Love for brushes!!


If bombs could be made from Tooth brushes, we would have definitely been detained in Dubai airport. Our suitcases contained nearly 20 tooth brushes – all of different sizes, shapes and brands and contributed from different people with love 🙂 Still wondering why it was overlooked during the security scan.

We have been carrying a set of tooth brushes wherever we go since Pari has developed a weird fancy for them. And that’s why people contribute them to her collection 🙂 The cluster now range from finger brushes to baby brushes to fancy brushes, normal brushes of different brands, a paint brush and a hair brush. Its fun to see her counting them and holding onto them like her babies. She bathes them, feed them, play with them, hug them and sleep with them. “If I were a tooth brush, she would have kissed me”, hubby comments after he gives up begging her for a kiss. She has a very limited stock of kisses, most of which are bagged by her tooth brushes.

Guests often wonder why there are disseminated tooth brushes all over the rooms. It is difficult to describe her favorite pastime, so we have started giving the typical ‘embarrassing smiles’ and taking it as one of those countless times when children embarrass parents 🙂 🙂

She wakes up asking, “Amma, Toot Beesh”.. We are happy that she atleast calls me before tooth brush even though importance is given the other way. Every time I take her to the loo, she grabs two of our tooth brushes, plays with it, comes out with it, her face pink with the happiness of freedom fighters holding flags in both their hands and adds to her collection. But the collection is hidden most of the time that everyday morning half an hour is spend on tooth brush search 🙂 🙂

When my brother was setting up their home Pari was around and gave an expression as though we were giving her tooth brushes one tenth of this new brush that she saw – Toilet Brush. So we should be happy that she has not started collecting that one. Phew!! 🙂

We would have been happier if she loved brushing the same way. Alas!! With all her strength she resist brushing but still love her ‘Beesh’. The sad part is that with more than 20 tooth brushes at home, me, Sayf and Pari (at times on her own) have to use the same brush when it comes to the time when real brushing is required.

We would have been happy if she loved brushing the same way. Alas!!With all her strength she resist brushing but still love brushes.

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The Secret of her health – Post 11


“You are blessed to have a very gentle kid”,..Lotof them say after they meet an all time bubbly daughter. Yeah!!She is indeed gentle, though not all the time. And that time is when she has to eat something.

Personally, I feel that the biggest challenge in bringing up a baby is to feed them properly. A huge percentage of mothers would agree with me. Babies may be different, but most of them turn hard to be pleased when it comes to eating.

My girl however gets on my nerves every time she has to eat, esp after she turned one. So her activities increased. Crawling to walking and now running, but she consumes less which has made her lean and not to mention, anyone who has met her in India doesn’t forget to pass on the comment, “Oh!!Your daughter has become a lot thinner after you have started looking after her on your own”. 🙂 🙂 They never forget to tell my parents once they are back. So after they too started getting on my nerves, I knew something had to be done.

She looks at the food, smells it and then tastes it. Doesn’t like any of the three, it will be rejected. Stubborn , so stubborn she used to be… And there would be a trail of food that she would spit wherever she goes. Life was just like this Junior Horlicks ad.

I tried to force feed her. She dint care.

I asked doctors for help. They asked me to switch to a different set of vegetables and fruits. Dint work.

I sought advises from friends who had recently turned mothers. Potatoes, almonds, ghee….No satisfactory output.

Five months in Dubai and she dint gain even 200 gms. Doctors were cool, but I was not. I knew her eating habits had to be changed. But she simply was not interested in eating, except chappatis and chocolates.

The strike was on forever, but now things have changed for the better. She has started eating properly.Her weight has finally fallen into the graph. If someone asks her about the secret of her health, she would grin and say “Poopy”  🙂  Poopy is an education oriented animated childrens content, developed by Hibiscus Digital Media and Pari is in love with it. This 3D movie is definitely above standards in terms of content and presentation. Pari has now started recognising the animals, knows to imitate them and dances to the tune of her dear show.

Am not sure if this is a good habit to be cultured, but there wasn’t any other option. She is just so indulged in the stories and songs that she doesn’t really bother what goes inside her mouth. So easy to feed. Definitely worth a try.

Lesser messy house + Healthy baby = A Very Happy Me!! Thanks Poopy!!

Disclaimer: This is a note from my experience

The Diplomacy gene


My diplomacy is quite famous. I rarely argued, but got involved as mediator (I really hate those situations!!) in many arguments. Playing this role is tough and dangerous. I never took sides of an argument. Instead tried convincing each side, why the other side thought or did their way. Sense the danger??? Needless to mention, it has landed me into lot of troubles. But that’s how I am. I choose to remain this way.

However, my diplomacy gained huge popularity after marriage.

When any of Sayf’s relative ask me what kind of husband I used to wish for, I would clear and my throat and politely reply, “I only longed for someone whom I could adjust with, so that he or his family doesn’t have to adjust” 🙂

While going to dinner with in-laws, I try to find out the dishes that they like and order the same.

While playing the conciliator role, with two in-laws on either sides , I could only smile 🙂 Nothing else to be done!!

During pregnancy when people, esp Sayf’s relatives, inquire on what child I need, I go this way, “I would love to have a girl, but I wish I had a boy as he would grow up and be a good help to his father” 🙂 Actually after repeating this conversation for 9 months, I even frogot what I actually wanted in the beginning. It had gone so much into my blood.

These and many such occasions made me the ‘democratic bhabhi’ to my sis-in-law.

And finally when Pari was born, she was a typical ‘Sayf-look-alike’. After the crowd had their conventional comments about how fair she is, how pretty she is, how much she resembles sayf etc etc, I nodded my head, but I was a little jealous.

I am sure that later in life, Sayf would influence her more than me. I really hope that she gets all his good qualities along with the looks. But being a mother and after all the troubles of pregnancy and labour, I deserve some of my gene on her too.. That gives me the reason to be jealous!!

Now that Pari has started talking or rather her own rumble-mumble toddler talks, I tried to indoctrinate the word “Amma”, under the name of developing and sharpening her speaking skills 🙂 With Sayf at Dubai, teaching her to say “Papa” was put as the second priority. Sayf however tried “Papa” over his calls.

And just when I thought she would make me proud, Pari made her first diplomatic move. She said her first word. “APPA”. Amma + Papa = Appa??? 🙂 🙂

Now am happy and proud. Atleast my diplomacy chromosome has been passed on to the ‘generation-next’ 🙂

Weekend Blues


Its been 7 yrs in Chennai, and I cant remember a single day when I did not long for a weekend. Whether it was for a movie with friends or dinner with Sayf or even to simply laze around, weekends were always awaited with excitement and welcomed with happiness. Planning something for the weekend was usual whether it would work out or not. Weekends always used to be eventful then,..

I knew that it would be different with Pari around. After all, child is the father of man 🙂 She and her moods have now become major factors that drives anything and everything in my life.  But this time its not Pari. Its been little more than a month since Sayf moved to Dubai, and every weekend after that has been a question mark.

Week days are not a problem anymore. By the time I do the cooking and get ready, Pari would be awake. By the time I get her ready, it would be time to start for work. I drop her at the day care and go to my desk. In another 2 hrs she would be awake. I feed her and get back to my desk. In another 2 hrs she would be awake again. I feed her and get back to my desk. In another 2 more hrs, it would be 6 and we both start to home. Again feed Pari, cook, eat and it would be time to sleep. I hardly have a glimpse of even ‘Idea Star Singer’, that being the only program we used to watch. Sounds so mechanical and redundant, but for me it is one more day less to see Sayf.

However, to push a weekend is tough. I sometimes wonder whether Pari doesn’t get bored after seeing only me and more of me around her. Going out alone with an unmanageable 8 month old is hard. A few of my friends do stay close by, but am not sure how comfortable I would be managing Pari there. I finally should not end up spoiling their day 🙂 So I often invite them home but then like we used to plan for the weekends, they too would have already planned something. I try downloading movies, calling friends, and recently do a lotta blogging,… But the vaccum inside still stays and echoes inside that am empty without him…

The many faces I get to see at work lessen my suffocation during week days. Am happy that Pari is there in my life or I would have gone crazy on all the days of the week. I know it is not the problem with weekends, but me. I do not long for weekends anymore. All I long now is to join him..

How I wish this weekend and the rest of the weekends pass as fast as it could…

How I wish we both join Sayf soon, and weekends become lively like before..

How I wish we get back together, and regain my life…

The “House-Maid” Hunt


Finding the right house maid has become a huge challenge for the women of today.  But once you find one, making them stay becomes another big challenge.

Fareiba was born at Kochi,Kerala (my native). A little more than 4 months after  her birth, we took her to Chennai. My maternity leave was supposed to expire in another month, and amma’s BP rose to its peak.

Amma, then vice principal of Maharaja’s College, had built a huge circle of contact through her 33 yrs of service. Her circle included Principals to professors to teachers to students to peons and canteen care takers, to all of whom she had managed to pass on the need of a maid for her daughter. She had undertaken this herculean task since I got pregnant. More than a year and nothing worked out.

People were ready to work at Kochi, but always found lame excuses to come to Chennai. To some of them Chennai was too hot, to some Chennai was too far and to some others Chennai was scary. I still do not know what it means!! However, there was no time to worry about what they thought. We had only a few weeks left and  the “House-maid Hunt” accelerated.

We tried to console her and thought we would hire one from a trusted agency. But amma was against the idea. She wanted the best maid to look after her daughter and grand-daughter. Poor amma!!She travelled even to a relative who lived a few hundred kms away from home to see if she could manage one..

Meanwhile,I too felt the pressure. Handling the baby and home was tough. So handling work, baby, home and a gastronomic husband together would be exhausting. Well, the husband was just gastronomic, no pressure though :). But the others were a must-do-everyday-job.

Being the kind who doesn’t give up easily, I tried to cultivate a routine in Fareiba which would match my office schedule and tried to build the confidence that I would be able to manage. With a day care at office and Shebi helping around, things started moving positively.

And BANG!! The bomb blasted!! Shebi was asked to fly to Dubai in two weeks time. This was a oppurtunity he had been waiting for long, so I would not stop. Shopping, Packing, Ironing, Repacking…We even had our 3rd anniversary to celebrate.Two weeks were just enough.

Life was miserable since then. But two weeks later amma landed home with a maid. She was a decent lady, aged above 60, but still healthy. She was quite expensive, but still impressive. She managed the kitchen and household, took care of Fareiba and made us all feel so better that we finally started believing that the best was served for the last!!

Life changed in a minute. I, who did not have a breather,now started watching soap operas too.She was too sweet to be doubted for anything. She asked permission before she even moved a chair from its usual position or before she sat beside us to watch a movie. Two days later she asked me permission to use the television after I went for work.The tv was never switched off after that. She reigned the kitchen.  I never bothered because the thought of finding someone new was impossible. I even took her a saree  for her birthday that fell on the weekend after she joined. Her regular blood tests and check ups fell on the days immediately after she joined.In additon, I being too generous took her to the doc for her allergic cold also.Mananging everything at home,all alone, was impossible and so keeping her was the only option before me. So when she demanded for a mobile to talk to her people at home and a small wooden stand (the Jaya-Amitabh kinda stand from KKKG) to stand on top and do the dishes, I did not hesitate.

Everything that she demanded was given and every request granted. That was Mistake no.1 🙂

6K per month was too much for an 800 sq ft flat and cooking for two(me and her), but no other choice.

The immediate relief from the tight schedule was all that I could see, and I often showed in words that flattered her.That was mistake No.2. Guess I made her too proud that she started actively participating  in all our family affairs and made sure she let out her comments at everyone’s action. Irritating but we kept mum.

She started developing regular shoulder pains and back pains due to which half of the work would be undone. I offered her help at times, which later became a habit. She started showing faces when amma got involved in something, and would not look after fareiba anymore. She even used our washing machine to wash hers’.

She had a whole day to laze around after me and Fareiba go to office, and looks like she enjoyed it a lot.

Huh!!!But one of the rarest species of its kind was finally found and I had to preserve it by all means.

Two weeks after she came, the next bomb fell. Her son fell down with Chicken pox. She was all in tears, not for her som but she had to leave me and the baby. But tickets were not available on a short notice. When I told her that she could not go immediately there was a huge scene as though I kept her in central prison.Finally after a lot of running around, we managed a ticket, brought her son (the one who was not affected) all the way from home and sent her off.She promised she will come back as soon as he recovers. I believed and even gave her the salary and some money for travel&expenses. Mistake No.3.

Luckily,one mistake that I did not do was that even when she demanded for some more money for the extra expenses that was supposed to come for her son’s treatment,I dint give.

Its been 2 weeks since she left. No news. They don’t pick my calls anymore. Am back to the old routine. We have a part-time maid who is paid lesser than one-third of what we paid her. With amma at home, things are moving on pretty well. At least I have the freedom to move around in my kitchen.

The 2 weeks that she stayed, I ended up spending almost half her salary, for the check ups and phone calls.That was of course in addition to the salary.

I think,now I know why people are not willing to come all the way to Chennai. If they work at their home town, they can make any excuse and run away.

Amma has started a fresh ‘House-Maid-Hunt’.

The long 9 months…


While hurrying through my closet for Pari’s vaccination card, I came across her first Ultrasound scan report. Taken on 7th Jul 2009, the report read, “The uterus was visualised and contained a single intrauterine gestational sac with fetal pole measuring 0.64cm corresponding to 7 weeks gestation”, which meant my has been medically confirmed. It meant that there was a teeny tiny life inside me, who was 7 weeks old and 0.64cms long….

I took the report and sat on one corner of the bed.. Pari was sleeping sound on the other end. I tried to recollect the 9 months that we waited eagerly and restlessly to see the first glimpse of this little girl.

Jun ‘09: The home pregnancy tests were positive on 3rd week of Jun. But accuracy was only 50%.

Jul ‘09: On Jul 7, doctor added the rest 50% and both of us  held our hands tightly to witness the most beautiful phenomenon. Inside my uterus was our little one, with a rapid heart beat (twice the rate of a normal adult) and a small food sack for her nutrition supply. Doc asked me to include 2 lts of milk, 1 egg and 1 cup of pulse in my daily diet. Milk and egg. Grrrr!!!

God is great!! He had another pleasant surprise in store. One of my best friends, Sheetal had confirmed pregnant too.

In another weeks time, my sickness started. Anything that went inside would come out in a minute or two.

Aug ’09: Sickness continued for the first 2 weeks of Aug. I managed to stick on to the milk which had now reduced to 2 cups a day :0)

Work was getting onto my nerves. In addition there was an immediate requirement offshore. Some good things happen at the wrong time also 🙂 There was too much of pressure to fly that finally I had to disclose the reason.

“There is a good news and a bad news for you, Mugundan”. My project manager got ready to face both the news’. “Good news is that I am carrying, and the bad news is that, I would not be able to fly for the same reason”.

The first trimester scan was full of excitement. The baby was in shape, kept moving throughout the scan but did not show the face

By the last week of Aug, I regained my health. Sickness subsided and I started walking on the evenings.

As you gain weight during the later stages of pregnancy, the circulation to your legs decreases, and hence walking helps.

Sep ’09: I got busy deciding on our Anniversary gift. Our second anniversary fell on Sep 9th. It was special this time 09-09-09 🙂 I was clueless and finally got a ring. As usual, my gift got dissolved in the beautiful jewel set Sayf got for me from Narayana Pearls. He is too good with gifts.

By Sep,I had put on 2 kgs. My belly had slightly grown and I could feel the slight movements inside, as though a feather moved from within.…

Oct ’09: My stomach had come out, dresses got tight, Pari kicked harder, still October was adventurous.

Being 5 months pregnant, I had a 12  in without a berth,not even a seat. Sayf’s parents had plans to go for Hajj, but the dates were fixed suddenly. We had to go home, see them off, but no tickets to travel. Everyone had asked me to stay back, but I wanted to meet my ‘N’ laws before they started for the pilgrimage.

We came back to Chennai the next day itself. The second trimester scan showed a fully developed baby. She had her head, neck, spine, heart, lungs and stomach fully developed.

We travelled to Bangalore the very next weekend to meet Sheetal. Bangalore was major fun. We showed off our reports, examined the profiles of our babies, found that one had bigger nose and compared their weights.

Nov ’09: Second trimester was cool. No sickness and a Not-so-heavy-stomach. Sayf’s bday fell on Nov 14th. I brought a scrap-book, scribbled a few poems and pasted photos of the most important moments in the past 2 yrs. Sayf loved the book.

Pari had started rolling inside. At times, she would do a roller coaster ride. Sayf could feel her too.

Dec ’09: Belly had grown really big. I weighed 58 kgs and had started experiencing breathlessness. No clothes would fit anymore, and one more month for my maternity leave to begin. Too much of pressure was there at work, and it affected my regular walking. Back pain started and then came the varicose veins.

Sayf was behind me to know on my pregnancy craving. Honestly, I had none.

Pari started weighing heavier and kicked harder that you could see the shape of your stomach changing. She kept me awake during the nights. On a positive note, she trained me to stay awake which proved helpful during post pregnancy 🙂

We had started googling for a nice muslim name.

Jan ’10: Then came my birthday on Jan 9th. Sayf had a range of surprises for the whole weekend – Movie, Mahabalipuram, dinner. .

One more week at work. Staying away from Sayf was painful, but I still was excited about the 7 months vacation, I would get after I started working on 2003. While packing my stuffs, I came across a 2 yr old Anchor Stitch Kit that was left half way through. I packed that too.

I experienced the freedom of being at home after long(6yrs).It was immense pleasure to be a child again. Wake up and sleep as you wish, and worry only about eating 🙂 and watching TV ofcourse!! I also tried to work on the Stitch Kit and immersed in books on labour and birth.

I weighed 60kgs and increased 3kgs every 2 weeks. Breathlessness became heavier, so resumed walking. Luckily, I had Sheetal to share everything with 🙂

Feb ’10: My false contractions and pseudo pain began. Feets and ankles were swollen. My doc examined to confirm that babies head was not fixed. Amma made a list, packed the bags and did the last- minute shopping.

Sheetal had a bleeding and was kept on observation for a day. Doc sent her back the next day, but she had started dilating, and delivery was expected anytime.

I kept on working with my stitch kit, tried some breathing exercises, read more books on what to expect during labour. However, I was running out of room. It was a pregnant forever feeling. Sheetal was admitted for the second time after a heavy bleeding, but Pari seemed to be too comfortable inside 🙂 She showed no signs to come out.

Feb 17,2010: I was due on Feb 25th as per the records, but on Feb 17th 4:00am, my water broke. Hospital was just 15minutes away from home. I dropped an sms to Sayf and prayed for a healthy baby when I stepped inside the hospital. The nurses tried their best to answer my curiosity and induced pain by 05:30am. The contractions started slowly, like mild cramps on the stomach. I tried the breathing techniques that I read. But as the labour progressed, the contractions became powerful, longer and frequent. The doc confirmed that am in the second stage of labour. They moved me to the labour room and I pushed the baby out into this world on Feb17, 09:48am.

While the doc was working on my stitches, I could hear the nurses talk ”Normal baby, 2.8kgs, 50cms”.

 

“Girl baby”, she handed over the little one to me. Wrapped all over, Fareiba looked like a small bundle of cloth. I couldn’t take my eyes of that small, brittle, lovable creation of god. She looked exactly like the man whom I admired the most – Sayf. I realized the value of this little creature god has handed over to me, that I cannot give Sayf a gift more valuable than her…

Sheetal gave birth after another 2 days. They have named their daughter Shrishti.

I finished my Stitch Kit two months after the delivery.

Difference between owning a license and owning a vehicle


When Pari fell sick last week, I had to take her to the doc every other day. She recovered fully after a week’s time. Hospital was just 4 kms from home, but it would have been terrible if I did not know to drive. So while coming back from the hospital, I thanked god and the two men who insisted me to start driving and keep driving..

Umpteen women own a driver’s license but do not drive. I too belonged to this group, but not anymore…

It was in my father’s  interest that me and my brother started driving. I even took license the very next saturday after I turned 18. But I hardly drove a few kms at my hometown. Being younger to me by 2 yrs, my bro took license soon as he turned 18, and he offered a ride when needed.

After I moved to Chennai for a job, the city’s heavy traffic  was the primary reason for not driving. When my brother joined me at Chennai , I happily took his help to travel.

Post marriage was even easier. With my husband, one of the greatest drivers I have met, anytime-anywhere-pick& drop was readily available. So being a license holder for over 10 yrs, I managed to reach anywhere I wanted to (sometimes after fighting with auto drivers), but still did not try driving.

My office was just 2 kms from where we stayed. So during my pregnancy, Sayf  wanted me to start driving  since I could come home as and when needed. Somehow it  did not work. But after Pari (Our rolly-polly-naughty-sweety and now 8 month old, lil princess) came in, driving became necessary. With a day care at my office, there was no option than to bring her along, drop her at daycare and start with my office.  I was still reluctant, but Sayf was behind my life 🙂 After my test-driving-sessions with Sayf, I started taking Pari to office.

Today, with my husband at Dubai, managing work,home and the baby has become really difficult. Needless to mention, my car has become one of my most reliable friends in no time. And I realise that driving is essential. Its been just a month since he left, and my car has (unbelievable) run over 600 kms. It was actually meant to run only 2 kms to and from office everyday.. 🙂

Now, I take my car for grocery,market,shopping,work,parlour,anything and everything.

Now, I pick my parents from Chennai Central (25kms from home) and go to T.Nagar (one of the busiest places in Chennai city)for shopping. Chennai traffic doesn’t seem to be a problem anymore 🙂

Now, I give lifts to the mothers who needs to pick up their babies from daycare and also to fellow male colleagues who wants to be dropped at bus/railway stations.

And if I can, all of you can…

When license and driving go parallel, we do not realise how handicapped we are. Only when you start and sense the tremendous volume of independence it gives you, do you realise what you were missing earlier. You actually own your vehicle only when you start driving.

Now I know what is carburetor, slow speed, mileage,piston rings,coolant and much more. Above all of this, I know that driving has made my life a lot simpler.

Today, I am an ‘independent’ working woman, and behind the success of this independence there are two men – My father and My Sayf 🙂

Driving now means a lot of freedom, independence, excitement, adventure, happiness and satisfaction. Its worth giving a try.

So next time you need to go somewhere, no more quarrels with auto drivers and no more waiting for someone to pick you up.  Get ready, a smear of face powder, a dash of lipstick and vrrrroooom… Go Babelicious gals!!!