Posts Tagged ‘mother’

Look carefully….

August 2, 2017

Look carefully at your mother…she’s the person you will probably become.
Look carefully at your daughter…she’s the person you probably were.
And both of you, look carefully at the grand-daughter…she’s probably going to be more than both of you.

DSDSC06569 kiss  purina farms 240813 bw dm bdiC06568 2

That should actually read, “parent”, “child”, and “grandchild”.


Peanut-Kalyan, 280113, St Louis

January 30, 2013

Kalyan Mohan Shaffer made his appearance at 12.42 am on the 28th of January, 2013. MY parents, and grandparents, belonged to the same century as I did…but my grandchildren truly belong to a new Millenium!

How much will I have in common with them? And how much of a fossil will I turn out to be? I wonder…

I call him Peanut (that’s what he looked like in the very first Ultra-sound Scan)…but here he looks more of a coconut!

280113 stl  pnut coconut

Here he is, with …

280113 stl  bdi holding pnut

“What are these?” he seems to ask of his fingers…

280113 stl  pk and fingers

and I tell him,these, and that blue thing, are your choice of all-day suckers!

280113 stl  nails and sucker

Here’s the DnAnK2 family…

280113 stl  happy family

and another one (no one can accuse me of minginess with photos…I was only waiting for LJ to open up for me, as it does once in a while!)

280113 stl  happier fmly

A profile pic of the New Kid on the Block:

280113 stl  pnut

I’m jet-lagged, sleepless, and tired…but SO happy!

Can you believe this?!

May 7, 2011



….I too read it avidly, eager to find out who she was talking about!

It feels…unearned…and yet also feels great. Very mixed up, very happy. I am glad SOMEONE thinks so highly of me.

Thank you, from my heart, . This will see me through many downs in life!

Unexpected Scrap, from the distant past….

April 20, 2011

This morning, KM suddenly took out a disintegrating scrap of paper from his wallet and said, “Write this down for me on a stronger piece of paper.”

I looked at it…and was surprised to see my mother’s handwriting, in Hindi, with the Tamizh translation of the song (dukhiyArE nainA), on the tattered scrap. “Why do you want this written down, I don’t even know the song!” I told him. “Song?” he said. “I gave you a paper on which you had written Hanuman Chalisa.”

“This is NOT my handwriting, it’s my mother’s.” “No, it’s yours.” “No, it’s NOT.”

It took me a while before he would actually look at the scrap of paper and realize that words such as “rAtEin” and “bArAtEin” (meaning “nights”, and “wedding processions”) would not occur in Hanuman Chalisa, and that it was, indeed, my mother’s handwriting.

Here it is:

dukhiya re naina 200411

How did this scrap come to be in KM’s wallet (a recent acquisition) ? I have no clue. But I do remember my mother, in my childhood, sending by post to many relatives, the lyrics of hit Hindi movie songs, with their translations…she was indefatigable in this effort. Took me back to the days in Lansdowne Road (or 200, Sarat Bose Road, as it is called now)…the large building, owned by a lawyer called Burman then…. still stands…I saw it in December 2009.

So…I photographed it, as the best way to preserve it….here it is… a sudden quirky event that brought back the past to me!

You can hear the song here:

Wonderful that this scrap of paper came into my hands when I have the technology to instantly bring up the song for both myself and for others….

The video shows various film heroines in sad scenes… Madhubala, Nargis, Vyjanthimala, Nargis again, and I *think* the last one is Waheeda Rehman.

Addition by Multiplication

April 29, 2009

At precisely 9.00 AM (central time) on 29 April,2009, DnA’s little daughter came into the world naturally. She is 20 inches tall and weights 7.124 lbs (3.14 kgs.). Mother and daughter are doing fine. Baby has a LOUD voice. 🙂

D’s parents and A’s aunt were able to see the baby, parents, and grandparents due to Skype video!

Happy Birthday…and may you have many more happy ones…

Things that I will miss…

April 17, 2009

Easy access to excellent, non-fattening food and filter coffee in the shot-size serving that lets me have a piping hot mouthful without worrying about either calories or caffeine intake

Arangisai in the mornings

thEin kiNNam….today’s songs were from balE pAndiyA and pArtthAl pasi theerum! (No, I am not prepared to shell out $120 or so to get that single program in the US.)

Easy access to the forested areas, with a multitude of birds

The wonderful friends who surround me and KM and make life soooo fantastic to live in Bangalore..totally non-judgemental, totally non-ageist…they make us feel at least 20 years younger and sprightlier than we are!

The ability to walk (a very pleasant walk, with great company) to lots and lots of plays in a great theatre space

All the Bangalore stuff (garbage clearance, anti-plastic drive, anti tree-felling, WBC ….Walking, Cycling, Busing… and writing about all these and more!) that I am so interested and involved in…I plan no voluntary work in the near future

But…I have been looking through my St Louis posts, and realize that when one is interested in one’s surroundings, there’s always something to notice, appreciate, comment about, and enjoy!

The fact that it’s 12 deg C in St Louis is a BIG plus! 🙂

Looking forward very much to TGD’s (The Grand Daughter)’s arrival now…

My3,N, J, R….thank you very much for such sensible, affectionate advice. I am feeling quite confident now and I can feel the grandmotherly expertise just oozing in :)) NOW I don’t think I’ll let the baby’s head drop!


November 10, 2008

shortindiangirl has this to say about pregnancy-sickness (I can’t call it morning sickness when pregnant women are sick morning, evening, noon and night!)

I agree, none of this is ever talked about in those rose-tinted advertisements…..when I was expecting my daughter (of course I didn’t know it was a daughter) I was sick until the seventh month, I think. But..I didn’t have a job and a career to take care of….I could pamper myself and feel sorry for myself (KM left for work in a fairly distant factory, with the work culture he had, at 7am and returned at 9.30pm and was on tour 12 days in a month) but generally I could take good care of myself, and I engaged a maid to do the housework too. I feel bad that this is not the case for SIG, and that she has to work hard both at work and at home.

Similarly, no one talks about post-partum depression which can rob motherhood of all its joy….or what happens if that “instant bonding” with the baby doesn’t happen…I suspect that the powers-that-be feel that if all this is publicized, women just might decide NOT to have babies!

There was an article in ToI a couple of days ago about couples who have read up on all the pros and cons of pregnancy and childbirth and have voluntarily decided not to have children. It was an interesting article, and I found their reasons pretty valid. What I thought, in disagreement with them, was that…there is something intangible in a child which, obviously, transcends all these woes and worries and makes it worthwile….then, suddenly, all those Hallmark baby-card sentences make sense….

But the reality is that there is a lot of pee and poop, literally and figuratively, in bringing a human being into the world…and years of worry and concern and making an adult, responsible human being out of that wailing little “bundle of joy”. After 30 years, I find that the umbilical cord that ties me and my child is still very strong.

So it’s one’s individual (or twosome) decision as to whether the baby is worth all the upheavals, or not…and should be unconditionally accepted.


Memories of my mother…..

October 1, 2008

When we lived in Kolkata, my mother put my brother and me in a tiny school nearby (five minutes’ walk from home) called Swarna. Swarna (” Su-varna ” or “good colour”, meaning, “gold”) was run by a Telugu lady called Mrs Sundaram (I never knew her own name), a lady who had been widowed with two daughters. The school was, and when I last visited Kolkata, still is, situated in a very beautiful old mansion on Rash Behari Avenue, with a small gate opening into Jatin Das Road. I never knew how beautiful the old mansion was until I revisited it in my memories.

My mother was a person who was interested in everything; I remember her bird book, her stitching everything including her blouses and the family mattresses, on her sewing machine, turning out sweaters for us on her needles and later, a Singer Knitting Machine. She learnt Bengali to be able to read the classics in the original…and did so. She encouraged me to learn Bengali as a third language in school, and taught me basic Tamizh at home. My parents were one of the first to buy a cine camera, and we still have movies of my aunts’ weddings, and of our entire extended family, and several wonderful documentaries and cartoons (for my daughter’s 4th birthday, the projector was brought in and we had a screening for about 20 children.) She would buy comics (Dell and Key) comics for us by the dozens; all the latest magazines, Tamizh as well as English, and invested in vast quantities of records (33, 45 and 78 rpm, and EP’s..Extended Play records) and…books…books by the hundreds. And she acted, I realize now, as a librarian for Swarna.

With Mrs. Sundaram’s encouragement, she bought literally hundreds of books for the school library, with the result that both at home and at school I had a vast variety of books to read and enjoy. My reading habit dates back to those wonderful days. And she would read aloud from Tamizh novels and magazines to us during meal times. So my reading speed of Tamizh isn’t good, but I know the novels of Kalki, the plays of Marina, and so on, very well. She read Bengali novels ( Ananda Math was particularly inspiring) and Hindi ones, until our own reading speed improved.

She had learnt the veena for a year at Nellore, before she got married at the age of 19; she practised until she was able to give concerts on stage; she conducted the annual Thyagaraja Utsavam for Carnatic Sangeetha Sammelan for several years, and for other music concerts, put up the artistes at our home, always doing the cooking herself. She and my father learnt Western classical voilin from scratch, and later she learnt Carnatic music on the violin, too, coming up to the level where she could accompany me on stage, though she never played a solo. She made us learn Carnatic music (“made us” is right, because we were reluctant students, my brother and I) and asked a close family friend to teach my brother the mridangam…I am not exaggerating his talent at this; if he had been able to face the politicking and backbiting and networking of the Carnatic music world, he could have been one of the foremost mridangists of this country, not just Calcutta or Madras (Kolkata and Chennai).

Her sister’s son lived with us for 7 years, and he was a music prodigy; she encouraged his music, bought him all the theory books that he would devour, and made sure he gave many concerts that showcased his excellent voice and prodigious talent.

She paid, even in those days, for our maids’ children’s school fees, and all incidental expenses they would have. She was an avid gardener, and the garden of the house we stayed in still has trees to show for her efforts.

She bred budgerigars in a large cage in the garden and we would always have a couple of them as dearly beloved pets inside the house; I would always have one sitting on my shoulder, tame as tame can be. She knew how to treat their diseases and comforted me when a pet died. Much later, when she had to move (she hated it after a lifetime in Kolkata) to Chennai, and we lived in Bangalore, she gifted my daughter a pair of budgies for her 10th birthday, remarking that the child would learn about caring, responsibility…and loss, too.

She started composing songs in Tamizh and Sanskrit, and I have only managed to learn a few of her compositions as by that time I was not living at home. She would never miss her Friday puja; the little ivory statuette of Kanya Kumari was her worshipped idol. When my father ran into political trouble in his powerful job, they became Hanuman devotees, and went every Saturday to the Ram Mandir in Lake Gardens to offer “vadai mAlai”. They also supported their family deity, Akhilandeswari at ThiruvAnaikkAval near Srirangam, and every week, an envelope with sindoor and vibhooti would arrive from the priest; his family still remembers my parents with affection.

She could speak Tamizh, English, Telugu, Bengali and Hindi with great fluency. She would listen to the songs on the old Army radio that my father restored (he was an electronics buff) and would transcribe the words and translate them for her non-Hindi speaking relatives, and send them letters with them. We had a Grundig, and then an Akai, tape recorder with a phenomenal collection of Carnatic music. She operated a Kodak still camera with ease (that was the original reason why I thought of her today, as I packed the Canon 20D.)

She played counsellor to so many people. When my father was learning Carnatic music in his 40’s as a hobby (he was also an amazing person, but I will write about him some other time), the music teacher’s daughter fell in love with a Bengali; she made him see it, not as a matter for shame, but as an opportunity for his daughter to discover a new culture. Many years later, that man thanked her for opening his eyes; he said his daughter’s family was wonderful and very supportive when he was ill.

I do not know how many other children’s fees she paid, along with my father….they never talked about it. But plays, concerts….we always had good seats in the auditorium, and when we children flagged, we would be driven home, and two music or play-loving adults would be brought to take our place. If I am proficient in Carnatic music today, it’s due to my mother.

She became the lecturer and examiner for Carnatic music at Vishwa Bharati University, and this task, too, she performed for many years.

Our home was always, always, full of people, to the point where I sometimes hated it; I am not such a social person. But everyone felt welcome at our place and the scoldings she gave them for not visiting were taken with great affection. She never shirked speaking her mind to people, and could scold very well!

She was a fantastic bargainer, and visitors to our home were amazed at where the shopkeepers started and where she ended up!

She never tired of taking visitors to all the sights of Kolkata, and I have many memories of Victoria Memorial, Gandhighat, the Botanical Gardens, Dakshineshwar, the Dhakuria Lakes…when we were young, we were marched, along with a whole raft of other kids, to the Lakes (Lily Pool Park) to play on sunlit evenings…..

She travelled everywhere with my father; in those days, they travelled first class on Air India, and stayed in the best hotels. They visited so many countries; they would bring back so many photographs and gifts for every one. However, she never visited the US; my father’s work took him to London at least twice a year, and Europe was their happy hunting ground.

What a superwoman she was, and she was respected as such by so many people. But in her own mind, she was nothing out of the ordinary. “Oh,” she would say, “I am a housewife. I wanted to be a doctor, but my father had a premonition of his own death, and got me quickly married off.”

Amma….my eyes brim over. I see across the years, with your thick hair cascading down nearly to your knees….I love you. You passed away so many years ago, with several kinds of ill health slowly taking their toll. As my equally wonderful sister in law entered the home and started taking care of her, she started getting housebound with heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure, asthma, and thrombo-phlebitis. to the last, she was alert and conscious …my brother and sister in law brought her home for a brief few days from the hospital, before taking her back, gasping for breath, to the ICU, where she breathed her last on July 10, 1994.

There are many reasons why I hardly ever talk about my mother. But I think today she is in my thoughts to the exclusion of everyone else.


May 28, 2007

The sightings of our trip to Bandipur over the weekend were truly amazing, and this in spite of the fact that we missed BOTH a tiger AND a leopard by a matter of minutes..we arrived on the scene to see the people in other vehicles still staring into the forest!

Bandipur seems to be, to me, always a place where young life is nurtured. Some time ago I had posted about the gaur and their calves and the wild boars and their young ones. Well, this time I saw several young ones too…I will post a few photos at a time, but to me, this young spotted deer fawn symbolizes the innocence and beauty of Nature:

Spotted deer fawn Bandipur

And here’s her mother, wouldn’t want to separate them!

spotted deer mother

There she is, with her diet of greens which is what keeps her slender and so beautiful…

And if you want to know where all those babies come from, this is how it begins…here are two Jungle Babblers, babbling sweet nothings into each other’s ears…

Babbling together

I almost felt like a voyeur, photographing those two!

Would you like to see the Pond Terrapin, the Monitor Lizard, the Elephant Baby and Mother, the Posing Gaur, the Myna cleaning the Sambhar, the Mongoose, the Crested Serpent Eagle, the Changeable Hawk Eagle, the Common Flameback Woodpecker……?

Ah, this space!