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Dec 30, 2010

Baby’s Day Out

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“Lots of new faces, lights, vivid & bright show of colors and some nice music all along – perhaps it was a little too much for my little princess to comprehend at the moment, but in all she had good fun; I guess, much as we did”.


Today was the first official outing of the little princess. I took some time off my work in the afternoon and we decided to step out for lunch at one of the malls. We were initially a little hesitant as we had not as yet ventured out with Riddhie along but I guess, someday had to be the first day and as it turned out it was to be today.

Riddhie’s mom took extra care in wrapping our little one in multiple layers of clothing, keeping in an extra bottle of milk, rearranging her diaper bag and everything else she could think of for a few hours of outing and we set out.

There were end of the season sales everywhere which implied that the mall we went to had more than average footfalls for a weekday but it was still manageable. We chose to hit one of our regular places initially but could not find a table and then settled for a buffet at IndiJoe’s. It wasn’t really the best of the tables as we would have liked but hungry as we were by that time, we agreed upon what we could find. 

Riddhie had in the meanwhile, taken a short nap already during the little drive which meant that she was relaxed and playful and we heaved a sigh of relief. We took turns attending to Riddhie, feeding her and filling our plates and she just about gave us enough time to have our desserts. No longer than we finished, she decided that she had enough of the restaurant ambience and started fidgeting in her little sleeping bag.

While I quickly paid up and collected our belongings, Riddhie was rushed outside by her mom. The moment we set foot outside, Riddhie was mesmerized by all the color and splendor of showcases and windows of various outlets in the mall. There were Christmas decorations and lights around and she kept rolling her eyes and made monosyllabic sounds of pleasure and approval. I took her inside the Reliance Time-Out store and she seemed quite at home with all the books, toys and CDs around.

We left in a short while and she slept on her way back as well and somehow now as I sit and key this in, I guess all the effort seems worthwhile.

I guess in all our several trips together, this was the first time we acted typically ‘Desi’ and took pictures inside a mall. So, here’s to my baby’s first day out – a trivial event in the larger scheme of life, but some special moments nonetheless.
 
 Riddhie & Dad Riddhie & Mom

Dec 29, 2010

The Prized Feat

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“There can be no greater satisfaction of an achievement than what is observed when your child falls asleep in your arms”.


 
I am proud of the above quote I made and my pride stems from the fact that I have had the satisfaction of the aforementioned achievement couple of times in the recent past.

Normally it is Riddhie’s mother who attends to her needs during the wee hours in wake of my work routine and I tend to comfort Riddhie in case she decides to make a fuss about sleeping through the night. Probably it is something about the way I have been holding and rocking her that she finds soothing and goes off to sleep. The way I decipher the formula is to have her head and spine aligned flat and use my left hand to support her head, with the right hand holding her back and rocking her to and fro.
 
Whatever be the physics involved, the fact of the matter is that when Riddhie is cranky to the core, I exercise my Super Dad powers and help calm her nerves and I can’t stop boasting about it to her mom.

Last night was one such example. It was by far the coldest day of the winter season this year and my dear princess took a long nap in the evening to be up and fresh for the night ahead. She kept kicking the blanket and wailing as we tried tucking her in for the night. I let her mother use all her wit and skills to make her relax but when my little angel refused to budge from her stance, Super Dad stepped in.

Latest 090I held her close and kept rocking her from 0130 to about 0200 in the morning after which she fell asleep in my arms. I guess the most difficult part after this happens is to let go. On one hand, while I am tempted to make her lie down on her bed and let her sleep, the other part of me just simply wants to hold on and have her in my arms.

Before I started for office, I saw her snuggled up like a little kitten. She made a lovely sight and could not help wondering that while I stood there looking at her, she was oblivious to the whole situation including the fact that she was related to me.

I am actually eagerly waiting for her to gain consciousness of her surroundings and know me as her Dad. While that happens, I guess, I shall keep myself busy rocking her to sleep at odd hours and play my part in bringing her up.

Dec 20, 2010

The Cry Baby

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“You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance”.

- Franklin P. Rose.


Dear Riddhie,

Let me begin by telling you that the first time I heard you cry, I stood stupefied hearing you wail out at the top of your voice. The initial few days were lost to the mesmerizing wonder you were. Your little cries would send the entire house rolling. Your little needs were tended to immediately. Your mom and I would try and interpret the various sounds you made. I even recorded your very first cries and have it in my mobile phone as my ringtone (now this sounds funny isn’t it?).

cryRight at this moment as I key this post, I am sitting at my table in our ancestral home at Sonipat. Your mum is trying to give you a bath and is making little funny sounds to keep you distracted as you are hollering as loud as your tiny lungs can permit.

(In fact, I just stepped out and recorded the little sound clip of your sobs and cries. When you listen to it, perhaps you would be able to make out the feeble attempts that your mom is making to help you settle down).

It might appear strange to you that I am talking about your crying with a shade of delight and joy about it. Maybe we are trying to celebrate every little moment of yours here and no matter what you do our love for you seeps through even in your daily chores.

Chola 013-2 I can only wonder about how things shall change in due course of time. I certainly do not wish you to be a cry baby or act like typical girls who would shed tears at the slightest pretext or get emotional watching a TV show. Life comes with its own hardships and challenges. There are already over a billion people living on the face of this Earth which means a billion stories existing already – each with its moments of joy and despair. You can choose to follow suit like those million – billion others or you could opt to script your own destiny. Either way, you shall have to undergo your own struggle and you shall have your own share of tears too. There would be times when you would feel worn out and the road ahead would not always be visible.

There would be times when you would feel the need to hold my hands again and be the little girl you were ages ago. You would want to seek refuge in your mom’s lap and would want us to comfort you and ease your pain away. Well, as life shall take its course, I may not be there to wash your tears or offer my shoulder every time. But then, I promise to be there right behind you watching you, as you pick yourself up, throw that tear off your cheek, smile and move on again. And no matter, how badly you fare in a battle, you shall always be my little girl and my princess and I shall always love you as much. Just remember that my girl is not a cry baby and I hope I can instill enough courage in you to take life by its horns and achieve every goal that you set out for.

Love,
Dad

So Jaaa Raajkumaari…..

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“People who say that they sleep like a baby, usually don't have kids”


Two nights before Riddhie was born, I remember saying something about enjoying the stillness and silence of the night to her mom. We could hear the clock tick aloud, the crickets outside and even the movement in the flat above ours. There was an uncanny calmness about the night which I knew in my heart, wouldn’t last long.

As expected, life changed within a span of few days after that.


Dear Riddhie,

I recall it was about 0345 hrs IST on November 21, 2010 and I recorded that as a day when we almost started pulling our hair out.

It was the day when you had decided for the first time that you want to stay awake through the night.

We as your parents were doing all in our mortal capacities to help you catch some sleep. All possible methods were tried out. We took turns rocking you on our knees and in our arms, we did all we knew - rubbed your tummy, your forehead and massaged your arms and legs to help you relax but none of it was helpful. You wanted to throw your arms and legs and as soon we got you on your bed, you would start wailing.

I carried you around for about hour and half in the middle of the night and you kept dozing off randomly only to open your eyes wide open and cry again the moment I put you down.

We called up your doctor and sought his advise. He said it was normal for infants to behave so and asked us to take you out for a drive. (Now this was the strangest advise I ever got from a medic, perhaps he hated being disturbed at night like that). Nonetheless, this was exactly what we did. We wrapped you in your little blanket got you in your mom’s lap and went out for a short drive. (I don’t know what car I would be driving when you get to read this, but for the records we took you out in my first car - the Hyundai Santro).

As I drove around the block within the society, you kept rolling your eyes and looking at your mum. I guess we would have nearly spent 20 minutes driving around in circles when you decided to give your poor parents a break and graciously agreed to take a nap. Without losing any time, we rushed back and tucked you in your bed. Thankfully you slept peacefully after that for next couple of hours.

As I thought about that night over next few days, I realized that you probably shall never get to know all the effort and the patience it took us just to ensure that you have sound sleep for a single night.

046 Maybe when you grow up and step out into the world, you shall give me more sleepless nights.

Maybe I shall keep strolling up and down the block waiting for you to come back from some party or a girl gang gig, who knows? I guess as a parent, my anxiety shall never cease. Don’t know if you shall ever realize this concern or choose to ignore it altogether. I guess I shall leave these questions for time to answer.

For now, maybe I shall get up from my chair, shutdown my laptop and come pick you up on my shoulder once again and rock you back to sleep and croon “So jaaa raajkumari….so jaa”.

Dec 17, 2010

The Father’s Day SMS

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“This one is special for more than one reason. I clicked the picture of the mobile screen and saved the message when I saw it.

…Thanks Dad.


I had never known my dad to use his mobile phone to send in an SMS. He had always complained of the keypad on the phone to be too small, his lack of patience to type in a text message and of course the SMS not being as fulfilling and satisfying as a voice call and hence I was taken aback in pleasant surprise on receiving this.

What made it all the more special was the fact that it was a Father’s Day SMS. Well, I guess I should thank ‘Archies’ and ‘Hallmarks’ to make this day popular in India as it was practically unheard of when I was younger and hence we never really bothered much about this day. It was touching to see my father actually make the effort of keying this in.

The SMS said “Happy fathers day from my grandchild in advance. As you are going to be papa. God bless u.”

I received this message on 20th June, 2010 – about 4 months before Riddhie was born and it kind of became the first communication of sorts from Riddhie in a way. Also it did acknowledge the fact that I would soon cross over into a different realm altogether. DSC00008
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Dear Riddhie,

These are the actual screen shots of the mobile screen with the original message for you to read, when the time comes. I am not asking you to make me a Father’s day card every year nor expecting you to hold my finger all your life.

I just hope that when you grow up and are able to understand complicated emotions and difficult situations and need to take decisions about your life, you should do that with sensibilities that are in line with your heart. I wish that you grow up to be sensitive to little joys in life and learn to appreciate and respect such little acts of affection that we as your parents and grandparents shower upon you.

Love,
Dad

Dec 14, 2010

‘Riddhi’ or ‘Riddhie’

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“Now this post shall clearly establish me as eccentric, but nonetheless I shall bring this story to the fore, as I know Riddhie would definitely ask us how we picked this name for her and why did I chose to spell it with a trailing ‘e’.


Dear Riddhie,

I would begin by quoting Shakespeare here “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” and now I would want to argue it :)baby-shower-girl-1 

I guess names are important. They are essential as they build the first impression about people just by sheer sound. You can quote uncle Shakespeare, right only for inanimate objects maybe. Who cares what a sweet smelling red flower is called? Call it a rose or call it cauliflower, it would still smell and feel the same. But with people I guess the rules change. We couldn’t have called you “Ganga Devi” or “Phool Kumari” for a million dollars (with no offense meant for people with these names). It doesn’t portray the right picture does it?

Let me then tell you the story about how we finalized your name & how it became “Riddhie” from “Riddhi”.

Like almost all first time parents we did buy a CD for baby names and looked up another thousand names on various websites. We listed down the ones we liked and included the suggestions made by friends and family (“Anjika”, “Aadya”, “Kaashvi”, “Katyayini” amongst others) yet we couldn’t actually finalize a name for you.

Though we were aware of the expected date of delivery and hence your sun sign, I was opposed to the idea of getting some ‘pandit’ or an astrologer to suggest a name for you. Your grandparents did ask our family ‘purohit’ for suggesting a letter and quite funnily he came up with “टे”. The case got nipped in the bud as no one could come up with a reasonable name beginning with the same. My method of filtering the probable names was to see if a matching domain name was available to give you your personal website and this wasn’t easy either as most of the names that we liked were unavailable.

When you were born, your Dadi was there with me in the hospital waiting for you to arrive. The nurse brought you to me after your first sponge and I clicked a couple of pictures and let your Dadi hold you in her arms. You were crying at the top of your voice and we were still trying to have an eyeful and marveling at the little wonder you were.

As I held you for the first time with, you seemed featherlike and extremely fragile and I was actually afraid of holding you too tight or too light lest you slipped from my arms. You fell asleep in my hands and me and your Dadi exclaimed that you looked just like your Mom. “Vidhi ki Riddhi aa gayi” was what she said and this kind of clicked.

I looked up the availability of a domain and found that only riddhie.com was up for grabs. In days to follow, the domain riddhie.com was registered and Riddhi got changed to Riddhie, the email ID riddhie.tandon@gmail.com was signed in for, your birth certificate with the same name was received and this blog was conceived. It took me a while thereafter to finalize the template and make initial few entries but I guess it was worth every minute spent.

When you grow up, step out into this world and make a mark for yourself I don’t know if I would be around to celebrate your success every time. Perhaps then, when people would call out your name to felicitate you and shower accolades on you, I shall take pride with every such name call.

Wish and pray that your name ‘Riddhie’ becomes as celebrated in whatever field that you choose to work in as it is for me and your family now.
 
Love,
Dad

Dec 7, 2010

At the 11th hour

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“I wrote the following note sitting in the hospital waiting for Riddhie to arrive. It’s difficult to describe now, how and what I felt at that moment. I guess this story would have remained untold had I not put it into words then.


pinkflowers It’s about to turn 11 in the morning and as per the doctor’s prediction it would still be a couple of hours before you would land up in my arms. As I sit by your mother’s side, listening to your heartbeats on the ECG machine by her side, there are a thousand things which play on my mind. I have recorded a couple of seconds of this moment on my camera and shall save the footage for you to have a look at when you are able and intelligent enough.

It’s been a difficult week for us personally. Your Nani chose this week to pass on to her heavenly abode and I have been coaxing and distracting your mom ever since from her sorrow, who personally has been putting up a very brave face. I am proud of her for that and I guess you should be too. I am sure as you grow up you shall learn that there are certain things which we have no control over and that smiles and tears always walk hand in hand.

Anyway, talking about the current minute, we are here sitting in this pretty hospital room as you keep kicking in intermittently and causing some real wild shrieks from your mother and I am trying to key this in while holding her hand and persuading her to smile through her pain.

We had an early dinner last night (the night before you were born) and went for our regular walk as well. Your mum felt a little discomfort as we came back and we thought we might just go in and see the doctor. When I drove your mom to the hospital, we were not really expecting you to be knocking at us for another 2 days at least. The doctor however advised us to be admitted and told us that it was time. I am glad that we were ready with your bags in the car itself and I hope that I am able to pass on this trait of being organized and methodical onto you.

Once inside the hospital, your mom refused to sit in the wheel chair and chose to walk into the labor room. I guess she turned out to be way stronger than I had expected her to be. We came in and got settled into this room where I am sitting now. We were chatting and watching TV during the course of the night and it was only earlier in the day today that your mum has been really uncomfortable.

I have been around ever since whiling my time away trying to cheer your mom in an attempt to keep her spirits high and keying random things as and when I am able to. During the course of last few days, I had been rehearsing for this day and the moment I shall see you for the first time in my mind. I guess the mental preparation had been helpful as I have been able to retain my calm and composure and have been able to set things for you and your mum pretty smoothly.

Just hoping and praying now that there are no last minute complications and that you arrive hale and hearty and we get ready to shower all our love unto you.

I guess I shall go and grab some coffee and get something to bite on. Waiting as of now…

Dec 6, 2010

First Things First

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“Little girls are the nicest things that happen to people. They are born with a little bit of angel-shine about them, and though it wears thin sometimes there is always enough left to lasso your heart”

-- Alan Beck


Dear Riddhie,

It was 1245 hrs IST, October 6, 2010 when my life changed forever. A moment before, I was this rash, care-free biker at heart and the next minute I turned into emotional jelly – mellowed down and sobered up almost magically.

You came in and filled a gaping hole in my being which I never knew, existed. All along the nine months that your mother held you in her womb, I had been more of a passive bystander in the beginning and gradually doubled up as her medical attendant and dietician.

Every time that we went to see a medic to get her routine check-ups and to know if you were doing well inside, I felt I was fulfilling a responsibility. There was little or no emotion involved. The tasks were crisp and clearly laid out – visit the doctor on the scheduled appointment, listen to a mechanical heart beat on the doppler, get the improvised prescription and come back with a similar or tailored set of instructions for your mother which I had the duty of supervising and ensuring that everything was duly followed.

Even on the initial scans that we got done and your toes and fingers were revealed and counted, I found it little hard to relate the monochrome blob on the screen to a living talking extension of my life.

girl1 And then it was this day exactly two months ago when you arrived. I had been by your mother’s side all through the night before and all along the day till the time you decided to make way into the world except for a few minutes right before your birth. The doctor thought you would still need 3 – 4 hours and I chose to step outside to grab a coffee and was actually on my way back to the room when your grandmother called up and told me that your mom was all ready to have you. I rushed back to see your mom and you arrived a few minutes later.

I stopped the nurse before she took you for your first sponge and looked at you for a brief moment. You were crying with all your might and I just lost sight and sense of everything else around for that second. You were brought back into my arms a couple of minutes later and to be honest I had little or no clue about how to hold you. I allowed the nurse to carry you a little longer and it was then that I took your very first picture.

The days ahead saw me go camera crazy and your mum and I would take turns to pose with you and capture your brief smiles and random movements. I guess by the time you would be ready to read this, you would have seen most of these pictures already. Just hope that you also get to see all the love and emotion behind each of these captures and the joy that you have brought us.

baby_booties_w_ribbon In days to come, I shall try and recapture moments from last 8 weeks and a little before and then would try and update this journal of yours on a regular basis. I am keeping this blog with public settings as of now and would let our friends and family send in their wishes and comments. There however, exists a rider for the readers and hopefully people shall be sensitive and intelligent enough to adhere to the norms.

I conclude this first post with all my blessings and love to you. As you learn to control your motor functions in days to come, I shall try and juggle between my work and other chores to keep pace with all your stories for this little blog of ours.

Love you.

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