Amritsar

I should have written this post few months back, but better late than never. We went to Amritsar in December last year. It was a very abruptly planned trip as one of our common friends called me one day to ask if we would be interesting in going to Amritsar in December, she was getting their tickets booked. I said yes in a jest, and later shared it with husband. He was not very keen, but somehow I did not get our tickets cancelled as I wanted to wait till last moment for his mood to change. He was still as unexcited about the whole trip just the day before the trip, but somehow I decided to go ahead giving him the option of withdrawing if he wanted. Yes, that was a tough spot, and he had no choice but to relent and we set off to Amritsar on 23rd Dec. It was a three days trip. I have a colleague from Amritsar, and before the trip I had already taken a complete download from him on places to visit and places to eat! He had given me a handmade map of the entire town marking routes to the key places to hog!! So, in that sense it was a very well planned trip..:)

It was an overnight journey from Delhi to Amritsar. Since the other couple also have a daughter of the same age as K, the girls had a blast in the train. They were plonked on the upper birth with one of the papas, and they were just so excited that they refused to sleep. It took us a long time to put them to sleep.

We reached Amritsar at around 7 in the morning, and headed to the hotel in a cab. (Husband had booked a hotel pick up. Had I known that the hotel would be a 3 minutes’ drive from the railway station, I would have definitely stopped him and taken a large shared tempo instead!). We had to wait in the hotel lobby for the next few hours, as our room was booked only from 12 noon that day. The lobby was decorated with a big Christmas tree, and balloons and other X-mas decoration, and K and A (the other kid) were so excited to see all this, I had a total paisa vasool kind of feeling that very moment itself!

We had a lavish breakfast in the hotel restaurant. The spread was awesome with variety and taste. After a long time I enjoyed having such a great meal. Post that we checked into our rooms, and the first thing we did was switch on the TV. O my God! Half of the channels were Punjabi music channels. They have so many of them- all playing similar but fun music. I need to mention here that I saw the song 5 taara for the first time there only. I am a big fan of Diljit Dosanjh today..:) (Unable to link the song..dunno why)

The plan for the day was to visit the Golden Temple. So after having a nice warm bath we headed out to the Golden Temple. The hotel we were staying in – Ramada is in the middle of the city. The moment we stepped out, it was a different world altogether. Amritsar is a small but crowded city. My colleague had told me that it’s a very small city, but I got the real perspective after visiting the city. Contrary to my expectation, it is actually a very small place. I had thought that since it is such an old city and with so much religious importance, it would be a decently large place.

It was a bright sunny day and the street in front of the hotel was lined up with e-Rickshaws and Cycle rickshaws. We took a rick for Golden Temple. Due to the long weekend- the roads were jam packed, it seemed as if the whole of north India had marched to the holy city. On our way to the Golden Temple, we discovered Bhrawan or Brothers Dhaba. This was on the top in my list of places to eat. Since we were quite hungry, so we decided to get down and have lunch at the dhaba. Yes, we completely ignored the guilt of eating before going to pray, and made our way to the dhaba. Just like the streets, even this place was jam packed. It’s a fairly big joint, but there was no place to sit. It was crowded to the neck. After a waiting of some 15 minutes, we got a table to sit and we ordered food. I do not remember now what all we ordered, but yes Saag and Paneer bhurji were two items I remember eating. Saag was quite a disappointment, but the Paneer bhurji was to die for! After force feeding the kids, who were totally distracted by the colored saunf (Fennel seeds) and filling ourselves to brim, we headed to the temple.

Golden Temple

The area around the temple was also super crowded. We managed to deposit our shoes in the designated area and made our way to the temple. This was the first time I was visiting a Gurdwara, and I was quite looking forward to the experience. At the temple entrance there is a small water reservoir. Everyone was supposed to dip the feet into that before entering the temple. I so loved this idea, and the other thing I noticed, which I was to see a lot more as I explored the temple, was the presence of some sikh volunteers at this gate, who were guiding people on where to go, and reminding them that they could not enter the temple bare headed. I had heard a lot about Golden Temple that it feels different than our regular temples, and it offers peace like no other place. The moment I entered the temple, I knew what it meant. The sight of the temple is so beautiful, even prettier than what we see in pictures. A golden and white shrine in the center of a large water body (the sarovar), it looks nothing less than divine. The place is clean. I mean really clean. We did a parikrama of the sarovar and reached the entrance of the path connecting to the main temple. The temple looks beautiful from all angles, no matter where you stand around the sarovar. The water of the sarovar is clean. So clean that you can actually see colorful fishes swimming across. People sit around some dedicated areas around the sarovar and pray. The sight is so soothing, one can spent hours sitting there just soaking in the beauty of the beautiful temple and hundreds of devotees thronging the shrine to offer prayer. Though there must have been at least thousand people there in the temple at that time, still the place was not chaotic. There was a sense of sincerity in everything going about there. There is no security at the temple entrance. That was a quite surprising for me, because few months ago I had visited Akshardham Temple in Delhi, and I was amazed at the level of frisking and checking at the main gate. This place, which is of much more historical and religious importance had a free entry for all without anyone checking the crowd entering the temple. Given the fact that it is so close to the border, it made me wonder even more. Then I realized that may be such is the devotion and belief of the Sikh community in the shrine that they are not worried about any external agency attempting to meddle with the peace of this place.

This is my first view of the temple:

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Another view at around 4 in the evening, isn’t it simple wow!:

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When we reached the entrance to the temple- a long passage which connects to the temple, there was a long queue, and it was moving very slowly. We did stand in the queue, but gave up after some time as kids were getting impatient. Then someone told us that for people with kids there is another queue, and one parent is allowed to go inside the temple along with a baby/ toddler through the exit route. We decided to come back to the temple later in the evening and headed for the hotel.

The area outside the temple is full of shops selling local goods like Punjabi Jootis, chaat corners, kripaan and other memorabilia, papad wadis etc. There was some major public construction going on, because the whole of the city was dug up, making it look more chaotic than normal. In the evening I put K to sleep and husband was not too keen to come, so I along with the other couple headed to the temple. It was equally crowded at this time too. However, the moment we entered the temple complex we realized that we had taken the right decision to visit it at night. If during day the place looks mesmerizingly peaceful, at night time the view is even more captivating. With lights all around and the reflection of the well-lit temple in the water, the view is absolutely breathtaking. Easily one of the most beautiful sights I have seen. I felt like just occupying a corner and sitting there for hours soaking in the beauty of the place.

Ignore the quality of the picture, it was taken with my phone camera. The water is so clear that even at night the colourful fishes are clearly visible in the water!

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Here is another view:

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We did the mandatory parikrama clicking pictures all along and this time gained entry into the temple through the exit. It was already about 9 30, time for the holy book to be taken back to Akal Takht for the night, in a palanquin. We were lucky that we got a chance to view this spectacle from so close. Devotees were thronging over to touch the holy book once. After that we did a round of the inside of the temple and came out. Now here is when I noted the best part about the temple. The moment the entourage left the temple carrying the holy book in the palanquin, an army of young men immediately took up the job of clearing the temple. They started picking up the mats etc which had been laid down to protect people from the cold floor. They started cleaning the whole complex with brooms and wipers, and all this was happening with such mechanical efficiency and dedication that I was really amazed. I had never seen this in any other holy place! The most appreciable part was that all these volunteers were so polite in their demeanor, they did not ask anyone to leave the temple as it was getting closed. People could still sit there for whatever time they wanted. Even when people go inside the shrine for darshan during regular hours, I did not see any priest or anyone asking them to hurry up and make way for others. No. Women were crowding the place and sitting inside with small babies, others were just being careful. No one was asking anyone to just hurry up and exit the temple like the way it happens in many Hindu temples I have been to. It was really a pleasant surprise.

Even when we were standing outside the shrine wondering where to get the kaadha pershaad from, a volunteer came to us and very smilingly helped us. The other time when we were wondering how to get inside with the little kids, another one offered help and they were so nice and polite with us. I really admired the genuine dedication and sincerity of these volunteers. It felt as if they were there out of their own will and devotion and not because they had been asked/ forced to do any kind of seva. This was the highlight of the visit to Golden Temple for me.

Another thing which I really appreciated was the fact that no pershaad/ flowers etc are allowed inside the temple. So it is much cleaner than other places. You buy the pershaad outside and offer it outside the temple only. By the time I came out of the temple, I was mighty impressed.

Post the temple visit, we headed to the city to eat something. So from a nearby shop- a really small one, we bought some jalebis, and then reached Bhrawan da dhaba. We were scared that it might be closed, but it was jam packed at 11 in the night also. We had to wait for some 10 minutes to get a place, and the food arrived in flat 10 minutes! This time we had ordered a thaali- which had pindi chole and one more dish and tandoori roti, and bang! It was one of the most awesome meal I had had in a long time. It completely justified the craze for the place, and why it is so famous. After filling ourselves to the nose, we headed back to the hotel.

We went to Jallianwaala Bagh the next day. However, before that we again paid a visit to the Golden Temple. The idea was that husband wanted to do the darshan. But it was too crowded, so we just managed to visit till the sarovar and came out. But good part was we got to view the temple at all times of the day. It looks different but equally beautiful at all hours.

Jallianwaala Bagh is situated around 300 meters from the Golden temple. It is actually a very small ground. The entrance to the bagh is the same as it was when the tragedy happened in 1919. As I have said earlier, the whole town was dug up, especially the area around Jallianwaala Bagh, so it was even more chaotic and crowded. Inside it is like any other government maintained park, except for the well and the area where they still have the bullet marks preserved and marked. The well has been covered with an iron grill now up to the top. While looking at the well-marked bullet shots, I did get goosebumps for a while! One tends to imagine what the sight would have been, hundreds of unarmed innocent people trying to escape, save their lives from the armed policemen. There is a small museum also inside the bagh. It is just a small gallery with cemented floor and very badly maintained interiors, with pictures of some of the people who either survived the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre or are related to the event in some way. Each picture carries a description, which is pretty detailed. However, I was pretty disappointed with the sad state the museum is in. The government can do a much better job here. It looks pretty neglected. Infact, for that matter the whole of Jallianwalla Bagh looks pretty ill maintained. The authorities can definitely maintain it better.

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Surprisingly the gate to the Bagh is still the same. There is only one entry, and the size of the entrance is also the same. It is actually a pretty small entrance.

Post this, we spent the rest of the shopping. As I said earlier that our hotel was in middle of the town, so we just had to step out and we were in middle of the main market. We explored the market on foot. Shops after shops of phulkari, Punjabi jutis, woolens and papad wadia. It was such a great feeling meandering through the narrow lanes of the market dotted with innumerable small shops brimming with colorful phulkari. No malls can compare with the vibrancy of small town markets. They have a different smell, a different feel altogether. Innumerable narrow lanes dotted with hundreds of shops, some of which are too narrow to even accommodate not more than 2 persons at a time, sometimes the entire lane is covered by a marquee and entangled electric wires that even the sky is not visible. It was fun roaming through the old market. We eventually stepped into a woolens shop. The friend wanted to buy some shawls, and I also ended up picking two. Then we bought some more woolens and eventually the friend bought a lot of phulkari dress material. My best buy there was the Punjabi juti. I had never owned a pair before, but on insistence of my friend bought two pair. Not only do they look beautiful, but they are also quite comfortable to wear and pocket friendly.

After that we went back to the hotel and ordered food from some Surjit food plaza. Aha! It was pure bliss. We had fish, tandoori chicken and dal tadka I guess. O my God, it tasted heavenly. Highly recommended if you ever visit the city. After a sumptuous meal we called it a day.

The next day was our last day in the town. In the morning we went to Durgayana Temple. It is made similar to the Golden temple. Not a great place to visit if you are not very religious. Then we had planned for a trip to Wagah border. We were not very sure how this would pan out because we had kids with us and people told us that there is a walk of around one km to the venue. However, going back without paying a visit to the border sounded like a crime, so we booked a hotel cab, got VIP passes arranged through husband’s friend and headed to the Wagah Border. I was not very keen on watching the parade show. I was keener on having a glimpse of the other side of the border. I know it is highly impossible that I will ever get a chance to visit Pakistan in this lifetime, and given my interest in History of partition it is on the top of my to visit places. Therefore, this seemed like a dream come true for me. To say that I was super excited would be an understatement.

We reached there and got a seat in the VIP aisle. The atmosphere there is electrically charged. There is a BSF guy, very fit and tall, who acts like a master of ceremony and guides people to shout Indian slogans. Bollywood patriotic numbers are blaring on music system and the atmosphere is simply electrifying!! For a moment a deluge of patriotism engulfs you. It feels as if by shouting Vande Matram and Bharat maata Ki Jai! you are actually doing some great service to the nation!! It is like a screaming match, similar slogans are shouted from the other side and obviously we have to win..:) Also, on the Indian side, this ceremony master invites women and children to come on the passage between the stands and dance as well. This does not happen on the Pakistani side. Then there is the parade ceremony, which I did not find very interesting. Yes, but it’s a must visit place as the energy there is unparalleled. The place has a feel and that cannot be missed. I loved the visit to the Wagah border. Somehow it made me think about the whole partition thing and how it feels so weird that just 29 km further from Wagah is Lahore and many other villages and towns which so many Indians long to visit.

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We had our return journey the same day. So after returning to the hotel, we picked up our luggage and headed to the railway station.

Honestly speaking, when I was in Amritsar, I did not know that I would write so fondly about the trip so many months after coming back from there. But now when I look back, I feel that it was one of the most enjoyable trips of my life. I really loved the warmth of the place. Its small but the city has a character. There are a couple of episodes which I must mention here. On one of our cycle rickshaw trips to the Golden Temple, I asked the rickshaw wala about any place where we could get authentic papads etc. Another rickshaw wala passing by overheard me, and without even me asking, started telling in Punjabi where I can get blankets from. Then our rickshaw wala said..”O ni puch re..papad wadian puch re si..”. That was so cute. This can only happen in a small town…J

Then while travelling by the e-rickshaw, we met a lady. She could figure out that we were tourists. She smiled at the kids, and started asking us where were we from, where we were staying, and started telling about herself. These casual, unguarded conversations can only happen in small towns.

I would always remember this trip all my life. Infact I plan to revisit the Golden Temple whenever I get another chance.

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Kids having some fun in the hotel room when mommies were out shopping:

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Lollipop

I have chosen this topic so that I can document some of Kavya’s recent antics here. Till now I have always refrained from giving toffees or chocolates to Kavya. Once in a while was ok, but I never encouraged her to have any. When she turned around 2, we also made a story around how a monkey eats too many chocolates and ends up at a dentist. Since she is generally a good kid, she never demanded too many of them. However, her recent visit to her Nanaji’s place changed things a bit. As part of the regular pampering she got to eat toffees, and that caught her fancy. Now, she demands toffees almost every day. And how she eats them, she keeps the toffee in her hand and keeps licking it till it becomes too tiny. Then also, she has to be forced to put the remains in her mouth and finish. So day before yesterday, she was throwing some tantrum at my in-laws place, and they immediately gave her a toffee. When she asked for more, we said that we will get you more from the market- later on. Kavya, generally understands logic. She very innocently repeated “Jab dadaji maaket jayenge, tab laayenge aul toffee”. My MIL was totally touched, and decided that the kid needs to be given more toffees. (That was actually a very cute statement by Kavya. It is generally easy to make her understand things, which I am scared may also sometimes work against her). This was a reward for her innocence.

Also, since she had seen Kavya eating the toffee the way she did, she had a brainwave. She called my FIL, who was in market to get her some lollipops. Logic being that, it has a stick, and it will prevent her from messing her hands. I tried to stop her, but she gave the usual, “bachche hi to hain, ab nahi khayenge to kab khayenge” argument. So in some time Kavya had a lollipop in her hands. To say that she was thrilled would be an understatement. She had never seen a lollipop before, so she was delighted to have a toffee with a stick. She devoured it for around 30 minutes. The whole time she was just concentrating on licking it and nothing else. Just roaming around the room, eating it, and periodically showing it to me.

She called it lollipok in the beginning..:D. The child thoroughly enjoyed her first lollipop experience. I am sure she is going to ask for more in the coming days, but since she already understands cause and effect to a certain extent now, it should not be very difficult for us to keep her away from too many sweets.

This also reminds me of one more incident which happened around a month back. I took her to market, and she demanded a toffee. I generally buy gems for her, as she is very fond of them. So I gave her a packet of gems. She immediately started eating them. On our way back, we crossed a paanwaala. He had some toffee jars on his counter. Kavya looked at them and said “ Mumma, vo dekho toffee. Toffee khane se to daant khalaab ho jaate hain. Gems se to nahi hote..hai na..” with a big grin. It was such a lovely moment. Both my maid and I started laughing. She said it so innocently and cutely…J Kids are super cute at times.

Turning 3 has been a period of growth spurt for Kavya. She has suddenly grown up in the past one month. Her speech is clearer and her reasoning has improved considerably. She can make logical sentences in English too. She explains herself almost perfectly, and sometimes it feels as if I am talking to an adult. She is still saying cute things, but I can see my child growing. She has a mind of her own, and is clear on what she wants. Like the other day she came back from school, and I asked her to change her clothes. She said no. When I asked why, she replied “Kyunki mujhe kapde change karna achcha nahi lagta, mujhe khelna achcha lagta hai”!

Today she was telling husband- after pee pee- “Papa, maine appko bata diya ki mujhe susu aayi hai. Ab main bali ho gayi. Pehle main jab choti thin a, to pajama mein hi kal deti thi..”..:)

She generally talks to me in English. And I am amazed at the rate at which she has picked up the language. We are mainly Hindi speaking people at home, but at school she only gets to hear English. She has picked up very well, and I give all the credit for this to her teachers. Today she said, “Mumma, take out my clips (from her hair), then I will become a boy”, I said no baby, you will still be a girl. She said firmly.” No boys don’t put clips, so I will be a boy”…:)

Whenever she wants to do something- she says-“Shall we do this?” “Mumma, Shall we go to the park”..”Shall I climb on your head..”…:) In hindi it becomes- “kya main ye khaa loon”…” kya main ye gira doon..”…:)

Another favorite of her these days is – asking questions. She asks so many questions, that sometimes it becomes funny. And she has to know everything. Whatever is happening around her, she has to be aware. If the bell rings, she invariably has to go and check at the door. If the maid says something- like she is not well etc, Kavya verifies with me- “Mumma, Manooshi aunty ko kya hua?” On the road, she keeps asking me, “ye kiska ghar hai”, when I say- 1 uncle ka, next question “Unka naam kya hai”- so I read the name plate and reply..:D Sometimes, I make up names, it is so funny. She knows all the major landmarks from her school to home by heart now. “Mumma, hum..xyz chowk aa gaye”…”Mumma, vo dekho Fortis hospital”..”Vo dekho Max Hospital” She has a special fondness for hospitals. The other day she was trying to understand a U turn. We have to take a U turn to each home, she just did not get why I tell the autowallah every time to take a U turn. She would say ..”Mumma, kahan hai U? Ye to T hai”, referring to a big T on a billboard..:)

For the first time in these 3 years I felt her growing so fast. She is moving from being a cute toddler to a school going girl now…:) I hope to write more posts on Kavya in the marathon. It’s a great opportunity to chronicle her most fun years here.

 

Birthday

We celebrated Kavya’s birthday at my parents’ place this time. We stay in an independent house in Gurgaon. Her 2nd birthday last year was quite a boring affair for the kid as all kids we knew were either older to her or too young than her; and everyone had come with their parents. So it was more of a gathering for parents than kids. Also, I made a wrong choice of cake- a photo cake with Chota Bheem, and it turned out so dull that I decided never to order a photo cake ever in my life.

This year Kavya’s spring break started from 19th March. I was planning to celebrate her birthday in Gurgaon and then leave for my parents’ place the next day. However, when I started making the guest list, I realized that the scene would almost be similar to last year’s. She still does not have many kids her age in the colony (the ones that are there, I hardly know them), and the other option of calling all her school friends was beyond budget (for reasons I will elaborate some other time).

So I had this brainwave, of celebrating the third birthday at my parents place. Husband also found it ok, and we came to my hometown on the 19th to celebrate the birthday here on 20th. This colony has around 25 kids who may not be same age as Kavya but are in that good age group- where they make birthday parties fun. I had seen their gathering at the Navratri Kanya Poojan in the past, and was sure that Kavya would enjoy having so many kids for her birthday.

We celebrated her simple yet fun birthday party here, with a not so good looking but nevertheless tasty Tweety cake, and some basic snacks. The kids were a riot, as they came laden with birthday presents that reminded me of my own childhood, when a tiffin box/ pencil box were the favorite gifts to carry…J

Kavya had lots of fun getting all the attention. Husband played some games with the kids, and then we proceeded to cake cutting followed by snacks. Kavya very confidently blew the candle and also cut the cake without any help from me. She looked quite delighted. She was heard telling other kids- “Aaj tumhara Birthday nahi hai..mera birthday hai!!”

However, I was not aware that snacks here mean, that kids await their return gifts and then rush back home!! So after snack time, they started demanding their return gifts which were small goody bags. The moment I distributed those, the bachcha party disappeared!! I was amazed..:D  I literally had to run behind some to make them pose for a group photo…J

Anyway, overall it turned out a fun birthday party for Kavya.

She had asked for a Mickey Mouse cake for her birthday celebrations at school. Actually I had pestered her for months asking which two cakes she would want for her birthday. I gave her a couple of options, and she chose Tweety and a Fairy cake. Since she does not watch any cartoons, she is not acquainted with any characters in particular. I guess she liked these two names and decided. However, just before her birthday there was another birthday in school and she saw a Minnie Mouse cake. So the fairy cake was replaced by a Minnie Mouse cake. I played smart and instead of going for a full-fledged cake in shape of Minnie Mouse, I ordered a simple gems chocolate cake with a Minnie figurine on top..:) She enjoyed the cake and later the toy!

This year I plan to buy a cycle for her. I bought a tricycle for her when she was not even 2. But she hardly rode it. Even now I am not sure if she would be interested in riding one. In the park she tries to explore other children’s cycles, but if she would show any interest in her own cycle is not very clear to me. Anyway, I think I will still buy one for her…J

Also, this post is not complete without a mention of her lovely yellow frock which I bought from Faye.in. I discovered this site before her first birthday, and this was the third time in a row that I got her birthday dress from here. They have a lovely collection, prices slightly on the higher side, but amazing stuff.

Here is the picture in which I could manage to have less than half of the total junta:

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Day 15- A late post

I could not post yesterday. It was a very busy day and by the time K went to sleep, I was dead tired to do anything. However, I will write two posts today to be back on the track.

As I mentioned earlier, few days ago my mother was here. She had come only for a day to get her health check up done. Since her phone was not working properly, she was using my phone to make any calls, or to send wassap messages to my sister who had just delivered a baby. Now, K uses my phone a lot to listen to the rhymes on the Nursery Rhymes application. Its just a set of rhymes with a picture each, so I am kind of ok giving her my phone for that (not happy though, but that distraction helps sometimes). When she saw that phone was in my mom’s hands most of the time, she got a bit afraid, as she considers it her property! So when mum was sending some message using my phone, she came to me said in a complaining tone..”phone naani…”. Then the clever girl picked up husband’s kindle, and went to mom saying..”Naani…papa ka kitaab lelo…”..:D She thought if naani has to take something, be it papa’s book, that way at least she will get the phone back! I was very surprised. This was the first time she had shown so much reasoning. Till now her thinking and communication seemed linear. But she could come up with something with applied logic, was a totally new thing!

Also, she has now started making stories. As in she can say sentences based on her imagination, not only the ones we say, but she comes up with stuff on her own. Its very funny  most of the times.

Another major thing that has happened in the past few days is, K has now somewhat learnt to wear her payjama. Yes, she was trying for past couple of days, and yesterday she wore her payjama on her own!..:) These firsts are so encouraging and feel good!

Day 8- K Updates

Its been a long time since I chronicled stuff about K. She is about to turn 2 in March. Time really flies. It seems it was just yesterday we celebrated her first birthday, and we are already thinking about her second birthday now! K is learning new things every day. Mainly in the area of communication. She started speaking early, and now can not only frame complete sentences, but also joined sentences..like “papa ke saath bua ke ghar jaayenge” or “ Mumma, flavuch (flowers) vaai book padhado”. Sometimes she makes funny sentences or funny correlations and we are in splits. Capturing stuff I remember from last few days here before I forget:

  1. Last week I was dropping her to my In-Laws’ place when I went to office. When I came back in the evening to pick her up, my MIL would say bbye to her and add – “kal milna” (meet us tomorrow). Third day, when we entered the lift, K said..bye bye daadi..”kau minnaa”…(she still cannot say L)..My MIL for once could not understand, then I told her she is just repeating what you say everyday…:)
  2. Touch wood, I am not complaining, but K’s pastime is eating or talking about food. Even when she is not hungry and she hears someone talking about any food item, she immediately starts demanding that. So we have to be very careful while taking names like Orange, Chocolate, pastry, grapes, cheese..etc. Infact, sometimes when I tell her..”K ..main tumhe ek cheez deti hun” (K let me give you something), she immediately rushes towards the refrigerator asking for cheese. So I have to be very careful! I sing a song for her- which has a line..”kaun kehta hai bhagwaan aate nahi…” ..”kaun kehte hain bhagwaan khaate nahi..”.. etc…whenever I start singing that song, she immediately starts saying..”kaun kehte hai bhagwaan khaate nai”…she just wants to listen to the “khaate” part..! I gave her Chawanprash the other day. She liked it so much, that after finishing one spoon, she comes back to me..Mumma doosha. (give me another spoonful). Eating and talking about food is her favourite activity.
  3. She already has preferences for her clothes. These days due to winters I make her wear multiple layers. One day I made her wear a jacket. She loved it so much, that from day onwards, she started demanding that she be given only jackets to wear, not sweaters. When I tried to make her wear a sweater, she just refused and stared saying..jacket pehnegi! I was really surprised, such a small kid, and already has her own preferences.
  4. Similarly, one day I made her wear her pants and then socks. I somehow felt that the socks might be pressing too much against her skin, so I asked .”tight to nahi hai?”. I knew she does not know the meaning of tight, but still I said it. After few days, I again made her wear something like this. She looked at me and said..”Mumma, Tight to nai hai?”..:D She had understood the meaning of what I said the other day and was smart enough to use it at the right place..:)
  5. After the “Lakhan” joke, about which I have written here; we narrated the incident to a couple of friends and family members. K was listening every time we talked about it and laughed. She gathered that something was not ok with what she had said. After that, when husband asked her again..”K..One two ka four..four two ka one..My name is…?” K said..”My name is Kaava Puitha” ..:D We were so surprised; her little brain had done the analysis that saying Lakhsn here was something funny, so she immediately jumped to the answer she thought was appropriate..:D
  6. She can now recognize Gandhiji and Modi. So she opens my purse, takes outs currency notes and says ..”Mumma, Gandhiji lelo..”..:D. The other day we were crossing a signal, and there was a huge hoarding of Modi with the Haryana CM, she looked at it and shouted..Modi Ji..Modi Ji..:D
  7. However, she is also becoming more naughty and adamant with every passing day. Its very difficult to make her listen to what is being said. Whenever I try to scold her, or direct her to do something like picking up her toys from the floor etc, she totally ignores me and carries on with whatever she is doing, pretending as if I do not exist at all! This is scary. I need to learn the mechanism of handling her soon, otherwise I may be a troubled mommy soon!
  8. She starts her preschool on coming Monday. I am quite excited about it. With the maid gone, I am very happy that she will be away for 2-3 hours, which means that many less hours to keep her occupied! Apparently the play school is one of the best in Gurgaon. I have read some great reviews about it; so hopefully, she will learn some good stuff there and more importantly enjoy herself.

That is it for today..see you guys tomorrow with a new post. I should do a picture post sometime. I have never tried that.

Day 7- Radio

We never listened to radio in our home. This I am talking of my parents home. There was a radio of very old model, which my nanaji gifted to my mum in her wedding, but by the time we grew up, it was mostly defunct, and barring when I was really very small (in nursery I guess); I do not have any memory of it being played at home. In 1990 I guess, my dad bought a 2 in 1. Yes this is what a cassette player was called back then. this was only used for listening to cassettes, and I do not remember ever playing the radio on it. (there was no FM back then, and Akaashvaani was never that interesting!).

I actually listened to radio when I moved to Noida in 2004. I was here for job, and since it was a very low paying job, we did not have a TV in our flat. I was sharing the pad with two other girls, and one of them had a small radio, with a wooden frame. I still had a Nokia 3315, which did not have radio in it. So I would get a chance to listen to FM on my way to work, whatever the bus driver played, and then in the evening after coming back from work, at home. Before going to bed, I would listen to the late night edition, where they played old Hindi film songs. It was a beautiful experience. It was a daily ritual for me, to listen to “Purani Jeans” (this is what the program was called), before dozing off. I remember, they would play this song almost every alternate day, and I would never get tired of listening to it…it is one of my all time favourites:

After an year in Noida, I moved to Chennai for further studies, and radio was gone from my life for another two years (The hostel in Chennai had a 24 hours internet, so those two years were dedicated to sitcoms and movies!). I again began listening to the radio when I moved to Bangalore for job. While commuting the headphones were always on, and I would savour the latest music on FM. Somehow, when I moved to Delhi 5 years ago, FM suddenly vanished from my life. the work here was so stressful, that I would never switch to FM even while commuting. We did not have a radio at home, so practically, I lost all touch with music on radio. When i switched jobs, I was a given a Blackberry from office, and though I would do a two hours commute each way every day, I did not have the option of listening to any FM. BB is a totally professional phone with no radio!

All this while, I always missed the presence of radio in my day to day life. While one can listen to music on a music system also, or these days through a pen drive on a computer/ in a car as well, but there is something about listening to music on radio that none of these experiences can match. Radio lets you go with the flow, you can just relax and listen to what is being offered to you, rather than channelling your mind and deciding what to listen to. There is a different kind of fun in that. You set your mood according to the song. You do not know what is coming next, and that keeps the interest on. Sometimes a totally forgotten number would play, and you are transported to a different world altogether; sometimes something dhinchak would play, and for a moment you are relieved of all your tensions. That is the magic of radio. It creates for a good background while going about your household chores. The mellifluous songs, just fill in the empty spaces and you feel you have someone to give you company. For me, its a big stress buster. And I got back this happiness in my life, when a month back, husband bought home a new set of speakers, which has radio as well as USB port in it. When I switched on FM, I realized that I had been missing such an important thing in my life. These varied genre of songs throughout the day, give me so much happiness. The sound of music has made our living room so much more lively. The first thing I do after coming from office is switching on FM. The music starts, and so do my household chores, all in sync with the beautiful music in the background!

Day 3- A day well spent

Before I forget, I need to chronicle this here:

K is very fond of songs, Husband and I both sing a lot of songs for her. One of them is “One two ka four…four two ka one…my name is Lakhan..” from Ram Lakhan. She kind of knows these songs now and very often sings them herself. The other day, at my In- law’s place, my MIL asked K to say her name…in order to make her say it properly, MIL said..”aapka naam kya hai?…bolo my name is….”…and K promptly jumped and said..Lakhan!!!

MIL was surprised, then I explained to her…this is what she knows about “My name is..” and all of us burst in to a laughter! Kids are so innocent and cute…J

We had a good day today. I was finally able to take an interview as a volunteer for one of the partition survivor for- 1947partitionarchive.org. I will blog about it in detail in some later post. However, the only thing which I felt after the interview was, the experience which it gave me. I was humbled to say the least. We crib about our lives day in and day out, I was really shaken by the first-hand experience of an elderly uncle who migrated from Narowal, Pakistan to India in 1947.  They have seen what is called struggle. What we define as our difficult life is a cake walk in front of that. I am yet to compile the video and the complete content in order, and share it with the archive; but I am already looking forward to another interview which I plan to conduct in January itself. A schools friend’s naani is a partition survivor and stays in Delhi. I am so thankful for social connectivity these days. I could touch base with so many of my school friends to give me references if they had any. While I am no more active on FB, I re-logged into it just to touch base with people for this purpose only.

So first half today I travelled all the way to East Delhi to complete my interview. Second half we went to a friend’s place, who are expecting their first child. We went there with another couple friend who have a daughter of same age as K. It was fun, except for the later part when husband started getting irritated, because we were not sticking to the so called time limit we had set for ourselves. Overall, it is fun being in happy company. And yes, we also played antakshari while coming back. Ha1 after so long I played antaakshari. It was fun for whatever time it lasted, as K started getting cranky, and I had to sing her choice of songs in loop.

Anyway, that’s all for today. I would be going to office starting tomorrow, for this complete week. I am hopeful, that I will get time to write more meaningful posts starting tomorrow.

cheers