Daddy….. the birth of a Father……. a review

daddy

Tuhin A. Sinha’s latest book Daddy….. The birth of a Father came to me via PR Pundit. This is the first time I am reading a Tuhin Sinha. The book is a non-fiction book for childcare written by a hands on dad. This is the first book that I have read that is a comprehensive and pragmatic account of childcare and parenting from the father’s viewpoint. The book covers the dos and don’ts of child care from the time the parents know of the pregnancy, the ultrasounds, what to expect when pregnant, all of it from the fathers perspective to the birth of the child to the challenges of a hands on father with a newborn upto the age of 2 years when the child leaves for pre-school.

In today’s urban life of nuclear families with little or no support system we often find ourselves at a juncture of balancing the home and workplace. In the past this has been a job which has been exclusive to the woman. She gives up her career or has to balance both. In the process even though she tries hard it becomes impossible to justify both and she ends up feeling guilty. Sharing of responsibilities is so essential in the modern day fast life.  Today we see more and more women returning back to work soon after the maternity leave, and more and more fathers opting for a flexible job timings so that they can be with the kids and take an active part in their initial days. This is a joy that was not an option for fathers in the past because it was “a woman’s job“.

Daddy is Tuhin Sinha’s personal journey of becoming a father and all the challenges that he and his wife have gone through in this process. The book depicts this role reversal and the challenges that the couple have faced. The book also takes into account the experiences of many other fathers with similar predicament and the result is a beautiful compilation of childcare from the father’s point of view.

The book also has write ups by a child psychologist and pediatricians simplifying some otherwise scary aspects in the life of a newborn. Tuhin Sinha has simplified childcare and has shown that you can be loving and doting parent without being overly obsessed about it. I have come across many parents whose obsession with children take childcare to a whole new platform…… which is absolutely not healthy. Tuhin balanced his utter total love for his baby without being obsessed about it. The “helicopter parent syndrome” was dealt with very nicely. Especially considering the fact that  parents hate being told that they are so.

The balance of extended family with grandparents and parents taking an active part in the child’s upbringing was dealt with very beautifully without stepping onto each others foot. The happy and secured upbringing for the child is an essential factor and including the grandparents and using their experience to give an all round development to the child was highlighted.

What I loved about the book is the simple language. The chapters were not too long and the anecdotes kept you glued to the writing. He simplified the mammoth task of child rearing and got you to enjoy it. He has amply justified the nuances of stay at home fathers and removed any stigma that has been associated with it. I found this fact refreshing. The pictorial references for swaddling a child, massage, bathing the child, burping the child are really a nice addition. The pragmatic approach to things that will happen and the practical way of handling them is something nobody else will tell you. The chapter on nannies in the Indian context was very informative.

Relationship of new parents post birth of a baby was a unique addition which I liked. The fact that life does not only have to be about the baby was endearing. The inclusion of a list of illnesses and a table of what to do when it happens was a good addition.  The chapters come with a short summary  at the end of it which lists the content of the chapter which in turn could serve as a to-do list for most fathers. The references from other fathers has helped give the book a well rounded approach and made the book sort of a handbook for fathers to-be. The dreamy and emotional letter in the end was a fabulous end to the book.

The cover pic of the two hands was beautiful. As a photographer I loved it. It clearly showed the love between the father and the child with the child grasping the finger of the father…..  The personal pics in the inside covers makes Neev Tanish very real to the reader and also makes it a pictorial depiction of Tuhin’s personal journey.

What I didn’t think necessary was the lengthy prologue. The book is complete by itself….. the Bollywood connection to justify it was not required…… it was trying to validate the book. The effort was obvious…….The experiences of the common hands-on-dads made it more approachable because the book by itself is a beautiful rendition of the relation of father and son and love comes through to me as a reader. All in all a good read and full value for money. A must buy for fathers starting a family and must gift for would-be mothers to gift their clueless husbands.

Tuhin’s  sensitivity of the whole what to expect when you’re expecting and later bringing up the child was so beautiful that I personally think all would-be mothers should be shoving the book down their hubby’s throats…. I know I would…….. “Kuch seekho”!!!

Thank you PR Pundit for the excellent read.

Three songs that are significant to you.

Music is the essence of all beings. We find music and rhythm in everything that we do. The birds chirping, the water falling, the sounds of cooking…… there is music all around as and in everything that we do. Music is a great mood uplifter for me. I can’t imagine my life without music. I would probably shrivel and die if I was denied music.

I was introduced to music at a very young age and since then my day has started with songs sung by my mother and ended with her humming a tune. Strangely my mother never required a source of music to listen to……. no iPod….. no stereo. Sometimes she would listen to the radio as she went about her daily chores….. but that was about it. I was introduced to a rather serious form of music….. Hindustani classical. It was supposed to fine tune my voice after which I was supposed to have branched into Rabindra Sangeet. I didn’t go that far as to become a maestro but enough to understand the delicacy and movements in music. I simply didn’t have the commitment and discipline required for the training….. but music remained my passion. My choice of music is eclectic. I can be happy listening to pop or disco and be equally comfortable listening to a rendition of  Raga bhimpalasi.

I am an Indian so my choice of songs will essentially be Hindi or Bengali the language that I am comfortable with.  I love so  many songs that I am not able to decide which one to put up. The crazy thing is that the top ten on my charts keep changing so often that I really can’t keep track of it.

So I am going to go with my first song being my all time favorite. Its a song by Pankaj Udhas from the album “Aman” : Song is Abhi ghar na jana.….. This song gets me nostalgic every time I hear it. This song is something of a blast from the past that I have not been able to shake off till date. I don’t know whether it is the slow tempo or the lyrics or maybe the piano used as the main musical instrument…… the song always has me in a sort of nostalgic and melancholy mood. I remember when I first heard the song I was in college and I must have replayed the song a hundred times.  The song really has no significance just that it is a beautiful piece of music by a great singer that I had come to adore. The music is light and it is soothing to hear. The lyrics are meaningful and there isn’t much as far as instruments….. just a piano.  I am posting the video of the same. (Courtesy You Tube)

 

The second song that I chose came to my mind as soon as I read the post. It is a very strange choice of music. It is a bhajan by Saint Kabir. Why it was my choice I wouldn’t be able to tell…… just that it was something my mother left in some corner of my mind. My mother would often sing this song. More often than I can remember. It made quite an impact on me. (Courtesy : YouTube )

LYRICS

Maati Kahe Kumhar Se, Tu Kya Rundhe Mohe
Ek Din Aisa Ayega, Main Rundhungi Tohe…

Aaye Hai So Jayenge Raaja Rank Fakir
Ek Sinhaasan Chadh Chale, Ek Bandhe Janjir
Durbal Ko Naa Satayiye, Jaaki Maati Hoye
Bina Jeev K Shwas So, Loha Basam Ho Jaye…

Chalti Chakki Dekh Ke, Diya Kabira Roye
Do Patan Ke Bich Me, Sabut Bacha Naa Koi
Dukh Me Sumiraan Sab Kare, Sukh Me Kare Naa Koi
Jo Dukh Me Sumiran Kare, To Dukh Kahe Ko Hoye…

Patta Tuta Dal Se, Le Gayi Pawan Udaye
Ab Ke Bichade Kab Milenge, Door Padenge Jaye
Kabir Aap Thagiye, Or Na Thagiye Koi
Aap Thage Sukh Upaje, Aur Thage Dukh Hoye

TRANSLATION

Clay asks potter why do you knead me
one day it will be my turn to knead you
( it refers to the day when the potter will be dead and would be buried in ground).

Everyone who is born will die some day, be it a  king or a poor man.
one goes on a throne and another one goes with chains on its body.
Don’t harass the weak, there is a lot of power in curses.
just like a lifeless dhokni can melt a strong thing like iron. 
( Dhokni is a hollow cylindrical tube used to blow air in furnace to make it hotter) 

On seeing the grinding stone (which grinds the flour), Kabir cries
nobody can survive between the two stones of karma and family 
Everyone remembers god in bad times, no one remembers god in good times.
if you remember god in good times, then you would never have bad times .

A leaf  falls off the branch and is carried away by the wind
Now that they have got separated who knows when they will meet
Kabir says don’t con others and don’t get conned by others as well ,                
You cant con anybody and get away with it.

The third song is by Frank SinatraMy Way“. I love all his songs but this one especially for the lyrics. He kind of talks about my motto in life. I love the song simply because it is a very meaningful song and a very beautiful rendition.  I identify myself with the song and the way he has sung it. He has encompassed his whole life in the song. It is a beautiful composition. (Courtesy : YouTube)

Snapshot stories

100_0244

Ever since I laid my hands on the first camera I was hooked. Totally hooked!!! I was 8 yrs old and the camera was my Dad’s black and white Agfa ever since that time till today I am still behind the camera. So when I had to go back in history to find a snapshot of myself where I could tell a story, I had to go really down memory lane.

This pic was taken at Valvan dam near Karla caves. The two ladies in the pic are my aunts. The pic was taken in the rains. I went to valvan dam for the first time a week before this pics was taken. The dam is located in a valley. It is surrounded by hills on all sides and the lake in the middle.  The first time I saw it, I instantly fell in love with the place. The day we went there we had very heavy showers and the place was full of waterfalls.  The pic is really fresh with the green grass and the hills covered with green grass. It was a sight to behold. The day I spent with my aunts we had been to Lonavala and Khandala and then I took them to Valvan dam. It was a beautiful day spent with two beautiful ladies.

Valvan dam really inspires a lot of happy memories. The beauty of the place is highlighted in the monsoon season.  When the waterfalls begin to enhance the beauty of the scenery. The dam is accessible only by a narrow winding road. The drive therefore is excellent. It goes up the hill and then down to the valley.  A favorite place of mine…..

 

 

Formula one racing in India.

Who says that formula one racing is only happening in Singapore? This weekend I was fortunate to witness the same on my way from Mumbai to Pune. Earlier I was very upset at not being able to witness the event in Singapore. I was looking forward to getting some good shots of the racing. But alas as they say Man proposes God disposes. Though my consolation prize was to watch a similar event and even participate in it in our very own city.

Strike eight in the evening and the whole expressway transforms into one big formula racing event with almost every kind of vehicle in sight participating. We should be thankful to the authorities for banning rickshaws and bullock carts else we would have seen some real tough competition to the truck and trailer drivers who do not think that they are in any way inferior to the likes of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello or at least up to the likes of Narain Karthikeyan.

Most of these drivers view the ghats as the ultimate racing track in which to prove their mettle. So this weekend we had trucks crisscrossing the maruti 800s that drive in the neck breaking speed of 200 kmph. Till now i had no idea that Marutis could go this fast and also believed that the max speed allowed in ghats is 80kmph. The added sweetness to the whole episode came from the constant drizzling rain which made the view impossible and the drive all the more challenging. At anytime there was absolutely no respect for the lanes all the driver crisscrossing and cutting each other from any side and every side.

Not to be left behind the Shivneri driver took this as a cue to show off and drove in manic speed into the khandala ghat. I was really glad that I was not in that bus. The most annoying of all was the car with a Haryana number plate which honked at almost each and every truck, trailer irrespective of whether it was a suv or HCV. It was really annoying. The worst part was the guy got away with the honking because more than one vehicle gave way. The whole event which lasted for roughly half an hour to 45 mins was totally crazy. All through this trip I had an innova or some other big long car scrap past me. Once I had also had a trailer on my tail honking and driving on me laden with what seemed to be parts of a rocket. Not to mention the eerie time when I was sandwiched between a truck a trailer. Both of whom seemed to look like the leaning tower of Pisa, defying laws of gravity or just about it. I was finally glad to get home.

I should have been glad that God had answered my prayers. But wasn’t he listening properly. I only wanted to WATCH and take shots. Guess I wasnt very specific!!!!

Me’s back!!!

I finally returned home. I am glad. Singapore is a fabulous place to live in BUT something really strange happened when the flight took off from Singapore I looked at hubs and said: “I already forgot Singapore”. He thought I was strange and looked at me as though i had developed horns but when we landed at Mumbai, he realised what i meant. It felt as if i had never left. Its good to be home at last.

Coming home meant getting pampered fullto, settling down, and this you wont believe: eating begun bhajas EVERYDAY since i came. It is like coming to heaven…….. although the heaven is really short……. no grossly short of water supply. As they say kisiko mukkamil jahan nahi milta…… kiskiko pani to kisiko begun bhaja nahi milta!!! I have settled with the latter and am mighty pleased with my choice. I am totally into the enjoy it till it lasts kind of thing who knows where i have to go next. Specially with hubby playing passport passport and visa visa all over again. I don’t even want to know where when etc etc. When i go I will go till then it is Begun bhaja festival.

Spending some real quality time with my nieces. All these years I came and left and again came and left never really talking to them. This is the first time i came and talked unlike the other times when i came, played Santa, gave gift, got hug, and left. This time I got some real OMG stories. It kind of left me open mouthed…… really big time open mouthed and hubby grinning like a Cheshire cat…… he looks like garfield these days especially when he looks at me.

I have always been proud of the fact that my school though it did not produce Einsteins, it did produce some real good people and though our teachers were not the best they were ok. Specially with regard to dabbas!!! All through my tenure in school, I have never ever eaten anybody’s tiffin. I always stuck to what my ma gave me for lunch and ate just that, hubs on the other hand can write a whole dissertation with detailed analysis on who brought what in the tiffins and also when and why. Sometimes the details he goes into tiffins is totally astonishing!!!!

During the rains, to prevent the kids from getting wet and playing in the rain my school has this policy of all the kids eating their food in class at their desk and a particular teacher eating with them so that they can be monitored. My niece comes up with this incident that a certain teacher at her school (incidently she taught me as well as my older two sisters) everyday brought an empty tiffin box and then asked the students to share their food with her. She then went round and took whatever she liked from the students tiffin and ate it. She is especially partial to sweets. So if the mother has packed a pastry for her daughter, the daughter never got to eat it. In some cases the daughter also goes hungry unless her friends have shared their food with her. The teacher meticulously shortlists the tiffins she likes and those kids are at her brunt everyday. “XYZ what did your mother give you today?” So much that my niece says that she carries two tiffins and she has her favorite food in the short break and the other tiffin with not so favorite food in the lunch break which she can display to the teacher.

She said she had gone hungry many days after which my sister has started packing not-so-interesting food for her. I was totally open mouthed after listening to this story with popping eyes et al. Hubby on the other hand is totally motivated and is seriously considering a career change. So these days the kids are totally terrified when the said teacher walks in during the lunch break……

Gawwwd how disgusting can a teacher get!!! I am still wondering whether this is a perk that teachers get for teaching or if teachers salaries are getting really low or this particular teacher is getting the kids to diet or her favorite movie is bhootnath and she is taking the movie really really seriously or it is a case of a really really hungry teacher or she is trying to teach the kids something…….. I wonder what that is???………. still wondering!!!!!

When I was ten and six

Lately all the posts in my blog have become nothing short of emotional atyachaar…. so I took a cue from NaBloPo and its daily topics for the month of June and this is the best topic that I could think of. If you could go back in time and meet your 16-year old self, what three things would you tell yourself?

If I had to go back in time and meet my 16-year-old self….. I would have been in the twelfth standard in St Mira’s College….. almost a purani jeans and guitar moment. Those days life was FULL up to the brim and very very interesting…. too interesting if I look at it from my Ma’s point of view.

At sixteen Life had:

Too much ambition.

New found freedom.

Lots and lots of laughter and giggling.

Experimenting with EVERYTHING.

Living and sleeping in jeans and skirts and wearing Dad’s shirts….. especially the ones he ironed the night before to wear to work….. which he absolutely hated!!!

It was the time for: Friends, making groups….. breaking them. Talking about boys all the day until you almost puked….. yeah that much….. and I did puke at the end of the day…… Each person writing a dissertation on their current love and the loss of past love!!! Man it changed very often…… used to have a hard time keeping track of everybody’s……. Flavour of the month.

Sixteen was also the era of getting proposed to almost every day with flowers, letters written in blood or maybe red ink, teddies and a wide paraphernalia of things…… usually fighting back…… slapping….. beating them……. eating flowers and becoming a walking talking paper shredder machine, specialising in shredding letters and cards into very very tiny minute particles and then blowing them in the air. Believe me the whole experience was quite traumatic causing me to stay indoors at home for days ultimately being thrown out by dad.

Bunking college and spending days in college canteen gorging on vada pavs and vada sambars or experimenting with henna designs on each other’s palms and hair styles (mine was a ladies college)

First time copying from chits in the surprise (or surprise for us as we were busy bunking) tutorials and then throwing shoes out of the window and then jumping off the window to catch the train….. the shoes first because that’s where the chits were. Using the window more than the door to leave the class.

Sitting in the last bench in class and singing songs or writing poetry or sketching and giving lots and lots of grief to the teachers.

Spending the whole of sanctuary sketching on each other’s palms or tying up two random girls’ dupatta with each other or braiding their hair together or writing notes to each other with the background music of Keshava Madhava or aye malik tere bande hum.

Bunking classes and running in the tracks to catch the 245 local and then alighting at Shivajinagar and then taking the return local back to Pune at 330 and then finally going home in the same local at 450…… our scheduled time.

It was also my first exposure to the world of electronics and telecommunication. My friend’s pa had banned her from making phone calls so we used to join wires and then make calls and then again replace the phone to its broken self. There were these one rupee telephone booths at Pune station which often malfunctioned and we could make free calls for hours….. we did not even have to insert a coin. It was like our own private hotline. Very often we used to have some person threatening another on the phone next to us…… usually had to with some girl. We also gave a lot of blank calls to all our dushman….. and sometimes to some of our could-be friends as well.

At 16 padyatra was the call of the day…… I walked and walked and walked and walked First from home to Khadki station then Pune station via tracks to Koregaon Park…. to college then to work in Camp and then from Camp to Pune station and since I was in marketing all over again everywhere. Considering that pocket-money was so less, auto rickshaws was a status symbol something I could not afford.

Covering our faces while going to the theatres to catch the movies…… lest someone recognised us.

At 16 I had my first job….. financial independence.

First love……. first break-up…… first heart-break!!!!

Read books and more books and lots more after that….. all kinds of them……. Sometimes even read more than two a day. Read my first and last science fiction and totally hated it.

16 was also the time for serious studying…… slaving over economics and accountancy…… what saved the day for me was Subodh classes’ 99 test series and French and English. I wouldn’t have scored above average without these factors.

At 16 studying was usually done in Pune University main building or lawns or in the Sanskrit section because nobody went there those days. My home would be full of my sister’s friends and lots of clutter for her impending wedding causing havoc in my study pattern eventually started studying with the radio in full blast.

16 was also the first time I went to sinhagad for the first time and instantly fell in love with it.

Age 16 witnessed my oldest sister’s wedding….. my first experience at event management….. loved every moment of it….. also witnessed a Bengali wedding for the first time in my life.

Me having some or the other issues and refusing to go back to college or stepping our of home and dad threatening me with dire consequences and repeatedly telling me the importance of education and importance of career.

16 was rebelling……. rebelling against everything and anything that came before me. Lots of screaming and shouting at home……. Ma and Pa getting lots and lots of grey hair. The only thing I spoke at home were: I don’t know, I didn’t do it, I cant do it, I wont do it, I am hungry…… anything else and Ma and Pa would have a heart attack. Eventually Ma started using reverse psychology to get me to do things.

16 was sleeping lots and lots of sleeping so much that Ma had to throw me out of the bed each day and Dad gave me a lecture on sleeping each and every waking hour even when I was awake eventually I decided if I had to take it, I might as well do the bad deed.

16 was also the time when Ma scrutinised each and every male friend of mine and froze most of them. Every Sunday along with the oil head massage I also had to listen to Ma’s speech on the virtue of women…… typical Sulochana and Nirupa Roy style…… well it worked….. it kept me straight.

16 was not worrying about weight and eating everything and doing everything.

If I had to go back and tell something to myself it would be……. Great going…… You re the best!!!!

I wouldn’t want to change a thing or do anything any differently for those days then made me what I am now and waise bhi do sixteen year olds even listen???

Kaaash……. Only IF

Don’t you wish for things……. sometimes impossible but you keep hoping that only if….. I do that very often. I keep hoping for things impossible. I am not going to talk about macro stuff like world peace or anything or the sort……. that I think is tooooo impossible. I am talking about the very minuscule atomic world that is mine and mine only.

People who have read my posts earlier will know what is coming……. I wish I had wings. My school friends had a get together this weekend and this is the first time that I am missing. I sooooo miss not meeting them. Every time we meet we have a blast. The plus thing of the whole occasion is that most of us don’t have any hang-ups or show offs or anything of the sort. It is just all of us meeting up to have a great time and just having a blast. Just unadulterated fun!!!!

Ever since the first meet, I keep looking forward to these get togethers. What makes this special is the bond we have. Though we don’t keep in touch with each other over long periods…… though we come from different fields, the fact that we studied in the same school for 12 years makes the bond very special. The values imbibed into us by the nuns of the school have stayed with each one of us and underneath all of it we are still the same we were years back in school though one sentiment that we all have in common is that…… we are all glad that school is over.

The picture that has been coming to my mind over and over again are of the pink flamingos……. In my blog that is the most cliched of all things but I cant help it.

The whole of last week the Kash….. Only IF sentiment was for samosas and jalebis and aloo chaat and tamrind chutney and pani puri. This is something so common in India available in just about every nukkad but here it takes two train changes and loads and loads of walking to eat just one of these. The frustration grew so much that I was ultimately on the verge of actually making it…… you have no idea what amount of frustration caused it especially because I don’t like cooking and for God’s sake……. who makes samosas at home and that too for two people???? you just pop into a halwai and get two of them.

I even tried the local eateries here which sell everything from frog legs to everything……. I have been quite terrified of these places lest I would end up eating something like frog leg pakoda or cockroach/grasshopper fritters!!!!! ultimately hubbzzzz tired of the pining changed the trains and did the walking and got me the whole assortment from sarvanna bhavan. I also got two dabbas of rasgolla and gulab jamun. But the interim period was crazy……. I could visualise samosas everywhere. I haven’t yet got the jalebi and chaat but the craving has gone!!!

The people here are very health conscious that’s really good but kya kare I cant drink unsweetened and unflavored soy milk and need my dose of sugar and boiled CTC tea. The sugar here is not sweet and when i first came here i used four packs of earl grey tea and six satches of sugar for one cup of tea….. phir bhi no taste…… and the coffee……. kya batau……. allah!!!! khud samaj jao. I went off the coffee and the tea for a whole month until i finally found my cherished red label CTC tea.

My cousin who drinks only Darjeeling and green tea says that CTC is the worst kind of tea and tea should not be boiled……. boiling makes it acidic and bad for health. I tried her version of tea and believe me I would rather go off it that have that pitiable concoction of flavoured hot water.

Coming back to the only IF…… Ma had the annual Akshay tritiya function and as usual I missed it. My whole family and mum dad’s friends were there. A gala affair. At times such as these I wish I had wings so I could go home just for the moment and then come back to my life. Just another Only IF……….. The feeling is so great sometimes that I think that if I just move my arms I will start flying…….

People say the mind can travel places and people can actually see happenings of far away places….. Maaannn ki ankhen. I can think of a lot of jokes on this one. I wonder whether something like this can actually happen…… maybe that is the next best alternative……. after all I cant grow wings…… tooo late……. maybe next time!!!! but after having seen these beauties close upfront…… I honestly wish I was a flamingo…….. but they have very bad voices…….. screeching, shrill very ear piercing voices BUT they have wings!!!! lovely pink wings!!!……… I should stick to the mannn ki ankhen!!!!!

%d bloggers like this: