Johny Johny..?!?

The moment you become a parent you become virtuous. Instantaneously. The pressure of setting an example for a much smaller human being starts hitting you. So you try to always be well mannered and righteous. Well, almost always.

There are a few things one loves dearest. I mean ‘things’ not people or even living things just material things.

CUddlyCoo

Now if your off spring grows to love the exact same things – there are 2 possibilities – unbreakable bond (Like Fevical ka jod!) or unending conflict (like milk and curd!)

There are few- very few kids who I have heard of – who hate chocolates. They love fruits and veggies. WOW! How I wish my progeny was one of that kind. Didn’t wish hard enough I guess.

Chocolates – It seems will make us the worst enemies we can ever be to each other – my son and I.

Dhruv is done with his lunch and demands for his daily rather hourly doze of the brown evil. I open the fridge and scream. Whaaa!!! The whole pack of Lindt had disappeared. I just saw it last evening!

I look at my mom in law. Eyes narrow and sharp, so sharp that I could have her heart piercing with my gaze. She is usually the first accused in times of crisis like this – by the virtue of she being the ‘in-law’.

She quickly defends herself ‘Don’t you dare give me that look! It isn’t me. Ask your son, he is the one who so diligently had one chocolate every hour like a doctor’s prescription’. Damn!

The fridge which is usually always stacked with chocolate bars, suddenly seemed devoid of any. The last of lindt was smiling at me.

It was tough fight between the split personalities within me – A true forever giving mom Vs an ardent chocolate lover.

The argument that ensued was thus:

True Mom says: Oh C’mon. It’s just a chocolate, let him have it.

Chocolate lover says: Just a chocolate?? Whoaa!! He emptied the whole box for God’s sake!

True Mom says: He’s just a child. Let him be. He’s finished his lunch. SO just give it away.

Chocolate lover says: Precisely. He is just a child. So much chocolate can harm him. So just give him jaggery and let him be. What sort of a mother are you? A box of chocolate? Imagine the calories and cavities…

True Mom now is thinking hard. Jaggery it is.

The chocolate lover does an ecstatic jumpy dance. She then quickly picks the chocolate and puts it in her pocket.

‘Maa…Where is Dhruv’s chocolate??? Dhruv finished his lunch. Seeeee. Tummy full.’ Innocent smile. But not even to shake the chocolate lover in his mommy.

‘Dhruv – there is no chocolate in the fridge. See? We will ask Acha to buy some more. Now you will just have to settle for some jaggery. Sorry baby..’ followed by a hug and a kiss.

He settles for jiggery. My understanding little one!

The moment he is out of sight I quickly open the wrapper and hurriedly dump that chocolate into my mouth.

Bliss! I relish it with my eyes closed. Suddenly I feel someone pulling me from down. Arghhh. Do not disturb!

But the pull gets tighter. I open my eyes and find my little detective.

‘What are you eating?’

‘Hmm??’ slowly moving the chocolate from the right cheek to center so it would be less noticeable.

‘What are you eating?’

‘Hmm?’ trying to look around..

‘Ammmaaaa WHAT ARE YOU EATING?’

‘Hmm?’

‘Oh God! Can’t you hear?’

By now the chocolate has molten into a liquid state and I swallowed it slowly.

‘Jaggery??’

‘Yea!’

‘But why does jaggery come in the Lindt wrapper??’

Damn!!!! I can see the True Mom giving the narrow eyed stare to the chocolate lover. You dare teach my baby to lie!!

HELP!!!

Phonetics – The Aa Aaaa E Eee of English..

English is a very tricky language. It may come as a surprise that I say this considering the complications in Indian languages.

So languages are very tricky. I’d rather prefer sign language!

We all think office meetings and presentations are fabulous.

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So I attend one such product presentation. The presenter is a middle aged man who makes it seem like he definitely knows his stuff.

Apparently neither he nor his content seem to interest many people. Well, quite obvious in a post lunch session.

Then as part of the product presentation, he says ‘Let’s not have all this erotic information randomly placed all over the sheet’.

Eyes pop out and now he definitely has everyone’s attention. Good job! Well done!

He continues ‘How can we present all the information so erotically?’

OKAY, I thought it was a brilliant trick to grab everyone’s attention. But it clearly wasn’t. For a moment I had immense appreciation for this man for awakening all the sleeping souls.

All those uncles seated far behind, who were snoring are now wide awake desperately looking for anything close to erotic on the screen.

He gets nudged by his well-meaning colleague – this man will be his best friend for life – the one that pinched him in the middle of a meeting – stops him from further damage and corrects him – ‘you mean erratically..’   ‘Yeah! That’s what I said – erotically!’

Whispers, giggles, laughs follow.

‘e r r a t i c a l l y – erotically’.

Ahhh….and I wondered what the big deal about phonetics was!

His colleague takes him aside and explains quickly his blunder just so that he avoids the forbidden word.

He is as red as a beet. He sums up the courage to continue ‘Now that I have everyone’s attention: we may now look at the slide being presented with information just ‘randomly’ put across’ No more erotic or erratic. Safe!

He continues ‘If you look at this image of the concourse.’

A friend who just couldn’t hold the laugh within himself and realizing that this meeting is not going to be taken seriously anyways mumbles: ‘Are you sure concourse or intercourse?!’

This incident will haunt the poor man all eternity.

All for an aa and aww!!!!

Old habits die hard.

So I have spent almost all my childhood never once using the Public Loo.

Never.

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I am sure I am not alone in this. I, for certain know at least a handful of people like me.

This forms the bottom line of every small and big decision we make which includes but is not limited to the following:

While I book a hotel room for a stay:

Single bed / Twin bed – I don’t care, I can sleep on the floor if I have a mattress.

Room service – I can compromise there too; I could go to their kitchen (which I hope is not mice infected) and make my own food.

Bathroom – Does the website give a picture of the bath and the toilet? If not then can we send an inquiry asking for the same of the room we are allotted to stay? I am okay if they only have a shower and not a bath. Do they use a bathroom freshener by the way?

If I am reviewing a restaurant:

The food was good. I loved the chicken. BUT I think they need to put in atleast 10% of the cost of the food into maintaining their washroom..(I may then go into the details which I refrain here).

Visiting a friend’s place:

Like a recent ad rightly mentions, they are classy if they use a toilet freshener; all other mistakes are forgivable.

This has not changed despite living in a hostel with 400 other inmates. Now you’d think my hostel had the cleanest baths/toilets. Nope, the bathrooms were not close to clean, but I appreciate that I didn’t get used to the filth in all the 5 years being there!.

The phobia remains.

The golden rule every time I step out of home is – Drink water if and only you think you are going to die out of dehydration; I somehow pulled through that while I was pregnant as well!

In the rare case when I have to re-hydrate myself; I practice special yoga to retain the water within. It is not that I have an unusually large bladder. I’d rather go through the physical agony than the mental distress.

And then Dhruv got out of his diapers, got toilet trained. That should have come as a relief and I would have celebrated the milestone BUT his pee could come in a sari shop, a jewelers store, a crowded temple or the Indian Railways – which would result in him yelling out to me ‘Amma peeeeeeeeee coming..’ every time he wants to use the loo, followed by ‘Ooo Oooo Urrrrgent!!’.

Not good. Especially because none of the above mentioned places pay any attention to their restrooms. So even if I’d take him to a loo there, he’d rather pee in his shorts than pee there (followed by me puking)!

But pee he must. That is when I nudge daddy dear and ask him to run with the kid to the nearest relief point.

When we are unaccompanied, we close my senses and his and carry out the process.

Damn. I see all the public toilet signage mocking me saying ‘Its payback time – for all those years of looking down upon us!’

Can I get him back into diapers please?!

My Warrior!

Dhruv and I are on an overnight train journey. We are happily equipped with food and some activity which will keep us occupied till bedtime.

Enter a group of college goers.

CUddlyCoo

All the sudden gush of noise and rambling makes Dhruv realize that people-gazing could be more entertaining that all the silly toddler activities amma’s put together.

They settle down and in less than 5 minutes they take out a huge bag of junk – packs and packs of crisps, soda etc.

They open a pack of crisps. Dhruv is staring harder now.

Each of them pick a crisp and bite into it.

I can see my Dhruv’s eyes narrow and pupil widen like a camera lens. Everything else blurs and focus is only on the crisp.

The crisp breaks with a Krrrr sound and I look at them and my little one in alteration. The moment the crisps went into their mouths my baby was salivating!

Wow! What a commercial! I knew for sure that had the marketing team for the crisps seen this they would have immediately taped it for inspiration!

The youngsters seem less in a hurry after a few munches. Having satisfied their taste buds they look around at other things in the compartment. That’s when they caught my little boy staring hard on their pack of chips and salivating.

Embarrassment. I immediately try to divert his attention and ask him ‘Would you like to have dinner?’

‘Yes’

I remove the pack of chapathis (Indian bread) and curry. Tear a bit of chapathi, dip it generously in the curry and attempt to feed him. He looks helplessly at me, his eyes yelling out ‘Ma..what are you doing?! Chips Vs Chapathi?? I have to be up for the game. Don’t let me down!’

I sense his misery and remove another box. Open it with fake excitement and say ‘See we have crisps too!’ It was box of homemade banana chips. Less appealing. I mean look at my modest box and look at the pack of crisps!

Dhruv looks at me and smiles as if to say ‘I love you!! But please pack it better next time. Substitute the tin with organic paper bag maybe? But for now, I’ll manage.’

He takes a banana chip out of the modest box, looks at the group of youngsters and says ‘Dhruv has chips too. Your chips are from bad oil. Dhruv’s is healthy AND yummy..’

He then bites into the humble banana chips staring in the eye of one of the guys from the group as if to say ‘Ha! You loser!’

Love happens and I can’t help but hug him.  He happily had his chapathi-curry and chip in rotation and when he was done, he looked up at the group again just to reassure them that he was in the game too.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I proudly present you my toddler – who is already up for the fight against the world. Who dares to take on him?!

Hum along!!

It appears having a toddler at home can have more dire consequences than you’d think and the situation will leave you googling about ‘focus’ ‘attention’ et al.

Let me clarify – If you have a toddler at home, you get used to repetition – same game over and over again, same story a million times and the worst is the same set of nursery rhymes day in and day out.

So you wake up in the morning listening to ‘5 little monkeys jumping on the bed..’ Do your house chores listening to the same, listen to the same one in your car and drift off to sleep at night with ‘5 little monkeys jumping on the bed..’ playing in the background.

Click on to listen : 5 little monkeys Be warned though. it will haunt you for the next one week!

CuddlyCoo

You listen to it so many times a day that even if it doesn’t play in the stereo; it is always playing in your head. You wake up and you want to say the morning prayer but you can only recollect ‘5 little monkeys jumping on the bed..’; that friend of yours ask you about that song from that movie and you blabber ‘5 little monkeys..’

Worse still; rhymes have rhythm…so you are working at your work station and the rhymes go off in your head. You nod your head sideways and up and down; you go to collect a print and the nod continues with maybe a side to side sway and you find yourself calling for all your colleagues’ attention for the wrong reasons.

But the worst is yet to come.

There I am in between my appraisal meeting, trying really hard to prove my point and that I really need that promotion but all I have in my head is ‘5 little monkeys…’ which sort of shows on my face and when am expected to advocate, am only smiling to myself and nodding my head!

So I know am not getting any worthy appraisal thanks to the monkeys. And I am frustrated but the monkey song would not let me be, it forces me to smile and nod!

It is like a bug. It isn’t even appealing like that hip number stuck in your head from a famous album. Because you need to be extremely careful not to let it slip out of your mouth because then you give off way too much about yourself than you intend to.

So you stop by at the petrol bunk to refuel; you are still nodding and swaying; then the rhyme slips out in a hum and there the world knows that you are no longer just a woman – who may or may not be married – who may or may not have kids. You are a mom and you listen to the rhymes more than you have listened to everything else cumulated over the years!

Those watchful eyes!

So generally you affectionately pick up your toddler son, swirl him and kiss him and he would in turn probably hug you tight, laugh and giggle and tell ‘Maa I lovee you..’

I wish!

CuddlyCoo

I pick my toddler and do the same. He does laugh and giggle and then says ‘Maa you have this black hair sticking out of your chin.’

Shocked.

He then tries to pluck it with his tiny fingers and finds it thoroughly amusing. Repeats it over and over again pinching my chin in the process.

Embarrassed.

I look around to assure myself that we are alone and MIL, the maid or Sabarish are nowhere in the audible range..

I put him down and run to the closest mirror, switch on all the lights and inspect.

There. One black pointy hair on my wheatish chin.

Yes, I had noticed it last morning and I chose to ignore. It is technically just one hair and not a beard yet. I could have just plucked it.

But no. I chose procrastination!

See! This is why they have those umpteen articles to how procrastination should be overcome…

Too late, by now Dhruv was running around the house calling out for his dad, grandma and the maid ‘Achaaaaa Achammaaaaaaa Pap…come see..Amma has a black hair on her chin.’

Everyone comes out of their harbor in a split second.

Really?! Are you kidding me?

I bloody yell out to everyone in the house just 15 minutes ago saying: ‘Tea is ready..’ but not one person comes before a line brown layer of butter forms on top of the tea and then I get ‘Oh! It’s cold!’

And people jump out for a tiny hair on my chin??

There are 2 sets people who ensure I am self-conscious at all points in my life:

Set 1:

My mom: Groom, dress, stop looking so poor! Don’t embarrass me in front of my friends… (She is as good as 10 people hence she forms Set 1)

Over time I have learned to face this one liner. Nope I don’t defy. Not an option. I make sure I am groomed when she is in a 1 mile vicinity.

Set 2:

A few really good friends who are miraculously groomed at all times – Even if a catastrophe struck, they would still excuse themselves to get their pedicures and manicures because what if Yamraj (God of death) thought it is too cruel to kill these damsels and chose to go back empty handed.

They have given up on me and call me plain lazy.

But now I realize I have a new traitor in this battle of life, a 2 year old whose needs me to groom him, but is now smart enough to spot a black hair on my chin, realize it is inappropriate and yell out to the world to mock me!

Damn! What am I breeding at home?!

Dad’s an easy job!

So it’s a weekend afternoon. Dhruv and I are just up from a nap. Bored. Just dragging ourselves around. The Dad is out for some work.

Dhruv hears the doors of the car close and runs downstairs yelling Achaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa (Daaaadddddd) !!

The Dad is obviously euphoric to see atleast one person get excited about him reaching back home, while the rest of us just say ‘Hmm. Hi..’

CuddlyCoo

The Dad has a toy store bag with him, Dhruv identifies it immediately and showers him with kisses repeating the question ‘whats in it..whats in it…’

A lot of run and chase happens – The Dad running with the cover and dhruv doing his hop skip jump thing after him..

Oh God what is in it?! Just let him have it and give me back my lazy Sunday afternoon!

Finally the Dad opens the bag and reveals a Chotta Bheem soft toy (Indian equivalent of the superman – child version though).

Dhruv’s happiness knows no bounds. At last, at long last Bheem is here.

The next 10 minutes are magical – all work is done – milk is drunk, bath is over – because of course Bheem is watching him and he needs to be impressed to make friends.

Then we declare that Bheem likes Dhruv and they can play together.

The trauma begins – for the Dad.

Dhruv and Bheem want to play, but since Bheem is immobile (should have gotten a battery operated one!)he needs to be propped!

Rule : Whoever has gotten him home (the Dad) will be the prop. Why? because:

  • MIL and I have very few things we agree upon, this was one of them since we don’t want to trade a lazy afternoon for anything in this world!. Hence the rule was made and enforced that minute. Veto isn’t an option if the Dad chooses to continue living with his wife and mom!
  • Also Bheem is the strongest ever, both grandma and I don’t gauge up in terms of muscle power and physique in contrast to the Dad who is pretty fit and muscular being the ideal prop for Bheem.

The Dad wants to escape but MIL and I get into our lazy Sunday mode and switch off. So left with little option, I see the Dad (or Bheem):

  • playing run and chase and hide and seek.
  • feeding Dhruv and Bheem dinner
  • putting Dhruv and Bheem to sleep at about 10.00 pm.

It was quite hilarious  to see the Dad hold Bheem and do all the above craving for a minute’s rest, for a sip of water and so exhausted that he chose sleep over dinner!

So the Dad is out in the hot sun for most bits of the day, returns home to surprise his toddler with a toy, props for the toy and ends up playing, feeding, bathing and putting the toddler to sleep; while mom makes a quick fix fun lunch with the toddler gobble it, cuddles and sleeps with him and wakes up to find the dad taking over.

Am sure the Dad will think a million times before he buys a toy next time, calculating the toddler’s energy level and excitement and carefully weighing it against his own.

But being the Dad he is, he will still choose to get it home just to see the toddler eyes popping out with happiness and excitement!

And being a dad is damn easy isn’t it!