Monday, October 13, 2014

First Auto Travel, First Train Travel, and my learnings -- All 'bout lil Kuku Part 1 -- XI

Just when you think you can really post everyday, something will change that. Well, the trip changed it for me. It was Kuku's first auto travel and he was quite surprised that his Dad was not driving. He kept looking up at his Dad. It was funny :) It was also his first train travel. He seemed very enthusiastic and waved at the train. He was for most part well-adjusted and had a lot of fun but it was either too warm or too cold and so he was unable to sleep which meant most of us slept badly. I received a lot of unsolicited advice but took it well.

Of course, I have been in situations where I am thinking: "Oh gawd! They are traveling with a baby - bloody hell - I can as well kiss my sleep goodbye. The baby will squeal and scream through the night and I have to act as if it is all part of the decision I made when I opted to book tickets on this train. If the baby does not cry, the baby decides to be friends with me, while I am openly ignoring the baby by covering my face with a big paperback. And then, I have to go "hullo, hullo, kootchie kootchie etc." while the baby shrieks with laughter. Now, I was in the opposite end of the spectrum.

Anyway, train travel with Kuku was absolutely uncomfortable because:
  • While it is absolutely stuffy, dirty, and smelly in the train,  Kuku wanted to explore every nook and corner by crawling to it or somehow reaching for it. When we did not allow him to crawl, he threw a tantrum and shrieked so loudly, people came to our seat to see why we were torturing the poor baby.
  • The berth which is just 'bout bearable when you are the only one lying on it, can become absolutely impossible when you are sharing it with a baby. Especially since Kuku likes his space. He has his own bed at home that occupies almost half our bed. And he likes to sleep with his arm flung out and does not like it if his arms are moved closer to him.
  • When I finally managed to get him to sleep, he slept for 1.5 hours and woke up crying because he was too warm. This continued till we reached our destination. 
  • Trying to calm a baby in the lower berth while the middle berth is put up can be a very painful experience. It is a miracle that I do not have a permanent neck crick. 
And this was only the onwards journey. I think I was running on some adrenalin rush because apart from saying "This is hell.." out loud, I just looked at comforting kuku and trying to grab some shut-eye. Interesting!!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Planning for a pilgrimage and a tonsuring -- X

So, lil Kuku is going to turn 1. I cannot believe how quickly time flies. As part of our religious practices, tonsuring (chudakarana) is performed for the baby either before the first birthday or after the third birthday. The Arien opted for the former. This meant we were traveling just a week before his birthday. The Arien was caught up in the booking and cancelling of train tickets. After booking tickets for the entire family, we found to our chagrin that some of them cannot make it. The Taurean was traveling to the US on short visit and so we had 1 cancellation from my side. The Arien had a solid 5 cancellations and was a lil grumpy. Anyway, the religious trip was planned for the coming weekend (10-11-12 October). It is not a hectic trip but the place is in Tamil Nadu and is blistering hot most of the time. All the Best to us.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Completed one week -- Yeah! -- IX

It was not so long ago that I mentioned I was feeling all gloomy gus and ready to curl up and die because I had ignored my blog. Well, that cute dog sums up exactly how I felt.

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 And while I was wondering what I would post today, I realized that today, I complete 1 week of my four week challenge. Not bad for a person who has gone weeks and months without even thinking about her blog.

So, in celebration, I took to doing a bing dance :D

Of course, by the time I managed to post it, Kuku had disturbed me thrice and it was nearing 12 at night.

But, 1 week - Yeah!!

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Did you take up some challenge and feel awesome because you completed a lil portion of it? Share your thoughts!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Maleficent -- A Movie Review -- VII

After a loong loong time, a movie review. Well, it has been all but impossible to watch a full movie for almost a year. Kuku used to bawl the moment I decided to watch anything on TV. The Arien was exempt. Now, I can watch a bit of the movie while he is eating his dinner and listening and watching to his Rhymes. That is such a life-changer for me. Yesterday, after the disastrous G K Vale episode, the Arien settled down to watch Maleficent and I decided to watch it with him. Kuku was very co-operative which was a blessing but we still saw it in two sittings.. Yaaa... thats normal for us.

Anyway, the movie is about a lovely fairy known as Maleficent who befriends a human, Stefan. As they grow up together, and spend a lot of time together, both fall in love with each other, or so Maleficent thinks. They even share what Stefan calls the true love's kiss. Stefan is very ambitious and wants to become king and in this pursuit ignores Maleficent. Maleficent, meanwhile, takes care of her moor and wonders at his behavior.

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When the King is hurt while trying to attack the moor by Maleficent, he wants someone to avenge him. Stefan takes this up and decides to meet Maleficent, supposedly to warn her of the King's motives. He drugs her and tries to kill her but is unable to do so. He finally chops off her lovely black wings and takes it to the King as proof of her death. The king names Stefan as his successor and marries off his daughter to Stefan. Maleficent, meanwhile, is shocked that Stefan would chop her wings off to become King and names herself Queen of the moors. Then, she hears that a baby girl, Aurora, has been born to Stefan and the Queen and she goes to the party uninvited and curses the baby girl.

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How Aurora survives the curse, what happens to Stefan forms the rest of the story. The story was quite predictable and as a result a bit boring. Angelina Jolie as Maleficent is just ok.There is a moment when you think - "Aahh -- The END" but the movie goes on. You expect a twist but nothing vaguely resembling a twist occurs. I understand it is a children's movie but a lot of other movies are really good. This does not make the cut. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Family Potraits -- Our G K Vale Nightmare -- A Rant --VI

Nowadays, when you visit any tourist spot, apart from the fact that the vast majority of the population is also there - you now see a profusion of cameras. Almost everyone is shooting pics - either from a camera on their mobile or from a 5D Mark III. The Arien is an amateur photographer and enjoys the entire process of taking snaps - the perfect light, the amazing shot, the twist in the pic, the shadow, etc etc.

While we have great snaps of each of us individually, we wanted to have one of all three of us. So, we decided that the three of us should have a well-shot snap. We decided to go to a studio and get it done the old fashioned way. We did not do proper research on the G K Vale studio but went with brand image and the family portrait displayed near the entrance. BIG MISTAKE!

Firstly, getting all of us (kuku, his parents, and his grandparents) together was an achievement. We managed that. Secondly, we all were a bit worried 'bout lil kuku's reaction but he behaved very well for most part. After 40 mts, kuku was fed up and threw a tantrum. But, that was nothing compared to the reaction that the Arien had when we saw our snaps.

The photographer was shooting non-stop - sometimes when we were looking away. Apart from a few standard poses and a prop to place Kuku on - he shot as if the goal was to shoot more than 50 snaps in less than 30 mts. The Arien, was shocked at the callous way we were being photographed. A set of 10 pics where one grandparent was standing stiffly to attention and looked like he had been added into the photo using photoshop was a very glaring goof. The Arien felt that that was unacceptable. You know that snap is useless so you immediately make the change. So, either the photographer did not see the pic or did not care. Both are shocking. Glasses produce glare because of the extra studio lights - he caught a few but some existed in the ones we chose. He said he would fix it - it did not get fixed even in the final copy that was printed. In some of the snaps, the rest of us appear a bit blurred because the focus is on one person only. I would like to believe that that was an effect and it could have been one if it was lil Kuku who was the object of the focus, and he was not. The Arien also discussed the format being used - which he said was not the best when you want to edit the picture later. All this was accepted in very bad grace.

We were left with a very bad taste after that experience with G K Vale. I doubt I will ever contact them again. Do not get fooled by the snaps you see on their display wall or behind the payment area.  Those snaps have clearly been taken by professionals. By professionals, I do not mean the  photographers whom they have employed now. There are a few very local studio type displays on the wall to the right of the payment area and I think those are the portrait shots taken by the photographers in the branch. Unfortunate experience and expensive at that.

I would like to think that if you are not into photography much, you may still like what they do here but if you are looking for great professional snaps - AVOID GK VALE. End of Rant! 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Did you know? -- V

 Yesterday, while playing a rhyme for lil Kuku, I was quite surprised to note that the rhyme and an old Hindi song had the same beginning. The rhyme was 'Three blind mice' and the song was 'Haai re Haai Neendh nahi aaye'. The song has been composed by music duo 'Lakshmikant Pyarelal' and it has been sung by Rafi and Lata for the film Humjoli. Shocker! Did you know this?