apart from the weather and my kids, maybe because I have nothing better to talk about or I love to repeat, like I just did…and continue to do so, day in and out with myself , with my kids.. with the world I’m in contact with. Even if I’m going to be held in contempt of loving the sound of my own voice, however irksome it may be, I dare to do this again because its become second nature to me.
To keep up with my reputation, let me start by saying that, the freezing temperatures continue. And when its like this outside, what game would we pick to play, if hubby dear was not allowed to play cricket or tennis in the basement. They would invariably pick hide and seek. Can’t speak for the older generation, although, I burst out laughing as I imagine both the MiL and FiL play hide and seek with each other, as a young couple, like we did. I’m referring to the days when we were the newest couple in town. I would hear Hubby dear's car park outside and would be hit with this pang of excitement,  I would run to the nearest closet or anywhere in the house and hide.
Hubby dear would enter and be sure I’m home, for obvious reasons. It being, he didn’t expect this new girl on the block to go out trekking a whole mile and half to shop at the nearest store without any money on her. There weren’t any parks or gyms nearby where I could be expected to be burning of extra fat I didn’t have. He would peep into the closet, in the bathroom tub, and the den, under the table, and behind the sofa while I would take this chance of sneaking out from the closet, the same closet he had peeped inside, and jump at him from behind with a “BOO”.   I used to play these silly games with him with all the excitement of a kid. I had passed this baton over to the kids, a few years back.  I no longer could hold that seat as I had officially been declared a mom, the first time my kids called me “Mama”.
“P, you be the “IT” “, R calls.
Hubby dear, takes the responsibility of hiding all of them while the “IT” counts.    Most times, the person is right in front of you, but camouflaged.  One time, Hubby dear had laid under the pillows along the length of the sofa. Standing right in front of him, we had not been able to spot him.  Another time, they had felt like a pile of laundry hiding in the laundry basket (which isn’t an option for the triplets now since, they don’t fit). Sometimes, they are clinging to the wall and almost blend into it like a chameleon. This gets really challenging after 1 or 2 rounds of play because everybody is smarter by that many hiding spots.
Playing this with R now, is a different experience.  Hubby dear would have hid her and just as the seeker is looking for her, she will come out of her spot, right in front of them saying
“Sod-dee..I’ve to go pee pee”
After she’s done with the business, she would return back to her hiding spot talking to “IT”, “Ok,  I’m ready, you can find me now!”   At her age, when pretend play takes most of their playtime, this game is more like a pretend play to her.
Papa would have taken all that effort in cleverly concealing her and as soon as “IT” is around trying to find her..he shouts out a warning..
“R, don’t move,  ”IT” is looking for you..don't move”
“OK”, she shouts from her hiding place.
Another time, when it was time to find R, P yells asking,
“R, where are you hiding?”
“In the closet” she shouts back.
This morning, P was home because she had dared to cough in class.  She got the privilege of baby sitting R, which mostly entails playing her games, her way, as many times as she asks to repeat it. P just needed to do this much.  R suggested they play hide and seek. Every time it was R’s turn to hide, P yelled out asking
“Where are you hiding, R?”
Unfailingly the reply comes..“Under the table”!
When it was P’s turn to hide, after hearing P mutter, asking herself where she should hide…
R suggests..”P, You can hide in the closet”
and when P is trying to find a spot to hide..
“R, stop following me, go and count!” P tells R.
“You are my best friend..don’t tell me to go away. I need to see where you are going to hide” she replies.
“You are so annoying, R”, P says, feeling frustrated, that she is unable to play a decent game with her.
Childhood memories are so ephemeral, right?. How can I remind P, that they played this game with the same innocence when they were of R’s age.
“Mama, she hides in the same spot always!”, P complains to me.
Hide and Seek has become R’s favorite game of all. She loves to have any company who can pretend to play this with her. The triplets, play this seriously but, tolerate R in their game (because they have no choice) unable to appreciate the cuteness that comes with her age.
While all this happens around me,I get to watch the show, and an opportunity to type this idea into my editor.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Was I Good or Bad?

The temperatures have taken a dip to values below freezing for the past few weeks, that, its turning out to be one of the coldest December in a looooooong time.  If one factors in the wind chill,  the temps were way below in the teens. The worst driving conditions with black ice and frozen cars in the mornings greet you.  There was also this case in Kansas where a water main broke freezing off a home. The residents just came back from a shopping trip to find their whole home frozen.
I remember the year I was pregnant with R, and she was actually due to come out on Dec 31st but, decided to come 11 days later because she had found it very cozy and warm inside with a lot of space the triplets had already created for her.  She had been making somersaults in my tummy even then. I had to almost hug her (I mean my tummy), while I sleep scared that she would move to a breech when I woke up. That year, I spent most of this wonderful month walking of miles in the Park with temperatures in lower 50’s and up.  In spite of all the walking I had done, I had just hurt my belly further but, had done nothing to nudge her to come out. It had been one of the warmest December that I had seen. She was born a whole 9.5 lbs in weight!!
DSC_0396 (The water in our fountain lies frozen)
Today, I got to the job that I prefer I not do. Got through the garbage that the girls had collected and treasured, for more than a couple of months now. Going through reams of paper,the good, bad and ugly to decide whether to keep it or dump it. Apart from the millions tiny letters they wrote to each other apologizing or complimenting each other, I came across a lot of stuff that was so cute and funny. 
One of which, I’m going to talk about today. The triplets had been telling me to avoid their study table(or so its called, although its difficult to believe when you look there that, its the center where knowledge is gathered) giving me hints that they were making some surprise for me. While I wasn’t sure of that, I did come across the letters that the girls had written to Santa!
The cutest of them all was this one…
Santa Requests_0001
She had asked about him, expressed her love and her desire to see this important man of Christmas, as she had called him, and give him a hug as fat as him! Asking him, why he doesn’t show himself on his most important day of all.  She had taken care to ask him to evaluate her and if he found her good then, she had asked for a few items. 
It was such a cute letter, lucky for her, that her Santa got her letter. P’s was so to the point.
Santa Requests_0006
I was shocked to see how big that list was. How was I supposed to remember all this and buy each of them, what they want. Did you see how she had sneaked in a “Telephone” in her list. Maybe writing “cell” or “mobile” would catch Santa’s attention, in case he decided that she was very demanding.  Not only is this list difficult to remember, but find all the stuff in one place has been equally frustrating.  One thing that has been difficult for me to find at decent prices were the coat’s they have in their lists..Almost all the three have asked for a lab coat and a detective coat..
My bird sized brain just realized that I could somehow create a detective T-shirt with the materials I have at home. An idea I got after looking at this picture.
Yet to find the lab coat.  The third list was another very challenging list. I don’t think she could have written one longer than P’s but, reading the list itself would count as a challenge.  It was the tiniest envelope that man had created with the tiniest but longest list included.  She had taken for granted that Santa was going to give her what she had asked for, but only, if he had it!!  The letter was marked..”Can you give me these things, if you have them?”
They have been such gems of kids, at least they have tried to be good. However, this definition of good seems to them to be an Augean task that, no one on this earth can meet, not even Hercules. Everyday, the expectations only got tougher.  So, how were the kids trying to dodge me at that. Explained via a kit I found, that, they had created for themselves to help meet those demanding expectation,
at least a part of it…

They have been tallying their performance at keeping their stable clean.  So, the one that does the bed gets only 1 mark while the one that does 3 tasks together get 3 marks. And when I look at the current sheet, all of them had taken the pain of doing all the jobs.Seems like they had distributed their pain in the arse job very nicely.
Then, why did I find the place looking more like a stable than a  room. I went in there, this morning well equipped with the whole day’s worth of time at hand to tackle this job of cleaning up the garbage, that was worse than that of the King of Elis’s stable that was supposed to have been left unclean for 30 years. I found even worse inside. The draws were full of dust and dirt from the sharpener while I found 1000+ pencils, black and colored without one that could be used to write or color.
Then there was this omnipresent tape, in form of bits and pieces stuck to every corner of their table and floor. Their draw was full of scotch tapes…only they were all empty..with one of them waiting to be there, soon!
How could anybody use up that much tape?  What do they do with it? I know one other blogger mom had complained of the same thing. I’d seen the kids use tape to create some kind of broach like pins and paste their art/messages to the door but, just short of 5 rolls of scotch tape!! ..Shouldn’t tape have been on their list of things to ask Santa since its so much in demand and I had decided not to buy them anymore since I was not going to spen another  day scratching out tape from the floor and tables and walls?
I had been finding ant sized letters to big letters signed “Detective P” asking her pack to meet her after midnight to decide the next course of action. I wonder if there was any night that they succeeded in waking up, after they dosed off. Still, a whole list of items from this activity, made it to Santa’s letter..
All in all, it was a fun day. Found so many fun write ups that the triplets had done last year, that reading them again, the kids burst out laughing themselves.
Happy Shopping to all moms trying to tick off stuff from list’s to Santa!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Which one to choose?!

With the landscape front taking a rest right now... the season of staying indoors is on,  now, with the temperatures suddenly taking such a dip, we’ve been cozying up to the fire place when it gets freezing.  One of the most favorite spots at home, is the fire place.  It will not be short on company, this winter season.
Anyways, I’ve been itching to start experimenting with portraits and other candid photography!!  To click pictures that would come out, like my eyes would see it. Pictures that would have some 3D effect in it. Some depth of field to them.  To make this possible,  a Standard Prime lens is what I had in mind.  A lens with a fixed focal length in which, we would have to move around to compose a shot rather than, stand at one spot to compose the frame like my kit lens (18-105mm) lets me do, right now.
A lens which would be able to focus on that one subject while the rest of the image would be blurred out. A lens that would have a wide aperture…in other words, a lens with a lower f/(….) value.  A lens which would not send my flash along with the red eye avoider, flashing away, with a slightest decreases in light. A lens that would be fast enough even while my toddler is moving, to freeze her action, as my requests for her to stay still go unnoticed by her. A lens where I would not have a need for the VR (vibration reduction) feature, because, as I said, the speed of the lens would be fast enough to overcome that. A lens that would let me enjoy shooting in natural light and low light conditions. A lens which would let me be able to shoot some dim profiles of people, keeping the rest of the image dark. You noticed!! I’ve been enhancing my knowledge on this front to sound more like a PRO :-) The lens I decided to buy for starters is a 50mm standard Prime lens.  
I had my share of using the kit lens. It was good while I didn’t miss the prime lens. It helped me click very nice shots of my whole landscape, my family, while I stood lazily at a spot trying to compose different frames, without missing out on the tiniest detail that was beside the subject I was shooting. It looked good, the whole frame. It also gave me a broad range of focal lengths.  But, these pictures didn’t have the look of a pro. It didn’t show depth in it, even, in the best of light available. For example, if I want to take a shot of my 3 year old doing this cute and funny thing. While I tried to shoot that I find that the rest of the image is as clear as she is,  stealing some of the cuteness away from her, to show themselves clearly along with her. If I needed to get to the next level of becoming the world’s best professional photographer of the P's residence, I needed to climb the next step.  Needed to own the most basic but most useful of prime lenses, the 50mm standard lens.
“This hobby of yours is costing us dearly!”, hubby dear would mention, at the slightest hint of another lens.
“But, how much you enjoy the pictures I take!”, I had shouted back.  I was all set to use the ultimate weapon from my arsenal, if hubby dear would plain refuse to buy me the lens.  What was that? Photography Lessons!! Yeah, I was going to ask for them..But, if I get my hands on the lens.. the Internet is so full of people who love to share information.  Maybe years from now, when I will be shooting the pictures of my kids’ at their sweet sixteen, my hubby would be happy that he had decided to buy me this lens and another lens and another and the next….
Now that I had to convince hubby dear to buy me a 50mm standard prime lens. I went about finding out what’s on the market and why I need to have it, why its indispensible for my survival!  It could have been a 50mm,  60mm or 85mm or 105mm prime lens. And then there were the lesser “mm” giving me wider angle, like the 35mm and lower. Which one to pick up? Of course, price was the first priority.  Not aiming high, I looked for the 50mm standard lens, that used to be the basic lens that a camera came with in the old days before digitals became a rage, in the 35mm cameras. But, there are 3 (no! actually 4, if I included the f/1.2 into the list)  of them available for us, Nikon fanatics. One of them costs around $119.
“Why not that?”, hubby dear retorts.
It was not going to be an easy task, convincing Hubby dear to buy me the

Nikon 50mm f/1.4G SIC SW Prime Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

instead. It costs way more than the one he was suggesting. Its about $400+ new, today. To this end, I set about trying to find out more information on why I would need this. Even if I didn’t want to convince hubby dear, I had to first convince myself, right! The more I read, the more I stumbled on information that, led me to want more lenses. The 105mm
Nikon 105mm f/2.0D AF DC-Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras
Its currently listed at more than $1000. A very good the owners of this lens, rave about the bokeh (the non-focus part) it gives!  Then we have the macro lenses or lenses used for close up photography, which have magnification ratios of 1:1.  Because the subject is magnified with that ratio, it allows for extra distance between you and the subjects, useful in case of wildlife, nature, portraits, candid photography and many other situations. A very versatile lens. The 105mm f/2.8G is currently listed at a little less than $1000 at Amazon.
Apart from macro lenses, there were the longer range of telephoto lens or zoom lens. The 70-300mm telephoto lens. The list was endless. For now, I would be fine if I got my hands on the 50mm first. Maybe the others would find themselves in my hands, someday..just not now, I decided. I wrote this long email to hubby explaining him all the details of why this lens is better than the f1.8D or the f1.4D, its predecessors.   
The other day, I was at the pediatrician’s office getting R and the triplets their flu shots and when R came across this picture of the Red Door perfume in a magazine…
she told me clear and bold
“Mama, you have to buy me this dress and these slippers when we go out now” pointing to the dress and shoes, the model is wearing in the commercial.
There was no hesitation. It was a demand, that was clear and bold, “I want something and you will buy it for me”. Maybe, before I take to photography..I have to take lessons from R on “How to demand and get what you want the right way!”
Another favorite song for you to enjoy. Click away on the button below to hear “Jingle Bell Rock” by Bobby Helms!!  Happy Holidays to all of you!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy Holidays!

As I drive around now, the landscape is suddenly bare, devoid of any color that had draped it for so many weeks. The temperatures have suddenly dipped to freezing in the past two week and I realize that I’m still not feeling depressed even when the day already ends by 4.30pm. That’s because I’m listening to “Have a holly jolly Christmas, its the best time of the year” and many other songs by Burl Ives, Nate King Cole and Bobby Helms’, “Jingle Bell Rock” .  Wow! it feels so exciting, even if the song is being repeated so many times on the New York’s FM station.  Even the version of “Jingle Bell Rock” by Rascal Flatts  young and flowing voice, sounds so beautiful.   Not to mention the commercials on the radio this Christmas had felt so emotional too..I had stopped to listen to them, while I had never cared to hear them earlier.
Surprisingly, I am hearing the kids hum..Whams’ “Last Christmas I gave you my heart,..” The fall that passed was one that happens once in many years.  It was the most beautiful I had ever witnessed.  It was a spectacular display of colors.
Every leaf had taken its time to come to its ripe color before it took the fall from the tree.  The wind had been so generous with the trees. it had let the leaves cling to them..for some more time, making the life of amateur photographers like me a little more miserable and little more enjoyable at the same time!  Tired, that this just continued for 2 long months now..but enjoyable because it was so beautiful.DSC_8825
I didn't want to miss out on the shots that my mind was envisioning. I would start to compose frames, as I drove past locations, scenic spots, to drop R to her school.   Then, on my way back I would try to capture these beautiful frames into my camera with the hope that I would be making these scenes immortal.  I know, these are a far cry from that, but a sincere try at that, I did give. For 2 months I did this. The data on my computer was filling up at the rate of GB’s / day but, how could I miss out on the opportunities.
The colors ranged from yellow to red, blushing pinks to to see to believe.
The skies were a site to watch too. Some days it would be draped with clouds with the sun trying to peek through here and there, making sure everything is ok on the earth.  If the clouds moved a little more, I would have missed the scene. On one such day, when I saw this sky,  I had immediately parked the car to the side and made sure that I was a little distance away from the vibrations of the passing vehicles..and clicked the shots. There was so much drama in the sky.
Now the leaves are all gone. and its turned so cold. On the weekend last, my kids had checked this new gizmo that is called the phone. It had proudly displayed the weather of the region desired. They had all shouted out with glee...
"Mama, its going to snow tomorrow!! Can you check if we have school?"
I had tried to calm them down saying it would just going to be a flurry. When time came to go to school, they had clad themselves warmly for the weather but, as they stepped out of the house, they still had a little hope that some how, it would snow and they would be sent back home due to an early dismissal.   Sorry kids!!..the weather god decided otherwise. It wanted you to attend your school for the whole beautiful day. 
The next day they checked their trusting gizmo again by touching some fingers to it, like it was Aladdin’s magic lamp, to see what magic words its going to spew out...that would make them have a good day or a bad day. Well! that’s how they express their opinion of what they did at school.
“Mama, I was having a bad day at school, they didn’t announce that tomorrow would be an off”
The magic machine refused to say "Tuesday, Snow for the whole day".  They were so disappointed. Maybe that is one thing on their list of stuff they want for Christmas. No school for the whole of winter and a generous snow fall so, they could make enough Snow Mans. One for each yard in the neighborhood.
This is one man, the popular winter man we all know of. But this morning R introduced me to another man. She had colored him red and green. She showed me the colored paper and said..“Mama, this is the Christmas Man”, which the rest of the world knows as Santa.  I could already hear the triplets enlightening Richa, contaminating her non materialistic, uncorrupt mind saying
“R, he is Santa. He brings us gifts for Christmas. You can write down what you want and put it under the Christmas Tree”
When I had asked them to finish up the box of chocolate chip cookies that have been lying in the cabinet for sometime now, K had answered,
“No Mama, we are saving that for Santa to offer it to him on the night of Christmas Eve.”
As we talked about him, the triplets popped the question that had been bothering them for sometime now. “So Mama, Is Santa really there?” I could almost hear all the discussions they would have had with their friends at school about Santa, if he really existed or was just a figment of imagination.
P answers “There is no such thing as Santa.”  and N re-iterates.
K asks..”Then how did you get all the gifts you got last year?”. Still wanting to believe in miracles and not ready to believe that Mama and Papa would want to give her a gift. Can’t blame her because this Mama and Papa, they are so full of handing out timeouts for free, how could they even want to give her a gift.  So, now starts the period of hoping for snow, hoping for a white Christmas, hoping that Santa really exists and would bring all the gifts that my kids desire and in return would be happy to have those month old cookies that are going to be offered to him with a glass of milk. 
R and me just finished listening to our favorite, Burl Ives’s "Rudolf the red nose Reindeer'. We are now talking to each other in the same tune. 
"R, where is your shoes, You need to wear them. We are getting late for your school!, C’mon hurry up"  Imagine these lines in that tune :-) 
Happy Holidays!!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

“Read to your child, everyday”!

During our recent visit to India, we found a few Indian authors whose books, whatever we could lay our hands on,  we had packed in our bag gages along with a whole bunch of Amar Chitra Kathas and other books of Indian knowledge. Finally, after all these months that we returned from India, I get hold of this book I had wanted to read because it had felt more like the story of my life.. well, maybe if you left out the IIM and IIT qualifications from my resume, if you left out the part where the characters were both students at the same campus when they fell in love, if you leave the part out where the boy had to make ANY effort at impressing the girls family, if you left out the part where the girl was a pure breed, if we could just switch the states..I mean languages of the boy and girl in the story, if we could place both the north and south Indian boy, girl to be brought up in South and many more such adjustments would almost sound like the story of my(our) life(lives). The book, that you must have already guessed by now, I’m talking about is, ‘ 2 states ’ by Chetan Bhagat
In fact, this saga has continued in  my family for 2 generations now. I had generously taken over the staff of upholding this tradition, from my North Indian father and South Indian Mother who brought us up, supposedly “The Punjabi” way. How could such a story be complete without an Aloo Gobi or a Paneer episode or with, as simple as how we cut our vegetables…In my case, I had just tried to let my MiL know that this beautiful white flower of a “Gobi” is one of the vegetables some people cooked, that, it had been the favorite in my family, the so called “North Indians”.
She had immediately left me alone in unfamiliar waters, in the confines of her kitchen, all by myself, without any help finding utensils or salt, ignoring my telepathic pleas to enter the kitchen while I searched high and low for all the basics of creating a Punjabi recipe. While Hubby dear had entertained his Mom with his cuckoo like voice (at least that’s how it must feel to his mom, I'm sure!), not letting her remember that an unwanted alien was in her kitchen that very moment…I had ended up using rock salt from her south Indian kitchen trying to cook one of the most revered North Indian dish called Aloo Gobi!, instead, creating this sodium rich dish, thanks to that damn Rock Salt ( the more inanimate the scapegoat, the better!)
With R and my triplets taking over my life for the past eight years..I had resigned to be able to read(or write) at night after everybody is put to sleep, if I could still keep awake, that is! Today I realized, that was too much to have asked for! How could I dare read something other than books that have princesses cartoons strewn on each page?!
As soon as I was spotted laying on my bed with that infamous red book in my hand, R was beside me with her recent favorite in her hand. She had taken care to choose one of the wordiest book from the lot of books, she called hers. She had laid down beside me, she had tried to quiz me on the pictures from the book..acting like she was looking at these characters for the first time ever!
“Who is this, Mama?”, she had asked.
“Princess Jasmine”, I said, as I looked away from my book, to what she was pointing.
“No Mama, I am asking, who is this?!”, she asked again, trying to prolong our conversation..
“Abu!”, I answered.
Then she tried reading the book herself..realizing (like everyday), that she doesn’t know to read yet, followed by the most cutely executed question.
“Mama, Can you read this book for me?”, she had asked so sweetly, that it would take a lot of courage to refuse.
She had done this the previous night and the previous and the previous. I had known what was to follow. After having listened to her silly nothings for the whole day that were such important something s for her, like
“Mama, I’m sorry, I’m going to the library with my mom now!”
“Is that so? Who is your mom (today)?”, I had asked
“Ileana”, she had said.
after having cooked and cleaned and folded loads of laundry, after I had made sure to conduct this hour and half long Yoga class for the triplets, after school, and pampered them through Sava Sana with relaxation music and massage in the end so they would want to continue with the class the next day, after I had served them their dinner..and made sure R had got her Roti with Dahi, I had just sent them to their tables to complete their Home Work and I had come to bed to relax with this engrossing red book to get a peek into few more lines of the story. 
R had diligently come to lie down beside me with her favorite. Realizing that I had no way out of it, I had read her the story of Aladdin and Abu, about Princess Jasmine and Rajah and how they had sat on the magic carpet and sung..”…A Whole New World…” flying over the town of Agra bah.  I could see, in Richa’s eyes, that she was in love with the Palace, with Rajah, with Abu and of course, the beautiful Jasmine!  As I had reached the last but one page..I had purpos…I mean, mistakenly said “THE END” and R had retorted back immediately saying
“Its not B END Mama, See!!”, showing me another page that was left. I had then finished reading the book and said “THE END” at the right place. As soon as I had done that, she had said..
“Can you read it again, Mama, Its Ok!”
I almost wanted to refuse and tell her..”that’s enough for the day”. But, the God of Guilt took over my mind and rang this bell in my mind, reminding me what the TV channel had announced, “Read for you kids everyday”, day in and out.  (Somehow, mysteriously, word had been spreading across the TV channels that we parents weren’t doing enough of it lately and they were broadcasting messages all across R’s channel, like they would broadcast public safety messages on radio to ask people to keep safe and stay alert). 
Guilt ridden, I had read this lengthy, wordy book again,…for R to enjoy, without complaining or finding an excuse to avoid it.  And as soon as I had finished it for the third time, she had asked me to read it again!  No sign of sleep on her face. She was already done with her bedtime chores of potty and brushing and was dressed to go to sleep as soon as she would let her body. The earlier the most preferred, but, sleep remained elusive of her or it was time for me to face that moment of truth! She had been purposely trying to fight sleep for some more Mommy time. What!! I’m not giving her enough of it!!
I had already been yawning every minute now.  This book was doing its job right. It was putting somebody to sleep, except it was me that was wanting to sleep now! Pavan had just come to the bed after checking the triplets’ homework for its accuracy.  I had thrown this look at him, telling him clearly as can be…”Beware…you may not have a chance at your bedtime story!”
“R, can Papa read the book for you?”, Papa had asked R to come to him.
“NO! I want Mama to read the book for me”, she said.
“R, I am tired of talking so much, I want to be quiet now”, I said.
“R, Papa loves you too..Can you come to Papa? I can read you the book?”, he had tried to convince her.
She felt elated at such expression of love for her..She had jumped towards him with the book, that wordy book.
Hubby dear had started the story. He couldn’t fool her now, like he had done earlier. I had already read the book to her so many times that it almost felt like she was reading the words in the book along with us.  So, when Hubby dear, in an effort to make a long story short said
“and Aladdin got the magic lamp for Jafar”
Catching him red-handed,
“Papa, you didn’t say the cave started crashing in, the rocks started falling and Aladin was stuck inside the cave with Abu!”, she corrected him.
Knowing that he couldn't’ fool her today, Hubby dear had continued to tell the story as is. I for one, had fallen into this deep slumber after resolving that it was a bad idea for me to be reading any book, Chetan Bhagat’s “2 states” or Disney’s “Aladdin and the magic lamp”. I was too tired reading bed time stories to anybody!
“Papa you know, when you and Mama fell in love, your family did not like Mama, right? “, a triplet let out the secret to Papa.
“And, Mama’s family, liked you!", another triplet let out another cat out of the bag.
Hubby dear looking confused at them..Then N explained to Papa what a true Indian love story entailed..which seemed very much like her Papa and Mama’s love story.
“Look Papa, A boy loves a girl and the girl loves the boy. Then the boys’ family has to love girl, and the girls’ family has to love boy. Then the girls’ family  has to love the boy’s family and the boys’ family has to love the girls’ family. when this happens, if the girl and the boy still love each other…that’s when they get married”, she said, almost reciting the whole blurb of the book “2 states” to him.
Papa immediately runs upstairs to ask me “you are already educating them with this book?!”
At least my girls know the truth behind an Indian love story now…How complicated it is..and hopefully they will not attempt at complicating this already twisted tradition further.