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Mar 24, 2011

Things I Would Always Tell You

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“Life happens when you are busy doing other things. Dear daughter, this letter is about a few things that I guess I shall always tell you. It is perhaps a letter written in a different mood altogether. Just hope that you are able to read it in the same light that it was written in”.


Dear Riddhie,
 
A couple of recent incidents prompted me to write this letter to you. I am not sure how old would you be when you read this and if I shall be around to help you understand most of these things. I can just hope that you are mature enough and acquire enough vision to see through the matrix to grasp most of what life is about, as it happens and if you have grasped the rules well enough to win the game.

I am all of 31 years, 7 months and about 3 weeks old as I key this in and you are, well far too young to even recognize me as yet. For the entire day today, I have been trying to get your attention to get you to look at me and smile and I have done so without any success so far.

Last week, right after we were done with the festivities of your uncle’s wedding, one of my friends called me up to inform about the demise of another friend. The guy who passed away was a colleague at a previous organization and someone who I remember as a fun loving and happy go lucky kind of a person. He is survived by his wife and a daughter who is barely 8 months of age. His death came across as a thumping jolt reminding me again of the uncertainty of life.

I am led to question myself what if something similar happens to me before you actually get to know who I am and what you mean to me. Sigh.. I guess, this is for the time to tell and your destiny and my fate to determine. However, before that happens, I want you to know a few things. These are the points I would expect you to learn on your own as well by making your own mistakes. However, as a parent, it is both my responsibility and a duty to give you all I can, so dear angel here are a few points I would want you to always keep in mind:

1. Live your life on your own terms. It is your life and at the end of the day and you are responsible for it. If you get hurt, it is you and only you who would feel the pain and no one else. People are born alone and they go alone and it is thus rightful that they are allowed to live as they want. But remember, with freedom comes responsibility and if you make your own rules you shall have no one else to blame but yourself so, think twice before you leap into something and then do it with conviction and no regrets.

2. Remember there is no such thing as a failure. People who fail are the ones who give up before winning. You can give yourself multiple chances at an objective, but do not forget that every attempt comes with a cost and very often the raised cost to an end reduces the value of the final objective.

3. Read and then read some more. All that I can teach you or that you shall ever learn will only yield dividends if you have ample information to base it upon. Personally, I recommend you to follow Ayn Rand if you can. The Fountainhead is one of my all time favorites. I have a copy and if it doesn’t get lost in years to come, you can find it in the bookshelf. Read it some time and think about Howard Roark for a while and come and tell me how you find it.

4. As you grow up, you shall know and encounter several temptations. It is not bad to indulge, however it is imperative you understand and know your limits. By the time you read this, I would have probably told you a thousand times that you are my princess. Try and keep the dignity of all the love we shower upon you.

5. Listen to your heart. It is often the best advise that one can get. If you are not convinced about something, probably it is not the right thing to do.

6. Do not be afraid to stand tall and own up your fault. If you are standing upright, don’t worry if your shadow looks crooked.

7. Till the time I am around you, I shall gladly be the ear and shoulder you ever need. I shall listen to you whenever you want me to and most likely I shall give you enough courage to speak to me about anything and everything under the sun. If there is anything that you can not speak to me about, you should probably refrain from doing it.

8. Apart from my letters to you and other things that I keep writing, I shall probably leave you dozens of books, comics, hundreds of movies and perhaps a thousand or more pictures. Look through the pattern and perhaps you shall find something of interest in each of these articles. Try and find things that excite you and you feel passionate about. Follow your interests keenly and learn from life as and when you can.

9. Choose your company wisely. You would come across people who would want to befriend you for their own interest. Here’s a talisman that can help you – just avoid people who disrespect their parents. If there exists a person who can not show respect to the people who love him unconditionally, he/she can not possibly be honest with you.

10. And finally, this is the standard advise that perhaps you would also pass on to your children as well – Don’t do drugs, don’t party till late or early hours of the morning, don’t have boyfriends or wear clothes that I don’t approve of, don’t get married or run away with someone before you are sure of next 5 years of your career and have a steady source of income, always have an amount equal to 6 months of your monthly expenses in your bank account, DO have a career and don’t talk back when I am scolding you.

Hmm…I hope that you could gather and understand a few things that I have been trying to tell you here. Also, I guess it is enough preaching for the day and hence would close this letter now with a cherished moment of my life..

Love,
Dad.
Riddhie & Dad

Mar 22, 2011

The Holi Wonder

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“It was Riddhie’s first Holi and all along she kept wondering what was wrong with us people. Luckily though, she wasn’t scared looking at all painted and colored faces around her”.


March 20, 2011 - it was Riddhie’s first encounter with the festival of colors. It was also his chacha’s first holi after his wedding and hence the celebrations in the house were full on.

The entire family was up earlier than usual and soon after friends and relatives started pouring in and the day which started off like any other turned into a mad party with everyone going crazy playing with colors and throwing water on each other. The festive mood soon caught on and there were buckets of water, color and water balloons flying all over in no time.

Riddhie (Holi 2011) We were a little concerned about how our little one shall react to the proceedings, but I guess the training at the weddings came in handy. No one was allowed to come near her with colored or wet hands and it was Riddhie’s grandma who took charge of her. I wouldn’t say that Riddhie was ecstatic about the colors or water flowing around, but she wasn’t fussing about it either. Her expression began from a smile to that of constant wonder. I guess she was probably trying to decipher if we all had lost our wits.

The other important highlights were me emptying an entire party pack of Pepsi on people’s head and the Dhol-wala coming in with the group from the temple that pays a visit every year. There was a usual round of ‘Dandiya’ and some dancing. In the hysteria which followed, somebody did manage to apply some color on Riddhie’s forehead to which she did not really object.

The day ended with some fine home cooked food and everyone getting glued to the India – West Indies Cricket world cup encounter, which India eventually won.

So, I believe the day went fine and though Riddhie did not really grasp what was happening around her, she was happy watching the proceedings from a safe distance. Maybe in years to come she would like the festival for it stands for - joy and resplendence of life, but for now, I guess, her first Holi went down as just another day that she would not really remember in days to come.

Mar 21, 2011

Band, Baaja, Baraat & Riddhie

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“No sooner had Riddhie arrived, that the three most important weddings in the family were fixed. Riddhie attended her first wedding function couple of weeks ago and I guess she did not quite like the big, fat, Indian wedding”.


I guess we were perhaps asking a lot from our little princess who was all but four months and a couple of days old when she attended her first full blown wedding function. If it weren’t the blaring speakers or the loudest of dhols, it was perhaps the scores of affectionate uncles and aunts who took turns to pet her and plant a kiss or two on her cheeks that upset her because our little angel really went berserk.

WEDDING I

It was the wedding of Riddhie’s aunt (her mom’s real close first cousin) which we could not miss, come what may. Now people who know how middle/upper-middle class Punjabi weddings work, would know that it is almost a week long parade of flashy clothes and jewellery and tons of sweetmeats and dancing, on out of tune brass bands and drums for hours at a stretch, not to mention dozens of pot bellied, middle aged uncles in their cream or grey safari suits, high on some relatively cheap Indian whiskey and acting ‘pricey’ for little or no reason

Squeeze all this and more, on an infant and I am sure the results are quite predictable. While the loud noise from the drums scared Riddhie no end, she could not care any more for the little trapeze act which she underwent - hopping from one arm to the other as every member of the family wanted to hold my little bundle of joy for a moment or two. While the entire family fought a lost battle trying to pacify her, Riddhie kept raising a note or two and bawled her heart out.

Riddhie Wedding1 The three hours which her mother spent getting ready and perfecting a dazzling appearance at the wedding met with a super anti-climax for as soon as she came back after her parlor appointment, Riddhie started crying. The next three hours passed by with me and her mother taking turns trying to console our little princess. (Personally I think she could not recognize her mom’s familiar everyday face behind all the blush and lip gloss and eye shadows, but I did not dare say so). By the time my girl decided to call it a day and took a nap, the wedding function was all over. We could barely manage to be in time to wish the couple and have our dinner before the tents were taken off.

By the time, the day got over, the strain of handling the entire situation had taken its toll. We as parents, were exhausted and perhaps so was Riddhie. Now the entire episode had us in panic since it was only two weeks to the next bigger wedding function – that of my brother and Riddhie’s uncle. This meant that we had to train her to the sounds and the frenzy of people that were expected to storm the house and that too in a fortnight.

WEDDING II

This was by far the most important marriage in the family and having learnt from the previous experience, we decided to plan in advance. We, as parents ensured that she learnt to cope up and be friendly with at least two more members in the family and trusted them to be with them for longer periods of time. Also, clear instructions about how to feed her and hold her comfortably were given to a maid who, we decided would be with our little princess all the time when we would be busy attending to people or getting ready. Additionally, we worked out Riddhie’s schedule and her mother took extra care in packing her bags and planning her clothes and necessities well in advance to avoid any last minute inconveniences. To top that, we ensured that Riddhie had her full quota of sleep during the day and looked to it that she was not disturbed by the swarming guests in the house. I am sure a few of my relatives would hold a grudge against me now, since I just forbade any unnecessary access to my princess and disallowed people holding her just out of affection if not needed.

Riddhie Wedding 2I guess our little arrangements went well and Riddhie displayed exemplary patience on the three days when wedding festivities were in full swing. Her fear was now transformed to delight and amazement. She got slightly accustomed to the loud drums and all the music and zillions of people around her. The day of the wedding and the reception dinner the following night went by with her being looked after by selected people only which meant that she did not feel unnecessary hassled by everyone wanting to hold her. We ensured that she slept in time and was fed properly at regular intervals and this kind of worked well both for us and our little princess.

Riddhie has by now, I believe, gotten used to a little circus around her all the time and has started enjoying all the attention she gets. Our little angel is learning to cope up with little inconveniences and deviations from her routine life and I am in a way proud of her and the way she has ‘adjusted’ to the people and frenzy around her.

Something inside tells me that perhaps she would turn out to be more social than both of her parents put together. Perhaps as she grows up and finds her way and place in the world, she would have lesser time for her old man and his eccentricities. Well, till that happens, I would recline and look back at my little bundle of joy and the pictures of her appearances on the social circuit.

Mar 17, 2011

The Squealing Baby

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“For some reason, this letter was stuck in my drafts section for a considerable amount of time. It is still special as it is perhaps the first account of significant changes as observed in Riddhie’s behavioral pattern”.


Dear Riddhie,

Well, this is a short post about the changes that you have been displaying in recent times. I did mention about it briefly in my last post as well and this perhaps is just an extension of the same.

You are all three and a half months old now (You are actually five months now, as I said above, I have been late in posting this) and have added a couple of tricks to your profile already. You have been voicing out some very shrill squeals randomly and trying to raise your body in an attempt to sit already.

It is reasonably difficult to imagine such a loud cry from someone so little and very often when you emit one such holler, you take everyone around by surprise. The squeals come at irregular intervals and you have been using it for both, highlighting your anger and displaying your pleasure at things or people around you. And though everyone around you at that moment gets stunned for a moment, you seem to be enjoying yourself thoroughly through the course.

The other noteworthy amazing thing here is watching you try getting up. You have learnt to curl your back and have been controlling your neck pretty nicely along and when you can manage your motor functions to do both these things simultaneously, the resultant effect looks like you wanting to get up. Often this is accompanied by slow but sure grunts and the effort that you put into the act.

Perhaps every 3 – 4 month old does the same and maybe the tricks that I have been talking about are applicable universally. I guess, for us you now being the epicenter of our cosmos, we take delight and pride in everything you do. Just hope that I can take pride in all that you choose to do in years to come and that you as my child and my joy continue giving me the squeals of delight.

Love,
Dad.

PS: Could capture and upload a short video of you squealing. Here it is:
 

Mar 1, 2011

Finger Food

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“I always wondered why babies spend so much time sucking their thumbs. Then I tasted baby food”

- Robert Orben, American humorist.


This post happens to be a short account of one of the recent habits picked up by my princess. She has grown a tender fondness for her fingers and loves putting them in her mouth at random intervals. I can’t say for sure how and when she started it, maybe once she gained better control of her arms, she realized she had nice little fingers attached at the end, which could be taken to the mouth and perhaps liked the feel of it.

The first time when I saw her do this, I was kind of worried about her not getting enough nourishment. I looked for more information around thumb and finger sucking habits of babies and a short Google research told me that finger sucking actually makes the brain produce endorphins, which calm the body and give the child a feeling which is akin to the feeling of satisfaction one gets after eating a big meal and that there is actually a change in the body chemistry that takes place when a child sucks on his thumb or fingers.
 
However, I also landed up on a dozen other pages which spoke at length about why and how this habit should be deterred and the kind of ill-effects it can have on jaw and teeth setting for young children.

RiddhieI am sure, we as parents would do the needful to discourage Riddhie on this but I guess, this perhaps is the first sign of her developing her likes and dislikes which I am sure would only grow as the time passes. Maybe one of these days she would have an entire list of things which would annoy us as parents and I can’t really say as of now as what would make me put my foot down and ground her totally and on what points I shall extend her all my support. Don’t know if she would grow up to be a total rebel and drive me nuts or if she would opt to be a demure, docile child (wishful thinking, I guess).

Well, whatever be the case I guess I shall try and show her the reason before she takes a decision about anything and would then perhaps let her make her own mistakes and learn from them. As of now I think, I shall continue distracting Riddhie as she takes her fingers to her mouth and look back at the following pictures taken and smile.

 Riddhie Riddhie
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