Friday, November 28, 2008

First Bangalore then Ahmedabad and now Mumbai?

What is the government of India doing? Sleeping? I know it is not just the government's job alone to keep the nation secure...each of us as citizens have a responsibility towards our country and our own security as well. But somehow, over the last 2 days of being glued to the TV and watching every detail on every channel broadcasting the live coverage of the Mumbai siege, my feelings have turned from fear and sadness to anger and frustration. What sickens me the most is that these terrorists had local help from one of our own! When they reached the Gateway of India via boats, they were met with 5 locals who led them to where they needed to be on land! Isn't that just the craziest thing to do? I mean seriously "taali do haath se bajti hai". We can blame every other country and every other terrorist but they could not have done such a huge operation without any local help from within!

Oh and what do I say about the media of today. Have they completely lost their sense of national security? Can they not for once have the brains to switch off their cameras and not think about their channel ratings in the interest of saving innocent lives of our hostages? I know they love to be ahead at every step and show their quick access to all information but at what cost??? Why the hell do they keep broadcasting every intricate detail about every operation going on to neutralize the terrorists? Look at bullet # 4 on this post here. That is just the heights of stupidity by our media men I would say! I pity those brave commandos who carried out their operations which required top secrecy but were being broadcasted in every detail on national television!

This is the third major terrorist attack I have witnessed just in the past 5 months that we decided to move to India. I am beginning to really shudder at what kind of a decision have we made for our kids who will grow up in the midst of this terror. Kiran's post on this brought a new kind of chill down my spine...when she said these were children, young children who were terrorizing the city...and how she feared that this could as well be her son a few years down the line! That thought just worries me sick to my stomach. Oh God - do save us all and bring an end to these atrocities in today's world. My worst fear, worst nightmare ever is the nuclear nations of today entering into a third world war. God only knows what will happen if such a situation arises in our or our children's lifetimes!

P.S. Please do not over analyze this post and try to figure out my political views and inclinations. This is really just a glimpse of the millions of emotions going on through my stunned mind right now.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sawa Ek Saal Ki Gudiya

N turned 15 months yesterday (Nov 25, 2008). Daddy came early from work, the 3 of us got dressed, went to the temple, mommy donated some sheera she made for prasad, came home, did her cake (sheera) cutting, gave her a new toy, took lots of pictures and generally celebrated her monthly bday as we used to every month in her first year. God bless her and all the kids in the world. May they thrive and spread cheer to everyone around them.

Jeez...this just shows how lazy and behind I am on major month updates. I had started writing a post for her 14 and a half month update coz she had achieved quite a few milestones around that time. And I never got to finish that and now it is already time for her 15 month update (not that I have done these religiously before but there is a voice in me constantly nagging me to pen these down before I forget all the cute little things she has been doing these days). So here is my attempt at logging atleast 15 things that my naughty little N has been upto around her 15 month birthday:
  1. Nov 12, 2008: Quite a milestone filled day for N today. She held her bottle for the first time ever this morning! Yes - almost 14.5 months and just learned to hold her bottle :-) I had almost accepted that she might never do it and go straight to holding her sippy cup coz I have a few friends whose kids did that. But thankfully, this particular morning, little N decided to finally hear the plea in her mom's voice asking her to hold the bottle and whola! Today was also a day when she actually drank a decent amount of liquid from a straw. She has never been into juices and has preferred water over any juice I have given her. But today, I sat her on her highchair and offered her a small packet of Tropicana apple juice during her lunch and she had a blast drinking and blowing into the straw. Since then I bought her a straw cup and she is able to consume her water from the straw cup as well as the sippy cup. Now if only she starts drinking her milk from a cup too.
  2. Nov 23, 2008 (Sunday): This was the day when she finally uttered her first meaningful word. Guess what it was? Not mamma...not papa...not tata...but "doggie"! This is thanks to her new found doggie friend (a soft toy she got from her dada dadi and bua for Diwali). She used to say mama, papa and tata before but this is the first word she consciously attempted and knows the meaning of fully well. She even brings the dog to me when I tell her to say doggie and says it with such passion as if explaining to me what doggie means - she goes - "dooooooggie". Yesterday she also said "nana" and "nani" when prompted to while we were talking to my parents on the phone. What luck that they were able to hear her utter these words firsthand for the first time! She now tries to repeat after us if we urge her to. For example, when she wants to be picked up, I insist she say "up". And funnily enough, she says it backwards "pa". Took her two days to get to saying "up". It was the same story with doggie too...she used to say it backwards "geedogeeedogeeedo" she would go all the while trying to basically say "doogeedoogee". You get the picture right? Now she says some more simple words such as "bua" and "dada". She had subconsciously uttered a few words here and there a few months ago such as "gaadi" (when looking at cars outside the window) or "nana" but they were not conscious attempts at talking and they were never repeated ever again. This time, it is obvious she is trying to master the skill of pronouncing these words and many more! Wow - I can't believe my baby has finally started talking!
  3. It is also sooooo nice to see her finally understand everything we tell her to do. Believe me this and her ability to start talking was a worry in our household since we are a multilingual family - hubby speaks Konkani, i speak Hindi and English and her nanny spoke Punjabi with her. So we were worried what language will she start understanding and when and will this delay her talking since she has to comprehend so many languages first. But now, she follows instructions in whatever language we speak to her in - such as the other day she threw all her carrots and peas down from her highchair. So I told her to clean up by bringing each piece to me and boy how she did it to the T!
  4. That is the other thing - she has just learnt picking up and putting things back in their containers. Earlier she would love emptying each container may it be her toy basket or a kitchen drawer or a clothes closet. Now once it is empty and you tell her to put things back, she obediently does it! Isn't that awesome? Baby cleaning up after her own mess? ;) What more can you ask! Similar story with her stacking rings btw. Earlier she would just empty them and throw them on the floor. Just 2-3 days ago she was working at learning to put each ring back. I saw her struggle for quite a bit and then loved the delight on her face when she finally mastered the skill of putting each ring back on the stacker! Seems trivial to most adults but only new parents know what a milestone such things are. I should introduce her to blocks next.
  5. Her newest craze is watching nursery rhymes on my laptop. So much so that it has become her nightly routine. She even has her dinner watching these nursery rhymes being played again and again and again on or! My hubby and I wonder what gets kids so excited in watching animations and watching the same thing again and again and yet again :-) I am really curious to know why kids gravitate towards animations more than normal telecast. Is it coz animation is 2D while the normal tv we watch is 3D? Any theories anyone? Hmmm...something for me to research in spare time (which is when again?)
  6. When she is in a very playful mood, she loves running round and round around me - on the the the kitchen....wherever!
  7. She sits on papa's head and loves walking and dancing around the house. Papa too loves carrying her like that. Here's how:
  8. At around 5pm every evening, she begins bringing her shoes to me and insists I put them on. Next, she brings my shoes to me as well and starts pointing to the door urging me to take her down to the park. She is quite persistent that way - does NOT stop until you finally stop everything you are doing and actually go down with her. Then she shines her bright smile at you as if saying - "I am sooo happy you finally got what I was trying to say!"
  9. She has quite a few teeth in her mouth now...upper and lower two, 1 molar on each side (lower and upper both - so 4 in all) and is cutting the two next to her front upper two.
  10. She has recently learnt climbing on and out of some things such as her stroller all by herself. She still needs some help climbing on a few things such as our couch, dining table chairs, patio chairs, etc. but is able to get down from it very easily. Very soon she will be able to climb on them all by herself and it will be just more chaos for mommy to keep running after her to see what has she climbed on to now :-)
  11. She has a thing for shoes I think. She is able to tell which shoes are whose and brings them to us accordingly. Best is when papa gets dressed to go to work each morning or comes back from work in the evening, she just does not let go of his shoes! Not sure what goes on in her mind...maybe she thinks if I hold on to these shoes, daddy will not be able to leave me alone and go :-)
  12. She can point to quite a few parts of her body - head, nose, eyes, ears and hands and also a lot of objects such as the moon (chandamama), the crow (kau kau), herself, aeroplane, etc. She also joins her hands in prayer when you tell her to do "jai jai" or "pampa" in konkani.
  13. The saddest part of the day is when she runs behind her dad all the way to the complex's gate saying "tata tata tata" repeatedly. She starts by clinging on to him and following him to the elevator at which point mommy feels bad for her sometimes and goes down with her and dad to see him off a little further. That is when she just runs behind him as far as she can go and as fast as she can go and it breaks my heart when I pick her up to say "don't worry daddy will be home in the evening". I feel glad at such times that I am not breaking her heart by leaving her alone at home too. She does not cry or anything in such farewells...just runs behind him. I am able to easily distract her by showing her something else but I am sure as she grows older, she will not be so easily distracted. But by then hopefully she will understand that daddy is not leaving her and will be back soon. I shudder to think how I will go back to working outside the home some day.
  14. Lately, she howls and screams when we are driving along somewhere and I decide to take the wheel and drive instead of daddy at times. Somehow, she has decided that she does not want mommy leaving her side and driving the car! Daddy doing it is ok though!!!??? How on earth did this happen and god how do I bring her out of this mode now?
  15. She has discovered a new found love for books - finally!!! Yipeee! She now brings her books to me and insists that I "read" them out to her. Sometimes she just picks them up and starts browsing them herself - all the time excitedly pointing to objects she is familiar with or is excited about seeing in the book. Oh how I love this! I was beginning to get worried if I will ever be able to have nice book reading sessions with her and here she is all into books now :-)
This is such a wonderful age. Every day brings something new for her and for us as parents. I hope this joy never ends. Touchwood....antijinx....kalatikka....whatever it takes!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Our Container Finally Arrived But...

We are sooo unhappy about the entire shipping to India experience. We had two options - Sky2C carriers and Universal Relocations. My hubby reached out to both but when Sky2C did not respond for a while and Universal did, he decided one is as good as the other since both had good reviews in the R2I forums. So we went with Universal. BIG MISTAKE as we now learnt :( Why you ask? Well there's a huge laundry list why. First of all my hubby now tells me that once they had all our stuff loaded with them, they started hitting us with all sorts of new additional charges. And worse than that, the had the audacity to refuse to ship our stuff if we did not pay. Did we really have a choice then? That was our first hint of their "chor giri". So after a few nasty email exchanges, my hubby decided to do a smart thing. Pay them but pay using an Amex credit card instead of the bank transfer they were pushing us for. He decided to bear the additional 2% charge they imposed on us for using a credit card just so that we can contest with Amex in case we had issues with them later on. Good thinking I say coz that is exactly what happened when our stuff arrived a little over 2 months later.

After being told for a week that our truck should arrive from Chennai to Bangalore tomorrow, the truck finally arrives on the morning of Sat, Nov 8. We excitedly start unpacking right away only to learn that so much of our stuff has been damaged in transit. And if the glass stuff that broke was the stuff we packed such as Corningware bake and serve or Mikasa jug, I can understand. But it was also stuff they packed such as our dresser mirror and our leather couches. Our dressor mirror was entirely gone - broken in pieces and we have a decent size leather damage on one of the couches.

But wait - the worst is yet to come. Our moooooost expensive and the moooooooost important and irreplaceable item is gone! LOST! Chhoooo mantar! Not arrived! Our oh so cozy, plush, huge king size mattress with an oh so plush mattress cover. Poof! Just did not show up. Also our home music system/ipod player. Gone as well! What did they have to say abt that? We will try to locate it in the warehouse and get back to you in half an hour. That half an hour turned to 2 days and forget about calling us, we have called them atleast 10 times but they are just not picking up the phone. What does this make us feel? Ofcourse we suspect that they have robbed us and are intentionally not getting in touch anymore. On top of all this, those idiots (pardon my language) had the nerve to call us during the delivery and say that there will be an extra delivery charge since we live on the 7th floor! SERIOUSLY!!!????

We finally have filed for a chargeback for the entire shipping amount with American Express and have decided we are not going to bother calling and fighting with these thieves anymore. Let them deal with Amex who will first withdraw the money we paid them and then tell them to prove why they shouldn't. So take that Universal!

Did any of you R2Ied folks have to face anything similar? Would love to hear your experience and how you dealt with it.