Igi Isms

Noting down a few for fear that I’ll forget otherwise..

The other day, on our drive back from school (a lot of these happen in the car for whatever reason), I was trying to explain the concept of infinity to her. I was saying you could count and count and never get to infinity. So she was like ..what if I count for a year 5 years etc .. what if you count.. and I said yeah even if I count and you count we will never get to it..She then goes..what if Barrack Obama counts..Such is her faith in the president. You can hence also imagine her disappointment when she woke up to Trump when we were both excited about a ‘girl’ becoming president for the first time.

Some of these are from a year back..I’d explained evolution to her some day, in as much as we were descended from monkeys. Some days later, when we were in the car, she goes ‘amma, when Muthassa was a monkey, could he driver the bike on one wheel like George does’ ūüôā

On marriage, she has wavered. First she’d asked what marriage was and I said it is about finding someone you like and someone who is your favorite person and spending your life with them. In thus explaining, I was careful not to use gender and trying to give her a broader picture..So she says I’ll marry Anoushka, Anoushka is my favorite. Since then she has gone through the I want to marry amma please phase and has now arrived at I don’t ever want to get married, or go to Uni or leave Acha and Amma ever again. Funnily, we haven’t had the Electra phase yet despite her absolute adoration of her father.


Igi Isms


My baby boo. My puttukutti and Idli. Mangosteen of my eye ūüôā

I realize now that until he’d come into our lives, I had no clue of the bond between Chakki and¬†Mia. I have of course professed eloquent here and elsewhere that¬†I’ve felt so fortunate for the Chitta and Chittappan presence in Mia’s life..But some things you have to live to really understand. That you can miss someone (with a¬†tug at your heart) even before ever meeting¬†him and that you can tear up just talking about him..That such love is even possible..all new to me.

I’ve also gotten a hint of how much fun this valiyamma¬†role could be when compared to parenting – none of the¬†responsibility but the same sense of pride in and love for¬†this littlest thing.






I’m not sure I can do justice to this but I have a big Abhay post pending and then we’re traveling to India so we need to be caught up in hurry.

When I think of you, the first thing comes to mind is wise. I try to push it back, because you’re also incredibly fun and smart and talented and all those things that could easily apply to a 4 year old girl.¬†It almost seems unfair to tag this wisdom attribute on you.

It is true though so to give its due..you are such a seeing knowing perceiving child. I guess the rest are things I’d expected or seen in you raising you, but the wisdom still catches me by surprise sometimes.

And back to the funner parts that make you – the many Igi-isms which deserve another post..there isnt a day when Vin or I will catch each other during the motions of our day ..in the kitchen..driving back from work, at work and say something funny you mentioned. Like I said they deserve their own post so let it be.

You really like¬†swimming and you alternate between enthusiastic and reluctant with the violin. We had a serious low last year about violin (or I did, you didnt even notice) struggling with the question of whether to keep at it. It isn’t that you dislike it but the daily practice and rigor of learning an instrument is too much at ..what 40 months? (yes to emphasize the smallness) We are over that trough though and most days you’re excited to show Acha what you learnt and of course you’re a happy performer.¬†Practice sessions are easily masked as recital, audience and applause and all that included.

You’re super good with puzzles and you’ve just started writing. In fact the other day you made and illustrated a book for me – story all your own – called the happy turtle.

We finally got you all moved out to a Montessori and you’re thriving there. Really. But we dont have a lot of time for pause coz the elementary (school) question looms large. Anyway that’s our problem.

You are such a social¬†kid. Part of that might be a function of how you’re growing up. Surrounded by friends (ours and yours..with many evenings that turn into late nights resulting in your getting a tardy mark for school next day) and with frequent visits from both sides of the family. Some of it is just you though, even at school you veer towards activities that involve one more person.

For the 4th birthday, we did a painting party at crackpot. This was the first time where the party was all-kid but even then we had enough of our grown-up group hang out and munch and help and then inevitably the party spilled into an after-thing at Fa’s which lasted the whole weekend. I’ve realized this is the most kiddie-party thing I can throw. Our grown-up group is too much a part of even your life that you aren’t in any luck of getting a pure kids-only party. Until some day you walk up to me and demand otherwise.

You continue to be good with food and I wont pretend that is a coincidence or make any surprised/ false_humble noises. I tend to eat (Relatively) healthy as well and I do still manage to put home cooked dinners on the table most days so you’ve grown up eating (again, relatively) healthy food. Almost invariably, you even pick fruit over candy when given that choice.

You’re pretty active and you really enjoy the outdoors. You’ve done a few hikes with us already and you get from Acha the need to finish the hike, get to the top, and hopefully you get some of the smell flowers and jump in the creek on the way from me. Either way that is one of the few things all 3 of us equally enjoy. You also continue to be Acha’s little helper – in the garden and around the house – and take a lot of pride in that role.

You’re also happily a lot more independent now. So the times and things for which you absolutely need a parent are lesser. And while on most days I’m happy that I can kick back and sip on my wine without running to change a diaper (last time was more than 2 years back..) one part of me does tell me I’ll start missing the dependence soon.

You’re a joy and delight my baby and it is such a privilege (well, check back in a year) to raise you.



10 (but I had you at ‘6th floor alright’)

I thought I should write about Igi turning 4. But I got here and realized I’d been remiss in recording another milestone. All things kid does tend to override all things couple so this is me making a feeble attempt at putting us first, for a change. Also, chronologically we did turn 10 years old (if you count from day of marriage) before she turned 4.

Also, another disclaimer. I cringe from spouse-praise especially when dispensed in public. However this being my private space and because the man despite his faults (many) has a few things going in his favor there might be elements in this post that are mildly praise like. Just saying..

So we did meet each other when we didn’t have a clue. Both of us fresh off of break-ups, if there were any sparks in the air I’m sure they¬†said Reeebooound in red glowing letters. At 23/24 year old I wouldn’t trust me again, with such a big decision – despite one year of data. Heck, I barely knew what I wanted to eat the next meal, forget who I wanted to spend my life with! But just as I’ve somehow ambled along making decisions that in hindsight turn out alright, this was as well. I’ve said this before, with 10 years of data now I’ll say it again. I’d do it in a heartbeat, chose him.

Now – to appreciate the choice – you need to step back and examine the specimen itself. (See I warned you of impending praise :P) Totally not my type is how I filed him away once I’d been aware of Vin’s attention. Borderline arrogant (some people might call it confidence), and at least first glance out and out Bangalore boy (hence didn’t fit my has_to_be_mallu_pop_culture_cognizant bill). But scratch the surface (took a good long while to do that) and emerges this boy (now man) so tender so sensitive and most importantly soo bloody honest. I already feel like I’ve said too much, like I’ve laid out this very private part of us for consumption and let everyone in on Vin’s little secret so I should desist.

The years they went fast. We were pretty used to each other but living with the family (almost 3 years, pat on the back for everyone, won’t be doing it anymore in interest of all round sanity) was a learning curve. Another 3 of almost playing house, of the first owned apartment and setting it up..of many weekends spent playing poker and cluedo and of going to bed after it was already daylight. And then the reluctant (for me) move across the seas. And then the Igi years…

The relationship does change, doesn’t it, over the years..the passion has given way to a familiar comfort, where love and disagreement both are concerned. It could be interpreted as mundane but no way I’ll exchange that for the initial years..Vin is my safe place and no other person no other relationship in the world can give you that. I wanted to write this on a day when I wasn’t feeling entirely charitable to him (you’d think I have more of those, which I do, I just dont get to the blog in time)..so everything is objective as can be. And I’ll say this again here’s to a lifetime.

Despite :).

10 (but I had you at ‘6th floor alright’)


I spend far too¬†much time worrying about things that are eventually either of little consequence or not as big a deal as I make of them in my head. If the subjects of my worrying – where they are real people – knew I’m sure they’d agree. It all eventually turns out fine. But my head is always this jumble of what ifs and what woulds and so on. ¬†Just need some quite.


I wish I could say Achan’s visit was all I wanted it to be. That I was able to spend a lot of time with him and have long conversations about everything under the sun. Truth is, with Igi and work and the business of life in general those are lofty aims. For me it was joy just to have him here. To wake up and go to bed knowing Achan is right here under the same roof. And of course Igi and Muthassan bonded so beautifully. This was prolly the first time she really missed a grandparent after he/she left. Most days he’s the one who put her to bed – telling her stories – perunthachan, hiranyakashipu and even Gandhiji and Washington – and singing her old malayalam songs – to the extent she’d learned some of them by the time he left. They’d also go to the park together, do puzzles together, play mom and dad (very amusing this). I realized Achan was better than me at drawing (isn’t saying much I agree) when I saw the doodles he’d make for her. They were mostly in their own blissfulm muthassan-Igi world but I felt soo soo fortunate just to watch from sidelines.

I’d always wanted Achan to be the one doing her vidyarambham and we managed to squeeze that in on the day she started new school (which in itself deserves another post).


The weekend after Achan arrived was our Vishu potluck. I think Achan had a good time, although he was somewhat jet-lagged. Being the resident karanavar he also did the kaineetam honors. By the time he left he’d ¬†met and hung out with our friend circle a few times (Vin and I also managed to score some great meals coz everyone was having him over) and gotten to know everyone so well.


We did a short trip to Buena Vista and a bigger one with Chakki and Alexy to New Orleans. He also visited Grand Canyon with Chakki and Alexy.



So yes, it was busy and packed. In fact our weekends were so busy it was his last weekend in town that we actually hit Boulder.

I guess it is never perfect and never how I plan and want it to be. But Im incredibly fortunate and grateful that our parents are able to do this. I can’t wait for him to come back, I’m sure Igi cant either.

As far as birthdays and parties go, despite the fact that ¬†just finished my 33rd, I’ve been very fortunate. Some would attribute it to having an A team – composed of Chakki and then Vin too in the later years – who keeps upping the game every year. There must be something about Leos and celebrations and larger than life surprises. I cant remember a birthday in the past decade on which I haven’t cut a cake or had a party. To the point that come the eve of March 17th I’ve learnt to look nice and presentable, maybe even brush my hair even if we’re lounging around in jammies.

This time was even better, thanks to my girlfriends who did a cake and surprise and gift etc a whole week earlier, catching even surprise-savvy me off my guard. And then on the eve itself, Vin made me eggplant steak with a feta and tomato salad for dinner. (And then I made real dinner, you know mallu fish curry and rice – for him). S send me a lovely card – I’ve almost started taking her thoughtfulness for granted these days. But really who sends cards and notes in these days of fb? I got a whole series of gifts from T through the b’day week!

On the 17th –¬†after having me believe all day that we’re not going out, to the point that I was slightly miffed by the end of day, what with everyone asking me what my plans are – Vin comes home having dropped Mia off already at F & Rs place and with a reservation at Leaf, a vegetarian restaurant in Boulder that I’d had my eye on¬†for a long time.

I prolly sound so vain now, counting off my surprise events and gifts (which while we’re at it, has to include the handbag that chakki sent too). The reason I wanted to quickly put this down is to capture how overwhelmed and grateful I felt by the end of day. Yes, some of these are shallow pleasures – food, clothes all that, but I’m fortunate to have so many people who even at 30Fing3 celebrate and make me feel special. Isnt that something? Many things actually?

Pia wrote this post on gender stereotypes, written with the characteristic beauty and clarity of her posts that I really don’t have any value to add.

So I promptly made the cake. And tried to move on about the post itself.

But the topic refused to leave me. On the one hand there is probably too much being said of it, at least in certain circles that we tend to engage in. If there were such a thing as being too militantly non-conformant I have often been guilty of erring on that side, in choices of toys and clothes for Mia, in gifts that I give and such. And then on the other, Pia¬†and some of the other commenters are right in saying that there isn’t quite enough being said/written/read. And these things do go beyond cloth choices or just how you talk to a small boy/girl.¬†The ripples thus created do last and translate¬†across society age and time.

I have a good start of course, having been raised by parents who raised their two girls as liberally as conceivable. I often say – only half jokingly – that my mom is more of a feminist than I. I grew up with a dad who woke us up, washed us, ironed our clothes got us ready for school while mom was busy making and packing the many meals for the day and getting dressed to leave for work herself. My dad is the one who told us about the period and women stuff and to this day I remember the look on my (older) cousin’s face when I told her I knew all about girl stuff coz my dad had taught me. Things like that..

Mia grows up seeing a similar dance between Vin and I. If she is sick, it is often Vin that stays home coz he has that flexibility. Vin cant cook to save his life, but he does pretty much all the cleaning around the house. When she wakes up in the middle of the night the first person she asks for is Acha not me. (Now does that make me jealous, a tinge probably).yada yada.

That brings me to her. Is the societal, commercial influence strong enough that none of our effort¬†makes a dent? Right now it happily isn’t.

This is the girl who picked out a monster tee shirt at target last month¬†when I bit my lip and slapped myself for almost saying it is a boy shirt (there I’ve said it). She is also the one who was adamant on being a fire-fighter for halloween when the rest of her daycare was a parade of Elsas and Ana. In fact I was soo nervous when I brought her in thinking she might change her mind and want a princess costume after all. Thankfully she didn’t even seem to notice. She is equally bad at soccer and ballet and equally excited about both. Books/toys mostly neutral. Her scooter is pink (coz it was 15$ cheaper than the boy version) but her snowsuit is blue (for similar economic reasons). You get the drift.

So, on last count, we are still winning this war over stereotypes.

Only barely albiet. Coz this is also the girl that pronounced yesterday that she only wants purple things. The monster tee has been relegated to the ignored/wont_wear pile because¬†she ‘doesn’t want to wear boy clothes’. And I’m guilty too, perhaps. I don’t stop myself from telling her she looks pretty or saying a dress is pretty.¬†In the same vein as I tell her she is smart when she does something really cool. It requires deliberate effort to do¬†be that way and I’m frankly not sold on the benefits/necessity there. It does become an issue when that’s all she hears and maybe someday I’ll realize that is indeed most of what she hears / told outside the house so we need to step up efforts within. (Like already it irks me that her teacher keeps pairing her with the only other girl in class. She does it in her good natured way so I dont know if/how I’d interject but I do suspect there is something like that going on).

Meanwhile I leave you with a pic of my very handsome firefighter (see what I did there :))


Port Rico, before we forget

Folks have been asking me for this – folks that don’t know of the existence of the blog. So, even if just for reference sake, I decided I should chronicle the vacation here.

The post is a meander, I apologize. Someday I might reorg this to be more readable.

The places we stayed were beautiful and perfect. In San Juan we stayed at an airbnb right in the middle of town.


If ever there was a walking town (in the US, I’m sure there are very many in Europe, having never set foot in the continent I can only imagine) this is it. Walk because everything is close by, and also because you need to have maneuvering skills of the highest impossible order if ever you had to drive/park. My respect to people who do. In any case, in a lot of places it is only so wide that you could stand on a middle street and look either way and see the sea. Imagine that!

The night we got there – after I’d realized I’d overcautiously packed too warm and too many layers for the sultry weather; I wanted to take off even the shift that I was wearing at 11 PM; and this getting there from a pleasant 1F in Boulder – we headed out to the closest bar to drink. Later realized it is the place to be and seen. But didnt know it back then so serendipitous win. Also it was almost closed so we were the only patrons and we could sit at the bar with Igi too and the bartender was the most lovely (bearded + tattooed, check) man who made off menu stuff for our second and third drinks. Great drinks and very nice small plates. Should go. We went back there on our last ¬†night in town too.


So back to San Juan. At the risk of sounding like a Tourism ad – PR does have something for everyone. And San Juan is for you food and history buffs. Granted it is touristy, but I still enjoyed exploring the whole place on foot, even lil Igg walked everywhere. We didnt even bring her stroller (knowing Chitta and Chittappa where going to be there too, and she’s as happy riding on his/her shoulder as ours).


The colors, the food, the people everything is a lot like the (Indian) subcontinent, especially coastal Kerala. You might have been to Hawai or elsewhere and thought the same, and that’s only because you’ve never been to the Caribbean. The likeness is unlike anything you’d have felt anywhere in the US. Oh, and so also construction and roads and quality of driving, you won’t miss anything from “back home”.

And the partying! Imagine a place where people have street parties every other night. Music and dancing and food and liquor. A place you can get your drink to-go in a cup! Is that even legal? Im not much for pubs or dancing, but this was more the everyone just doing their own thing and having a good time that I really enjoyed.

We spent the first day seeing one of the forts – and this is why I should write these journals soon as I’m back coz I already don’t remember the name – and doing a little bit of shopping.

The next we went to El Yunque, darkest of green and wet and so enchanting. More so if you havent been to Kerala in the last year and a half. But really, look at that green. Where else in the states can you see that.


When I moved to CO, I was told by friends both back in India and abroad that I was moving to one of the beautiful parts of the US. I got here the end of September (and hence, of Fall) and I remember looking at the gray mountains and the withered trees and wondering what they meant. I didnt voice that opinion too loud lest I show myself for the unrefined eye for beauty person that I am. And yes, CO and Boulder especially have grown on me. It has taken time, 4 years now. I now love the seasons (the fact that we have them) and home and happy near the rockies.

Anyway, the shade of green. That’s reason enough to go to El yunque. It drizzled all the time during our hike to the waterfall. I stayed and watched while rest everyone else took the dip. I took bad photos.

If you wanted to put a word to me, for being that person that stays back, no interest to jump right in the water, what’d that make me? I say lazy. I wasnt even reluctant, I preferred sitting and watching to the inconvenience of changing, braving the cold (well, water is still cold, not chilly as you can tell from the number of people in there, but cold, even in PR).

The remaining day in San Juan was more walking, the other fort. A lot of food and fried plantain thingies and sea food and paellas.

The next day, now with¬†S and L in the group, we went by ferry to Vieques. That last line is somewhat of a TLDR because Vin lost his wallet and he and I had to miss the ferry and we had to file a complaint and then get the next one in which also meant we missed pretty much our entire first day at Vieques. But in short, don’t lose your wallet in PR but if you do, realize it isnt a big deal except for the cash and the extra hour at TSA. You will still get back into mainland, if all goes well.

This is where we stayed. The house itself wasnt particularly pretty but you could see the sea from the balcony and it was big enough for all of us.


Here’s the only bit of advice in the entire post, and like all advice this stems from having made the mistake. Spend more time in the smaller islands (Culebra or Vieques) than in San Juan. Our second day we kayakd and snorkeled (and again, when I say we here, I mean the rest, Igi and I and Chakki too stayed back, Igi had fun floating on her back and saying she’s at daycare and taking a nap) and did the bio-lume tour (which was everything it was hyped to be, the part I enjoyed most was picking up pearls of water and dropping them on clothes seeing them glow. Also, yes how fish and oars and everything make designs in the water). We also spend the earlier part of the day lying on the beach and floating in the warm salty water. I just wish I had another day of that.

Account for a day each of flying time, pretty much anywhere you’re flying from the US. If it takes lesser time for you, you are close enough that you know more about the place than I do.

Port Rico, before we forget

Obligatory new year post

It is the in thing to not make resolutions, I know. But so many parts of my life are currently broken and need fixing that I’m making (and breaking) resolutions every day, not just new year. It wouldn’t be half a bad idea to chronicle those here, much like on the (green colored) black board at home. It shouldn’t be a surprise either that a lot of these are to do with Mia and parenting and spring from mummy guilt.¬†Not because that is all my life, quite the opposite, I’ve been too happy and proud in my easy-going parent guise that these days it easily translates to lazy parent too. So, without much ado, here¬†are some things I’ve been thinking of, some things I want to do etc..

Vague amorphous ones:

Find a good montessori school for Mia and move her there

Spend less time cooking elaborate meals in the kitchen and more with Mia

Wake up at a decent time, before the whole world is out and about (if only I could fix this, that’d fix everything else)

Turn off the phone. Look away. The world won’t end if I don’t check fb or whatsapp every minute.

I almost cringe from putting this here. So! cliched yet true. Get moving, at least make a measly start this year.

Read more (this is prolly the only item on the list where I’ve fared better than average). I did read an average of 2-3 books per month last year. Start reading the New Yorkers instead of keeping the subscription on for fear that canceling it would be equal to completely giving up on yourself.

Switch off the TV too. Less travel cookery shows more reading (this is going to be hard, coz I can almost justify that noise in the background to myself, always harder when you have ernest justifications in your head)

Real actionable ones:

Learn to parallel park. Isn’t it nice to throw in a nice actionable resolution amidst all the vague stuff? Not that the skill might be a ton of use in Boulder. Check back with me on Dec 31st.

Learn to wield a hammer/nail/screwdriver whatever it takes to attach photographs and arts etc to walls. Go crazy putting everything up without Vin’s help.

Obligatory new year post