Monday, December 30, 2013

Pehle aap pehle aap main gaadi na choot jaaye

Well I thought, someone would do it first. As in you know, start wishing happy new year, give a wrap up, etc etc. :( 

Hmm well maybe people are super duper busy, not on an extended holiday like me :( 

So let me take this opportunity to do the wind down.

January started with much trepidation, since February was just around the corner you see. And what happens in February? New mommy joins office.ARGH! Scary I know. In spite of mil being there, it was super duper scary. Not only for the sake of the kid, for me too...would I be able to survive pressing F9 and F5 again and again after a gap of a year? Survive we did, and survive we did just fine :) Now all this seems so far far away. February also had the little one turning one! Yayyy! What a milestone! First birthday ! Party!!!!

As spring brought out colors and the chirping of birds, it was time to venture out more with our little birdie. We fully utilised the relatively warmer days by making lots and lots of trips to the parks and play areas. Aise hi haste khelte days were passing when Amma's mid year return to India loomed close. There was a  professional glitch for K which was very perturbing. But then, we decided to look ahead. We also took the opportunity to step out of the island and visit Paris. It was exhilarating, exciting and a very exhausting trip. We certainly forgot the setbacks at work. 

Amma was back in town. Things were returning to status quo. But like all years,  matters get out of hand for us towards the year end. There was some news with my parents which was very distressing. The illness of a very close family member clouded everything. Things are still not under control, but then there is no escape from certain scenarios. As the weather turned colder and the trees shed their leaves and the days started getting shorter -  a sort of dullness entered our lives as well. Chiyaa did her test run at day care and her unhappiness unsettled everybody. K  tried his professional move the second time and failed again. Burning his fingers twice was not as bad as seeing his peers proceed effortlessly. Things worsened at my paternal home. 

Who does not deserve a little timeout. December we decided to visit our new found love Paris yet again.Vacation do do the needful - they numb out reality. 

Here I am on the penultimate day of the year fancying that all works out fine in real life. I sit wishing for K's success, Chiyaa's happiness, my little sister's progress and my relative's well being. I beseech God to grant to my family to take care of a very sick but young kin.I hope my friend who is expanding her family with her soul mate has the most joyous year ahead and others hopefully find their matches.

May our dreams soar high and take us all to our coveted destination. If not, may we have the strength to try again. May we all learn a lot, love a lot and live a lot in the coming year.

Wishing you all a very radiant, vibrant, gorgeous new year!  

Friday, December 27, 2013

Love locked and feet dead

I better get done with my Paris reverie else my mild OCD will not let me pick up anything till I am done :(
Day3 was slated for general roaming and loitering . Our top priority was food - yes not sight seeing. ;) As I might have mentioned umpteen times, K somehow always wants to have Indian food! We had decided on a place called coffee India, based on Tripadvisor recommendations and proximity to our hotel. The place was a little one and the fare was gourmet. The masala in the Masala Dosa had all sorts of vegetables (really healthy but then who wants to eat healthy in a hotel?!) . It was served with some really creamy chicken curry which was very tasty but my 'Indian' food sensibilities were crying at this outrage of authentic cuisine. K ordered a dish called Kothu which is some sort of scrambled dosa with some curry. The curries were again so rich and creamy and yes tasty but un-authentic. I hoped someone rescued French people from this travesty - but then sometimes lies sell :(
 We caught a tube to the Cité which was an island in river Seine. First on our itinerary was the Notre dame.  The church was a very majestic and magnificent. From there it was a long walk to Pont de Arts. This bridge has an urban legend regarding putting a lock on the bridge and throw the key in the river which in essence locks your love forever. We too followed tradition and bought a lock. It had 3 keys , I took one gave to K and the third to Chiyaa. As per tradition K and I dropped our keys into the waters of Seine. When asked to put her key, Chiyaa merely threw it till the edge of the bridge. Little kid, we let her try again. Same result. Huh. Ok third time lucky maybe? But same result. Hmm.. was she wishing for her parents to have their options open and not be another ever after ;) so we grabbed the key and threw it :P Of course we did not want any options :)
Since it was a foot bridge we allowed her to go crazy. She was running, crawling, jumping and squealing all over the place. We grabbed some coffee in a local café. We had read that the quaint restaurants and cafes in Paris were not to be missed. But we somehow found that facet a bit over romanticised and over rated. We did not get a decent brew in many places. I feel the vending machine at my work place serves better coffee. There was absolutely no variety in menu. French bakery which is supposed to be very renowned did not wow us at all just like the famed Mysore Masala Dosa did not cause a stir in our tongues. Some things are just over rated that’s why I never judge a movie or a book by what critics say :) As a side I just watched The secret life of Walter Mitty and simply lovedddddddddd itttt!!!!! Do do do watch it for some escapism, some too good to be true drama, some surrealism. Ok enough of this digression.
As it  was getting close to dusk, as per ritual we sighted our light house - the Eiffel and started our long walk to the coveted land  :D I know this portion is getting too monotonous and routine. But there is some pleasure in sticking to tradition. As usual we saw the lights at Eiffel, started the walk to the hotel and made the Little Birdie walk the final stretch.
The next day was our very last in Paris. We had to dedicate it to the famed Louvre which housed many artistic jewels of the world. I was most interested in the entrance which had been made oh so famous by the movie The Da Vinci code. Once I saw it and got a few clicks with it - I had had enough of Louvre. But the museum enthusiast K was not even warmed up. He got the audio guides and got started. Handling a pram, a bored toddler in it and the Nintendo DS which was being used as the guide and was very unintuitive - I was getting more irked by the moment. I gave up and allowed K to have a good wander. But as time passed, it was getting a bit out of hand with Chiyaa. She wanted to be let out of the pram. And if I let her out she went about touching the artefacts! The security at the famed museum was not too happy about it and I was getting 'the looks'. We viewed Venus de milo after which I started nagging K that the kitten was getting bored. K was enraged and we were in a deadlock situation. K wanted to continue his study in ancient arts, the kid and I were bored to our bones. Technically we should have won 2 against 1. To make matters worse, since we both were bored, we were getting hungry too :P I recommended we grab some grub after which K could return to the largest museum in the world, while I would take Chiyaa back to the hotel and somehow make do. K did not agree with it since he wanted us to be with him. Even I wanted to be with him, but then we can't have everything right? Anyhoo first things first, we had to get some food and zero in on a place for it. K with his utter fondness for his native delicacies recommended a place called Krishna Bhawan. (He was still peeved at Coffee India for having sold him some hocus pocus in the name of Indian food). The place was a bit far off but the 'Bhawan' in its name screamed authentic to K.
Authentic it was. Not only the place but the locale too. It was an south Asian dominated region. There were places marked with the south Indian languages, stores selling sarees and bangles! Wow ! Again a veritable Ranganathan street :) We got crazy with the ordering, it was Masala Vada, Idli, Spinach Vada, Thali and customary K dish of Kothu. Seriously mazaa aa gaya!!! Food made us think more clearly. We went to the museum where we decided on seeing stuff together come rain or storm. We had only managed Venus de Milo in the morning and there were so many pieces clamouring for our attention. Coming all the way to the Louvre and not seeing the Monalisa was something I did not agree with. I decided to have a dekko at that fabled portrait and then get on with taking care of the kiddo. I do not know whether something was amiss but I was not awed at all! I have no idea why the picture is so famous. Another over rated Parisian feature? :) Well maybe :)
Surprisingly the kid cooperated and fell asleep! We walked about, K diligently on his audio guide and dropping information to me. It was good fun in fact. Though our legs were dead with the hours of incessant walking, we kept going. We also remained true to tradition - in spite of the legs that were going numb, we saw Eiffel one last time and made the kid walk the last stretch one last time!
Aah Paris, je t'aime!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Revision time

As we gave our super duper tired legs some rest on Sunday night, we thought we would never be able to make it on Monday morning. In spite of our best intentions to give the next day an early start, it was 0930 by the time we saw morning. We made some quick calls to home and got cracking.

It was revision time and hence the visit to Disneyland. We opted for Disneyland Studios since Parks had been ticked off in August. As soon as we entered, we saw the little mermaid around. She was being hounded by little kids but our little kid had no patience for her. We made our move towards the Animagique show. There were five minutes to the show by the time we were seated and those five minutes were like five hours. I felt like Willy Bank might have felt as he watched his hotel being razed to the ground in 3 minutes. Why? Because Chiyaa wanted to run away. She wanted to run to the screen, shout out and unleash her most destructive powers. It needed the force of 2 adults to keep her seated and boy was it tough. Finally the show started and she started shouting Mimmie Mimmie. Well.. her initialisation to the Disney fold was via Minnie Mouse which she refers to as Mimmie. And poor dear does not see the difference between Mickey and Minnie. So though it was the Mickey Mouse on stage she was excited to see her Mimmie and from then on thoroughly enjoyed the show.

After the show was over, we kick started the rides  by one on magic carpets. The eager beaver again could scarcely rest till the ride started. She just wanted to go crazy. Thankfully this time the wait was in the region of 90 seconds and one we were off to a start she went about whooping and yaaying with us.

We were in dire need of some grub, but there seemed to be long queues in front of the stalls. And the stalls sold pancakes as the only fare we could have. Frustrated we had to get on with a big bag of chips and some carbonated beverages. That was not too bad since we had the live show of Stitch and Lulu to cheer us up. The show was really entertaining and a big surprise. It was getting close to nap time for the kiddo and as she drifted off to sleep, K chose to visit the Tower of Horrors. This ride/show was not recommended for kids and there was a sitting area where most of the abandoned families waited on the deserters to come back. I was not disappointed at all and grabbed a cup of cappuccino and chocolate drizzled waffles to keep company. With the kid asleep and K away I had some awesome time all by myself, sipping the warm cup, relishing the chocolatey treat and watching passers-by. After some time I thought of getting a smallish walk around and getting a drift of what remained. There was an Armageddon show which was closed down for repair work and a stunt show which was over as well. We had just a couple of shows remaining and as I was making my way back to the ‘waiting’ area, I caught K emerge.

We made our way to the Cinemagique show followed by Disney junior. Well the day was drawing to a good close and to best way to sign off would be with some good food. On our return we grabbed some chicken burger and fries. We were to catch the metro back to our hotel. Once we got down at our station, we could not brush aside the urge to pay another visit to the Eiffel tower. We walked in the opposite direction to have a glimpse of the beauty. We ended up being in a different part of the building this time and the light show at the strike of the hour awed us as usual. We started our trek back to the hotel and as usual the final leg of the journey we made Chiyaa walk with us J

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Sunday start to finish

Well, we were off to a not so flying start. But a start is a start. At 2145 we reached Paris. Yep we had fallen in love with Paris one time in August. While talking about our next vacation destination we could not think beyond it. That was the only place both of us wanted to go, savour some more.

By the time we checked into the hotel it was way into mid night. But ah! The pure pleasure of checking into a hotel J I did mention K and I have very low standards when it comes to appreciating hotels. We literally like all of them. This time too we felt it was super awesome. We managed to get Chiyaa to have some milk and she drifted off after mid night. Inspite of a rather exhausting time at airports, we kept surfing mindless French channels till 2 in the morning. K can literally watch any tv (ok maybe not Odia tv :P ) And I have no idea why I can give him company K All the channels were French and the English ones were BBC world and CNN. They kept repeating the same news over and over. And we kept flicking over them. Senseless – I know.

It was 0930 that we woke to a lovely sunny Parisian morning. The Kabuki was a bit clingy. She did have an annoying cold to blame a bit. We had a bit of a tough time handling since she needed mommy only. The beautiful River Seine flowed right in front of our hotel. There was a replica of the Statue of Liberty near it which was a mini tourist attraction of sorts. We got there to kick start the touristy activities. Chiyaa also got into the flow and got posing for pictures and being the naughty little kitten that she is. We started wandering by the banks of the river to the nearest metro station. One thing that hit us hard was to see the number of people exercising. They were jogging, walking, running with a dog, cycling, you name it! In fact there was like a public open gym of sorts near the bank of the river with the basic twister exercise disc, rowing equipment, treadmills and some weights. There were people actually using it and boy were they making us feel bad. K suggested we get a big fat burger and eat it in the most noisy fashion possible to ‘break their spirit’. I wonder if that would have done the trick, those people seemed ultra-serious.

Not to be bogged down with the health freaks we walked on(I bet we were burning ‘some’ calories that way).  Our first stop was Arc de Triomphe. It is a beautiful monument commemorating the soldiers of the French revolution and the Napoleonic wars. It also houses the tomb of the unknown soldier from World War II. We got the tickets to visit the Arc up close and personal. We were trying to find a way to get inside since we had read reviews that the view from the top was not to be missed. Since most places in Paris are pretty ‘pram unfriendly’ we were retracing back. When all of a sudden a door opened – yep something like Open Sesame. And it was the elevator to the top of the Arc. The view was breath taking. I made some amateurish attempts to capture the beauty.

I was very insistent on trying French cuisine J So I kept asking for an ‘authentic’ place. Much to K’s petulance. I can pretty much ‘try’ anything –though I may not necessarily enjoy it. K poor dear had omelette as the best bet. We made our way into a small pub/restaurant. I  ordered some chicken dish and K a veg pancake. My dish was ok. K’s had chicken L He does eat chicken(but only if its very very spicy – so spicy that you don’t recognise the chicken)  and though the food on his plate was very unpalatable, he grinned and bore for lady love. Yea yea I am oh so lucky :P.

Our next stop was Cleopatra’s needle. I did not care much about the hows and whats of the place, but there was a couple who had just got married and they were being filmed dancing and prancing about in fountain that was not spitting water (yet). More than the actual monument it was very very amusing to watch them J I am not even sure if they were celebrities of some sorts. After having a look around, we made our way towards some building which we thought was important. It was. But unfortunately it was closed L Not to be despaired, we headed to a nearby coffee house. I ordered a Mocha and K a chocolate milk shake. They were delectable. It was the most unique mocha that K and I had ever tasted. And trust me we a lot of mocha in our blood J

Caffeine charged we were off to our next point Pont De Alexander. It was a grand bridge that stretched over the Seine. Dusk was slowly approaching and Paris was lighting up. It was changing colors gradually into a vibrant being. We kept wandering over bridges and roads, passed bustling shops and Christmas bazaars. It was around 1920 when we saw our light house – The Eiffel Tower. Luckily our hotel was a stone’s throw away from the tower as well. We decided to continue our walk to The Tower. We were to make it at the one hour mark since it lights up and does a dazzling show every hour. The deadline was a close one. And we made it! And watched The Eiffel make the most fantastic show J

That was quite some walking that we had done. We had the final trudge to the hotel. The final stretch of the walk, we decided to make the lil one walk too. She does a funny sort of march holding both our hands. It was brilliant fun. We wanted to see Paris through our eyes and legs and the first day was definitely hitting all the right chords.

Friday, December 20, 2013


Well I did say what a stupendous start we had to the holiday. I am the proper believer in karma. If something bad happens something good is coming up. The cosmic equation keeps getting balanced in its own weird way. We had that fantastic 30 minute duel for two pieces of bread. What did it mean? Of course a wonderful problem free vacation was hiding just around the corner.

Chiyaa was a bit funny through the morning. Her paati had left to India 2 days back. She was not able to put her finger on the problem. Something was amiss but she could not fathom it. The head count was not 3. It did not make sense to her and she was super annoyed. She was also a bit wary should the count go even further down. Now that would worry any toddler would’nt it? So she kept cribbing, whining, clinging and not being her usual enthusiastic self. To make matters worse, all the altercation between her parents! Boy were things topsy turvy. We literally turned a deaf ear to her persistent crying and got her ready. The moment she was out under the clear blue sky – well she started doing march past! We should just leave the raccoon to frolic in the open.K

The taxi to the airport came on time. The crying and fretting had tired Chiyaa and she slept peacefully during the hour long drive. We reached the airport and seeing K managing a suitcase, a bag, a back pack, a folded up pram and me handling a super squirmy 21 month old a man remarked – it’s like moving houses is’nt it? Of course it is! I think moving houses is in fact easier!

Boarding pass – check. Luggage drop – check. Security check – check. Smoooooooooooth. K happened to cast his eye over the flight listing. Our flight was scheduled for 1445. ETD – 1830. Status - Passengers wait in lounge.  The color ran off his face. He showed me the screen. Me being the proper optimist pooh poohed it saying- ‘Oh come on don’t panic. Let’s move on to the departure gates.’ Thankfully at the departure gates there was an airlines customer service desk. I casually asked her (to confirm that my intuition that the information being displayed was incorrect ) ‘When might the flight depart’. Nonchalantly she replied – ‘1800 as of now per current air traffic. But it might be sooner.’  Seeeee… told you so I told you so .. it could be sooner. All this information displayed just to harry innocent passengers.

We got some sandwiches, two steaming cups of coffee and some muffins for the Munchie. We could engage her in eating for some time. After that she lost interest. She started getting bored. She had to be unleased from the pram. She had to be let go to roam the confines of the airport terminal. And we were to keep pace with her. We were running out of energy much sooner than she was. We kept praying for The Great Rescuer. No not the flight – sleep. It did come eventually and the Cutsie drifted off for an hour. We had our toilet breaks, had some more coffee(we were given coupons from the airlines for getting refreshments), and munched on a pizza (yayyy airlines sponsored airport pizza – so much for gourmet food!). As she woke up and started her afternoon round of activities again aka running amok, trying to reach for the garbage bins, putting her finger in the plug points – we got a waft of good news. The flight would start boarding at 1750! Again the optimist in me started doing the jump in joy – 1750 is such a magnificent improvement from 1830! We are in for a treat, we are in for a treat.

We got into the flight by 1815. By 1830 we would be off cruising to our destination. What we got instead was ‘This is your captain speaking. There has been some problem in the air traffic control at Birmingham which has caused the delay. We have you seated so that we can start as soon as situation improves. As of now we anticipate a delay of 45 minutes to an hour’ Arghhhh. Come on cosmic equation. Balance yourself now. Have’nt we had enough already????
The kid was hating being confined. How long could I keep making plane noises, showing her red light, green light and trucks carrying baggage. She wanted more. Even the cell phones did not pacify her. She wanted to play with the front seat tray table. Pop it down. Push it up. Lock it. In adult speak – annoy the passenger sitting right in front of us. There was a nice lady sitting next to us. She found an extra seat and moved away so that we had an her seat. God bless her! We kept Chiyaa in the middle, and since the seat in front of her was empty – she had a field day banging the tray table! I know kids! *rolls eyes*

K and I started betting when the flight might take off. Anything in the vicinity of 1900 seemed too good to be true. Finally at 1910 we got the frightful PA ‘This is your captain speaking. We anticipate a further delay of an hour but we are not sure. In sometime our crew members will come over go through any journey cancellations you may want to make’. K and I looked at each other. We had quite some money to loose in terms of the hotel booking. We hoped that the return flight would be refunded. We started doing the maths. K started getting in touch with the hotel and going through pressing button 1 through 9 to get to someone to talk to. While he was grasping his way through the labyrinth of customer service, the PA crackled again. ‘This is your captain speaking. And we have some good news. We should be ready to take off in 20 minutes.’ Of course there is a Father in Heaven. Halleluiah. 1940 we left terra firma.

The vacation had officially started!

Friday, December 13, 2013

The argumentative Indians

He : Oh my God! The toast is burning.
She (stuffing two cauliflowers into the freezer) : So?
He:So? SO? 
She: Yea just leave it.Why are you telling me.
He: What why am I telling you? Am I not supposed to tell you? 
She :What is there in telling me about a burnt toast. Just leave it aside. I will eat it.
He: Why will you eat it? No need to be a martyr.
She:What martyr? I said if you are so bothered about a burnt toast just throw it or leave it. Why are you telling me?
He: Am I not supposed to tell you? Its a burning toast. The house will be on fire and I am not supposed to tell you?
She(seething inside) :The house was not on fire
He: Oh so you wanted me to wait for it?
She : Oh  GOD! The house will not be on fire from a freaking toast in a toaster.
He:That is not the point.
She:What is the POINT? Why are we even talking about 2 burnt slices of bread?
He:What do you want me to do? Not talk to you? Very good.
She:ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGHH!! Not like that? Why take my permission. Toast is getting burnt. Just turn the darn toaster off.
He: You only say do this don't do that. If I do something its wrong, if I ask you its wrong.
She: Don't ask me about turning off a toaster for the love of God.
He:This is what you always do.
He:Turn all melodramatic. Then I am sure you will cry.
She: Ok so you want me to cry is'nt it.
He: Does it matter what I want and what I don't.
She:Why are you talking on and on just because 2 slices of bread were getting burnt.
He: Because you are always so over worked and like a pressure cooker and you don't ask me for help. And all of a sudden you just explode.
She:When did I explode? You are asking me how to handle a burnt toast.
He:Is that so wrong?
She:It is not about right or wrong. Don't ask me. Just do it. Do whatever you want to do. I don't want to micro manage.
He: Why can't you ask me for help. What is soooo  urgent in stuffing 2 cauliflowers in the freezer?
She:You are not helping by asking what to do with the toast. I am keeping them in the freezer so that they don't get spoilt when we are away on vacation.
He: Food always gets spoilt and we throw it. Is that top priority?
She: Nothing is top priority.
He:Ya now you will talk like this.
She:Talk like what?
He:All this attitude as if you don't care and all.
She:Very fine.
He:See see there you go.
She: JUST LEAVE ME ALONE.Go get ready.
He:Ya now you are asking me to go.
He: Why are you yelling?
She: COS YOU ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY!  (As predicted by He she starts a trickle of tear)
He: Hey look here, I wanted a good nice vacation. I do not want to start it with a fight.
He:Ok ok calm down.Come on. Ask me to help and I will do it. You do not have to be so burdened all the time. 
She(feeling guilty) : Ya ok. I felt you were blaming me.
He: I was not blaming you. I was just telling you the bread was getting burnt.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

And it all comes tumbling down

It’s the last month of the year and things are all over the place :’(

We started taking steps forward as Amma’s return to India drew closer. We got the kid enrolled into a nursery, started planning our routine around it and got ready to handle it all ourselves (mil was a massive help over the past 10 months even though many a times we might have taken it for granted.)

We went ahead with a major assumption (which is risky in all sorts of projects – be it in life or at work) – that the kid was one helluva gregarious girl who would take to day care like a fish to water. Parents – if you think you know your kid through and through (for you created that little rascal did ‘nt you? ) think again. Its something like code -  you may feel it’s the most awesome-st thing since Google and users click on one innocuous button and all comes tumbling down. Same with Chiyaa and the nursery set up. She cried the first day, the second day, the third day, the fourth day and next just fell ill with a raging fever.  We were left with eight days with Amma and 10 days from a vacation. We decided to let her recuperate at home. Yes – this was going to take her off the day care routine, it was going to mess her system up – but then how could we let a sick  child go to nursery. We will take things for better or for worse once they come.

I elicited feedback from all parents. The group was divided. There was one whose kids were the fishy ones – who took to  nursery like water. (Oh how deluded was I to believe that I belonged here) There were the others who had lost count of how much their kids had cried – they had cried for ever. There was a parent who put it like an almanac entry – her son had cried from Vijay Dashami till Pongal! In plain speak for 3 months. Sister in law revealed her daughter used to cry and puke. She was a proper drama queen. Even though she enjoyed it, since she was made to sleep there, she thought she was staying there forever and would throw up a fit to take her nap. I even consulted my uncle who is a doctor (I do not want to break my kid’s spirits after all). Surprise surprise – he said the process was akin to getting vaccines (huh I think rationalisation runs in the family – I had literally thought of the same parallel myself. Or does he secretly read my blog :S ) I have been given estimates which ranged from 1 week (very optimistic) to 3 months (realistic). Some go as far as 6 months to a year (very pessimistic).

I have started searching up nannies and hmm well they are costly! I have even dilly dallied with the option of quitting work (Which well-meaning mother has’nt. I think its one of those tests :|) K and I sit up at 3 in the morning and talk about day care. It's the only topic we have spoken of in the past 3 weeks! I have had quite some peppy adages thrown. I loved the way an acquaintance of mine put it – as per the western school of thought, women do not give up on their jobs so easily. They plough through inconveniences and stay strong on their decision. Their strength instils the same rigidity in all around them including their kids. So they do see light at the end of it. Indian mommies on the other are so weakened by the tears of their dears that they just flip everything else out of the window. Mil said ‘We can't bear a child crying and they don’t mind a child crying’ Wow! Brilliant isn’t it?! Sil said, I  needed me to be strong and one day I would be laughing about it! I am so so so waiting for that proverbial day!