Thursday, May 31, 2012


Have I ever properly introduced Baggdu? He's our 6 year old lab. He's the most amazing dog you'll ever find. When he first became part of our little family, the family was a lot littler - just Vijay and I. He was the cutest little thing...I fell in love with him the minute I saw him. I wanted him so badly. But Vijay didn't want a dog at the time. For all the right logical reasons I'm sure. But just look at him in the picture below. Can I be blamed for not being able to resist him?

I don't really need to go into the details here, but let's just say Vijay feels like he was deceived into getting Baggdu home. He didn't know what was happening. I wonder why...he paid for the dog...shouldn't he have known what he paying for? Oh wait...maybe that's because I may have swiped his card on his behalf instead. That might somewhat explain the feeling of deception.

Anyway, it's six years on and dwelling on the fact  that I wasn't entirely above board about how he came to us won't get us anywhere. Vijay wholeheartedly agrees and never reminds me of this, especially on cold winter mornings when the dog, unaware of his role in our marital discord, whines next to Vijay's ear because he wants a brisk, foggy walk. Or when he refuses to climb stairs and demands to be carried up 6 flights after a sweaty walk if the lift is broken. Or when he gets into a rough and very stupid fight with a menacing street dog, neighbor's bulldog, or other out-of-his-league animal and needs to be rescued and nursed. It's all good, says a serenely smiling Vijay - what's done is done. Now that Baggdu is ours, let's enjoy him and never place blame on well-meaning, if slightly impulsive spouses.

Look at Baggdu now! All grown up. Still pretending to be dumb when it suits him and razor sharp when we're giving important instructions that involve procuring and consuming biscuits. The best thing about him is how gentle he is with the kids. He just loves them. He is at his happiest and most energetic in the morning when the kids wake up and come to our room. He runs to greet them and lick them and hug them as if they've just come back from a long holiday! He doesn't realize it but overwhelming groggy and unsteady on their feet kids with love and affection is a little pointless - they just yell at him or climb over him on to the bed to go right back to sleep. But I think he just can't help himself - especially around Vir. Vir loves him a lot too and it's a real joy to watch them together. It's a heartwarming scene that also helps Vijay forget all the hurt at being deceived 6 years ago.

Baggdu is also providing something of an education to the kids, albeit not in an age appropriate way. You see, the other thing about Baggdu, as you can probably figure out from that innocent face and virginal expression, is that he has never got lucky. We should have probably thought more about his needs, but you know...we got busy with the kids and his sex life was never really a prime concern. We could probably have had him neutered, but Vijay is still a little hopeful and doesn't want to unfairly take away the potential experience from Baggdu. As a result, sometimes the kids get to see a slightly excited version of their pet dog. So far, we haven't really thought of this as a problem. We thought the kids were too young to really notice. Until recently, when Vir came running in excitement to Vijay and announced, "Papa! Come and see! A pink missile is coming out of Baggdu!"

As always, we didn't know what to do with this and how to respond. I think Vijay just dodged it with some vague mumbling. I would probably have done the same - I mean, sometimes you need time to Google the right parenting approach before you have to use it, right?

So you see, we have a lot to thank Baggdu for - his gentle and loving presence in our family, his non-destructive, super peaceful approach to life, his non-demanding personality, and the latest, his educational value for the kids with regards to certain life skills. Now all that's left is the fulfillment of Vijay's only dream from a dog - someone to fetch the morning paper!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


For the last few months, my work life has overtaken a lot of my other life. I'm in a job that I enjoy and that I'm good at and that is challenging and all that good stuff. I also really like making money - I make less than I spend, but I love offsetting every expense against my income in my little mental ledger. And since I offset one expense at a time, and my ledger doesn't come with an inbuilt "add" functionality, it all works towards making me think I'm totally self reliant.

It started with me saying I'll just work a few hours a day - while the kids are away at school. Then, there was that one urgent deadline that I just had to meet, so I switched on the TV for the kids and worked a couple of extra hours. Then there was a call that 5 people needed to be on and they were only available in the afternoon, so could I please make an exception and just dial in for a while? Then, some of the stuff I did was appreciated by folks in the office and I felt happy and wanted to do more so I could stay as good as they all said I was. Slowly, I found myself cutting back on park time with the kids, relying on my friends to take my kids to tennis class a little too often, being too tired to read them their bedtime stories, and too distracted by the latest deadline or crisis to really listen to what they were saying over the dinner table. None of this happened very just kept creeping up on me. I realized what was happening in flashes once in a while, so I started working late into the night thinking I could give them time that least I wasn't working when they were awake. But that's really just a story I told lack of sleep makes me a pretty boring companion to them anyway and a less productive employee over time too.

Even Vir noticed what was going on. He's been asking me why I'm always messing with my phone and has even told me that when I'm on my computer all the time, it bothers him because I never listen to him or give him whatever he's asking for. He was very fair though, and told me that I could be on the computer "sometimes" as long as I still heard him out when he wanted to talk.

I had a bit of an enlightened moment today when everything seemed to come to a was a super hot afternoon, there were painters all over my house (because I don't have enough to do and decided that getting the entire house painted would be the right thing to do right now), I was staring at my computer trying to be productive, not succeeding, so staring some more, while also taking one call after another, and the kids were just sort of hanging around the house with my maid trying her best to entertain them. Finally, Vir literally came up to me and broke down crying that he wanted something to do and someone to play with. For a moment there, I was actually too tired to even feel bad for him...I found myself looking at him thinking, "too bad, but what can I do?" And then immediately, "What the hell, woman? If you can't do something, then who will?" I decided to take the rest of the evening off. Vir had a doctor's appointment anyway, so I took both of them along. After we were done, we went to Modern Bazaar and shopped for groceries and then to a friend's house so our kids could play for a while. We came back and I put my phone away and, even though it was late, we pulled out a couple of story books and read them together before sleeping.

I cannot even describe what a change in mood I saw in my kids and myself as a result of this little bit of time spent with them. Nothing I did was an indulgence...simple grocery shopping...old story books...the magic was just in the fact that I switched off from everything else and simply focused on them for a while. The kids snuggled up to me and slept happily and I just lay there thinking...why have I let go of these simple rituals with them - spending time over splashy bubbly baths, dinner time conversations, art and craft activities, bed time stories? Small as they all seem - they're obviously important. If I let them go, the kids probably won't even be able to articulate what they're missing. But they'll lose out anyway. And me more than them.

I guess I'm writing this more to work this whole thing out for myself - it's time to figure out what's important and make time to do it. Over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to set myself some goals and make sure I achieve them. One happy side effect for my 3 readers - many more updates on this little blog. You won't  be ignored anymore little one because you're all about the kids too!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

It's still May!

Still May - which means its not too late to write Tara's birthday post! I would have to write one you know - even if it was December...because Tara will learn to read very soon, and when she does, there will be some serious trouble for a certain writer of a certain blog in which a certain younger sibling will find herself certainly a little shortchanged.

But fear of serious consequences aside, I can't move on without acknowledging that my little little one is now 3! Recently, there was a splash pool party thingy at her school. They sent us pictures of all the kids splashing around in their little swimsuits. In one picture, Tara was standing grumpily, unhappy because the other kids were splashing water on her. When I came upon this picture, I almost didn't recognize could this tall, grown up little girl be the Tara who, only just yesterday was a roly poly little baldy sitting on the floor with her bowl of Cheerios? I know all parents say their kids are growing up too fast, time is just flying, and so on. But they say it because it's true!! It's unbelievable and quite confusing, really.

Tara was super duper excited about her birthday. Of course, to her, it basically meant a cake and her friends. She didn't talk too much about presents. But I think that's just because her dream present had already been given to her by nani the month before. This dream was a water bottle which has a strap so you can hang it on your neck, and a little button, which, when pressed, shoots out the straw to drink from. Before she had it, I think she slept dreaming about it every night. Just thinking about a future where she would own that bottle would make her smile and go into a little reverie. Since I had told her she would get it on her birthday, this magical day took on a whole new meaning. My mom ended up getting her one before time when they went to Dehradun...she didn't take it off her neck for an entire week!

Tara's obsession for water bottles and cups and all manner of liquid containers is threatening to overflow all cabinets and shelves in our house. When she walks into a toy store, she knows exactly where the Barbie and Dora bottles are kept, heads straight there, makes her choice in less than a minute and walks right to the cash counter with it. It's up to me to give in right away or make a battle out of it. Sometimes, when I have the energy, I take on the battle and refuse to buy her another piece of junk. Never an easy thing to do to a 3-year old...especially one as fiery as Tara. With her accusing looks, finger pointing, and declarations of "main aapka friend nahin banoonga," she tries her best to bring me down. It's a win-win situation for me though...if I'm able to hold my ground and not buy the bottle, I feel very successful and proud that I have done the right thing and taught my daughter a valuable life lesson. If I can't take the pressure and just buy the damn thing, I get to see her so happy with something so small! The gleam in her eyes, big toothy smile, and "ab main aapka friend banoonga" is totally worth it even though I know she's just playing me!

Only she can get away with the stuff she does, but then she has the right to, doesn't she!? I take a little bit of pride in her sense of entitlement because it tells me she's happy here.

So happy birthday, lord and master of the Gogoi household. We're happy you're here too.