Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Humans and Men!


A while ago..a morning, Rica, my younger daughter got a genuine doubt..

Why did you say “Woman”, Mama?! Who is that?, she asked taken by surprise at this new word that she heard, passed off as something that everybody should be knowing.

Rica, you are a girl, right?!, Mama asks.

And N (refering to a little boy!) is a boy, right?!

Same way..Mama is a “Woman” and Dad is a “Man”,  Mama explains to her..

She just stared at me for sometime trying to decipher what I told her….

Another way to call Mom’s and Dad’s, I must’ve led her to think…I thought!. But, thinking she was. I could see that gaze, she was giving to the wall, her mind was running... !

After all that explanation… the next night..she let me know why she had to think so hard after what I had explained. She didn’t agree with my version.

She told me

“Mama!  Mama’s are Humans and Dad’s are Men.

Anyways..it felt good to know that even a small kid thinks Mama’s are Humans and Dad’s are not! Smile

Friday, January 27, 2012

Practice makes perfect or bugs perfect?!


Doesn’t every parent want to think that their kid is the smartest kid on the planet?  I am guilty of that thought too! Actually, if you come to think .. aren’t the kids all really?! In their own different way…but, sure! Some of them so adventurous, new languages.., new ways of thinking, new approach, with no fear of being dismissed, no fear of failure, while some, so comfortable in their own zone,  but too good in what ever they do..None of these to me, mean that one is better than the other. It just means some of them are risk takers and some of them like to play it safe. 

Some kids, very good thinkers, able to make profound statements, think deep, and some who love to be the happy go lucky kind. Some very artistically inclined and some multilingual. Some very good at articulating their feelings while some who prefer to not express as much.  Some clumsy at social skills but so good at motor skills..and vice versa.

Some hate to be put in limelight but, would love to get that much more attention from their family nonetheless. Some accept the fact that they like to be in limelight and don’t miss any opportunity to snatch one. Some so curious and some like taking things the “bindas” way. In the end its all their personality and I don't have a dearth in dealing with different personalities here in our home.

Sure they are all girls but, with personalities so varied and yet in a way all of these personalities are in some kind of a celestial sync with the other.

As best as we parents think we need to take them along a path, we would work best only as guides. Sure, we have the advantage of being experienced in life but, haven’t we also built up prejudices along the way. I remember there were so many opinions that I had as a youngster, influenced by my upbringing or the society I lived in, today those opinions have changed, some vanished and some totally opposite from what I was then. My experiences have added value to my opinions. (In my opinion, that is!)

In my view, these young minds are best left to explore themselves as they grow. We parents, sure should be available to guide them if they get stuck.. We should be there to warn them of any impeding dangers with knowledge we've gained from our past experiences  (or,  bias we’ve formed due to these very experiences)…what ever the case, in the end it is the kids who have to make a choice..which dream to follow or how. 

Ah!! so rational..so logical, so right.. all this sounds..and yet, I find it so difficult to practice..too theoretical for me!  I’m sure by the time I finish this..you’re going to tell me…. your ways are so contrary to your opinion! Just like most of you parents, faced with this dilemma called, How to be the best parent?!

Even the tiniest tot has dreams. Aren’t you bombarded with the “I wish I could do …” ,  “I wish I could have….”, type-a things from you toddler or preschooler?!

Sure, Richa’s wishes change everyday but, this preschooler does have dreams too and to that end..she will try to achieve them in the best ways she knows.  The triplets now big kids..much aware than before, steer clear of making statements..like I want to be a ------, when I grow up.  P is too confused. She seems to find herself among the smart .. and yet she feels, if she continues in that direction, will it take a toll on her artistic skills? And would her pursuing her musical talent confuse the footing even more?!

“So, what should we do when we grow up,Mama, what should we become?!” , they have asked sometimes feeling too bewildered by this placement.

Suddenly, it dawned on them, this whole aspect of what they want to become when they grow up is much more complicated than they had anticipated. It had been so simple after graduating from pre-school, when N had wanted to be a cleaning lady when she grew up..and P had wanted to be a married woman while K wanted to a computer engineer. 

“It sure will be for you to decide when you grow up..the field of study, you desire the most”, we say (clearly setting expectations) but, with a lot of disclaimers, adding some more commotion to their already disturbed minds, that, I end up making resolutions..to stop obscuring the situation further.

Sometimes they get amazed by their own capabilities because they aren’t able to see a bigger picture, as we parents are able to.  N is amazed at the rate she’s writing paper after paper in the quest to get her article selected for some magazine.  The other day..she says..self complacently..

“Isn’t it amazing that I’m reading up all these books?!”, Modesty has no place in her room! But, her sisters bring her back to reality with what else they know. And with a Dad who’s such a voracious reader himself..she has no dearth of getting the best selections.

Sometimes as parents we need to make them aware of their talents to foster their confidence, and yet sometimes, its important to make them realize that being smart is not a means to an end.  It take 5% genius but 95% perseverance to achieve a goal.

Thus stressing on the importance of practice because, in the end what will get them to succeed is perseverance alone.  They get to hear the “P” word everyday…and it does bug them..because it takes away every free moment of their life, that they plan to have..but, they have no clue what they would do with those free moments if they had been left with it. 

In such a situation, if they don’t find themselves chatting with their friends on the internet, (Speaking of which…I’m amazed how or when, these kids pick up these tools so fast.. The other day I found N meddling with the “History” tab on the browser!!)  it wouldn’t take 10 minutes for them to get into an argument with each other, in that shrill escalated voice…

“N!!!! you are disturbing me when you ….”

“How would you feel..if I did it…”
”K!!!! did you listen to me .. when I complained last?!!!!”

A busy schedule for them saves them from all these squabbles and a voice tired Mom from shouting across the Palle hallways..

“Now…Cut it out!!! “  “You have 5 secs to stop that ruckus..!”

Not that I have a plan for after the 5 secs, that would be better than shouting..but, I don’t shy from using this tool anyways..

As much as I thought that we were overdoing this “practice” thing with our kids, the other day at school .. after their musical recital at the winter concert…their school Principal made a statement that made me think..they’re being given these lectures at school too!

She referred to this eminent Psychologist and Scholar  Anders Ericsson’s 10000 Hour Rule that says..It takes approximately 10000 hours of deliberate practice to master a skill, to becoming an expert at a skill.   Which means that it would take 10 years of practicing 3 hours a day to become a master in your subject.

The kids have been made aware of the importance of practice.  The triplets feel that they master the Ragas so easily they don’t need to sit down to practice for even 2, half hour sessions a week.  Their Dad’s usual statement to the kids..

“You know kidos, I don’t have the talent to produce a note in the way its supposed to be heard..but, with determination I can make progress. If I had even a fraction of your talent..I would’ve been a rock star by now!” ,

That, he’s made this statement so many times,  it won’t surprise me if  the kids are just going to snap back “100th time Papa!”, the next time he utters it..

And I don’t miss any opportunity to emphasize this myself. About,  the importance of practicing. Exercising the voice muscle! that’s what I call it!

“Its all muscle memory that’s going to help you make all the gyrations in the voice, that you see your Guru do.. Same thing with the instruments too. “ If your fingers have to get adept at moving smoothly..”P” is the key, I try to enforce.

It was like this Principal had spoken my mind and provided enough support to hammer this thought even more into my kids. She also set the ground for me to perfectly answer their question of

“What do we do when we grow up?!”

For something you genuinely enjoy doing for its own sake, stick with it, keep learning more about it, and after a decade or so, you can't help but get good at it and feel proud of yourself.

Talent is just the 95% thing that does it for somebody, its that 5% part, where you struggle to put in time and effort into practice, what people call perseverance that would take you that extra mile….is my constant mantra to my kids, be it academics or talent!  I plan to stick to this, until they will form a Union among themselves to boycott me if I repeated that again!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

How to break up?! Testing 1, 2, 3


Last night’s interesting conversation at the dinner table

P: “Mama, I broke up with R today!”

Insider: R is a Girl!

Mama: Last night..both of you were hugging each other and today you broke up?!

P: Yeah! I broke up with her because V is my new beast best friend. Then I came home and sent her a sorry email…

Insider: V is a girl too!!!

N: But she said she would delete P from her email listing.

Mama: You delete her too two times…. (trying to sound jocular!)

Mama: Anyways P! can you explain me how you break up?! What do you have to do…to be able to “Break Up”.

P: You shout at each other like “I can’t be with you anymore!” and walk away in the opposite direction…

Trying to illustrate the scene…

P: This is how we do it…You know Mama, V actually tested it out….She stood across the hallway and looked at me..like …

At this point Mama couldn’t help expose her poker face and burst out in a belly wrenching laughter…

The opportunities for these internet generation kids to break up and patch up…are 24x7 now.  They could just not be able to sleep through the night of a break up and just decide to send an instant message to patch up, thanks to smart phones and really generous parents who offer them the gadgets and the unlimited plan options the wireless firms offer. Really amazing, the generation we are bringing up..Are we capable of this? It made me think.

Having been trained a teacher..and with the software development experience I realize the importance of both visual aids and testing…but, this new internet generation kids have taken these concepts to a new level that’s beyond our stone age upbringing. 

I didn’t realize they had visualized breaking up to be such a visual act.   And what if the act of breaking up doesn’t create the impact its supposed to..?!  What if the process of delivering the break up routine turns out to be an “Epic Failure”, like P had described her break up test..

Now we’ll soon have ISO 9005..or , CMM level 10 certified breaking  up routines and how about certified patching up routines too. That makes more sense to me..Patching up! Undo a break up!. OMG!  Thinking about it..it does!

See…P wasn’t able to patch up with her friend R, inspite of the sorry email. There sure must be a fail safe way or maybe it depends on the personality.. Different styles for different personalities,  Fit to your size patch up routines…or one size fits all type-of routines. All tried and tested routines. Facebook or smart phone apps..to facilitate that!

My! What age do I belong to?!!! Such endless possibilities.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

An amateur photographer’s take.


A big part to my experiences as a mom, I love capturing my mommy moments on camera! That’s how I have always journeyed, since the day the triplets were born … by pictures, until one fine day I found the beauty that words add..to a picture, and started to write.. Nothing says better,  than pictures, if you can show it!

I’ve spent a great deal of my time in the last year learning the technicals behind making a better picture.  I feel like I want to be in a professional’s shoes as soon as possible and learn all their tricks in a day’s time.  Its not like the student days anymore..where all the time available was yours to have … to spend on learning something you want. You are a parent and kids need your attention! Thanks to Hubby dear who makes it possible for me to explore more and more of my dreams even as a parent.

Its true, it take a lot of practice to really know what to shoot and how. There are a myriad set of options there to control..and so less time to fiddle with your camera.  Your presence of mind should be with you too…to help you towards that endeavor..Even that takes practice!

The more you get your camera out and shoot scenes that may seem uninteresting..the more you will start to find a story in it. I am lucky…in that respect like most other moms. I didn’t need to think much, I could always see a story when I see my children.  I’m always like a director with those squared hands pointing my camera at my family....That’s how I’m always watching them.…through the lens.


Now, come on! don’t start to picture me standing like that and deal with my kids ..because its just a dramatized version of my thoughts!

The equipment plays a big part in your realization towards your goal. From a financial point of view, if there was a choice to blog using words to pictures..words would win hands down. ( I know, I know, I can see Hubby dear frantically flailing his hands on the table to second that thought..!!! Just to clarify Dear, that was just a passing thought! Doesn’t mean much) 

I love the thrill of creating a picture I have in mind..myself! Its a high..A melodious feeling. Its the most satisfying of all.  I’m sure there’s a lot of pictures available on the internet to emulate a feel but, nothing provides the peace in my heart if it was created by me!


No wonder we admire all those professional photogs in the field who spend hours/days/months/years on getting that shot ..

Everyday I wake up with a feeling, I want to get there..to that level of photography and I want to do it at rocket speed. I’ve learnt over time..buyign an expensive camera does buy you more options in the camera but, doesn’t buy you the skill to expose correct!

Using the camera is a skill, even if we are good at composing or seeing things artistically…it takes so much practice to be able to turn all those dials and buttons so fast to catch the moment and most times the moment escapes the camera. 

Since I’m not sure what I can write to educate on photography in laymen terms because I myself am still an amateur..Let me just start of by talking about my camera settings.

Almost 100% of the time I find myself shooting in the Manual mode.  I had written previously, about the different modes available in a DSLR, the point and shoot mode, the aperture mode, the shutter priority mode etc.. There’s one I had not talked about and it was the Manual mode, “M” mode on the Nikon DSLR.

In this mode, we need to set the aperture value and shutter speed ourselves. I always have the ISO set to the minimum and don’t usually change it except in low light situations to bump up the brightness a bit.. 90% of the time, it’s set to 200 on my D90 Nikon, or the D700 Nikon.

The next setting that’s important to me in my camera is the metering mode. Most DSLRs have focus points. I’ve used ones that came with 11 focus points, 21 focus points and 51 focus points. These are the circles that light up on your view finder when you focus. The Nikon D5100 has 11 focus points and various metering modes. The D700 has 51 focus points which I’ve set to use only 21 points on my camera.

In a point and shoot mode, to decide the exposure, the camera has an internal light meter, that measures the light its getting exposed to. The light meters in the new DSLRs are supposedly too good to decide the exact exposure to make, in a point and shoot mode or any other semi-auto modes. Still, there are situations that can fool the meters to over expose or under expose. 

Suppose your camera focuses on a very bright spot in the frame..then, the camera tends to underexpose the whole picture to overcome that brightness..and in case you end up focusing on a darker spot..in the frame..then, the camera tends to over expose for the rest of the frame. So, most times..I’m unhappy with the exposure I get in the aperture mode so, I end up in the manual mode “M” where I can control the exposure myself  in conjunction with the spot metering in the camera.

Many people have tried to explain this concept of metering in the camera in so many ways, confusing interpretations between Canon and Nikon..Here I am going to stick only to the Nikon’s version of metering since I have no exposure to  Canon DSLRs.

Some blogs on metering, I totally disagree with for sure…Here is my take. There are 3 metering modes in the Nikon.

The spot metering mode that meters for a spot in the frame, the center weighted metering that is self explanatory, it place more weight to the center of the frame and then we have the matrix metering.

The matrix metering in laymen terms is the automatic metering.  In other words, the camera is guessing what is your subject, what you are focusing on…which point of your frame needs to be the sharpest, which for me has never been satisfactory enough although kenrockwell…swears by this. Maybe it is a good metering mode to choose when you use point and shoot or when you shoot landscapes with higher aperture values.

In cases where you make blurry backgrounds, that is, when you use lower aperture values…because of the shallow depth of field..it becomes all important to be able to choose the exact spot on the frame that needs to be exposed correctly and stay sharp in focus.

In case of portraits or people pictures, even animals with blurring surroundings..its very important to get their eyes sharp and properly exposed.  If the eyes are not sharp..there is no point of the photo itself.

So, most times I found myself switching to spot metering  and move the focus circle to where the eye is showing in the frame. For eg,

_DSC8040 as Smart Object-6 test

This was a picture I clicked of my daughter on her Birthday.. Here, the surroundings was blurred out to make the picture appear dreamy.  Because of low light I had the aperture wide open at 1.4. Further, I had to lower the shutter speed to 45, and had bumped the ISO a bit too 800 and the EV was set to +5.  ( I had tried using the flash..but wasn’t happy with the picture. I just love natural light being used in photography.)

This aperture value makes the picture have a very very shallow depth of field.  Therefore, it became very important to make Richa’s eyes the focus point in the picture. So, while shooting I had the focus point move to the top left of the frame. I didn’t care for the rest of the frame..Even if Richa’s body would have blurred a bit..it was OK..but, her eyes needed to be in focus or the picture would loose its value.

It is for such situations, I find myself in the spot metering mode 100% of the time I am shooting people.

My Aperture values in Manual Mode:

Depends on the light in the day.. If I want blurry backgrounds and my subjec to pop out a bit…making sure the environment is bright enough,..I’m mostly fixed between 2.8 to 5.6.   Most cameras are supposed to have a sweet point in the aperture value.when the pictures are the sharpest. Most Nikon pros have pointed out that 5.6 is the magic number for them, while making a nicely blurred background.

My Shutter Speed settings in Manual Mode:

I start off with setting it around 1/125 for a bright day and raise or lower it depending on the outcome of the first clicks.  If the image is brighter than I want..I raise this number..(In other words I’m increasing the speed at which the shutter clicks thereby, reducing the light entering the camera)…

If the image is coming darker..I lower the shutter speed some more and keep doing that..until close to the focal length of the lens..after that, I evaluate if the aperture value can be turned down some more..say to 4….and then some more. For, if you are clicking your pictures hand held…shutter speed settings below the focal length of your lens, may give you blurs unless your hands are as steady as a tripod! That is…if your lens is an 85mm focal length..then, a shutter speed of less than 1/85 will most probably give you a blur…

Also realize that every time you stop down the aperture by 1 stop .. the light entering the camera is surely going to be doubled..but the depth of field is also going to get shallower. Is that what you want?!

Sometimes, raising the ISO … on cloudy days to about 400..helps too! I’ve used higher ISOs in low light situations upto 1100, 1600 and don’t see any noise in the picture.  The new camera sensors have improved a lot in that respect.

Image Format settings:

Most DSLR camera’s support image formats. Raw and JPEG.  In my camera, I always set the format to RAW+basic JPEG.

The basic JPEG file gives you an immediate preview of the image taken. Raw files are huge and take up lots of memory.  Now, what is this raw file?

It’s the complete lossless, uncompressed image data as recorded by the camera’s sensor. The files structure is unreadable and proprietary to the the camera manufacturer. One needs software to convert this raw file to jpeg.  Nothing sounds nice, right?!  It has no contrasts..pics feel washed out and is not sharp.  Can’t print and can’t see. Needs to be processed on the computer!!!

But, it has every bit of information that you can collect of the scene you just captured. 

On the other hand… a JPEG is a standard readable image format. It has a standard 8 bits per color size..that gives a range of 16.8 million colors. Its compressed and hence a very lossy format. So, we have smaller file sizes. Doesn’t have big dynamic range of colors but, the image is sharper, contrasty, printable…..and all this is possible because the image has been processed by the camera internally.

When you click, the camera’s internal software will take the information off of the sensor and process it before it saves the image to your card. It renders all that colors it thinks is the closest to the scene and throws out all the other shades of colors that fall out of the gamut of those 16.8 million colors because it doesn’t recognize them.   So, color information is lost and images are more noisy than a raw version. Still the quality of JPEGs in most DSLR’s are good.  To me..this is a very lossy format.  To experiment, try this..

You click a picture vertical and check its size before you flip it.. Now change its orientation from landscape to portrait, and check the image size.. A few pixels of data are lost in the process. You will find the file size smaller than before.  Most JPEGs don’t need any edits but, if you do edit, make sure you don’t edit the image a number of times because every time you open a JPEG file and save it..information is lost, pixel information is thrown away!

Now, if image quality is of atmost importance to you and the file size is a non issue then, you should be shooting in RAW. In the case of RAW.. all that in camera processing that happens automatically inside your camera is now done on the computer by YOU, in your DIGITAL DARKROOM!

You are in total control of how you render colors to the image,  how bright, or dark you want to make the image, add contrast or remove highlights or reduce noise ..decide the white balance etc.  There are a lot of software s that process Raw images. I use the Camera Raw which is part of the Photoshop software package. Nikon also provides software to convert the raw images to JPEG.

Picture Control settings:

How effective do you want the colors to show. If you want stronger saturations in your pictures..You can set this to vivid. If not , you can leave it at the “standard” setting.  I have it set to “Vivid”.

White Balance settings.

I leave this in the auto mode because the newer DSLRs are so good with automatically selecting the right white balance..its worth trusting the camera on this.  But, this topic of white balance is such a tricky one, leads to a lot of other information like using 18% grays cards, color cards..color profiles, and color management in general. To big a topic to even explore when thinking basic photography….

These are some of the basic settings I deal with everyday…while shooting in natural light.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Magic Number 9!


“Mama! When I’m going to be 9 , I’m going to be GOOD!”,  she said.

“Didi’s are going to be good, but, I’m going to be GOOD! GOOD! GOOD!”, she said shaking her head assertively, raising her brows and rolling her eyes.

“I’m going to be a good swimmer!”

“Oh! she’s talking about swimming!”, I thought. For a brief moment I had thought, she was referring to all the goods I had wanted her to be…

Richa at the Beach

During a recent vacation, she had watched her sisters swim in the ocean, play in the waves, snorkel in the reef, dive in it too! while she had stayed away from the water…content with playing in the sand and watching the waves.  She had defended herself by saying that the ocean is too big for a little girl like her.

Seems like it had hit her. Now she was evaluating herself and was trying to find refuge in the fact that she’s only 4, going on 5.Richa at the beach.

All the things that her sisters do, the funny songs they know, the line dances they learn in that big fancy school of theirs or from their friends, the clapping rhythm games they play..which they modified a bit so that Richa can be part of it too (a la “Ms Mary Mac” from our times!).. All of that was so COOL!

It is frustrating to this girl to not be able to contribute to being cool!  The other day..she asks me..

“Mama, when I am nine what will Didi’s age be?”

“14”, I said.

She broke down and started to cry..they sure were real tears.

“I will never be taller than Didis!”, she said..wiping her tears away.

In her mind she could see her Didis towering over her, when they will be 14 and she’s still looking puny.. Even though she sees/knows .. adults around her aren’t taller than a point..she imagines that she will keep growing with age..

She tells me,

“Mama! I would never want to be 99…because, I’m going to be giant, then!”

“I’m going to be so big that I’ll have to live outside the house. I will not be able to come inside the home. I am so scared to be 99, I am so scared to be a giant.”


To her 9 has become a magic age when a kid automatically knows everything, Can be a dare devil and swim in open waters. She has set a lot of goals for herself when she’s going to be 5.  From what I’m learning about this little one now.. seems like this girl really takes herself seriously.

At 5 she wants to be able to swim in the swimming pool without her floats, but at 9 she wants to graduate to open water.  Nothing scares children who are 9, she feels.

Nine year olds can effortlessly play with computers too…be able to do all those math, know the in’s and out’s of every option available to create art using clip art, fonts and scribbles, in a microsoft word doc.

Her Didi’s had taught her how to get hold of a clip art of a kitten by typing the word “kitten” in the search box.  All her art on the computer is always around a kitten! The other day..she typed in the word “Fat” in the search box and was thrilled the search yielded her pictures of FAT KITTENS!!!

Richa at a resort

Nine year olds can do any kind of addition and subtraction given to them. They can create addition and subtraction problems on the fly and don’t need fingers or number lines to count stuff that adds up to more than 20.

They also write numbers that she doesn’t even comprehend, which she calls “Comma”. That’s a giant number.

One day she told me..

“Mama! when I turn 9 I’ll be able to add and subtract any number”

“Only you’ll also need to know how to multiply and divide and know primes and deal with fractions and unknowns ..do geometry, algebra, statistics and so much more!” , I said to her silently

Do you remember taking your 9 year old girl kid to her classmate’s or best friend’s birthday party?

Do you remember the kind of hug they do?  The BFF hug?!

That excited squeal they let out when they see each other...then, the way, they hold each other and jump in some kind of weird synchrony…for a while and, suddenly disappear into the crowd.  I call it the “Meeting Dance”!

(Right…just short of an a!)

After that..there’s no point telling them that you’ll be back to pick them up. They won’t even remember you exist and in fact , it was you, who drove them here… All that realization comes when its time for the party to be over.

Richa wants to be in those shoes too! She wants to have friends who she could do that dance with. She wants a best friend of her own. She has found  that in “Mya!” in her class.  She does hug her whenever she see’s Mya in school but, it doesn’t have that 9 year old punch in it!

Her plan to get to be 9 years old is by turning 5 years first. Then soon, she will be 6, and then 7, 8 and then the MAGIC 9 gotta follow!

Personally, I haven’t come across a kid who has looked forward to her birthday as much as Richa has…

Richa portrait in sunset

This desire to celebrate her birthday took off on the day the triplets had turned 9 last summer.  Three of her sisters had celebrated their birthday on that day and her’s was the only name that wasn’t on the cake…

She had asked me

“How long for my birthday Mama?”

“6 months”, I had answered.

The count down that started that moment is about to culminate this week when she is going to be turning 5 on Wednesday. 

For the first time as parents we’ve seen a child see  frustration, helplessness, and desire something so much!  I know, I didn’t look after a classroom of children to have the authority to talk like,  I know kids..but with four children .. each, with personality so different from the other (and yet be same in some way!)..I can safely talk in the way I did.

The answer to the question…

“How long for your birthday, RIcha?” 

had stayed 6 months for a long time.. It was around September of last year that she had gotten frustrated with the way time wasn’t changing and realized..Oh! its just 4 more months to my birthday…and that count now has come down to 4 days, this morning!

For the last month…we’d been using this situation  to our advantage. Coz, for the first time in her life she has understood the power of a BIRTH DAY!

She could demand stuff and nobody would deny her. She sure has demands for her birthday.

She wants a cake for her birthday that got to be Vanilla!  With letters on them that would read her name!

She wants “Happy Birthday RICHA!” written on her cake.  And she also needs a candle in the shape of a number 5!

Then, she has some more demands! Only, they’ve changed over time. Until two weeks back, it was a pony toy with a shirt and shoes for the pony.  That was the toy that had not been opened … lying at home since the days of the triplets toddlerhood.  But, last week, the triplets unable to keep her from playing with it..opened it for her.

Now, it didn’t count as her birthday gift, did it?!  It wasn’t packed in a gift wrap before it was handed over to her! She’s also collected a lot of promises from her sisters. They’ve pledged Barbie's with dresses for her.

She’s also got Mama to commit to a computer for her only! That which is not an iPad, that which looks just like Mama’s laptop… It needs to have a CHROME icon in it which would help her access the internet, especially,


on it !!

She’s also found another reason why she needs to be 9, recently! She realizes that her Didi’s always take advantage of her and being 9 will get her out of the situation. But, after watching “RODRICK RULES”, last night along with her sisters..I’m not sure if she has realized that some things don’t change. Although her sisters were thankful that they don’t have elder brothers!

There have been times when she has let them take her for a ride..thinking maybe,  if this is what entertains them..then so be it.  Richa had no clue of Santa Claus until the vacation last month.  On that trip, her sisters introduced her .. to this generous character. She loved him at once. She was ready to do anything to keep him happy.

As soon as we came home.. she looked if there was a gift waiting for her under the tree as her Didi’s had mentioned.  There wasn’t!!

Then..her sisters..lost no time in creating a book called

“The book of rules for Richa, From Santa!” 

and had Santa lead her to that book with some clues..spread around her home.

The same game that Papa had played on the triplets when they were 3 and 4 and 5 and 6 and 7 until ..it was feasible!

That book explained all the rules that Richa needed to follow that would make Santa leave a gift for her. She was all up for those rules.  It got convenient for us for a few days..maybe a week..and then one morning when she could take it no longer she told me..with boldly folded hands and rolling eyes,

“Mama..you know, that book wasn’t left by Santa. I saw Didi..making that book and drawing it…It was made by Didis.  So, I don’t need to follow all those rules.”

That’s when I told her..

“Richa..then, Didis cannot give you your gifts for your birthday if you don’t follow those rules!”

“Ok fine then! I’ll finish my food”, she said.

That gave her another reason to wish to be 9 years old!