Jan 25, 2012

Music and Me

Most resumes one comes across will have ‘Music’ listed as a hobby. Well, it was in my resume also about 3 years ago. I’d mentioned books/ reading as well. To me both are extinct today – from my life at least. I don’t have any hobby now. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I only have serious business and I call that parenting. I manage to get some office work also done in the meantime. Come to think of it, they should’ve never been featured as my hobbies. I’d taken neither seriously.

I love to read books and I’ll do that even today if I can curl up in a corner with some tea and chips. Oh how I love to listen to music. I cannot for the life of me, multitask – to me raising two children, managing work, in-laws and home is multitasking enough. The rest of the time I get goes indulging the TV. I like that I don’t have to use my mind when watching it. Given a chance, I don’t mind getting back to reading books…in fact I yearn for it on days, I’m sure the chance will present itself soon.

But music….it’s a long story. I haven’t figured out what I like. I can’t understand English music, of any kind. My dad had banned Abba as he thought it to be choir-ish. I don’t think he listened to anything English after that. It was mostly Indian Carnatic music and Tamil film music that got played on loops in our home. In my teens, I tried following some of the then favorites to look cool…I still like my Backstreet Boys. I got tired of trying to associate my ‘love’ for music with a genre. In a typical Tam-Bram household, girls are almost always sent to a Carnatic music teacher for vocal lessons. My grand-ma was a teacher herself. She taught me for some days and when back home from vacations, I went to some nearby aunties to get trained. After I started, my sister also joined. She was slow initially, but surpassed me in later years in both gaining the depth and voice culture. So ran my training for over twelve years. There were some parts of those years that I enjoyed. But I don’t think I grasped enough. I was and am pretty mediocre. I didn’t want to keep showcasing my mediocrity, especially when my sister was doing way better. I just conveniently used by board exams and lack of interest to drop out of my music classes. She continued though…well into her undergrad days in Pilani and did some catching up in her grad days in the US. My grand-ma still insists on listening to us sing together. Apparently my sister’s voice provides the nuances to a song, while I give the body required for a duet. She even imagines that we could’ve rocked the Carnatic music scene had we been committed. Well…I don’t want to break the truth to her. I was never interested. Music does not make sense to me.

Please don’t judge me. I love Ilayaraja, some AR Rahman, some Bollywood music and Carnatic music renditions. I listen to them. I hum a lot of songs. I sing lullabies to my children. I catch the tunes of even ad jingles very fast and sing along when they play again. That’s how much I am capable of. I was in denial before. That how could I not enjoy music so passionately? How could I be the person who’s no more than a simple lay audience when the family and friends are full of junta who knows-it-all. I have friends who are crazy rock music fans, they strum, they sing along, they head bang…I just watch them and revel in the moment. I enjoy their company and a chance to see them display their passion is all that I want to observe. Music, at that moment, appears to be their food, air and soul and it’s great to see them that way. I don’t seek/ search for the new records that are released..if I happen to hear something, it stays with me for some days and then I forget until its played again by someone. I don’t have the patience to sit through a song for its lyrics. I can’t understand the beauty in poetry. I read some…if the first couple of lines catch my attention or if its highly recommended by friends. My husband loves poetry. I don’t know why anyone appreciates it. They might not be able to get why its not my cuppa. I’ve realized that I am not an arts person. Even when I’d mentioned the learning to dance as a to-do thing in my bucket list, I think it was more to do with the fun I could have with Sri.

To someone who raises an eyebrow –  don’t know Scorpions? Beatles? Metallica? Indian Ocean?.....Sorry, NO.

Go ahead. Judge. I won’t.

Dec 23, 2011


Started the year in Chennai. Talks of Nithya's wedding formally began (literally rang in the new year with that). Bought our second car. I still drive my Maruti-800, while Sri's turned the big car snob, grrrrr.

Advait's 1st bday preparation took most of our time. Explored and moved into a different role in the same company. Executed the b'day pretty well. Pat on our backs :)

Discussed Nithya's engagement date probables. Sri changed jobs, new company, better position. But little did I know I'm going to see lesser of this guy going forward. If I could call it an accomplishment, completely weaned Advait off me *sigh*

Tamil new year & Vishu celebrations. Nothing much actually - too much routine maybe!!

Nithya's engagement ceremony. Oct 31 fixed as the d-day.

School reopens for Aditi. Did a quick trip to Coimbatore for a function in the family. Did Advait's tonsure in Tirupati (left Aditi behind in Bangalore, a thing she still is not ok with). What a memorable trip it was. We came back with 30 odd laddoos for all friends and family.

Sudden demise of a family member (Sri's uncle) in Mumbai. Managed work and chaotic home somehow, with in-laws gone to help the family in mourning. Began wedding shopping for Nithya (she cannot thank me enough for the saree choices I made...but its a thankless job eh...being the bridesmaid et al).

Had one of the best Independence day weekends ever. But all fun lost when the cousin who visited us for the weekend passed away in a freak accident in Chennai. I dont remember much of the rest of the month except that I cried a lot.

We tried to move on. Work got a bit hectic. Did a LOT of wedding planning, shopping for the children etc. Did I begin carpooling to office this month? hmm..I think so.

Traveled to Chennai in the first week to invite relatives from my in-laws side for the wedding. Worked for a couple of weeks and was gone for about 10 days for the wedding. Super fun was had - the way I wanted to at my sis' wedding.

Got back to Blr on 9th from Chennai (celebrated parents' 30th wedding anniversary), faced some nanny issues back home, made some temp arrangements (split the timings between 2 maids so the nanny who complained could still make it to work. She was very good with Advait) Carpooler guys (2 guys and me) take me out on my b'day for a small treat. Sri surprises me with a bracelet. Love it. Its my everyday wear now. The carpooler guys and I go out for lunch the next week - my treat. In al, a good b'day. Generally bonding well with the carpooler guys - we discuss a lot of stuff, make a lot of pitstops (or say, bajji/ bonda stops :P)

Parents visit us for an extended weekend which was a lot of fun, with Advait entertaining them very well. Nanny turns tantrummy (like our house won't run without her presence - she lied to us and went awol for 4 days) and we fire her. Hmmph..good riddance. Found another one on the very same day. But as luck would have it, Advait ran away from her at sight and she tried cajoling him for 3-4 days and quit. We are nanny-less for the first half of the day now. Well, the world didnt crash ...so there! Thats probably how we will stay for sometime. Aditi's turns 5 tomorrow and we've planned a b'day party with just her friends in the apartment like last year. Hope we have a good time.

Not bad eh....apart from all of this, the promotion I've been waiting for hasn't happened this year. But my manager says he will recommend in the Jan-Feb cycle. I am trying to evaluate my current career choice with the priorities at the moment to see if I am able to strike a balance.....so already something up for me in 2012.

Here's wishing y'all a peaceful 2012!

Dec 14, 2011


Some years back, maybe a year before I got married, this beautician of mine told me -

"Never trust a woman who has a comb in her handbag"

WTF! Really?

I didn't go back to her again.

Somehow happened to think of her as I detangled my hair in the office restroom.

Aug 19, 2011

To you, R

I have known you for 6 years now, very much the time I've been married. To think that 6 years is all its ever going to be is not a pleasant feeling. I don't have a word to describe the relationship and the rapport we shared. The world calls it in different names - in probably every language. To me it was not just that - in fact  we never were what the relationship term meant us to be.

I don't remember when I started talking to you the way we did. It was easy to talk to you and could connect with you immediately on many counts. We'd talk of careers, siblings, movies, everything under the sun - perfectly understanding what the other wants to tell. I remember how you behaved the minute Sri and I told you we were in the family way. Every time I think of it, I chuckle. From one minute where you let me carry the food to the table to set it up, to the next where you insisted you'll only do it, treating me like one fragile piece, good fun it was. We hadn't told anyone in the family except parents at that time. Well, we probably wouldn't have told you when we did, had I not got my nausea attack right then :P  And how fond of Aditi you and K have been? (Well I think Advait's time with you guys paled in comparison to the ones Aditi had as he is not an attention seeker) You don't know this - that I was told off by your mom for taking your side arguing with her to let you take the time you need to get married. Then the girl-dheko phase :P Then the wedding last year.  

We haven't fought, have we? And we can never now. Now that you've betrayed us. Sri called me to tell me that. I'd have ripped you apart if you were in front of me. I wanted to yell at you for not taking the helmet. Sri then told me the helmet was shattered. You were not just my husband's cousin, you were my friend, my batch mate (remember when you realised we were only a month apart and you don't actually have to call me 'manni' (bhabhi)). You were the son everyone would yearn to have given birth to. You and K are what N and I are to our parents. I dont think there is anyone who doesn't like you for the genuine person you are/ have been.

Why did you come to spend the Aug 15 weekend with us? I see you in every corner of our house and I can't bear to think that was the last I saw of you. It breaks my heart to see your wife mourn you. You left Bangalore without playing Taboo with us. Without finishing that breezer. Without taking your wife to the Iskon temple she wanted to see. Without the mandatory dinner at our Dhaba.

I'll miss you da. Badly.

Apr 27, 2011

Our adventure called Claytopia

Most Bangloreans with kids might have heard of this place called Claytopia.Its a small Bistro in Indiranagar, with some fun things to do for the kids. I'd been wanting to take Aditi there so she can enjoy some painting in a good ambience. I had expected the two hours we wanted to spend there to turn out to be fun and memorable. It was. And How!

The Good Friday holiday was the day I chose to drive Aditi to Claytopia. We started at about 3 in the afternoon, reached the place in less than 20 minutes as it is not very far from where I stay. I'd briefed her the day before on what she can do there and piqued her interest. She would ask every five minutes if we were already there. She asked if we can get the painted stuff back home and show it to grand parents. Well, because these guys take about 10 days to get your item glazed and ready, I told her, we'll take pictures and share it with them. This was my first time inside the place too. We'd passed by like millions of times, but on different errands/ times/ en route to something else....and promise ourselves that we will explore it the next time around. Anyway, secretly I'd wanted a day out alone with Aditi (because Advait is anyway taking a lot of my time these days) so she'd feel a little special and all that. Coincidentally, Sri was travelling to Mysore for work and it was just Aditi and me. On hindsight I feel Sri and I should go there (just us) so we can have good fun painting....I am the non-painter or non-artist at home, but I think this place has the charm that's gotten to me and I could get creative too!!

I digress. So we got there, I showed myself and Aditi the place around, asked Aditi what she'd like to paint. She settled for a salad plate, which she wants to hang on our wall once its glazed (like the many she saw there). I would've liked to paint the butterfly there, but this time around, I settled for watching Aditi have all the fun. Once we settled on the thing to paint, Aditi was given a choice of 4 colours, stencils of basic shapes, water in a bowl, brushes and some basic dos and don'ts. She wanted to make a plate of stars, after one star, she wanted a heart, then an apple, then some circles here and there. She then wanted to make the plate a Barbie plate. She stopped drawing on the plate and decided she wanted to paint them already. I decided she will have her way...whatever the outcome. She used some light and dark green, yellow, pink and some leftover purple from someone else's table. The lady there, Clementina, was very helpful too. I was only worried if the plate would glaze well....whether it will not bubble up (as more than 2 coats of paint could). She ensured she will try her best...we still have a week more to go before we collect it.

All well so far..so where's the adventure, you may ask. Right here baby! By the time she'd done painting, it had started raining. We decided we'll have a quick bite and I ordered a sandwich, fries and something to drink. By the time we polished them off our plates, it'd started pouring badly. I paid the bills, one for food and another for the plate glazing. We waited by the door for the rain to stop and it showed no signs of doing just that. My car (good old Maruti 800) was parked slightly down the road. Clementina said she'll help us get to the car and took two umbrellas, gave us one (I carried Aditi on my hip) and ran to the car. Water almost half covered the already low car. Because the road was low lying, water was gushing down in such a force, it was tough to even open doors and get in. I pushed Aditi in to the passenger side, asked her to get to the back seat and got in from the passenger side too. I drove upstream and reached an area which was slightly better, but couldnt see a thing as they were sheets of rain. Somehow managed to get to the road which was a junction (a very low lying one) between Indiranagar and Jeevan Bheema Nagar (slightly up). People had all parked their cars on the roadside and were looking at me like I was a mad woman. And I really was, because I somehow sensed if I missed this opportunity to get home now, I might be stranded with my daughter, and away from my son who has never stayed away from me in all the 13 months!

Aditi decided to call upon gods to help us, then cartoons Chhota Bheem, Ben 10 and even Hanuman came by and went. It was a brief 5-10 minutes, but seemed the longest when we (the M-800) waded in the water between the low lying and higher road junction. I thought I will not be able to make it. But we did.....I called Sri then to tell him we were almost safe. He gave me some tips to stay afloat during these times, to mitigate damage to the vehicle also. He chided I didnt take our other car, which could've handled this well. I hadnt known then, did I? We faced a similar, but not so grave situation near BEML....but I was braver, because we had just seen worse. The car struggled a bit, but I just pushed it to get us out of there..and it did. Safely home a while later I couldnt thank all gods known and unknown for bringing me back to my love safely. Only when I read papers the next morning did I realise, that I could've really put ourselves in grave danger had I delayed my decision to come home even a wee bit longer.

When we were leaving for Claytopia in the afternoon, Aditi asked me 'Amma, isn't our car a brave car?' I'd then mentioned 'No baby, cars cannot be brave'. Now, I think our car is a brave car!!

Mar 9, 2011

Advait turns 1


So many things have happened during the year he's been with us.
  • Advait saw the light 10 days ahead of due-date
  • As with Aditi, some feeding issues....
  • Lot of tension at home with regards to my dad's office; no household help for my mom
  • Dealt (and dealing) with Aditi's reaction to her brother
  • Had to cut short my stay with parents by a month
  • Came home to a messy home with a 2.5 month old kid
  • Bad infections he had to go through right in his fourth month, given meningitis dosage of drugs, intravenous; constant depression we were in; suspected Kawasaki
  • Slow health and weight gain, a couple of months of relief
  • Total clinginess to me (amma) affecting my ability to work
  • Diwali in Chennai; Aditi akka's birthday' Nithi Chithi's visit from the US
  • Appa's new job, a new car in the family
  • The kids bonding with each other - still fighting for toys. Realising Advait (even at 10 months) is the more 'chalu' type and understood need to protect Aditi
  • A well planned and organized Ayushyahomam function
  • More clinginess like never before annoying me like mad
  • No inclination to take the first step and happy crawling away to glory
Love you, boy! A very Happy Birthday! Wishing you lots more to come.

Feb 22, 2011

A post a month...at least?

Yeah, maybe!

Same time last year, I was waiting for the baby to show up....it did on March 9. I came back from Chennai in May, employed this lady as a 'nanny' to take care of my son sometime in mid-June.

All hell has broken loose......just a few days ahead of my son's first birthday, which we are busy planning for, she has quit. She has gone back to her hometown due to some personal family issues.

She was good with him......but doesn't deserve a blog post. I had told myself a post a month, and this is my excuse for one.

Where do they make nannies who are good with kids, responsible, presentable and reasonably priced? Some of my friends seem to have found them and I want to be lucky for once!