Bookaroo Lit Fest: The Storyteller’s Diary

Notes from a Storyteller’s Diary…Day 1 at Bookaroo Lit Fest. 😀

The Little Things That Matter...

Can I relive a day again? Again and again and again?

All the speakers on Day 1 All the speakers on Day 1

I’ve tried to sleep all night thinking about the wonderful day I had at Bookaroo Lit Fest yesterday. Nursing my aching feet (for having hopped and walked from one venue to another), and getting used to a booming and scratchy throat (that usually follows a high-energy performance). But what really kept me alive are the hundreds of twinkling eyes looking back at me. The sparkling smiles, the anxious looks, the expectant frowns and the peals of laughter that flowed out effortlessly.

This is the stuff that makes my life today. The Little Things That Matter! 

Resurrecting the Pterodactyl


Day 1 at Bookaroo Lit Fest started with my first session early in the day at the Psalms. It was special to start the day by meeting Tripurari Sharma under whom I did a theatre…

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Colours, Shapes & The Christmas Tree

What good is Christmas without a Christmas Tree?

With the  toddler at two, it is the right time to introduce to him the wonderful, wonderful, fuzzy celebration of Christmas. And what better way to celebrate than put together a Christmas Tree? Since this will be V’s first year, I decided to wait around till we put together the real Christmas Tree. The riot that he is, I doubt the tree will survive him until Christmas. So, the real decoration will have to wait till a day before 25th.

But then what stops us from making one of our own! Today, I put together the first of our Christmas Crafts – A Christmas Tree that taught us colours and shapes.

christmas tree craft

I brought the crunchy, glittery, amazing-to-feel-on-the-fingertips shimmer foam sheets. V’s blocks of shapes worked well to make the star, circle, triangle and square…a bit of mix and match here and there, one for every colour and I put together an activity that was fun to do.

Here is what you need:

1) Coloured sheets of paper – You could pick of any kind. I chose the glitter foam sheets, because they add the extra-sensory magic of touch.

2) Different shape blocks – Every toddler will have a shape sorter. It’s a perfect baby toy that can be beautifully adapted as the child grows up to form various activities. This for example is one!

3) Scissors – If you have an older kid, you can use craft scissors. V is just too young for them. 🙂

4) Ice-Cream stick – For the stem of the tree. We could have coloured it…I noticed it only after we finished the activity.

5) Glue – Use with parental guidance

Christmas Tree Collage 2

What Next? 

Here is what I did. I explained to V that a Christmas Tree is a magical tree under which Santa Dadu (Yes, I made him a Grandpa) will bring him lovely toys. But there is a lot that goes into a tree. We must make it look pretty and nice. Let’s put in some of our favourite shapes?

V instantly liked the idea!

So the big green triangle was instantly recognised. Next came the star and the other shapes. V went over the colours, which he identifies very easily now. He mixes up his shapes here and there…but that is perfectly okay! 🙂 He likes to call the diamond barfi, because you know why. 🙂

I let V choose where he wants to put the shapes. All I had to do was put some glue on the reverse, which he for some reason chose to call ‘medicine’. So with a bit of adhesive medicine under the shapes, V’s baby fingers worked on the tree lovingly.

The entire activity held us in place for close to 20 minutes. Which was a win, win situation for both of us.

There is more to Christmas than just a tree…so watch this space as we share with you our countdown to Christmas.


“Maa, I have a headache!”

It’s 10:30 in the night and the toddler suddenly announces, “It’s hurting Maa,” pointing to his head.


A 2 year old complaining of a headache? Too much tv? Lack of sleep? Hunger? I mull over my options in a nanosecond.

I look at the father as he quickly gets up from his position. He pulls the son close and ask, “Where does it hurt you baby, show me…”

The son pinches his temples and says, “here”.

The father panics. “Oh! His head’s paining. Why? Where is it hurting baby…show me again.”

The boy points to his knee this time.

“Arrey!” comes the response from an exasperated father.

The next minute the toddler turns to me and says, “Maa give me a medicine.”

The father and I look at each other
Our jaws drop open.

Flashback 30 minutes. 10 pm. Bedtime.

The father hurries us to bed. He has to wake up at 6.

“I have a headache ya…I want to sleep. Give me a Saridon na,” he says pinching his temples.

I give him one.

The toddler wants to eat a medicine too. The father makes a charade of popping a pill into his mouth and even gets him to gulp it down with a sip of water.

The matter is soon forgotten. Over the next 30 minutes we play our usual bedtime games. Rolling over, reading Old Mc Donald, fake punches and jumping. Yes, we’ve recently learnt to jump on both our legs!

30 minutes of mindless fun and then the boy fakes a headache.

I pop in a small homepathy pill into his mouth. He makes a huge charade of washing it down with water.

“Feeling better?” I ask.

In reply comes a nod and a flash of his dimples.

Five minutes later, “Maa I want more medicine!”

“Lights Out” I holler out.


Gabbar – Thakur and The Legend of Sholay

Wasn’t it Gabbar who said “…yahan se pachaas meel door jab gaon mein koi bachcha rota hai to uski maa bolti hai, ‘so jaa varna Gabbar aa jayega?”

When Salim-Javed wrote this, they didn’t know that kids will cry even 37 years later…

What started as a little game is now our favourite sport with V. Just as we dare say another very famous line from the same film V pouts with anguish. And our buttercup has our hearts melting. 

V is a child of very few tears, so its a real surprise that he cries every time anyone says this dialogue! I’ve translated the dialogue to English, sung it like a rhyme and a talked like a baby, but every single time he has pouted! 

Once when the film played for the nth time on Zee Cinema, increased the TV volume to an insane level, just when the scene arrived.V was perplexed! Why has his dad suddenly turned deaf? 

I am secretly convinced that he was Thakur in his past life! Poor man, he lost his hands in his past life and here we are after his hands again…I have decided to call nickname him Thakur for now 🙂 

This is a serious infringement of the copyright act…Mr Sippy would be a very angry man. Let’s hope the writers are a little amused and little V when he grows up has his sense of humour in place to pardon me for putting this up! 

This video was taken when V was 6 months old…turns 9 months today!! 

Love you Thakur…Ooops! Son…

VID_00015-20120324-0909.3GP Watch on Posterous


A New Address

No, I am not changing my home yet, though there is an impending need to! Our 2 bedroom house is suddenly all cramped and our little V has taken over every inch possible! I returned to Delhi in January to settle V in his new surroundings and to make space for him! Over the last 7 years that I’ve been living independently I’ve acquired and hoarded a lot, and I mean that, a lot of junk!! So really, besides Aniruddha and me there lives a whole bunch of junk in our house! In the midst of all of this, making space for V is a huge task!

The new address however refers to the webpage and this new blog! Around this time, last year, Aniruddha and I after a lot of deliberation and discussion about the baby and after coming to terms with the new ticking heart inside me, broke the news to our parents. V was barely 5 weeks then. Yesterday he turned 5 months. From there to here, Baby Talk! has been a constant companion. A lot many people who have read the blog told me that one day when ‘Googly’ reads it he’ll love it. Someone else found it similar to the letters Rani Mukherji wrote to her daughter in Kuch, Kuch Hota Hai. Those nine months were truly special, and not because they came without the sleepless nights, but because that’s the time when I fell in love with V. I tell this to every pregger friend of mine…love your bump, hug it and tell the little one inside that you will always be there for her/him.

V is growing up and its time to move into a new space that deals with the real challenges of motherhood! Being a mother is the toughest job on the planet…and I clearly endorse the fact that mothers should be Maa Durgas and Ravanas! We need 10 hands and 10 heads to keep our sanctity intact. Anyways, the rants will soon begin…and while I am writing this my mind is already working on my next blog post. Nanny woes, returning to work, moving into solids, crawling-creeping stage…there is a lot of angst inside and you’ll hear it soon! And now I am not sure if V will love reading all of this…but then, till he revolts and refuses to acknowledge me as his mother I shall continue!!

Do drop into this space. After all the love and support during those nine months I am counting on each one of you to hold me through the rough seas of motherhood! So welcome on board the mommyship 🙂


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8th February & Pink Toenails!!

‘Madam, kafi dino ke baad kara rahe ho!’, so says my ‘pedicurist’ (just made up the word)! He’s talking about my cracked, hardened feet that have been ignored in the last 6 months. I really don’t have the patience (and never had the time) for salon visits, but this time its really, really bad! As I begin to write this post, my feet are being kneaded, scrubbed and massaged…reminding me that its okay to pamper myself sometimes. It’s quite another thing that Vihaan is wailing in his Nanny’s lap next to me!

Vihaan is now a sprawling baby at 4.5 months. He has taken to our home in Noida (minus his doting grandparents) happily. He loves his Dad, squeels in delight everytime he sees him, loves his games and prefers his lap as he goes to sleep every night. I, on the other hand am dealing with domestic woes after 6 months. Cook going on leave, maid asking for a raise and the entry of the Nanny! It’s a tremendous journey for me. From 2011 to 2012, this day marks a journey that has turned my life around.

8th February 2011 was the day when I discovered Vihaan is on his way. The day I was bombarded with emotions and thoughts that never visited me before. The day I was happy, scared, jubiliant, cranky, confident, worried…all at the same time. Today, a year later I have a 4.5 month old who has taken over my life in a way that I never expected.

So what has changed in me? Except the fact that I have a toddler? A lot really. People say ‘priorities’ change after a baby. Well, yes they do…you no longer are selfish, you think beyond your own self. You look at a life that you have brought into this world and hold yourself accountable for everything that your child undergoes. Sometimes careers bear the brunt too. I can’t help but bring it up because a month from now when Vihaan will dig his gums into semi solids I will be on my way to work. Back to office. To a desk. To the newsroom that I was addicted to. To a job that hovered over my mind all day long and drew out every bit of my time and energy. A life outside office was unthinkable! A life with a baby was unthinkable! A year back, on this day I decided I had to look at my life differently. I had to find some ‘me’ time. I had to learn to slow down. I had to learn to enjoy each day. I had to learn to thank God for the little gifts he had given me. I was reflective, yes, but not sentimental. For the first time in my life I realised I wasn’t being me. I had forgotten to look forward to life’s little joys…the little things that matter. I was emotional about my workplace. My job was my life and I didn’t regret missing out on a life outside work. Friends were forgotten. My love life and later marriage was taken for granted. And parents were expected to come and see me! All that changed, as I realised that life was not worth living without friends and family. I forgot that I was earning (and mind you I don’t have a fancy package either) to live…and not vice versa! But despite this awakening, when I took off from work 6 months back I was nervous of letting go. The fear of letting go of a familiar life was scary…what if I regretted life after Googly arrived? What if my ‘career’ suffered after the baby? What if I was considered ‘unprofessional’ after my renewed commitments to life? What if I wasn’t deemed fit to handle the pressures of television? And most importantly…what if I failed to be the unapologetic, enthusiastic, eager beaver television producer that I’ve always been? What if I fail to handle the work and baby? What if my baby and work suffer due to my divided attention??

In the last 6 months I’ve enjoyed utmost attention, love and affection from many, many people. I didn’t expect it, but I connected with a lot many forgotten friends…you know the ones you add on Facebook and forget about? This journal has reaped a loyal readership…so far I have encouraged one to start a blog, though I’m waiting for it to debute! I’ve thanked God for the wonderful parents I’ve got and prayed that Aniruddha and I become better parents to Vihaan. Our lives get tougher from here. I don’t want Vihaan to suffer from the ‘Double Income Single Kids’ syndrome. I want us to have enough time for him. At the same time I want to have a life outside home. No, the fatigue hasn’t set in…I love being a mother. I love pottering around Vihaan all day long and I’m not itching to get back to the workaholic mode that I was! But I want to have a life outside home too…to still have a career that I’m proud of…to go for a few holidays every year…to read a few good books…complete my own…to be at peace with myself…I want to enjoy being a mother, I also want to fulfill the little joys of life. I still wanna discover ‘me’. I had decided that I will never hold Vihaan responsible for unfinished dreams…I still think like that…but its time I renew those little promises to myself.

Priorities change, but what really changes is your view of life. Your own life…and yes, its a good thing. I will celebrate it…like I am now with a shocking pink nail polish on my toe nails!! The last time I remember I had a raging color on my nails…I was 16!!

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Baby Blues or what?

I’ve never known what jealousy feels like. When my brother was born I was happy there was someone younger than me. He was the naughtier one…in fact one of the naughtiest I have ever seen. Quite naturally friends and relatives were eager to hear about his latest escapades. I, on the other hand had no achievements to boast of! And though I did cry once about being the ‘good’ one, jealousy remained an unknown emotion.

When Aniruddha and I got into a relationship there too jealousy remained elusive. He was always the good boyfriend and is a terrific husband. Too secure, too loving and focussed to make me ever feel jealous about his classmates then or colleagues now.

But something’s snapped inside now…at 30, after motherhood I have sensed the traits of jealousy…or something that is new to me! I didn’t realise it at first and dismissed it as Baby Blues…but something tells me this is more than that! This, my dear readers will be one of the toughest posts I will perhaps ever write…

Yes, I am a jealous, insecure mother! I am jealous every time he is easily soothed by someone else. Everytime he is put to sleep by someone else. Everytime someone gives him the bottle. Everytime he is happy with someone else that he hardly notices me… I am insecure, scared and sometimes sad that perhaps Vihaan doesn’t know me enough…that perhaps his needs are so basic that they are taken care by almost anyone. Does he really know me? Does he really need me? Does he really care? Is he happy everytime I pick him up? Does he really look out for me?

I never imagined my baby to be a clinger, ‘maa ke aanchal ke neeche’ kinds. I had always wanted a happy, easy to mingle kind of baby…not fussy, friendly and really no nonsense. Vihaan is exactly that and much more. I haven’t seen a nicer baby. In the last 4 months I have never had the reason to complain about my night shifts. That’s because right from the start V has set his own timings. Twice a night in his first month and then once thereafter. He has his own play and sleep times leaving me with very little reason to complain. He rarely cries. Infact our neighbours say they never know if the baby’s there or gone back to Delhi. People who have come to see us say that I am a ‘pro Mom’. I know how to hold V, massage and bathe him so well! Really, I’ve never needed anyone else to handle him for me. All new mommies out there…did you need help? I had conditioned myself for the baby’s needs…somehow strangely nothing felt alien to me. It was always like I knew how to hold a new born…how to bathe him…how to soothe him…Vihaan is my first born and I know what it takes to keep him comfortable.

Vihaan is an easy baby to handle, infact both my mother and mom in law have masterly handled him in my absence. For a month long during my hospital visits my Mum would step in to handle the baby. The day I was operated upon for the breast absecess, my mum in law had stepped in to feed, clean and soothe the baby. In the last 4 months I’ve stepped out without Vihaan only a couple of times – a dinner with brothers and sisters and a movie! Both times he was with my mum-in-law…with no reason for me to worry…but I couldn’t get him out of my mind! Is that what is being a mother? I knew he was in safe hands, but I imagined all kinds of little disasters! In my heart I hoped he’d be looking for me…perhaps a little (not too) cranky…a little (not too) fussy…I hoped he’d realise his mom was not around! The good boy that he is, Vihaan slept through both evenings!

In a week’s time we will be back in Delhi. Back to where we belong. Away from his grandparents, I know Vihaan will miss those smiling, doting faces. And then he’ll have his Mum for company. Daddy’s missed out watching his son grow up…from a featherless little birdie to a playful infant now. While we’ve all watched Vihaan grow up a little every day, Aniruddha has been reduced to a BBM-FB Daddy! In my heart I’ve wanted him to spend more time with his son…now is the time. But will I be jealous of the Dad-Son bonding too?? I dunno…

In less than 10 days Vihaan will have a Nanny…I think I’ll die with worry! But a Mom’s gotta do what a Mom’s gotta do! Will Vihaan prefer her over me?? Gosh! No!! I never imagined ‘being tied down’ to a baby would be so much fun! I don’t have a life outside Vihaan now…and I haven’t started complaining yet! Will the fatigue set in? Will I ever overcome the impulse to be with him forever? Will I itch to get back my life before Vihaan ever? Will I be able to do my late nights at work without guilt? Will be less insecure and jealous everytime I hand him over to someone else for his daily needs? Will I worry less?

Being a Mom is synonymous with ‘being taken for granted’. Don’t I do that with my Mom? Why should Vihaan be any different? Why do I want him to ‘show’ me that he loves me? Bah!! Knowing me…I know its nothing to do with the fact that I have a son, a daughter would have brought on the same feelings! I have to arrest this nagging want for my son’s love and recognition…someday he’ll grow up to make friends, find a girlfriend and then a wife…Gosh!! Can you imagine what I’d become if I don’t stop this now?? *hides face*

Venting it all out here is cathartic. It’s like showing you all that I didn’t want to share. Laugh it away, tell me ‘Vihaan loves him Mom’, I know all that…its just a phase…the return of Baby Blues perhaps?

Vihaan turns 4 months today…a gentle reminder to me that ‘Mommy I am no longer a new born now…I am officially an infant!’ I think its time his Mommy grows up too!

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