Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Parting Shot

It was the second time this week Chip pulled this maneuver successfully. It’s a simple tactic on the face of it. But it takes a man of undaunting sprit with a fearless desire to take on extreme challenges despite prior knowledge of dreadful consequences in its wake. Or, a two year old. The first time Chip pulled his toddler version of the shock and awe, his poor, unsuspecting grandmother was yes, shocked and indeed awed and she gave Chip a sound earful, which given her rather gentle and soft voice, did not do much do discourage Chip. So, he tried it again on his very suspecting mother last night.

The notoriously difficult to potty train Chip has been doing pretty good the past few days, and that meant mostly whispering his intent to answer the nature’s call, grown-up in earshot or not. Yesterday I was within the hearing range of the said murmur. Elated, we proceeded upstairs to “his” bathroom amidst joyous chorus of “Chip is a big boy”, “Wow. Chip just told me had to go do poo-poo” – you know the step right before you start garlanding him and lying prostrate in his path to seek blessings.

The call having been answered and the news conveyed over the (toy) phone sitting on the potty to the ‘other’ grandmom, Elmo, neighbor’s dog, the moon, the shower head, the lion on the shower curtain, his sundry friends and the new school, we were ready to wrap it up. Now, we are the green sort of people and try not to use paper where water can be used. So while I was filling ‘the’ every-desi-household-has-one plastic mug, Chip ran away. Before I realized what had happened, he was in the guest bedroom, across the hall standing on his grandmother’s bed. Panic reigned. “Get down now!” I thundered in my most ominous voice. “Now. Get down.” Chip was obviously having too much fun. I stepped into the room to grab him but like a well-oiled monkey he jumped away to the far corner of the bed and sat on his haunches. The bed a mere half an inch away from his tushie. Taking cover of the shadows, I slithered behind him and picked him up to carry him to the bathroom, but my poopy samurai would still not concede defeat. In one swift move he was back on the floor amidst my high pitched screams blurting every threat known to mankind. That had its effect. Chip froze. Time stood still. And then Chip did the unthinkable. He stuck two fingers of both his hands in the place where the sun don’t shine. Half-dragging him to the bathroom to clean him up, I said, “You are getting a swat on the bottom for this. Wait till you have washed your bottom and hands.”

Tush and hands cleaned, bottom swatted, eyes filled with tears and the tiny yet powerful voicebox emitting loud protests, I sat him down. “Why do you do these things Chip?” I asked in my most motherly voice. “Are you out of your mind?” I said tapping his head. Chip peered into the semi-darkness. Twinkle had returned to his waterlogged eyes. “Aie,” he said throwing his arms around me, plopping in my lap and tapping his own head, “Ithe batate (potatoes here).”

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pumpkinville 2007

The local petting zoo hosts a pumpkinville every year. Free Apples, free cider, free popcorn.

And as you can tell, I am out of ideas to post.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Babel On

So yesterday, BigGeek, the MIL, Chip and the exalted self were getting a family oil change. The cars. Not us. The onboard computer showed 5% oil life (isn’t this like a video game?), so a magic potion had to be sought with haste before we could reach the next level and beat all the bad devils of chores and get the reward – a nice Sunday afternoon spent napping. So at noon, feeling victorious after completing round one of errands, the foursome piled into a nearby Merchant’s armed with a coupon and what not, battled our way as the slick manager tried to sell us a $150 fantastic-new-service-without-which-your-car-will-not-make-another-mile.

And so it began. Not a big fan of oil changes, the MIL and self were trying to sneak out by ourselves to buy some tablecloths and other boring household items, leaving Chip with his dad and a store full of tires and extraordinary auto-equipment. But BigGeek would not hear about it. So while we fought over the merits of me taking Chip to a home store yet again, vs. Chip staying back to get a glimpse of the fantastic and hitherto unknown world of auto-maintenance and magical gadgetry, Chip wandered away to survey the wheel bases hung on the walls and to try and pull a few down to roll or climb them. Since Chip’s parents were fiercely raging a debate at the time, the manager took it upon himself and told Chip sternly he could not touch the wheels lest they fall on him. Chip, was obviously not happy with that and he is too well-bred to throw a tantrum on a complete stranger. He held himself (proud of you, son). But as soon as the manager turned his back and walked away, Chip could be heard saying, behind the manager’s back – “You be nice, you be nice, now!”

The horror. When will the boy learn to fear authority?

Thursday, October 25, 2007


You know you dwell in the virtual more than the real when today happens. There was a time when a power outage meant all life stood to a standstill. Or at least we thought so. But times have changed and we are now in the 21st century and so network outage is the new power outage. We had a complete network blackout at work today. No access to any servers, email, the net. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. So, with literally *nothing* to do for almost an hour and a half, I decided to make a trip to the restrooms. As I stepped into the stall and I will spare you kind readers the details of the trip, a thought crept into the aging mind. With the complete network outage, how will the flush work?


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Many Masters

“I thought about you as I read these pages today.” My mother-in-law said smilingly as I stepped out onto the deck yesterday. I had just got home, given Chip his milk, peanuts, raisins, apple, milk again, juice (grape not apple), peanuts again. Finally getting tired of the game, I had given Chip an ultimatum, poured myself a glass of juice, helped myself to the Chivda the MIL had made and stepped out on the deck. The MIL was reading, or rather re-reading after a decade, Many Masters Many Lives, sitting on the swing, a cup of coffee in hand.

The MIL and I have many things in common and over the years have bonded over it. Astrology (I never cease to amaze, do I), spirituality, classical music, cooking, gardening, metaphysical phenomena. Which is not to say we are similar in personality. She is garrulous, I am the quiet sort. She thinks too much about what the extended family will think and say, me not at all, partly because I live half a globe from all that. She has tremendous amount of faith, and me? I don’t know. We are both married to hyper-rational geeks, the aloof, mind your own business types and we bond over that. I call her Kaku – which means Chachi/Auntie. Never called her mom, aie, or any other maternal terminology. And I was forthright about it. When BigGeek and I decided to get married, I should have started calling her something motherly, but I asked her if she would be OK with Kaku and she was. There is only one mother, I reasoned. The one that raises you. And she gracefully accepted that. Despite BigGeek’s aunts being shocked that she let me call her Kaku and not Aie. But I go off on a tangent here, but well not really, it’s important to get an idea of what the MIL is like.

Which pages, I wanted to know. She flipped back the pages. “It’s when Catherine talks about one of her lives while in the trance. The time when she was born in a Victorian period.” For five minutes the MIL read out a couple of pages to me. In them, Catherine talked about what she had learnt from that lifetime. She had learnt to have faith in the masters. She did not believe in them, not in that lifetime, she did not. But at the end of it she realized that had been her lesson. To have faith in the larger scheme of things.

This was very slightly uncanny. Because while reading the book, this is exactly what I thought my task for this life was. To learn to have faith. In the really bigger picture. The MIL has this faith. From where it stems from I know not. But through out this ordeal she has remained so calm that I have to admit I have questioned if she realized the seriousness of it all.“We don’t have masters (guru) in real life. I wish we did but we don’t. " She was telling me. Maybe these are our Masters, she said meaning the book’s author Brian Wiess.

I am definitely in a crisis of faith here. The MIL is happy not knowing all the answers. She is not bothered when her Whys go unanswered. She accepts that not all can be reasoned by the mind. The self, on the other hand, acknowledges that rational thought has its limits, but that conclusion, like a strange loop, is reached though logic. So, here I am, trying to break that loop and take a leap of faith. I just wish it wasn’t so damn hard.

BigGeek Update: He had his first day of Cardiac Rehab and it went OK. The shoulder pain shifts from one to the other and into the neck and comes and goes. It’s wait and watch. I am praying it goes away soon.

P.S. I know I am in a funk. I’ll be back to the old self in a few days.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Not Again

And just when you think you have fallen into a routine, providence strikes back again. We must have been awfully bad in our past lives. And no matter how much good we try to do here in this life is not enough and we must pay our pound of flesh. Or so it seems.

BigGeek had mild shoulder pain. Ordinarily it would not be something he would even give a second thought to. But of course since his heart attack which did not have your run of the mill symptoms (he had shoulder and back pain radiating to his arms, zero chest pain), every back and shoulder pain has the potential to be not what it seems. So off he went to the cardiologist with his mom, I met him there. The Nurse there did not think it was a cardiac issue, said to go to his GP incase it was muscular. So off we went to his GP who did an EKG.

While we waited for the doctor to return back.

BigGeek: the last time I was here when they did an EKG, all hell broke loose in 30 secs. One nurse put me on Oxygen, the other was calling 911.

Me: Yeah.. It’s way past 30 secs. now. That’s a good sign, isn’t it?

BigGeek: Yeah, I guess.

The doctor walked in. She said she was trying to get the most recent EKG from his cardiologist’s office. She compared the two, and did not think it was a cardiac issue. But ofcourse she could not be a 100% sure. If the pain grew worse or did not improve we were to go to the ER. So its wait and watch. The pain comes and goes. BigGeek is set to start Cardiac Rehab from tomorrow, so they will do a bunch of tests there anyways. Till then, I am crossing fingers.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pay it forward

So, in all my excitement yesterday, I forgot to pass on noon's engagement stories tag. Noon has tagged a lot of you so I am going to tag the remainder. And I will give you the third degree if you do not comply and tell us all your engagement stories. We all love mush. So here goes.

Cee Kay
Utbt - no, you cannot escape. I saw your comment on kodi's mom's blog.
Moppet's mom
Just Like That


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

BigGeek and DotMom - The Movie II

Hi. This is YetToBeDotMom.

Sorry to keep you waiting. I was in the middle of something. Well, actually I was in the bathroom

YetToBeDotMom Voiceover
Hehehehe. What did I say. Well. He should know I did not call him.

No worries. You aunt called me. I really hate to intrude on a family Thanksgiving.

Not at all. Its just a lot of good food and drink and talk and good arguments. Did you have a good Thanksgiving?

Not too shabby. My cousin was visiting from California and we went to New York and watched a broadway show yesterday.

What did you see?

Le Miserables

I have seen Annie Get Your Gun. I would love to see the Phantom.

Me too! I booked these tickets two months ago and Phantom was still sold out. Can you believe it? Even the matinee.

Montage: BigGeek and YetToBeDotMom talking. Clock shows time.

YetToBeDotMom Voiceover
And so it started. He was so easy to talk to. He asked me what I was reading and I told him I was reading Godel, Escher Bach and was finding it quite daunting. He told me he had written to Hofstadter about a mistake in his book Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies. Hofstadter had written back to him and had sent his student’s thesis. We both loved StarTrek and science fiction. We both loved freshly ground coffee. He was a metalhead, I wasn’t. I liked literary fiction, he didn’t.

So what courses are you taking this semester?

A couple of independent studies, advanced screen writing and artificial intelligence.

Quite an interesting mix. Doing the AI stuff in LISP?

Yeah, lots of parens.

A kid is heard in the background
He is still on the phone! He is still on the phone!

Are you driving back to Virginia today? You better get going. It will be past midnight by the time you get home.

Well..atleast there won’t be much traffic. Hey listen. Do you have any plans for Friday evening?

Not really.

YetToBeDotMom Voiceover
I can’t believe I said that. He sounds nice though.

Great. I can drive down to Philly. Anyway, we can figure out the logistics during the week. I’ll send you an email.

Ok. Sounds good. Drive safe.

3. INT. Fade to YetToBeDotMom’s office on campus. DAY
She is looking at an email that has arrived 1:30 am.

BigGeek Voiceover
Had a great time talking to you. Here is the email conversation between me and Hofstadter. Also attaching the thesis he sent me. Quite interesting. Send me directions/address when you get a chance.

4. EXT- Road at University Campus. –EVENING
YetToBeDotMom is crossing the road. She is in all black. Black sweater and black slacks. She crosses the road doing a small wave and peers through the window of a car parked outside.

(sitting inside the car) Hi!


Had trouble getting here?

No, not really.

Let me get us to a parking lot and then I can show you around the campus.

BigGeek drives and pulls into a parking garage. They get out. It’s still quite windy. They get out and walk over the campus.

YetToBeDotMom VoiceOver
We went around the campus. He asked me if he could see some of my films sometime. I just laughed. I wasn’t enjoying the filmmaking so much at that point. The real reason for me taking a course in AI. It felt good to be in the quantifiable world again. I told him that.

Montage ends with BigGeek and DotMom in DotMom’s editing studio.

I know this great Thai place if you wanna catch dinner.

You know more about Philly than I do!

Actually the restaurant is in Arlington. Just outside DC. We can drive up there. It’s only a couple of hours. I can drive you back if you want.

Is he crazy? There are perfectly nice places to eat dinner in Philly. He doesn’t look like a playa’. Maybe he is? I better find out.

Actually I have a friend who lives in Fairfax. Let me call her and ask her if she and her husband can join us for dinner tonight. And can I give her your cell number? I disconnected mine this week since I am leaving on Thursday.

Ummm. Sure.

YetToBeDotMom disappears into another studio across the hall and dials her friend.


Hey you! Didn’t you have a date today?

Yeah. Listen. He wants to eat dinner in Arlington. And I want you and R to join us.

Are you insane? Your date will murder me.

Pleaseeee. I told him it will be a double date.

Are you sure?

We are leaving now. Meet you at 8-ish? Here is his cell#.

Ok. Make that 8:30. R is flying in from Boston today. His flight gets in at 7:30.

OK. 8:30 then. Bye. Thanks. I owe you one.

Yes. You do.

YetToBeDotMom walks back to BigGeek.

OK. All done. We have a double date at 8:30 at ThaiPlace. R is flying in from Boston today.

Well.. they don’t have to come. I am not an axe-murderer you know (smiling)

Ofcourse not. I would not be in a car with you for two hours if I suspected so.

BigGeek and DotMom sit in the car and drive. Arial shots of highways, signs pointing to Washington DC. In car.

YetToBeDotMom Voice Over
Politics, gay rights, music, physics, filmmaking, hallmark holidays, video encoding algorithms, recreational drugs, Star Trek, movies, his job, the downturn.

It’s the same thing everywhere. Not very different where I work. My own job has a questionable future.

Friends I know are getting laid off right left and center. What will you do?

Don’t worry. Most people out there have just a skill to sell. I got talent.

Either he is really stoic, or a complete dumbass who has no sense of reality. The market was quite bad. It was not easy to get a job in the biggest market downturn.

I have a couple of things lined up.

It turned out to be such a short drive. But N did not call. We were near NiceThaiPlace and still no call from N.

Mind if I use your phone? Don’t know why N is not here yet.


(dials. into the phone)
Where are you?

YetToBeDotMom! R’s flight got delayed. The tracker said 8:00, then 8:30 now it says 9:00. I would have come by myself if I did not have to go pick him up.

Why didn’t you call me before?

I did. Twice. Went to his voice mail. Didn’t want to leave a message. Why don’t you eat dinner and come spend the night with us?

OK. See you in a while.

YetToBeDotMom turns to BigGeek.

She said she called twice. R’s flight is delayed. Did you hear it ring?

Really? Let’s see. Oh! It was on vibrate and it was in the little pocket in the car door. That’s why we didn’t hear it. Sorry.

That’s ok. You will drop me to her apartment afterwards?


And so we ate and talked some. I wished him good luck on the job front. He dropped me off at N’s place. He called me on Tuesday while I was at my grad office.

(on phone)
I have some bad news. I just got laid off.

I am so sorry. You doing OK?

Yeah. It was sort of expected.

What will you do now?

I am going to go to a Steely Dan concert.

YetToBeDotMom Voiceover
Is this guy really insane? Is he not the least bit stressed?

I meant about your job

Don’t worry. I’ll have a job before you get back. And not just any job.

YetToBeDotMom Voiceover
I had friends who were unable to find a job for a few months. He was crazy.

Ok. Good luck.

Do you need a ride to the airport on Thursday? I can drive up and take you. It’s not like I have anything to do (chuckling)

No, don’t worry. A friend will give me a ride.

Are you sure? Call me if the friend can’t make it.

Yeah. Yeah. You take care. Call you later today.

YetToBeDotMom Voiceover
And so I left on Thursday. To go to India. BigGeek was a nice guy. The lack of his job did not bother me one bit, his lack of anxiety did though. When I reached Poona, my mom quizzed me about BigGeek. She obviously had a bunch of six-figure incomes and BMWs lined up for me. But I refused to meet any.

5. INT. YetToBeDotMom’s house in Poona. – Day

YetToBeDotMom's Mom
Just meet them.

No! I am not the three week wonder wedding type girl. I don’t understand such marriages.

YetToBeDotMom's Mom
Just meet them. They are all nice guys

I am sure they are, but I am not meeting them.

YetToBeDotMom Voiceover
And so the days passed. I wrote my exams, talked/IMed/emailed BigGeek. His old boss, a few friends and he had started a startup. And the time came for me to get back to Philly. My mom was disappointed that I had refused to meet a singe eligible bachelor. All her hopes I suppose were pinned on BigGeek now. But I wasn’t talking marriage. Finally on Jan 26 I landed in a snowy Philly. My friends had come to pick me up and it felt good to be with them. BigGeek was going to drive down for the weekend to visit. I had offered to ask my friend if he could crash in at her house, but he had declined. He had made reservations at a hotel downtown.

6. EXT. In car – Day.

No goodies for me from India?

Yikes. I am not unpacked yet. Need to find an apartment first.

You got a list of places you wanna see?


YetToBeDotMom Voiceover
Much of Saturday was spent in hunting for a new apartment for me. Tired, we were wondering where to eat dinner, circling the City hall yet another time.

Need to go to the restroom

Ok. Lets go to the hotel. Atleast I’ll find parking there.
Turns to go into the hotel.

7. INT. Downtown Fancy Hotel – Evening

Let me ask the front desk

Just come up

Ok. Hope you are not on the thousandth floor


8. Elevator door opens. BigGeek and DotMom walk towards BigGeek’s hotel room. BigGeek opens door.

9. BigGeek’s fancy Hotel Room – Evening
YetToBeDotMom comes out from the rest room.

Nice view you got there (looking at the skyline)

Yes, pretty isn’t it. (points to a chair). Sit.

YetToBeDotMom sits down. BigGeek sits close to her, on the bed. Freeze Frame.

YetToBeDotMom Voice over
Since this is a G-rated (not even PG-13 movie) I am not going to tell you what happened (no, it is not that). Suffice to say he said these words.

I know this is a little early, but will you marry me?



Where is the ring?

YetToBeDotMom Voiceover
The nice sized double brilliant diamond came three wakes later. And replaced the yellow elastic band I wore on my ring finger to tease him. On Valentines Day. But at midnight, as I was dead tired and ready to go to bed. Cranky because he had not made reservations anywhere and we had ended up eating a sandwich at Panera. He was trying to beat the Hallmark Holiday which he hated (and give me the ring on the 15th) and still does. But there were flowers and chocolates. And a proper proposal made down on one knee.

And so ends the movie. Tell me who you think should play BigGeek and YetToBeDotMom. How about Hugh Jackman and Monica Bellucci? :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

BigGeek and DotMom - The Movie

The wonderful noon after having written a beautiful recount of her own engagement has tagged me to do the same. So here goes. It's a movie, mind y'all.

1. EXT. Opening Montage. Opening credits roll in unobtrusive plain text bottom right of screen.

YetToBeDotMom at her University. Its autumn. Windy. General shots of campus, students. YetToBeDotMom walking to her class, sitting in class, chatting with classmates, walking home late in the evening to her crummy apartment, cooking for herself and settling down with her pile of reading. The camera pans across the room, boxes and crates are half packed with apartment stuff.

YetToBeDotMom Voice Over
It all began in my 26th year of single hood. It was the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I had packed most of my stuff to go to India for an almost 2 month long break and to write my comprehensive exams. In a week I would be gone to a warmer place, my stuff stashed with a friend. It was then the phone rang. I knew who it was even before I picked it. It was my aunt from Connecticut. Again. Asking me if I had called a certain gentleman.

(on phone) No, I haven’t.
Listens to what her aunt is saying biting her fingernail.

What am I going to say to him?

Listens again.

You are in a book club with his aunt? How many pages left?


No, I really can’t call him. (pauses). God! You can’t do that. No! Can you? God!

Sound of dial tone. Phone goes dead. YetToBeDotMom puts on Dire Straits and goes back to her packing.

2. INT. YetToBeDotMom‘s bed room – EVENING
Caption on screen says- ‘30 minutes later’. YetToBeDotMom is sitting on her bed rigidly, phone in hand.


Over the phone friendly FEMALE voice
Hi is that YetToBeDotMom? Hi! I am Mrs. Nice Scientist. Your aunt gave me your number.

Oh! Hi!

Mrs. Nice Scientist
Well, I just wanted to call you and chat with you and tell you a little about the Nice Family.

(fake laugh) Oh! I was meaning to call, but was insanely busy.. I am going to India next week, am taking my exams early, subletting my apartment… just so much to do…Sorry you had to call.


YetToBeDotMom Voice Over
I wasn’t sorry at all, truth be told. I was just being polite. Why was she calling me? Thank god I was going to India in a week.

Mrs. Nice Scientist
God! I can believe how busy you must be, hope your exams went well.

YetToBeDotMom Voice Over
Why does she have to be so nice? It just makes things soooo much difficult.

They did, they did. I am glad I am done with them though. Still have to do my comprehensive exams. I plan to write those from India.

Mrs. Nice Scientist
You have to write comps? God! They can be tough. I remember mine. Good luck. Well I don’t know how much your aunt has told you about the Nice family and about my nephew BigGeek.

Not very much.

What did I just say? Gosh.

Mrs. Nice Scientist
Well the Nice family is very large and very smart. Well traveled. Cultured. My eldest brother in law, BigGeek’s eldest uncle is a biophysicist, another uncle is also a scientist and worked on the Pokhran Blasts, my husband is a Chemist with a post doc from UConn and I research gene therapies. A lot of the family holds many patents too. So, not to brag or anything, just wanted to share our accomplishments.

Very impressive indeed.

Very impressive indeed. Thanks for sharing.

Mrs.Nice Scientist
But, silly me. I am doing all the talking. Let me get BigGeek. He and my other nephews are visiting for Thanksgiving.

Oh! I’d hate to intrude upon a family gathering.

I really don’t want to talk to some dumb schmuck no matter how nice his aunt sounds.

Mrs. Nice Scientist
Oh, nonsense. They are just chatting. Let me get him.

Silence. More Silence.

The schmuck does not want to talk to me? This is soooo embarrassing. Maybe they have a mansion where it takes for ever to walk from one room to the next. Maybe he is in the bathroom. Oooh. That would be awkward.

Nice Male voice on the phone
Hi! This is BigGeek

Monday, October 15, 2007

Helping Hand

For all the jokes about one’s neighbor, we have been fortunate. Not that our neighbors don’t have a have a sense of humor, most do, but we feel blessed to be living in a home surrounded by great neighbors. Choose your neighbor before you choose your home, so goes an Arabic saying and I am glad we did exactly that. When BigGeek and I were looking at houses, the agent showed us this one. The house was smaller than what we wanted, had no garage which again we wanted, but I was happy to see neighbors chatting and kids playing in the cul de sac. It was an older tree lined neighborhood that did not have that impersonal look of newer developments. One got the feeling one could ask a neighbor for a cup of sugar or call on them in an emergency when in these days and times most of us hardly even know who we live next to. And I am glad we moved here.

Small things. In February while BigGeek was away at school, my car got stuck in 2ft of ice (not snow) because the stupid ploughs piled up the snow and slush in front of our driveway in the middle of the night which froze completely by morning and which my stupider self thought I could go over. And got horribly stuck. It was early, most people had decided to stay home I thought. But the ever adventurous me got out the shovel yet again and began chipping at the ice wall but instead slipped and fell and hurt my jawbone so bad I was deaf for a day. M saw me do it through her kitchen window, and sent her teenaged son to help me (ah, how I longed for Chip to be high school) and then came another neighbor M1 and between them they had chipped the ice and got my car out. Later when A (more about V and A in a bit) heard the story, I got the third degree from him for not crossing the street and asking for help.

Big things. V and A live across the street. Their daughter T2 and Chip shared a nanny last year and we have been friends ever since. And now that BigGeek is still not up a 100%, V has been picking up Chip from home and dropping him off at daycare everyday. I know what a hassle that can be. She has two daughters to get ready and with two full time jobs there really is not a minute to spare. Also, when BigGeek had the heart attack we had just changed Chip's school, so Chip was still adjusting and drop off must have been harrowing. But they did it and still drop him everyday.

Last week, A came to pick up Chip instead of V. Chip was not ready and my MIL got so flustered that A (who she did not recognize immediately) was at the doorstep and Chip was not dressed, so without hesitation A helped her dress Chip. And they bring delicious soup. And care. A few days ago, Chip and I and my MIL went to the library to return long overdue books. BigGeek was still at work. When V came in she saw our driveway was empty. She called that instant to make sure everything was OK.

Hesiod once said -A bad neighbor is a misfortune, as much as a good one is a great blessing. I know the blessing part is right on, hopefully I will never have to be that unlucky to find out if the first bit is true.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Greener than thou

I was all set to do a post today about my wonderful neighbor V and A who have been helping so much during these past few weeks. I know V and A visit here occasionally, so apologies. I’ll do a post on you guys next week. Rage before praise.

Which brings me to the point of this post. Be warned, there is a rant coming up. And while I am at it, screw objectivity. Whoa. This is oddly liberating. As I was pulling into my work campus, I tuned to BBC World to know what’s going on with the world, but mostly to just amaze the security by not listening to loud hard rock for once, I caught a half-sentence. Something about Gore and the IPCC being awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. This was as expected as Chip throwing a nuclear tantrum at the grocery store I suppose; with Gore’s film winning the Oscar and everything, and Climate Change the hot button topic of the century, but one, well, hopes against hope.

I don’t know what tortures me more. The fact that the guy who once claimed to have created the internet won the Nobel ( and I am not even going to go near the fact that Green Gore lives in a 10,000 sqft. mansion that uses energy like there is no tomorrow) or whether the folks over at the Norwegian Nobel Committee, in their haste, overlooked the immense controversy surrounding the Climate Change hypothesis. Coerced to pick, I will choose the latter.

Historically the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to folks resolving armed conflict. I am not going to be all nit picky about that definition, after all last year it was awarded to Muhammad Yunus and his micro-lending Grameen Bank, that allowed poorest of the poor a chance to be entrepreneurs and reduce poverty and strengthen third world economies. And that was fine by me. After all, micro lending is proven to work (see Kiva loans) and there are tangible effects that can be observed quantitatively. Not so with Climate Change.

Even if one believes the numbers- and I have a sinister feeling that is shared by many scientific journals that the numbers are exaggerated and doctored- it is hard to say what exactly causes global warming. Is this a normal variation in climate? After all, people have been recording temperatures and precipitation merely since the last century and in industrialized countries allone. There is no data available from say, sub Saharan Africa from 300 years ago. So, on the scale of things, things being the age of Earth and such, the data set is miniscule. Who was measuring carbon dioxide levels in 3000 B.C.? Not the Pandavas and the Kauravas.

Prove to me the sun is not shining 0.01% more brightly than it did say 500 years ago. Prove to me it is not related to the Earth’s geo-magnetic field is changing polarities. Convince me that this warming trend is something else than the warming the Earth has experienced since the last Ice Age. Prove to me this is not cyclic – periods of warming followed by periods of cooling and vice-versa.

Predicting climate is complex. The models are unreliable. There are so many variables and the physics is so dynamic and complex and perplexing that only approximate solutions can be gleaned. One computer model says one thing, the other can say something entirely conflicting. There is a lack of consensus. Meteorologists don’t even know how something as simple as cloud cover really works. The fact that cloud cover increases the ambient temperature in winter but decreases it in summer is one huge mystery to them. Predicting weather for the next weekend is more inaccurate than accurate. How many times have we seen them use this cover-all mysterious phrasing – partly cloudy with chances of rain. WTF? What the hell is THAT supposed to mean? It means if it is cloudy, they are right, if it is sunny, they are right, if it rains they are right, if it doesn’t they are right. Gets my goat every time.

It may be so that in another century, it will be proved beyond reasonable doubt that human activities have caused Climate Change. But to say so definitively now, while ignoring contradictory data is certainly bad science. And I am distraught to think that the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to folks that have been perpetuating what can only be a hypothesis at this point in time. This year’s Peace prize is politics at its worst.

Suggested Reading – State of Fear by Michael Crichton

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Our Song

Family Room 9:30 pm or so.
The room is painted in a deep wine red. Watercolors of a Parisian streetscape fill the wall on right, a huge poster of Monty Python fills the left. A black couch sits in front of the TV, a futon mattress with zillion cushions is spread under the Parisian streetscape. The TV is tuned to a music channel playing Red Hot Chilli Peppers. DotMom and BigGeek are watching TV, Chip is fast asleep besides them. BigGeek’s mother is sitting by Chip’s side, watching the shirtless guitarists on TV.

DotMom (suddenly remembering): What’s our song?
BigGeek: What song?
DotMom: What’s our song?
BigGeek: For what?
DotMom: What’s our song?
BigGeek: Who wants to know?
DotMom: What’s our song?
BigGeek: Depends on the time and place.
DotMom: What’s our song?
BigGeek: Depends on the mood too.
DotMom: What’s our song?
BigGeek: Paradigm Shift
DotMom (pauses): Why do you think Paradigm Shift is our song?
BigGeek: Because it has no lyrics
DotMom: Why did you pick a song with no lyrics as our song?
BigGeek: I made it up (turns to his mother) Not the song, the song is real, I made it up that it is our song.
DotMom: Why did you make it up?
BigGeek: Because you like it, I like it and it has no lyrics. And we listen to many songs.
DotMom:Out of the many songs we listen to, what is our song?
BigGeek: Paradigm Shift.
DotMom: OK.

DotMom and BigGeek go back to watching TV. Chip's poor grandmother has no idea what just happened. So enjoy Paradigm Shift.

Edited to add: Thus ends Kiran's Tag here

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


First GTN, then Moppet’s Mama sent this my way. WHOA. Wait a minute. Are you sure you got the right person? Jokes apart, I am touched by the award of course (and my first one too) but more than the award I am touched by the warm words you wrote about me. And so, small thank you notes to both of you.

Thank you. You have been so very generous and charitable. Really. I admire GTN for her fortitude and her dry wit. She reminds me so much of myself sometimes. Maybe I should pay her a visit on one of my shrillion trips to CT. Moppet’s mom, I love your infectious spirit and your way with words. Very creative. Very clever. Always lifts my spirits.

And so passing Da Rockin’ Award to:

Kodi’s Mom : I admire her for her grace. She writes lucidly and is charmingly funny. Always reminds me of the very proper Victorian lady.

Parul : I admire her for her sarcastic, over the top wit. It is never overboard, never offensive and that I feel is such a difficult balance to maintain.

Sue: For her honesty. She speaks her mind and is not afraid of it. She does not even have a pen-name. She writes under her own. I admire her for that.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Dream tag

Many moons ago, DDMom tagged me to do list of my dreams (she, I think meant the variety you have when you are asleep, not the I-dream-of-being-very-rich-and-very-thin type). With circumstances being what they were in the Kingdom of DotMom, this tag slipped from her mind, but was caught just in time before it was forgotten in the unknown abyss of her dusty, cobwebby brain. So. I am not much of a dreamer. There were complex, vivid dreams in hi-def resolution and color when I was pregnant, but since then I don’t think I have fallen into whatever stage of sleep (REM, alpha, gamma and all that dull nomenclature) one needs to dream. Or maybe it’s my hormones. Who is to know? So I am going to narrate two of my dreams – one my oldest, the prophetic sort and the other one from 2 days ago. I will also provide, for your entertainment only, since you have been awesomely great readers and such, an interpretation of the dream a la dream interpretation sites* that have slightly more sophisticated algorithms than say, fortune cookies.

Dream 1 – The oracle appears to the DotMom
DotMom is not married. She is still a student, living in sin with BigGeek, mooching off of his princely salary. When one night a dream comes upon her. An adorable boy-child of 3 or 4 who looks a little like DotMom’s father, a little like her brother and a little like BigGeek stands on a footstool in a small bathroom. The boy is twisting and struggling, screaming and yelping, but BigGeek holds him still. In his other hand BigGeek carries a small toothbrush, brushing the boy’s teeth vigorously. DotMom enters – “Stop, stop his gums will bleed, his gums will bleed.” BigGeek strengthens his hold on the little boy and replies – “If I don’t, his teeth will fall, his teeth will fall.”

Six years later, this dream comes true.

What the Dream Interpreter thinks: Dreaming of Children shows DotMom’s innocence and her longing to look at life as a child and seeking to develop her self in new ways. The fact that she dreams of having a child with a man she is not yet married to is indicative of the guilt she feels about having him support her and denotes a desire to repay his kindness.

What DotMom thinks: She is mighty glad the dream came true.

Dream 2 – I dreamt this?
DotMom is married and has a kid whose father brushes his teeth with the same gentleness as a carpenter saws his wood. Her life is now devoid of dreams simply because her life is devoid of sleep. But suddenly one night, she dreams. Of being in India and being accosted out of the blue by a petite woman in a silk saree and a sleeveless blouse. DotMom knows this woman is a pediatrician. “Your child is malnourished” she says to DotMom. “Really? He is such a good eater though. Will eat a horse if that’s what is for dinner.” DotMom tells her. “I don’t think so.” Gosh. This pediatrician is adamant. DotMom, even in her dreams has decided that this does not merit a response, verbal in any case, so she raises an eyebrow slightly - a trick that always gains her the desired respect – with Chip at least. “He doesn’t eat enough carbohydrates.” He pediatricians proclaims smugly. DotMom is now slightly flustered. She looks at the meaty Chip and thinks there really is no way anyone can tell that. But secretly, she knows that Chip is the ultimate Atkins guy. He h-a-t-e-s carbs. “How can you tell” she shrieks at the maybe-she-is-a-wiccan-cum-quack-pediatrician. “Look at his ankles” she proclaims. “They are thin. Thin ankles mean he is not getting enough carbohydrates.”

What the dream interpreter thinks: Dreaming of ankles denotes support and direction. A friend is trying to help DotMom secretly. Difficulties followed by success. Dreaming of a doctor is indicative of mastery over many things and dreaming of children indicates a new beginning.

What DoMom thinks: They know Chip won’t eat carbs and are coming for us.


I think almost everybody has done this tag. Passing this tag to the new mom blog by Shobana. Also Gauri, MadMomma, Noon tell me your dreams. And yes, do ignore if you have been there done it.

Tower of Babel

“Aie, Look! It’s a bitch.” I don’t think there is a faster to grab any mother’s attention than a statement like this. Here I was on a lazy Sunday morning. Having eaten breakfast, enjoying the cappuccino delicioso made lovingly (and excruciatingly slowly) by BigGeek, reading Joel Achenbach’s achingly funny article in the Washington Post, sprawled on the couch. Ditto BigGeek on couch #2, but going through Best Buy and Circuit City flyers and Chip dear playing with his duplo blocks. “It’s a bitch, Aie” Chip is shouting excitedly, repeating himself, incase I hadn’t heard him the first time.

“A bitch?” Where in the sweet God’s name did he pick this word from from? Thousand thoughts arise. School, neighbor fighting with her ex, BigGeek, not me- I don’t cuss, must tell his teacher, the TV, how can BigGeek read without a care while his 2 yr old is cussing? Chip is holding up a structure made with his blocks that suspiciously looks like a tower. “Whoa. What a nice tower!” I say. “No, no tower, Aie. It’s a bitch.” Hmm. Maybe they are teaching pairs in school – horse-mare, bull-cow, that sort of a thing. So I decide to play along. “Where is the doggy’s tail?” I ask Chip. He is in deep thought. His little brow creased, lips pursed, one hand on his hip, the other holding his “bitch”. No, doggy sheput (tail) Aie.” He lets out a sigh. “It’s a bitch”. He runs away grabs his one of his shrillion little cars and comes to me. “It’s a car bitch Aie. Zoom, zoom.” The car files over the tower. Ah. I relax. It’s a bridge. B-R-I-D-G-E.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Fall Begone

Where is the fall this year? I am asking. Hell, I think everybody is asking that question around where I live. It’s October already. The time when leaves turn into golden yellows and fiery reds and mellow oranges. There is a nip in the air. Vapor condenses as you chat with your neighbor, wearing a soft fleece jacket. I had these visions last fall. Of me and BigGeek and Chip in Fall of 2007. Raking leaves on the back lawn while Chip dives into them sending them flying everywhere. But of course mommy dear and daddy dearest don’t get all upset simply because an hour or two of hard work is going down the drain (no, that’s wrong. Going up in the air- that sounds better, no?) They join him, in slow motion - Chip, DotMom and BigGeek, arms up in the air, leaves falling by everywhere, wearing turtlenecks and flannel plaids in autumn-y colors, the sun setting on a quiet Saturday evening, mulled cider in steaming cups that stays miraculously warm for hours while we kick up our heels in the backyard without a care. Now rewind. Pause. And look at this scene through a lens fitted with a soft filter – now you see my vision of a puuurfect family, don’t you.

And it doesn’t end here. Sunday morning DotMom sneaks out of bed to make blueberry pancakes with golden butter (cholesterol issues here, ok golden BENECOL then) and grade A dark amber maple syrup (oh, how I love thee) washed down with a cup of perfectly brewed cappuccino. BigGeek and Chip come down the stairs, again in slow motion and soft filter, no sumo wrestling today to brush Chip’s teeth and dig into the pancakey goodness and then we all get dressed in the latest autumn fashion and drive to the pumpkin patch.

Ah. So was my Fall 2007 going to be. All planned in the Fall of 2006. But nature, as it is often known to do, has thwarted my carefully planned weekends. Fall is nowhere to be seen. A few weeks ago, I was fretting about having zero fall clothes. If I only knew the atrocious and down right ugly fall clothes the stores are selling this season - tunics in jersey fabric that cannot get any thinner and short sweaters with puffy sleeves. On me? No. Thankyouverymuch. Does nobody wear twinsets anymore? I would have happily worn my full-of-pills-sweaters and baggy t-shirts that I have long since purged. Only if I had known.

But I digress. Coming back to Fall or the lack there of. I am still wearing my nautical themed sailor’s golf shirt and capris. Chip is still wearing his shorts and t-shirts that are so tight now, he winces trying to get in or out of them. The temperature in the morning is still in its 70’s and by noon we are still hitting upper-80s. The leaves are still green and in places are simply withering to a dusty brown because of the rainless summer this year. No nice fall colors this year.

I like Fall. A lot. I like Spring too. I don’t care much for dog days of Summer and I like Winter only up until the New Year after which is gets very boringandcoldanddarkandgrayandsnowy. My love for nature is absolutely conditional.

My parents are going to Montréal this coming long weekend. To see the fall colors. The days there are nice and crisp, with a slight chill. Just like the perfect apple you bite into. And here we are. Stuck in a balmy October in our tanks and shorts, waiting for a real fall day to go to the pumpkin patch. Oh! Fall, where art thou?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Nothing to fear, but fear

This is about Chip. It’s been a while since I have done a Chip-exclusive post and this would be a fitting sequel to my other bizarre post. Chip was a colicky, asthmatic baby and he was so hurting most of the time, he did not have any energy to bond with strangers. All that has changed and he is quite the Mr.Friendly to everyone now except a really good friend.

Let’s give him an alphabet – S. S is a great guy. Soft spoken, gentle even. Great with kids. S is married to P – a wonderfully sweet and caring woman who also has a great sense of style. S and P are really good friends. But S and Chip don’t get along. Well, if there was an Understatement of the Century Award, this line just won it. Chip is terrified of S. And we don’t know why. If P is visiting alone, he will go to her, talk to her, and show her his toys all the time keeping an eye out for S. If they both or S visits by himself, all hell breaks loose.

Last year, BigGeek was recovering from a torn ACL in his knee when S and P stopped by to visit. They arrived riding on a motorcycle. Chip, Chip’s Nanny and I were pottering around in the garden when the motorcycle pulled in. Chip was happy to see a motorcycle, but as soon as S took of his helmet, Chip started to shake with fear. S had experienced Chip’s wrath many, many times before so he slunk away and did not make eye contact. P and I followed him inside the house but Chip refused to come inside with us. It had started to rain, so the nanny took my car keys and spent 20 mins. inside the car with Chip, who, she later told me, was not playing, instead buried his face into her lap and trembled as she talked to him softly. This is not an isolated incident. This happens, in varying intensities, every time we meet S.

Another curious incident happened when S and P moved into a bigger house a few months ago and threw a house warming party. S kept away from Chip. Chip was playing with the other kids, drinking juice. Suddenly a terrified shriek rose from Chip. I suspected he had run into S. But S was no where in sight. I looked around and saw a few friends and another well-dressed guy who I had not met before. He looked faintly familiar and Chip was looking at him and howling and trembling. The poor man looked puzzled and embarrassed. I apologized to him, and whisked the shrieking Chip away. Moments later it dawned on me, that the strange man was S’s older brother visiting from NYC, when S’s mother who witnessed the scene, was stunned. She knew about S and Chip but S and his brother don’t look very similar. She drew Chip towards her, hugged him and asked smilingly and in jest – “What have my sons done to you?”

In an effort to help him grow out of his fear, I asked P for a picture of both of them that I could show Chip from time to time. Last week she brought one and I put it at Chip’s eve level on the fridge. Didn’t say anything to him. He didn’t realize the picture was there until the next morning.

Chip (pointing to the picture): P- mawshi (P aunty)
Me: Yes.. that’s P-mawshi. Who else is in the picture?
Chip’s body goes slightly tense as he stares at the man in the picture, then relaxes.

Chip: Z-kaka? (Z uncle)
Me: Is that really Z-kaka? Look again.
Chip looks again.
Chip: K-Kaka (K- uncle)
Me: No! that’s not K-kaka. That’s S-kaka.
Chip is terrified.
Chip: No S-kaka, No S-kaka
He runs away.

A few minutes later he returns to the fridge and pushes the framed photo up on the fridge away from his eye level.

The next day we go through the same drill and Chip finally tells me that it is a picture of S-kaka. A few minutes later, he stands on his tip-toes, gets the picture and puts it on the kitchen counter. “Aie, S-kaka nako” (I don’t want S- kaka).

Often I have asked, in jest, to S, if he bullied my son in a past life. Looking at Chip when S is around, you get a distinct feeling that Chip knows S and as he clings tightly to my shirt and won’t take his gaze off S, I often wonder if he is trying to remember something.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

BigGeek Returns

I am fretting as BigGeek returns to work today. Only for a few hours. He will be driving alone for the first time after his lil adventure and it’s very hard to refrain myself from calling him every 5 minutes. But baby him I shall not. He still has to undergo Cardiac Rehab before he resumes his regular routine. For a man who is used to going at 60mph with his work and school he has been grinding to a near halt the past couple of weeks. This bothers him. He was supposed to go to China later this month for a school trip and he obviously cannot go now (he tried convincing the doctor yesterday, but thank god the doctor was adamant). This bothers him. And I feel his pain. But this too shall pass.

On a related note, I just read Cheney’s history of heart troubles. First heart attack at 37, two more and a quadruple bypass before he turned fifty, a stent procedure later. I don’t know if he has a pacemaker. None of this has slowed him down. I sent the link to BigGeek - he has such tremendous admiration for Cheney already.

Monday, October 1, 2007


I have been tagged by Timepass to do a tag to list one fact related to my life for every letter of my middle name. My middle name is my maiden name and I don’t want to give it away and relinquish my semi-anonymous superhero second life. So, I choose BigGeek as my middle name.

The three rules to be followed are:a) The rules must be mentioned in the beginning of the tag.b) You must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had.c) At the end of your blog post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

B – Benign
To borrow a term from Douglas Adam’s H2G2 - I am mostly harmless. But try pushing me too hard and too far and you will unleash the unrelenting, sarcastic monster.

I – Introspective
And not in the right doses. It’s good to look within now and then, but I do it with a strange compulsion. I am quite narcissistic that way.

G – Garrulous
I was a shy child, so my ability to strike up a conversation in an elevator makes me quite proud of myself now.

G – Go the extra mile
I try to do this. Everywhere. Especially in relationships.

E – Enthusiastic.
When I was in school, this is what my teachers called me. I am still like that and can’t seem to help it especially when I get all trippy over small things and when others look on with what can only be described as a sophisticated nonchalance. Ah. How I long to have that. But no.

E – Escape routes
I have an exit strategy for every situation. That is the first thing I think of when making a big decision. Do I have an escape route? Of course there are no escape routes to a few (and very important) things in life and that annoys me.

K – Karma-believer.
I believe in karma. What goes around comes around. In this life or next.

I am going to ignore the 3rd rule (simply because I don’t know that many bloggers)
So I tag Kodi’s mom, Moppett’s Mom, Tharini, Altoid, Swati, Something to Say, Mystic Margarita, mnamma.