Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Times of India

I got this e-mail and thought it was so funny, I had to share it on the blog:

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant's a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant's a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away. Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

NDTV, BBC, CNN show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. The World is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be that this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Arundhati Roy stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house. Medha Patkar goes on a fast along with other grasshoppers demanding that grasshoppers be relocated to warmer climates during winter. Amnesty International and Kofi Annan criticize the Indian Government for not upholding the fundamental rights of the grasshopper. The Internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support for the grasshopper (many promising Heaven and Everlasting Peace for prompt support as against the wrath of God for non-compliance). Opposition MPs stage a walkout. Left parties call for "Bharat Bandh" in West Bengal and Kerala demands a Judicial Enquiry. CPM in Kerala immediately passes a law preventing Ants from working hard in the heat so as to bring about equality of poverty among ants and grasshoppers.

Lallu Prasad allocates one free coach to Grasshoppers on all Indian Railway Trains, aptly named as the 'Grasshopper Rath'.
Finally, the Judicial Committee drafts the Prevention of Terrorism Against Grasshoppers Act [POTAGA], with effect from the beginning of the winter.

Arjun Singh makes Special Reservation for Grasshopper in educational insititutions & in Govt. Services.The ant is fined for failing to comply with POTAGA and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government and handed over to the grasshopper in a ceremony covered by NDTV.

Arundhati Roy calls it "a triumph of justice". Lallu calls it 'Socialistic Justice'. CPM calls it the 'revolutionary resurgence of the downtrodden.' Kofi Annan invites the grasshopper to address the UN General Assembly.

Many years later... The ant has since migrated to the US and set up a multi billion dollar company in Silicon Valley. 100s of grasshoppers still die of starvation despite reservations somewhere in India ... As a result of losing a lot of hard working ants and feeding the grasshoppers, India is still a developing country.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Happy 33 to Me!

Now that I've reached the ripe old age of 33, I think it's time to share some of the pearls of wisdom I've gathered in all these years. Without further ado, here they are:

1. There's no God, just a deep need to believe in one.

2. Lower your expectations of others; increase your expectations of yourself.

3. Blood isn't always thicker than water.

4. The best parent is a patient one.

5. Say what you feel, and make it count.

6. Solitude keeps me sane -- and abject laziness.

7. Take the mundane with the marvelous.

8. Just say "Om."

9. Be irreverent, not irrelevant.

10. And the last pearl: Worship your body, if you want others to follow suit. :P

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Making A Move

P's company recently set up a big deal collaboration with a pharmagiant, which means that he's likely to stay employed (woohoo!) for the next three years. The past few months, we've been thinking that if the deal came through, it would be a great time to move. And now that it's a done deal, we've begun seriously thinking about it.

There are quite a few pros for moving: We've been at our present home for 5 years, exactly how long we'd hoped to be when we first bought our house. Our space needs have grown, thanks to the humongous amount of Stuff that having Raina's brought. And with a new kid on the way -- which translates to More Stuff -- our space needs are just going to grow. We have more time now to deal with selling our home -- making minor repairs and renovations -- and more time to look for a new one. If we wait till the baby's here, I know I'm not going to want to deal with the stresses of moving until six months after at least.

Now the cons: Though it'd really be nice to have more space now, it's not a pressing need. We have a three-bedroom home. Raina's had her own room since she was 6 months old, and the baby's going to be in our room until that age too. That leaves one extra room for guests, which we'll need if the in-laws come for the delivery. It'll be a full house, but doable. That means we would postpone the moving process for one whole year.

The biggest con is the pregnancy, of course. I know lots of people who dealt with the stresses of selling a home while pregnant, and they did OK. But I also have one close friend who, when pregnant with twins, went into labor at 6 months and lost both babies -- a tragedy she blames partly on the stress of moving to a new home the week before. Obviously, she is against our moving, warning me that if something happens to the baby, the guilt would just drive me insane, the way it almost did her. I know that twin pregnancies are a greater risk, but really, after my miscarriage, shouldn't any pregnancy of mine be considered a great risk? Would I be indulging my generally optimistic nature too far by considering a move? Or would I be realistic not to consider it?

So I'm confused and bothered -- and frankly, already a little stressed. Anyone have any thoughts on this one?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Boy or Girl?

In less than a week, our family will find out if the newest addition is going to be a boy or a girl. Of course, we'll also find out how healthy s/he is, and I am so terrified, yet hopeful, that all will be well. I received the Fifth Disease results, and it appears that I don't have the virus. But before I could celebrate (without throwing another party, am so partied out after last week), I was told the results meant one of two things:

1. It's too early to know for sure, so re-testing is required.

2. I am not immune to the virus, so I could be exposed in the future, only this time (hah!) I wouldn't know I was.

OK, I am not even going to bother about scenario 2; scenario 1 is scary enough. Blood for the re-testing was sucked out on Monday, so I should know the results soon.

Anyhoo, moving on to the much more pleasant daydream of what sex our second child will be... I think P. would like a boy, just to have some more testosterone on his side. And since I am a good wife and acknowledge his struggles in our girly household suffused with baby dolls, bottles and cuddly stuffed animals, I wish we have a boy too. Also, it would be nice to have one of each. But both of us would equally enjoy another girl. We just want a healthy child.

Raina, on the other hand, isn't quite so ready to accept whatever fate may thrust her way. When told about her upcoming role as Big Sister, she stated unequivocally that it was going to be a girl because she wanted a baby sister, not a baby brother because "I don't like boys." While her daddy beamed ear-to-ear, I darkly reminded him that she wasn't a teenager yet, and believe it or not, her sentiments may undergo a sea-change at some point.

Meanwhile, Miss Cindy, Raina's preschool teacher, has been informing Raina "that daddy was a boy too." Raina just looks at her like she's off her rocker: Her daddy could never have been as annoying as Henry who always makes a beeline for her to tug her ponytails or grab her doll or push her around. Or like Robert and Adam who're always yelling and wrestling each other.

We might have to work on reconciling her once we know for sure. Until then, this mommy is conserving her energy for more immediate battles.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

First Flutterings

Past couple of weeks, I've been noticing some activity in the belly area, which feels kind of like the bubbles Raina loves to chase. I would've passed it off as gas, but the other day when I was indulging in some chocolate mousse, I was kicked so hard, it's got to have been caused by a tiny thing high on sugar. Maybe this one will like chocolate like Mama; Raina dislikes it intensely.

The one thing that always got Raina going in my belly was bhangra. This was a Punj babe from the get-go. She'd bounce around happily "bale-bale-ing" when the bhangra beat was turned on at parties. She had a favorite CD, I kid you not. I'd play that CD in the car while commuting to work, and sit back on my seat to enjoy the party within. Don't know where that CD is these days. Got to dig that up to see if she still likes it.

Right now, Raina's into Hindi movie tunes bigtime. Her current favorite is Swades' "Yeh tara," which, thanks to her, we're heartily sick of. She has to hear it half-dozen times a day. She's also just discovered the Devdas soundtrack and makes me sing "Bairi Piya" before she goes down for a nap. No rocker chick, this girl. Her dad is very pleased, doubtless looking forward to the day he will introduce her to his favorites Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Ghulam Ali. But her mama's been making attempts to expose her to some non-desi music. So far, she seems to be fond of Red Hot Chili Peppers, exclusively because of their "California" song. (She is aware she's a Cali gal and that Schwarzenegger is the governor.) And she really likes Lighthouse's "You & Me" and sings along every time the radio plays that. C'est tout. Two minutes later she's begging me to play "Yeh Tara" again.

Wonder what music this baby will like? No matter -- he/she'll probably have to bow down to the taste of Big Sister and suffer through innumerable repetitions of "Yeh tara" like the rest of us poor folks.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Two Down, One to Go

Raina's birthday was on Wednesday and to commemmorate the occasion, the weather turned out a 98-degrees-in-the-shade day. The same day, the road we take to Raina's preschool was shut down for some construction work, which meant that we had to park elsewhere and trot under a blazing sun, laden with cake, pizzas, paper plates and assorted cutlery, goodie bags, juice boxes, balloons, one balloon pump. By we, I mean myself and my husband, who'd thankfully taken the day off. Truth be told, I just carried the cake and my growing belly; he carted the rest.

We were greeted at the preschool by a very excited Raina and her assorted medley of buddies, who were behaving as if it were their birthdays too. Everyone was running around and yelling. So began a rather intense couple of hours. Miss Cindy, Raina's teacher, had decided to have the party in the backyard. Thankfully, she had a tent put up, but it was still stifling hot when we handed out juice boxes, slices of pepperoni and cheese pizzas and chips. Kids have an amazing capacity to eat, giggle, push and ask weird questions at the same time.

The husband was asked by precocious 5-year-old Grace if he was Raina's dad, and if so, did that mean he was married to Raina's mom? At one point, Raina got up to possessively stake claim by plonking on Daddy's lap. A few boys made up their minds that running around was more fun than eating. They had to be deposited on high chairs to curtail their activity. One boy amused himself by trying to eat pizza without using hands.

The sun began to pound away at me, and I made an escape to the cool indoors, where I was regaled with an unending monolog by Miss Cindy on her daughter's softball game the night before. Especially fun, since I don't much understand softball. Finally it was time to cut cake, which we did indoors. That was the best part. Everyone sang "happy birthday to Raina" and it was all worth it just to see her face. Games followed, then opening presents. By this time, Raina was close to reaching the end of her tether. She was exhausted. We wrapped up as quickly as possible and were home by 1:15, with the prospect of a raucous party to look forward to in the evening.

The evening party turned out surprisingly mellow--maybe because a whole bunch of folks decided not to show up after RSVPing aye. It was just weird. But Raina had a blast anyway, as her best friend Kiran was present. The terrible twosome decorated their hair and face with carrot cake, giggled a riot, chased balloons and bubbles and kicked up a ruckus.

The desi party's scheduled for tomorrow and preparations for that are on full swing. I can't wait for this week to be done, but at least I can be sure this has been one of the most fun weeks of Raina's life. Happy 3rd, Raina!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Sick Week Rants

Starting last Saturday, this has been a ghastly week and am glad to finally see the back of it. It began with the cramping after prenatal yoga class (see last post). But that ended soon, and I began the work week happily coasting along. Then on Wednesday, I get a call from my dear friend and also preggie neighbor, V. "OK, I wouldn't panic, but..." I can't think of better words one can design to ensure a person does precisely that. Moving along the narrative, sometime last week another neighbor's preggie friend had brought her kid over to play. All the kids were running around in the front yards, and the mas were yakking away. Apparently, preggie friend had a rash on her face, but the doctor had told her no biggie, wasn't contagious, blah, so obviously she wasn't taking any precautions.

Her blood test results came back Wednesday, and guess what? All was not well and dandy. Poor preggie lady had Fifth Disease. That sounds calamitous, but it's usually a rather benign virus. Except when one is preggie, when it can cause miscarriage. And it's airborne, so yep, it was contagious as heck. Poor lady told her friend who told my friend who told moi. And of course, we all pregnant women panicked. I told my nurse who sent me for a blood test pronto. Apparently, the results take a couple of weeks, so that's a nice little Damocles sword dangling over my head.

Then on Thursday I began spotting. Again! Big groan. I tottered to the nearest couch and called the husband. I promised to take it easy. A promise I broke the very next day when Raina threw a huge tantrum, refused to go time out and had to be grabbed by furious moi and dumped on time out chair. As soon as I attempted to straighten up, I knew something was wrong. I couldn't. So now I've messed up my back. Just a few days before Raina's multiple birthday parties.

But the week's over. There's a silver lining to every cloud. So everyone says.