Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Comments on my Post!

I am just trying out the whole feeding on to Facebook for the sake of getting my blog across to more people. Just like anyone else would like to. If you feel like you like it and would like to comment on it, please do so on my blog rather than on FB. It will help me keep your valuable comments for posterity. I really appreciate your inputs and would like to archive them for my daughter to read it when she is old enough to understand what her mother is babbling about. I will try and include this comment with brevity in all my future blogs as a reminder.

Thanks
Anu

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chattanooga!

I love to take Babs out a lot just because it keeps her away from other distractions such as TV or idleness. Every weekend I plan on doing something but in Dallas most of the fun and interesting places for kids are not very close to our house. I had blogged and listed some out here and if you know any more, please let me know so I can update the list and also for my own use.

When I was in Chattanooga last weekend, it was different. My father's house which is about 15-20 minutes from the downtown had at least 4 places to offer for my kids within a 5-10 mile radius. Here is a list of them and if you are ever in Chattanooga do drop in.

Day One: As soon as we drove to my parents house my daughter was hyper seeing her cousins and meeting her grandparents. I could not make her take a nap, or eat. She played with her cousins and eventually we just went to the apartment pool. Nope, this is not one of the attraction, just documenting my stay there :)

Day Two: We took the kids to the Aquarium in downtown. We thought it would be a three hour affair but landed up spending better part of the day and noon there after we took the boat ride on the Tennessee River, which we could have missed. They had advertised it as a Speed Boat Ride which turned out to be a nature watch 2 hour ride. The boat did some speed only for about 15 minutes of the entire journey. The rest of the trip we were asked to look out for animals that never appeared...it was about 100 degs outside, they had better sense than to venture outside.

Day Three: My niece and nephew wanted to go to the Discovery museum also located in downtown. It was super fun, they had craft workshops, music rooms with different instruments for kids to play on, archeological sites, bubble yard, toys/equipments based on simple physics and biology and general science, library with tons of kiddie books, etc. Again something I thought would take an hour took us about three hours and the kids once again were exhausted. The rest of the evening we made a trip to the local mall.

Day Four: We went to Lake Winniepasaukah Amusement Park. The kids had a ball there. We got in around 10.45am, a five minute drive from Father's house and did not leave till the better part of four on the clock was over. It was hot but thankfully, this being Tennessee had lots of tree shade and like anywhere tons of soft drinks for us and the kids. Even mother and I had fun, we did the cable car ride, I freaked out because I kept thinking that my shoes were going to fall into the lake or worse, I would...Babs went to every ride with her uncle and she only did not do one ride that her cousins did because she was afraid. I was very impressed and also glad that she at least now does not have motion sickness like I do.

Day Five: This was really the best trip ever. About an hour drive from my father's house there is the mountain (like most) that houses a cave but this place was different, it is called the Lost Sea Adventure. This cave was not very active like the three other caves I have been to before. Typically most caves showcase stalactites and stalagmite formations that the owners would give different names based on the appearance. It is the same thing again and again. I found Luray Caverns close to Washington DC to be the best among them but the Lost Sea is whole another experience. For one, we could touch and feel around way around as this was not a cave that was filled with those stalactites and stalagmites but rather it was more of a rock formation under the mountains that felt like what it would be above too...rocky, slippery because of the gravelly silt under your feet. and then at the end of all the climbing up and down you see the Sea...a 4.5 acre mass of water, a lake under the mountain. A lake that you can go boating in. It was a very ethereal experience. I could not imagine how the first explorers would have felt like chancing upon the sea of water the first time, did they fall into it in the darkness underground? Beautiful.

Day Six: We spent the day at Lake Chickamauga Dam, again a two minute drive from father's house. We went to the dam itself and saw hundreds of Herons on either side of the river and then we drove to the Lake Park where the kids played in the foot deep water. Mother also got excited and got down into the water. It was clear water with gravel base that hurt your feet but the kids could not be stopped. With no change of clothes they stunk up the whole van! We could have spent a whole day there but we had to take care of a special guest who was coming to visit us from Atlanta.

Jennie, my mother's BFF came from Atlanta to meet us. She is a cancer survivor and has a passion for people that is very infectious. We spent the rest of the day with her and Paul.

Then we headed back home! How sad! There is nothing better than going back to mother's house. I love it everytime I go. I relax, unwind and then get wound up when it comes to an end. I dont think I am still done crying. How much I miss my brother and my family. I am so glad that I got to be there the same time he was there as well and this is the perfect vacation ever!

The best thing about this entire vacation is that Babs did not take a nap at all. She went to bed all by herself by 8.00pm latest. Once, she even slept at 7.00pm and slept 12-14 long hours to get fully pumped up for the next day. Her eating took a beating though, she barely sat down for a meal.

Love
ART

Ps: Here are some places in Chattanooga that I did not get time to visit this time but are on the list for the next trip. Lookout Mountain, the incline railway, and Rock City. Chattanooga might not be as big as many cities in this country but it has more to offer than most I have traveled too, especially if you have a bouncy energetic toddler.

Monday, June 28, 2010

My Baby knows to Cajole me!

Last year, I went to my mother's house and had a ball and also did some memorable things like dropping my daughter on the floor. I did one mistake last year though, I did not plan my trip well to make it coincide with my brother's vacation. He reached mother's house a day after I left.

This year, we were both smart and timed our vacation to spend it together. He picked us up at Birmingham airport, about a 2.5 hour drive from mother's house last Sunday (06/20) and dropped us off only this Saturday. I had no mind to come back home. I was crying on the flight very softly and tried to hide it from Babs. Babs pulled me close to her, gave me a hug, and then told me not to cry. She picked up an imaginary phone and spoke to my mother, "ammamma, my amma is crying, please come and pick us up from the airplance. Thank you, bye."

Thank you Babs, that made my day!

Love
Amma!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Updates

This morning I did some updates to the appearance of my blog. Can anyone notice/see it? It is simple small widget.

Other than that today I got a shocker of my life. My girlfriends and I have been at a spree to loose weight for sometime now but I am not about the success of our plans or challenges. Nothing has worked so far. One of the girls, lets call her A, forwards an old email that she found in her inbox dated sometime in November



So the numbers now are:

xx9.8
xx7.8(?)
xx2.8

Lets keep a track & maybe weigh-in again sometime between T’giving & X’mas…

 She also added that she had lost two since then. Very excited I responded saying, hey me too, I have lost 2.8...so not bad...but not too much of a loss. I was not super sad...yet!

I bumped into her at the kitchen and we got talking about it again and she reminded me that the email was not Nov of 2009 but it was from Nov of 2008. I went into the complete WTF mode. Shit! That is hardly a loss. I wanted to loose more than that! Ideally, I should have lost at least 10 not 2.8. Shit!

I got back to my desk and the third colleague also responded saying that she had also lost 2.5...and her day also got screwed after I made her check the day! Now I feel better that I was not the only sucker!

We have a new challenge starting tomorrow and we have a $20 wager to see who can loose 3 pounds in 6 weeks starting tomorrow. This is going to be extremely difficult for me considering that I will be spending a week at mother's home doing nothing but eating and sleeping and playing with the kids.

The next time you meet me, beware of complimenting me on loosing weight. I have documented date to prove that you are lying and that I have barely lost any weight to show any difference to you or to anyone! G...that goes to you too...

Love
FAT ART (not Fart!)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hmm...

Babs,

This year, I am being super aggressive about getting you to learn some swimming. And you are being super aggressive about doing everything but paying attention in your class.

The first set of class we went to, you despised the teacher and screamed bloody murder every time I tried to dunk you into water.

The second set of classes which is during summer is even hard for me. You are constantly eying the kids in the outdoor pool who are making too much noise and obviously having way more fun than you. I have to scream and yell and promise you outdoor time to get you to be focused for like 10 minutes.

But the best thing is that we both are having fun. The outdoor pool is your favorite. We soak in the one feet deep water. I soak and you do all sorts of gimmick. We play in the playful fountains. You are still scared of the slide and refuse to go on it. We run around and when I look around I see that I am the only parent there with her kid but you and I laugh and play and I care a naught for what others think. And when we get home you are so tired that you are ready to sleep at 8.30pm. Which is always welcome for me and G.

I really hope that you will learn to swim soon and enjoy it as much as I do!!!

Love
Your amma!
ART

Monday, June 07, 2010

What is that?

Babs,

I cannot tell you how funny you are. You have a brilliant sense of humor just like your dad and you make all of us laugh even when we are tired and cranky.

This past weekend you were with your uncle. We were all sitting down after a big meal when you went up to your uncle and pointed at his tummy and asked:

B: What is this?
Uncle: six pack.
B: No that is not six pack.
U: Ok eight pack.
B: That is Pettu (tummy).
U: No, it is six pack.
B: Yours is not sick pack. Yours is big pettu.
Then you pointed to your own barely there tummy and said, "This is six pack."
**********************************************************************************

G and I took you to Target to get you a pair of blue flip-flops with huge ugly blue stones in it so that you would stop complaining. You are complaining because I refused to buy those ugly things for you the last time we went shopping and you cried your heart out. But they are ugly, you will understand when you are big enough! I really did not want to take you shopping but you cried both the times I wore my pink Birkenstock's because it for some odd reason (both being flip-flops) reminded you of your un-bought blue ugliness. I got tired of the drama and gave-in.

You were in your cart and I was desperately looking for the blue flip flops for you in your size but could not find it at all. Then I got lucky, I found a very similar pink flip-flop with was ugly too but more bearable than the blue ones. I was excited but before I could celebrate your dad did the most unthinkable. He presented to you, a silver sandal. It had silver chamki's (glitter) and stones of different shapes, sizes, and colors thrown all over in a random fashion. Yuck! I begged G not to show it to you but it was too late. You had seen it and you demanded that you wanted it.

I put the pink ones, I did everything to show you my excitement. You took it in. I was happy when you started tugging at the slipper near the toe and told me it hurt. I still wanted the pink over the ghastly silver one but your father stepped in and touched both the materials and declared that the silver might not be cute but it was more comfortable. You once again screamed for the silver. I gave in. You and your father were happy. I cried silently inside. I tried to tell him, "We are girls, girls should do fashion over comfort." You father ignored me.

You wore it home and when I got you out of the car and made you walk, G told me, "it is not that bad."

"It is puke-worthy," I said with a disgusting look on my face."

"If you were wearing it probably. On her everything looks cute."

"awwww," Wait a minute, "What did you say???!!!!"

Mental note to self, no more G to the store for shopping...just amma and Babs from now on!
**********************************************************************************

I love both of you!!!

Amma!

Friday, June 04, 2010

NRI woes!

I am an NRI and I am proud of it. I chose this status and I think it suits me just fine. It was something I chose for myself and the better still, I think I am good at it and actually at the moment am enjoying it. When I get tired of it, who knows, I might change it. But as of now, life is treating me just fine. The prob;em I encounter is that a lot of Indians have issues with us NRI's. I really do not understand why, is it because you feel that we ditched our country? or because you are jealous of us? Pray, do explain it to me because as far as I know I am as much Indian as you are and you cannot hold a grudge against me or my opinions. Here are some of the reasons as to why I know that most of us love India and still care about it:
  • I came to the US ten years ago, eyes filled with dreams and two bags filled with all I could manage to bring with me to the US. There has not been a day when I have not missed India. I remember every minute of the 22 good years I spent there. I am still a citizen of India and proud of it. This is probably the reason why you will find tons of memoirs of my childhood and growing up here in this blog.
  • If I, a citizen of India cannot express concern or opinion about India then who can? Just because I moved to a greener pasture does not mean I severed connections with my hometown/country. So moving around the country from one state to state is okay but not out of the country? Let me illustrate, would you ask a Delhi-ite living in Chennai to stop caring or loving Delhi? Or for a Chennai-ite living in Bengaluru? Seriously! How immature.
  • Being out of the country, I make sure that I celebrate all the festivals that I used to growing up. I even do the ones I did not just to keep in touch with home and memories of home. I make sure I go to the temple (that I ignored for most part when I lived in India) at least once a month.
  • I make sure that my daughter knows Sanskrit shlokas over western music.
  • I see Desi movies in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu and sometimes even Malayalam and Kanada.
  • I am very concerned about what is happening there and always send a check for any relief operations going on in India. 
  • In fact, when I go to India, I am the one who feels like an Indian because the rest of the country obviously is way Westernized that I am. And everyone is ready to show off that they know more about America or any other country than we do.
  • You, the Indian living in India want to do everything Western (I do not have a problem with that). What with the coffee shop culture, buying Gerber food for babies, and all the foreign face creams and kiddie toys. You are more Westernized than me because I still believe in using good ol' Multani Mitti and coconut oil on my hair once a week. Thank you! 
  • I am the one who is eager to wear a salwar or a saree when the first opportunity presents itself while you would be the one to jump up wear a tee over tights and talk about Jimmy Choo's and Botega Venetta. Sorry, I still like my mojri's and the handicraft sling bag.
  • I am the one who comes to India once every four years craving for the samosa and to shop at local handicraft store while you are the one that eats Pizza and shops at one of those malls.
  • I cook Indian meal every day possible. I make sure that my daughter knows her dal and rice and veggies before anything else. While most of you are fighting to get a reservation to a Mexican, Italian, or McDonalds just so you can show off to your peers. Just FYI, Taco Bell is not a cool place in the US, it is just another fast food junk food place.
I can keep on listing but I will stop here because by now I have given a fair picture of what my Indian life is like and what your pseudo-western life is like. And yet, I am not Indian enough for you? I cannot say that the roads need to be wider in the metropolis because I do not suffer it everyday? It is like telling me not to worry about finding a cure for cancer because I am not suffering it. How stupid and silly. I am worried about it for your sake, for the sake of my friends who live there, for my family, for my city, my state and my country. I am worried that we are building faster than we plan. I am worried that we have an entire nation lagging behind while we are piling up in our cities. I am worried that the neighboring nations are taking up parts of our country. I am worried that idiots like you who are blindly mimicking Western traditions are forgetting what our country is built up from, we are forgetting that we can be proud of India even when we are not playing a cricket match against the Pakis. I am worried that one day in the future that I might be there suffering with you, while you, who is already living there, is living in a life of illusions. Illusions made up of brand name clothes and shoes that tread on the very pavement a man with no food or clothes will be sleeping on in the night. And whatever the case might be, take some positive/constructive criticism and try to fix it rather than asking me to shut up because if I can, I would. I am ready to help always!

Thanks
ART