Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Big Boy Moment

You have been off diapers since you were 1.5 years old but somehow we never got around to helping you stand up to pee. Then one day, you came back with homework from school.

“Ms. Sheryll said I need to learn to stand and do pee pee"

Ok, Ms. Sheryll. Nicely played.

Daddy is travelling a lot. He shows one time but a lifelong habit doesn’t break with one demonstration, does it ?

So Mommy tries to take matter in own hands. I encourage you to stand next to the pot and let go. After 5 secs, you say “not coming Mama” and insist on sitting over. We practice a few times, same response.

Then comes a monster playdate at our home with two boys who are friends from school. One younger, one older. I figure out that both are doing pee pee the big boy way (yes, mommies compare notes on this)

So we try again in the evening today. 

Kabbu (after 5 secs) : Mama, it's not coming
Mama: It will
Kabbu: I want to sit and do
Mama: What will Ms. Sheryll say ?
Kabbu: But its not coming
Mama: I promise you it will come. Just stand quietly for 1 min. I am sitting right next to you.
Kabbu: Don’t touch my bum Mama. Potty will come on your hand.
Mama(removing restraining hand on bum): OK 
Mama: Both Marceau and Thomas are doing pee pee standing, you see ?
Kabbu: It's not coming
Mama: I promise you, it will come
Kabbu: It’s coming


Celebration. Jubiliation. High fives and hugs. 

It was big boy moment alright. I hope I can remember your expression for a long long time Kabbu.

Are you a big boy already ?

Sunday, 22 November 2015

A cycle is completed

Most of my childhood is blurry except for some vivid memories here and there. One of them is of walking down the street to reach the bus stop with my Dad every morning.  It must have been summertime as the Gulmohar trees were in full bloom. The crimson red and yellow flowers in their unique bunch formation were mesmerising, to father-daughter alike. 

My father offered to pluck a tiny branch for me so that I got a nice bunch. It made me so happy. I took it proudly to school and gave it to my favourite teacher. Some students would get packaged roses and fancy flowers to woo their favourite teachers. I thought my bunch of Gulmohar was more precious that any of them. I don’t know if the teacher thought the same way.

25 years down the line, I walk my 3 year old son to school in the morning. Enroute he spots a flower lying upside down on the street. It is a gorgeous shade of frangipani (Indian name champa). He picks it up and the flower is in perfect condition. I suggest maybe he would like to give it Ms. Tina, his favourite teacher. He lights up at the suggestion and carries it very carefully all the way to school. He spots her from far away as he enters the school gate and shouts out “ Ms. Tiiiinaaaa!!”. His arm is outstretched and he is holding out the flower for her to see. He runs up to her and gives her the flower. Ms. Tina accepts it graciously and as she looks at me, there’s this wide grin of pure joy on her face.

And just like that, a cycle is completed. From father-daughter to mother-son. Or maybe it isn’t and my son will carry it forward. 


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

I am sorry, I messed up

Stellar men with a deadly combination of talent and success. Making big blunders at their career peak. Being dragged through more mud that any person of their calibre should have to. That they are guilty is un-mistakable. Yet they keep fighting, scheming, lying, resisting. When the hammer finally comes down, they (will) plead like lambs for mercy.

Rajat Gupta, Sanjay Dutt, Narendra Modi, Salman Khan

All heroes in their own way. Yet, in face of a real crisis, they lost basic integrity and humility. The very values we keep expect (even demand) from our toddlers.

If my Hero messed up, all I would want is for him to say “I am sorry”. To have the courage to own up to his mistakes, accept consequences and, move on with grace.

If this is what our Heroes are going to look like, how much worse are we going to be ?

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Body Beautiful

A clear hot water spring.

            Pebbles underneath.

Blue sky above.

            Pine forests ahead.

Stark naked.

            Immersed in hot spring water.

My body is beautiful.

            Just the way it is.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Sarfaraz and Rajan

Once upon a time there was a zealous 23 year old, eager to start working and be a small part of the change she wanted to see around her.

She volunteered at a slum for one month, spending her days with the kids there, helping them prepare for a community event that an NGO was trying to put together.

Amongst the 30 odd kids in the room, two 10-year old boys stood out to her. Sarfaraz and Rajan. They were the best of friends while their family background couldn’t be more different.

One from a well-knit cohesive nuclear family caring deeply for each other and striving to raise their odds of success in life,.  The boy was a bright student, well-dressed, gentle and loving.

The other came from a house where the father married multiple times. Surrounded by step sibings and missing his mother, the boy had a wild streak and a razor-sharp mind.

Their friendship was unique. The common bond seemed to be their love for learning. Boy, were they hungry to learn.

I adored Sarfarz and Rajan. And I think they liked me alright too. We spent many hours together, practicing for their performance for the event. They welcomed me to their home and we once went on an outing to the science museum together with my mother. They were thrilled. So was I. My parents were scared for me, uncertain about the waters I was charting.

I moved on to my professional life. Sarfarz and Rajan managed to keep in touch.  They had my parent’s landline number and would call my mother to find out contact details as I changed numbers and cities.

Their slum was relocated some 70 kms away from city centre in a drive to beautify the city area. It disrupted their families. One was sent off to Hyderabad to work in a leather unit with his cousin. The other’s mother was forced to return to her village while the men tried to make ends meet in the city.  Going to school meant a 3 hour commute each way, changing multiple buses and lots of walking. None of them managed to complete their high school.

And then they stopped calling. I don’t know how to get in touch with them and probably don’t have the courage to.

I had the chance to touch their lives and I didn’t live up to it.  I am too snug in my cocoon. I wonder what it will take to make me snap out of it.

I do miss you, my little brothers. Call your Didi, will you?

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Friends- here, there, everywhere

As we grow older, it can seem harder to make new friends. It certainly did to me.

Until I realised that it was my own limiting assumptions that was making it harder.

Ass#1 A friend is a person who you meet regularly and stays in the same city as you. 

I now take it as given that close friends will touch your life at certain points and then move away. But the friendship will stay alive, no what which part of the world (or beyond). You will always feel its warmth for it added something meaningful to your life.

Ass#2 A friend is a person of similar age group.

I am blessed to have bonds of friendship with people ranging from 6 year olds to 90 yrs old. It now feels like a tragic loss to only have friends of your own age. So much more fun and interesting to bond one-on-one with people across age groups.

Ass#3 A friend is a person.

In Bangkok, my earliest and closest friend is Lumpini Park. No matter what mood I enter the park in, when I step out, my mood is definitely better. Sometimes a mere 5%, sometimes a 100%. If that isn't friendship, what is?


I no longer find it hard to make new friends. My friends are spread across the world, across age-groups, inside human bodies and outside of them. I treasure my friendships and continue to make new ones.

Bedtime conversations

Time on clock: 8 ish pm

Scene : Lying down on the bed, lights off, arms locked around each others necks.

Mama: I love Kabbu

Kabbu: I love Megha (Mom)

Kabbu: I love Waj (Dad)

Kabbu: I love Bimla Didi (Nanny)

Kabbu: I love Bike

Kabbu: I love Choc-cake

Kabbu: I love...

Kabbu: I love...

Mama: Ok, now go to sleep

Kabbu: No, Mama sleep. Kabbu is naughty.

I love putting you to bed, naughty Kabbu.