Friday 27 September 2013

The losing battle

Several times a week, while eating dinner, she gives me a wistful look. 
I wish that ....
No! I unceremoniously interrupt.
....I can sleep with you and appa.
I studiously ignore her. It's all very fine to cuddle up with your little bundle of joy, but 8 years down the line, I'm unwilling to relinquish my hard-won victory - the reclaimed bed, space and night-time peace!
Twice a week, the two kids get to sleep in our bedroom. On Sunday nights, to help them deal with Sunday evening/Monday morning blues *rolls eyes* and one other night during the week. When these happy occasions come around - Yessss!!! Father and daughter gleefully pump their arms into the air in unison.
But just now, she knows better than to argue with me. If Appa was around, she would get some support. I would have two pairs of identical mournful eyes beseeching me :) Yes the dad is worse than his daughter but knows better than to cross me in this matter :)
So, being the smart cookie that she is, she goes for guerilla warfare. Attack when the enemy is at her most vulnerable. When all defences are down.
1 am or 2 am is the time generally chosen.
Amma, a small voice quavers pitifully. My legs are hurting soooo much. Or, I had a bad dream. 
Some nights, I pull her into bed with me. After a few leg massages and cuddles, off she goes back to her room, over the protests of her dad. Some nights, though, Lady Luck is on their side. I'm too tired or sleepy to fight. She triumphantly climbs into Appa's waiting arms.
When the enemy is within, what can one do??? :(

Sunday 22 September 2013

Some performances

Ganesh Chaturthi was performed on a massive scale within our community recently. Perhaps all festivals are mounted as lavishly - I wouldn't know since the festive season has just kicked off. The good thing was that all children (and adults) were given the opportunity to perform on stage in front of a large audience, something that doesn't always happen in school where auditions and such tend to push out the not-so-talented children out of the game. The bad thing, of course, is that there were plenty of sub-par performances that one had to endure. No matter - these were kids, they all looked sweet on stage, and so many of them had admirable confidence and poise that made up for.....err.......lack of ability or preparation :) Y was in a group dance that was well-choreographed and she managed to put up a decent show even though she clearly forgot half the steps and was copying the girl right in front of her :)
Ads' vocal group recital was a bit of a fiasco for unexpected reasons. The six children had sung extremely well at rehearsals. The organizers provided the kind of mikes you have to hold in your hand and that threw all of them completely. Each pair of kids that was sharing a mike ended up having a tussle on stage as to who would hold the mike with the result that they were completely unfocused on the task at hand i.e. singing! It sounded like three separate kutcheris on stage. Even the teacher was smiling and I was under the stage dissolved in fits of laughter at how comical they sounded :)
What they lacked in coordination, they made up in enthusiasm (most of them were shouting into the mike) and cuteness :)
Oh well. Next time, maybe.
In order to inspire Ads to continue with Carnatic music, we took him to a Carnatic vocal choir performing at Jagriti in Whitefield. I love this space, they have awesome things going on all the time and it's wonderful not to feel cut-off from the cultural events happening in the city. The children were outstanding. Such confidence, such talent, such enthusiasm! Every one of them seemed to be enjoying themselves thoroughly. Ads and Y watched and listened enraptured even though it was way past their bedtime. They particularly liked the innovative rendering of Anandamruthavarishini, where the kids used their mouths, hands, fingers and feet to recreate the sounds of raindrops, thunder, gushing water etc. More power to folks like Bombay Jayashri who are doing their bit to keep classical music relevant and interesting for the next generation.

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Weekend break in Tranquebar

Last weekend, some friends and us (four families in all) travelled together to a place called Tranquebar (Tharagambadi) in Tamil Nadu. None of us had ever heard of it before. Practically the only reason I selected this place is that my favourite Neemrana has a property there. I love their hotels (or 'non-hotels' as they prefer to call them). Plus it seemed conveniently located to both Bangalore and Chennai (NOT, as we were later to find out!) and it had been a Danish settlement which seemed kind of quaint.
Later research revealed that Tranquebar (I much prefer the Danish name to the Indian!) has the second-thickest ozone layer in the world, so we looked forward to breathing in some super-healthy air and feeling extra rejuvenated :)
Our travelling woes started on Friday evening when it took us 2.5 hours of excruciatingly slow traffic-crawling to get to the station. The train was a joke. It was called a Garib Rath and was 100% air-conditioned! It had 3 side berths which I've never seen before; they seemed to me to be instruments of torture more than anything else. Indian Railways in its infinite wisdom also seemed to be piloting a new type of bottleneck. 3 AC Passengers had to walk to the next coach in order to pay and buy bedding! Why anyone who has forked a significant amount for an AC berth would choose NOT to have any warm bedding on an overnight train is beyond me, especially when the AC was on full blast at what seemed like 15 C. Not only were people having to walk up and down the corridors to pick up their bedding, the guy in charge seemed to be doing some sort of black-market trades by claiming to have run out of linen, leading to more corridor-walking and a lot of irate passengers.
Creating bottlenecks where there are none is truly an Indian specialty!
A none-too-comfortable journey later, we alighted at Pondicherry station and an hour later, met up with our friends who had hired a tempo traveller for their journey from Chennai. The drive to Tranquebar took close to three hours at the end of which we were treated to views of swaying palms fronting the Bay of Bengal - all the irritations of the journey were instantly forgotten and forgiven :)
View from our window

Examining the pool prior to a swim

The property is on the beach and there's a small temple just outside
There's nothing much to do in Tranquebar except sea-gazing and a visit to the Danish fort which was right next to where we stayed. Perfect for families with kids who just want to chill and hang out with no specific agenda. All we did was walk around a bit and eat a lot :)
The next day we visited the mangrove forests at Pichavaram which were really nice. Leaving you with some snaps.
The Danish fort-museum

As seen from our balcony

From the fort ramparts. The fort isn't a patch in terms of grandeur on our Indian forts, but the view - that's unbeatable!


Pichavaram sky

Mangrove alleys
Thanjavur could have been squeezed into the itinerary - but squeezed being the operative word, we left that destination for another day. The journey back to Bangalore was painful. Our train tickets did not get confirmed, sleeper buses weren't available so we drove to Chennai. The maddening traffic on the way to Chennai and early morning train to Bangalore left us all pretty tired, leaving us in need of more R&R :) Notwithstanding all of that, it was a lovely 2 days, one we will look back on with fond memories. 

Sunday 1 September 2013

Krishna Jayanthi

I'm not religious in the least and nowadays I find that I celebrate festivals only to feel good about concocting some of the traditional recipes. 
Seedai and aval payasam for Gokulashthami this year :) Needless to say, I was the only person who consumed the seedai (Disclaimer: it tasted good! But Ads doesn't care for fried stuff and Y copies him in most matters culinary :))

A weekend and paattu class

This weekend, our family split down the middle. S and Y went to Chennai. Ads (and therefore I) couldn't go - there was too much happening here. He has recently started tennis lessons at a new academy, much more expensive and also much more enjoyable for him. Lessons are Friday to Sunday. Then he had an exam to write, and tons of practice for singing bhajans during the Vinayaka Chaturthi celebrations in our community next week.
Overall, a pretty hectic weekend for him. But without two members of the family around to claim my attention (and hugs!) I had plenty of time to accompany/supervise Ads and lounge around the house doing basically nothing. It was bliss!
The music (paattu) classes have the potential to turn into a battleground. He finds them boring. I don't disagree - doing sarali and janta varisai day after day is not exactly a lot of fun. He has been happier now that they have been teaching him bhajans. He still wants me to pull him out once Ganesh Chaturthi is over....little does he know his teacher is already planning for Vijayadasami :) I'm somewhat conflicted - I hate forcing him to do something he doesn't like so should I pull him out? I'm no Tiger mom! He wants to learn the guitar - should I enroll him in that? (It's an either-or situation since we can't do both without compromising on his leisure and play time) Or should I keep buying time and hope that over the next few months, he will start enjoying learning vocal?
What do more experienced parents have to say? I need advice!!