Monday, 28 December 2009

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

This year we had a quiet Christmas. I didn't bake a cake, and the day didn't begin with appam and stew. Nevertheless, the family got together at night, with everyone bringing something to the table; duck, fish, chicken, salad, bread rolls, flavored rice, and dal followed by a lemon and coconut pudding and a coffee pudding. Before this feast, we sat together, sang a few carols, watched Adiv dance to Jingle Bells, had a Bible reading, and prayed. The kids were all given presents. Adiv was most thrilled.

Adiv's Christmas began the day the stars came up in the building. He was fascinated by them. The excitement doubled, when his grand uncle showed him the picture of a Santa Claus. From then on, he only watched videos of Tantaku (Santa) and spoke about him. He thought Jingle Bells was the "coolest" song ever, and always jumped up to shake to its beat. Then on Christmas eve, we had to get the kids presents, and we landed up in a mall. As soon as we got there, we saw huge crowds gather at the atrium. That middle of the mall had been transformed into the north pole, and on a sleigh sat Santa. He smiled, posed for pictures with the kids, and gave them sweets.

"Tantakooooo, come", yelled a very excited Adiv. We immediately got him a ticket and waited his turn. When his turn came, he smilled happily and settled down on Santa's lap. When Santa brought out his sac of sweets, he put both hands in and took as many as he could. Then I took a few pictures, ignoring the Forum photographer who suggested that I pose with Santa as well. After the pictures, we picked out goodie bag from Nilgiris, and got to Landmark. We snaked our way in to find books and toys, before we suddenly spotted a dancing Santa. He danced towards kids in the store, posing for pictures and giving out presents. A few excited parents threw their frightened children towards this famished, tamil speaking Santa, just so they could get a picture. Santa obliged by smiling and holding on to the writhing child. Then Adiv ran forward, pushed away a frightened child and danced to the tunes of Jingle bells. Both Santa and Adiv danced, and Adiv got his present. Saying bye, we moved to another section in the store. Finally when the bill was being paid, we saw Santa again. Adiv ran to him blowing kisses. Santa smiled, obliged with another jig, and gave him ANOTHER present. The day had gone well. It was perfected by a pair of shades from Liliput that Adiv begged for (and got). He now zooms across rooms on his cycle, wearing these shades.


New Year, was more tiring. We were in Cochin for an engagement, and quite anxious about trying out the Cochin specials. Unfortunately, Ro ended up with a tummy upset, but that didn't deter little Adiv. He danced to the tunes of some popular mallu songs and the Vengaboys (remember, "I'm going to Ibiza?") and welcomed in the New year. Otherwise we pretty much spent our time with visits to family members in the city.

Now that the excitement has this holiday season as ended, Adiv is now preparing for the next big event; his 2nd birthday. So he spends a lot of time strumming his version of the Happy Birthday song on Ro's guitar, singing, "Happy to you...Adi"! Life sure is exciting when you are two!:)

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The family that wasn't us

They got my attention, when the unusually tall and skinny mother with a saree draped around her sinewy frame rummaged through the contents of her bag and brought out an aging sippy cup. What was possibly handed down generations, the sippy cup bore tell tale signs of an earlier era. She placed it on the food tray, where it made futile attempts at balancing, before dropping to the ground. The father picked it up immediately and placed it firmly on the tray again. This time, the sippy cup slid to the side, and nestled itself between the tray and back of the chair in front. It was then picked up the next minute, and given to their 1-year-old who drank from it.
I was shocked, amused even. It couldn't be clean enough for a toddler. I wrapped a protective arm around my bag, that carried two clean tupperware bottles with Adiv's sterilized water. The bag also had some fruit and biscuits. I didn't want him trying out train food.
Making sure I had everything for the journey, I turned my attention to the family again. The man had just bought his young family cups of coffee. The sippy cup was emptied, and train coffee was poured into it, for the toddler to drink.
"They've given their baby coffee", I whispered into Ro's ears.
He smiled
The little one took a few joyous sips, before diverting her attention to her older brother. He was fighting with his father over a packet of Lays chips. Just then, an attender walked by with bottles of fizzy drinks. The father picked a bottle of fanta that his son pounced on. The baby began whining for it, when the sippy cup was emptied again and filled with some fanta. Adiv who is never allowed any fizzy drinks began asking for juice. Luckily I'd come armed with orange juice, and he was temperorily satisfied.
The next few hours went by peacefully. Adiv befriended a group of young boys, and they began some amusing games. The family next to us, settled down for a nap. From time to time they bought their kids samosas and vadas soaked in oil. After each snack, the toddler's face was carefully wiped with the curtain. They seemed fine, but I was sceptical. I was careful about Adiv's food. And his face cloth was always washed and ironed. However, these kids who were taking in all the train food and water that wasn't sterilized seemed hardy and well. They were even talking on their father's mobiles, something that Adiv isn't allowed, for fear of all the damage it can cause.
Just then it hit me....contrary to all the illusions I had about what a cool, easy going mom I was, I was just a very paranoid one! Anyway, till Adiv gets older, that's how it is going to be.

Friday, 11 December 2009