Tuesday, 23 August 2011


When a well-known playschool opened up a branch close to home, I was most excited. After a year of waiting outside school for two hours every day, I now welcomed the possibility of having three-hours of much needed "alone" time. Fortunately Adiv took to this new school as well. It boasted of a huge play area that had ducks, rabbits, a trampoline, and several bikes and toys. Adiv just couldn't wait to begin, though he wondered about his old teacher and friends from time to time.

Day one was a success. While many kids bawled and vomited, he waltzed in. Though mommies were told they could sit in for three days, Adiv told me I could go sit in the car. "Don't disturb me", he added. So I returned home happily, to spend three hours of "me" time. I'd now be able to read or talk on the phone (without having to answer important questions about the power rangers or Micheal Jackson), watch movies ("Inglorious Bastards" had gathered dust for a year before I finally watched it), and cook. After these three hours I'd go and pick him up. He'd play for a bit, before eventually agreeing to return home, hungry and tired. During lunch we'd talk about his day. For a week or two, when they hadn't done much, I assumed they were merely waiting for the kids to settle down. While those who cried were being carried around, Adiv entertained himself. They didn't sing songs or engage in fun activities. Also, the toys had I'd seen on the shelves during the orientation, seemed to have disappeared. To make matters worse, I overheard the teacher talk to a child who wanted to play outside. "Can't go out," she said. "Too much hot is there." A lot of the parents didn't mind the teacher's language skills, as their kids spoke no English. We were worried, because Adiv spoke only English and we didn't want him picking up any incorrect English in school.
Though I was worried about the teacher's language skills, I decided to give it time. Adiv didn't seem unhappy, and I hoped he'd make friends and have some fun.

After a month, I began realizing that all wasn't well. At first Adiv began saying he didn't want to go to school. After a week, he began screaming and crying when we reached the gate. Both Ro and I would speak to him about what was bothering him, and all he'd say was that he was scared. I wondered if he was scared of the teacher, who seemed to lack warmth. She spoke loudly and often sounded rather harsh. "I'd be scared of her if i was 3", I told Rohit. Nonetheless, we decided to watch. I walked Adiv into his class one day (despite protests from the center head), and found 10 kids sitting around a table, quietly. I was unnerved, as I didn't think three-year-olds needed to sit like stiff zombies. They needed to explore, talk, and touch the toys that lay around them. After leaving him screaming and crying, I'd wait outside till the crying stopped. I knew this was no adjustment issue, as he was alright for so long. I spoke to the center head, trying to understand what the problem was, and she said my friendly, happy child was "unfriendly" and "anti-social"! Annoyed I let her know that if he was being unfriendly he was probably unhappy. She said we should give him time to settle.

Things however got worse when Adiv began talking in his sleep. He was beginning to have nightmares about school. Also his temperament had begun to change. He was throwing frequent tantrums and seemed angry most of the time. He was terrified of his teacher, and he wasn't telling us why. Once they even left him by the gate all by himself, after another child had poured water on him. He stood alone with the watchman, waiting for me to come get him.

He was getting more and more unhappy and I had to find out what the problem was. It was then that I decided to engage in this role play activity with him. I told him I'd be Adiv and he would be aunty. He agreed happily because he has always loved make-believe games.
"Sing a nursery rhyme", he said.
I sang.
Then immediately I felt a rap on my head. "Sing properly", he said authoritatively.

It was then that I discovered that his teacher was hitting him and probably mocking him. Both Ro and I were livid, and we took him off school immediately. We also complained to the director who said she'd look into the problem immediately. Meanwhile we decided we'd home school Adiv for a bit, till he got over his fear of school. Also we didn't want him to dislike school just because of a bad experience here. And as he was only three, we didn't think he needed to put up with this place any more.

This was a month ago, and we now spend two hours every day singing rhymes, painting, learning alphabets and numbers, reading stories, and watching classics like the "Jungle Book"! I may have lost out on some alone time, but I am happier because Adiv is happy. In a couple of months we intend to start him in a new school again, and this time we intend to make sure he feels safe and happy in the environment!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Special Place Away From Home

Our month-long holiday is coming to an end, and my parents are already dreading the prospect of saying goodbye to their adored grandson. It was an eventful month, with Adiv entertaining and touching them with his amusing banter, and his frequent demonstrations of love. He would sing them songs, stage mock boxing matches, cuddle up beside them to watch Ceebeebies, make demands that would invariably be met, and tell them at regular intervals that he loved them. However, he was just as vocal with his displeasure when disciplined, staying mad for a few seconds in the bedroom, before emerging again with a wide grin. "Now I'm happy" he'd say, followed by "I won't do it again." With my Dad he played amusing games. They played running and catching, boxing and racing games with his toy cars. They'd even sit around playing computer games, an addiction that Adiv has now passed on to my Dad. While my Dad was the more indulgent one who catered to every whim of his, my mom was the slightly more strict one. Though she allowed him the pleasure of jumping on to a pile of cushions or playing with water, she also had rules about what wasn't allowed. She baked with him, read to him (enacting out every scene) and brought back surprises every time she went out. He watched movies with them, drank pretend tea (water in a little cup) when they drank their tea, and insisted that they always talk TO him. He played games in tents my Dad made with bedsheets and duppattas, ocassionally even stopping to play doctor, giving injections to anyone in sight.He enjoyed going out with them; be it a trip to the beach or store, or visits to their friends homes. Everywhere he went, he demanded complete attention. On one of those trips, he'd even taken on the task of playing host, when he attempted to serve the actual hosts. "Please eat something", he said politely while simultaneously enjoying the noodles that was specially made for him. And when it was time to leave, he'd given the hosts generous hugs and the promise of coming again.
Adiv loves coming to Chennai, because here he is loved unconditionally. He entertains and amuses everyone from my parents, to the watchman, to the maid. This kind of importance was something anyone could get used to! With my parents Adiv shares a bond that had begun before he was born. They marvelled at his perfection when they first saw him during a scan. After he was born they were ecstatic grandparents who'd spent several sleepless nights singing to him. They took turns rocking him when he was collicky, and carried him from room to room showing him the pictures on the wall, the pigeons on the tree outside and the colors in his room.
As a child, my equivalent of this place had been Calcutta. I was born there, because my aunt who was a doctor lived in Calcutta. So my earliest memories of myself take me to Calcutta, where I played, entertained, threw tantrums, and was myself. I have memories of taking the rickshaw to the market with my aunt, walking to a nearby park, and standing on a stool to look at a baker writing out my name in icing on a beautiful cake. In that house, I played pretend games with my doll, listened to everyones heartbeat with my aunt's sthetescope, and hung from the window talking about friends, school and life. Years later, I still think fondly about my aunt's house, as Adiv probably will think about my home in Chennai years later.
However, for the moment he is in two minds about his return to Bangalore. While he is anxious to get back to Dada, he is not too sure about leaving Ammamma and Pappa behind. However, he secretly enjoys knowing that he will be missed when he leaves. "I will come again", he assures my parents, also adding that he'll need new terms of endearment when he does.

Friday, 22 April 2011

New Friend

Adiv is afraid of policemen, though he is privately in awe of them. He loves that a policeman can put "bad" people behind bars, and shoot them if they attempt to run away (I confess he has been watching a lot of TV). However, as much as he admires them (even playing policeman from time to time), he is also very scared of them. Afterall, they had "blood guns" (his noisy toy guns paled in comparison) and handcuffs. Also, he had fears of getting arrested, because he wondered if policemen went after little boys who misbehaved from time to time.

Despite the blistering sun, we'd gone out today to shop, when my Dad called us back saying a policeman was waiting for my mom (who was also out with us). My parents wanted to get their passports renewed. The policeman who had shown up, had come to verify the details provided, and fill his wallet with a few crisp notes that would discreetly be pushed into his eager hands. We rushed back as soon as my Dad called, though Adiv wasn't too keen on returning just yet. He insisted on going to the beach or a toystore, when Ro told him that a policeman was waiting for him at home.
"He is coming to see you", said Ro.
"Why? I am good now."
"Didn't you throw a tantrum yesterday?"
"No", said Adiv beginning to look a little nervous.
"I'm not scared of jail", he said suddenly with an air of forced bravado.
"Good. You'll enjoy it then", Ro played along.
By the time we got home, he was apprehensive about getting in. He hid behind me, and seemed visibly relieved when he didn't find the policeman at home.
"Where is the policeman" he whispered to my Dad.
"He'll be back", replied my Dad. "Don't worry. He is a good man", he assured Adiv.
Adiv then ran into the bedroom, jumped on the bed, and said, "I am sooo scared." He ran into the living room and back every few seconds, checking to see if the policeman had returned. When I threatened to tell the policeman about a tantrum the previous day, he wept piteously saying, "I don't want to go to jail." We quickly assured him saying we would never let anyone take away a good boy. And if anyone tried it, we would fight them like the power rangers. That assurance had brought on a smile. "Red power ranger or blue power ranger", he continued, briefly forgetting about the policeman.

When the policeman finally made an appearance, Adiv was feeling brave. He tiptoed into the living room and sat down beside my Dad. The policeman ignored him and focused on the papers in front. The lack of a gun had made him less intimidating, and Adiv decided he could smile at him. When he got no response, he began talking.
"I am a good boy."
"Hello. Yes", responded the policeman, looking rather disinterested.
"I don't throw any tantrums."
We agreed vehementally, though we were mighty amused. A small smile appeared on the man's tired face.
"I also drink my complan every day", continued Adiv.
By then, the policeman seemed rather confused. He turned to my dad who explained what was going on. Once he understood his fears, he smiled at Adiv, shook hands with him, and assured him that he had nothing to fear. Adiv let out a sigh of relief, and looked at us with an expression that said, "Now this policeman is my friend, and you better be careful." He jumped around happily, before saying to the man, "You please take Ammamma (my mom) away." The man responded with a big smile and agreed to put Ammamma in jail, when Adiv changed his mind again. "Don't take anyone", he said gently. Now that they were friends, he assumed he could make these recommendations. The man agreed again, thereby cementing their friendship. The man sat down for a few more minutes and exchanged pleasantries before getting up to leave. Much to our amusement, Adiv and the man even gave eachother elaborate goodbyes.

So, policeman's visit had gone well, with Adiv getting rid of his unwarranted fears, and the man feeling richer (my dad had slipped him a few notes). Adiv announced that the policeman was his friend now, and that he wasn't scared. However, when Ro reminded him that he was going to Bangalore soon, Adiv decided he'd have to try and befriend the policemen in Bangalore as well.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Seasonal Friends

As a group we didn't have a lot in common. Our interests were as varied as our aspirations and backgrounds. Nonetheless, we'd all met at work, bonding over long coffee breaks and frequent trips to the loo (yes, we women travel to the loo in packs, catching up on entertaining gossip while simultaneously powdering our faces and reapplying lipstick). We helped eachother with work, saw one through a painful divorce, saw another through a broken relationship, supported one who hadn't got her well-deserved promotion, and cheered another who was in process of finding "the one"! We celebrated birthdays, prayed for eachother, posed for numerous pictures, and engaged in laughing fits long after office hours. We shared our food and our lives, and gave ourselves amusing pet names. We went out eating,drinking, and having fun, but were also very involved in eachothers lives. The group was there blending in with family, and cheering me on when I got engaged. And once married, we gave eachother culinary tips and other marital advice.

As with a lot of relationships that go well, I hoped our friendship would survive the changes that came with changing priorities. This was a group that had made work interesting for me. I'd initially been sceptical about joining the company on account of the work they did. I was technologically challenged, and ill-suited for a company that did only technology-based projects. Despite announcing that the only Java I knew was the island in Indonesia, (Java script was beyond my comprehension even with help from patient subject matter experts) I'd been offered the job. Surprisingly, I hadn't fared too badly, and I'd begun enjoying work once I made these friends.

Then the changes began. I was the first to get married and leave. I still kept in touch via e-mails and calls, but once Adiv was born, he became my priority. In time others got married and eventually became mothers, while the rest acquired new jobs and new friends. We still sent eachother ocassional e-mails, even meeting up during holidays to see babies, attend family functions and gossip over lunch. Gradually the phone calls became fewer, as did our meetings.

Till two weeks ago, I didn't realize that the friendship was actually over. We had all moved on to better things, and didn't really need eachother to lean on and confide in. Though we decided to meet, the meeting hadn't happened. After the initial disappointment, I understood that I didn't need the group as much as I had needed them years ago. They'd helped me laugh, but they'd also taught me acceptance and sharing, aiding me in my emotional growth. They had supported me emotionally and spiritually when I needed it. However we'd all moved on since then. Now it was time to focus on current relationships, and those that had lasted, while gently letting go of those that would only be part of some very happy memories.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Finding Help

When I first moved to Bangalore with three-month old Adiv, all I wanted was a good maid and a good pediatrician. I got lucky with the pediatrician, but I'm yet to find that "good" maid. I've had many in the last three years; a cheerful gossip who frequently took days off (but made some very palatable food), the quiet giant who breezed in and out without a word, a timid mouse who wanted so badly to please, a wannabe beautician who knew no cooking, a loud hag who muttered threats at Adiv, and finally a nanny-turned-housekeeper who charged a bomb. They didn't last for various reasons. Some made rare appearances, some didn't know their job, some didn't do too well, and some thought they could start calling the shots. However, what they did have in common was a displeasure of having a mistress who didn't go out to work. All of them suggested politely (and impolitely) that I leave Adiv with them and venture out. Leaving the house meant, they got to do as they pleased, and sadly for them I wasn't going to leave my baby with any of them.

The first one who made some delicious food soaked in generous helpings of oil, was good with Adiv. She played fun games that had him laughing hysterically. But being the paranoid mom, I wasn't sure I liked the idea of putting him incharge of someone who didn't change everyday. I wasn't even comfortable with her cooking, because I wasn't sure if she was bathing atall. Sometimes she wore the same saree for a week, and once she even came in wearing a nightdress. "Too lazy to change", she giggled and walked in. She wasn't reliable, and went missing for 13 days. By the time she returned (without any apologies), I had replaced her.

The quiet woman who replaced her didn't say much except when she was protesting.
"Do I have to sweep under the rug?"
"Do I really need to sweep and wipe the balconies?"
When Adiv's feet began showing tell-tale signs of how well she was sweeping, I sent her off.

Then came a family (in turns). The daughter ambled from room to room with a broom, as if gentle caressing the floor. She soon left for greener pastures (baby sitting for a child who'd be home alone), leaving her sister here. Her sister, a cheerful young girl with sparkly eyes, did pretty decent work, but she complained about the food I gave her from time to time.
"This isn't how you make it Didi."
"More oil Didi"
"We don't make upma like this Didi."
Eventually when I told her the food wasn't part of the deal and that she shouldn't complain when it was given, she left in a huff. Her loud-mouthed mother came next with tales of how her daughter had stopped work because her husband who had given up work so he could live off (drink) her. I didn't mind as long as I had help. She seemed okay, except that she made elaborate displays of cleaning the walls and the floors when I was in the room. Soon I also noticed that she disliked Adiv. She blamed him for running across the room when she was sweeping, and tugging at the clothes that were being put out. When I finally heard her yell threats at him (he ofcourse giggled innocently) I sent her off.

During that time I had a cook who was a wannabe beautician who was well-dressed and came to work wearing makeup. When she started work, I knew I couldn't really sit around with umcombed hair, wearing a pair of tracks and an old tshirt. She was a nice girl who needed the money. Sadly she didn't know any cooking. When her family decided to get back to Manipur (their home town) for the sake of their kids, I was able to say "Bye" without the guilt of having sent off someone who needed the money.

Soon afterwards, I had a woman who seemed matronly and kind. She made good food, and her work was good. She was gentle and soft spoken. I tried to hold on to her with generous amounts of food that she could take home from time to time. I believed that if she was also happy, I'd be able to keep her. All was well, till guests showed up on weekend. "Too much work", she said and walked out, without any warning! I wept later, because I was angry at myself. I'd been trying to please her into staying by helping out with all the chores.

Luckily after her came a gentle, mousy woman who'd never stepped out of her house before. She was sincere and willing to learn. Unfortunately, when my grieving mother-in-law moved in with us, we needed someone who'd be home for the entire day, because I would be out driving Adiv to school, waiting around and then bringing him back. This lady, though willing to learn, couldn't cook. So I had to let her go, and replace her with a fancy, super-efficient, super-expensive maid.

This last maid was a nanny once, with some experience overseas. She was a deligent worker and a willing learner. She did all the work, and the money we paid her seemed worth it, though it was way above what anyone was getting in this area. She did all that was expected of her, and I was generous with food and presents for her daughter. It was an easy relationship, but familiarity had to breed contempt. After a year in our house, she began thinking she could call the shots. She reduced her work hours to half (even though the salary had increased), and began taking time off to "rest"! She argued she needed 3/4 days a month to rest, in addition to the Sundays she got. She even began refusing chores saying, "I'll do it another day. Today I'm busy." Her excuses for not coming ranged from "I'm tired" to "My daughter didn't wake up early this morning." When I threatened her with a pay cut, she said she needed time to think about whether she wanted to continue. She called after a week, chatting pleasantly, and asking when she could start again. By then I'd had enough, so I decided to say bye!

This was a month ago, and the hunt for a replacement continues. While many have come and agreed to the terms, noone has started work yet. Sometimes I wonder if the last maid is fabricating tales to drive away hopefuls, just so I am forced to call her back.

This is the plight that many of us share. We struggle to find good help, and make futile attempts to keep them. A week ago someone I met was frantically washing up some of the vessels, so her servant wouldn't be angry at the amount of vessels. I know people who entice maids with TV watching and other perks. We are so dependant on them, and the biggest mistake some us make is letting them think they are indispensible. In the last month I've found that they aren't. I'm optimistic. I've got into the routine of cooking and doing the household chores, when Adiv takes his afternoon nap. In the morning I drive him to school, and wait outside with a book (Iris Murdoch at the moment). I'm busier, and hoping to be fitter. But my fingers remain crossed, as I wait for someone who will last.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

To the movies

I love going to the movies! I enjoy standing in queues for tickets and the anticipation of finally being able to see stories come alive on a big screen. When I was younger, the theatre experience wasn't as "fancy" as it is now. We didn't walk into well-lit, air-conditioned lounges to buy tubs of buttered popcorn and drinks, before being led into a clean movie hall. Then, we went to threatres that we knew (and hoped) were clean, ignoring the discomfort of the chairs, focussing only on the thrill of seeing the curtains come up. I didn't even mind the government sponsored films on development that were showed before the movie began. During the break, we'd saunter into the lobby, buy ourselves Thumbs-up and popcorn. Now there are queues of people who can't quite decide if they want the tortilla chips or the popcorn or the chicken and coleslaw sandwich. Nonetheless, I like that we are in surroundings that are cleaner than it used to be. While we buy these goodies and wait in the lounge, we're only mildly aware of a small group of workers streaming in to clean the hall. Once they are done, we are let in. A few advertisments later, the movie has begun, and we are hooked.

I've always been a movie buff, and I was no snob as far as the genre went. I enjoyed Govinda's slapstick, Rajinikanth's theatrics and romantic comedies, as much as I enjoyed Kurosawa, Majid Majidi and Kieslowski. I loved the song and dance routine, as much as I loved a good story that made me think and cry. If people thought I watched too many movies as a child, they weren't very surprised when I chose to study film in college. Though I didn't pursue a career in films, I still continued to watch them.
Much of this movie watching came to a halt after Adiv's birth. Despite our initial attempts at watching films in theatres, we soon gave up. Adiv would watch wide-eyed for 10 minutes, and soon begin his explorations. So much of the time, one of us was standing outside with him, while the other watched inside feeling a wee bit guilty. So from them on, it was only DVDs for us. We got them as soon as they were out (Ro even bought many of them during his travels abroad), and watched them in the confines of our home, while Adiv was either sleeping or busy playing with his cars.

Then two weeks ago, I did something I hadn't done before; I went for a movie alone. Fairly independant, I'd done several things on my own. I'd eaten in restaurants on my own, I'd travelled alone, I'd shopped alone, I'd spent entire days in the British Library alone etc etc. Nonetheless, watching a movie on my own didn't feature in my list of favorite activities. I preferred company when I watched a movie, because if I enjoyed anything more than a movie, it the prospect of discusssing it (read: Ripping it apart) after it was over. So if I went alone, I was denying myself that experience.
However, this time I couldn't depend on Ro (he was needed to babysit Adiv) and my plans to see the film were sudden. I finished cooking lunch, changed and rushed out. I was going to see "Biutiful"; a film I knew nothing about. I knew it had two Oscar nominations and I'd seen a lot of Javier Bardem's work previously, to know that he'd be nothing less than brilliant. So I drove myself to the mall, parked (tough task on a weekend when the entire world is in the malls), and went to the ticket counter. The man at the counter was chatty.
"It's a spanish movie", he said.
"I know. I want one ticket."
"But it has english subtitles", he added.
"I know."
Eventually he gave me my ticket. I walked in with a small group of people (the only few who wanted to see Biutiful) and waited for the movie to begin. The theatre was fairly empty. In the theatre were two other people who'd come alone as I had. There was one group that seemed as serious about the film. Two other men were merely enjoying the airconditioning. So they were already snoring gently at the back. Three girls chatted and giggled incessantly till someone gave them an irritable "shush". Then there were two couples who chose the back row to cootchie-coo! Once all of us had found our places, the movie began.
As predicted, the movie was well-acted, though a tad bit too depressing. Javier Bardem was brilliant as a father who shuttled between Chinese sweatshop owners, illegal african street hawkers, his kids, and an ex-wife who was bipolar. He also made some money by passing on messages from the dead to the bereaved, so he could provide for his kids after his time. He was dying. Despite all this, the film focussed on goodness and all that was beautiful in the human soul. Uxbal, the man he played is good and willing to make a difference.
In the darkness, wearing my cloak of anonymity, I cried! There were no disturbances. Adiv didn't need his water or feel the need to wander away. I was in the movie, and I felt every emotion.
So with "Biutiful" began a new experience; the experience of watching a film alone, in a theatre with a group of strangers. Though I still missed discussing it afterwards, Ro was kind enough to listen to my narration of the storyline (I don't mind that either). Now, before I rush off to school, I'm planning my next outing for the weekend; The Fighter maybe? Rabbit hole?

Tuesday, 18 January 2011


As far as Adiv's birthday celebrations go, it's been a month-long, ongoing event. Christmas, a big wedding, an early-party, numerous home made cakes topped with three candles, and an unending supply of toys have led the little guy into believing in birth months and not birth days.
First my parents came armed with the customary packet filled with presents. Then there was a Christmas party, where he dragged home a big bag filled with presents. Then, there was the excitement of welcoming my brother who made his annual appearance. An indulgent uncle, he pampered Adiv with more toys. Then we visited the extended family in Kerala, during a wedding. When we got back to Bangalore, we were planning his birthday. Adiv wanted the balloons and the streamers, and he practiced his thank you speeches even before the presents made an appearance. Rohit ordered the food, and my father took on the responsibility of decorating the house. Meanwhile, I began thinking about the cake I wanted to make. Despite being told it would be easier to buy that perfect looking cake, I was determined to bake one. So when Adiv announced that he wanted Spider Man, Ro and I decided to try and make a Spidey cake.

This entire process was fun, because Adiv sat through it all. He helped me bake the cake (sifting the flour is quite a task for a three-year-old-to-be) and helped us mix colors for the icing. Once the coconut loaf cake was ready (a success), I got the base ready by pouring royal icing on top of the cake. On top of that, Rohit carefully drew Spidey's eyes. We did an excited jig because the eyes were perfect. Then in turns, we finished the rest of the icing. We were proud parents, and to celebrate our success, I licked the remnants of the icing. Adiv who was up, clapping and bouncing, wept buckets when my lips, tongue and teeth turned a nightmarish purple.
"Mimi became monster", he wept tragically, while I furiously brushed my teeth to get rid of all the coloring!

The birthday was a sucess. The biriyani and phirni were great. The cake was tasty and Adiv loved it. The family came to sing to him, and he graciously accepted all his presents with obvious excitement.
Since then he's been cutting several cakes each week. We came to Chennai to spend time with my brother and see him off, and my mom has been baking regularly since then. Every cake came with three candles that he blew out, while we sang loudly to him. Truly an exciting month for him.
So, as is obvious the year has begun well for him. As it progresses I hope and pray, it will be as good and exciting. I hope he continues to be surrounded by people who love him. I hope he appreciates family, not taking anyone for granted. I hope he values all his blessings, and grows into a good human being.
2010 ended well for him. He discovered love, not once but twice. First came the pretty young thing in pink, who played haughty, but eventually succumbed to his charms. Though she ignored him initially, she was soon seeing him off after school. He played cool, picking his clothes, insisting on belts and matching pairs of socks. He even refused to let me walk him to the door of his school. "You wait outside", he said quietly. He was letting his lady love think that he was driving to school on his own.
Then came pretty young girl in pink (2). "She is very pretty" he gushed. "She wears pink lipstick", he added, commenting on her pink lips! Unfortunately she didn't fall for his wooing, as he'd changed his technique. He was showing her his tongue and teeth, after all wasn't that what the chimp told George (of "George of the Jungle") to do? He also made new friends with whom he exchanged tales of dried cranberries (!) and dinosaurs. He met cousins he hadn't seen in a while, and discovered that boys play games that are more fun. He learned to pedal his bike and sweetly ask for a bigger one (we're getting him one). He thinks the pizza man has the "coolest" job in the world, because he wears a cap and drives a bike. He thinks I have all the answers (I'm enjoying that status now), and that Rohit is the strongest man alive. (I've tutored him to say, "I get my muscles from Dada and my brains from Mimi"). He likes to dress up like "Wake up Sid" (Ranbir Kapoor), and has developed a fascination for Micheal Jackson. He loves his teacher and school, and has now begun demanding sandwiches and burgers that have faces.
As parents it's been an exciting year for us as well. We now have a little boy with a vivid imagination. In addition to cars and guns, we have a little man who loves to cook inside his tent. He enjoys playing magic dungeon under a blanket, where we are magically transported to magical lands (birthdays, balloons, icecreams) where only rabbits play hosts. He never tires of hearing the story of "Hansel and Gretel", and loves having people over. If he can amaze me with his social skills, he can even exasperate me with his jealous rage when we give other little kids as much attention. After an peaceful 2010, we now look forward to an exciting 2011.