Saturday, September 28, 2013

Girls need boots …. Daddy!


At $45 dollars each pair of boots, and 4 pairs through..I had waded through 2 winters, knee deep, hoping that my children would wear them..When the second winter also had passed without much success, I had hoped that their feet would stay smaller for another year so they could fit into them the next year too..and then almost immediately, had felt guilty that I let a thought like that cross my mind. The thought of buying another 4 new pairs was too much to assimilate. How would the wallets or the closets take this ?!!

It was a routine I had adopted…for myself for those winter mornings. I would stand at the boot stand and market those boots to my children. Every morning I had try to brain wash them…into thinking there’s nothing as cool or chic in the whole wide world as those boots, and they would just brush me off and wear those awful pair of converse. They had each painted their faces on their shoes to know one’s pair from the other’s.

The boots had looked so, cute! Why couldn’t they see that?

It was such a retro combination of chocolate and pink and yet had this Victorian charm, they ran up till the  knees..and had these long string to tie like, like the corset strings, making it look sooooo.. let me just say, ‘NICE’, before I can let the imagination run wild! 


And, I was available to tighten those strings, if they couldn’t!!

What could they have asked for more?!

The boots had been voted the best in some parenting magazine too!

Well, that’s what the store had claimed!! Then, I had wondered with all those strings to tie…if people who voted were actually parents!!  It needed me to reserve 5 minutes of the morning rush hour just for case my younger daughter agreed to wear them.

On the days that my triplet girls, PNK, had agreed to wear the boots,  they had preferred to cover those chic boots with their boot cut jeans although they had a choice of wearing a skinny jean on that day.

Now when their feet has totally outsized those boots, I had finished of, off the winter ordeal..making a decision that I would never again buy them boots. Never ever!!

I didn’t want to go through the agony of marketing another pair of boots that would get outsized…without being used!

Today, Hubby dear, shows me this WHATSAPP message…that is being sent to him regularly, unfailingly, once everyday and it, reads

“Daddy, Girls need boots……………..Smile Smile Smile Winking smile“   (with millions more)


PNK were sure…Mommy dear is good at one of either…Ignore such messages, in case, she checks them, or, she never checks her messages. So, they never waste their  “patao-ing”  energies on me..

On the other hand, Daddy is this cool guy, who loves to complain about Mumma’s shopping escapades, with the children, making it sound so true, comical and romantic to them, that they’ve remarked..

”Oh! Isn’t it cool to be married!” 

( that Poo, came u  with this sketch…She did well, illustrating what she understood of him…she finished it off with her opinion though! )


They are able to lend their ears to Papi’s stories..and in return Papa dear never says “NO!” to any of their requests. Now with the advent of online shopping..what does Papa find on their browsers?!

Tens and tens of tabs of Firefox or Chrome, each of them, highlighting a dress or accessory they would like to buy!  R is not behind. She makes sure Papa’s browsers points to her “Barbies dream house” or to “Barbie Mariposa and the fairy princess” dvd. She keeps us updated with her shopping needs. Google has become the new panacea to their shopping needs. Their new Elixir to knowledge. Knowledge of what can be bought.

She has already announced her birthday gift expectations..

(How Microsoft or Firefox even keep up without crashing before Papa gets to see those a mystery!)

Gone are those days when you could make your child believe that something is not available. They will point you to a store, in the whole world,  where you could buy it from.

So, Papa came to bed last night and tells me..

“Its going to be an expensive affair now..Your daughters want so many things!”

I felt so happy….”At last”, I thought….

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

And that is my story!


Last night I found this note on the door to the Kids room.  It was clearly written by the girl in the picture. She didn’t even need to put her picture in there…I would have known!!

Poo's Writing 107232013_0000

I was so, profoundly touched.  I guess, I don’t need to stress out that I’m a soon to be teen children’s mom. If teenage is going to be like this, then, my work as a parent is done.  In that article … she had poured out all the emotions that she was going sweet, so gentle and so honest. And that was HER STORY!

“My child…you have your heart in the right place, you are already perfect! You don’t even need to try...!”

After I read the note, I went into the room. The lights had been turned off. The night lamp was on.

“That was such a lovely note you have there on the door.”, I told P as she was pulling the blanky on her to go to sleep.

Papa dear had followed behind me.

“Yeah…that is so heart warming that P wrote, isn’t it Papa?!”, N asked Papa.

“You didn’t cry reading that… did you, N?!”, Papa questioned N.

“Yeah I did!”

“NO!!! you didn’t!  we didn’t’ see you cry!”, her siblings responded.

“I cried in the bathroom!”, she said.

All of us had a great laugh.

I’m so grateful for summer vacations,  that brings our  children closer to us. These lazy afternoons bring more meaning in our lives. Don’t they?!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Another year..Another year older!


Yesterday...My triplet children, PNK, turned 11. It was yesterday evening, 11 years ago, I was going through this huge huge pain, this great life threatening discomfort, I’m really not sure what to call it...of which, I just have a 10 sec video clip, where,  I’m just tossing this way and that to get comfortable. My face was an epitome of PAIN! Well..that’s the best hubby dear could do!

In all that pain, I was still hoping to hold on some more so the babies could grow some more.  Little did I know that, eleven years later, I would realize, it was the easiest part of motherhood that I could have endured. The EASIEST BREEZIEST PART.  Little did I realize what we are setting ourselves up to.

When your children are babies, toddlers and as they grow into little feel that life will only get easier as your children grow. They will get independent, that they will begin to dress themselves and feed themselves, and you as a parent will be able to relax more.

LIttle do you realize, that the responsibilities of parenthood just gets exponentially bigger as the child grows, and to just say that feels “tiny”!  They start to become individuals who surely can feed themselves and take care of their physical selves but, now education comes into the picture, they start to think, growing mentally,

You need to start focusing on helping your child to make good choices for their future, starting with sharing in the kindergarten years to choosing friends in the teenage years, develop the personality, feeling content with their physical looks, developing confidence of self, learning extra curricular activities, understanding your children’s talents and providing guidance, financial stability, mentoring them., so so so so much more starts to come into the picture, that motherhood/parenthood suddenly becomes this monstrous complex job…that you’re not sure how to handle.

Now, my triplet children, step into another phase of their lives..They are no more those Kiddos on the block...they are eagerly looking forward to their teen years unaware of the challenges all such things bring on, with respect to education, love and everything else that's going to shape their future hence forward...
Me on the other hand, I'm so nervous, really nervous of dealing with the challenges of tweenage and teenage parenthood, and that's an understatement.  Hope we, mom and daughters,  we’ll be able to find balance in all the imbalances we are up for together.

I've heard a lot of people tell me "You are lucky" when they hear me answer their question..

“How many children do you have?”

“How many boys and girls?”


There are some who just simply smile and some others who have warned me about the uphevels all those raging hormones are going to bring on, in our lives...

Some have suggested that Daddy, stand by the door with a long ward off the boys who will try to woo these pretty girls.  Some wondered about all the hearts that these pretty girls would break. There was one doctor...who had playfully suggested that we should consider owning a Smith and Wesson.

“What is that?”, I had asked him innocently.

That was the first time I came to know of a brand of gun!!  So, people had a lot of ideas for me..I am just hoping I can get through years of teenage motherhood without the use of any such. 

I'm going to rely on the phrase.."It takes a village to raise a child".  I'm going to bank on all the parents and the children of the neighborhood and community, my village,  to form that balance we as parents need for our children and hope to provide the same to other parents and their children.

Now as a mom of my children, with the wisdom I now have, I understand my parents better than ever before.  I respect them more that I realize, they endured a kid like myself!!

I now love them, for forcing some of those decisions they took for me. Those decisions that I didn’t agree with or I didn’t like, then.  I understand how much I had depended on my Dad to be my pillar of strength.

Now as a mom to my children, I know..that some of the decisions my children may make may not be right and, I will not hold myself back and let my child make such a mistake.

In the coming years..I know, I’m going to be finding myself in those shoes quite frequently..what with 4 girls in my life. I'm going to have to prepare myself mentally to hear my child tell me, that they think I’m mean, they hate me.. (although I doubt if my girls would say something like that..) and hope that later in their life .. they will understand our perspective, as I did. 

This has been the cycle of life until now.     Its only when one becomes a parent can one understand their own parent and the anxiety they went through, as they had raised you.

My letter to God today is….

Dear God, I would like to let you know that I am so grateful for the family you have given to me..I do love each of them to pieces..and I would like to, to the best of my ability, take on this responsibility bestowed on me .

GIve me the courage to face all the emotional upheavals that is part of mothering my 4 wonderful girls and wisdom to my children, to make better choices. One of them includes, helping my children find a friend in me and help me in my quest to achieve that. 

I would like to listen in on her thoughts..about everything in her life, things that matter to her, things she dislikes and things she doesn’t care about. Help me build a relationship with her to make this possible and help me be wise enough to not judge her when she does in fact confide in me, be trustful of her that she would make the right decision.

Help me be her always be able to have and give her options and nudge her in the right direction. Help me help her appreciate the small things in her life, the power of spoken words, and the consequences of her actions.

Help me help her find kindness and patience. I can tell you, the patience level they show right at the lowest..Help me raise that. for their own sake and mine too!

I understand that my daughters may have emotional outbursts, at times (although it already feels like its “always” now)..Help me face all that with the coolth of a cucumber.

Right now..I’m grappling with the decision if my children are ready to own phones..They have promised that they wouldn’t be occupied with games on it..they wouldn’t misuse it. Their dad is all for getting them the phones. Please give wisdom to the Dad and the children to hold back some more because you and me know what such promises mean and what peer pressure does.

Give me the physical strength and time to continue to create all the wonderful memories in the form of pictures and videos that I make for they will be able to cherish their childhood days.

The last but the greatest thing I would like to ask of you..Give me the strength to be able to love my child UNCONDITIONALLY!! To protect her and yet let her fly free..That’s going to be the most difficult for me, I know.

I close this letter to you god reminding myself..the last few lines of this poem I came across…..

Remember too as she grows to
Be a woman
She's a reflection of yourself
A reflection of the joy, kindness,
And dignity
A reflection of a woman set free
To pass down her teachings
From no other than thee.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Raga Hamir - Vocal recital

My children PNK and Richa, had their yearly Classical Vocal and Kathak recital the past weekend. The video posted above is a composition of their Guru, Ms. Swagata Chakraborthy, of Raag Hamir (Raag Hameer). PNK, my triplets are part of this group. So, I can claim that almost one third of the voice in this video is my KID'S :-)

A very difficult and challenging composition for children of this age (10-12 years) and they sang it so so so effortlessly.. I was so elated with joy. My My My..I'm so totally proud of my children. Especially, when I hear the finale Tarana and the "Madhuban Mein Radhika" part...I just can't help but clap clap. There were some very difficult tongue twisters in the end..the children loved that part. They were so exited to learn that part.

Starting with Aaroh and Aavroh and then the Swarmalika, followed by the lakshangeet. The Lakshangeet, shows one the form of the Raag. Every Raag has this form. It makes a kind of figure in your mind. The Lakshangeet gives that to the listener. This was followed by the Bandish. Then the tempo picks up and they sing the famous "Madhuban mein radhika naache re" based on this raag so beautifully, followed by that amazin amazing TARANA recital.

A highlight this year, some gem of instrumentalists played this year...all little kids..You can see the flutist in this video. The tabla was rendered by a 7 year old boy... The boy who is fifth from the left is a very good sitarist!! He accompanied the Men's group in their Raag Recital. Amazing amazing talent here..people. Especially makes it awesome coz, these are small children.

A milestone for me this year was, with this video I stepped into the world of Video editing and Sound editing. There was a lot of noise and static in the sound of this video. Since the stage was very wide and if I went to the end of the hall to make the recording...I would have caught a lot of talk from people, I set up the camera a little closer to the stage...that meant a wider angle lens 24-70mm, so was worried of the distortion. The stage was very very poorly lit.

The curtain in the back was a shocking blue colored vinyl tarp...It was such a horrible color. I edited the video first in photoshop.. to mellow down that color. There were gaps in the curtain showing the backstage..I cleaned that up .. then fixed some more color. Then I rendered the video and brought it to Adobe Premiere Pro for further editing.

My first experience with Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Audition. These are 2 beasts...When I came back that night..I immediately tried opening the clip on Adobe Premiere Pro to edit the Video and the sound..but, was totally lost. Took me a day to understand the settings and the way we start a project. I thought it would be easy to understand that I'm comfortable with Photoshop. Totally frustrating too..The sound editing or sound cleaning doesn't work so good in Adobe Premiere pro. One needs to go to Adobe Audition to really do a better job of cleaning the sound..but, as I opened the clip in Audition..I realized that's another beast!!!!

A whole new world of technology, subject and information. Its a long road of learning ahead.

So, in between the struggles of learning a new software..I've managed to clean up the sound a little bit and make a decent color correction and lighting of this video...luckily the characters are standing in one, not much action going on here.

If Photoshop-ing is technical enough, Video editing is painfully more. And, It takes forever to render videos. Say, after exporting the document, you realize, you need to make another change, there goes few more hours, just to render that change. I'm sure there must be settings that will make it faster...( of hand I can think of one, rendering the video of lesser quality will surely make it faster.), but, don't know them as of now. Totally new vocabulary, new elements to edit. A virgin territory for me. Will keep me occupied the next few weeks to learn some of it.

And that also for 5 programs during the 4 hour long event, Recording the event in video and stills too.. OMG!! One tiring..knee shaking task. I have to confess I was nervous, very nervous and instantly TIRED! Then, to realize that I will have to edit these videos because the lighting on the stage was not right. The sound system also was very noisy. So, I do feel like I want to take off this week.. :-)

My children dressed in Bengali Style Sarees in this video..(I learned that also now!!) for a folk song rendered after the vocal. Changing costumes for 4 children..making sure there will be no costume malfunction on the stage...The amount of safety pins and hair pins to hold stuff..WOW!!!

Can't wait to edit the Kathak and other Dance videos showing the triplets and Richa too :-).

Monday, June 3, 2013



When we lost Hobbes, our Yorkshire Terrier in July of 2010..It had been really heart breaking for PNK, my triplet daughters. Richa was hardly 3 years of age then. She didn’t know what she had lost, or maybe she just plain didn’t know how to express it. P, N, and K, my triplet children, had set up a memorial for him  and conducted prayers..They were visiting their grandparents in India when it happened and we hadn’t informed them until they returned...



DSC_0066 as Smart Object-1

Today, she very badly misses having a pet. She realizes that owning a pet would be the greatest thing that could happen to her. She had even mentioned that to Santa last winter but had left the marketing to her sisters which they obviously failed at.

For the last few weeks, she’d been bugging me about the Puppy.  I tried convincing her that owning one would ground us. We wouldn’t be able to go to her favorite places. She had replied back saying she hated going on vacations..anyways.

“Why do we have to go on a vacation Mama?!”, she had questioned me.

“I love being home..I like to be home always..I do not like going on any vacation.”, she added emphatically.

So, the other day,  I tried explaining to her what it meant to have a pet.  It needed to be potty trained. It needed to be bathed, groomed, fed. It may scare some of her friends away. It would be like having another baby at home..and that meant sleepless nights because a Puppy would need its mommy and we would have to stay awake to entertain it..see that it doesn’t chew off her shoes or hurt itself. it would be peeing everywhere in the house as it wouldn’t be potty trained yet. That she wouldn’t be able to go anywhere during her summer break.That, it would be a very difficult commitment to take on. 

Ofcourse…you can imagine how many promises she must have made to do the job all by herself. She didn’t even need her Didis to help her on that.

I reminded her that she would have to take it outside, to do its business.

“Who will walk it out..when you are at school..or at night?”, I asked her.

“WOn’t you be scared of walking it out at night?!”, I asked her.

“I could put on the lights and take him out to do his potty”, she insisted. This coming from a kid..who will not enter a room alone..who wants me with her even to pee in her own bathroom!! She is ready to get down the stairs at the door and take her pet out to do his nature call?!

Realizing there was no way I could get her to think practically..I conceded.

“Ok Richa…”, I said. “I will get you a Puppy!”

“WOOOOWWWWW MAMA…did you just agree to that!”, she screamed in delight..unable to believe she had just heard me say that.

“Yeah..but, there is a condition”, I said.

“What is it..I can do anything”, … she said, jumping.

“You will have to behave real responsibly for 60 days”, I said..just changing the 30 I had in mind to 60..on that spur.

Her enthusiasm had gotten me nervous, you see! I was too scared to utter…”30 days”

“I will watch you for 60 days to see how responsible you can be..that you have it in you to do all you claim, you will”

“And that need to clean up after yourself, complete your homework..without me having to remind you, no tantrums on taking a bath, you have to keep my space clean..all your stuff belongs to your room, you’ll have to eat by yourself……….”, I continued with a list trying to sneak in every little bit I could to take advantage of the situation.

She jumped with delight…

“Yes!..Yes!..I can do all that”, she exclaimed.

For almost a week, from was a sight to watch Richa at work. I felt guilty reminding her of the things she forgot to attend to.  She made my bed..finished her homework without a sigh, made sure that she didn’t annoy her sisters, ate her food without a tantrum. She was an epitome of what an easy kid would be like.

Slowly..I had to start reminding her of the many things … she was not doing..reminding her that she is in the 60 day evaluative period. Threatening her..that she may have to forgo her puppy if she refused.

Soon, she realized that she had agreed to more than she could handle. She stopped talking about the puppy.

One day sitting at the breakfast table, she mentioned having a rabbit for a pet…N saved the day for me…that morning.

“ you know how bad that smells. Do you know how much it poops and it does it in its own place. Mrs G has a Gerbel and she changes its bedding everyday, still the room stinks like crazy!”, she said.

This left Richa speechless…her sisters, who themselves are craving to have a pet…had spoken against the idea. There went her idea of having a Rabbit or a Gerbil for a pet, into the drain.

Today, she came to me and said..

“Mama…you know Caterpillars make great pets. You don’t need to do just need to place it in a pile of leaves and watch it feed on them…and turn into a butterfly”.

That moment I just wanted to HUG her tight. She was ready to settle for a caterpillar for a pet.  I could totally totally understand her.  I was in her shoes as a child. We would pick up any orphaned baby animal from the street and bring them home, to rescue it.  We had a  baby goat once, a rabbit, a street puppy dog, a baby squirrel rescued from a crow…We had brought home a lot of them…and had our hearts broken every time the pet died.  The baby goat got killed by a pack of street dogs and the rabbit killed by a cat…the puppy didn’t survive its own condition.

Eventually, I did grow up with a Doberman for my pet and what…2 generations of it. So, I can totally understand this desire of my children to have a pet. I know it is great. That unconditional love, getting licked on the face, that happy welcome you get when you come home, playing fetch with them, training them to do tricks. In fact, we had gotten Hobbes, our Yorkshire Terrier and a Rabbit within a couple of years of getting married. I had trained Hobbes to do tricks with a Clicker. and was thrilled it had worked. I had a library of books at home..on their care and training.  That was until my kids came..Well…who knew I’d have 3 of them at once!!, right?!  After that..Hobbes was on his own. I evaluate my situation.. I am not in a position to commit to mothering another living creature....So, my children..I don’t know for how long…I am going resist, but resist I must.

“Where can you find these caterpillars, Richa?”, I asked her

“You will find them in Caterpillar shops Mama..Thousands of them. Why don’t you search for them on the internet?”, she suggests.

And I showed the results of the search to her..

They were pictures of people wearing shirts and caps named “CAT”…Images of huge yellow machinery too, with the same letters…..leaving her to these words..

“Google is so wrong Mama!..How can these be caterpillars?!!”

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Bargaining with the tooth fairy.


“I have money…I can buy it myself. I have 5 dollars”, was the expression I must have heard for the longest time. We, at home have been bombarded, torpedoed with those lines, for eternity to be. Nothing in the world that Richa needed was off limits after she got her $5 from the tooth fairy last year. 

She had received that from the tooth fairy for the cute letters she had written to her,for over a week, informing her that she had behaved as promised and then requesting, she be given what was fairly hers.

Obviously, the tooth fairy’s heart had melted like the softest wax there must have been..Wow! my little cutie was even taking the effort to write letters to me..and that too, LONG ones! (well..that cue was given to Richa by her Mom!..She had convinced her that it would certainly compel the tooth fairy!) Even if the 2 sentences of her’s had filled the whole page..the letter did seem LOOOONG!  It had left the tooth fairy yearning for more..So, she in turn left a note for Richa telling her to write more letters.

Spring Family Photo Shoot

She had deserved every penny of that money, for that endeavor. And when she got up in the morning to look for her bounty.. I could see that she had cut short her dream, forced herself to wake up. Lo and behold…she found $5 under  her pillow. SO, true to the phrase..

“If my dreams are not fulfilled..reality better be better than my dreams!!”

Her letter was gone and her tooth gone too!

“Mama..what does the tooth fairy do with all the teeth?!”, she had wondered.

Why in the world would the tooth fairy be giving away precious money just to collect these broken tooth from children..what use could she be putting them to?!

I don’t remember what I had answered ..because, I couldn’t see any sense in what the tooth fairy was up to, myself!  Well..except for a couple of days peace to help Moms, withstand all the tantrums the kids put them through.

Last week..Richa announces..

“Mama..look I have a wiggly tooth!”, she tries hard to push that wiggly tooth out towards me.

“Do you think I still look beautiful Mama?!”, she asks me so spontaneously, so un-feigningly..holding her jaws together and putting up this guileless fake smile, showing off her 20.

“Yes..Richa!”, I replied honestly, “you are still the most beautiful …”

Then started her tantrums about eating. Her complaints .. she didn’t even want to eat her favorite bagel. Which I could understand. But, how would I get her to eat more than her usual Yogurt Rice…I reminded her .. that she needs to eat well to keep her body and mind growing..

“Oh…so the tooth fairy will be visiting you shortly!”, I said, hoping she would stop complaining.

“Mama, How many days will it take for the tooth to fall, from when it starts to wiggle?”, she asks.

“It takes 10 days Richa!”, almost telling her to leave her tooth alone.

“Mama, I am going write a letter to the tooth fairy, and ask her to give me $100”, she says with confidence.

I know we had read Silverlicious a few weeks back. She was surely a bold girl..but, didn’t realize it would rub off this much on Richa.

“What are you going to do with the $100 Richa?!”, I asked her.

“Do little kids even need $100? What can they do with all that money?”

“There are a lot of things to buy, Mama”, she replied.

“You know those lego toys…! Some of them need $100 to buy!”, she educates me.

These are the days I shamelessly take advantage of her innocence the most. No..I’m not going to shy away and paint myself this great mom..coz, luckily we don’t have any tooth fairies to impress. Do we?! In fact, considering the fee of the dentist..they don’t remain fairies..anymore. Do they?!

Every time she even thinks of throwing a tantrum..I remind her that the tooth fairy may decide against giving her, the $100 she so much desires.

Oh! what a torture!..for these kids. On one side they are expecting to get these gifts/presents from a fairy..and their parents are all out to ruin their plans.

In the next 2 days…the teeth started to wiggle much more. I guessed that she would be loosing that tooth in another day.

At bedtime Richa says

“Mama..I’m going to ask the tooth fairy to give me $7”

“Why Richa..? Why did you decide to ask for less?”, I ask her like it was me loosing out on that $93.

“Mama..$100 is too much for a little me!’, she says totally convinced with her decision.  Till has been a mystery to me on why she had changed her mind. Maybe her Didis had talked her away from the idea or she had talked to her papa or some friend at school. Or, she just realized it on her own, I don’t know.

It was like I could see her mind..drift through all those changes. The moment of greed when she realized that she could somehow get the biggest amount she would ever know as a kid..that she wouldn’t have to depend on her parents for every little goody, she desired.

“Oh why do parents expect so much in return for simple requests!!” I could almost feel her sigh.

There was one time when she had to spend 2 nights in a row at a friend’s home. At first she was very excited about it..

“A nightout with my friend!!!”,..she had exclaimed.

By the second night she had expressed that she was done and wanted to go home..

When I had asked her..WHY?

“Its so difficult to be good, Mama!!”, she had explained it so simply.

Coming back to the present..Then there was this stage..

The dawn of reality…the realization that since she got $5,  last time..maybe she could get the tooth fairy to squeeze in another $2 now that she has grown up since the last time, the tooth fairy visited her. 

Inflation in CHILD LANGUAGE!!

Or, maybe she realized that she could never match the expectations of earning $100, the requirements for this was too much to for a kid, her size. She would never be able to keep up with it and she may end up loosing the $7 too!

The next day…she fell sick. So, she excused herself from the dance class…and when we returned…Papa announced.“

“Richa … lost her tooth!”

She proudly displayed her tiny tooth for everybody’s satisfaction and brought out her writing pad. She scribbled out her demands in the most polite manner

“Dear Tooth fairy,  I lost my tooth today. Could you give me $7 please!”

like the tooth fairy was her mind reader and would know all the things she had gone through to deserve the $7…not just the fact that she had lost the tooth.

Before the morning light could hit her..I woke up..tugging at Papa, reminding him about the money..He handed me a bill. I had just placed the bill and had taken the tooth away just a few seconds..when, she woke up like something startled her and looked under her pillow.

“Look Mama…the tooth fairy gave me $10!”

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

River of Respect..


“Mama, do you know that the river of respect is fake?”,  Richa told me as she suddenly recalled something. I guessed that something had to do with her school..

“Really!”,  I exclaimed so innocently like I really believed that suddenly existent imaginary river. That was the best show of attention I could put up as I was busy with editing a picture that I had taken during a recent vacation while I answered her.

Then, N enters the scene. They had just walked in to the home from school. I could see she was hiding tears in her eyes..

She announced her friend V was moving to Arkansas. 

“Mama , you know I’m not feeling bad that A is moving to another school next year cause I can still meet her over the weekends or some other time, but, V moving to Arkansas is really hurting”, she said.

“I’m so sorry”, I answered, “you’re loosing another friend”, without giving much thought to my words.

Next year when the girls move to another school, the kids are going to be divided into 2 different schools depending on the location where the kid’s reside.  When N had told me that her friend “A” will be in another school I felt really bad. They had been together since kindergarten. I really felt pain inside me..more than N felt herself..She had seemed fine with that.

“You know this is the internet age..Keep in touch through emails and soon one day you may find that you both are joining the same college”, I tried to console her.

She just smiled as she began to leave the room.

“Didi..have you been in the river of respect?”, Richa interrupted stopping N before she left.

“No”,  N replied.

“but, K has been in it”, she added.

“Are you in it, Richa?”, she asks her back.

“No…I wasn’t selected”, Richa replies, visibly disappointed.

“You know it is totally fake, the River of Respect is totally fake”, she added her 2 cents as she completes her sentence.

Surprised at that reply…N said..

“You have to be good for being good and not for the purpose of getting selected into the river of respect”,  she tried to educate her.

“I am a good girl and I have always been so”, Richa retorted back to her.

“I try to be so good to everybody but, they still didn’t select me”,  she said feeling rejected…unable to understand the secret behind the selection process into this FAKE River of Respect. As fake as this river was supposed to be..getting into it seemed priceless to her.

“Mama, you know I try to be so nice with my class friends, even at Montessori! If a little girl is not getting to stand first I talk to the other person and make them understand that she needs to stand first because she is little.  I also help my friends get answers sometimes. If they are smart they understand my answer”, she continued with little emphasis on modesty.

“If somebody is sad and crying … I talk and act silly and make them laugh and they forget they were sad”,  she said..

As Richa recalled all her good deeds justifying why she should have been selected into her fake river of respect, I wondered, if she realized that there isn’t anybody else in this world who felt she deserved this medal as much as me, her Mom…I would have put her name in the river a million times even if a thought of doing some thing good occurred to her.

Then I saw this glimmer in her eyes at that moment, as she told me.

“Mama, why don’t you frame my picture and put a tape in the back and give me so I can just stick it on that River of Respect.”, she suggested.

This elusive River of Respect, as fake as it was to her..she was ready to do anything to get into it, to be a part of it, even, sneak her picture into the River of respect if that could be done..

OH sure! it could be done..what with a photographer mom who can fake so many thing in and out of an image..she was sure that this could be a sure possibility.

“Richa, you are already there in my River of Respect”, I tried to console her.

“What River of Respect?”, she asked..

“Where is it?”, she taunted me.

“See …. right here”, I tried to swing my hand to draw a river making a swishing sound..

“Can you hear your name ringing?”, I asked..

Totally ignoring what I said..I could see her eyes light up with another idea…She suddenly realized that she could create her own River of Respect.

She jumped out of her seat and disappeared into her room, only to appear back with a paper and crayons. I saw her getting busy with creating the River of Respect, a real river where all the good things she does would get recognized and no good deed is missed.

And that wouldn’t be a FAKE one after all, would it?! She would get to decide whose names belong in that River.  She would proudly put her name on it..not because it was her’s but because she knew in her heart that she deserved it. She had done all that it took to get into that noteworthy list. I could hear her murmuring her plans of the drawing that she intended to put on that paper.

As she brought the paper and stuck it on my desk, I noticed that she had put “Mama” and “Papa” in that River too. Did I deserve that?  I know there wasn’t any other merit I had scaled to get into that list other than being her mom! Well moms…here is one sure perk of being a MOM! If your child ever creates a REAL river of respect…You’d be the first one they would put on that list.

Friday, January 18, 2013

“What is that called?”


Well there are many ways you can explain stuff to a child, but the most innovative and expressive ways come from kids themselves.  Its amazing what a kid can learn and assimilate if the knowledge comes from their peers. In my home that happens often. My elder triplet children have a lot to share with their younger sister and you can imagine how much that can be if the ratio of sharing to receiving is 3:1 right?! Smile

Recently, one night, R came to me wanting to explain something to me. She had forgotten what to call it. Needless to say, it was something she learnt from her elder siblings…whom she calls “Didi(s)”  (a title given to elder sisters in Hindi)

She started

“Mama..there are these wiggly things in your body…with a dot”, she said, while she drew in the air…her fingers tracing a perimeter made of C’s (lots of them…) and ended it with a dot.. The dot ofcourse, was meant to be the eye!

Then she continued as I starred blankly into her eyes..

“I don’t know what its called and there are germs that could swallow it. It could make you sick sometimes!”

“Didis know what its called…Do you know?!”

“I don’t know beta!”, I said with a blank face..

She ran to her sisters and came back with an answer. Well! I could hear her talking with them and them blurting out the answer to her riddle.

“White Blood Cells!  Right!”, she exclaimed.

She went on to journal that in her book as follows:

“ When you have 4 white blod sels, you will get sik and you will not go to scool”

Then she went on to explain her statement to me.

“If you have a 100 germs…”, she showed to me the magnanimity of the situation by stretching her arms and running across the room this way and that…showing how far 100 germs would stretch!

“and you have 4 white blood cells, then the germs will eat up the white blood cells. You will need 100 white blood cells to not get sik!”

Such a simple explanation to why somebody gets sick.  And I didn’t need to do the explaining! There’s always an advantage for younger siblings as they get to earn lots of such information from their elder ones and they also become the perfect candidates for the older ones to play mom … teacher.

Now I know, what was that happening the other day when I saw N at the board..drawing something for R as they played Teacher and Student!


And another evening .. the phrase “don’t have guts” popped up in a Dr. Seuss book and it became a perfect moment to know what guts meant?

“What is that?"!”

“Its your intestines..the one that absorbs the food, for your body and throws out the rest of it as poop”, I said.

Her antlers stood up. Well..we were talking Poop, right!!

“Does food have poop in it?”, comes back a valid question.

“And how does pee form, mama?”

“You know your body has so much water in it..It needs it, and gets it from all the food and liquids you have. It uses it to wash your insides and collects it in a bag kind of thing that when full…makes you feel like you want to go!”, came my brief, layman kinda explanation.

“Oh!! that’s why we got to wash our hands…because it has so many germs in it….”, Suddenly all the hand washing made sense to her.”

Its been such a joy to see this kindergartner expand her knowledge this year..She has suddenly realized the joy of writing and is filling out books with no more than 2-3 lines per page. 

She’s listening..and is doing that hard, I can see. The other day as I picked her up from school, she exclaimed.

“Mama,…Mother nature is going crazy!”

“ Its winter and upposed to be cold but, look its warm”, she said.

I’m sure she must have picked that up from some teacher at school. She loved it.  She made sure to make it her own. and who else to show that to, than your mom!

and yet another day…she says…

“Mama, I’m moving!”, as she takes her brush from my bathroom to her sisters bathroom.

Introduction to minimalistic living 101 ?!!!

Life would be so easy and uncomplicated, if that is all we needed to do, during a move, wouldn’t it?!

It sure is a “houseful” at our home here..mostly noisy and boisterous with lots of laughter and double the number of cranky moments..although the moments of laughter manage to shadow the crabby ones.

Most times we even manage to surprise a guest or two with total silence as they enter, and then comes the moment when they realize everybody was home!!!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Little Darling…turned 6 already!


My youngest child turned 6 years last week and the first thought that came to mind was, “time sure flies!”.  Didn’t realize when the effort she put into rolling onto her tummy got diverted towards rolling her eyes. Didn’t even see it coming!

Not only was she so eager to turn as soon as she was three months old..she was in a hurry to walk , talk and bid goodbye to her day time naps too! With that went my last chance of enjoying those brief quiet afternoon time.

She hadn’t had a afternoon nap since the time she turned a year old!!  Surrounded by 3 kindergartners…the world had felt like a place to stay awake rather than waste time sleeping. What if she missed out on something so exciting...

The pediatrician had suggested that I pull the curtains and darken the room, make it quiet, lock myself inside the room with her to put her to sleep..she had hinted persistence..but, can you imagine leaving  3 kindergartner’s outside the room while I do that..Not practical at all! Not for me! I failed miserably.

She enjoys the company of her triplet Didis as much as she complains about them. They’ve always been her second set of arms to run into, another chest to bury her face into whenever she feels down..or, .. just plain, let down by mommy dear!

They’ve also become her new set of teachers now!! They have found in her .. a perfect student, to practice their teacher’s idiosyncrasies on! And R gets to experience a 5th grade class through this pretend school!

The homeschooling that happens on a sight to watch. There are Science classes, Reading, Free time, Hindi class and 3 teachers. Student Report cards and behavior reports all updated placed in baskets..properly me a nightmare when it comes my time to organize their clean it up!

They love to please her as much as they don’t like her ..trying to be one among them.  As queer as are the ways of siblings, she received more gifts than she had asked for..thanks to her “Santa” sisters…who made sure that the magic of Santa was not lost to this yet to be 6 year old, back in December…or, in R’s own words “5 and three quarter years old”.

She had found quite a few letters addressed to her, written to her by her “Santa” Didis, under the Christmas tree. The letter’s appearance, as magical as Santa’s very existence, approving of her behavior, reassuring her of her gifts…and even suggesting some more to be added to that annoying Christmas list.  They made were delivered to her before we left for vacation and more waiting for her after we came back, under the Christmas tree.

R had made sure to leave a letter to Santa explaining the missing glass of milk…reassuring him, the cookies had extra milk and cream to make up for the missing glass of milk..

“Mama…I got more gifts from Santa!”

“I had asked for a Barbie..and he did give me it!”, she exclaimed, leaving me to my realization that I’m not done, I still have a few more Barbie years at home to endure.

“Richa..didn’t he know .. u haven’t been a good girl ?!”, I had asked her pretending to be so surprised that she even got a gift.

“I don’t know about that..I got my gifts!!”, she replied swiftly, bouncing away.

They made sure each gift appeared as magically as Dad had made it appear to them when they were 6!!  One day, R came back from school saying…

“ friend K in school says..Santa is not real..she said that Santa is our mommy and daddy, or elder sisters!”

PNK, her elder triplet sisters, got right to work..trying all they could to brainwash her back to Santa-dom.

And the excitement with which they helped R make her birthday wish list…like they are all set with their check books ready to write off any amount for her.

“Mama … get some more boxes ready to fill them up with Barbie s”, N comes back to me saying..”She wants the pool party Barbie now ”

“No! She had wanted a watch and to play musical chairs with her friends”, I exclaimed back.

“I’m sure you asked her if she wanted a Barbie for her birthday?”, I continued trying to decipher what must have happened.

I started to realize the truth a little too late…instead of Richa wanting to play like a 10 year old…her 10 year old triplet sisters now, want to play Barbie and Legos!!

In spite of all this lovey dove show by her sisters, there is no dearth of lone battles that she fights with these 3, 10 year olds…most times trying to convince them that they have been mean to her.  It mostly culminates with her stomping her feet and walking away from ME!! This will just make her stronger..I try to convince myself deciding not to intervene.

Then there are times I see this curious side of R..trying her best to fit in with the world around her. She has had words like multiplication and division thrown at her so many times by her triplet sisters…Its amazing to see this fire of curiosity inside of a child, that age.. No learning seem of limits to these tiny minds.

“So, Multiplication is nothing but addition done so many times?!!”

“and, Division is diving a group into smaller equal ones and see how many groups you can make?!!”, she continues.

“Wow! that’s easy too!”, she remarks and showed off her worksheet to her sisters letting them know, she’s conquered these 2 beasts too!  She even went about creating her own problems…let her sisters know, they can’t just take her for granted. 

Its really wonderful you look at the world from a 6 year old’s eye. Everything seems achievable to them. The hunger to know, the gusto to learn new stuff, to draw monsters and happy families along with those silly stories they write, those wonderful spellings they create, mumbling silly dialogues during pretend plays with their platoon of Barbies, all that inexhaustible energy, it’s a joy to watch and a pain to endure sometimes, when they ask you to participate! 

All that talk about school and her day during bedtime and within the next minute…she’s fast asleep wandering somewhere in dream land…and I just looking at her…this poem ringing in my mind,  the best seller poem

by Maryann K Cusimano

I am your parent you are my child
I am your quiet place, you are my wild
I am your calm face, you are my giggle
I am your wait, you are my wiggle
I am your audience, you are my clown
I am your London Bridge, you are my falling down
I am your Carrot Sticks, you are my licorice
I am your dandelion, you are my first wish
I am your water wings, you are my deep
I am your open arms, you are my running leap
I am your way home, you are my new path
I am your dry towel, you are my wet bath
I am your dinner you are my chocolate cake
I am your bedtime, you are my wide awake
I am your finish line, you are my race
I am your praying hands, you are my saving grace
I am your favorite book, you are my new lines
I am your nightlight, you are my sunshine
I am your lullaby, you are my peek-a-boo
I am your kiss goodnight, you are my I love you

I wish for you my baby, a healthy long life, I wish for you to be go places, to learn from your mistakes and not be afraid of taking chances..and at the same time I wish for myself the courage of the lady “Sally Field”…from Forrest Gump when she says to her son having braces on his legs..

“Don’t let anybody tell you that they are better than you, Son..If god wanted everybody to be the same..we would all have had braces on our legs”.

Here is a birthday video I had created for my child …. I hope you enjoy it.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Getting it right?! How?


I’m sure the past holidays must have been a lot of fun with family and friends and I know how many of you kids may have had a point and shoot camera in your christmas list…other than a PUPPY, ofcourse!! 

Most of you may even have gotten a point and shoot for a christmas gift  cause it was easier for mommy and daddy to get you the point and shoot than a PUPPY!  Yeah…”The real one!” ofcourse. I know, the camera was your second choice.

You must have even started to click at whatever came in front of you…as soon as you got the battery charged and a memory card in place. Trust me..I was no different even when I was big enough to be married and got my first decent point and shoot! Yeah..that was when I got my first decent very own one.

I’m sure all those pictures you clicked during the holidays, will become memories of a lifetime for you. I can so easily see you..running after your cute little cousin as she played with her toys, trying to capture some pictures of her..or of your parents sipping coffee with your aunt and uncle, as they talked early in the morning after you finished unpacking your gifts.

Then you would have immediately hit on the blue “display” button to check out your masterpiece. While some of them might have been nice, for most others, you might have wondered, why, it didn’t look like how you saw with your eyes.  Some of the shots that you had taken were so crisp and clear while most may have been blurred, unclear or dark. WHY?!  you might wonder…why these inconsistencies when you had clicked them all alike.

Well … there are a lot of things that need to come together, for the camera to record what you see. One of the most important, fundamental of them all  is, Light! The word Photograph means “Writing with Light”.  So, light forms the most important part of taking a photograph…next to the fact that you will need a camera to write it with, right?! Smile I’m sure you know that..Silly me!

So, if there isn’t enough light for the camera to see, the camera will not be able to write an image that is clear enough.  Or, was your subject…moving when you clicked?! Maybe that’s why the image was blurred out?!

There are a lot of simple steps you can take to make sure your images are crisp the next time you click. Let me list a few out to you. I am sure … with your curious minds and will venture out to find more stuff on your own. Assuming that you know how to operate your camera..I will start with

1. The first and most important that messes up most of our images is not holding your camera the right way. Hold you camera straight and steady.  Sometimes we are so eager to take the next shot, that we don’t’ wait for the click to complete before we move to click the next subject. This could cause image blurs. Setting up the camera on a tripod will surely help you make clear shots by reducing blurs due to camera shakes and hand shakes. You may find it very restrictive but, hang on..Make sure to use the grid lines, you see on the camera screen or viewfinder, to straighten horizon lines..That way your landscape images are not tilted.  Your horizontal and verticals will stay that way and not become diagonal.

2. Most blurs also happen during the act of pushing on the shutter release button rather violently.  Make sure you tug you elbow into your body to stop that from happening.  And while that is a preventive..we need to learn to click on the shutter release button, very softly so as not to cause the camera to move while clicking. If you are using a DSLR camera, then you have a viewfinder which when pressed against your forehead..helps in reducing camera shakes too. Another way, if you are not using a tripod, use your body as a tripod. Lean it against a pillar or something. It gives you greater stability, thereby, reducing hand shakes, and reducing blurs.

3. Make your scene as simple as possible by DE cluttering. In photography…most times, little is too much. If there are too much stuff in the scene you may appear messy. So, make sure you focus on a particular point/object of interest..either by zooming in or getting closer to the object/subject. If a flower is your subject..make sure you have only your flower in view..If you cannot zoom in, then, get closer to your subject. That way the attention is on the flower and not on other stuff that may cause distraction.  Here is a very nice article for you kids, to help you learn to look at your subject through the camera lens.

4. Hold your tiny camera right, please! Many may have your finger or a unintended shadow show up in your picture because you let your finger hang along the front of the camera lens or flash.  There are sensors and other holes on the front of the camera. If you block those, then either it may limit the lens’s ability to focus right or the flash light will be blocked. So, make sure you hold your camera with your index finger on the “shutter release” button, the thumb at the bottom and rest of the fingers away from the lens and other sensors. If you are using a DSLR camera..make sure you use your right hand to grip the camera, with the index finger on the “click” button, (the shutter release button), and your left hand should hold the lens from under the lens with your index finger and thumb. Make sure you lean your left elbow against your body while you hold that position as this will help you eliminate blurs due to hand shakes.

5. Before you click, you need to identify a point of interest in the picture you want to click.  A photographer is an artist too. The only difference between a photographer and a painter is that the painter starts with the clean slate, while a photographer will look around and compose his picture such that it appears like art.  This is possible only when you can identify and focus on what caught your attention when you decided to click a scene.

6. Read your camera manual thoroughly. Most point and shoots, or DSLRs, get very powerful, if you can use the various modes available to you to control your image. For eg., There are modes in the camera that let you control, where to focus, how much of the image is clear and what is blurred, or help you freeze action in the air. They are called “Aperture” and “Shutter Speed” modes. You can also control white balance and image quality in the menu.

7.  Most cameras have a self timer mode. Its not there just to click your own picture but, helps in case you want to click tack sharp images. The clicking action sometimes could cause inadvertent vibration in the camera. To avoid this, sometimes photographers use the self-timer mode to delay the click so that they are not touching the camera when the click happens, thereby getting virtually no blue due to camera shake during the click.

8. Learn how to focus lock by depressing the shutter release button half way. Most DSLR’s have some thing called focus points. These are the points that are activated when you depress your shutter release button half way.  Some cameras have 5-7 focus points while others can have 51 or even more. Every time you depress the shutter release button half way, a focus point is chosen by the camera, which is usually the point that is right in front. Some cameras are equipped with face recognition and focus on the face that is ahead of the others.  It may take a few focus locks to get your focus on the right spot, on the right face, sometimes.. And when you get it right..continue to hold the shutter button half way down.. and recompose your frame, then click!

9. Practice, Practice and Practice is the only mantra to help understand all that you just read. It’s the only way that will teach you to hold your camera right and click right. The more you use your camera the more you will be able to explore it. In this digital age…its as easy as deleting an image you don’t like and try again to get it right.

10. Try clicking at your subject from various angles.  You may notice what a difference it will make in how you notice things..Try to click from below and above, from far and near. Did you ever think of clicking at a flower from below it?!  Try that..the next time you click at a flower and see the difference in your image. This is the way to get going with composing your scenes.

11. Although you will click at images that that you are interested in..make sure you don’t take 100 images of the flower you see around you and forget your family who came along to see the flower show with you. Or, you are just clicking at your little toddler cousin’s smiles and forget to click at the beautiful scenery around you, during your Vacation trip. That’s not going to help you make memories from the trip..Will it?!

12. Don’t forget to download your images that you want to preserve….to your computer. Very important to name and organize your folders in your computer rightly, otherwise, the next time you remember a picture you had taken a year ago but,  don’t remember where you saved it, or how to retrieve it. Now…that wouldn’t help, would it?!!

This article was just to help you to get started off with exploring your camera and is just a tiny speck in what one can learn about photography.  The modern cameras, it is a wonderful device that helps us make and preserve memories of good times we had with family and friends, and forget the bad.  So why not learn to make those memories beautiful, such that you want to go back again and again to watch them..rather than just see them once and forget about it.