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Oct 28, 2011

The Sleeping Tornado


“FYI - A tornado is a violent, dangerous, rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud” 

Dear Riddhie,

When I started writing this, it was intended to be a funny narration to cause a few smiles, but then last night I also saw a ‘not so funny’ side of it. There has been a marked change in your sleeping pattern recently and we, as your parents find ourselves caught in a situation which is both funny and literally back breaking at times.

The last few weeks saw you take your first steps and it was just a matter of days that you started running around and bumping into things. I believe that this development has also led to a change in the way you have been sleeping in recent times. We normally have you sleeping with us on the bed tucked comfortably between your mum and me. The nightly routine for us to get you to sleep begins with a bottle of milk and couple of lullabies and let me add here, that the success rate of this pattern is only 50% actually. When it doesn’t work we try getting you to lie down over either of us and try rocking you to sleep. I haven’t seen this work in last couple of days now and the last option that we currently have is to let you be for a while. We allow you to keep running and jumping all over us, bang your head on the head rest a couple of times (it is soft leather and well cushioned), kick us on our faces, stomachs, backs and everywhere else often invoking sharp pangs of pain and screams from us in the middle of the night before you tire yourself out and we try another milk bottle and a few more lullabies. Now, if this was not exercise enough for us already, let me tell you about the two new things that you added to this list recently.   

1. Kick the Sheets – As soon as we put you to bed and try tucking you in, the first thing you do is to kick the sheets over you to get your legs out. This often leads to getting the sheets and blankets from off us as well and a larger part of my night these days is spent in getting the sheets over you lest you are not snug enough. But somehow, everything I do right now is just not enough. Ten seconds on the bed and into the sheets and you kick them off like a footballer now and this does not stop even when you are in deep slumber. 

2. The Tornado Move -  The next thing follows as soon as you hit deep sleep. In precise calculated moves, you just tend to lift your torso and in quick motion turn yourself counterclockwise to turn yourself 180 degrees in the same space. Often this translates to me getting kicked in the nose again or being pushed to the brink of falling off the bed. Depending upon how many hours do you sleep without waking up in between is directly proportional to number of whirls and rotations you would make. I have woken up in the middle of the night to find your toes up my nostrils or your head right on my knee. Surprisingly all these movements are directed in my direction alone and not your mom who often doesn’t even get to know how many times I set you back in your original position.

Ah well, I guess its just a matter of time before you gain realization of your being and your likes and dislikes and become more aware of your surroundings. I would really like to shoot a video or take some pictures to keep an evidence of your tornado moves since I am sure you shall soon grow out of it. But if nothing else, this post shall keep this memory saved for the coming years. 

RiddhieAs I key this in, you are moving around and on to some mischief. It’s about 08:30 in the night and I guess, time for me or your mom to pick you up again and initiate the daily ritual. Yup, milk bottle coming up for you my angel, so perhaps I should just sign out on this one now. Nighty-night angel.



PS: The picture above was taken yesterday morning (October 26, 2011). During the night, you managed a 270 degrees turn and when we woke up you were lying perpendicular to the length of the bed. Note, no sheets again. :)

Footnote added April 10, 2013 - Someone forwarded the below picture on email and it immediately reminded me of this post. I guess we have experienced all of this with you until now. :)


Oct 23, 2011

The First Steps


“The first step is when you start leaving a trail…at times to make a path for others to follow” 

Dear Riddhie,

From a time line perspective, the events as narrated in this letter happened about a couple of weeks prior to my keying this in. Considering that this was such an important event in the course of your development, I decided to still post it even if it was a little late.

Well, you started balancing yourself on your feet around last week of July and had started beginning to get up and stand on your own for few seconds or so at around that time but it was not until the second week of August 2011 that you started taking a couple of steps on your own.   

Your mom would encourage you to stand up and take a step or two towards her, often luring you with one of your favorite oat cookies at that point of time. We never really saw you crawling on your knees much and so kind of knew that it would not be too long before you would decipher how to use your legs and surge ahead.  

Riddhie It was the afternoon of August 19 when your mom saw you standing on your own holding one of the coffee tables in the living room and called you up. She came near and you turned around and decided to reach out for her open arms. It was probably at that very moment that you took your very first step. I remember her calling me at work to give me the news. 

It was the same evening when she got you standing on the slab of our kitchen as I looked on and she coaxed you to walk towards her. I sat by waiting for you to respond to that call and though I wasn’t really sure of the entire exercise being done on the kitchen slab, you did, though nervously, move a step or two towards her. I guess it was a matter of chance that I was waiting with a camera and I could capture the moment that was.

The coming weeks saw you learn and control your motor functions better and we were soon running after you trying to catch up and prevent you from banging into glass doors and walls and every this else. These days you just love taking off and rush towards a toy or something you fancy and often fall on your bum with a good ‘thud’. The carpet on the floor and your cushioned diapers have so far proved their worth on all such occasions.

I guess in the overall scheme of life, this may eventually feel like a very normal function and such an integral part of life that you may not even realize anything special about it until perhaps you see your own children take their first step some day. Perhaps one of these days when I am old and frail and my knees finally lose their juice, I would wait for you to rush home from your world once in a while to fill me up with the stories of faraway lands and newer skies. Till then, I guess I shall look back and watch this video we shot the other night when you took your first few steps.


Oct 21, 2011

The Party & The Gift


“More from Riddhie’s first birthday…” 

Dear Riddhie,

The last few days have been pretty hectic again on the work front and I really could not write as much as I thought I would. There still are one or two things more that I wanted to share with you about your first birthday. It’s true that you did not have a grand party or perhaps a celebration that we would have planned for if we were back home in India, but then I guess it kind of turned out just as happy and fun.

Sesame PlaceWe planned a day trip to a theme park called Sesame Place situated in Pennsylvania on the weekend before your birthday. This park is based on a TV show called Sesame Street which is essentially a puppet show with characters like Elmo, Count von Count and others. Though you were probably a little too young to understand the stories as narrated by the puppets in their theater shows, the sheer splendor of colors around and the movements of the characters in their large puppet costumes thrilled you no end. We went through a couple of rides which you could sit in with your mom holding you and it was probably your first experience of the delight and thrill of a joy ride. 

Sesame Place - Riddhie We ended up doing all possible things that we thought you would enjoy including clicking as many pictures as we could. You had a real good time while it lasted and you kept jumping all along. I remember in one of the theater shows that we sat with you, you got so excited on seeing the large furry puppets dancing on the stage that you jumped up in glee and almost knocked out the cap off a lady sitting in row ahead of us.

It was almost evening by the time we finished there and it also began to drizzle a bit and so we decided to head home. On our way back, we stopped at one of the stores and your mom bought you a nice dress for your birthday. The following few days saw your mom and you click a dozen pictures in the lawns below the apartment and when we finally posted those pictures online, almost everyone who saw them had a special word to say about how pretty you looked.

HT 1 As far as I was concerned, I decided to do something special for you. A day before your birthday, I designed a special ambigram of your name and had it tattooed on me – right between my shoulders. I am not sure if you would like it when you grow up and see it but I guess for me this was one way of telling you that I shall always carry you as long as I live and also that you, my princess are way too precious to me and will always be. 

I shall conclude this post and the story of your first birthday here. There are so many other pictures of the day that I am sure we shall have lots to talk about as you grow older, for now I shall sign off with the two taken by your mom and which I feel have been one of the most beautiful ones till date.




Oct 6, 2011

As You Turn One…


“Today is a special day as it’s one year since you were born as my daughter and isn’t it strange that it’s the same amount of time I was born as your dad as well.” 

Dear Riddhie,

Riddhie As you turn one today, several things cross my mind. As I key this letter in, I see your mother trying hard to cook up a story to distract you to get you to comb and pin your hair and I am reminded of the day when I held you for the very first time. I guess something changed for me then and there as I stood fixed to the ground looking at you and you wouldn’t just stop crying.

I am also reminded of all those early days when we as your parents were still learning how to hold you and carry you and all those nights when despite all our efforts you would just not agree to sleep through. There were times when I would just rock you for hours or we would take you for a long drive in the middle of the night trying to settle you down.

Then came moments when you started gaining consciousness of things around you. It was both interesting and fun to watch you enjoy and respond to colors, tastes, sounds, lights and people around. This learning process is still on and I guess every passing day it is a new lesson in life for both you and us as your parents.

It hasn’t been too long since you took your first step and we already are finding it difficult to catch up with you. I can imagine there would be a day when you would be ready to step out into the world to find and make your place in it and we would lose the luxury of being able to stay around all the time and watch you take strides ahead. 

This very day, I am sure, had we been back home in India with the rest of the family, there would have been a big bash with everyone invited and you would have been showered with presents and wishes alike. I am not sure if you would have actually enjoyed any of that given that you still are a toddler and do not appreciate very many things except your play time, a few toys and a timely meal and nap. I guess your Mom did all she could to still make this day as special as she could. She dressed you up (a couple of times in fact) and clicked tons of pictures and let you create as much ruckus in the house as you liked. Back home, your Dadi too hosted a little puja in the temple she visits daily and I am told that there was some cake cutting at home as well.

RiddhieHere, the day ended when you after being tired of all the activity just flopped on the bed and rolled off in deep slumber.

I am sure in the years to come, we shall continue celebrating this day in different ways some times lavishly and maybe on others at a modest level. However, I am sure we as your parents shall cherish this day every year just the same. I would always wish you to have the best that life has to offer and would pray that you gain enough wisdom and virtue to be able to always make a sensible and sane choice for you and for those who matter to you. I don’t know what time has in store for us but on this day as you start taking your first steps, I hope and pray that you keep smiling just as ever and fill warmth and sunshine into the lives of everyone around you.


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