September 21, 2011

Potion Time

Brat made a potion to get rid of my "pretend" headache today. I think it contained the following ingredients -
1. Orange juice
2. Water
3. 1 tsp Dal (which was made for lunch)
4. A curry leaf from the dal (which kiddo said he licked clean before he put it in)
5. Salt
6. Sugar
7. 3 Tic tacs
8. God knows what else
9. Milk - thankfully we had run out of Milk and hence was not added

Kiddo wanted me to drink the whole lot but it just was not possible. A couple of sips and I very promptly told the kiddo that my headache's gone away!! :D

Will Love Be Enough?

We have never hid the fact of Adi's birth from him. I know it sounds very insensitive but one thing that I was certain of before we went in for adoption was that I would never hide this fact from my child. I would want him to know the truth from his parents before he starts guessing it or stumbles into his documents by mistake or overhear us talking about it or hear it from someone else. So when Adi was a little more than 2, we first told him about Ashraya and how we became his parents.

In the counseling sessions that we had to go through during the 'home study' phase, we were advised to start sharing about his birth details and his birth mother (somehow the birth father is never in the picture - I wonder why??) from the age of 2.5 or 3 onwards. We were told that we could break it to him in various ways - tell it to him as a story, use Krishna's story as an example, have a picture dairy recording all events right from the first day we met him, read a story book on adoption, etc. I did think a lot about how I should do it and what would be the best way but then when it actually came down to the day - we just told him the truth - as it was. Just thought it would be simpler this way and easy for me to remember as well (my memory seems to getting weaker by the day!!).

Although I had pondered about it for months and thought I was mentally prepared, the first time was very very tough for me and I had to try really hard to control my emotions and tell it to him very casually without the story sounding sad or shocking or abnormal. Adi, of course, was too little to understand the complete meaning of what we told him and had absolutely no reaction or questions. I would repeat the story every 3-4 months and again there would be no questions and I would let it be as it is. Until one fine day (maybe he was 3.5 years then) out of the blue I got a question 'Mama, do I have an older brother from my other Mama?'. And this while we were happily holidaying at Disneyland in France. I was stumped for a moment wondering what he was talking about and then I quickly realized and told him that I didn't know. That was it - he immediately went back to playing.

I guess from then on he thinks about this once in a while coz he asks me random questions out of the blue. I remember very few of them though. He's asked me if I was very sad before he came home and then did he made me very happy. He's asked me what his name was before we named him Manas (we had told him the first time). He's asked me what the name of the place was where we first saw him (he kept forgetting the name 'Ashraya'). Every time he asks me something I answer him truthfully but so far they have only been easy questions.

We take Adi to Ashraya every year on his birthday (except for the years while we were in UK). This year we had been there twice before his birthday and although he knew that he came to us from Ashraya, he never asked me anything out of the ordinary. He was just happy playing cricket with the older kids, going to class along with them and showing off the iPhone games to them. On his birthday (or rather on mine!) we went again and this time I took a friend of his along with us and I overheard a very interesting conversation they had.

Shloka: Adi, have you been to Ashraya before?
Adi: Yes, this is my second time
Me: No, you have been here many times before
Adi: Shloka, I was born at Ashraya
Shloka with a shocked expression: That means your Mama left you there (Shloka knew Ashraya was an orphanage and also knew what it meant - my heart stopped beating for a moment not knowing how Adi would react)
Adi: Ya, I was there when I was a baby and I had lot of fun times there. And then Mama came and took me from there. Any Mama can come and take babies from there.

Adi and Shloka went back to playing again and my heart started to beat again :) I was just glad that Adi treated this very normally and answered Shloka without any hesitation. This is also the first time he was sharing or talking about his birth with someone else other than his Dad or me. During this visit Adi also wanted to know which was his bed and pointed to the biggest one and asked if I took him from that bed. Although I didn't know, I said Yes just to make him happy :)

He still doesn't completely understand the meaning of adoption. All he understands right now is that he has not come from my tummy and that he has two mothers. I guess as he grows older he will slowly realize the meaning of it. I do not know what challenges lie ahead or how difficult the questions will get - but I do not want to think about it until they come. I have not yet used the word 'adoption' or 'birth mother' with him. I have been asked to by the counsellors at Ashraya but for some reason I have been hesitant. I guess I will when I feel the time is right. A couple of months back Adi said something that made my eyes well up with tears - as we were lying down sleeping he said 'Mama, I know I came from the other Mama's tummy, but I love you the most'. And then another day as we were having breakfast he said 'Mama, thank you for choosing me from the other Mama so that I could be with you. I love you.'. I feel he chose us and not the other way around. Maybe he does understand something - the love that we have for him. And I hope just love will be enough to get us through :)

Painter Babu

We recently had our home painted and Adi was finally able to paint the walls to his hearts content. As a kid Adi was never a 'wall scribbler' - we always encouraged him to draw on paper given by us. He has drawn only once in our home at UK and then a couple of times after we returned to Bangalore (one of the drawing was quite cute actually and in a place which would be very hard for us to find!). So when our walls were being painted, I asked the painters if he could paint a little with them everyday and they were more than happy to let him. Goes without mentioning that Mr. Adi was quite excited :) He even helped the guys with the polishing and the everyday cleaning. The painting guys were quite amused and were best friends with Adi by the time they finished :)

September 16, 2011

Random Shots

All for a Fancy Dress

Last week was stressful for me - reason being that kiddo had a fancy dress competition at school this week and I had absolutely no clue as to what I wanted to dress him up as. We were informed almost 3 weeks in advance - which I guess is sufficient notice. When I told kiddo about it, he immediately said that he wanted to be Spiderman and lazy as I am I was quite happy about his choice as we already had a Spidey costume at home. Nothing to think of, nothing to do - all was ready. I even thought of teaching him the spiderman ditty to go along with the costume. The happiness was very short lived though. A week before the event, I got a shocker from his class teacher when she very firmly wrote in everyones school diary 'No superhero and fairy costume allowed'!!

I am not at all creative or even imaginative when it comes to fancy dress costumes (considering that I wanted something that Adi could be comfortable in) and so here I was with just a week left and with no costume in mind. Got a couple of ideas from friends but it involved too much work for poor old me.  Did a frantic search on the internet and didn't find anything much - apart from the usual pirate, superhero and halloween costumes - or maybe I didn't search hard enough. The only idea I liked was one of a banana tree but Adi wasn't too keen about it.  For a couple of days I pondered about sending him with a Masterchef apron with a few lines on cooking and also got a thought of dressing him up as Anna Hazare. Both had simple costumes and Adi seemed to like the Masterchef idea and wanted an immunity pin to be a part of it too!! But with all the work going on at home I couldn't get around to getting the apron stitched and the event was getting very close. So there I was with just a week left for the event and no costume on hand!! Worried, I was!

And then it so happened that I went to a shop to get a painting framed and this place also had lots of plastic plants. I looked around a bit and found some plastic leaves and also some mangoes. The tree idea came back to me again and I asked Adi if he would like to be a Mango tree and he was quite happy about it (mango happens to be his favorite fruit). So I bought some and then the next two days went by thinking on which dress I could stick them on and found nothing suitable. By the time I got a brown kurta-pajama stitched and ready it was already weekend and the event was on the Monday. We had a packed schedule for the weekend with lunches and dinners happening all around Bangalore and in between all that I was stitching the leaves on his dress!! (Oh God, I never thought that I would end up sewing - I just hate it!). And then Sunday morning I realized there just weren't enough leaves to make him look like a tree. I quickly sent hubby off to buy some more and just as my luck would it - the shop was closed! With no Plan B in mind, we decided to check out if there were any mango trees on the way to our lunch destination (Basavanagudi). And every time I saw one, I yelled 'Mango tree Mango tree Stop'. Of course, they were all too high or inside someone's compound but that didn't matter :) On our way back, we finally found one inside a deserted compound and we quietly went in and plucked lots of leaves :)  So there I was finally, sitting up late in the night and making my son's fancy dress costume with real mango leaves hoping that it would look OK. Even if it didn't, there was nothing I could do as the event was the very next day! :)

The costume looked decent enough. I consoled myself that at least it wasn't a ready made one. The kid is just in UKG and I have to put in so much effort for a fancy dress competition. I am already dreading the years to come by!! Kid didn't win any prize - although I feel I should get one - just for putting in the effort to sew :)

September 12, 2011

Pilivesha (Tiger Dance)

Having lived in the coastal region of South Canara or the "Tulunadu", we were exposed to a lot of folk dances and rituals like Yakshagana, Bhoota Kola (spirit worship), Naga Mandala (snake worship) during our growing up years. But the one that fascinated me the most while I was a child  and still does is the Pili Vesha or the Tiger dance.

In the local Tulu language Pili means Tiger. Pili vesha is an unique form of folk dance in South Canara that mesmerizes everyone who watches it. This is usually performed in Udupi during Krishna Janmastami and Ganesh Chaturthi. In the nearby city of Mangalore it is also performed during Dussera. Pili vesha consists of a troupe of 10-20 'pilis' and they go house to house dancing to a typical rhythm of deafening drum beats. When I was a kid I used to be petrified of the pilis and when even the faintest sound of the drum beats (which you could hear from miles away) used to send me to my hiding place under the cot, behind cupboards or the toilet! As I grew older, I used to somehow try and muster the courage to watch them dance in our compound or many times inside our home. Once they left our home, we would follow the pilis and continue to watch them perform in all the shops and homes on our street and the drum beats would reverberate in our ears the whole day long.

During the dance, the artists perform many heroic acts which depicts the power of a tiger. Apparently 'killing sheep' was one of the famous acts performed although I have never seen it myself. A skillful tiger dancer is expected to kill a sheep, which means the artist holds the sheep by his teeth, toss it in the air and throw it away. The sheep is not actually killed and it is only a ritual. Many such acts are performed, some of the popular being picking the note with his mouth by bending backwards, mother and cubs, etc. A performance with many special acts was always put up for my grand mom, who would then generously pay them. Of course, the pilis would refuse to leave the first time they were paid and would then continue to dance as long as the money kept flowing and they were satisfied with what was given.

The Pili vesha and all the other veshas (there were many other costume dances or individuals dressed as mythological characters who would keep coming through the day) were the highlight of all festivals back then. We used to be up early in the morning and grand mom would give us a bag full of money (coins and small change) and it was our responsibility to pay all the veshas that come during the day. All except the pili vesha - this she would pay herself :) Unfortunately, this entire tradition of vesha is dying now. and these days we hardly see any vesha. We are lucky if we manage to see even one pili vesha. The main reason for the decline or the disinterest in performing the vesha is the expense incurred by the troupes for the elaborate painting and the musicians. This year the Udupi Mutt Swamijis sponsored the entire cost of the painting and the musicians in order to encourage the troupe and also to keep the tradition alive. I hope this never disappears and our kids can enjoy it the same way as we did.

This year we happened to be at Malpe during Ganesh Chaturthi and Mom was invited to watch the starting performing of  a 21 group pili (usually at a temple). I very excitedly tagged along taking Adi with me. He was a wee bit scared but enjoyed the performance specially the 3 cubs :). I am glad I went as it brought back lot of happy childhood memories and the drum beats reverberated all day long - just like old times.

September 11, 2011

Randon Shots

A few random shots taken over the last couple of weeks -

September 08, 2011

Monsoon Magic

Which child does not love to play with water, splash on puddles, soak in the rain, get muddy feet, have really loonnnng tub/shower baths and generally increase their parents' blood pressure! Adi is no different and this time while we were at Malpe he enjoyed the monsoons to the fullest. It has been pouring cats and dogs almost continuously for the last 3 months at Malpe and during our visit this time it rained almost non-stop day and night. According to Adi getting wet in the rain is 'so much fun' and I totally agree with him :)

September 07, 2011

Back in Action

On 24th and 25th August two very significant events occurred - Steve Jobs resigned as the CEO of Apple and my MacBook Pro crashed! I am certain that both the event have no relation to each other nevertheless both were absolutely devastating to me. Although Steve will not be back at Apple anymore, my baby, my MacBook came back to me after spending more than a week at the MAC service centre. I have not been able to blog all this while, but am back in action now :) So much has happened in the last 10 days - Adi participated in his first inter school race, we went on a road trip to Malpe (yet again!), celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi and most importantly Adi turned 6 and I turned tztztzzzissss (ooops, sorry lost signal for a bit there!!). So there's gonna be lots of updates - I promise! :)