Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Book Predators

We've all met them. The Book Predators who borrow your books and never return them. I was introduced to them fairly early in life, probably because the collective love for books that ran in my family had ensured that I had a massive collection of wonderful books from a very young age. At first I had no problem lending my books to people I knew. I'd derived several hours of pure joy thanks to a particularly wonderful book that I had chanced upon at a friend or relative's house and that they had been kind enough to lend me, and I knew only too well the thrill one gets when one feels that instant connect with a book, the blissful feeling of losing oneself between its covers, savoring the moment when one can get back to it after a break and basking in that warm feeling after a delightful read, reliving the high points and knowing that you could reach out to savour them all over again.

'Anne of Green Gables' was one such find, I'd come across it at a family friend's house where we'd been invited for dinner and had spent the evening devouring it, much to the chagrin of the other kids who were one player short for a detective game they wanted to play. 'What Katy Did Next' was another. 'A Suitable Boy' was read over the course of a weekend at my aunt's, hidden under the duvet by my cousin's bed so the adults couldn't find me and send me packing to the club for swimming lessons with my cousins.

And so I lent my books as well, to friends who asked, hoping that this would be the start of a wonderful relationship between them and my beloved book. And that's when I encountered the Book Predators. Those heartless souls who steal your books without a second thought, with no intention of ever returning them. I had no idea how to deal with them then and the years haven't made me any wiser. If at all, it was easier when I was a child, I could just impose the 'House Rules' on them, namely, direct them to my parents for permission before borrowing a book or simply state that I was not allowed to lend books. This backfired quite often, especially if the parent in question was my mother who tended to have a rather liberal, 'ah, these things happen' outlook when a book went missing, and who in general felt that I read way too much anyway and would be better off being out of doors instead. Still, there were times when I was able to save my books thanks to the 'House Rules'. However the problem with house rules is that they tend to become redundant after a point. That point is typically reached when you find you now have a house of your own, and worse still you are now the parent and the figure of authority, so you can't exactly tell that beady eyed female spectre eyeing your beloved Wodehouse that you have to check with Daddy first.

I have no problem lending my books to someone who I know shares my love and respect for books and who I know will return a borrowed book in good condition eventually. But what does one do with a predator? The new acquaintance who borrows a book and promptly forgets all about it. The relative who forgets that it was your book they'd borrowed and lends it to someone else and then loses track of it. The sister in law's friend who moves to a new country taking three of your precious books along and proceeds to completely lose touch with both you and the sister in law.

What does one do? Taking a cue from a friend, who's lost several books of her own, I began to write 'STOLEN FROM MANASI' in large, bold letters on the front page of all my books in an attempt to dissuade potential book predators. It didn't work. A friend's wife borrowed one such book three years ago and it vanished into near oblivion. This was one of my favourite books and it had been gifted by a dear friend, so it had that much more sentimental value attached to it. I tried asking for it politely after a longish time period had passed, definitely enough for the friend's wife to have read it three times over.
"I haven't even read it yet!" she laughed breezily.
"In that case, why the hell did you borrow it in the first place?" I asked. In my head of course, as I smiled politely and told her to take her time.
I asked again after some more time had elapsed. And again, the reminders getting less polite each time. I never got the book back. They moved to another city some time later and we lost touch. A few days ago I happened to be in the same city they were in and my friend invited us over for dinner. And there was my beloved book, bang in the center of the arty looking bookshelf, ensconced between a film magazine and a trade journal, gazing at me beseechingly. What happened next was bizarre. I politely asked the friend's wife if it was the same book she'd borrowed from me. She flatly denied it and said it was her own. What's more she had no recollection of ever having borrowed such a book from me. I asked if I could look at the book and opened it to the first page where my own handwriting and the words 'STOLEN FROM MANASI' awaited me. The friend's wife found this hilarious. She'd forgotten that she'd ever borrowed this book, forgotten that she'd ever had it all these years. The worst part? She hadn't even read it.

P doesn't get my frustration with the Book Predators. His attitude is, you can't really refuse point blank if someone asks to borrow a book. So you lend it and hope for the best. If you don't get it back, you can always buy it again. I disagree. It's not just about buying the book again. It's all the memories and the special moments associated with that one particular book. The book that accompanied you on your first train journey alone. The book that you bought to celebrate getting into b-school and that spent that first year with you in your hostel room. The book that you discovered, and later fell in love with, on a crowded, dusty shelf in the airport bookstore of a seaside town as you waited for a long delayed flight, while the rain Gods unleashed their torrential fury outside. A newly purchased book clinically bought as a replacement can never bring those memories back.

Its not like I don't fight for my books. There are some people to whom you can lend your books without a second thought. Then there are the others, who fall into the grey category; some of these people could be predators. I've been rude and refused to lend my books point blank. I've laid down conditions and told them the reason why. I've had to follow up and remind people to return my books. Sometimes it works and other times it doesn't. But it's always painful. People get offended and relationships get strained. And books still go missing. And until I find that elusive perfect solution I guess I must suffer. What about you? How do you guard your books against the Book Predators?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Summer Holiday

School's out! Well actually it was out almost a month ago, but the point is I'm writing about it now and not after the next school year has begun. Which, if you consider my track record, was not entirely an impossibility. The thing is, what with all the recent bai woes and the daily school run, life had become pretty darn hectic. Nikki's mother toddler group which we started when she was about fifteen months old had progressed from an hour, thrice a week, to one and a half hours, all five days a week and the timing had also shifted from a leisurely 11.30am to 10.00am, which is a whole lot more demanding when you live a good half hour away and have a toddler who likes to ponder on the various intricacies life throws up while chomping away at the morning meal for a couple of hours each day.

Most mornings thus saw me scrabbling though the two hours I had at hand after Nikki woke up to get self and child ready for school at breakneck speed, get aforementioned breakfast down Nikki's gullet at a pace that would put the most steadfast snail to shame, and cram some toast down my own throat before whizzing off to school. Needless to mention, Nikki would choose exactly half past nine, designated we-need-to-leave-NOW time, to bless her diaper, necessitating operation clean up and ensuring that we reached school just in the nick of time. Since the program we'd signed up for was a mother-toddler one, the one and a half hours we spent there everyday demanded equal participation from both me and Nikki and much vigorous moving-to-the-music and building sandcastles later we'd go back home to bath, lunch and nap time for Nikki and about two hours of downtime for Mommy. Except that the two hours downtime tended to bear an uncanny similarity to weekends; Sunday evening strikes before you've properly begun to savour the beginning of Friday night, and before I could park myself on the couch to vegetate or open that latest book, Nikki would be up, bright and chirpy and raring to go to the park. Some days there would be play dates or birthday parties to go to, and all in all, my post baby life was beginning to get almost as demanding as my pre-baby corporate one. Except, of course, that this time round I have a boss who is wayyyy more demanding!

I was quite looking forward to the onset of the summer holidays therefore; glorious, lazy days filled with endless hours of doing nothing and I was quite unprepared for the summer camp frenzy that routinely strikes most mums this time of the year. I got my first taste of it on the last day at school where a bunch of mums were earnestly exchanging notes about different summer camps and poring over brochures of the same. They were aghast when I told them I wasn't planning to enroll Nikki in one, with reactions ranging from 'you're compromising on developing a strong educational base for your daughter' to the more pragmatic 'you'll go nuts with her in the house all day', but I resisted the impulse to go check out the summer camps in the neighborhood. Not that I have anything against summer camps, I don't know enough about what goes on in them to really have a strong opinion for or against them, but I'm home this summer with Nikki and I don't see her losing out on anything by just enjoying the holidays at home, the way I used to when I was a kid. Besides she's just two years old and there's enough time for summer camps later, even though the average age for summer camp where I lives seems be to thirteen months, so going by that her educational base seems to be compromised quite a bit already!

We've had fun so far too, Nikki and I. Apart from a few weekend trips we haven't really gone anywhere so most days are spent in and around home. We spend the mornings either in the 'big' swimming pool or in Nikki's smaller baby pool at home, with her toy ducks, fishes and her paddling dog Pogo for company. If Nikki's not in the mood to be a water baby, we bring out the paints and shaving foam and play dough and muck around in the balcony creating various works of art. The only person who doesn't seem too happy about us honing our artistic skills is the maid who gets to clean the balcony when she comes around every afternoon. No surprise then, that she's recently announced a ten day trip for some 'sudden' wedding in the family. No problem, coz cleaning-up is Nikki's new found passion! Give her a sponge and a bucket and she can keep herself occupied for hours. We'd gone out for lunch recently to a bistro which had a little fountain in the seating area and it took all my persuasive efforts to keep Nikki from ripping off her tee and mopping the tables with the fountain water!
Evenings usually see us headed out to a nearby park or the zoo or a play date with some of Nikki's school friends and before you know it another glorious summer day is over and another one has begun.

All too soon summer will end and it'll be time for Nikki to go to school on her own, as she 'graduates' from the mother toddler program to playgroup. Time for me to let go a little. And so, this summer I just want to enjoy every little bit with my baby while she's still a baby. Enjoy the feeling of waking up in the morning with nowhere to go and nothing to do, soak in the early morning sun in the balcony while Nikki makes me a cup of tea in her kitchen set, go for an impromptu picnic to the neighborhood park when the mood strikes with banana chips and nutella sandwiches, luxuriate in long afternoon naps and spend hours in the mellow evening sun studying the interesting shapes clouds make. Here's to summer holidays then! How're you spending yours?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A 'once upon a time...' with a very happy ending!

Once upon a time, long long ago, in a far away land there lived a Young Girl who loved to read. Well, maybe it was 2003 and the land was Gurgaon, but the point is this girl really, really loved books. She also loved to write and in a distant past had written reams and reams of prose and poetry, but that love for writing had sort of got overtaken with a million other seemingly important things-to-be-done that had crowded up her life. Things like building-a-career and getting-ahead-in-life and climbing-the-corporate-ladder.

Once in a while the Young Girl did stop however to smell the roses. Or rather, in her case, since roses weren't that abundant in Gurgaon at the time, she stopped to read some books. Lots of books. For long hours into the night and whenever she could catch a quick break during a busy work day. In lunch hours and on the road and sometimes, when the book was particularly unputdownable, even in the office loo (just don't mention this to anyone okay? thanks). And on weekends. Oh those glorious, languorous weekends filled with hours and hours of reading.

At the end of one such particularly happy weekend, the Young Girl, feeling quite inspired by some of the tomes she'd read, said impulsively to her husband: "Someday, I want to write a book."
She half expected him to laugh off her statement but to her surprise he turned around and said, "Yes, you should. You write well. Why don't you do it?"
"I will...someday", the Young Girl laughed and went on with the rest of her life. But somewhere in her head the thought had firmly planted itself. Someday she would write a book. She had a very good idea of the sort of book it would be. It would be a funny book, but it would also be very romantic and it would capture several nuances of the corporate life the Young Girl lived and breathed every day. The Young Girl began to look at life with a different perspective. Every experience became a vignette that she could capture in The Book. A batty boss screaming because the font size in the sixteenth presentation of the day was light green and not deep purple stopped becoming a source of frustration and became an inspiration instead.
"I will write about this batty boss in The Book" she'd tell herself as she modified the font colour.

The Young Girl had a close friend at work and she confided her plans to write to her too. The close friend was most encouraging.
"You must write!" she urged "Sometimes when you speak, you're so animated, it's like watching a real-life version of Tom & Jerry! What fun if you can put some of those thoughts down in a book!" The Young Girl was most encouraged and her dream of The Book became stronger and stronger.

A few years later the Not-So-Young Girl had moved to a different city and a different job. A lot of things in her life had changed but some things remained the same. She was still busy with building-a-career and getting-ahead-in-life and climbing-the-corporate-ladder. She still had a Dream for The Book, and often, this dream helped her cope with some of the less than rosy realities life often threw her way. Then the Not-So-Young Girl went through a big life changing experience. She had a baby. Her life, or what remained of of it that hadn't turned topsy-turvy as lives often do when you bung a baby into the picture, began to revolve around the baby. She took a break from building-a-career and getting-ahead-in-life and climbing-the-corporate-ladder to focus on the baby. And that's when her husband reminded her about her Dream for The Book.
"Why don't you write the book now that you're on a break?" he asked "You may never get the chance again."

The Not-So-Young-Girl knew he was right. Now was the best time to begin. And so the Dream began to become a reality. She started writing her book. She wrote when the baby was asleep, in the afternoons, for long hours into the night, on weekends and holidays when her husband took care of the baby. And she realized that she was happier doing that than she had been for a long time. Suddenly, building-a-career and getting-ahead-in-life and climbing-the-corporate-ladder didn't seem so important any more.

She had her days of course. Days of self- doubt, severe crises-of-confidence, of feeling like a lost ship with the lighthouse nowhere on the horizon.
She would often wake up her husband with cries of "I don't know what I'm doing! What if I'm not a writer! What if nobody likes what I write! What if I don't even know how to write? What am I doing?!"
"Just write your book" her husband would tell her. "You're doing great. But I'm going to have to move to the guest room to catch up on sleep if you're going to make these 4am conversations a regular feature."

One day, at long last, The Book was finished! The NSYG (I'm getting carpal tunnel syndrome with all this typing, and I guess you're not exactly thrilled with reading that over and over are you?)was ecstatic!
"I've done it! I've written The Book!" she exulted.
"Fantastic!" said her husband, who'd read every single word himself and suffered inordinately through all her "I've written five more words! Read, read, read! What d'you think? Huh, huh, huh?"
"And now to get it published!" he said with a smile.
"Published" squeaked the NSYG "The Book you mean? I have to get it published?"
"Unless, of course, you want to get it pickled or bottled?" asked her husband wryly.

And so the NSYG, resisting the strong urge to curl up under a corner of her duvet, began the long drawn out task of getting The Book published. She approached a publisher she had dreamed of being published with, in some of her many wild day dreams, and sent them a synopsis of The Book. And waited. And badgered the husband with more whiny 4am pleas "D'you think they'll get back? D'you think they might be even remotely interested? Huh? Huh? HUH?"
"Relax, lets wait and see how it goes" her husband always replied calmly, even as he eyed the guest room earnestly.
A couple of weeks later the publishers replied. They liked what they saw, and could the NSYG please send the complete manuscript as soon as possible?
The NSYG promptly turned into an absolute nervous wreck and spent two feverish all nighters reading and re-reading and refining The Book. Finally, with her eyes feeling like buttons and fingers like jelly she sent out her manuscript.
And waited again. And waited some more. And had nightmares about the chief editor hating her manuscript at the end of which she'd wake up her husband on the verge of a near nervous breakdown. And had dreams about the chief editor liking the manuscript at the end of which she'd wake up her husband in a happy haze.
"Do you think she'll like it? What if she hates it? What will I do? My life will be over. Waahhh!!!"
"Hey you know what, she liked my book! She LIKED it! Oh crap, it was a dream! Oh crap! Waahhhh!"
And on and on. Her husband held her hand, and wiped her tears and assured her all would be well. He also moved into the guest room.
One day she got a call from the chief editor. She liked the book, would the NSYG like to sign a contract with them?

At this point the NSYG went into a happiness-cum-hysteria induced near-coma and the husband had to be roped in to take things further.
The NSYG could only think of one thing. The dream had come true. The Book was going to be published. Her 'once upon a time' had a happy ending. And she was the happiest girl in the world!

P.S. Er, P, do you think you might want to move back into our room from the guest room anytime soon?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The never ending story...

The mellow rays of the early morning sun gently caress her face as they filter in through thin cracks in the drapes, waking her up. For a moment she lingers in that sometimes merciful state of amnesia that comes with being only half and only just awake. Not for long. All too soon she is wide awake and remembrance strikes with a painful jolt. She is alone. All over again. All too soon.

Forcing herself to get out of bed she wanders out and surveys the ruins around her. They seem to be mocking her almost, painful reminders of an all too fragile relationship that has finally snapped. She sighs as sudden waves of weariness wash over her. It is more a feeling of being overwhelmed that she has to deal with, rather than physical exhaustion. She asks herself the question she has been asking over and over again, or so at least it seems, "Is it me? Has it always been me?"

There is no answer. There never was. This wasn't the first time it had happened. It has been so many years now and she has seen it all so many times before. The early days bringing with them hope, a promise of better times to come. Short lived bliss. Then the ambiguous middle phase; sometimes good, sometimes full of confusion, sometimes rocky and painful. She always told herself this was the worst phase of them all, that if you could get through this, you could face anything that was to come. But yet, each time when the decay began to set in it never failed to upset her, to throw her off balance. She would cope of course, she had no choice, but each downward spiraling struggle seemed to make her a little more jaded, a little more weary. And when it would finally end, like it unfailingly did each time, she would invariably find herself just a little bit bereft.

Like she had this last time round. This last time round had not been like the others, she had got into it with her eyes open. Or so she thought. Still when it ended she had felt that same feeling she always did; of having lost her moorings, of having been cheated, used, by someone who could never hope to understand her. She hated feeling like this and yet she knew these feelings all to well, they came with an easy familiarity forged over time. It was the same cycle each time round; anger, hurt, confusion and finally the irrevocable realization that try as she might, she could not go the distance alone. She would have to put herself out there, one more time. And maybe, just maybe she could force herself, yet again, to be brave. To hope. Surely, somewhere out there, there would be the right maid for her...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

We were there! Along with Nikki and her loaded diaper...

I HAD to blog about this before it is too late. With my dismal record of updating this blog of late it wouldn't have been surprising if I finally managed to write about this by when it is time again for the next world cup to roll around. So yes, we were at the world cup finals! In Wankhede! With Nikki!! If anyone had told me last year this time that a year from now I would have attended the Bryan Adams concert and the world cup finals I would've laughed hysterically. From not seeing the inside of a restaurant or a multiplex for over a year, to going for concerts and cricket matches I sure have come a long way. Or maybe I've just been propelled down the path by an intrepid P but it's the result that counts!

So anyway, back to the world cup. It was the most awesome, amazing, mind blowing experience and coming from a cricket non enthusiast like me that's saying a lot! I used to be a cricket fan many years ago, more because I had a massive crush on Hansie Cronje, the then South Africa captain, than for any real love for the game and I used to watch all the SA matches so I could drool over him. Since then I have caught the occasional match, even going for one of the first IPL matches thanks to the cricket crazy P, but I've never avidly followed the sport. So when it came to the world cup this time round, I had never really planned on even following the matches on TV let alone going for a match! I did watch the India Pakistan semi final because, you know, it was the India Pakistan semi final and I was planning on catching the final in Bombay with friends, since we had already planned a trip to Bombay over that weekend to catch up with an old friend who was in town. Now this friend in question had planned a trip all the way from Hong Kong for the sole purpose of watching the match in Wankhede and he'd been set for this a whole two months in advance.
"What a cricket crazy guy!" I scoffed to P the night before the finals "Imagine coming all the way just to watch a match! So what if it's the world cup and India is in the finals? Who wants to sit through a full match out in the open when you can catch it in the comfort of your own home?"
"Er there is a slight possibility that I may get two tickets as well" said P meekly "I didn't mention it earlier because I wasn't sure if I would, but there seems to be a good chance of it happening. Would you want to go?"
"Tickets for the match? THE match? Live? In Wankhede?" I screeched, my eyes the size of cricket balls "Do I want to GO? Yes! YES! YESSSSSSSSS!!!"
The next door neighbor, enjoying a leisurely gin and tonic in his balcony nearly choked on a slice of lemon as my screeching ricocheted off the walls and all around the colony and I beat a hasty retreat indoors to plan the logistics of the trip with P. The match was slated to begin at 2pm and could go on till as late as 11pm or thereabouts. We had no babysitting options in Bombay which meant that we could either take Nikki along for the match or just one of us could go for it.
"You go" I said to P, sighing heavily, as the inner Mother India in me rose up to the fore in full melodramatic form. "I can hang out at friend X's house with Nikki while you watch the match live in Wankhede."
"We'll all go." said P switching on the TV.
"And maybe you can spare a thought for me sitting at home, with the baby, while What did you say?" I goggled at P.
"We'll all go" P repeated patiently, flicking channels.
"What?" I screeched again, Mother India having given way to the Kiron Kher-esque mommy from Dostaana "We'll all go? With Nikki? Are you nuts?"
"It'll be fun. And I'm sure she'll enjoy herself. And if she gets tired we can leave" said P, calm as ever.
I spent the rest of the evening dithering and worrying and finally decided he was right. Saturday morning saw us headed to Bombay, me brimming over with an equal measure of worry and anticipation. By the time we began nearing the stadium I was tremendously excited and was seriously considering buying one of the multicolored clown wigs and getting the tricolor painted on my face like the hundreds of people thronging to the stadium around us. Only the paucity of time and the possibility that Nikki might fail to recognize her mother stopped me. We alighted at the stadium and I bounded up to the ladies entrance with Nikki, a happy smile on my face.
"Where do you think you're going?" said the singularly unpleasant policewoman manning the entrance.
"To watch the match of course!" I told her indignantly.
"And where do you think you are taking that suitcase? Do you really think you will be allowed to enter the stadium with that monstrosity?" She pointed a mean finger at Nikki's cute little diaper bag, which has replaced all my favorite handbags since the day she was born, and which I now carry with me everywhere.
"But..but..but I have a baby with me" I sputtered "This bag has all her basic stuff that I'll need. I can't possibly get through the next couple of hours without it!"
"No bags allowed" said the policewoman without batting an eyelid. "No exceptions. Who told you to get your baby? You should have left her at home."
A cheer rose from the stadium as the opening ceremony kicked off and I fought the urge to just jump over the turnstiles with Nikki and make a run for it.
"But I've come all the way from Pune for the match!" I yelled "And this is just some basic baby stuff! I have to take it in with me!"
"What's going on here?" said another voice as a slightly groggy looking senior policeman walked up. He had just finished a long argument with a lady who had been trying to persuade him to let her carry her 'lucky charm' perfume into the stadium with her and seemed a bit disoriented.
I explained the situation to him as best as I could given that my mind was already in the stadium doing the mexican wave with the thousands of crazy, cheering fans whose voices were reverberating in my ears, and appealed to his better judgment to let me in.
"Let me have a look at this bag" he sighed heavily in a resigned sort of way. "What's this?" he asked, pulling out a diaper.
"It's a diaper" I explained, by now desperate to get in, as the cheering touched a new crescendo "For when my daughter does potty. That is, if she does potty, I will need to change her into a fresh diaper. And these are the wipes for wiping the potty, and this is the hand sanitizer for me to clean my hands after I've cleaned the potty." I took a deep breath and looked hopefully at the policeman who seemed to have turned a faint shade of green.
"Fine" he said in a strangled sort of voice. "Take it all. Please go."
"Oh thank you so much!" I beamed at him "Oh just one last thing" I added as I noticed Nikki's bright yellow muslin square peeking out of the bag "I forgot to show you this..this is the towel with which I'll wipe my daughter's bum after she's finished doing her pott...."
"Just GO!" barked the officer suddenly sprinting off in the opposite direction at top speed.
"What a strange man" I said to myself as I finally walked through the entrance with Nikki, where P was waiting for us.
"Let's go!" I said enthusiastically to P, but he was looking at Nikki with a strange look, slightly wrinkling his nose.
"Er..has Nikki blessed her diaper in the recent past?" he asked wrinkling his nose again.
"What?" I screeched as I bent down to check. "Yes she has! What are we going to do now? I TOLD you this was a bad idea!"
"We'll find a place to change the diaper, and then we'll change it and watch the match" said the indefatigable P.
Easier said than done though. One look at the restrooms in the stadium was enough to dissuade us from even contemplating Operation Clean Up there. After taking several rounds of the stand, and walking up and down the four levels with an increasingly stinky diaper we finally found an isolated counter on the last level which looked like it would serve the purpose. After taking permission from the lone security guard in the vicinity we got down to (dirty) business. Within three and a half seconds a vague looking chappie popped up out of the blue.
"Are you serving water?" he asked hopefully.
"We're not serving anything except a stink" I snapped back, rather unnecessarily, but I was itching to finally go and watch the match!
He'd been gone for precisely thirty seconds when another guy appeared.
"Water counter? Gimme five bottles and one Pepsi" he barked. I didn't bother replying. The delightful aromas from the open diaper swiftly assailed him and he passed out in a dead faint. Nikki, meanwhile, decided that she'd had enough of this nonsensical behavior and started bawling lustily. The security fellow started shooting us wary looks.
"I TOLD you this was a bad idea" I barked again at P who was busy changing the diaper while I did the all important task of supervising the general proceedings. Seven minutes and fifteen water counter requests later we were done. I felt a surge of excitement as we walked past the pile of bodies around the counter (OK, FINE, I exaggerate, but seriously, you should have seen their faces!)and finally headed to watch the match.

Nikki cheered up considerably on seeing the general festive atmosphere all around and joined the rest of the spectators in cheers of 'Indeeeyaah! India!' We settled into our seats with the boxes of scrummy food and drinks provided by the organizers and proceeded to have one of the best evenings of our lives. There were a fun bunch of people sitting around us along with a couple of kids and Nikki had a blast with all the cheering and the whooping all around us. She thoroughly enjoyed all the music (and there was a LOT of it, even during overs!)and could be seen shaking her booty with all her might.
"There's Kohli and Yudi" P said in an awed voice as the afore-mentioned cricketers took fielding positions close to where we sat.
"Yawn. Whatever. I'm not one of those cricket crazy fans who go berserk at the sight of a cricketer." I said in a lofty voice.
"Then I guess you wouldn't be interested in getting a glimpse of Sachin" sad P looking over my shoulder.
"Sachin?" I squeaked in a small voice.
"Yeah. He's so close if you reach through the grill you may be able to touch him...." I didn't catch the rest of his words because I was too busy climbing over the people ahead to get to the front so I could get a picture of Sachin. I was feeling a little sheepish when I headed back, unable to understand the strange adrenalin charged cricket lover that the match seemed to have unleashed in me but the husband remained impressively straight faced and continued to be so even when I made a spectacle of myself by whooping loudly during the multiple mexican waves, jumping up and down in my seat, and at one point even standing on my seat,and generally behaving like a complete dork.

The weather was playing along with the upbeat atmosphere, it was a pleasant, breezy, beautiful evening and there was a palpable buzz in the air. I never thought one of the nicest evenings I'd have with Nikki would be in a cricket stadium with thousands of screaming fans, but there we were, the three of us, having an absolute blast. Nikki certainly had the time of her life and was quite disappointed when the whole thing was over. The sight of ecstatic fans spilling over the pavements to dance on the roads, processions on bikes holding aloft replicas of the Cup and the general party atmosphere seemed to cheer her up on the drive back, even though she was a tad disappointed when we went back home instead of heading straight for another cricket match!
And now, several days later, even though memories of that wonderful evening are fast fading, on many a mellow summer afternoon a tiny little voice pipes up 'Indeeyaahh! Indiyaaa!' and it never fails to bring back a smile to my face :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A day with my little chatterbox

Scene One:
Early morning in the Nikki-Mommy Woman-Papa Man household. The Mommy Woman is fast asleep having been woken up several times by young Nikki with her demands for 'Water! Want water! Waaaant!' Nikki on the other hand is up at the crack of dawn and only too eager that the Mommy Woman rouse herself and share in the pleasures of a delightful new day.

Nikki: Goo Mornin Mamma! Goo Mornin!
The Mommy Woman: Gah
Nikki: Wake up sleepy-head! Time to wake up! Ding Ding Ding Ding! Mornin bells are ringing Mamma!
The Mommy Woman: Go to sleep...zzzzzzzzz
Nikki: Thwack thwack thwack
The Mommy Woman: Ow ow ow! Okay okay, you win!

Scene Two:

Nikki and the Mommy Woman are at the mother toddler group where a music and movement session is in progress. All the babies and mamas are dancing enthusiastically to Wiggly Woo. All except Nikki. The teacher looks expectantly at Nikki and the Mommy Woman.

Teacher: Nikki's Mama, maybe you should dance with Nikki and get her to dance too!
The Mommy Woman: Er..sure. *Shakes her booty obligingly* Wiggly Woo! Wiggly Woo! That's how we do the Wiggly Woo!
Nikki, with a disdainful look: Nikki not dance. Nikki bad mood!
Teacher: Try again!
The Mommy Woman, shaking like a jelly: Wiggly Woo! Jiggle Jiggle Jiggle! Nikki, please dance sweetheart!
Nikki, lying down on the floor and stretching arms above head: Nikki reyaxing!

Scene Three:

Time for the afternoon nap. A well fed and bathed Nikki is all ready for nap time. Or so the Mommy Woman thinks.

The Mommy Woman: Nap time Nikki!
Nikki: Nikki not sleep! Nikki go outside!
The Mommy Woman: No Nikki its nap time. Mommy and Nikki will both sleep, okay? *Lies down and pretends to sleep*
Nikki: Nikki singing! Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall, Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall....
The Mommy Woman:Honey, its time to sleep.
Nikki: Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream....this and that thing...merrily merrily merrily merrily... la la la la la!
The Mommy Woman: Nikki....time to sleep....
Nikki...Are you sleeeeeepy? Are you sleeeeepy? No No No!
The Mommy Woman, sternly: Nikki! Its time to sleep!
Nikki: Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
The Mommy Woman: Oh dear....

Scene Four:
The Mommy Woman and Nikki arrive at the park. The Mommy Woman is exhausted after singing 'The Wheels on the Bus' approximately 4684 times in the auto on the way to the park. Nikki on the other hand is all sprightly. Another mother with a young baby that's bawling lustily passes by.

Nikki: Shee Mamma, smaw baby crying waa waa waaa!
The Mommy Woman: You're a small baby too Nikki!
Nikki: Nikki not smaw baby, Nikki big gurl. Shee Nikki do walky walky, not sit in pwam like smaw baby.
The Mommy Woman...Errr well okay, you're a big baby then. But you're still a baby.
Nikki, getting a nasty glint in the eye: Mama...wheels of the pwam?
The Mommy Woman: Er Nikki look at that lovely fountain! Wowie! Splish Splash!
Nikki: Mamma! Sing!
The Mommy Woman: Ok Nikki you're a BIG GIRL! Ok? Not a baby anymore! Hahaha!
Nikki, menacingly: Wheels of the pwam go round and round! Sing Mamma! SING!
The Mommy Woman passes out.

Scene Five:
Its bedtime. The Mommy Woman is exhausted after reading 'Shilly Shally' Nikki's favorite book of the moment over and over again at dinner, and is looking forward to a relaxed evening after Nikki has gone to bed.

The Mommy Woman: Bedtime Nikki!
Nikki: Okay Mamma. *Lies down obligingly on the bed and shuts her eyes*
Nikki: Sheep Mamma. Reyax.
The Mommy Woman: Er..okay. *Lies down beside Nikki and pretends to sleep*
Nikki: Mamma, big boogah in Nikki's nose! *Fishes out imaginary booger*
The Mommy Woman: Throw it away Nikki.
Nikki pretends to throw away the big booger.
Nikki: Mamma, want hug!
The Mommy Woman hugs and kisses Nikki.
Nikki: Mamma, I love you!
The Mommy Woman: I love you too!
Nikki: I love you one!

After throwing out fifty five imaginary boogers and giving seventy one hugs, Nikki finally falls asleep. Unfortunately for the Mommy Woman and her plans of a relaxed evening with a book or a movie , she's fallen asleep herself!

Around 2 am.
Nikki: Hiii Mamma!
The Mommy Woman: Gnmphtr
Nikki: Mamma water. Want water. Waaaaaaant!
The Mommy Woman: Aaaaargh!

And so it begins again :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Play it again, Mom

Again and again and AGAIN. All day long.

This was just supposed to be ONE of the gazillion things that went into Nikki's potty training*. Pauses to wipe away tears of hysteria. And no, it isn't laughter. Now the child insists on watching it all day long and as soon as I turn it on, proceeds to do a merry jig while she perches on her Fifi Flower Tots pink potty**. Pee and poop on the Fifi Flower Tots pink potty? Pish tosh!

*No of course she's not potty trained yet. *Goes away gnashing teeth*
**Which cost us close to a fortune as the good man and husband unfailingly reminds me time and again.

Video courtesy You Tube. When the child is finally potty trained- pause for fervent prayer and roll of the eyes heavenwards, yes, yes the day will come!- I will highly recommend this as a very effective potty training tool. Until then, balle balle my child, go potty go!