Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Run down of 2011

Like every year...here are the highlights of my 2011...I had written this down before I left to California but had no time to edit it or make sure I got everything right while I was running from city to city. So a delayed year end culminatory post...

  • January was fun. Babs got to spend a lot of time with her cousin who spent a couple of weeks with us. We were at the mall everyday playing in the play area.
  • February was the coldest month of the year. We had five snow days and spent a whole week indoors. I had to get creative with keeping Babs busy. 
  • We did Holi for the first time with Babs in a big way. She had a great time with her best friend and us with her parents and I am beginning to enjoy getting colored up. Then of course I had another birthday. A Birthday where I thought I was a year older than I was...that was a pleasant surprise.
  • April was a trip to Chattanooga to meet the parents and NC to meet with the older bro. We rented a cabin, stayed in the Smokies and drove all the way to the coast to meet up with the other brother and did all that in one week. It was super fun.
  • May we spent a weekend in Austin after a long time with some very close friends. It was fun catching up and seeing the kids bond.
  • I was trying my best to save myself from the heat and kept low through the summer. Babs and I did attempt at playing some tennis on good days but most of the days we were stuck indoors doing whatevers.
  • In July we celebrated the fireworks with her cousins and friends atop our office parking lot enjoying the view and fun.
  • August, was the fun month with the trip to NJ/NY and made tons of memories there.
  • September had busy weekends
  • October, the Babs and G both turned a year older and we celebrated it on the same day one after the other until I was completely exhausted and the word Party made me gag.
  • November saw us taking the amazing trip to Oklahoma...
  • December made me re-bond with a very good friend whom I thought I had lost. And of course the fun trip to SFO, LA and Vegas before we welcomed the New Years!
The year 2011 was definitely not as busy as the other years but it saw a new Babs. A grown up girl who had started to sleep in her own room. A girl who was open to trying out Mac & Cheese, or chicken nuggets. A Babs who still wanted to go back home or eat Dal and Rice. A Babs who had her first Ballet Recital, started to write, started to read...A Babs who was my very own 4 year old, with a personality that I am beginning to love, to enjoy and get frustrated with too...Looking for many more new discoveries in the New Year!

Happy 2012 everyone! 

Love
ART

Posting for December 2011

As I browsed through the Washington Post page I realized how soonly we are approaching the end of 2011. Every thing everywhere seems to be winding down to "The Best of..." It freaked me out that 2011 came and left so soon. I will not add 2011 to my best year in my life but then looking back, it was not that bad at all. A few ups and downs but majority of it was flat and then I realized that I was happy in 2011. So, I sat down to wonder which year as being my saddest? I could not. Every year had it's share of sucky points and then its share of happy points. My mind randomly tried to blank out every sucky point and only place the bright ones above. I was happy. I assured myself I was a happy person.

Obviously, it does not end there...brain has this funny thing, it starts rummaging through past once it realizes that there was more than what met the eye...I remembered 1995...It was the year I had to choose college. Those few days was very stressful, for reasons I do not wish to write. I remembered 2008, the year where both G and Babs took amazing turns at making me spend most of the year in the hospital. I remembered 2005...again, cannot write why but I it was bad...I clearly remembered giving my 10th boards in 1993 and praying every day for 2 months that I pass in Hindi. It was stressful. Oh! How I hated Hindi and to think that now I speak it every breathing moment...well almost...

Awesomely, as I browsed through sadness, I still continued to remember only the happy times. Like the time we moved to Chennai in 1989 and meeting my BFF's K & S the same year. The year 2000 when I moved to a different country. 2005...when we got married in a raining Chennai...The year 2010 when I visited friends in EU. The year 2007 when my daughter was born. The year 1995, when I chose the college and I was happy with it...in spite of every thing. The years from 1993-1995 when K and I re-discovered friendship. The year 1993 when N and I became friends. The year 1992 when Ramachandran Sir and I met for the first time...and so much more

Well ya...more things to write about happy memories because I stopped after listing only a handful...a few sad ones too but then what is life without salt and pepper? So here is to all of us for chewing down another year like sugarcane and spitting out the bad images. Happy 2012 and hopefully more fun memories than bad ones to make.

Love
ART

Friday, December 02, 2011


My first ever project in my first year in Architecture school was to design a Children’s bedroom. We were given a room dimension and we had to add architectural as well as interior elements to make the room as kid friendly as possible. I chose to design a bed for the child that was built-in but slightly raised off the ground making it cozy while being adventurous. I don’t remember many other details now, fifteen years later, but I remember one thing. I wanted to add fluorescent stars and a moon stuck on the ceiling which would glow in the night when the lights are off. Seriously this was fifteen plus years ago when getting your hands on anything fluorescent in India was impossible. I loved that idea, to feel like you are sleeping under the sky. I don’t know if Babs will ever know what that is like, the feeling, the soft wind wiping your face now and then, the rays of the sun literally waking you up, ethereal, but I wanted to simulate that feel…when I was in school.

Yesterday as I lay in the room staring at the room with Babs tugging on my ear it came back to me. I saw the ceilings lit up, with stars. Stars that took over every surface in the room, small and big, constellation, it was the night sky in her room. My first year in architecture school came back to me. I went through college life in the few minutes I lay there waiting for her to drift away. Simple things in life trigger powerful emotions and hidden away memories, like an odd tune, or a color, a smell and this time for me it was seeing the stars on the ceiling. Something I had wanted to do so long ago and I had completely forgotten about it in the mad rush to make a life. It made me happy that at least one of my ideas have happened and my daughter was enjoying it, with me.

Unlike my fluorescent stars  These stars came out a turtle that projected stars in your room in the dark. I had used it for her first year and somehow it had gotten hidden behind the amount of toys that she had collected. Randomly a couple of weeks ago Babs had pulled it out her box and she wanted to know what it was. Together we played with it, changing colors, projecting it inside the comforter to have all the stars within our hands and then out into the room. It was fun and now has become a part of our daily "lying down with Babs before she sleeps" routine. I am loving it.

Love
Starry ART

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What do you say?

Babs and I napped two hours this past Saturday. We were tired and crashed. G came to wake us up and get us ready for a movie we were supposed to go. He sat on the bed and started scratching (kujli-ing) Babs back softly...

Babs: Papa, aap kya kehna hai abhi? (What do you have to say now?)
G: (Super confused) Main kuch kehna hai?! (I have to say something?)
Babs: Thank you
G: What?! Why?
B: Because main aapko kujli karne diya (Because I let you scratch my back)

G stopped scratching her and we have been bugging her about it ever since.

Love
ART

Monday, November 28, 2011

Shopping Spree

Sometimes when you have a well planned out weekend you end up doing nothing and then the vice-versa also happens. This is the story of a weekend that I had nothing lined up for but got so busy that I barely got time to sleep enough until I crashed and took a 2 hour nap on Saturday.

Like the past three years, this year also I went midnight shopping with my friend. We walked the mall, shopped a little, and got out of there before I started sleeping on the mall benches. It was fun, and if any of my friends are interested, I will do it again next year :) I like going to the mall alone, at least once a year. Most of the time Babs is with me but this one trip I am on my own, walking in and out, not answering to questions or explaining to her that soon I will get her something and she has to be patient. It was fun.

We got to spend a lot of relaxing time with our very close friends. We did a sleep over and I also got to do Zumba. G tried and gave up in 2 mins. I took Babs with me to a nail place for the first time in my/her life. I got a pedicure while she got her nails painted. I cannot explain in words how happy that made her. She sat still, kept quite, and then she showed it around to anyone who cared to see it.

Well Babs also did something that is annoyingly cute. On Thursday night when I went shopping I did not buy much and what little I bought, I bought one pull over for Babs. So I was overcome by guilt. Saturday noon after seeing Santa do his thing in the Galleria I took Babs around to get her some tee's and a pair of boots. We tried on a few in many stores and she rejected all of them until she saw these pair of black (desi school) shoes with a little bit of raise in the back. Do not mistake it for a heel, just a raise, but she called it heels. She wore it around, it made a slight stomping noise. She loved it. She walked trying to make a stomping noise and she loved it because it made stomping noises like my shoes do. She walked around the store "stomp, stomp, stomp." "I like it," she declared and that is what we took home with us. Since then she has not parted a single moment from those shoes and wears them with any outfit. She figures out a way to make it work. She wore pink tights, pink and animal print pull over and black shoes...when I mentioned it to her that it looks un-matchy, she picked up her black purse and said, "Now it works right amma?" And it did! The rest of the evening at the party we went to, she was ready to display her nails and shoes. I have a diva, I don't know what to do! Freaking out!

I am enjoying this growing up phase of Babs. As annoying as it is to take her to the mall where she gets antsy about shopping for me. She does not like for me to wear sleeveless, unless she is also wearing the same, she is opinionated about my make up, hair style, outfit, etc...it is all cute. I enjoy her comments, her active involvement in my life. We share silly secrets that mostly consist of, "I love you and I love everyone in this world," or the random, "I love you amma," while she is almost asleep. I like the way she reaches for my ear or G's in her sleep and the way she has learnt to hold me tight with her arms and feet as she sleeps. I hold her tight on my chest and rock her to sleep sometimes because I am afraid that in a few years she might not want to do that or she might be heavy and I cannot do that. I love to run my hands through her hair or to do stuff on her hair. She likes to comb my hair (or anyone's) and do things she calls decoration. We play games, do things, I love all this. And I really don't want a thing to change.

See, this is what happens all the time. I start to say something about myself and then it becomes all about her. Even when G and I have date nights, we start out telling ourselves, only adult talk and in five minutes we are talking about Babs. She fills every part of our life leaving no gaps. We love her and are always thinking of her...which I know is the case with most parents...parenthood is awesome!

Looking forward to Christmas now!

Love
ART

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

500th Post

I really do not have much to say for a milestone post! It took me 6 years to get here. I started my first post on 11/8/2005 and here I am trying to write my 500th. I was not sure that I will ever get here. I was not sure how committed I was to writing. My interest in writing about movies, and then about some random personal stuff started off in a flurry of excitement and like all things that are new this also got old. Life took priority over my blog. I had a baby, then I had some health issues to tackle at home, I was frustrated with life and had nothing fun or interesting to share, I stopped blogging and then started off again. I just want to give myself a pat in the back for having kept up with the commitment.

I have made a few friends through the blog-world and I have made a couple of non-friends too, but whatever it was, the fun was there and I felt alive. Every time I had a cool idea or something fun happened all I thought about was, "I have to blog this." About 10% of them actually made it here because I am sometimes lazy and forget to get to things on time.

I am still a Desi movie addict, I watch all movies, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. Since marrying G my Tamil movie watching has gone down considerable because he does not speak Tamil and I have to watch them on my own. I do not have very much "own" time any more. So I watch like 4-5 Tamil movies a year. Hindi movies on the other hand, I watch a lot of them. We love it. But, I do not blog about them any more. I just do not find the time. That led to the demise of my Movie blog which I have now combined with this one. I do try to write about the ones that really make a mark on me but not a review on everyone of them.

It is Thanksgiving weekend but we have very few plans made. The next four days are going to be super interesting. I cannot wait to spend a lot of quality time with my little one and G (when he is not working).

Happy Thanksgiving and have a Great Long Weekend!!!

Love
ART

Monday, November 21, 2011

I got a Troll

I used to write the blog hoping people will flock by the millions to read it. Slowly, it dawned on me that I am very non-controversial, write friendly stuff, and then slowly made this a memoir for my daughter sprinkled with some personal opinions here and there from time to time. I never thought I write anything that would make me seem pompous, stupid, pretentious. Never. Which explains why I have never been commented to rudely or been told interesting rude comments. I have rarely had an argument in the blogsphere. So anyways, here is the thought process I went through when I received the hate comment:


  • Obviously this is one SOB. Delete.
  • Ah! well, let it be...how does this one person's opinion affect me over the two others who bothered to comment? 
  • Truth be told, I should be bothered...someone bothered to comment.
  • Bloody Biatch, how dare he/she/it say something so mean to me, especially when I do not know you.
  • Ah well, coward.
  • But the coward reads my blog, all readers (of the handpicked few) still need to be mentioned.
  • I cannot be a coward and not publish this person's comment. I should.
  • The coward decided to comment, which means the cowards hates me. As Bree in Desperate Housewives pointed it out, hate is not the opposite of Love, indifference is, Hate means that you still care...so the coward cares enough to express dislike in the most tasteless way ever.
  • Coward is a coward, if I have time, will deal with it later.
  • I am famous, someone hates me!
So here I am, dealing with the coward, being true to myself and publishing the hate comment. So you, coward, hiding behind anonymous, come out, lets pull a chair, and drink some coffee discussing why you hate me so much. Who knows, might help you vent and me see your point.

"I have read many of ur posts simply because I find it interesting in a way like , wow what pretentious post has this woman written today .You are a showoff & a pretentious shallow woman who has bricks for her brain matter
I have read many posts by women who are so interesting and bright .You are not one of them in fact ur pretty irritating"


And here is me thanking you dear Troll, for showing me that you care. 


Love
ART

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Android-Iphone War

I have owned an iphone for 2.5 years. I love it. Granted, it has it's share of issues, mainly dropped calls, but I still love it. I have never had issues with any thing major, just your regular phone woes. I am obviously not writing this blog to praise my iphone and show my love for it.

My point is, that every time I have used my phone in front of an Android user I have heard one of the following or a combination of a few:

  • Iphone sucks
  • Iphone is so overrated
  • my (insert name of any Android phone) is so cool, so much cooler than your phone
  • My phone is faster than Iphone
  • It has all these wonderful apps
  • They never drop calls
  • I will do anything but buy an Iphone
  • Look at a person who is yet to get a smart phone and say, "I beg you, please never buy an Iphone, or else I will have to rethink our friendship."
  • Sprint/T-Mobile/Verizon has better plans than AT&T (How is this iphone's fault?)
  • etc. etc. add your own.
I wonder why it is so important for Android users to advertise their phone? I have rarely stood up and fought a war for my phone even when someone is bashing my phone. It is awesome, I know it, the world knows it, I have never heard of a story where someone stood out in front of an Android store for a month to be the first to get their latest release. Never. 

I do not even think Android users can keep track of their own Galaxy, HTC, HTC Evo, Universe, Spaceship phones with intergalactic names coming out every other day. In spite of all this, I never say a mean thing about your phone ever. Never!

Yet, why do the Android users deem it necessary to defame Apple? While I am in awe of your super apps and cool stuff, why can't you appreciate the same in my phone? Obviously there are somethings my phone can do better than yours and vice versa, so lets celebrate each other's phone. Let's stop this boring discussion of how your phone is better than mine. Let our phone's not represent our ego. Let us be friend's who use our phones to communicate and not to compete with. Let's live and let live.

Love
ART

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Branded - Are We?

I am not talking about you or you or you. This is about me. Strictly me and my feeling bad about not understanding the world around me. This is about what I think of brand names. I am not saying that I do not own anything that is branded, I do, but I mostly did not buy it because it was branded but more because I thought it was cute or it was something that made me happy and not others jealous.

I look at someone wearing a CC and go oooh! or someone wearing a those huge monogrammed Coach purses and I am like..."ok, brand name check." But then there are these other cooler brands, say like Kate Spade for example, unless someone comes close and hugs me and picks my purse up and reads, it is not going to matter, no one is ever going to know. Even Coach for that matter, a non-monogrammed purse might as well have been bought for $15 from Sam Moon's. Nobody will notice another black leather purse. Then why are we so brand crazy? I am pretty sure I do not have many friends who will know a purse or a shoe by season and by designer (Other than a Loub mais oui!). And for those couple of people to recognize the pain and effort you have put into acquiring that branded object...is it worth it?

I always wondered why someone should shell out a lot of money for a purse that only they will know as branded or drop around hints to show how well kept they are. Of course, having spending money is a good enough reason but other than that, why? Please explain, I know people who have spent $200 for a plain Jane Louboutin and then later complain about money issues for making car or house payments. That is something beyond my comprehension.

Oh and then the shoes, I mean, unless I make you take your shoes off or you tell me, how on earth am I going to see what you are wearing and how does it matter?

So why dear darlings? What does it matter? Would you look down at me because I am scoring deals and check slickdeals every other day? Would it make you sick that sometimes I pick up my jacket or a pull over from Sam's club? Would it make it bad that I get shoes from online websites that have a kickass deal? Oooh...and would it make you cringe if I told you the cost of something you just complimented on? If you answered yes to any one of the above questions, then, we are just not meant to be. It was nice knowing you though.

Love
ART

Oklahoma! Ooklaahomaaa!

Randomly a couple of our friends and we decided to go on a road trip. It was decided over G's birthday night and in two days a cabin was booked, van rented and tentative plans were made. We were going to see Fall colors in Oklahoma!

The three and half hour ride had us singing songs, playing games and lots of laughs. The biggest giggle and shriek's came from us as we discovered each and every nook of the cabin we had rented. Of course we did get lost and took a lot of time to find it but it was worth the effort. The best part was that there were not many insects and all with it being Fall. I could walk around the property in the night under the stars without fear of having a cicada jump at me.

We grilled, we campfired, we hot-tubbed, we hiked a bit, we lazed a lot, cooked and ate a lot, played a lot, saw a lot of TV, and best of all, saw some of the most beautiful Fall colors. The drive through the Talamina State Park was amazing, even more amazing was observing two stick insects make out. First time I ever saw a stick insect (they are ugly!). We also tried to rescue a car that had gone off the path but then had to let the pro's do it.

We collected pine cones, dumped them in the water and saw the shrink, dried them to see them bloom again. Babs and I played silly games, we did each other's hair, cuddled a lot, Saw Aladin twice, ate on the swing watching nature sway around us. We also had our morning breakfast watching deers as they ran by and our cups of coffee while sitting on the deck contemplating life. The peacefulness of the place and the beauty of the nature was a definite battery charger for all of us.

We learned the Babs could do a sad slow walk, that she could say "booty-butt" and giggle away to glory. We made games out of "booty-butt" and of course we played rummy, and came second only to G, I hope it makes my FIL proud of me. We also sang Chappa Chappa Charka while we sat and saw the flames crackle on our bonfire.

Such vacations are good reminders as to why we need to take a break and do nothing and relax. When we got back, we were all sad  but once again the drive back into Texas was amazing. I could not take my eyes off the horizon, such beautiful colors, and the paints the sky threw at us was welcoming. It was all good and then the week started back for us...

Babs, you and I constantly cuddled on this trip. I smothered you and hopefully made up for all my bad moods in the past few work-stress induced weeks. Hopefully we will get to do this and more in the coming weeks once again.

Love
Amma

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sleep Time

Babs has been sleeping by herself since she turned three. But there is a caveat, she almost always wakes up 4-5 hours after she has gone to bed and stomps her way to our room. Some days, this is a smooth process, she walks and comes, I take her to pee, and she is back in our bed and snoring. Then there are these other days, when she cries from her room, begging for us to come and fetch her. We play games, where I will walk to our door and wait for her, etc, etc, depending on how much she is screaming or tearing out her lungs.

The other day she stomps in, freaks me out because she is all giggly next to my face. We both go to the restroom, and when we come back she picks up the water bottle, gives it to her dad, drinks some, gives it to me before climbing on the bed. Once snuggled next to us, she starts singing this random song...

G, Babs and S uncle used to listen to this a lot during World Cup for the sake of entertainment and she randomly remembered it that night and sang it.

Well after that we had a laugh fest and neither of us slept for quite a while. She is our entertainment!

Love
Amma

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fasting & Karva Chauth

I love to fast. I have fasted for stuff I need, for my husband's health, for daughter's health (and soon for some brains), for mom and dad, well...you get the picture. I am a steadfast faster. I never fasted just a single day, it was always any random number I picked and would do anywhere between 3 Thursdays to 12 Wednesdays. All random. The thing is, I believe in bribing God first and then Thanking later...doing both ensures higher success rate.

Then you ask why not Karva Chauth? Because I am not sure of what I am supposed to do, I do not know the customs. While I set the ground rules for my fastings, I do not know the age old traditions set by generations past because it is not something I grew up with. Of course, like majority of the South Indians none of us knew about this auspicious day until Simran fasted for Raj in DDLJ.

My friends who religiously fasted and still made it to Babs Party, I love you even more today. Not a spot of food or water and you were standing there with your wards chasing them around with a smile on your face...thank you for that.

Hope all of you and yours had a great Karva Chauth and now eagerly awaiting the arrival of Deepavali!

I love October...first it is Dasara, then Babs and G's Birthday, then Deepavali, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year. It is as if October paves way for a whole world of Celebrations.

Love
ART

Monday, October 10, 2011

Jobs & The Coloring Paper

Babs, I want you to remember this. Look back and laugh, with me...

I left Babs in the restroom and ran out to watch Anderson Cooper's coverage on Steve Jobs the day after he died. G and I were discussing it when Babs hollered for me. I went into the bathroom to check on her when she told me, "Amma, sit here," pointing to the tub edge.

"Babs, finish pooping and then call me. Amma and Papa are seeing something on TV,"  I said as I was still trying to hear in on the TV.
"Please amma, please?" she pleaded and I gave in instructing G to record the show, which I am yet to see...so here is the conversation...

Babs: What are you seeing on TV?
Me: Oh it's a documentary on this guy.
Babs: Which guy?
Me: Steve Jobs. (I try to help her pronounce the name).
Babs: Who is he?
Me: You know, he is a great guy. The laptops, iPad, iPhone, iPod, and all that we use, are his inventions.
Babs: Ya, and also the coloring paper.
Me: What?
Babs: He also invented the coloring paper, right?
Me: Why? No.
Babs: I am sure he did, I like coloring paper a lot too. (She loves my iPhone and iPod)
Me: No Babs.
Babs: Amma, tell me, how did he invent the coloring paper?
Me: Babs, finish pooping and call me...

I leave the bathroom unable to hold back laughter, bursting in giggles I narrate the story to G who also started laughing loudly...we had a fill of fun!

And for that, I thank you Babs! You always make the most dull moment in life funny too...

Love
Amma

PS: Babs you are going to be 4 in a week. I think it is high time you started pooping without company for entertainment and small talk.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Jobs!

I am proud to have lived in the age of great people like Jobs, Gates, and Buffet.

It is sad to be around when he died, but lives on as an inspiration for me and mostly importantly my daughter. When she is old enough, she will hear me talk about him to her.

Most of the times death of people outside family rarely affects me. Jobs did. I could not sleep at night and there is a cloud on my head. Somehow feel that the technology world is now lacking a main player. The revolutionary visionary was now gone leaving behind a void. Not sure anyone can fill his shoes.

Thanks for making the iPhone and iPod. Thanks for making me carry all my music no matter where I was, in the smallest of my purses. Thanks for keeping my daughter entertained with the iPhone while I was having a bath or cooking. Thanks for making the world competitive enough for us to have a choice, a voice.

RIP. You will be sorely missed.

Love
ART

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Skater-Girls

It was her classmate's birthday that they were celebrating in an ice skating rink. Babs walked around the rink and initially rejected the idea of going on the ice. After watching her friends slip and slide she looked at me and asked, "Amma, will you also go inside with me?" I shrugged. What did I have to loose? A tooth or a finger maybe or better still find a muscle that I never knew existed. So we rented the skates.

I have not been in a rink for ever and even otherwise I can barely keep myself standing. So I walk in gingerly. Babs goes ahead, turns around and stretches her hand out to me. "Come Amma, hold me, I will be your teacher and you listen to me." With those words, she started directing my every move on the ice. We sang rhymes, songs, walked around slowly, and had a great time. She fell at least 4 times but refused my help when I gave her a hand. 

After 2.5 rounds around the rink, her legs were giving away and I held her hand and we skated together when the two of us landed on the ice. We laughed so hard, got up, hugged and continued our skating/walking. It was definitely one of the best times of my life. My daughter, my teacher and my love...who would believe that she had only been to 4 skate classes till then.


Love
ART

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Google

This is completely random. So random that it deserved it's own specialty post. The post is about the titular hero and the host of this blog...Google.

I really do not know when it started but it was around the time I finished my Master's that I first heard the name Google. Today it is there in everyone's life. Words like search, research, look, find have been replaced by the word Google...I know, this is nothing new, all of you have also felt its impact...but Google. I love you Google. I have no single reason as to why but I fell in love with you hard. If anyone said anything wrong about you, I feel the need to defend you with my minimal tech knowledge. If you are in trouble, I want to help (not sure how...but remember it is the thought that counts). I can spend hours engulfed by your love and warmth. blah blah blah...

Everything you touch turn gold and if it is already gold then it becomes platinum...for example you tube. Since you started buying up companies I felt the strong urge to recommend that you also buy Wikipedia. That website is my second love. How nice it would be if the two of you were joined in union? Search and info! I know you like wiki, because every time I google something your first results are always from Wiki. Wiki, keeps me and the hubby dearest entertained for hours. We Wiki while we are watching TV to get info on actors, directors, places, history and what not. We are always pulling out phones to check what is what...

And speaking of phones...that is the one place I betrayed you. I went the Apple route. I love my Iphone in spite of all its shortcomings and do not see myself with a G phone in the nearest future...forgive me. Not a lovers spat.

And continuing on Google...you should have bought Groupon. Well, there is still Living Social that is left for you to bid on. But if you do buy Living Social, make some changes to their App. It sucks right now.

Sorry about Google Wave and +. I really tried hard to like it but had to take your failure as mine and it hurt when people hurled abuses at it. Just so I should not feel like an outsider I also said a couple of mean things about +. Please don't mind ok.

Anyways, I can go on and on because it is love and love has no bounds. I wish to end this before it starts sounding like I had a tall glass of margarita before I sat down to type! Long Live Google. And May I Love You for Days and Years ahead.

Love
ART

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Changing Plans

The past two weekends have been nightmarishly busy...in a good way.

First it was the weekend that had three festivals going on in different parts of Dallas. I of course wanted to get in on all three of them. The plan was set. Friday night, Babs BFF sleep over with her parents at our house. The sleepover was preceded by a visit to Plano Balloon festival. Saturday was reserved for Oktoberfest and Sunday was for Grapefest. I was all set.

The house was kinda sorted out. Babs napped and ready on Friday evening and finally all three of us were ready to head out...when the rains came, and boy did they come. It rained non-stop the rest of the evening and night. I quickly changed from my white tee to something of a darker shade blouse and went and met our friends for dinner. The sleepover happened and the kids were beyond explanation happy. I convinced myself that I can still do Balloon Fest on Sat and Grapefest on Sunday. I had been to Oktober many times so was not sad on missing it.

Next day, after spending most of the time lazing around Babs decided that she wanted to go with her BFF to Grapefest. I begged but to no avail. So we were at Grapefest. Babs had a great time there. She was with our friend who took them to do dancing, play with a cow's udder and milk some, and last but not the least they did grape stomping. So cute! Late night before we retired home and all of us were tired to our bones.

Sunday started with Babs ice skating class and me taking her home quickly to get her ready for the Balloon fest I was going with my BFF and Babs friend. Well, we got there only to realize that it had been cancelled due to storms coming from the North. I wanted to scream my lungs out. I was looking forward to this one and I was so disappointed. Instead we went to a park, sat by the pond, fed Babs and her friend dinner while they chatted and saw the ducks around. They played till the storm actually started throwing some water on us and then we drove home in a hail storm. I was lucky to get a parking spot in a gas station before I drove home. Babs sat behind me a little scared before falling asleep...

And there, the only thing I got to do was the Grapefest. Next year, if I am still in Dallas...hopefully I will make it to the Balloonfest and skip on Grape and Oktober because I have already to been to these two now.

Love
ART

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dessert-ed

I am trying to diet...the operative word is TRYING. You won't see a thing different in me because I have not lost an ounce anywhere...if at all there have been some additions...well, whatever...ok, anyways...conversation in our house after dinners...

September 12, 2011

A: I need to go to a grocery store...
G: Lets go to Tom Thumb..
A: Why? We can stop at Albertsons, we just passed it.
G: Lets get the Chocolate Mousse Cake again.

So we pick it up, Babs has gone to bed. We both look at each other with an evil smile. I go to the kitchen, serve us our slices. We are done eating in 2 minutes sharp. Then we contemplate to get more.

G: This cake is evil.
A: We need to destroy it.
G: Ya, otherwise we will be destroyed.
A: it is US vs Cake. And right now cake is winning.
G: Another piece must be had.

So off we have another slice and get more healthier in appearance.

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September 13, 2011


A: Are we having cake tonight again? You know that huge slice is still left.
G: No. Not two days in a row. (With the strictest face).
A: Really? (I make a sad face and then give up).

I get on a phone call. Talk for 45 minutes and walk out to join G watching TV.

A: So no cake?
G: Yes, but I made something else...go check the fridge and bring some. Must be cold enough now.
A: What the?

I go and check the fridge...my favorite coconut milk with banana dessert is sitting proudly on the fridge shelf...What the??? I thought we were dieting...but hell no! We ate the whole damn thing. Got very sleepy from the coconut milk and hit the bed real soon.

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At this rate...I am never going to loose any weight...anyways. Sorry Babs...no Fit Parents for you...

Love
ART

Thursday, September 08, 2011

I and We (I-V)

When I was in my undergrad I got to meet my first "I-We" person (henceforth known as I-V). When something went wrong with the idea it was a collective "we" that was used to apologize but God forbid something went right in a collective effort, it was the stand alone "I" that was used. I did not recognize this until the girl who became my BFF in college pointed it out to me. I was so naive that I did not pick up on the signals of the I-V  traits.

Later I realized that in every group there is at least one person like that. One person who does not hesitate to steal the credit or share the blame. Just knowing about the existence does not make things easier for us now, or does it? The I-V person is typically fast to respond to secure their position. They make sure that they are credited for others ideas in a public gathering or otherwise. Trying to one-up on them will only make you look like a jealous person...And what is worse? Most of these I-V people think that it is normal to do that, and never really know they are doing it...more like kleptomaniacs only that they are stealing your work/effort/talent. So in a way, they are...well you know...

Oh! The fun thing is to get two I-V people in the same group...

Just wanted to write this out. It has been bothering me a while...if you have any suggestions on how to tackle them, do write back...

Coming Soon...a post on people who blame you for their mistakes and are always ready with the blame even before the mistake is pointed out...

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Character Dheela...

A friend of mine told me that I was raising a 15 year old and not a 3 year old. So true. Whenever I see Babs or talk to her we communicate like peers. She tells me things as they are and I do the same. We even argue on what I should wear. When I was a young girl my brother used to be my fashion police and I had to go through hoops to jump through his strictures. Now, I have my daughter...

Babs questions me why are you wearing such high heels? Are they not bad for your feet? If I cannot wear them, you cannot too. Change to sneakers...so nowadays when I go to pick her up from school, I quickly change into sneakers to avoid a fight.

There are so many embarrassing moments in the life of a parent...everyone who is a parent will attest to this but each time you come face to face with it, you are shocked and paralyzed...This long weekend we had gone to one of our friends house. Babs wanted to watch the song "Pappu Can''t Dance." My friend kindly obliged, another friend said, "Since we are taking requests, I want to see Character Dheela song." After Babs request was over my friend set about searching for Character Dheela when another friend jumped in and suggested which link to play...his main criteria was that it said HD. And so the song started...a few seconds in, Zarine Khan was replaced by a seductive Katrina...and the next thing we know...she is taking her blouse off and seducing someone on a table. I jumped, and turned Babs head and then tried to stand in front of her distracting her while my friend tried his best to find the ESC button.

Moving on...a day later in our house Babs sits with me on the couch and once again asks me, "Why did you laugh so much at our friend's house while watching the Character Dheela (which happens to be her favorite song right now) song?" I randomly talking about the weather outside and try to avoid the topic...Babs jumps back to the topic and asks me, "Was it because Katrina Aunty was removing her blouse?"

"Yes Babs," I said softly and let that be. Maybe I should have just said so before instead of making her wonder about it and figure it out...next time I will know better but for now we laughed our ass off...

Love you Babs

Amma

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sweat!

Friend and I are standing near the door of an over crowded compartment in a NJ Transit train. We are heading back to NJ from NYC. Daughter is sitting comfortably in her stroller and chatting away with us. The compartment is crowded and the door is open. A/C is barely able to keep up with the crowd and heat inside so for those stuck at the door it is HOT.

A lady almost faints and is rushed into the compartment. I see the girl standing next to me dripping sweat on her legs and her tee is soaked. The man standing near us is dripping everywhere. I turn and look at my friend, he is dry. I see my self, I am dry. And then at Babs, she is moist but not too bad. My friend and I lock eyes and smile, "The Chennai effect," I say.

"We are prepared for all sorts of heat and humid," he says. We smile.

Idhu ellam sagajam appa (This is very common). And finally the train leaves and everyone's sigh brings some air around the cramped space.

Love
ART

Monday, August 01, 2011

Planning

There are some weekends that we plan ahead of time. I start stressing out from the minute the clock says "Go Home" on Friday nights. And then there are some where I have no idea what we are going to and better still no desire to do anything. My Friday night this past week was like the latter. Having slogged a week to finish off a deadline two days ahead of time I was feeling sucked out. All I wanted to do was rest and not move a limb if I could...

Saturday I took Babs out to the park as promised to her and I went for a run as promised to myself. The husband donated blood while me and Babs were in the pool chilling out. After a couple of hours of nothingness we ventured out to do some grocery and a quick snack which ended up being first dinner of the evening. Babs hit the snooze button and the couple (us) saw loads of TV and a movie.

But on Saturday, plans for a Sunday had started brewing unbeknownst to us. Actually, maybe I had a clue but refused to acknowledge it. Babs had asked me on the way home from park on Saturday morning if we could go to Gudhawar. First I taught her how to say Gurudhwara and then I told her I will ask G about it.

On Sunday morning Babs casually picked up the phone and said, "I want to meet S and S. I want to go to their house, can I make a quick phone call." I laughed it off, dialed S's number and gave it to her. S and S are the most busy people I know. I was sure that nothing will come out of the call. Babs left a message and we left it at that...

Back to Sunday early morning from 8.00am to 9.30am. I had tennis plans that I had to bail out of because all three of us refused to get out of bed. We were playing around with each other. Deciding on how to waste the rest of the day, what to eat, etc. It was decided we had no plans for the day. So I asked G if we could go to Gurudhwara. G was fine with it. So plan #2 was set in motion.

I wanted to eat a nice yummy continental breakfast. Toast, scrambled eggs and hash browns made fresh by husband and me followed by some awesome chai. G said ok and then he asked Babs if that was ok with her. Of course she wanted Kandha Poha. Well G chose to side with his darling...and that was not me of course. So that is how plan #1 was put into action.

Coming back home after Gurudhwara I wanted so desperately to take a nap. It was 104 outside and the heat was simply killing everything around here...30+ days of more than 100F. Babs tried to nap and then she sat up and said, "I want to go to Valley View Mall and do the carousel." G was trying to catch the Z and then get some work done so Babs and I softly slipped out. We did the carousel, play area and then headed to Galleria. Plan #3 was set in motion...

Finally time to head back home and Babs got the call from our friend S. Babs took the call and started talking to S while I was organizing my purse. In the din of Galleria all I heard was, "Ok, I will talk to amma and then we will come. If papa is busy then only me and amma will come, ok? bye."

I grabbed the phone quickly and asked S if Babs just invited herself over and they were like, "it is a brilliant idea because even we are getting back home and it will be awesome." So with that Plan #4 was privately hatched and carried out by G and me. G had to finish his work fast to squeeze in a game of R. Ball before heading to S's house.

And that is how Babs envisioned our Sunday to be. She vetoed going to my friends house to see a new born. She vetoed taking a nap. she vetoed me getting my continental breakfast fix. She vetoed staying in for a simple evening. Last Sunday was hers and she did what she wanted with it. And the best part...we loved it! G and I had a great Sunday!

Babs loves the song "Suttum Vizhi" from Ghajini a lot. She listens to it a 100 times a week. Yesterday I sang the lines to her "En ulagam unnai sutrudhey..." (My world revolves around you!) and I meant every word of it.




Love you a lot Babs. You give special meaning to our life and make G and I laugh more than we normally would have. Because we laugh two or three times repeating your stories between us and our friends...you just give us more chance to smile when things are not going the way you expect...

Your Amma

Friday, July 15, 2011

Thank You

Friday evening both G and I were home from work at 5.10pm. We had no plans for the evening and nothing scheduled. Babs was with Pinki, her baby sitter and had plans to go swimming with them. We were asked to pick her up after 7.00pm. G and I sat down wondering what to do with the free time. His tennis plans got shelved as his partner had other plans.

So guess what we did? We went and played tennis. The last time I played any tennis was more than two years ago. I was just so happy to be on the court. G indulged me and I had a ball but I could not stand under the Texan sun for more than 40 minutes. I retired-tired. It was about 102F that day and I am sure standing on the concrete court it was more than that. We were both sweaty and nasty when we got out and drove straight to a Starbucks. Another thing we had not done in maybe five years.

G and I sat down, had a cold coffee each chatting about our life so far, politics, Babs, future, random stuff and we finally got the call from Pinki letting us know that they were back home. We had finally spent some alone time together, it was about three hours in all but enough to charge us up for the rest of the year.

There are lots of things we learn from becoming a parent, one of those is appreciating the small ways in people around us help. If not for people like Pinki, Pooja, and Anitha then raising Babs while still working in a country where G and I have to do everything (cook, clean, fold clothes, etc) and with G falling sick as well would have been a nightmare. So, I want to thank everyone, my baby sitter's, my friends and family for making my life fun.

Thank You,

ART

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Babbi

I never put any video on the blog, but this one is special and thought I will share it with everyone...

Love
ART

25 cents

Usually people give you their two cents but my daughter gave her father 25 cents. She had found it somewhere in the house while playing with her cousin. She not only gives it to G but then tells him very seriously, "Papa, take this lot of money, go and take your friends at work out for lunch tomorrow."

G looks at the 25 cents, laughs heartily and tells her, "Sure Babs, will do that."

Babs nods her head and walks away to continue playing. G, me, her uncle and aunt all start laughing loudly, wondering how simple life would be if 25 cents was considered a treasure. All is forgotten after that and life goes on.

Next day, the three of us are sat in our favorite restaurant waiting for our food to come. Babs impatiently asks, "I want the yummy food now, where is it?" We explain to her that she has to wait, when a bulb goes off inside her head, "Papa, did your friends say thank you? Were they happy?"

"With what Babs?" G asks her bewildered.

"The 25 cents? Remember, did you or did you not take them out for lunch?" She remembered!

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I opened the door on her feet on the 4th of July. We were going to go out for a walk and I was distracted when I opened the door. The poor baby screamed her lungs out in pain. The noise the door made when it opened on her feet made my stomach churn. While she wailed, I cried. G who was taking a nap, bolted and was next to us in a second holding his baby tight in his arms. Babs saw me cry and G concerned that in a couple of minutes she calmed down as I tearfully bought a Dora bandaid to her. There was blooding flowing out fast but I knew that a bandaid would calm her instantly.

As soon as I wiped off the blood and got the band aid on her feet, she smile, touched my face and told me, "It's ok Amma, it was hurting a lot then. Now only a little. It will get better soon."

To make her feel better, we took her to a Desi store, ate Aloo Paratha and then went swimming. Oh BTW, did I mention that she is a swimmer now? A good one at that? She has not developed a technique to breathe yet but she is fearless in water now. From trying out free style to breast stroke and back stroke, she is ready to experiment. She is also big into diving now. I am so proud of her. After her swim, we cleaned up and while I was making my dinner, she came and stood next to me, "Amma, aap ko samaj mein nahin aata hai? Ek choti bachi door ke paas kadi thi aur aap uske payr ke upar door khol diya?"

She had such mock seriousness in her voice that G and I burst out laughing again.

*************************************************************************

Love you a lot Babs,
Keep the cheer

Love
ART

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why Weight?

I run. I run in hot Dallas sun. I run when it is hot but the sun is gone. I try to run and land up walking. I try to walk and land up running. All so that I can loose the few pounds to get back to my pre-prego weight. Darn it, I am ready to give up. There is just no point. No matter how much I run, I eat. I really double up the calories into my stomach and then try to run it off. That is no good now, is it?

All the running gives me free time to think. The music blares in my ear but my mind is wandering. I am everywhere but on the road. On one of those dreamy running moment, my brain took me back to when I was this small, like say about 3 years old. My mother was very concerned, I ate normally but I looked like skin and bones stuck together with buck tooth to make things worse. 

When I was in my 5th standard, it was established by a doctor that I was anemic. Doctor ordered mutton and loads of spinach. My mother knew nothing of cooking meat. She cooked mutton like she would potato. Either it was not cooked well or over cooked. And spinach, I still cannot eat it without feeling slightly disgusted at least once because I was overfed dal-palak. My hatred for mutton and spinach started then.

That diet helped me get less anemic but the weight gain issue was still present. It never bothered me because at that time and age being skinny was neither fad or looked down upon. So I existed content that no matter what I stuffed down my throat I did not gain an ounce more than what I did yesterday.

Life progressed into college. All that eating continued and nothing changed other than my pre-dominantly South Indian genes took over me. I still did not gain an ounce of weight but my ass grew. It really had a mind of its own. All the dancing I did for school and college culturals did not help either. So now I looked like a full fledged pear. Still super skinny every where but the one place where I did not want to gain any weight.

Now, all of you pear shaped ladies know that once you get the rear growing, there ain't no stopping it. It might stop growing but it ain't never gonna shrink. Well that is where I was when I came to the USA. Over dosing on french fries, jalapeno poppers, and all that ranch sauce did not really help...

Oh! and when I got pregnant I really ate like I was eating for two adults. Not for an adult and a few days old fetus, but for two big burly adults. Well, now I struggle. I sweat it out. But gosh darn it, I wish I could go back to the days when I cried through my lunch eating crappy mutton (sorry amma!) and spinach. That is what I want, a skinny me, with no worries of what I ate and how much I ate. I still eat a lot, but feel slightly guilty after wards...slightly only because I love to eat!

I keep reminding myself, the ultimate motive is to remain healthy, not thin but healthy. As if I could ever get skinny, heh! But healthy, I want healthy (I really want thin) I keep telling myself to no avail. Let me see how much of the earth I can occupy. It is me against the planet now.

Watch out Earth. 

Love
ART

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wikipedia

Nowadays for me, watching movies or TV has taken a backseat. When I say that, I wish to reiterate that while I still love watching TV or movies and spend ample hours doing so, I keep my phone next to me. If a game is slow or boring, my phone is turned on and I start reading about the players and the same for a movie.

While watching a movie, G and I have actually paused the movie mid stream to check who the actor is or what his background is, etc. Like the other day we were watching 'Milk,' an amazing movie if you have not seen it. I fell instantly head over heels in love with Milk's boyfriend Scott. I had no idea who he was, instant Wiki revealed James Franco to me. Of course, I missed the Oscars this year and I did not see 127 hours...so sorry. But James Franco it is...my latest celeb crush. So what if he turns out to be gay, not like we are going to be an item if we meet...

The other day, same thing, I am watching the MAVS game, simultaneously Wiki'ng about all the players. I now know where Barea is from, what JT's kids names are and whom J Kidd is going to marry. I had Wiki'd Nowitzki so long ago and I did not have to do that again.

So basically, as a movie, show, or game unfolds, I sit in front of the idiot box trying to gain some knowledge about the important players on the screen. I keep pouring in the newly gained knowledge to G and he also sometimes starts on his phone...at least we are still a conversational family :)

Love
ART

Monday, June 06, 2011

Summer is here!!!

We celebrated the Memorial Day long weekend by spending time with G's brother in Houston. Babs gets so excited at the very mention of her uncle's name. He pampers her and she has two little kids to boss around. She surprised us on the drive there by not wanting to pee even once and by keeping to herself the whole drive. She sang songs, talked to herself, taught imaginary friends something or she looked out the window. G and I were so happy that I did not have to look behind and answer a million questions. My little girl is growing up, no more diaper bags, no more extra set of clothes. On some days, we just get out of the house as is. What a change from me having to make a list and plan what I need to take with me and carry a heavy bag everywhere. I still carry snacks because she gets hungry at odd times.

Now that summer has officially started, her school is closed and the temps are touching 100 degs everyday for the past week, Babs is not going to her Montessori any more. She is back to her favorite baby sitter P. P has a daughter T who is a year older than Babs but they grew up together for a year and half and hence have a super strong love-hate relationship. The day starts of brilliant, the kids share, play together, do everything fun and towards the end of the day when tiredness sets in they cannot stand the sight of each other. But the very same night before going to bed, Babs tiredly asks me, "Amma, I will go to play with T again tomm? Please?" P tells me that it is the same story there too,

So in short, G and I feel so much at ease. P gives Babs a bath, has her well fed on Aloo Paratha, sabzee, fruits, and a good dose of Marwari Hindi (any Hindi maybe better than mine). Babs, I feel is much more relaxed. I don't have any tantrums to deal with since she started going to P. The last two months while she was at school, she was developing a temper but now that is gone. I am wondering if school was stressful for her. I am happy to see a relaxed hubby who does not have to get up early to drop daughter off at her Montessori and me because I have spare time since on most days Babs is already fed and taken care of. Thanks P, you are awesome! and Thanks for giving me and G also a much needed summer break.

This past weekend, Babs and I went to Nasher once again. We had super fun. She did the scavenger hunt, the balloon room, art activity, yoga, hung out in the garden admiring sculptures and imitating them before finishing it off with the dance performance some kids put up. It was awesome, as hot as it was, we got to do something outdoorsy, thanks to the beautifully shaded garden, something educational, and something fun. I plan to take her at least once more before the end of the year. Hopefully she will go to the art museums with me because her father hates it.

And finally, saw Rafa beat Fed in the finals of French Open. Phew! Thanks...after seeing Rafa get beaten by Djoker so many times in the ATP 1000 series it was a pleasant surprise to see Fed in the final and Rafa playing his best. I really hope to see them face off in Wimbledon finals. Lets see how things go.

Now if only Mavs won the Championship....sigh...

Love
ART

Monday, May 23, 2011

Screwing, did you say?

Long long ago, nobody knows how long ago, G and babs were sitting in the living room. Some random pounding like noise comes from the floor above and Babs questions G about it. G promptly replies, "Maybe the aunty living upstairs is nailing or screwing some photos to the wall."

Back to today, G and Babs sitting in the living room and me, amma, is away at work on a weekend. Similar noise comes from above and Babs promptly tells G, "Maybe the aunty living above is screwing someone."

G's jaw dropped. He lost his composure. It took him a few seconds and a history lesson from Babs to remind him of what he had told her before. G has not stopped laughing since.

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Babs playing in the park with me. A little boy randomly came and said hello to us. When both of us responded to his greeting he ran away. He did the same thing for a couple of more times. Babs climbing the rock climber turns around, shakes her head in a slightly disappointed way and comments, "That anna is so random," and continues climbing.

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Here is one that is not-so-cute...

G and I are watching NBA Western finals Game #3, Mavs vs Thunder and are really not stressed because we had a 20 point lead but still acting out a bit. Babs is sitting on her fathers tummy and when G and I throw our hands up in the air to create drama she shouts, "Che theri, Bad game. These guys cannot play." Nods her head and walks to her room.

G and I stare at her and wonder what else has she picked up from us? Especially me who is famous for saying 'shit' every other minute, 'damn' is used in every other sentence, 'teri maa ki aankh' when I am driving (at the very least)...scary. As long as she repeats those minimally in public I guess I am ok. After all she will use them when time comes, only prayer is that the time comes a little later.

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Babs you said this and blushed, no denying it...

Babs tells me and G, "I like that Donovan in my class. He is very nice," *blush blush* giggles a bit and continues, "He tries to become like papa to me all the time. He is so funny right?" more blushing and giggling.

I could not hold in my laughter and I laughed with her while G glared at both of us and shook is head in resignation.

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Well that is Babs for you...always up to something and keeping us busy and engaged. And in other related news, Babs had her first Ballet/Tap recital this past Friday (5/21). I took her for the dress rehearsal in the morning and I texted G telling him not to keep his expectations high. Babs stood on the stage, looked around, picked on her nose, relaxed and came back out. I confirmed that her dancing genes were from her father's side of the family. G protested but I prevailed.

Come evening, I made her up with minimal make up. A Little bit of powder, some light eye liner, a dab of rouge and some gloss. Then I tied her hair back in a short pony, gelled it to take the fizz out and added some hair glitter. She was so excited to get dressed up. It was so precious. Dressed in her yellow satin ballet outfit with tutu she made our hearts melt. She was so excited to go there and get up on stage.

And thankfully, she danced. She did not stand looking around. As soon as she got on the stage she took a few minutes to spot me and G and after a quick wave, she was dancing, not perfectly, but at least she was not standing or crying.

After the ballet, they did tap dancing in really cute pink and silver outfits with silver newspaper boy hats. And then the grand finale. They were in their tights and pink leotard, sailor hats and a scarf around their necks. Cute and smart.

G and I took Babs to a desi place, had coffee, pakoda, soup for her, and chicken samosa before heading home. She was excited and I was ready to sleep. This was my first weekend at home, not working, not travelling, not having anyone at home in almost 2 months. I wanted a break.

So anyways. That was that.

Write back soon.

ART

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Aunty!

As always the year trip to my parents was once again planned. It took a lot of phone calls and stress before I booked the tickets for me and Babs. The reason for the tension was that we were trying to do a lot of things in a small amount of time but neither of us (my brother and his family and my parents and yours truly) wanted to compromise anything...so off we went, Babs and I on an airplane again to Chattanooga.

Mom dad and my niece Z were waiting to pick us up. The minute Babs set her eye on her cousin I was lost to her. She did not listen to me, think about me or need me. Normally I would hate to be ignored by her or her father but on this occasion, I was ready for it. After all, isn't one of the reasons we go to our parent's house? And I literally started to relax the minute I saw my brother No.2's smiling face walk towards me.

It was crazy after that. Babs rarely ate a full meal, she was busy playing with her cousins. Z wanted to spend time with her and A wanted to run away from her. So Babs decided to ignore Z and chase A to madness. He almost had to hide from her. Babs would stop and give him random hugs and kisses and chase him around claiming her love for him.

The day we landed, we chilled out and the next day we set off to Atlanta. We went to the aquarium and also to the Coca Cola museum and were drunk on coke. My favorite was the mango-kiwi one. Then we met one of our childhood friends had a relaxing evening before driving back home. Day three we did local stuff and shopping gifts for each other. Day 4 was the big day and drive so we decided to tone it down a bit.

Day-4 all of us were ready in our cars driving up the mountains to the Great Smoky Mountains at Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge area. Brother had booked an awesome cabin up in the mountains, no technology other than TV was there and tall pine tress all around us and warnings posted for Bear awareness everywhere. It was amazing. We learnt what absolute silence meant, the beauty of nature and we were also sure when we were done with it. We did some kiddie things there and then some adult thing of driving around into the woods. Sat down by the river and relaxed a bit while keeping a watch for Smoky the bear.

Day 6 we headed down the mountains towards to coast to North Carolina to meet Brother No.1 and his family. We ate a lot, played a lot of tennis, the kids now doubled and along with that their fights and fun too did. All of us stretched our legs and chilled. The four women also made time to go and get a manicure while the kids played with their dad's and uncles.

And as all good things come to an end Day 8, I was back on an airplane heading home. On our way to the airport in small town Fayetteville, NC, we saw tornado devastated villages all brought to ground by nature. It was quite surreal, so shocking that in one week I saw the beauty of nature as well as its power. And as I sat in the airport waiting, I once more teared up...

ART

PS: So you wonder why this post is called aunty? Well my mom has a very good friend in Chattanooga. I keep associating this friend to be my "mother's" friend and everytime I see her I never miss a chance to call her aunty by pure accident and then regret it the minute the word escapes my mouth. I feel so horrible about it each time but I am not able to stop myself. This lady is probably 5-6 years older than me. I am a horrible person! :(

Lets do some Maths

We were at Austin this past weekend celebrating the birthday of our friend's son. On our drive back home I had to keep a wide awake and active Babs busy. We sang songs together, we ate snacks, we spoke about random things, admired the highway sights and ranches, horses and cows, and we were done with all that in the first hour of the drive. We had two more to kill. So I decided that I will do mental sums with her.

I held out five fingers and told her that if mother gave her four mangoes and she ate two then how many would she have. I kept illustrating for her with my fingers to understand the question from my front seat. After playing a few combinations with her she vehemently insisted that she would ask a question. So she asks:

"If I gave you three bananas and papa two bananas, how many apples will I have?"

G and I were in splits. It woke us up from the stupor the highway driving puts you in. After more playing she once again claimed her right to a question and asked us:

"If I gave you four bananas, how many would you eat?"

Seriously, I told G that she was a pakka Konkani. All my Konkani friends always talk about food when they meet, even my Konkan family. And Babs was focusing on eating. Ah well! At least she was patient enough to sit through the three hours and keep us entertained till we reached home exhausted from partying the previous night.

Love
ART

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Superstition!

I used to love watching cricket growing up. My friends and I made it a point to promise Ganpathi a coconut and  writing God's name 108 times among other crazy stuff. But then the whole match-fixing event disillusioned me. I mean what was the point? Every one seemed to be involved in it. Even Azhar? It shook me out of whack because I used to like Azhar a lotttttttt. Things changed and interest waned but still the love for a good Indo-Pak game always remained unfazed. On the other hand I married a sports crazy dude. G loves watching any sort of competitive sport. "If two people are competing over throwing eggs at each other, we will watch it," my husband and his friend R declared it over India's World Cup victory lunch. And I did not doubt it.

So here we were, Cricket World Cup 2011, hosted in homeland, India played Pak and we won! Beautifully. That day many of my friends including hubby dearest declared that after this win a World Cup win will just be a bonus. I think they were all scared to jinx it. But un-thought of to all cricket lovers, a new set of superstitions began on the same day. G and his friend R, R's wife T and their dog Roger all started doing the exact same things. G, woke up at the same time, wore the same tee shirt, did not tell me bye (the last time he said bye to me India lost to South Africa) and left without a noise. They ate the same breakfast they picked up at the exact same time from McD's. While the men picked up breakfast T had to walk Roger. T sat in the same place with the same pose on the couch and poor Roger had to sit and watch the entire match. Apparently he was their lucky charm.

Then there was T who refused to keep up her hair appointment and A who did not want to cut her nails. A friend of mine stayed in a different room the whole time because that was her lucky place. Everyone made up their own lucky spots or lucky deeds to work their World Cup charm. And with more than one billion praying for the team with the team, from around the world, it is not a matter of wonder that India won the World Cup after 28 years! We had the goods and the luck to deliver it on time. We kicked Ass! and for the next four years...we are the Champions!

And you ask me what I did for my part? I only saw two second innings. The first one was India Vs England and we tied it. The second one was India vs South Africa and we lost it. I considered myself unlucky and stopped watching cricket. I followed it on cricinfo.com, ball by ball and jumped in joy in the middle of a museum when Dhoni finished it off. Babs and I had to be calmed down by security and we ran out to the garden shouting in the peak of our voices jumping and dancing. I am sure a bunch of people thought we were crazy! But that is the least we could do, I could not keep my voice down or my happiness muted. We left after that to join our friends at lunch! There was more and more cricket thought and I saw a jubilant G there. He was so happy and that made me even more happy.

I really want to know what other crazy customs were followed. Please follow up!

To INDIA,
To Cricket
To the World Cup Champions!

ART

PS: In other related news...Rafa lost to Djoker in Miami ATP1000. Real sad.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Holi Hai!

Seriously, I have never celebrated Holi, to this level ever before. The last time I remember doing anything close to Holi was when I warned friends that they cannot put color on my hair, or most of my face other than my forehead and clothes was a strict no-no. In spite of which some of them got some color on my cheek and I promptly played spoil sport. I mean, come on ya, I am a South Indian, what did you expect? Have you ever seen or celebrated anything south Indian with loud music or dance or color? Other than of course the weekly temple loudspeakers that aimed at making people living close to the temple deaf. We believe in doing a Pooja for everything and make every festival as stuffy and boring as possible. Look at our weddings for example and compare it to a Punjabi wedding...thanks, I rest my case.

As we drove to the temple yesterday I recollected to G about my Holi experiences. I had read it in my CBSE Hindi text book at school. I say CBSE because I am sure the State Board Hindi syllabus might have  have gladly omitted such acts of color throwing. I wondered how those hand pumps would look and what people did after all the colorful mess?

Then of course there was the instance of stupid idiots on a bike who threw color on my neatly pressed school uniform. I had no idea who these guys were and I had just finished my plus two boards, literally the last day at school for my entire life, before I started college. I was  walking back with my girl friends (two Northi's and two Southi's) and we were drenched in colors. I had plans for that afternoon, the evening and the night and here I was with oil color on my face and my uniform. "Hell, this is still Tamilnadu," my friends screamed at those guys. I abused them in the newly learned words intermittently spitting out color. I hated Holi because I could not get the colors off my skin and I looked so funny because in Chennai you stuck out like a sore thumb when you went out colorful on Holi because those days only a few people knew about it.

Later, I avoided Holi, the bad experience remained in my head. I was the fussy one who hid and did a drama if anyone came close to me with color. I always wondered how people wanted to get nasty and what a mess it would be at home. I was the Holi snob.

Last year, G convinced me to go to the temple with him to see what was happening. Babs was 2.5 years old and she was just recovering from a mild fever. It had been raining the whole day and when we got there we saw people having fun. There was music, dancing and colors in spite of the downpour. I took a recovering Babs and danced a bit and requested people not to color us because we did not want to get dirty, and shocking! Everyone obliged. So we got out of the temple with just Tikka's on our forehead. I loved it. Just the music and dancing made it worth it. So we decided that we will try and making it in 2011.

And we did. G and I wore an old white tee and jeans, Babs wore her cute but short-now white halter dress. We got there with the colors and met with another friend who had bought water guns with her for the kids. By the time we left the place, we were all unrecognizable. We danced, we sang, the kids played with each other and we had a blast. Babs loved it. She asked me if she could go and play Holi again the next day...Sorry love, you gotta wait another year. But before that we have tons of things to celebrate....like for instance your mother's birthday Tomorrow!!! :)

Happy (Belated) Holi...Finally I let myself go and did not stop anyone when the color came my way and I did not spare anyone either. There was a certain sense of camaraderie, no stranger doused me unless otherwise they did a visual non-verbal permission check. It was fun, if you are in Dallas next year, maybe you should also join us!

Love
ART

PS: Really sad to see Rafa loose to Djokovic in the Indian Wells finals. But then Djoker did play awesomely well and somehow Rafa was just ok...could have been better. Anyways...it is another year of seriously Vamosing for me! and Rafa please do something and get back on track...

Friday, March 04, 2011

The year so far!

Can you imagine that two months of 2011 has already rushed past us and I have nothing to report? At all? I mean seriously. This is the first year since Babs has started school full-time that I barely have time to spend with her. Weekends go with me planning how to keep her entertained. I got told off by her teacher during the last PTA that I was stressing the child out teaching her stuff at home. She insisted that I should do nothing but read books to her and play with her, teaching was for school and her job. Well I am a Desi mom, sue me! So anyway, I have tried to take the teachers advice, stopped Babs from memorizing world capitals, right now she knows all the 50 states plus a few countries and thats all. I have taught her to identify landmarks around the world (but please do not tell the teacher that), and yes, I constantly talk to her about stuff in the world, like planets, how Pluto is a bechara (demoted from being planet) and just stuff.

So ya, weekends have gotten difficult, I have to keep her mentally and physically active, so ya, end result? She sleeps on time so G and I get our TV time and eating in silence time without little hands digging into our plate. So now when I look back, I am like, what the hell? We are in March? Already? And I am going to get a year older already? What the hell?

Of course we had her grandparents and cousin stay with us for the first two weeks in Jan, then we did have the great snow week, and then ya we had the trip to Houston for her cousin's birthday. The memorable part? We both fell sick on the way back. Seems like an epidemic, about 7 or 8 of us at work were out and Babs had this awful cold just like the one I had and people who we visited in Houston? you ask? Of course my niece and nephew are sick as is their mother. So ya, we are all sick in different parts of the state. No wonder I have no clue when 2011 started and where we are now.

But anyway, things to look forward to?? Well my birthday comes just 11 days after the release of Ipad 2...husband, if you are reading this...*hint* *hint* *wink*

And btw, getting back to the cold again, my left nostril is flared, thanks to all the nose-blowing now people can spot me from miles away like they can spot Rudolph (the red nosed reindeer...duh!) ya. I hate colds, allergies and all of them with a passion.

Speaking of hate...well guess what else I would declare I hate? Insects, I do not wish to discriminate anything, so even if you are the cutest butterfly or the sweetest looking lady bug, screw you, I hate you and I will wail, scream and flail my arms around trying to keep you from my face. Are you wondering why I am talking about insects??? IT IS OFFICIALLY SPRING in Texas and from now through the next winter it is a bug fest here. Bugs I have never seen in India ever!

And since last year, I have started to enjoy outdoors a bit, like run a bit and stuff like that, these insects hinder my enjoyment a lot. I think I know that one of these days, a bug will run into me (I will never run into a bug!) and I will freak out, jump onto the road from the sidewalk, and then a car will crash into me (yes, I will never crash into a car ever either!). And that thought keeps my bug watchout even stronger.

So apart from the fun stuff that has already passed us by, the next few months show me the promise of a bug-filled, allergy-filled, months! How I wished that all of spring could be compressed into a week so that the rest of the year people can walk around before reminding themselves to take zyrtec or claritin?

I told you, I am sick, dayquil does make one write a rant post like this...not my fault, you can call dayquil and complain to them! I am high on it while I write it. When I tell you I am feeling better, if you ask me, it is because I had just taken the drug, if you ask me 8 hours later, I will give you the correct feeling I am experiencing...CRAP!

Ya ya, I am not the first one to get a cold! Thank you.

Gotta go! Weekend waiting ahead.

Love
ART

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Small Things

There are so many small things happening around me but among all that Babs is growing up. She is growing up very fast.

When we were snowed in a month ago, G got up every morning, took a shower, got dressed just as if he was going to work. It was not until he actually stepped out that he got an email or call asking him to work from home. On one of the days Babs woke up and saw her dad all ready to go to work and she said in a very serious voice with a serious face, "Papa, aap bahar jaake slip hoke ghir sakte ho, ya ghar pe baitke kham kar sakte ho, aapka choice hai. Mujhe kuch farak nahin padtha hai." G and I burst out laughing. Now that is exactly what we tell her when she is not listening to us.

****************************************
She loves to sing Old Mac Donald with her mom and pop included in it. So the rhyme goes...

"and on that farm he had a Babbi, eeyah....here a crying, there a crying...

and on that farm he had a papa. Eeyaah....here a laptop kham kham there a laptop kham kham...

and on that farm he had a amma, eeyah...here a barthan saaf there a barthan saaf..."

Ya, her father is always on the laptop and I am always cleaning the house...sometimes barthan saaf is replaced with jadoo maar or kapda fold.

*****************************************
Babs was playing with her uncle (who is all of 6 years old) at her cousin's birthday party when both of them decided that it would be fun to hide under a crib in the guest bedroom. I glare at Babs from afar. She walks up to me coy and all that jazz and asks me with a pleading face, "Amma can we hide under the crib?" I obviously think I am super smart and that too with so many other mothers around me decided that I will show the sleight of my mothering and said, "Babs, you can do whatever you want but just so you know I will be upset." Babs stares at me for a second and runs towards Ansh screaming her lungs out, "Amma said we can go under the bed."

I lost.

*****************************************
Many more things she does but I do not remember all of them though G and I laugh our hearts our like nobody's business. She is ready to advice me or G and she never lets me advice her without her interrupting me. The other day I was telling her, "Babs you should not bite your nails because nails have germs tucked between skin and nail..." She cut me off quickly and continued telling me, "And germs are bad because they hurt your stomach."

I stared at her sharply and told her, "Babs do not interrupt me when I am talking to you or advising you. Always wait for me to finish or if you desperately have to interrupt say 'excuse me' before you start."

She sat through listening to all that and me telling her about the nail story once again. When she assumed that I had finished she turned my face to face her and asked me, "Are you done? Can I speak now?" and continued with her advice about germs and how they can hurt.

I could not hold back laughter past that point.

Love you loads.

Amma

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day!

This is how I really feel about V-day. A very old post but still holds good even today. I think it is a media hype and people are forced to celebrate it. Restaurants spike up the prices and stores sell roses $20 a pop. Really?! Most of my friends who like to celebrate this great day, do so but not on the 14th of February. And what is worse? Nowadays kids are getting trained from the start to do this whole heartsy stuff.

So yes, my daughter's school had a V-day Party. And of course, as always parents have to pitch in to make these things work for the school. We were given the number of cards we had to make for her class. Obviously I did a head tilt and rolled my eyes while G said, "We are not doing all this nonsense. More waste of money." But then I am the mom and I cannot say the same thing and let her feel left out. So let me help her get in line with the peer pressure. Yay! Me!

I kept a budget of $20. I did not want to spend more than that for 17 kids altogether. To meet my budget, I made the greeting cards at home. I have loads of craft paper, glitter and glue at home. So I cut the papers to the size of a card that would fit into the left over envelopes after sending out the New Year Greeting cards. I drew hearts with glue and let Babs drop glitter on it. She enjoyed glittering while I whined about the mess. But it was a win-win because making 17 cards kept us busy during out epic-snow week.

Of course I had to use the left over enveloped which meant blue and brown. How do I make Blue and brown romantic? I added pink dots to it using glitter glue. Tee Hee Hee....

Then Babs and I did our trip to Tom Thumb. I calculated baking cupcakes against buying them. Buying worked out cheaper for 17 students and 11 teachers. So we picked up two trays of small cupcakes (did not want to load the kids on sugar) and one tray of large cupcakes for the teachers. $12 (Ka Ching!)

Finally, we stopped at a Dollar Store to pick up candies and treat sacks. Guess what I found there? The cutest heart shaped cases. I bought three bags of those ($3 total) and two bags of heart shaped chocolate ($2.50 total) and five bags of heart shaped candies ($3.50 total). After tax I had paid a little over $9. So with a total of $21 I was done.

We came home and I made babs help me put all the cards inside the envelope and seal them. Then we loaded the treat boxes with a chocolate and candies around it. Packed it and stuck it to the envelopes.


There, I made the daughter contribute. Stuck within the budget. Had the school happy and we were also happy! I think on a deeper level I enjoy doing these craft stuff more than Babs does because growing up our options were limited. I can still remember holding dearly to my precious camel water colors or the sketch pens that had only 12 basic colors. I had never heard of glitter glue or glitters. 

So a Happy V-day to everyone and hope you liked my idea :).

Love
ART

PS: You should definitely know that I did my Christmas gift shopping for 18 kids, 11 teachers and 12 adult friends for just above $50. I love budget shopping especially if I keep within in it. 

Monday, February 07, 2011

Winter Madness

  • It was cute to see you wake up every morning and ask me excitedly, "No school today also Amma?" For five days in a row and then jumping up with a "Yay!"
  • It was tiring to come up with something new to play with you for nine days in a row.
  • It was sad to see your eyes watering non-stop...stupid cold!
  • The excitement in your voice after seeing a snow covered balcony was priceless.
  • Telling your friends that you cannot come to their house because of the bad weather was fun.
  • Sleep over at two of our favorite friends two nights in a row...the best time pass!
  • Playing 'kitchen' game and 'Restaurant' game again and again and hearing you say, "Ayla vaapas ye jal gaya," was hilarious.
  • Taking afternoon naps with you snuggling tightly next to me to beat the cold was so comforting.
  • Long talks on nothing was great.
  • We also managed to take a mile long walk to the dog park and back on Sunday evening before things got bad...it was so peaceful.
  • Baking cake, brownie with you was a fun experience.
  • Making you dance for "Andangkaka" from Anniyan was awesome! Better still you mouthing the lyrics and trying to master it.
  • Seeing you sing "Ek Suraj Naya," with your favorite uncle was the best feeling.
  • No water in kitchen - sucked...the only bad experience.
I whined and moaned while I was stuck with you and your Papa for four days in a row inside the house. Today after getting back into the grind, I cannot tell you how much I miss you and those fun moments we had together. I wish we could do it all over again and yes, I will not change a single thing, but for maybe both of us being sick...I Loveeeeeee you Babbiiiiiiiii. You have made me love my life even more!

Love
Your Amma!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Its the Harvest Time Once Again!

Pongal....

I had written this post four years ago. I was trying to dig it out from archives and felt that I had written this only last year. But I had to go way back to actually find it. Time sure flew between then and now! I guess having a baby makes a whole lot of difference.

So anyways, this morning as I was getting Babbi ready for her school, in other words, me fighting with her to make her finish her breakfast, I told her the story of what her Amma would have done had she been in India. She nodded her head and I really do not think the story registered but eventually it will. Starting next year I am going to light up a fire in my fire place and burn a few useless things to let her get the significance of that part of me and where we come from.

How I miss my Tamilnadu and my growing up days...sigh!

Happy Pongal, Lodhi, Sankaranthi!!

Love
ART

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Who really Hates it?

The 'it' I am referring to here is Shopping! *Dirty Minds*

So yesterday I had the day off at work while the daughter had to go to school. The first ever in my life where I had the chance to spend a whole day with myself. As I stepped into Galleria I felt super guilty. I heard kid noises and my heart missed a beat as I walked past the play area. I had to keep reminding myself that once every three years I should get a day off for myself. And that I was doing nothing wrong. Absolutely nothing. No no, this is not a mommy-guilt post but a post about why I dislike to shop.

The reasons are two fold:

1) Funding
2) Fit

As I walked past the mall I realized that either I liked something that looked good on the mannequin but ghastly on me. Or something fit me beautifully but I dare not look at the tag Or the tag was fine but the fit was ugly.

Hell ya! I hate shopping. The rare chances when I actually walk out of mall carrying more than two bags filled with goodies happens once in a year and even during those chances I land up returning at least a couple of things after trying them out at home. And if I do walk out of the mall carrying three heavy bags, like yesterday, two of them are for my daughter and family. How sad is that? No wonder I hate it.

Were I to possess unlimited funding and the perfect figure for the season then of course I would be a shopaholic too and enjoy it. Or had I at least had the figure that always finds the clothes in the clearance section and carry it off at $2 a piece then hell ya, I would like shopping...But alas, mine is the story of sour grapes! I get super mad that there are so many deals in the world and yet not one of them for me...and ergo hate shopping...I actually get a headache if I spend more than 20 minutes in a mall without finding something for me. So nowadays I walk myself to the kiddie play area with Babs or go shopping for her...

To all of you who love shopping and actually walk out with stuff from the store...Kudos to you while I burn in jesty jealousy.

Next time I go shopping I probably to should G's credit card!

Love
ART


Img copyright (of all the world's tourism websites, I had to find the image I wanted in the one for Majorca...God is telling me something!!) : ibiza-majorca.perfecttravelblog.com