Sunday, August 31, 2008


Ye jo des hai tera, swades hai tera, tujhe hai pukaara
Ye woh bandhan hai jo kabhi toot nahin sakta

Tujhse zindagi, hai ye keh rahi
Sab toh paa liya, ab hai kya kami
Yun toh saare sukh hai barse
Par door tu hai apne gharse
Aa laut chal tu ab diwaane
Jahaan koyi toh tujhe apna maane
Awaaz de tujhe bulaane, wahi des
Ye jo des hai tera, swades hai tera, tujhe hai pukaara
Ye woh bandhan hai jo kabhi toot nahin sakta
Sounds quite romantic and filmi but somehow, since the day we have returned to India for good, I have this song stuck in my head. Wierd isn't it? Coz part of me still does not believe that I have closed shop and moved lock stock and barrel from US to India for good. And part of me knows that there is no running away from the truth and maybe it is my heart trying to tell my brain that we have made the best decision for ourselves and our families...maybe it is me trying to see the emotional side of things rather than the materialistic side. Who knows why this song bug - all I know is that this is it and there is no going back. We are not on a vacation here in India...we are here for better or for worse...we are here for each other...not just via a phone call but physically here.

And maybe that is why unlike all the other times when I used to visit India, I am in no hurry at all to call all my cousins or friends who live here and catch up with them. Coz its not like I have limited vacation I am here for good. So there is plenty of time for me to call and catch up. Its quite a mixed set of emotions I said, part of me does not believe that we have actually made it happen. And the other part of me knows that it is done and that is why I am in no hurry to reach out and call everyone I know here coz I know that will unfold in its own sweet time. For now, I just want to live in this surreal world that we are in...mentally and physically in all homes...the one I left behind, the ones I am living in and the one we will create for ourselves.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Happy Birthday My Little One...

Life flies by so fast...especially little children's. Almost seems like yesterday when little N was born to us and already she has turned 1! Already her age will be referred to in years instead of days or weeks or months. Already I am a mommy of a toddler instead of a newborn or an infant. Already I am an expert in mommy hood by surviving baby's first year :-)

It was little N's first birthday on Aug 25. Guess what we did on that day? Took her for her one year well baby check exam and subjected her to 4 shots - yikes! Could not really help it but our timing couldn't be any worse. We had to fly off to India in 2 days so better that she be immunized than not.

But its not like we did not celebrate this huge milestone. We had our little N's first birthday party on Aug 17, a little earlier than her actual bday. And it was just wonderful! Lots of work but worth all of it :) Most of our friends attended and everyone loved how cute you looked in that pretty dress and shoes. We played Musical Chair and Pinnata with the tiny tots in the party. Mommy had chosen a theme of Hugs and Stitches for you although she had really wanted to do an Ocean Wonders Aquarium theme coz all your baby gear (bouncer, swing, mobile, playmat) was of the Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium theme. Oh well, maybe next time. And to top it all, daddy made sure your cake was made to order with the Hugs and Stitches theme too (see above) :-)

My love, here's to you and your long life...(a song from the Fun N Frolic CD you have grown to like lately and which we played when you cut the cake):

It's a hap-hap happy birthday,
May you live to be, a hundred-and-three;
It's a hap-hap happy birthday,
A hap-happy birthday to you.

Take a bow, take a bow on your birthday,
Your birthday, your birthday;
Show us how, show us how on your birthday,
You still look as good as new.

It's a hap-hap happy birthday,
May you have luck galore, knock at your door;
It's a hap-hap happy birthday,
A hap-happy birthday to you.
A hap-happy birthday to you.
A hap-happy birthday to you.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

R2I Plan - Crazy Busy!!!

I just thought since this is a crazy crazy crazy phase of my life - both at home and at work, I must record it somehow so that one day when all of this is behind us, I can reflect and marvel at how we made the R2I thing happen.

Not to say that we didn't know this was going to happen eventually. But when things pick up momentum, it all happens so fast that you don't even realize when time flew by. You suddenly DO NOT have the luxury of planning or envisioning how you'd make the move finally happen.

So here's a brief glimpse of how crazy our days look like currently. Our goal is to wrap up everything and fly out from San Francisco to Mumbai on Aug 27 2008!
  • July 6 - July 15: DH flies out to India finalizing the new job
  • July 16: Countdown begins. We need to finalize our move so that he can join in Bangalore by early Sept.
  • July 23: I inform my manager at work about the impending move and its implications to my current job. Go in with a heavy heart and an intention of discussing a last date, transition plan etc. But get pleasantly surprised on hearing that they want me to continue with them even if it is remote - atleast for the first 6-9 months! Wow!
  • July 30: Have informed the key folks at work about this change in my role and the fact that we are working on a short term engagement plan so that I can still continue in this capacity from Bangalore.
  • Aug 7: My boss arranges for a farewell lunch in my honor for our entire team. The lunch was something I will never forget - not coz I had such good company but mainly coz I had to undergo the humiliation of getting a driving ticket while driving with 2 co-workers and my boss on our way to lunch :( Thankfully they were really sympathetic since it was a very lame violation (overlooked a forced right sign - well I had 3 other folks in the car who didn't see it as well!).
  • Aug 8: I was told that working for my company on a US or Indian salary structure might not work after all since it is a short term assignment and not a long term role. So we need to start looking at the contingent worker arrangement.
  • Aug 15: My last physical day at work.
  • Aug 17: Celebrating our little one's first birthday (a little earlier than her actual bday). So organizing a huge party, inviting every near and dear one we know and killing two birds at a time - farewell and bday bash for little N.
  • Aug 21: Our shipping container folks come in and take away all the stuff we need to ship to India.
  • Aug 22: My under-grad friends from hostel days in India flying down from various parts of the US to spend the weekend with me. I am so touched by this gesture of theirs...sigh...I'm gonna miss them.
  • Aug 25: Little N's actual first birthday! Earlier plans were to take her to the temple but now we need to take her for her well check exam so that she can get her immunizations! Ouch!
  • Aug 27: Chalo India!!! We fly out this evening to Mumbai. A lot of mixed emotions...primarily nostalgic and sad about leaving behind our memories we built here in the last 10 years.
See? Like one of my friends said - you have left no room at all for a change of mind :-) is that how my hubby planned it for me on purpose? ;-) Will have to go poke him abt this...

So here's hoping everything falls in place and go per plan...and the transition to India is smooth for us and our little N. BTW we are maintaining a checklist of things to do before and after R2I. Look for it in one of my future posts.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Baby's Current Likes and Dislikes

Here are a few things that my little one is fascinated with these days (she is 11months & 1 week old currently):
  • Walking without support: She just recently learnt taking a few brave steps without holding our hands. So she has made a cute game out of it. Basically mommy and daddy sit on the floor and DD shuttles from one to the other with her arms extended out towards us and screaming in delight, trying to cover the distance with her new found skill of walking as soon as she can before she falls on the floor! It is the cutest thing ever to watch her do that over and over and over again. Sometimes she does not cover the distance successfully without a fall so she gets up and goes off again. She looks like a winding doll whom you wind and leave and it just dashes out - running from mommy to daddy and then from daddy back to mommy!I really wish I could capture this cute newfound joy of hers on camera but there is no way either of us can do it since we are both down on the floor cheering her and hugging her tight when she reaches us with those cute extended arms calling out to be picked up and hugged and the cute smile and squeals of joy!
  • Climbing up and down the doorstep: This is another funny one where she wants to hold both our hands with her tiny fingers and just climb down from the door step and instantly turn around and climb up. Basically I think she has just discovered climbing and likes to practice it again and again and again tirelessly on the same spot. She does this also when she hits a curbside while walking outdoors by the sidewalk. She loves to climb up and down the curb (obviously holding both our hands) until our backs hurt coz of bending down to help the tiny one :-)
  • Picking up things off the floor and mouthing them: When she is not walking or climbing, she is either cruising the house holding on to furniture or crawling on all fours. And when she crawls, she spots the tiniest bits of dirt or food stuff and before we can even react or say NO, it is in her mouth! Isn't it crazy that when I want her to mouth her food off her plate or high chair, she won't. But when I don't want her to, she will pick up every bit of food that is fallen on the floor and put it in her mouth. If she can't reach for something on the floor with her fingers, we have even seen her lie flat down on her tummy and try and pick it up straight with her mouth! Sometimes it is tempting to just feed her off the floor - atleast that way she will eat something herself :-)
  • Sitting down on the floor and clapping when she hears music: Or what we call dancing where she holds on to us and bends and straightens her knees when listening to music. And her favorite CD these days is Preeti Sagar's Fun and Frolic. Her favorite musical book is the Vtech's Nursery Rhymes.
  • Picking up her toy phone or our cell phone and putting it up to her ear: As if to say "hello". She also just loves playing with our blackberries. So we use it to distract her when she is throwing a tantrum over something.
  • Laptop/PC: She just climbs all over our laptop or PCs when we are working on it. She has even managed to remove 2 keys from my laptop so far.
  • Grabbing our glasses or jewelery: She is soooo quick at grabbing our glasses right out of our eyes and into her mouth. If there was an Olympics competition in its speed, she would have won it by completing the task in nano seconds! And then there is the jewelery. Any jewelery that me or the nanny wears, she will try to grab in her mouth.
  • Swing: We take her to the park nearby for walks now and then. She was initially tentative about the swing or the slide and such but now she just looooooves swinging high and low in the infant bucket swing. She screams in delight each time we push the swing high. It is such a joy to see these little ones enjoy little pleasures in life. The other thing she wants to do in the park is hold our hands and walk in the sand. I think she will also love going to the beach though we haven't done that with her yet.
  • Looking out the Window: Every morning when she wakes up, the first thing she wants to do these days is go to the bedroom window and stand on the window sill. So it is mostly daddy's job to carry and take her there where she stands and bats at the window pane and look outside. Just last weekend, she was doing that and daddy was talking to her showing her cars passing by as usual and saying "dekho gaadi". And suddenly she said "gaadi". Man! That was sooo precious! Mommy instantly woke up and she even repeated it a while later - saying "gaadi". She also stands on the living room window sill or bat at the patio door. I think just being outdoors is what she loves.
And here are a few things that she is not so thrilled by currently:
  • Bathing: As I mentioned in my earlier post, she has developed a dislike towards bathing lately for some reason. So we have started taking turns to take her in the shower with one of us before she sleeps at night (as opposed to the nanny bathing her during the day). She seems to like that fine.
  • Hair clips or rubber bands in her hair: Since she was born with a full head of hair, they were long enough by now to come in her eyes all the time. So we had started either making 1 or 2 ponytails (she looks really cute in 2) or putting on a hair clip. But lately, as soon as we did that, she would instantly pull it out along with some of her hair. Yikes! So daddy decided that's it. She got her first hair cut on Monday, Aug 5 '08 by daddy. Mommy was holding her while dear nanny was trying to keep her amused. She did not seem to mind the scissors in her hair at all. And she looks even cuter with short hair now :-) Here is a pic with her and the nanny in her new hair cut.
Little N with her dear Nanny

Friday, August 1, 2008

Here's to the Nanny

As we finalize our plans to move back to India next month, we go through our checklist of things to take care of here. There are so many things to do and soooooo many people to inform such as our landlord, our nanny, our bosses at work, our doctors, dentists, beauticians and obviously alllll our friends. The list just goes on and on. But amongst all of these, the person I was dreading the most to break the news to was our baby's nanny. After us mommy and daddy, our nanny is the next closest person that our baby is attached to. The lady has literally raised my DD since she was almost 2 months of age. Ever since DD turned 3 months, I have gone back to work full time and it was this woman who was nurturing her, feeding her, bathing her, teaching her how to play, how to walk, how to talk, taking her to walks around the block and then later to the park. Not that we were never there for DD but obviously given that we both had full time jobs as well, she was with the nanny for a major portion of each day. So in the past year or so, its like our family has not grown by 1 but 2 new members - our DD and our DN (Dear Nanny) whom we call Auntie out of love and respect.

There was another "Auntie" we had hired before her but she was such a huge contrast to this loving lady that she had us in bitter tears in less than 3 weeks after which we literally paid her to not show up at our place ever after. Anyways, our short lived experience with her is another story altogether and maybe some day a different post on the blog. But today, I just wanted to dedicate this entry to our dear Auntie who is as much of a mother to our baby as I am.

You know, I had recently read this book called The Perfect Stranger. It opened my eyes to how much we take for granted about these "strangers" who leave their own homes and loved ones every day to take care of ours and how they rejoice as much in each milestone of the baby as we do. And yet how soooo many times we take these wonderful people so much for granted and shrug it off saying its just their job. I am not saying that it isn't but there is also an emotional aspect involved here - the joy in watching their labor of love (the kid) growing up that most of us do not have in our typical jobs.

In any case, I digress. Let's get back to my story. So the other day we did gather up the courage to inform Auntie that we are leaving to go back to India in a month. At first she thought we are just going for a month to visit so she goes "ok". Then I had to clarify saying we are going back for good. That was when it struck her and she just broke down into tears! Not because she was going to have to find another job, not because she would miss us but because she was going to miss the little baby she raised so carefully and lovingly. She instantly hugged DD and said to me oh why are you all going...why don't u just let DH go...I will come and stay with you at nights...and so on. I couldn't help crying myself and my DH also felt so terrible for doing this to her. We obviously told her that we'll help her find a much better job and that it is all for the good. But in our hearts, at that moment, we did feel really bad.

So here's to the Dear Nanny (our Auntie) who has a heart of gold. Here's hoping she finds a family who is far more loving than us and they enjoy her services much longer than we could.

Anyways, I had started out this post with the intention of posting a few recipes that Auntie used to cook up for DD since she was 8-9 months old and was eating solids well. So here I go:

1). Churi with gud - this is a very yummy punjabi dish that my mom used to make when I was a kid. I just didn't know that it can be modified to make it suitable for babies too. Auntie basically makes a fresh chappati and minces it very well while it is hot. At the same time she adds ghee and ground gud (jaggery) or sugar to this minced mixture and either leaves it in that powdery form or gathers it like a soft laddu. This one is my personal favorite...I think I enjoyed eating the leftovers more than my DD did :-) And I thought this was the tastiest way to use up left over chappatis - so I'd make it for dinner sometimes for me and DH. (Obviously for DD it was always fresh chappatis and not leftovers).
2). Churi with sabzi - this is prepared in the same manner as above but the gud/sugar is replaced by any boiled sabzi (obviously without any masalas) that is prepared at home. This way the baby gets to eat roti sabzi at a very young age. The trick with both churis for babies is to mince it really really well which can only be done while the chappati is hot. So obviously, I could never get it to be like Auntie's.
3). Dal with Daliya - Take some ghee in a cooker, add some daliya (broken wheat) to it and seko it for a bit. Then add washed moong dal, water and some salt. Pressure cook for 2-3 whistles. The nutritious dal with daliya is ready.
4). Anda Kela (Eggs with Banana) - Mash a boiled egg with banana together so that it binds well. Auntie said this was easier and less messier to feed than feeding just the egg alone.
5). Dahi Kela (Yogurt with banana) - Mash a banana into a few spoonfuls of whole fat organic yogurt.