Letter to Madhav

This feature is inspired by Elise at eliseblaha.typepad.com. I plan to write a letter each to Medha and Madhav once every month.

Dear Madhav,

When you’re bored or I need to get things done, I offer you a bag of Medha’s accessories or colored markers. Either of them can keep you busy for a long time. You try her bracelets on and examine the colorful clips and hairbands from up close, when she’s at school.(you dare not touch them when she’s around!). You separate the tops from the markers and line them up in various formations.

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These pawns are a favorite too. You made a “cake” and sang “Happy Birthday” in your own language!

Plates and pots and spoons are enough for you to play for hours as I cook. Fancy toys are a waste. They lay in heaps around the house, untouched, making it look like a war-torn area. They poke the feet that treads on them without caution. Ouch!

To get you walking (you are 16 months old now!), papa bought a walker. which you loved in the beginning. Not that you ever used it to walk; you sat examining the tiny toys on it, until you got too tired of sitting in one place. Then you cried to be taken out. And now it sits in a corner along with the scooter your grandparents sent all the way from Dubai.

Somehow you’re learning how to walk. Instinct, I suppose, or are we pushing you to try harder? Holding an older hand, you’re taking baby steps. In a month or so, you’ll walk on your own, I’m sure. It’ll be a thrill to watch you take those first steps, unsupported.

Walk or no, you love love wearing shoes. You wear them all the time. After we lost your first pair, you kept pointing at your feet as if demanding me to put shoes on them. At the park you kept complaining, pointing at your bare feet, to anybody who cared to listen and sympathize. I just HAD to buy you a new pair. And now you’re the happiest!

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Next to papa’s, for perspective.

Love,

Mama.

 

Day in the Life

Last year I participated in Ali Edwards’ “Week in the life” project and had fun documenting the small and big things that happened during a particular week. I’m hoping to take part in it once again this year. On a smaller scale I will be recording a day in our lives every month, in pictures and a bit of journaling. Another fun way of honoring the everyday moments.

On the 17th of September I woke up early to wish Prasad a Happy Birthday (Actually I was woken up by Madhav who wasn’t in the mood to go back to sleep after 4 (yes 4!) in the morning). After a cup of Tea and a bit of reading (Harry Potter, of course), it was time to wake Medha up and get her ready for school.

P1080641After dropping her off, Prasad and I went out for a nice, long walk in our neighborhood, pushing Madhav in his stroller.

I always make sure I carry his breakfast along on our walks, that way I can get Madhav to eat while he is busy watching the dogs and other walkers. He was pretty buoyant,…

P1080646until…

P1080650his dad made him wear his sweaty shirt. He didn’t like it, OBVIOUSLY! He looked like Dobby (an elf) from the Harry Potter series and probably smelled like him too!

Then I made a pledge to write everyday, even if it is for just a half hour. I always promise myself to put in a bit of daily writing. For a while I do keep up my promise, but then I fizzle out, resorting to just reading. Reading doesn’t take much effort, does it?

P1080652As I wrote away I kept Madhav busy by offering him a bag of colored markers. He got BUSY, separating the caps from the markers and lining them up.

P1080653He played and played and played while I wrote and wrote and wrote, until he was too sleepy to play anymore. It was time for me to pick Medha up from school. At school her teachers told me she did well in her EVS (Environmental Studies) test; I was glad to hear that.

It began raining. I love it when it does. The whole neighborhood takes on a darker shade of green. Even my kids love the rain. Medha spent the afternoon collecting the rain water in her play-vessels, while I cooked something special for the birthday boy.

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We had him cut the Fruit and Black Currant Ice-cream cake from IBACO in the evening. Madhav was too excited and kept making faces at me. I was busy focusing the lens on him a tad too much that I sang “Happy Birthday dear Madhav” instead! AWKWARD!

P1080669As I write this post I realize we need a bigger, better table to celebrate our birthdays. This make-shift cake-cutting table looks horrible!

Then it was time to visit the temple. Apparently my husband and Lord Krishna shared their Birthdays this year. We participated in a procession carrying the idol of the god through the streets and sang hymns in his praise. I, no doubt, clicked away a number of pictures.

P1080679There was music and dance,

P1080691colorful flowers, curious children and blissed-out devotees. We felt thrilled to be part of the proceedings.

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P1080700As I walked around I felt glad to be back in India. At peace with the choice we made to relocate from the US, difficult though the decision was to make. I don’t think we’d ever be able to give our kids a better and valuable gift than our rich, colorful culture.

We rounded up a day of Big and little joys by eating Paneer Fried Rice and Baby Corn Manchurian with gravy that I’d prepared earlier in the day with great care and love for you-know-who (Not Lord Voldemort, silly!)!

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Making a clay Ganesha idol

On the birthday of Lord Ganesha, called Ganesha Chathurthi, Indians all over the world worship idols of Ganesha with great pomp and devotion, offering him sweet delicacies. With greater pomp and devotion, the idols are later submerged in water as a way of bidding  farewell. It is the law of nature that that which emerges from soil has to become one with the soil.

This Ganesha Chathurthi, Medha and I decided to make our own clay Ganesha idol. I’d been wanting to make one for a long time but never seriously contemplated it. Medha is old enough for projects now and so I decided the time was ripe to give clay-sculpting a try; I didn’t want to wait until Ganesha’s next birthday.

I browsed Google for ideas. A lot came up. I picked a video that didn’t look too complicated to follow. Even the end result didn’t look fancy-schmancy! In short, it looked doable. Just a half kilogram of Shadu (Shadu is a kind of clay found in the river bank, mostly in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Konkan region, I found out) clay and some poster colors were all I needed. Easy Peasy!

Prasad bought some for me after work. I am not sure whether it was shadu or something else. It just looked like a filthy mass of grey mud. It even looked and felt unmoldable. In seconds our hands became un-recognizably dirty.

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Playing, replaying and pausing the video on my tablet, Medha and I set to work. I pulled a big chunk and caressed it with my fingertips to form a smooth abdomen. That took a long, long time. I asked Medha to make a leg. She rolled a bit of clay and handed it to me. I asked her to add more mass to it. Lord Ganesha wasn’t a supermodel after all. Far from it. “We need  chunky thighs!”,  I told her.

Smoothening the blob of clay took a while but Medha didn’t lose patience. She kept at making a leg, then another,later a hand and so on. Prasad suggested we add water to the clay. I added some and kneaded the clay-dough. I also kept a cup of water at hand to dab a little, every time it felt coarse. Adding water also added a shine to the emerging idol.

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It wasn’t easy after all. It took us about 4 hours to make our project resemble (only slightly) Ganesha. But it did. Then we left it to dry before applying poster colors.

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There were mistakes. Big ones. I interchanged the blessing hand. The trunk ended up being too big for the face and the shoulders were uneven. Mistakes galore! But, for first-timers we did a pretty good job, I think.

More important than the end result itself, I was beaming with pleasure at having accomplished what we set out to do. It’s not everyday that I set a goal and see it through. I let myself soak in the warmth of success. It had been a fun way of spending time with my girl, without the little one around making a big mess. She showed off her Ganesha and corrected me whenever I said “My Ganesha”. It was”Our Ganesha” and it was difficult parting with him before we submerged him in water.

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Before I attempted it, I didn’t know I was capable of making a clay Ganesha idol. I know now that I can accomplish any goal with a plan and dogged pursuit.

Currently

“Currently” is inspired by Kristin of Rukristin Papercrafts. At the beginning of each month I draw a quick note of what I’m up to. This is just a fun way of documenting my everyday life.

Currently:

  • Watching – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
  • Reading – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Listening – “Elise Gets Crafty”, a podcast hosted by Elise Blaha
  • Making – “30 days of lists” album (The challenge begins today. YAY!)
  • Feeling – sleepy but looking forward to a productive day ahead
  • Planning – a getaway during October holidays
  • Loving – participating in L&R book club and “30 days of lists” challenge

What are you doing “Currently”?