James Band

Sleeping under the stars or sleeping under a starless sky? Which do you prefer? Well, your answer is not going to make any difference in my life. Why? Because I sleep under a roof with four walls a door and a window to the sky around me. Always. Am one of those who are scared to sleep outside in dangerous times as these. Big fat well fed hybrid Mosquitoes can kill...one's appetite to sleep. This confession has nothing to do with what I have to post about.
T needs a claustrophobic combination of pitch darkness and warm close-window-shutter-during-winter room to be able to sleep fitfully. When he got married to me, he (obviously) had to give up his luxury and he got used to the window curtain being thrown open to let the street light in. This, so that I can sleep fitfully. Well, I am also scared of sleeping in the dark. Yeah yeah am all grown up and have a kid of my own but that doesnt drive away all those monsters lurking in the dark corners of my mind. And some under the cot. Sigh, yes I am scared of looking under the bed in the nights. I totally believed in the movie Monsters Inc. and find it hard to sleep for days errr nights on end after watching a horror movie. But my fears can be effused upon in another post or autobiography...whatever. Our little dotzy commands now. We have been adviced by elders that babies shouldnt be allowed to sleep in the dark. (Obviously they did not get this advice from their ancestors who lived the dark ages hyuck hyuck. ) The fact is that I was more than willing to oblige this favour as it provided me with a brightly lit room to sleep in. For five months since the birth of our kid T vehemently refused to stay over at my parents' house (where I had camped). I tried everything including emotional blackmail but to no avail. It is only much later that I realised the reason behind this. We (me and dotzy) came back to T's home and T couldnt run away from sharing our room anymore. After a lot of fuss and arguement about bringing up kid in light or darkness, dotzy prevailed and wailed in the darkness pitched at her. So T (again obviously) had to give up the luxury of a dark room completely. We now proudly (ouch) sleep under a zero watt bulb. True to the Necessity-is-the-mother-of-all-invention cliche T struck upon a wonderful idea. Last year, between T and me, we had flown 16 times out of which half the time we were given eye masks in-flight. We are also the kinds who store such exquisite knick knacks in the fond hope of being able to use them someday. Thus eroding most of the storage space in our already cramped cabinets.

So it is that T wears the eye mask every night and goes to sleep....fitfully. Thus was born James Band. I need to get a trademark on that name!

Dr Asha Benakappa, doctor par excellence

Dr Asha Benakappa. This name sends the shivers down my spine even now. What a woman!
I went to this lactation consultant for guidance because my li'l tweety's swig taking sessions were unbearably painful for me. Thats besides the point in this post.
It was a rainy night and I was waiting in the car with dotzy for what seemed to be a promise of painless existence. Thats when I got a glimpse of a fiery woman (mehendi'd hair) striding purposefully into the clinic shouting out to her maid for a snack. I dint want to believe that was the doctor. For who had heard of a child specialist/lactation specialist (jobs which require a soft personality, or so I thought) being anything else but soft and demure? Still I dint let my confidence waver as I waited for my turn. In the process I heard her lambasting a small kid albeit for a correct reason. Now I was scared. The first thing I heard when I stepped in was a loud "Have you come about feeding problem?". From then on it only got worse. She scolded me for everything that I did and even chided me for having a baby when I stated a small problem. Ten minutes later I was waiting to run away but my dotzy was hungry so had to endure some more bellows. Another five minutes later my mom was fuming because the doctor kept calling her fat when she herself was twice her size! I had to calm my mum down and restrain her from giving her a wallop. I was due for another visit to her "to answer all my questions", a week later and I swore then and there that that would never come to be. I was a raging mama by the time I came home, enough to feed my baby without a fuss. Lol. By the third day thence I realised that I was not being fussy at all and had actually entered a painless existence. The shock at this discovery left me numb. The visit to the scary doctor had helped me!! From then on I have only been singing praises of the doctor to anyone who cares to listen. Under all the temper, scary personality and loudness lies a good doctor who treats patience without patience. Hats off.
All you new mothers in Bangalore, please visit her clinic in Banashankari if you any problems about swig taking.
The address is :
601 , 1st Cross, 30th Main, Banagirinagar Banashankari 3rd Stage, Bangalore


The swig-taker guide

Disclaimer : This post is not for gentlemen and ladies who snigger or feel eimbarassed about the most important thing in motherehood.
My little tweety bird who is 3 weeks old is into taking swigs from nature's own bottle. The long idle hours spent in aiding this has pushed my brain to 2nd gear and I thought I should come up with a set of pointers or must-remembers for dummies like me getting into motherhood. My hubby dear beat me to it and posted the following on his restricted access blog which I reproduce here:
Future parents need to keep this in mind :
1) During the course of pregnancy people (could be random people who you really don't know) will ask how many weeks pregnant one is. Be ready with the exact date and the number of weeks. I always had a problem with this and with great difficulty I could manage to remember the due date.
2) Once the kid is born everyone wants the baby pics. No, there is no need to wait in the fond hope that the baby pictures will be bought for some million dollars. That ain't happening you can as well send the pictures right away.
3) After the kid is born stop calling it a IT. Its either a he or she. In India you cannot determine the gender till the kid is born (government regulations). So we call it, sorry the kid, 'it' so often that it becomes a habit (aargh).
4) The name of the kid is a big thing. The kid is going to be stuck with the name for the rest of its life. So you better be careful. In India we are not required to name the kid immediately after delivery hence there is some breathing space so you can take your time and be judicious. A friend of mine told me about his uncle naming his kid Freeshow for no apparent reason. He wanted to call him Frisho but he spelt it all wrong.
5) Remember your kid's name. This is the most important one of all. You cant go around confusing your kid calling it all kinds of names. Hello, if you have to spread the name you have to remember it. (Not sure if anyone apart from me and my wife have this problem).
Other parents can add to the list to help the people who do not really know what they are getting into.n
Now I will add on to this my pearls of wisdom that have been beaded from my experience so far :
1) Pregnancy is nothing. When compared to the entire lifetime of mothering, pregnancy is a cake walk. Dont give over importance to the fact that you are carrying a child, give more importance to the fact that you need to take care of a child your whole life.
2) Mothering may not be instinctive. While you might feel the pain of a crying child instinctively many of the feelings may develop with conscious effort. Getting up in the middle of the night from a deep sleep to attend to an inconsolably crying baby may not be the most instinctive feeling for a new mother.
3) Get a strong arm. Make sure you lift weights for atleast 6 months to strengthen your biceps and triceps before getting pregnant. You will need all the strength to hold your little one in the right position while she takes a swig. And you cant do weights while you are pregnant.
4) Learn to sit straight always. A swig can last anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour depending on your little one's mood. If one is not sitting right (assuming one is not into lying down) then it can result in pai ns in the neck and back. You dont want more pains than you already have at the moment. Voveran gel helps though.
5) Dont panic at every sniff. The little one can make a lot of sounds as it grows. Can be deep breathing while taking a swig, relax she is not choking. Can be passing gas from top or down which is very relieving for her. She can also throw up a little, this could be stuff she never swallowed. Or she might just be responding to your talk (the occasional "kak" or "keek").
6) Is what she is taking in enough? If she is peeing atleast 6 times in 24 hours then the answer is yes. If she takes a swig once every two hours then a session lasting 15 mins is also normal. If she is taking a long one for 45 minutes before letting up, that is also normal. Be happy coz there might be a long sleeping spell for your baby and you around the corner, if you are lucky it could last for 4 hours.
7) Dont underfeed. Your little one might take a break or sleep off while taking swigs. Do not assume the baby has had enough. Wake her up and she might want more. Put her down and she might bawl.
8) Swig on demand. Scheduling doesnt work with teeny weenies. They have a mind of their own and dont care about dictators.
9) Its ok to admit the pains. You are not a martyr for the baby cause. Find out ways and means to relieve yourself of the swig-taking pains. Posture and latching position is the number one culprit, trust me. See a lactation consultant(will be a separate post) if pains persist for more than 2 weeks. You know what, see one immediately so that you dont have to suffer. What would also be a good idea is to have such a consultant on board in every hospital. It would be such a big relief from all the inferiority complex, pinching, pulling and pumping that one is subjected to if one is not "naturally well formed". The doctors leave this business to the nurses who treat a piece of you with total disrespect. Lanolin or ghee does not help to cure the big picture problem.
10) Dont be a kid yourself. Do not take your frustration out on the little one. Mother's hormonal build is tuned to feel very bad when the kid is dissatisfied or disturbed. So scolding her will only increase your guilt.
11) Comfort swig or hunger? Doesnt matter, your little one needs you.
12) Talk to the baby. She will learn the sound of your voice sooner than you believe.
13) Midnight could be good morning. Your kid might start the day as soon as 1 AM. So what? You are anyway awake to give her a swig, you might as well enjoy a half hour of fun with her when she is in a totally good mood
14) You might get some pee and yellow spray all over your hand and clothes. Big deal, you got to clean her anyway, clean yourself too.
15) There are different cries they say. But it could also be that the kid employs the cry that is most immediately attended to, for all her wants. Smart one that she is. Most times your little one cries for hunger. Sometimes for obvious things like wet diaper and sometimes for being unable to sleep. But do check for stomach pain and discomfort with clothing. Some little ones hate sweaters and throw a tantrum which could drive you nuts and you dont know why!
16) They say it will all settle down. Lets wait and watch :)


Is Cirque de Soleil the best Circus?

Nah! Motherhood is!

My angel arrived with a loud piercing wail 16 days back. So loud was she that she woke me up from the post delivery stupor enough to plant a kiss on her white cheek! And now my circus has officially started. I have no idea how to handle the kid. Every minute brings forth a shout of "Amma" from me instead of the kid. She is a bundle of joy but I did not learn to wrap her correctly. I am the center of her universe was what I believed the kid would think but thanks to my ineptitude that title goes to my mother. My kid only comes to me as a car would go to a petrol pump. She has even discovered that my mother magically appears near the blackish hole in the wall (the door) and keeps looking at it and shrieking, inspite of me being next to her consoling her! Something very funny has happened - despite the umpteen number of articles I read about pregnancy during it, I dont seem to have read a single one about the "afterwards". I wonder why I got so complacent about the most difficult stage in motherhood! I am getting less and less time for any activity apart from the aforesaid "petrol pump" thingy. I should have used my pregnancy more effectively than to take a pregnant pause from writing. But as we all know, after thoughts are always more ideal than reality. I will try to post here albeit a little less frequently. (Who am I kidding? Am not among the 5000 most popular bloggers in the world).


Poetry in Motion

Walking into a cool breeze
Senses soothed to perfect ease
Marching to the tune of Kishore Kumar
Drunk on energy and enthusiasm
Singing loudly in the dark night
Feeling on top of the world
Bewildering the tail wagging stray dogs
Which befriend faster than humans
Staring right into the eyes of strangers
Who want to remain strangers
Dreaming about the goodness of life
Loving the low light cast romantically
Across the road
Hiding my most comfortable tracks
Torn at the ankles
Not a care in the world
But for the Indicabs turning suddenly
At top speed
Leisure at its best
My 30 minutes evening walk


Tryst with Love

At a time when our love is about to be consummated by a kid, I am compelled to sit back and take a look at my tryst with love.
8 years back if someone had talked to me about ‘love’, I would have dismissed them as fudge-brained, infected-by-dirty-movie-bug indecent folks. I and another smitten-by-love-later-on-in-life friend of mine R would guffaw at all the drama love brought in its wake instead of all the time the morons were losing in their lives whilst they had to study and become important people.
6 years back I still thought of it as waste of time while R went ahead with her new found take on the phenomenon. I 'tch-tch'ed her impetuosity to succumb to the dramatically flawed pastime of the non achiever.
Flashback to 5 years ago and my opinion had changed. As is the manner with me always, it was my head which took command and told the rest of me that indeed I was in the besotted stage of life. And as is the manner with me, I resisted this change vehemently. My heart was relegated to a corner to lub-dub away while I debated about what to do with the realization. The resounding thump did reverberate in my head as a reminder. The heart knows what the heart knows.
Cut to 4 years back and my whole self and body parts were in sync as I waited for life’s next turn leading me to happiness and culmination of my love. Why does love have to lead to marriage? I don’t really have an answer for this except to say that most of us live under the looming-like-a-shadow influence of our society. One is free to do whatever one wants within the boundaries of social correctness. I am not one to complain about this necessity though since it has been more fun to be married and “out of the closet” than not be and rot in agony.
2 and half years earlier he tied the knot and we became man and wife. T does tend to argue that the phrase woman and husband is more relevant for us but I do bully him to not give out family secrets. Nevertheless the man has not ceased to amaze me over the years. He has graduated from being angry-with-me-for-small-things young man to Buddha-like. I have imbibed tolerance from him but only in single digit percentages still. I started loving him for making me feel like the best in the world no matter all my flaws and it has transitioned to loving him more for all the calm, care and intelligence his persona exudes. Its not that we don’t argue, we do. I am one half of the relationship remember? Many of our friends wondered if we would stop bickering once we got married but we dint. But at the end of the day, we have been able to look each other in the eye and call ourselves morons. I am going to have my cute bundle of joy very soon with this wonderful guy and I thank God for small mercies.
Now if someone were to ask me what love is all I can is “If you feel for anyone what I feel towards T then that’s love”. Simple aint it?


Rainy Kaleidoscope

Yesterday was a "Weird Cloud Day" in Bangalore. While it was raining in Cambridge Layout, it was not raining in Indiranagar. While it was raining near Command Hospital, it was not raining near LifeStyle. While it was not raining near Richmond Circle, it was raining at Basavanagudi. Anyone who knows the map of Bangalore can understand how crazy this sounds.

Holes in the sky!

I saw hailstones for the first time around 3 months back! In all of my life (most of which was spent in Bangalore) I had never seen, leave alone hold ice flakes falling from the sky. Now I will know what I am talking about when I talk about "Anekal Male" with my kid, thanks to T who indulged the kid in me (am talking about me own self) and stopped in the middle of a downpour so I could "feel" the hail.

What I like to do most when its raining is drench in it ofcourse. But given all the restrictions imposed on me right now, I can settle for the next best thing - a good (anything that I dont make?) cuppa tea, a great conversation or cracking up on Friends' episodes. Refreshments are welcome from the kitchen sphere ofcourse. Though these days its more of getting cozy with a bottle of water on the couch (have lost most of my teapetite) and having to ask for help to get off it for an "empty" and a refill once in a while. All the while having a good laugh and conversation. This is also fun :)



Whatever happened to humility? And whatever happened to humility when one has to face an interview? Do people not bother about it anymore? Am I in the dinosaur age where humility is considered a character strength during recruitment?
Two incidents provoked me to write this small piece.

One was yesterday where one interviewee would not accept the fact that he could be incorrect. He was pretty sure that he was correct according to "his" java and wanted to ascertain what I thought according to "my" java! James Gosling might as well feel happy that even as he parented java, his followers are parenting their own personal versions. The point is, this interviewee was so angry with me that I couldnt help but picturise smoke coming out of his ears.

Today there was a strange case of an interview candidate walking out on me! No time to react. A thank you and bang-shut of the door and there I was sitting in the gathering dust. And all I had asked the interviewee was a basic question for which the person got all tangled in giving the answer.

In my defence I can fairly say that I am not a fastidious interviewer. But does it matter what kind of interviewer one is? Should one vent their frustrations in front of total strangers who have the capacity to give one a job?

All of us are keen to hire people who are geniuses at a particular skill. But is genius enough to get you through all situations?

Ah, chuck it, we'll all go this way (see image)


Big B-ang

It had to be a big bang which would jolt me out of my pregnant lethargy which was threatning to stretch till the stork arrived at my door step.
So I was watching CNN-IBN tonight and saw an interview of Amitabh Bachchan and much talk on it about his blog and how he was above all the nonsense (or "freedom of expression" as he called it) being hurled at him. I had to check it out which I did as soon as his interview or should I call it verbal war got over. So, on the blog, the cliched angry old man is responding to every barb with the characteristic smooth language honed to perfection by Boo and Bahu. He is making the world know that he is just another ordinary human with no extra ordinary patience or is it the world which is obsessed with unravelling the peels of his onion-istic personality.
It cannot get bigger than this for the Big B - correction, it cannot get bigger than this for the Ambanis whose lack lustre (my personal opinion) social networking site bigadda has an icon for a user and they are fast cashing in on this popularity with a huge poster on the home page itself.
One for all and all for one - Thats the motto of the Three Musketeers!


Jump with joy, but not at Traffic signals

People in Bangalore are considered experts of the phrase "Swalpa Adjust Madi" but this phenomenon has just transcended certain levels of extremity. What can be more immature than expecting a traffic cop to be present at every traffic signal in the city 24/7. If they are not then people behave like cows on the road, moving and swaying uncontrollably. More and more people are jumping traffic signals in a race to nowhere, as soon as they see that there is no white and khaki uniform around. I will give you a prime example of the signal at ISRO on Airport Road. Anybody who has come on that stretch of Airport Road knows that as soon as the traffic cops go off the people on the road become blind to the glaring traffic signals. And this at the cost of even causing accidents at that spot because its a T junction. They dont even reduce speed while cutting across signals!
There are a few times when the trafiic signals do not work and people rant their fury about how the traffic controllers are causing havoc in the city. While it is true that traffic signals dont work a few times on congested roads, it is a rarity. It is an exception and not the rule.
When will the same people jog their memory and come up with the number of times they have jumped a traffic signal in order to arrive a nanosecond earlier or maybe there was no motivation?
T is a stickler to traffic rules (atleast the basic etiquettes on road) and hates jumping a signal. But everytime he stops (rightfully) at a red light, when there is no traffic cop around, he gets booed into motion by the surge of accelerators behind him and the blare of horns. Many a time he stands his ground and acts deaf (to all the taunts and scoldings which are spewed by others!!) but there have been times when he has had to jump too. Its a democracy after all and minority has not much ground.
There needs to be setup a network of cameras at each traffic junction and pictures of traffic offenders should be taken with the brightest of flashes so that it serves as a warning to others. I think the Manipal Hospital signal has gained some semblance of order after the camera was setup atop the hospital. But these measures need investment from the government. And it takes time. Meanwhile as part of a fast developing country, we the people should start being mature and humane as commuters and drivers. It is not only our own lives we need to safeguard but also of the multitude of people sharing the same road. Spare a thought for all. You never know which innocent person is coming unsuspectingly in your path as you are breaking traffic rules. Set an example. Be an organised traffic freak.


Life's Crossroads

In August last year, I got an opportunity to take a long break from work (after 7 yrs). T made me an offer that I did not want to refuse - that of taking a 3 month vacation and following him on his assignment to the US. This was a very tough decision for me considering that it meant a lot of implications professionally. I had to sit back and ask myself that annoying question of "What do I want from life?" Annoying because who really has the correct answer to this question? I decided that I should have fun in life with family when I get the opportunity. Looking back I feel I took the correct decision personally. We had one of the most memorable time of our lives. The vacation was not only rejuvenating for mind and body but it also brought with it, change! When I came back from US in November I unexpectedly found myself at the dreaded crossroads again. And this time it was because of a new presence in our lives, our little one. I am not overtly modest and hence can state pretty clearly that I am a very ambitious person. Ambition in terms of my professional as well as my personal life. Yet I am back at the fork trying to decide what is more important to me - my career or my baby. While I will be off on leave for the second half of this year, this could be a serious setback for my professional growth. Parenting brings with it a huge responsibility, one which I have no clue about and hence I am also faced with the inevitable question of whether I can even get back to work for a couple of years. Its a joyous occasion no doubt but also the moment of truth :)


In search of the Last Laugh

Its been ages since I wrote anything on my blog. It has been a period of restlessness and non-motivation in terms of my writing skills. I thought of many things to blog about but when it came to actually writing it, I somehow back tracked realising that I was not motivated enough.

I spoke to a friend of mine a few days ago and she happened to mention a saying "Those who laugh last laugh the loudest". This saying has been haunting me ever since. It does wonders to boost one's morale. It brings hope to the lot who feel life is disappointing them.

What struck me about it is the fact that we live today thinking that there would come a tomorrow when we would be the ones laughing longest. Is this healthy? Are we squandering today in a hope of tomorrow? Are we pulling out all stops in making our life a better abstract to live in, before jumping to the conclusion that there would be a last laugh eminating from ourselves in a time frame which is as abstract as tomorrow?

On the other hand, it is hope that makes us better human beings. A hope of witnessing pristine life tomorrow. One has to have impudence to not allow life's downs to create a chasm in their lives. The last laugh is what would lure them to be courageous.
Anyone has an opinion on my confusion?