Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Quickie.

This morning, we had idli upma for breakfast.

Ashwin: Idhu enna upma?
Me: Idli upma.
Ashwin: Iyya. Idhu chapati upma.

Language Nuances

"Nethiki na saathi paati veetukku ponen", Ashwin declared yesterday. No, he did not visit Savithri Paati y'day, nor is he bluffing. Nethiki (yesterday) is used by him to mean anything that happened in the past.

He could tell you "Nethiki Ashwin small baby a irundhan" referring to the fact that he was once an infant or "Nethiki na waa waa azhuden" two minutes after he has screamed his head off as you try to feed him medicine.

He tells us on an almost daily basis "Nethiki appa kai vizhunda. Big big ethuthu fast fast kai vizhunda" referring to an incident that happened in the beginning of April where Raghu was walking down the steps with Ashwin carrying a basket full of laundry and he toppled. He does not do this on an almost daily basis, thank God, but Ashwin is impressed with his father's acrobatics :)

The collective noun is something that Ashwin has figured out and loves to abuse.

"Blocks vayyadalaam namba", meaning not me alone but WE shall play blocks. This is how the usage started but has now gone on to "Namba poopoo polaam" or "Green getti potukkalam namba".

It is adorable how he completes most of his statements with either "See" or "Therima".

"Naa big thammi ethunden, See" or "Inga dirty aachu see". He is sitting on my lap as I type and saying "button, see" indicating the buttons on his night dress.

"Ashwin veetukku bird vandachu theyima", "Ummachi kaapaathi light hide pannikku theyima" (Sunlight is hiding behind the clouds, not gone, do you know?!) or "Appa kitta car saavi ikku theyima" are some of the classics that entertain us all the time!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Resolve of Steel

As you may know from this post, Ashwin's school going was a teary affair at the start of this week. After I spent two teary mornings with him at school, I suggested to him that he not cry at school but instead say Bye to me and give me a kiss. His reply was: No, you SHOULD cry at school. OK, I understood the rules of the toddlering game and complied. The next day, he enquired "wah wah aana?" (needn't I cry?) and I said no, don't cry wah wah because I'm going to say bye and be back in the evening to pick you up. On thursday, before going to school, he declared "Inniki naa school la wah wah azhaduda maaten" (I will not cry in school today). He was not over joyed to see me leave, but true to his word, he did not cry.

When I went to pick him up at school, the first thing he told me was "innuki school la na wah wah azhududa iyya". I'm pround of my son who made a decision and stuck to it, however tough it may have been.

After coming to Australia, Ashwin has graduated from a child seat to a supported booster, one which goes all the way up his back and not only elevate his bum. This means that he can undo his seat belt all by himself and he was overjoyed with he discovered this. He once took off his seat belt as I was driving to a friend's place. I promptly parked the car, buckled him back up and gave him a good round of scolding. Once again, when I was going to hand in our rental car, he took off his seat belt on the freeway. This time too, I gave him a good ticking off and for added measure, I told the taxi driver what he did and the driver told him to never do that again. Of course he knows that if you take off the seat belt, adi padum (you will get hurt), the police uncle will scold you and you are only to take it off after the car has been parked.

These days, once I buckle him in the car, he declares: Naa seat belt remove panna maaten (I will not remove the seat belt). He may be tempted, may touch the buckle, ask what will happen if he removes it, but again, true to his word, he does not undo it until I have parked the car.

Such is the resolve of my 2 year old boy!

Monday, May 19, 2008

4 Steps to keep a clean house

1. Get married
2. Have a son
3. Buy a pair of mops
4. Sit back with the camera and enjoy!

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Vallavanukku pullum aazhidam (To the man who can, even a blade of grass is weapon)

Ashwin loves to sit in the bathtub with his bath time companions duck and fish. What he doesn't like is that he has to eventually leave the bathtub. This has been getting increasingly tricky. In the beginning, if I let him take the plug out by himself, he was happy enough with the empowerment to end the bath. After that wore out, I had to take the plug out but he would put it back. So these days, I take the plug out and keep it high up so that he cannot reach. So what does he do?

Get the ducky or fish quickly to stuff into the drain so that the flow of water can be slowed and the bath prolonged!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Breaking news!

The persons who conduct prayers in temples, also known as temple uncles will henceforth be called yeast. That is Ashwin's rendering of the former English word Priest.

So what does the Yeast say when he utters all those Sanskrit Slokas?

Ashwin, appa, amma, thatha, paati, atthai, chitti, raghul anna, ommore uncle, ommore uncle, ommore ommore uncle, everybody should be happy.

Feeling like a pile of shit.

I have just left a crying baby in child care today.

Ashwin started attending child care 3 weeks ago. The place he goes to is called "Little Rascals Childcare" which Ashwin pronounces as itte ashash childcare in the most adorable way. He will also tell you that his school is in Applecross.

The first week, he went enthusiastically, waving be good bye and giving me my ration of 2 kisses. The childcare is quite a fun place - choke full of toys, a playground in the back yard where new toys are introduced on a regular basis. Even the food they serve is quite fun. I started him on 2 days a week of care and he was going Tuesdays and Thursdays. The second week, he was not quite as happy to see me go as he realised school was not a one-off thing but rather a permanent fixture in his life. The third week, I had to keep him home as he was down with cold and fever.

I have just enrolled him in every day childcare starting today. To say he was not happy to see me go today will be an understatement. He was clinging to me, proclaiming himself "Baby", having me feed him yoghurt and steadfastly refusing to say Bye. After I spent 45 minutes with him there, he finally relented to go to a carer who agreed to take him to the playground and I promptly left.

When I left the building 10 minutes later, he was crying.

I just called to see how he is doing and I was told he was settled in and was playing outside. (Is he really settled in? Happy? I don't know!)

The thing is this child care business is not for fun. I have found a job here and I will have to start working next week and I NEED Ashwin to go to childcare. I also NEED him to be happy there because otherwise I'm going to be this grumpy and weepy myself too and that's not the way to go to work.

Will he settle in quickly? Will he be happy there? Will I come back soon with a "My son loves school" post? Only time will tell.
Updated: I went to take a peek around lunch time and saw him sitting with his friends and eating Pasta. The carer told me that prior to that he was playing in the sand pit. It seems I am brooding more than he is... We'll see.

Updated again: When I went to pick him up in the evening, he was riding on the back of a tricycle with another boy. He said "Hi amma" to me and made no effort to move towards me. When I told him we could go home now, he said "No" and ran straight back to the playground.

Ask him what he did at school today and he will tell you that he did "enjoy".

The little rascal.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


My friend and ex-colleague from ST France Antoine Gautier died last Friday in a mountain biking accident. I don't know the details of the accident but I'm imagining that one moment he was happily cycling down the summer slopes of the Alps in Grenoble and the next moment he is dead. If the details are any different, I don't want to know.

Antoine was a very good friend and colleague. He was one of the best engineers I have ever encountered. Engineering was a game to him. He was one of those few people who would be excited by the prospect of problem solving and he conveyed this enthusiasm to those around him. He was an A+ human being. Kind, compassionate friendly and most importantly full of life. He was always involved in some sport or the other - be it skiing, cycling, biking, anything at all. I have worked with him extensively and during our phone conversations, I could actually hear his smile.

Antoine was the same age as me. We turned 30 months apart. I was in Tokyo with him on my 30th birthday and remember discussing with him what it meant to each of us to turn 30 and what we wanted from life. I will miss him. I am totally shocked by his death.

He leaves behind a one year old boy and wife who is 7 months pregnant. It is not fair that there is a child younger than my son who cannot wave goodbye to his father everyday as he leaves for work. That there is a wife out there who cannot look forward to the husband's arrival in the evening to lighten her parenting load. That my friend will not be around to marvel at his son throwing ball. To witness the miraculous birth of his second born. To take his children wrapped in red skiing down the snowy slopes. No. Life is not fair at all.

Now is the time to give our loved ones an extra squeeze and tell them we love them. And then, do so all over again. Now is the time to count our blessings.

I hope some kind of solace soon reaches the grieving family.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A conversation with Ashwin

Yesterday, Ashwin brought me his mickey cushion.

Ashwin: Amma, idhu enna?
Me: Idhu mickey cushion da raja.

Him: Mickey cushion yaar vay kudutha?
Me: Mickey cushion Harsha uncle vangi kudutha

Him: Harsha uncle enga irukka?
Me: Harsha uncle Bangalore la irukka.

Him: Bangalore enga irukku?
Me: Bangalore India la irukku.

Him: India enga irukku?
Me: India very far irukku da. Map la daan paaka mudiyum.

Him: India eppudi poonum?
Me: India woosh la poonum.

Him: Woosh illa, adhu aeyopyane.
Me: (Yeah right, my growing teacher!) Aeroplane la poonum.

Him: Aeyopyane enga irukku?
Me: Aeyopyane up la irukku.

Him: Up iyya. Aeyopyane airport la irukku.
Me: Amam, aeroplane airport la irukku.

Him: Aeroplane endha airport la irukku?
Me: Aeroplane Perth airport la irukku.

Him: Perth airport enga irukku?
Me: Perth airport appudi poi appudi poonum.

Him: Enku aeroplane okkachi vaenum.
Me: Amma kitta paisa illada raja aeroplane okkachi panna.

Him: Paisa shop la irukku. Shop poi paisa eduthu va.

If you are thinking "how cute...", please read this post atleast once every 5 minutes with different objects and places substituted each time and think again. Oh, the sweet sound of silence!

What is the first thing you do in the morning?

Me? I take photos.

You would too, if you woke up to something like this:

This was the view from our living room y'day.

I can sit in our backyard with a cup of coffee or icecream and watch birds in the trees, cyclists along the esplanade, the deep blue water, boats and skiers in the water, pelicans, the freeway across the river and the trains across the freeway, all at one glance!

Today, I woke up to this and I was actually disappointed!

You can see more pictures clicked from our backyard here:

None of the photos have been touched up in any way, I promise!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Honing his negotiation skills (or blackmailing??!)

As soon as he woke up this morning (after confirming with me that ummachi kaapaathu light was on, that's God's light or sunlight in his language), he announced that he wanted a yoghurt. I said he could have a yoghurt after he had brushed his teeth and he didn't want to do that.

"No brush teeth, no yoghurt" I said.

"Illati vommo yoghurt veenum soyven naa" he threatened right back!
(Or else I'll say I want one more yoghurt)

Some other threats he likes to throw on occations..

"Illati wah wah azhuven naa" (or else, I'll cry wah wah)

"Illati naa thittuven" (or else I'll scold you). This is followed by him walking up to me and giving me one smack - wonder where he picked up that from.

"Illati naa appa kitta kepen" (or else I'll ask appa)

When I was in India, I used Bolero uncle (the driver of a Bolero or any other MPV) as a tool for disciplining him. If he was acting up in the car, I would tell him that Bolero uncle asked him to sit down. Likewise, Bolero uncle would tell him to go to sleep if he didn't want to. He figured that Bolero uncle had the ultimate word and would comply. But now he has learnt that two can play this game. The other day he said to me in the shop "Bolero uncle soikka Ashwin Candy tha pannu" (Bolero uncle has said that Ashwin should have a candy). Since then, he substitutes anyone with Bolero uncle since anyone else seems to have more authority than him and me. This afternoon when I was trying to put him to bed for his nap, he said "Nutti (his teddy bear that used to be mine) Ashwin tachi aanaa soikku"

Nice try mate, but you still need to sleep. If not, when will I update this blog?!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Castledare Miniature Railway

I had read in my book "Kidding Around Perth" of a miniature railway that operates in Castledare grounds on the first Sunday of every month. Since we were so close to the first Sunday of May, we decided to check it out.

Ashwin was THRILLED when he saw this railway. For that matter, so was I! He was even more excited when he learnt that he was actually going to ride on the train!

We went with friends of ours Subadhra, Kannan and their kids Subagan and Bavithra. Their friends Suresh and Bhuvana also joined us. Waiting for our turn was fun in itself as we got to watch the trains pulling into the station, changing signals, people waving little flags. The railway was just like the real thing. For each run, the coal and water had to be loaded into the engine and it was Ashwin's first experience of the actual "Koo chuk buk kuk" - the steam engine! Since then, Ashwin's question "Train eppidi koo chuk buk kuk poogum? (How does the train go koo chuk buk kuk?) has been unceasing. The correct answer is: The coal heats up the water and converts it to steam which turns the turbine making the train go koo chuk buk kuk. This activity of Q&A gets tiresome after a few back to back rounds ! No short form answer will please him though. Likewise, the answer to how does a car go drrrrr? is The driver will put the key in and turn it. The ignition cranks and the engine starts. This makes the car go drrr. What was I thinking when I told him this for the first time???!

Back to our railway, the ride meandered through the grounds on a very scenic 5km track which all of us enjoyed. Soon, the ride was over and it was time for our picnic.

We set up our picnic somewhere in the midst of the tracks so we got to wave to the passing trains as we picnicked. The young and old kids enjoyed a round of football after yummy food. All in all, a splendid day.

You can see pictures of our day here:

Our calendar has been marked for all the coming first Sundays!

A fine evening in Perth

Yesterday was a bright and sunny day. I took Ashwin cycling along the riverfront to the playground which is about 20 minutes from our place by walk. Any guesses what we saw along the way? DOLPHINS! It was amazing - just minutes away from our house too!

Of course, Ashwin was hardly impressed.. What's so great about Dolphins in the water when there was a DOG swimming right there??!

Some of the other great views to greet us yesterday:

And the best view of them all?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I'm back!

After a month in Perth, Australia, I have FINALLY got internet connection at home! In some ways, it is like getting my breath back...

This blog has been collecting dust for the past two and a half months. And in this period, Ashwin has been busy. There has been our final few days in Singapore, his time with family in India, my baby sister and Ashwin's Bodhu chitti's wedding, my parents Sashtiabthapoorthy, our settling in in Australia and much more. He has been growing into an awesome boy. Over the coming days, I will try to capture the nearly lost memories of the past months.

Now that I have broken the awkward silence of the blog, I hope to go back to blogging about my wonderful son in full swing soon!

See you internet!