Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Doors

As I may have mentioned earlier, we moved house (our thirteenth since we got married) the end of this June. It was a flat almost identical to the one we were living in, and in the same housing complex, but with some additional features introduced by the owners, who had lived there for several years before they decided to move to Texas.

Since they had moved in to this apartment complex several years ago, when it was on the outer edge of the civilised world, they were very safety conscious. The main door had the builder's mortise lock, a bolt for a padlock, and a big safety lock with two latches. The outer, grill door had a steel frame and netting, plus a mortise lock, and a bolt on the inside. The skylight above had a stainless steel grill.
They then handed me a bag full of keys to the various cupboards and cabinets and drawers to the house. There were drawers in the dressing table that could be locked, cupboards in the kitchen, sections in the store room: a truly overwhelming number of keys for a couple whose worldly goods mostly consist of books, music and cushion covers!

Our young landlords had done a wonderful job of adding storage space to the house. In the storeroom/ servant's room, they had built a huge shoe cupboard against one wall, and an ironing table with storage drawers against the other wall. The master bedroom had a huge shelf/sideboard with many small cabinets built into it, and the guest room, (formerly their children's room), had a big desk cum bookshelf occupying one wall. Many of our books were no longer homeless, and our movie collection now saw the light of day.

The morning after we received our set of keys to the house, our kids dropped in and wanted to see it.
(The landlords had left late the previous night, and had left one set with one of their relatives).
Wielding the bunch of house keys, I marched across with two kids and a friend  in tow. The steel grill door was double locked, and opened with two turns of the key. The safety lock opened with two turns of the key, too. The key turned in the builder's original lock, but I couldn't extricate it. My younger son, (who is also known as Terminesh on occasion), tried pulling it out, but the key broke in the lock. We could push open the door and enter the flat, and then wondered what to do. My daughter sent her driver to get a locksmith, and he came back shortly with a Sikh locksmith who extracted the broken key.

We decided that the grill door was safe enough in a building and society with plenty of security, and put both latches of the safety lock in a neutral position, since we decided that we didn't need more than one lock on our front door.

That was Door/ Key episode 1.

A couple of months later we had house guests. My aunt had undergone knee replacement surgery, and my uncle was going to visit her in the hospital.  I happened to be running a temperature, and on this particular morning was not able to get up. My maid suddenly comes and scolds me that the stuff I had kept in the small room has fallen and jammed the door and it can't open. I had propped two or three large paintings behind the door of the store room, and in some mysterious way they had fallen down, blocking the door completely. The spouse and the uncle tried desperately to move them, but to no avail. Somehow the maid got a hand in, and managed to lift the heavy frames enough to manoeuvre
the door open, bless her. I promptly put the picture frames between the dryer and the steel almirah, where they could do no further damage.

So that was Door  Episode No. 2.
When I told my good friend O about this, she narrated a similar episode in their house, where the ironing board got wedged between the door and a wardrobe, and could not be moved. Someone actually climbed down from the terrace to their eighth floor window, removed the pane of glass in the skylight, and entered and opened the door. Thank goodness we didn't have to do that. (The next day the maid's arm was badly swollen, but thankfully she recovered soon.

Once my aunt was home from hospital, we had many visitors coming to see her. One of them was her granddaughter, who had flown in for a day to meet her beloved Dadi! The spouse and I decided to get some rasmalai and dhokla from our local shop, and left the house with my niece watching TV and Chacha and Chachi following their normal routine of morning exercises. We didn't even think of telling the young lady that our place was very safe, and that our just closing the steel grill door was more than enough. When we came home, we opened the steel door, but the wooden door wouldn't open. Chacha threw down the house keys for the RE to retrieve, but the door still wouldn't open. Chacha tried attacking the lock with hammer and screwdriver, but to no avail. The RE went to get a locksmith. I went upstairs to O's house and asked her to keep the rasmalai and dhokla in her fridge. I sat down and drank some water. I was somewhat terrified, because the front door was proving to be impregnable. Even cutting open the grill above didn't seem possible or practical. The carpenter came and sat around uselessly. The RE returned with the locksmith, who seemed to be the original Sikh chap who had come some months ago! Within seconds the door was open, to our collective relief. The locksmith spent a good couple of hours de-activating and removing the latches from the safety lock.
That was Episode No. 3.

The fourth episode was comparatively milder, but potentially much more dangerous.
Last year we had visited the Blind School Diwali Mela (for the first time), and among other purchases had bought a bamboo and coconut shell mashaal.

I used it last year, and this year, once again, it was in the little corner between the front door and the wall, although outside a different apartment. On Diwali I placed a glass candle holder on top of it, and lit a large candle inside it, and all was well. On the day after Diwali, I lit the wick inside the coconut shell (there was a good quantity of wax), and a couple of tea-lights outside the door. When I opened the door the next morning, there was a blackened mess where the mashaal once stood. It was only when we got back from our walk that O pointed out how lucky we were that our electrical wiring didn't catch fire: the switchboard with the doorbell and entry light had melted and was quite de-shaped. This wasn't quite a door episode, but since it was in close proximity, I guess it qualifies!

Is there a particular God of Door Things who can help? (We have a Ganapati outside, and one just inside, who seem to be sleeping on the job). Do let me know!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Thoughts on Diwali, 2016

So many Diwalis
have come and gone,
same old wishes,
same old pledges
hoping for peace, 
and love, and light
(not noise, thank you so much)
for something to change,
for goodwill to appear,
pollution to vanish
life easier to bear
for the poor and the lonely
on the edges of our world...
(My inner cynic
has decided to relax today,
and let my upbeat self emerge.
Hoping doesn't hurt,
or does it, if it remains futile?)
At night the city glimmers and gleams
like a bride with glittering ornaments...
I overhear a young boy tell his friends,
a bunch of them bursting crackers
'My mom says she is anti-pataka,
but my Nanu let me buy crackers'
and hope dies down again.
But this Diwali morning,
despite the hazy sky,
the pigeons are still waiting
for me to fill up their water trough
and stubborn hope bestirs from its slumber.
I wish, and hope, and pray
that human beings learn to love
each other, all living beings, our Mother Earth
today and every day.
Happy Diwali.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

And it's here:

The book of my writings that my children decided to get published for my sixtieth birthday, is now available.

Let me share with you Kiran Manral's kind words, which grace the back cover:

From insightful short fiction that plumbs into the nuances of small town India to bittersweet anecdotes from her personal life to carefully constructed, evocative poems Dipali Taneja tracks the trajectory of her life from Lucknow to Cochin to Kolkata to Delhi in Of This And That.
Whether it is the subtle interplay of faith and cynicism in The Caterpillar, the touching Garage Tales about a sincere and hardworking dhobi and his dashed aspirations regarding his son, the unconventional manifestations of death and mourning in Grief or the delicately handled Parents, which deals with the reality of domestic violence and abuse and a woman’s insistence of emerging from the cycle to create her own destiny,  the short stories are empathetic mirrors to everyday society, making one ponder and reflect.  The selection of blog posts, talking about Boseji and the Sometimes Resident Engineer (as she calls her husband) are charming glimpses into everyday life, which bring a chuckle to one’s lips.
Written with grace and acuity, Of This and That is a collection that will touch you, delight you and make you realise that truly, everyone has a story and sometimes the unstated story is always the one that has the life lesson.

Kiran Manral, Author

Thursday, September 15, 2016

My post for Agents of Ishq

The mention of a more than fifty-year old memory of a pair of hairy legs on a Facebook post had Paromita Vohra ask me to write about it for Agents of Ishq.

I love the way they have presented it, as well as the delightful illustrations.

Do visit:

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Another small joy

Glancing out of the drawing room window, I see two pigeons perched on the little ceiling fan in the balcony.
Are they waiting for a joy ride, I wonder?
I have to take a picture of them, but it has to be through the mesh door, (and at a strange angle):
our pigeons are nervous creatures.

I think I'll give them a tiny little spin by quickly switching the fan on and off, but they both fly off immediately.
I silently apologize to them, and promise not to ever do this again.

There was space for one more pigeon: were they waiting?

Friday, September 9, 2016

A small joy

The laundry
flaps happily
in the breeze,
drying quickly,
with sunshine,
a small joy
to savour
through the day

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Guest Who Never Came

Mr X was supposed to come to our place
for lunch this last Saturday
( He was in our neighbouring town on work)
And so I bought some extra milk
and some bananas, and used my last
mango of the season to make custard,
early on Saturday morning!
I took out the bowl of chholey
I had kept in the freezer, to defrost.
But then he said he couldn't come that day,
so the custard went into the fridge
and the chholey back in the freezer
and we went to Khan Market
to buy a present for
a young friend's fortieth birthday.
And so I acquired an exquisite pair
of silver earrings from Amrapali
and a stunning cotton saree from Cooptex,
and that evening, after dinner
I ate a bowl of custard.

Mr. X was supposed to meet us on Sunday
but we had prior commitments,
and he turned out to be busy too,
though we would have rearranged our plans
to meet  him!
So we went out for lunch with family members,
came home and had a quick nap,
before we went out for the evening function.
Since I couldn't nap, somehow,
I ate the remains of the morning's bread upma
and a bowl of custard, just in case dinner got late.

Then he was supposed to come over
on Monday afternoon
and spend the night with us,
before catching his flight home on Tuesday.
So I made up the guest room bed
and put fresh towels in the bathroom
all ready for our guest, whom we were expecting
in the afternoon or early evening
and was wondering what to make for dinner,
when the spouse called him
(just after we had had lunch)
to find out where he was.
I offered the spouse some custard
but he declined, so I had some
(it was thinning out by now,
losing texture, but still delicious).

He said he couldn't make it that day,
but would come today (Tuesday),
on his way to the airport.
I thought he'd be having lunch with us
so I changed my plans for a shopping trip
with a friend, only to learn from the spouse
that he was was expected only in the afternoon,
and not for lunch,
and that the spouse would go with him to the airport,
so that they could catch up on the long ride.

So my friend and I went shopping,
and I come home to discover that
our man X will not be coming home at all,
since he had got delayed at his work place,
but the spouse will be meeting him
at a hotel near the airport.
So the spouse has a quick lunch and leaves,
I have a leisurely lunch, and a bowl
of by now very skinny custard,
and put the dregs of it in the freezer.

My dear Mr.X, thanks to your not coming to our house consistently over the last four days
I have ingested a great many unnecessary calories.
The next time you plan to visit us, I will start cooking only once you are inside our home, after making sure that you are actually going to stay for a meal.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Janamashtmi inspired: Krishna songs, mostly from films.

My friend Madhulika Liddle posted ten of her favourite Krishna songs from Hindi films today, and inspired me to post my own favourites. Several of them are, understandably, part of her list, especially Manmohana Bade Jhoothey and Jaa Tosey Nahin Boloon Kanhaiya (which forged my abiding love for Raga Hansadhwani). My conditions for choosing these songs are nowhere as stringent as hers, all songs are not addressed to Krishna, a couple of them are sung by him to Radha (when she pinches his flute).
In no particular order, my selection of  Hindi film songs celebrating Lord Krishna:

Manmohan man mein ho tumhi (Kaisey Kahoon, 1964)

Kaanha Jaa Re (Tel Maalish Boot Polish, 1961)

Radhika tuney bansari churaee (Beti Bete, 1964)

Brindavan ka Krishna Kanhaiya (Miss Mary, 1957)
Such delightful lyrics: Rang salona aisa jaisey chhayee ho ghat saawan ki

Baat Chalat nayee Chunari Rang Daari (Rani Roopmati, 1957)
I had always loved this song, but didn't know of its provenance until one evening in the eighties or early nineties when Rani Roopmati was being telecast by Doordarshan! Those were the now unimaginable days without the Internet or Google!

Aayo kahaan se Ghanshyaam (Buddha Mil Gaya, 1971)
I've always loved the song, and after seeing the movie found it even more enthralling: a lovely semi-classical song linked to more than one murder!

Madhukar Shyam Hamaarey Chor (Bhagat Surdas, 1942)
How can I not have the inimitable K.L. Saigal on my list?

Radhe Rani De Daaro Na (Puran Bhagat,1933)
This was a Saigal song that my father used to sing, so it has a special place here.

Chali Radhey Rani ( Parineeta, 1953)
Manna Dey's magic, a delightful rhythm, and emotions any woman can identify with!.

I'm concluding this post with two non-film songs which are great favourites,  composed by two great Bhakti poets, Surdas and Meerabai, respectively.

The immortal Kundan Lal Saigal sings Maiya Mori Main Nahin Makhan Khaayo

Chhannulal Misra sings this utterly beautiful Meerabai composition, in which the milkmaids are so utterly engrossed in their love for Krishna that they forget that they are selling curds, and sing
Koi Shyam Manohar Lo Re!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Hugging the breeze

The normal baking heat of June
is compounded by humidity,
the gift of some stingy rain,
leaving sweat-runnelled bodies
in its sad wake.
Air-conditioners add to the heat
outside the precincts that they cool
Sometimes it even seems
hard to breathe,
yet walk we must, every morning
The old new friends,
happy in their sixties,
exchanging their stories,
and laughing, mostly at themselves.
We've managed to spread the smiles
in our housing complex:
so many of the senior ladies
who looked through everyone
besides their walking friends
have now succumbed to our wiles,
and greet all and sundry with a smile
or a nod, an acknowledgement
of their existence.
What more can one ask for???

Oh, plenty more.
Yesterday, we were baking
and broiling and stewing,
(take your pick),
early in the morning
and asked for a breath of wind,

We asked, and we received,
a rich and powerful wind
when we walked round the corner
of our road.
A glorious, happy-making wind,
which we promptly embraced
with wide open arms,
laughing all the while,
hugging the breeze, with joy and delight
and true gratitude.

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Bald Facts aka Balaji's Blessing


Shaven heads mean different things to different people, different cultures. In North India, at least, babies' heads are shaved for their 'mundan' ceremony. Sons often shave their heads as part of the mourning rituals for their fathers. Buddhist monks and nuns have shaven heads. In the milieu in which I grew up, it was rare to see a woman with her head shaved. Persis Khambatta's beautiful bald head in Star Trek :The Motion Picture (1979) made a huge splash in our world. Sinead O'Connor was another bald woman whom I was vaguely aware of.

Over the years, though, the frequency of my sighting of female bald heads has increased.

In the mid-nineties we moved down South, to a different city and a life which seemed quite different from the familiar patterns of our life in Lucknow. With the SRE's new position in the organisation, our attendance at large, official parties became more frequent. At one such party, I encountered a petite, elegant woman of indeterminate age, with a shaven head. She had gone to Tirupati and had had her head shaved there, much to the chagrin of her husband. We had a great conversation about all kinds of things, and I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and her company. A few months later there was yet another, bigger party. I saw an elderly woman with short grey hair, whom I simply could not place. She seemed so familiar, but for the life of me I just could not place her. As soon as my head touched my pillow that night, I suddenly realized that it was my erstwhile bald friend!!! I was terribly abashed and annoyed with myself for a) not recognizing her and b) missing out on some lively, stimulating conversation. Our next encounter was at a friend's home. As soon as I saw she entered the room, I went up to her and profusely apologized to her for not recognizing her with her hair!!!

In the interim I found more bald women in my life. A college friend who also had her head shaved in Tirupati, a school friend who had lost her hair due to chemotherapy for breast cancer, other friends who were cancer survivors. These were the two standard reasons for their bald heads.

Although it may seem as though I'm going off at a complete tangent, my critique of the NCR's female morning walkers is germane to this narration. Even when we lived here some fifteen years ago, they seemed to be a notoriously unfriendly bunch, and even now, their general demeanour is blinkered, and eye contact is to be avoided at all costs. Some months ago I discovered a kindred soul, who actually looked me in the eye and smiled at me on our second or third encounter. It helped that she reminded me of a young friend of our family, with dark curly hair and a wide smile. Over the last few months my walk timings had become very erratic, and I hadn't seen this lady for a while, although I had seen her husband walking alone a couple of times. About a fortnight ago I see a slight, bald figure, approaching me with a smile, and I realize that it is my formerly dark haired 'acquaintance', with whom I have never yet exchanged a word. I instinctively ask her, 'All well?', and that marks the beginning of our friendship. Like me, she was also most irritated by the general unfriendliness of the walking community in our neighourhood, and was happy to find a kindred spirit. She had gone to Tirupati and had had her head shaved there. Thanks to what we now  think of as the blessings of Balaji, we are both delighted with our brand new friendship: something neither of us expected to find in our sixties. We are now happy, regular walkers who are actually walking an extra round or two when we have the time, delighted to find that we have so much in common!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

One year ago today

One year ago today was a Sunday.

(This is a leap year, or else today would have been a Monday).

It was the last day our weekly satsang was held at Mr. H's home,
He had retired, and had to vacate his centrally located government accommodation with a sprawling garden, after 10-12 years of hosting our particular satsang.
After we moved back to the NCR, it became our almost weekly meeting place, my sister's and mine.

It was, perhaps, also a way of reliving our childhood and youth, when we often went with our parents to the satsang on Sundays, in a different location, but nonetheless an inextricable part of our Sundays.

Although the RE is not interested in attending our satsang, he usually drives me there, then sits in the car with his newspaper, iPad, book, mobile phone, keeping himself busy for the hour or so that I'm inside. I am truly grateful to him for this. We sometimes venture further afield, sometimes go straight home. ( I sometimes hire a driver for the morning, if the RE's not available).

On this final Sunday, my cousin and his family were visiting us from out of town. They decided to come too, which was wonderful. We'd planned to go to Dilli Haat afterwards, have lunch out, and then go home. My sister was often an insistent host, so we thought we'd visit her if she insisted, or else go on our merry way.

There was a poignancy to that morning's service. It was the end of an era. The new location was miles away, in East Delhi, and many regulars would not be able to go there.

My sister and I would always sit together in chairs in the verandah, as our creaky knees no longer let us sit comfortably on the floor. That was the day I noticed how beautiful and dark her eyelashes were. I even asked her if she'd used kohl, but she said that she never did.

We chatted for a few minutes after the service, and I hugged her and moved towards the car. She seemed a little tired that day, and wasn't her usual insistent self. ( I recall a time I had to go several kilometers out of my way to go and see the spring flowers in her garden. I'm so glad I did).
My cousin and his family spent a few moments chatting with her, and then joined us.

That was the last time I met my sister.

She passed away suddenly less than a month later. We spoke on the phone a few times, even a few hours before she died. It still feels unreal.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

A very special day

So many loves throughout this life,
loves both given and loves received
Loves in the past, some long forgotten,
Many gone from this world, 
some merely lost to me.
Perhaps more love than I ever deserved
has come my way, truly blessing me.

And then there's this new love
who has overtaken our lives
whose name(s) we chant day in and day out
the spouse and I, crazy Dadi and Dadu
Far away though we may be, 
convinced that our thoughts get through
the miles that separate us......

So full of joy today, willing to shout out
to the world, be of good cheer, 
may joy abound everywhere, 
let the world forget it's myriad woes
just for a day
as we celebrate our little grandchild's 
second birthday!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Owning half the year

Life was simple then,
summer months were
no big deal for us,
no particular events
made them ours.
But from Independence Day,
(my mother's birthday),
to Republic Day,
my parents' anniversary,
each month
'belonged' to us.
August, mummy's birthday
September, sister's,
October, brother's
November, mine,
and December Daddy's,
and their January anniversary.

Of course I've added
many more dates and months to this list,
but my original family calendar
feels so empty now.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Her voice, my voice.....

When you speak
your own voice
comes from inside you
the sound waves you generate
traverse both  internal and external paths,
impinging on your eardrums in distinct ways,
the voice you hear and the voice others hear
two different entities.

It's only a good recording
that helps you know
how you sound to others.

Recording the toddler's antics
on my phone camera,
I found myself
laughing aloud,
singing  along with the music,
and talking to her
or about her
in my late sister's voice.

After all these years of
thinking myself as
so different from my sister
Sounding like her
is now a comfort.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Mommy House

Mommy House
was what my daughters asked for,
whenever they came over,
after the toddler had left.
Enough Dadi House now,
We miss the feel of home
and the toddler isn't here
but we are,
so make it nice again
for yourselves,
and your visiting
nearby children.

Me being me,
the colour scheme queen,
was inspired today
by the freezing cold
to do up the living room
and dining room
in warm, flame colours,
a welcome change
from the cool teal blues.
The maid had a day off
so the floors are dirty,
but after today's
yoga class,
breakfast making
dishwashing session,
and the big change
it doesn't really matter-
please excuse!

Let me share Mommy House, and Mommy herself in her winter headgear, (looking most squaw-like,
I know) with you, dear readers!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The unbearable strangeness of home

This rented flat
has charmed me, again and again
(though my heart still wants its 'own' place,
with no original packing materials
stored against a 'final' move.
Though I know that
nothing on this earth is final.
not the earth itself,
nor the people,
nor their houses).

Still charmed by the space,
the sunlight,
the fresh air,
all still present, still appealing,
but now also peopled by memories
of the tiny figure
who hopped and skipped around,
calling out to the pigeons, and her parents
and us, fond grandparents, and the fans,
and her toys ( especially Doggie)
it remains, more or less,
as baby-proofed as it was
ten days ago.

Those artefacts that added
character, personality, and colour
to our home,
I'm aware of their absence,
each one of them that is missing,
hiding in safe spaces.
I think of them stored away, safely,
asking me, softly,
when will we come out again?

The lacquered Japanese music box,
the Turkish bowls,
the ceramic candle holders
the brown and blue glazed jugs
on the sideboard,
the ceraminc Ganesha from Pondicherry
almost abstract, a subtlety ...
The fat turtle from New Mexico
with horsehair burned patterns,
a gift from one son,
brought to us by the other
The antique, timeless clock,
the Dokra musicians,
the lost wax 'people tree',
the many bowls and candles
and photo frames,
I remember them all
and I miss them all,
but I cannot bring myself
to bring them out again.

Not yet.
Not yet.
Not yet.

Life goes on without them,
As it does without
the toddler who left us last week,
who will be a different person
when we meet her next.

We see her in the garden downstairs,
where, like a little puppy,
she held my finger and led me
to where ever she wanted to go.
Holding on to her so that she wouldn't
fall into the ornamental pond,
fascinated by her own reflection!
The swings, the slides, the merry-go-round,
Many little people there,
but not our little person,
Who sat on my lap
in the colony vegetable shop
and ate a (complimentary) banana
after walking what seems like a huge distance
for one of her size!

Who knows when we will see her again,
and how old will she be then,
How much older will we be? 

And yet time cannot, and must not, be frozen.

We will delight in her as she grows,
our precious grandchild,
waiting for the day when Skype
and phones make sense to her,
until we meet again.
Our home still feels strange, though.
And so empty.......

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Toddler is Curious

As is but natural. All toddlers are. The world is theirs to explore.
Our granddaughter is no exception. My son calls her the FBI.
We called her Dopey Chand Jasoos, having combined the title of a 1982 film and a particular expression that our son also used to have in moments of deep thought.

We were meticulous in our efforts to toddler proof the house.We needed to protect both her and our valuables from each other!

Every accessible (to the toddler) plugpoint was taped shut.

All breakables were removed from low levels.

All our ceramic coasters were packed away.

Our large, low, glass topped coffee table was covered first with a folded durree, then with a thick bedcover as tablecloth. This was our phone table, and the toddler would sit on it and press the orange speaker icon on the telephone, thrilled with the sound it made.

We had small locks put on our 1985 vintage sideboard, which housed some crockery and our medicines, as well as some alcohol- the section on the right is called the dava-daaru almaari!

My old glass-fronted Parsi crockery cupboard had a lock but no key. The carpenter carefully removed the lock, which the RE then took to the neighbourhood chaabiwallah, and brought it back with a pair of keys., which the carpenter then re-installed.

The RE's filing cabinet had keys, which were in hiding in his desk which had been pushed to the wall. So the doors were tied up with a ribbon, but the drawers above were left to the mercy of the toddler, who would open them whenever she chose to. The contents were boring papers and envelopes, hence safe!

The RE thought that the bookshelf in the dining room would be safe enough, but I remember well the toddlers I have dealt with. My motto remains: never trust a toddler. I tied the handles of the bookshelf doors together with ribbons. One afternoon, while sitting on her mother's lap at the dining table, the smart young lady unties the ribbon and gleefully shows me that she can open the bookshelf doors!

All objects on our bedside tables are endangered. Books are picked up and examined. Picture frames need to be rescued, as does our early morning thyroid medication. Lamps and their switches fascinate her.

The day they were leaving was the day Ms. Toddler decided to raid her grandma's kitchen. After investigating each of the lower cupboards, she was happy with several empty plastic boxes, and also demanded my rolling pin, which is identical to the one they have in their home. Several spatulae joined the kitchen equipment on the carpet.

It's almost a week since they left. Our world has changed once more. We still haven't put many things back in their original places. The TV is reinstated as our major entertainment source. The carpet looks forlorn, bereft of both toys and toddler. We miss our little Jasoos and her thorough investigations.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Toddler is Confused

The toddler's vocabulary is expanding.
All animals used to be called "doggie."
On her recent trip to Goa, she encountered several crows, whose raucous cries of "Kao kao" became the onomatopoetic name for all birds, especially the numerous pigeons she can see from our balcony.
For reasons of her own, the little teddy bear that waits for her visits here is "Bebi."

Before her first visit here last summer, the fond grandparents had had a laminated collage made of several of her photographs, all taken before she was three months old!!! Since there is no glass that can break or hurt her, she had access to this precious frame. She could recognise all the adults in the different pictures: Mamma, Baba, Dadu and Dadi. What puzzled her immensely was the baby. Who was this baby? All the adults were holding her so carefully, so lovingly. Where was she?
We tried telling her that it was Ms. Toddler herself as a small baby, but it was no easy task.
Her beloved parents and grandparents were holding some strange baby. Truly a mystery for her.

Ms. Toddler was most intrigued.

She now seems to recognise her reflection in the mirror, particularly if she has the reference point of an adult in the real world as well as in the mirror. It is wonderful to see her dealing with new concepts as she engages with the world. But the baby in the photographs remains a huge mystery to her!