Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Storytime - Guest post for Divya

Books make a big part of both my boys' life and its surprising that they have never found a mention on this blog before. Inspired by Divya's wonderful blog, I had been considering writing a post about the most loved books in our house but never got around to doing it. So recently, when Divya invited me to write one such post to celebrate the blog's one year anniversary, it was the perfect opportunity!

Although Divya's blog is titled one-story-a-day, in our house the theme is more like one story a week or even a month! In fact, there are some books that are such favourites that they are read over and over again for months.

Adventures of Curious George by H.A.Rey has got to be Kabir's most favourite series of books. Top 4 favourites in this series are: CG gets a medal, CG rides a bike, CG goes to the hospital and CG takes a job. These books are longer than the usual Curious George books and tell the tales of how George's curiosity always lands him into trouble and how he manages to get out of these situations.

Another book that has stood the test of time in our house is the British author Jill Murphy's 'Whatever Next!' This is a charming story about Baby Bear who wants to visit the moon. So he finds a space helmet (kitchen colander), space boots (rain boots) and a rocket (an empty carton) and takes off to the moon to have a picnic. The book leaves much to the reader's imagination and is a great read for children (like Kabir) who are obsessed with the moon. While on topic of the moon, another great book we like is Eric Carle's 'Papa, please get the moon for me'.

I should also mention some of Anurag's favourite books. He likes most picture books where he can point at things and say what they are (Richard Scarry books are great for this). But his most favourite one (which can be used to calm him down during the worst of outbursts) is "Bear on a Bike" written by Stella Blackstone and illustrated by Debbie Harter. This was one of the first children's book that we ever owned and was much loved by Kabir as a baby and now by Anurag. There's something so special about the rhyme and the illustration in this book that it tends to be an instant hit with kids between 1 to 3 yrs of age.

It was hard to pick only a few titles in this post out of all the well-loved books. So I will now try to post more regularly about the current favourite ones in our house. Thanks Divya, for this opportunity. I look forward to many many years of one-story-a-day!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The many faces of happiness the last 1(ish) year

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sports Day

Like most schools in Mumbai, Kabir's school had its sports day earlier this month after weeks of practice. Races included - forward running, backward running, hopping, animal walk, walking while balancing a block on the head and lemon&spoon race. Unfortunately, the races happened during regular school hours and parents were not invited. We were, however, invited for their prize distribution on a later date. And fortunately, there were prizes for all kids and not just the winners. Here is Kabir receiving his participation prize (a hockey stick and ball) with his dear class teacher Ms. Harshada on the left.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Weekend away from kids

Last weekend was the first time ever that I left the kids behind to go away for a trip. It was made worse by the fact that Anurag was sick with cold and a fever when I left early Saturday morning. It was a 3 day work related trip where I got an opportunity to be part of a village micro planning exercise organised in a remote tribal village that has been partially displaced by the Dimbhe dam in the Bhimashankar Hills.

It was hard to be away knowing that Anurag wasn't well. There were no phones or cell phone connectivity where I was, so it wasn't possible to call (except getting some messages from home through people that arrived later). At the same time, the visit was an incredible experience for me, and the stay was most memorable. When I got home on Monday evening, I was greeted with lots of hugs and kisses from the boys, which soon turned into a fight for attention. Kabir had managed well in my absence but Anurag was not in a very good shape. I had to take him to the doctor the same evening, who thought that Anu was suffering from separation anxiety! In any case, he's got much better now. And in spite of all this, I am really glad that I went.

Water play

The boys enjoyed some water play with their friends a couple of weekends ago. Thanks to Seema aunty for her creative ideas - colouring the water with food dye, having the kids hunt for coins and finishing off with some foam bath. The popcorn and mini-pizzas afterwards made for a perfect ending!
(And how nice to be able to do this even in the month of December!)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Xmas singing

This weekend turned out to be one packed with action, the highlight of which was the Xmas program at IIT Staff Club organized by some really talented women on campus. Kids had been practicing for this for a month. On Saturday, they presented the program at the Staff Club and today they made a trip to the local Asha chapter for yet another program. The main program included carol singing, dancing and skit by older kids and ofcourse meeting with Santa.

Kabir was dressed as an angel and was one of the younger kids in the group. His favourite songs were: I'm an angel, Go tell it on the mountain and King seekers travelling. After these first three songs in the sequence Kabir couldn't wait to be done. Soon after, he ditched his buddies and ran over into the audience section and sat next to me, which was all the more funny because his friends in the singing group started calling him back as he vigorously shook his head :)

The little angel

This next one wasn't supposed to be an action song, but I guess Kabu really wanted to express himself.

He was visibly bored by this song and can be seen signalling that he wants to come and sit in the audience

The nativity scene set to "Silent night"

And finally, some dancing and giggling with Santa!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Family and friends

Some family pictures from the Saturday night party at our house
Photo Courtesy: Souvik Mahapatra

Thursday, November 24, 2011


The boys letting out some steam after dinner this evening. The show went on for atleast half an hour!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A colourful airplane

Kabu is obsessed with airplanes and he loves to paint. Put them together and this is what you get.

(I drew a pencil outline at his request and he did the rest)

He kept warning me that the plane was about to fly off, so I'm glad that I was able to click a photo before that.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Open spaces

I'm frequently asked what I miss most about the US since returning back to India. My answer undoubtedly is "open spaces" which should not be surprising to anyone in Mumbai. However I had hoped that things would be different on the IIT campus.

We live across the street from the IIT gymkhana, yet it is not too accessible to children. It is reserved for students between 5pm-8pm on weekdays and we have been rudely asked to leave the grounds many times. There are other smaller grounds on campus but they are ill maintained. For example, we frequently spot snakes in the Shishu Vihar play ground which is closest to our house.

When I was a kid growing up on the same campus, children would always play in their building compound and grounds were only meant for more organized sports. However, with the large number of cars in every building it has now become dangerous to let children play in the building compound.

So unfortunately, we don't have many options left. Usually, evenings are spent going for walks on the campus road sidewalks with the kids (Kabu usually rides his scooter). Sometimes we go to the guest house which has become the meeting point for most campus kids in the evening (playing on the covered concrete area or on the sloping guest house lawns). On weekends and off-semester days we go to the gymkhana grounds where we play soccer with the kids or just let them run amok.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Welcoming Zoya

Kabir and Anurag now have a little baby sister! Kakku bua gave birth to beautiful Zoya on October 22nd and we are thrilled to welcome her in our family.
Kabir asked to see Zoya's pictures and came up with a long list of names that he will use to call her (Akshita, Ameena, Riya, Priya...and some other names of girls in his class). He even got to "see" her through a Skype videochat. Anurag, ofcourse, has now been elevated to the status of "bade bhai sahab" now that he too has become a big brother.
Zoya - here's wishing you a long, healthy and happy life! We hope to see you soon.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Pictures of the boys taken a couple of weeks ago at Delhi airport

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Finally..the biggest milestone

Tuesday night was the first time EVER in his life that Anurag slept through the night. That's right - he never did that in the last 19 months. Not once. Not even by fluke. Weaning him off last month certainly did the trick, as it had with Kabir. I, however, am yet to get used to sleeping uninterrupted through the night again. My body is still in denial and disbelief!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Remembering mamiji

Madhu mami passed away last Thursday (22nd Sept). She was one of the strongest women to have influenced my life and was a role model for me in many respects.

Kabir remembers her as "badi nani" who had gifted him his green laptop. We had seen her last in Dec 2010.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Kabir and Esha

Here are some memories from Esha's stay with us in the 1st week of August. Kabir & Esha were inseparable for the 2 days that Esha was here. Esha even went to Kabir's school with him and they both insisted on wearing similar clothes!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Allergy update

Kabir's food allergy symptoms had been gradually subsiding over the last one year. In May this year we realized that he is able to eat baked goods with egg in them (as can Anurag!).
I got very excited when he could even eat chocolates with whole almonds in them without any problem. However, we soon discovered that eating walnuts is an entirely different story. I took this picture to show to his ped - he had a swollen face for 2 days.:(
Hopefully this too shall pass.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Anu talking

I have been slow at updating the blog lately with all the craziness at work and home. I will try to catch up by posting some of the pictures taken during the last month and half. For now, here is a video of Anurag that I took yesterday.

Anu has been talking quite a bit lately. His favorite words other than the normal mama, papa, bhaiya etc are hoot (book), jalu (jhadu/broom), ball, fish (accompanied by making a fish face), joosh (juice), joota (shoes), bhau-bhau (dog), barish (rain) and all the animals in his animal book like horse, cheetah, hathi, monkey etc. My most favorite, however, is his loving "mammaaa, aa jaao" even though he usually says that pounding at the bathroom door when I'm inside!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hiking up the IIT hill

About two weeks ago, we did a little hike up the IIT hill. It was the day after Rakhi, and we had some family visiting us. The hike was easy with beautiful views of Powai lake and Vihar lake from the top. This was Kabir's first hike and he managed beautifully. We didn't take Anurag with us since the trail was slippery from the rains. The view made us realize how lucky we are to be living on such a green campus.
Vihar lake
Kabir on top of the hill
View of the IIT campus and the Powai lake
Saurabh with Prafull uncle

Friday, July 29, 2011

Udaipur visit - Monsoon 2011

Today is our last day of vacation in Udaipur before we head back to Mumbai tomorrow. Ths kids enjoyed themselves a lot this time. Kabir has bonded very well with dadosa and dadisa and can spend the entire day with them without asking for me. And Anurag loves the sprawling house and the yard to walk around in all day and explore new things.
We did the usual things - boating on lake Fatehsagar, coffee and icecream at the lakeside stall, a day of shopping at Hathipol, walks around the house and to the river and eating a lot of good food at home. In addition, Kabir went out with dadosa almost everyday to the local fields and playgrounds and also spent a day at the zoo. As always, dadisa made a whole lot of good food- patre, khaman dhoklas, handva, maki ki dhokle and muthiye to name a few. This was my first time visiting Udaipur during the monsoons and it was beautiful!
On the terrace

Anu and dadisa

Icecream by Fatehsagar

Anu with Mira didi

With Pinky, Meera and Khamani didi in their khet
Exploring the backyard


Sunday, July 24, 2011

One year since our move

It has now been a year since we returned back to India (as of July 10th). In this year we have come a very long way, physically and figuratively, from our life back in Portland. So much so that it is hard to believe that it has only been a year since we moved.

On this occasion, I want to post a really special video. This was recorded by Izabella and Iren last year in Portland. Kabir spoke fluent Hungarian at that time. Recently, when I showed this video to Kabir his response was, "What is this kid saying?". To me, nothing can be a better reminder of how much life has changed for us in the last year.

I get teary-eyed whenever I watch this video. We were packing our belongings in our home at that time and Iren had taken Kabir over to Izabella's house. In the video, Kabir first recites all his favorite nursery rhymes. Then he tells Izabella that he is going to leave for India in an aeroplane and finally he says goodbye to Izabella, Detti, Arpi and Iren - his second family in Portland.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Goa fun

Playing in the hotel's garden

Trip to Fort Aguada

Playing in the sand at Baga beach

Little champ

Anu takes a ride

Time to head back to Mumbai- waiting for the Konkan-kanya Express

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dressed up

Dressed for Meenal mausi's wedding in Goa