Monday, August 27, 2007

Herbivore or Carnivore?

If there's one debate that stirs up as much passion in the desi community, as maybe the composition of the Indian cricket team - its this. Veggie or Non Veggie?

And I cant understand the reason why. You eat what you like, I eat what I like. Why is it up for public debate??

What peeves me even more is the subtle conversion that people attempt to make. Like this comment I often hear, "you must give your child chicken - how else will he get protein?" Errr sir - you obviously havent heard of soya bean and its protein content. Dal perhaps?. Or this one "veggies have no taste". What? Its chicken that has no taste - thats why you need to smother it with masalas.

Or the other way round, " you people eat meat - see whats happening around the world. Mad cow disease, avian flu.... you meat eaters deserve this!" Really? And do vegetarians deserve genetically modified veggies and pesticides?" No really nobody deserves that. Or "you people eat like animals - you will become like animals". Erm...growl!!! :)

I say, laissez faire!! Lets treat each other like adults - let each one decide what they want to eat. What they want their kids to eat. And let the kids decide for themselves what they want to eat. Like this couple I know come from a very strict veggie family. They have now started eating chicken. However, when their parents come over you're not even supposed to say the C word in their presence.

Ok, parents I still get. You dont want to hurt their feelings. And parents can really guilt trip you all the way to the moon and back. You dont want that.
But your own wife? Hubby and his friend have spent many bachelor evenings together chomping down on KFC. Both bachelors, both had nothing to do in the evenings. Now this guy's wife comes over for dinner (100% veg - cooked by moi) and gives hubby and me the biggest bhashan ever about the merits of veg food. I put on my most innocent expression and say "wow you really are into veg food". She replies, "yes me and my husband truly believe in it. He knows I dont like it - and he wont eat it because it will hurt me". Noble intentions my love. Though hubby still swears that the husband joins him regularly for lunch over a mean piece of lamp chops.

All jokes aside, I have to say this. Being a veggie in the US of A (or any other country) is tough. The food options you have outside are really limited. Only recently has McDonaldds added salads to its menu - though most of them come with chicken additives. I keep hearing about the fries having animal fat content. Even fruit yogurt is not safe - it has gelatin (which is made from animal hooves - yuck!! I know). You really have to plan for food - or carry your own food around. Not all cities have reasonable Indian restaurants serving reasonable Indian food. So its tough. Hats off to you for being so strong!

Edited to add: This one I would regularly hear amongst the desi folks. Our Indian team looses because we cant keep up, strength-wise with these other meat eating teams. You see our bowlers are vegetarian - how will they get the strength?
And I would be itching to add - Srinath and Kumble were the last vestiges of vegetarianism in the Indian team. Dont blame food habits for their losses.


What does one do?

With gifts that are so evidently unusable.

I have with me - a 20 piece dinner set which has a white centre. There is a 2 inch thick light blue vignette around the edge with dark blue roses on it. The quality of the set is just fine - its Corelle. I dont doubt the gifter's intention. But its just not my style.

Or for that matter - someone has gifted me a tea set. Me! A true blue Bambaiyya who likes to boil her tea with ginger till its golden and robust. I have been given a tea pot, with a sugar bowl and milk pot.

For these two - I hold no grudges. Maybe you didnt know my taste. Or my habits. That I can understand.

What I cant understand is this. A kids night lamp gifted to me - when sonny had 4 more months to spend inside of me - where he didnt need any night lamp. This lady's daughter had just celebrated her 2nd birthday and I know of 1 gift that she didnt use.
Or this one - its an acrylic bowl - with huge flowers painted on it. It is truly grotesque.
Or this show piece. It has a wrought iron kind of holder for a bowl that looks like crushed glass. The label says Manu & Distributed by XYZ India. Obviously someone bought this bowl with her to Canada - all the way from India. I know this woman's taste. She wouldnt have bought it for sure.

So then why do people gift others stuff - that they wouldnt themselves use? The obvious reasoning is - its a pass on gift. You get it from someone, you dont like it, so what do you do? You sit on it tight - till some sucker calls you over for dinner - and bingo - you pass the gift along. Oh yes, you make sure - she and the original gifter dont know each other - or someone might cotton onto your lil game.

I was fretting over these useless pieces that have arrived with the rest of our stuff, to hubby. In a typical Y chromosome style he says, "you have 2 options.
Option 1 - Chuck it. Throw it away. You dont like it - you're not going to use it. Option 2 - Gift it to someone else.
its not worth the time you are wasting thinking about it."

True. But of course neither option is acceptable to me. I am a born hoarder. It wrings my soul to throw away stuff. And for the life of me - I cannot see a day, where I will pass along stuff that I myself dont like.

What do you think I should do? Or maybe its not even wort putting up a post for.


Saturday, August 25, 2007


Has anyone seen this new ad featuring SRK no less. Its an ad for Emami Fair and Handsome. Its supposed to be a beauty cream for men!!! Holy Baloney!!

Yeah yeah I know men do use Fair & Lovely on the sly. I'm told fair men fetch a higher dowry.
But a beauty aid - specifically to get men fair???
And SRK promoting the product. Its differentiator allegedly is - thats its stronger than a 'womans' product and so more effective on the tough skin that men have.

Its not enough that we have ruined several generations of women. Making them believe that beauty (read fairness) and therefore happiness can be got out of a tube. And now we will mess with the minds of the men.

O well, alls fair in love, war and marketing!!


Timing is everything

There's this saying in Hindi "Samay se pehle aur naseeb se zyaada kuch nahin milta". Loosely translated it means - you will get what is meant for you at the moment it was ordained and as much as it was ordained.

And this statement is sooo true for sonny. His mom can spend days/weeks/months agonizing over something. But he will achieve that milestone - just when the time is right.

After religiously feeding him chicken stock or chicken bits at every meal, meal after meal and watching him spit it out each time. I finally gave up. And one fine day, when I casually put a piece in his mouth - there he was chomping it down.

He wouldnt touch the roti - preferring to eat just his khichdi - until one fine day he started eating just the roti - and abandoning the rice instead.

While all kids his age took their first independent steps at about a year, sonny preferred to wait until he was 15 months old. While his ma agonized and wrung her hands before pediatricians. And that too he waited for the day he knew his father would be out of town on business. For 4 days. And he just casually walked across the room. Turned back and saw his ma slump onto the floor ( o she is dramatic that way). And his father was crushed to know that his son chose this day to take his first steps - when he wasnt around. He's a mean fella - my sonny.

And while kids his age were saying baby words -he decided to keep maun-vrath (do no talking). And one day out of the blue told his father "you stay right here" ( do we hear his mom's echo here?). Just like that and sauntered off. That statement hasnt been repeated again. O and he told a kid at the pool "lets get out and play". While ma has been pleading to get a word out of this boy, some random kid is bestowed with a full sentence. A kid, who doesnt even understand his language. Didnt I tell you he was a mean fella?

So whats the point of this post? Timing. Sonny will do, eat, walk, speak, whatever, just when he wants. Mom can go blogging her woes. Sonny doeth when sonny wish-eth.

And so mommy here is readying herself for another milestone. Toilet training. Again, experts tell you - timing is everything. If he doesnt show readiness - let him be. Try again after a couple of weeks. Let the child decide.
Yeah yeah! I know that. Thats what I've been doing for the past 26 months.


This Virgo thingy

I have a strange relationship with Virgos. I manage to find them - no matter where I am. Its not like I am a believer of this sun-signs stuff. My sole recollection of Astrology is reading Bejan Daruwalla's weekly predictions in the Sunday Times, back in Mumbai. And that too - just for the heck. It would be forgotten even before breakfast was digested.

But this Virgo thing stuck to me. From the first day that I entered college - I was bench-mates (we shared the same bench/desk :) ) with a Virgo. And its a relationship that stood the test of time. And 16 years is a LOT of time. We've wept on each other's shoulders, jointly cursed the man who was responsible for the current condition, taken many silent walks on beaches - just being there for each other, became the anchor while the other went through a personal crisis, shared each other's good fortunes, bitched about other friends, complained about our moms, shared notes, shared secrets, shared crushes...... you know what I'm talking about.

And I think, she put this Virgo multiplier thingy onto me. Coz no matter where I went thereafter, there was a Virgo to look after me. A motherly Virgo boss, kindred Virgo office mates, Virgo clients...........and the icing to the cake was - a Virgo life partner.
So Aug 22- Sept 21 was a real busy time for me - I kept attending birthday party after birthday party.

So here's to all the Virgos in my life. Patient, meticulous, nit-picking, perfectionists, soft-hearted, emotional, passionate Virgos.

And today - the 2 very very very important Virgos in my life share their birthday. Hubby turns 33 today. And M, one of my dearest, closest, friends turns..... well how does it matter? She's as old as I am and its certainly less than 33 ;)

Happy birthday hubby darling. And happy birthday dearest M. I wish the 2 of you long lasting happiness and the love and companionship of this scatter brained, chaotic, laid-back Gemini for ever and ever (yes you two can never get away from me) ;)


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Home is....

What makes a home?

Is it the place where your home is? As in Mumbai is home for me. No matter what I am doing, if the news report says Mumbai, I rush to hear what it’s about. But I no longer live in Mumbai.

Is it the people you live with, that make your home? So then by that logic, we’ve stayed in some 5 cities in the last 15 months, each should feel like home to us. After all our family was together – and that’s all that should have mattered to get a home-like feeling.

Or is it the things that you have in your home? Your possessions, your belongings. The couch, the dining table, the lamps you fought and bought together. But then aren’t these things materialistic? Couches can break, tables can get old and lamps go out of style – and you get rid of them to get new ones. So, does that mean homes are recyclable? Renewable? Transient?

As I unpacked my belongings, I kept thinking. My table. My lamps. My clothes. Each article has a story. Where we bought it, how we transported it, where we used it, the deal we got on it (how can you forget that ?) Each piece of furniture, each scrap, each itty-bitty thing has a memory attached to it. Memories that we packed away and left in storage for 17 long months while we moved from place to place figuring out where we wanted to be, what we wanted to do.

And then it struck me – memories make up a home.

Memories of the place. The heat or the snow storm. The unusually hot day in Dec – when we took off to Boston Commons and saw the ice rink melt. The cold and windy day, we were to fly to India. The hospital where sonny was born.

Memories of the people you were with. Sonny’s first birthday in Schaumburg, Il. And how we shared his birthday cake with the hotel employees – the only people we knew there. The nurses on duty when sonny was born. The nurse who visited me home to teach me the breast-feeding technique.

Memories of your possessions. The scratch on the table. The stain on the mattress caused as one inexperienced mom tried to change her newborn without using a changing pad.

Yes, I thought – that’s what makes a home. The memories that you knowingly or unknowingly form in each place. With the people you are. With belongings you have.

And I sat down and wept – for each memory. For each place that we’ve left behind. For each belonging that we have re-discovered. For all those people who helped make those memories.

And then got up with a resolve – to create more memories here.
To create a home.

P.S.: The amount of crying I am doing these days – I could give Nirupa Roy a run for her…glycerin bottle :)


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Horrible Horrible Ma

When sonny was born, hubby and I made a pact - no raising our hand on the child. Both of us had parents who believed in 'spare the rod and spoil the child' philosophy and we both knew and understood how humiliating and frightening it is for a child to be caned or slapped.
And one of hubby's friends put it best - You dont need to prove your adult status to your child by showing how physically strong you are, by beating him/her. When you raise your hand on your child you are just taking out your pent up frustration on a lil person who really does not understand why he/she is being so punished.

Well said. And I am writing this down - just to remind myself of the pact I made with my husband and myself.

The last few days have been a whirl of activity. I had to get the furniture from the house we live in picked up. Our own stuff (a 110 pieces - all cartons and furniture put together) got delivered. We had to supervise the unpacking, make note of the damages if any. And even after the packers left we still had about 30 boxes - which contained clothes and kitchenware, etc that needed to be unpacked. And I was full-term PMS-y.

Sonny has been strictly forbidden from touching the AC control panels. Since the ACs are located at his level, he thinks its his God given duty to either shut it off or re-adjust the controls. And so while all this crazy activity of unpacking and putting away happened - he just walked over to the AC and shut it off. So once I reprimanded him "no touching the AC, ok?". He looked at me - and walked away. 2 mins later - AC is off again. Again he was reminded not to touch the AC. The third time he walked over to the AC and was about to touch the off switch, I reached out from behind him, yanked him away and yelled like a maniac, "how many times am I to tell you?......" blah and more blah which I dont remember, but I figure it was on the lines of me being sick and tired of having to put up with him, etc, etc. As I yelled, I saw he yanked his hand free and took his lil chubby hands and covered his cheeks and said "nyah nyah". Which is sonny speak for "no" and just ran away with huge tears in his eyes.

I was stunned at his response because he is quite used to hearing "no" from me - all the time. Mostly, he just ignores me (thats what happens when you say no - way too often). I surmised that perhaps in the past few days I may have slapped him on his cheeks for touching the AC panels. And while I dont even remember it - he remembers it so vividly, that the memory of it brought on the tears. And the urge to cover up his cheeks to prevent another hit.

And now, I feel like crap - even worse. One for raising my hand on my child. And more importantly two - for having no recollection of it.
And I am writing this down - so that I never ever forget this.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Happy Independence Day

You can take an Indian out of India
But you cant take India out of an Indian

So here's to all my fellow Bharat vaasis....
Happy 60th Independence Day!!!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Any one got any tips?

I am writing to ask my fellow-moms for any advice they would have on these issues I have.

Issue 1: Colors
How do I teach my sonny colors? He's mastered the alphabets, numbers (1 to 10) and shapes pretty soon. But he just wont learn colors. We have a color book and so I showed him blue, then I asked him "what else is blue?". And I pointed to his pants, "sonny's pants are blue". He understood and so on for the others. That evening when I quizzed him whats blue, he pointed to his pants again. The next day, again whats blue, he points to his pants again. But this time his pants were brown. Obviously he'd assumed, pants were called blue. "No, no I said, your pants are brown". He heard the word brown and ran and pointed to the sofa - which I had termed as brown the previous day. And now when I start to teach him colors - he looks pretty confused.
Is it true then, that boys are color-blind? Or is there a better way to teach them colors?

Issue 2: Stories
We've just purchased 2 story books for sonny. The books he had so far - were really words and pictures. The moment we sit to read - he says no and runs off. Or he wants to turn all the pages and see all the pictures. Its not like he doesnt like stories. I narrated 'lion and the mouse' which he sat still - for 3 mins exactly. And when we ask him "what does a lion do?", he roars back at us. Its just that he wont sit with a book for the story. I'm told this is a phase too. But anyone got any better ideas - coz I just loose it when he start riffling through the pages of the story book (I'm afraid he'll tear the book). I read out the stories in Hindi to him -and I point to the pictures. But thats not helping. Any advice?

Issue 3: Veggies
Dont roll your eyes at the title. I was one of the few moms who could say, "my son eats veggies". Could being the word. When we were in India - he had a bout of loosies - at which his doc asked us to cut back all fiber. We just fed him rice and dal and chicken. Immediately post that we left for riyadh - the hotel didnt have veggies cooked the Indian way - so again no veggies for sonny. By the time we got to a home - a month had passed. He kept refusing veggies and me, pre-occupied with settling down, etc ignored the issue. its been 2 months since - and he still wont eat the same veggies, which he earlier ate with relish.
Jaelithe suggested that kids be allowed to see food - in a context away from eating. So let them play with the food. Good enough. When sonny strolled into the kitchen as I chopped veggies for food - I handed him a piece of capsicum and potato - he promptly put the raw stuff into his mouth and even faster spat them out.
I keep trying to sneak it into his morsel - along with the chicken (which he eats like there's no tomorrow) but he just spits out the entire morsel. So fearing that he wont eat anything, if I keep sneaking veggies into his morsel, I just feed him roti with chicken.
But you know, its not healthy. More importantly, I dont want to 'sneak' in the veggies. I want him to eat it - like he wants to. Like he did earlier.
Anyone got any advice???


Friday, August 10, 2007

Au revoir, Bahrain

Tomorrow we start on our trip back to Riyadh. After living here for over 3 weeks we head back.

In Bahrain, we've seen the more open, liberated face of the Middle East. Sure, there are women in abayas. But there are equal number of women without them. They drive cars, move about on their own, work and do just as they please.

Although Bahrain, is a small country, its trying its level best to keep up with it's more advanced neighbours. Shopping malls housing international brands, the F1 track, are proud possessions of the Bahraini people. At the same time they are equally at ease with their rich past.

My friend L from Dubai, praises Bahrain's gastronomic delights. And she's right. Indian, Chinese, Mexican, Mid-eastern, Far name... you got it.

And so with a heavy heart we head back. Back to a place, where I dont feel like eating out. Where the abaya holds strong. And yet this time, I am filled with anticipation for Riyadh. You see, having packed our household belongings we were basically behaving like Bedouins for over 16 months now. Finally, we shipped our stuff to Riyadh and are expecting it to be delivered anytime next week.

And so if you dont hear from me - in the next few days, you know where I will be. Shedding tears, oohing and aahing with and over long lost belongings :)


Ladies Man

Ever since we've come to Bahrain, sonny's stock seems to have gone up........ with the ladies.
Yeah, you read that right. A 2 year old - has his female following.

Sample this.
It was our first day in Bahrain. I took sonny down to the pool, to burn off some extra energy. Sonny ran to sit at the edge of the pool. A lady swam up to us and asked sonny is he wished to join them in the pool. Stranger anxiety has never ever left sonny and he just ran away from her. We went to the kids pool. A lil girl of about 6 came running to join us there. She tapped sonny on the head, kissed him on his head, tummy, sonny was her own sibling. She wanted to play with him, but as usual sonny ran away from her. But she continued to meet sonny everyday - in the same fashion, smothering him with kisses, tickling him, trying to play with him.

A few days later, we were joined by M. M is an expert swimmer and she'd dive under the water and kiss sonny's feet there. She'd beg me to let sonny go with her into the adults pool. If you havent already guessed - I acted like the mean mom and refused to let sonny go there. Between M and H, sonny had a whale of a time. If H refused something, he'd go to M and vice versa.

Then there was R. R's father and hubby work together and the kids play together. When we leave, R runs after sonny wanting to give him a good-bye kiss. Shy sonny runs and hides behind his ma. She keeps chasing him around. And we'd joke about 'who is the girl and who is the boy, here?'

If he had a fan following at the hotel, outside the hotel was no better. We'd gone to Applebees for dinner. The waitress fussed over sonny, trying to play with him. Then she said, "what a good looking boy. will you marry me? I'll wait for you, ok?" We laughed over this - till the end of dinner. She got us the check and said "atleast tell me your name, how will I know who I am waiting for?"

I thought we'd heard enough. So I wrote this post and saved the draft, wanting to publish it later. We took sonny down to his 'adda' - the pool.
This time there was a new girl - Y. This 3 year old defined the word 'coquetry'. She looked at sonny out of the corner of her eye, and then purposefully stepped out of the pool. "Sonny, sonny, sonny" she called out. And sonny, the kid with stranger anxiety would start yelling to be picked out of the pool. Once out he would chase her around. She would run, blowing him kisses. he'd get tired and stop chasing her - so she'd start chasing him. It was good fun to watch Romeo and Juliet in action. All was well - until H arrived at the scene and saw sonny frolicking with a new friend. So she jumps into the action - so we have sonny chasing Y and H chasing sonny. H decides she's had enough. Sonny has to choose who he wants to play with. If not, "I'm leaving" she announces. And flounces off. Y's mom and I are in splits now.
Peace prevails when Y's mom hauls her away and H and sonny go back to play.

And as hubby's sis put it, "STS, you got to see your son's first courtship, first hand. how many moms can say that?"


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Shaitaan ka naana!

I dont know how else to translate the title, except to say that its a term usually applied to a very mischievous person.

A few days ago, I posted about how sonny was making sure I wasn’t short on excitement.

Here’s another one of his ‘doings’.

The place we stay in is centrally air-conditioned. Every few hours, I throw open a window – just to let fresh air in. I live in my self-formed belief, that central air-conditioning means you keep breathing in stale air – and hence the need for fresh air.

Anyways, I was in the kitchen (as usual) when I saw sonny going through the dust bin. Sonny’s future as a jamaadar (waste collector) was clear in my eyes. Sonny picked up an empty juice container and proceeded to play with it. He walked out of the kitchen with the jar.

It was all quiet for a while, so I went to check on him. Found him standing under one of the open windows, stretching himself, on his toes to reach out. Sonny is 3 feet tall and the window is at 4 feet – so he really has to stretch. Turns out, sonny had one of hubby’s slippers in his hands and was making an all out bid to throw it out of the window. He protested loudly when I grabbed it from his hands.

I turned to look for the other slipper. Didn’t find it anywhere in the house. Mother’s instinct made me look out. And there it was the second slipper on the ground floor, right beneath our window. Lying next to it – was the empty juice container. Loud shrieks followed – mine on unearthing one more of sonny’s ‘doings’ and sonny’s at the frantic activity that followed to rush down and claim the slipper – before one of the alert housekeeping staff trashes it.

I need not add – that these days I open the windows only when sonny has his naps.

The next day, hubby and I were in the midst of a discussion, when sonny was found missing. We found out, he’d grabbed hubby’s slippers again and was making the rounds of the windows to ascertain which one was to be used to throw the slippers out.

O this boy!!!!


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Close Shave

Sonny has been climbing onto couches and chairs for about a year now. Mostly it is get a toy or a book - or to get to the phone, which is absolutely NOT allowed to touch. Most of it seemed pretty harmless, so we didnt bother. Besides Parent Center keeps sending you weekly/monthly reminders of what developmental milestones to expect - so one is prepared.

This afternoon, I was pottering around in the kitchen, when I heard a distinct 'crinkle crash'. Of glass. My heart lurched because the place we are staying in has a glass topped coffee table, 2 glass topped side tables and a glass topped dinner table. I ran out to see - sonny had climbed onto the chair and then onto the glass topped dinner table. He'd picked up the water glass lying on the table (mommy, do your housework!!!) and had banged the glass onto the table - thus breaking it into pieces.
As if that was not enough, he had picked up one of the glass shards and was about to.......I really dont know what further plans he had. I shrieked my highest pitched shriek, momentarily distracting him from his task. As nimbly as I could, I extracted the piece of glass from his hand. And he pulled it right back. I could now see visions of blood everywhere. But no. God must love me - coz nothing happened. I shrieked even more high pitched (I am pretty sure some dog somewhere must have responded). Picked up a tantrumy sonny and strapped him into his high chair. It was a full minute before my hands stopped shaking and I disposed off the glass pieces.
Of course when I told hubby what his 'laadla' (pet) had been up to, hubby had his most characteristic reply, "STS, what was the glass doing on the table? Arent we(go ahead, say YOU) supposed to clear the table after lunch?" Grrrrrrr....
Looks like hubby needs to be put in his naughty corner!!!!


Whats your take?

Parent Center has posed this interesting dilemma.

You have a friend - who wants to get pregnant. Her husband, is opposed to the idea of starting a family. So your friend, on the sly, goes off her contraception.

And what do you know - she gets pregnant - of course its called the 'oops pregnancy'. Your friend and her husband agree to go ahead with the baby after all.

Would you support your friend's action?

Do tell!!!


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Mother's Instinct

Usha writes this really heart wrenching post about a girl, who admitted that she was being abused by her uncle. Instead of providing her some help, her parents labeled her a liar and attention seeker. Not just that, they withdrew her from the school and took her back home – where I shudder to think what fate awaited her.

When I read the post, my greatest angst was against the girl’s mother. I felt as a mother, she should have understood. As a mother of a child, especially a girl child, one of her first duties was to protect the girl. Protect her from the dangers that lurked in the world and in her own house. And I’m not talking out of my hat, I talk from experience.

We were shopping for winter coats for the family last year. Hubby was in the males section, while I had sonny in his stroller with me in the females section. I moved to another aisle, sonny still in my line of sight. Then I heard a voice say “hello handsome. How are we doing today?” I don’t know what it was – but all the hair in my body just stood on end. I jumped into the aisle where a man was bent over sonny’s stroller.

He saw me and straightened, smile on his face. “hey mommy”, he said. “we’re just getting to be friends”. I made some small talk about how sonny was in the way and I was just moving him away. “no no” he said, sonny was not in any way. “Go on shop. I’ll keep an eye over him.” Pretty innocent, right? But I don’t know what it was, the alarm bells just rang non-stop in my head. I made some lame excuse about just looking around. Told him, hubby would need his help, if at all. After that, I just stayed in the center of the shop. He came and went, helping hubby and some other shoppers. At no point did I leave sonny out of hands reach, even for a moment.
As hubby cashed out, he made some small talk. Then he said, “its too sad, my son was just here, and he’s about as old as your son. They could have been friends”. I still could not shake off the feeling that there was something wrong about the guy. Told hubby about it who laughed at my weird irrational fear. “It has no base”, he said, “except your maternal instinct”.

Yes, that’s what it ought to be – maternal instinct. One that each mother feels for her off spring. And I guess that’s what keeps our children from harm. It was just a feeling I had, but I decided not to ignore it. Nothing came of it. But then I keep asking myself “what if?”. What if I wasn’t as hyper and if something had happened to sonny. There are enough loonies in the world to ruin a child’s life forever. No matter what the situation, its best to err on the side of caution. So I hung onto sonny’s stroller acting exceptionally tight-assed with what may have well been a friendly store assistant. Or may be, I managed to fend off some psycho.

10 months down the line, I dont know if I’d call myself a cautious mom or a crazed lunatic who thinks the world is out to get her child. On a completely different tangent I often wonder if my super cautious attitude is rubbing off on sonny too (but that’s grist for another post). I suppose, till he is under my care (or as my mom would put it – under my roof) I will keep looking out for him ( o who am I kidding – I’ll be looking out for him – even when I am 6 feet under).

But seriously though I’d rather live and laugh about how manic I was than live in regret all my life for not having been cautious enough.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Buffet Rules

I’m not a very large eater and yet I love the concept of a buffet. SO many dishes, one flat price – who wouldn’t like to eat at one. And yet to fully enjoy a buffet, one needs to have a strategy – to do – poora paisa vasool (full value for money).

Here’s my strategy:

1. Never go to a buffet if you are in a rush. A buffet for a working lunch just doesn’t work. You need at least 2-3 hours to do justice to a buffet.

2. Wear a comfort fit trousers. One that can stretch with the tummy. A la Joey in Friends (who wears Phoebe’s pregnant trousers to attend Monica’s Thanksgiving dinner). Better still wear a salwar khameez. The drawstring in the salwar can be loosened at will.

3. Skip the soup. Soups typically are meant to line up your stomach. But they also fill up the stomach pretty fast, leaving little space for the rest of the stuff.

4. Go easy on the salads. Although very wholesome and healthy, they too fill you up pretty fast. And as my aunt-in-law admonished me at my wedding reception, “ghaas poos ghar pe khaana. This is no time to chew a piece of cucumber.”

5. Before you fill your plate, do a quick scan of the items on the table. Just so you know what all there is on offer. SO you know what to pounce on.

6. Skip the breads (naan, parathas, rotis) and rice: Why bother trying to fill your tummy with these when there are other things on offer. Of course the strategy might not work, if there are curries and dals on offer and you skip the rice.

7. Choose what you eat with care. Why bother with the potato bhaji when there is avial on offer?

8. Take a look at the desserts. Rock hard gulab jamuns and down in the dumps kheer are not worth leaving valuable tummy space.

9. A lot of buffets include free beverages. We all know that gassy drinks take up more tummy space. Skip them. Stick with water – tiny lil sips of water.

10. Learn from the veterans. The ones who are taking second servings. They’ve already tasted the stuff and are going for the stuff they’ve liked in round 2.