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Your friendly neighbourhood parlour

August 17, 2016

(A rare evening when the child is asleep by 8, and I’m done with dinner and twiddling thumbs and hey, it’s not even 8.30pm!)

About six weeks back, I decided to get a haircut and went with a really short style (boy-cut, short bob, whatever it’s called). And as I’m re-learning, with short hair, you need haircuts far more frequently that your average once in 3-4 months affair you’d otherwise go for. And this means they’re heavier on the pocket. 

And so it came to be that I decided to ditch the fancyass salon where I got the haircut paying over a thousand bucks. And also the Lakme and the Naturals salons which have been my go-to places for the last few years, and a basic hair trim costs about 500 bucks upwards. And I decided to check out the no-frills parlour beside the apartment I live in. 

I went in expecting the usual question about getting hair coloured (I have a lot of grey, suffice to say). And well, the girl exclaimed and remarked that’s it all black at the back and grey in top. How? I shrugged. And then she said your hair is healthy, has it been grey for a while? I said yeah, for a while now. And then to my great relief, she did not proceed to hard sell any brand of colour that would turn my hair black and yet keep it soft and healthy. Or specific shampoo or conditioner or hair spa, all of which the fancy places do and annoy the bejesus out of me. In fact she said please don’t try any colour and spoil your hair, keep it the way it is. Why thank you, that’s nice to hear, for a change, I thought. 

And then of course, the questions came. Which are less likely in a more professional, swanky gleaming setup (or so I’d imagine). About your personal life. Who you live with etc.

I was slightly skeptical about her ability to do a good job, but I figured even if it was bad, it’ll grow back. At one point she brought out an electric shaver, the kind S uses, and after going to town with it at the back of my neck, she was about to tackle my sideburns. ‘No!’ I shrieked. 

‘Just a little shorter here, near my ears,’ I said. And then she brought the really sharp pair of scissors really close to my ears. And I REALLY panicked as she began trimming away, the sharp end of the scissors occasionally touching my ear. And I got goosebumps purely out of fear I think. When there was a lull in the trimming, I nervously said, ‘I’m a little scared.’

To which she laughed and replied, ‘Me too, my hands actually shiver when I’m doing this part.’

(Insert the classic emoji 😒)

Apart from being more personal, less hygienic, less pushy and up-selling and wayy cheaper, I wonder if this is what differentiates the ₹200/- haircut from the ₹1000++ ones. The disarming, almost uncalled for honesty, versus the ability at least look cool and unshakeable, and well, the professionalism. 

I’m still deciding whether to go back there for my next haircut. Oh wait, the girl’s getting married around then. Now I’m curious to see if she’ll be around. 

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Pause 

August 10, 2016

While my Mom is attempting to make A take her second nap (ha-ha) I’m sitting with a cup of tea, having just set out a loaf of masala bread  (caramelised onion-pudina-jeera-coriander) for its second rise. With the lil missy going through (or starting out?) her phase of terrible twos or what I’m afraid is supposedly  normal toddler behaviour, I haven’t got too many such moments to myself lately, and I want to pause and say thanks to Mom and the universe for this. 

PS: She came looking for me once already and didn’t find me cos I was quite nicely hiding out in the bedroom 

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On consent. And respect. 

July 25, 2016

I’m at an uncle’s place in the middle of a big family gathering, and it’s been great to see A spend time with many of her grand-uncles and aunts. But this post is going to be a rant. On how people take little people for granted. And don’t treat them with enough respect. And how they don’t care about consent. 

  1. If my daughter repeatedly tells you that she doesn’t like you pinching or even touching her cheeks, please respect that. Sure, go ahead and laugh at how cute it sounds when she tells you not to do that in a mixture of Tamil and Kannada, but PLEASE. RESPECT. THAT. And DON’T do it again after a while for heaven’s sake. 
  2. What strange joy do you derive from taking away her book or toy and refusing to give to her and making her cry? She is a child, who doesn’t understand the concept of sharing. What on earth is your excuse?
  3. Don’t even get me started on trying to bribe her with things so that she will let you pick her up. Or spend time playing with you. Is this what we want to teach kids? What are we doing, saying, ‘If you come to me, I’ll give you sweets?’ Not only is that manipulative, that’s also how kidnappers operate.
  4. Consent. Ask the child if it’s okay to pick her up. (She is my daughter, and don’t pick her up if she doesn’t want to) Ask her if you can tie her hair. Or hey, maybe you can even ask the mother of the child (who is sitting with her) if it’s okay for you to tie her hair. And for ffs, ASK before you shove a mobile screen with a Chota Bheem video into her face while she’s actually quite nicely eating her lunch with no distractions. 
  5. Don’t offer her maggi noodles without asking me!
  6. If you see her brushing her teeth at bedtime, please don’t say hey stay up for a little longer, someone is coming over with sweets!
  7. And how on earth is it acceptable to interrupt her dinner since you want a picture with her? How’s it okay to say ‘You’re always eating in pics with me. Stop eating for a bit and take a pic with me.’ You are nearly 25 years older than she is. Please grow up. 

End rant. 

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Conversations -2

June 21, 2016

The questions, the questions! I never thought they’d start this early but OHMIGOD have they been flying thick and fast in the last couple of months. I read a book to her and I get stopped mid-sentence every single time. And for every answer I give her, I’m rewarded with one more question.

Sample:

We’re reading a book and there’s a pic of a girl wearing red shoes.

A: What is the girl wearing?

Me: She’s wearing red shoes, Ammu.

A: What red shoes?

Me: Those are pretty red shoes.

A: What pretty red shoes are those?

Me: She’s wearing pretty red shoes with white flowers.

A: What white flowers?

And so it goes on. Every once in a while I’m tempted to say, Ammu look, tiger and quickly burn the book while she’s distracted. But then I’d have to answer more endless questions like WHERE DID THE TIGER GO? WHERE IS MY BOOK? WHAT IS THAT SMELL? x 10,00000 times.

Yes, there’s also the insistent repetition of questions even after I’ve answered the question.  I suspect she does it when she doesn’t believe the answer I’ve given her. No terrible twos for us please, we seem to already have a teenager here!

And then she says the darnedest things sometimes.

‘Mummy, bum kiss maadu.’

Cos she apparently fell on her butt and wanted me to make it better like I usually do, by kissing the affected body part. (Eyeroll emoji)

Another day, and uncle of hers

was visiting and she stuck to him like glue. So she wanted him to do everything for her. She suddenly discovers her nose is running and she’s got some on her hand and wants her uncle to wipe it. And so, ‘Mama gonne togo’ which translates to —

‘Uncle, here, take my snot’.

—–

Then there are days like yesterday. While she’s having her dinner and I haven’t yet started on mine, I’m sitting beside her waiting for her to finish so I can put her to bed. And I remark offhandedly to S that I’m hungry. Ammu then tells me, ‘Mummy hungry’. And then proceeds to stuff a piece of banana from her plate into my mouth. So I say, ‘Are you done, baby?’

And she explains, ‘Mummy hungry’ and continues with her dinner.

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(Car)Ton of fun

June 8, 2016

We bought a new car seat for A cos she’s out grown the old one. And what a lovely investment it turned out to be. Especially the carton!

No, seriously. A big carton that can fit in a toddler plus a knife and it’s at least a couple of days worth of fun with a toddler.

The kee-kee-konn is the beep an ATM machine makes and the dig-dig-dig is apparently the sound that comes when the ‘paisa’ comes out 😀

Day 1:The carton is a tunnel

Day 2: The tunnel gets boring so we cut out a window. We also thrown in some crayons for the toddler to scribble away inside the tunnel.

Day 3: We stick some paper on the tunnel and some bits of chalkboard decal and throw in some chalks. Scribble scribble.

And then we take things up a notch and cut a couple of slits in the tunnel so that the ATM-loving (!!) toddler can insert her cards and have fun for an hour🙂 At first she’ll drop the cards in and go into the tunnel to bring them back. And then she’ll get wise and reach for them through the window.

PS: Adult supervision mandatory cos said tunnel may collapse and toddler will freak the hell out.

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Weddings and things

May 23, 2016

The cousin’s wedding I last attended was a lot of fun. Despite my initial worries about how A would deal with a new place, lots of new faces and the general chaos that accompanies a wedding, it was great. Of course she was clingy and didn’t really leave my side for too long, but as long as she had that sense of security, she was really easy to be with. In the three days we spent there, I felt like I understood her a little more and fell in love a little more with the tiny person she is. In a nutshell, this is what she is like around new faces – You spend time to get to know me, you’ll be rewarded and I’ll respond to you. If you’re too in-my-face all the time, I’ll be forever scared of you and cry if you come close. If I like you, chances are that I’ll keep calling your name every time I see you🙂

The other thing that struck me was this amazing thing about my relatives. Some people always  show up at these weddings no matter what, no matter how far they’ve to travel. And I don’t mean just the first circle of relatives. An uncle from Canada, folks from Calcutta. More than anything, these are folks a who are 60, even 70+ years of age. Even folks who live closer, but someone who can’t walk without support, someone who’s just got out of the hospital a few days earlier. To make that journey that involves a train and then a bus just to be there at a wedding is quite splendid. I guess being around everyone just lifts spirits, so perhaps no journey is too long or hard. My own parents are no different, and I hope I’ll also be the same – someone who always shows up. For a happy occasion or even otherwise. 

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Trains and Ammu’s first train ride

May 15, 2016

A couple of weeks back, we attending a family wedding near Mysore, and we were going by train. I was excited at the idea for two reasons – I love train journeys and I was eager for A to get to experience her first real train ride.


There’s something about train journeys that gives me a sense of time slowing down in a very real way. If your agenda for the next few hours is to just gaze out of the window, and occasionally go back to the book on your lap, taking a break every now and then to have tea, coffee, vade, and whatever else the hawkers are bringing around – this is frankly for me, is the life🙂 Every other frame when you look out the window is a picture postcard when you get out of the city. My fondest memories of train rides from my childhood (we’ve been from Bangalore to Bombay and Calcutta – 3-day journeys!) is that of curling up in the upper berth with a book, and finishing at least one book during the journey.

Yet, as I grew up, the idea of using the train toilets all but killed the romance of train journeys for me. I wonder if as a child I was having too much fun to let the toilets  bother me, or I just didn’t know better. Besides, when we could afford to drive or take a flight, we chose comfort and convenience, obviously. Trips became more about the destination, than the journey. Which was our loss, really.

So how did A enjoy her first train ride? Not too much at first, since we were a bunch of 28 travelling together. She has a high level of stranger anxiety and these were all relatively new people for her. She hated being fussed over in the first one hour and kept wanting to go home. But gradually, as everyone settled down and she settled down and made new friends, she was quite happy to sit on the window ledge and gaze out of the window.

On the return journey we were a smaller bunch and it was a second class sleeper coach, and she seemed to really enjoy the three hour journey that turned into five because of delays. She had her fill of Maddur vade, churmuri and badam milk.  There was a lovely breeze blowing and it seemed like it was going to rain. The window seat was perfect. She fell asleep on my lap, looking out of the window.

When she woke up, I wanted to rest my back for a bit. She quite happily went to my Dad’s lap and I went to the upper berth and curled up with my book (well, the Kindle app on the phone, but hey) and drifted off. Bliss.

When I looked down a couple of times, I saw A sitting with my Dad and Mom quite happily, and the sight melted my heart.

This trip has re-kindled my love for train journeys. I’m keen on taking A on lots of them. We’ll learn to deal with the loos, I’m sure. Window seats, wind in the hair and endless supply of train food, here we come🙂

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