Thursday, December 15, 2011

Shaad Lunch

This weekend, Madhu Mitra aunty was kind enough to throw a special traditional Bengali baby-shower ritual for me -- the Shaad lunch. Because she knew that Ma is not here, she wanted to represent as Kingsuk's Kaki, and have this lunch take place before our Baby Shower on the 17th. It was really sweet, and incredibly special. I managed to get myself into a sari which was a pretty big accomplishment, no pun intended.
Aunty and Uncle had prepared aHUGE traditional Bengali meal -- there were seriously 12 vegetarian dishes, and they even made separate fish AND meat for Kingsuk! It was really special and touching. And we had such a great time catching up with Aunty and Uncle in a one-on-one setting. Man, thinking abt the food is making my mouth water!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In my 8th Month

My, I'm getting large. It's starting to get uncomfortable now ... and I still have 2 full months to go!

This past Thanksgiving weekend the PBS crew threw me a surprise baby shower. And it was such a wonderful surprise -- I really had NO clue that they were all getting together, and because it was Thanksgiving weekend, all the kids were in town (minus Arjun, Sanjna, and Michael) -- it was sooo nice to see everyone, and I felt so loved and special. All those years of being the eldest and left out is finally reaping its advantages :-)









Sunday, November 20, 2011

Upgrade to full version

Believe-it-or-not, I paid for an app !!! This is only the 2nd time in my life I've done that, but the hope is that I can do mobile upload of pics with the full version. So here's my test post, hopefully this was worth the $1.99!

Winter's here!

I'm actually enjoying this change in weather ... if you dress warmly it's actually quite enjoyable to be walking around in the cold weather. Yesterday me, King and Kutu went to the Farmer's Market at the Ferry Building and bought so much stuff. It's so close to our house (we just took Muni there, even though it's a mile away and theoretically we could've walked it, but that would be too much for me) -- and it's actually not that expensive produce-wise compared to the groceries we do at our overpriced Safeway. I know I said this 2 years ago when we last went to the Farmer's Market, but we really need to take advantage of this and go more often! 

This morning we made grilled piquillo peppers, kale chips, and are eating the most amazing avocado with salt, just plain -- awesome food. This is the first Sunday that I have been home in over a year, as I just started my teaching maternity leave -- no more teaching until April 2012! It really was becoming too exhausting to teach these last few weeks, so I think I stopped in a decent time ... besides, I'm in my 7th month, so that's respectable I think. I'm still doing my work as Productions & Touring Manager, and my maternity leave for that won't start until January -- I have tons I need to wrap up before that, as we have a HUGE tour (13 cities!) and a home production coming up in the Spring ... I miss dancing :-( 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cold

King had a cold on Monday, so of course I had to catch it by Wednesday. Sucks bc I can't take any co-Tylenol or NyQuil or anything. And Tylenol is useless, though I just took it. Anyways, just waiting this cold out. I'm quite miserable actually. But Puchku seems to be doing fine and is still kicking away. I haven't stepped out of the apartment since Monday; I need to get out tmrw; hopefully I'll feel better tmrw.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Still fainty!!!

Here I got all excited that with my newfound knowledge that I'm anemic, and regular iron supplements, I'll no longer feel fainty and zero energy. I had a great three-four days ... I even went to Yoga yesterday after a two week hiatus, and made dinner after God knows how long (I always feel guilty that bechari Kutu has to do all the cooking & cleaning of the kitchen for us, bc I'm just so exhausted, all I can do is sit on the couch).

And then today I woke up at 7am feeling like I was going to faint. And the feeling lasted until 4pm. It was one of the worst I've had. I kept trying to get up, and just make it from the couch to the kitchen to get myself some food ... and would start seeing blackness in that short distance and then have to come back on the couch again. Finally at about 2pm I felt good enough to heat myself some food, and ate lunch. But I didn't feel much better after eating (I've found that the faint is worse after I've eaten). I think by 4:30 my food had been digested, and then I finally felt somewhat normal. But it was such a waste of the whole day ... esp now with shorter days, it was practically already dark outside.

Anyway, I got some work done (though I couldn't do my East Coast calls) and I just have to resign to the fact that it's ok that I'm not accomplishing as much as I'd like to ...

I'm in week 30 ... 10 more weeks to go, this is so exciting! Today Brahma wrote me some text about some baby planning stuff, and he referred to baby as 'him.' I don't know why I thought that was so cute! 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Photo Shoot

Me and King decided to get photos taken so that we could remember this time ... I have to admit it ... we're those new-age Yuppy parents that celebrate and get over-excited about every aspect of this whole process. From my baby gender cake to a maternity photo shoot ... but I didn't take belly photos ... that's just something that still weirds me out.



Anyway, it was a little awkward at first, and I had no idea how they would turn out, but I really love the fact that this photographer sent me some proofs within the same day of taking the pictures (absolutely unheard of!), will give me the high resolution originals, and will only take 1 week to do all this! Looking forward to seeing the rest as well.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Oreos caught up with me

So, I guess that two weeks of unlimited double stuff Oreos and daily ice cream (it was my way of eating fruit!) has caught up with me. The Dr. has told me I'm putting on too much weight :( here on out I'll be putting on a pound a week, I'm scared to think what my weight will be in the end!
Anyway, I'll just have to stop purchasing the Oreos, and I'm going to drink a daily protein shake, bc I'm getting too many carbs and not enough protein. I'm also anemic, so I'm hoping this iron supplement will make me feel less exhausted and less fainty and I can start being a little more active. That's also been an issue-- bc I've been feeling so much faint that I never make it to my yoga class or get any exercise, so I'm sure that's contributed as well.
I just found three Oreos in my purse (hehhehe)... They're my last, I promise!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Last Day Driving

Let it be made official --- today, November 10, 2011 marked the last day that I will drive in the year of 2011!! I'm saying this more for myself than for anyone else, so I feel obligated to stick with it.

With all this recent feeling of faint (which I've discovered happens right after I've eaten - I think it has to do with the blood flow being tied up in digestion or something like that), I've decided that it's no longer advisable for me to be operating a 2-ton vehicle. It could also be that my iron-deficiency is causing me to feel this way (all self-hypthoseses) so let's see next week after I've taken my iron supplements for a week if there's any difference.

Regardless, I'm not driving anymore. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Maternity Jeans

My maternity jeans arrived today! They're soooo comfortable, now I wanna go out all the time bc I feel like I have stuff to wear :)

Pregnancy's coming along fine. Passed the diabetes test (thank God, otherwise I'd have to become non-vegetarian), but have a slight iron deficiency so will need to start taking supplements. Usual feeling of faint continues. It's supposed to subside this trimester but no luck so far.

Yesterday was one of Puchku's most active days yet. He was kicking non-stop, really hard for like an hour. Mom got to feel a buncha kicks and finally so did Daddy. Today he was also pretty active throughout. It's so cute, I love it :)

I'm getting more and more excited abt baby's arrival. We've signed up for our birthing classes, lactation classes, and just need to sign up for the baby care class. We've ordered the baby shower invitations, and are slowly filling up the registry. Mom came back from London with a suitcase full of baby clothes for Puchku and that's when King and I realized we had no space for all of baby's clothes, and should probably buy a dresser. So we're in the process of finalizing the crib and dresser now... This is gonna take forever.

Ok, enough boring mundane detail for the time being.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Caved in

After 5 months of no medication, I caved in n had Tylenol for this damn rib pain. It's killing me, n it doesn't seem like Tylenol is doing anything to make it better. I don't know how I'll fall asleep tonight :(

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pants

I really need to start wearing maternity pants now. Even tho I somehow managed to squeeze myself into my pre-pregnancy skinny jeans (fly open, of course!) it was not a wise or comfortable decision to make. Either that or I only wear yoga pants n sweats for the remaining 3.5 months. Shilpa didi gave me some maternity pants, need to go dig into that stock n pull em out!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2/3 the way there!

On my 26th week...I'm 2/3 the way there. I finally started creating my registry. Right now it contains 23 blankets n 12 burping cloths... But it's a step in the right direction. I'll short list after that.
My feeling of fainting continues to debilitate. It's really frustrating bc it's so unpleasant. I cant do anything but lie down n wait for it to go away in its own time.
Puchku continues to kick like crazy. Last night he was nonstop for like 2 hrs, kicking so hard! I was trying to talk him into falling asleep so I could sleep too... Miraculously he listened n stopped kicking. He must've just tired himself out by then :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pregnancy Boredom

I think I've hit that point where I'm just feeling bored with the pregnancy ... there are no new 'landmarks' to look forward to ... we already know the sex of the baby, I can feel him kick (a lot!), King has felt him kick, I've even seen my tummy move on the outside when baby kicks (I still love seeing that) ... there's nothing new we're going to discover about baby between now and the day he's born (sigh!).

That and I feel like I've been pregnant forever. Back aches are still there, but getting regular massages seems to be helping. Been feeling a lot of faint lately, which is definitely debilitating ... I need to further slow down my life ... to be honest, I don't think I've slowed down that much, maybe that's the problem.

Oh well, I guess I should start amusing myself by planning out the Baby Shower ... and more importantly, figuring out the five million things we need to (and don't need to) buy before baby comes ... !

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cutie Baby

I went to the doctor today, and at one point some of the tests they were doing were hurting, so I immediately tensed up and was trying to calm myself through my breathing. At that moment I noticed that baby totally started kicking so hard ... he was totally freaking out! It was really cute, and sad at the same time ... it surprised me how connected baby's emotions are to mine ... that because I immediately tensed up, instantaneously he reacted to it, in such an obvious & deliberate way. My bechara baby, he freaked out :-) I can't wait till he comes ... I feel like this pregnancy's been going on forever already ... !


Sunday, October 2, 2011

6 months

I just realized that I'll be six months pregnant this week. Thank God... I'm getting so huge, it's becoming embarrassing to say 5 months only!
This past weekend when we went to Vegas, we went to see Cirque du Soleil's 'KA' which was one of the most spectacular shows I've ever seen in my life, by the way. Baby was kicking throughout the entire 1.5 hours! I was laughing thinking abt how tired he must be after 1.5 hrs on non-stop action, hahahha. I dunno, it was a cute thought to me. He's been very active lately. I feel him kicking at all hours... In the middle of the night, early morning, etc.
Last night the kicks were so huge, I thought to myself, 'you have to be able to see this on the outside.' I looked at my bare tummy, and I could see my tummy quivering every time he kicked! I was so excited :) I called over Brahma to see it but he wasn't able to see it; the movement is still very subtle.
Anyway, entering the last month of 2nd trimester. I can't believe how much larger I'm going to get; how is this even possible??
Had an absolutely fantastic bday weekend in Vegas with the fam-- one of my best bdays ever! Joel Rubochon's dinner will be a meal that I will remember for the rest of my life--WOW.
Exhausted today after teaching 5 hrs of kathak. I sat pretty much the whole time, but just yelling for 5 hrs is exhausting in itself. Baby Shivaranjini (Guru Ji & Celine didi's 7 week old daughter) was brought to class today, so I decided to be brave and hold her. I was able to put her to sleep in my godi... That was good for my self esteem. I'm so scared of newborns. Wait, does a 7 week ok'd not count as a newborn??? Well, I think the first 4-6 weeks are what I'm scared of holding now. That whole lack of neck support scares me. But I figure i'll learn it by default when it comes to my own!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Baba feels baby's kicks

Kingsuk just felt his first kicks of Baby Brahma-- finally! Baby had really started kicking in the last 1.5 weeks -- not just like gas bubbles that I could internally feel, but real thumps. But every time King would put his hand on my tummy, Baby would stop. Even Kutu felt the baby kick earlier this week but Baba was just SOL :(

But tonight we finally succeeded in having him feel the kicks! I love the kicking... Its such a fun reminder that Baby's around ... Not that you ever forget. Esp now that I'm getting bigger by the day (no exaggeration), it's hard to forget that you're pregnant. I'm putting on a pound a week and I can't fathom how much larger I'm going to get... Puchku's only 1 lbs right now ... How huge will I have to be to fit a 6-7 pounder?? I guess we'll find out soon enough...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sleep issues

Been having serious sleep issues for the past week .... last night I couldn't fall asleep till about 5:30 am, and it's been like that a lot lately. After lying awake for hours in bed, I finally have to come to the family room, read a book, shake out my leg for a million hours, eat a snack, and then pass out. After having passed out for an hour or so, I move back to our bedroom at like 6am or something like that.

I also threw up dinner last night, and last Thursday night as well :-(

Anyway, just thought I would update on the joys of pregnancy!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Gender Scan


This morning we had our 20 week gender scan ultrasound. Both King and I were super-excited – we had decided to keep it a surprise from everyone, including Vaishali, so we could do the ‘Baby Gender Cake’ at the cousin reunion this weekend – which starts tomorrow. But him and I were going to find out the sex and just keep it in for 1 day.

Our ultrasound tech lady is really nice, and I asked her if we could try to guess looking at the parts to identify when we got to it, and she said she would. She had to take a lot of measurements – heart, kidneys, arms, legs, brain, lips, nose, etc. etc. This ultrasound was so different from the 12 week one, where it was clearly obvious that what you were seeing was a baby – this time around we saw specific areas. Frankly, all I saw were a bunch of blurs and told the tech that I’ll take her word for it when she tells me that ‘these are the lips….’ But amidst all this blur, the tech identified the sex of the baby, but said she’d wait to get a better angle of it to make sure.

At first baby was sound asleep (I barely got any sleep last night; I’ve been having a hard time sleeping the last few nights, too much anxiety/heart racing … it’s really frustrating). But once he woke up, he was non-stop. I can’t believe how much he’s kicking around all this time, bc I hardly feel the majority of the kicks! I saw him do some seriously HARD kicking, and I still couldn’t feel it! It’s going to be crazy once he’s big enough for me to feel all the kicks.

So then we got to the gender part … she showed us the butt, and the thighs, and then me and King saw it… there was no doubt about it‘It’s a boy!’ we both said. I was soooo excited … I mean, I know I would be excited either way … but I’ve been saying that it’s a boy since the beginning, and aside from that one dream I had that it was a girl, my guess had always been for a boy :-) I got emotional too, and shed a few tears of happiness … I’m so excited at the thought of a Baby Kingsuk!

The rest of the drive home I was just on cloud nine. I can’t imagine people who don’t want to find out the sex of the baby, because it’s just such a great feeling having this time to imagine the baby, and getting one step closer for it to be real – to go from just ‘baby’ to ‘baby boy’ !!

I went to Whole Foods to get my ‘Baby Gender Cake’ made. Part of the reason I decided that King and I should find out the sex of the baby ahead of time is that I’ve been having a hard time finding a place that will make such a cake for me. Draegers’ told me it would take a week (just to put food coloring in a cake mix, they must be on crack), and this one Whole Foods was the one place that I found where they would make it in 24 hrs and seemed to understand what I was going for.

Not so when I got there. The lady basically told me it was not possible, even though I had clearly spoken to someone the day before who said it was possible. I compromised with them in the end, that if they couldn’t make the cake part blue, then they would at least make the buttercream in the middle layer blue. The lady was nice, and understood my concept, and she said she would tell the baker personally tomorrow morning what to do, so hopefully they won’t mess it up. I couldn’t imagine explaining this whole cake to her, without telling her what color to make it, and expecting her to keep the thing a secret, etc. It would have just been too complicated.

Anyway, both Kingsuk and I are really excited about Baby Boy Brahma. I can’t believe I’m having a son … that’s really crazy when you put it in those terms!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

First Pre-Natal Yoga Class

So I finally got around to making it to pre-natal yoga. This has been on my 'to-do' list since 2 trimester started 4 weeks ago, but considering I was out of town for 3 of those weeks, I really wasn't that behind. I yelped and found a place in SoMa that wasn't too expensive and had classes 3 times a week at a time that suited my schedule, so I figured I'd try it out.

I have to admit, I was hesitant to go. Not because my yoga skills suck (they're not that bad; I think it comes with being a dancer and being Indian, lol), but because I was afraid of all the new-age pregnant moms who would be doing everything so by-the-book that it would make me feel like I'm not doing a good job being pregnant (even though I think I'm doing fine). I was especially concerned about my plastic water bottle, because I know I'm supposed to be drinking out of those metal bottles, but I just haven't gotten around to buying one -- again, on my to-do-list.

But it was actually a really good class. There were only 4 students and the other moms (18 weeks, 29 weeks, and 31 weeks) and I'm hoping it will start helping me with my lower back pains, right rib pain, and all the other random pains that I keep getting.

One of the things that I did learn from the teacher, that I didn't know about is that there are more birthing positions than just the one you see in movies (lying down in bed). I didn't know that. Is that something that normal hospitals even offer? Anyway, I haven't started thinking about labor yet ...I'll worry about that closer to the time.

So I'm going to try to make it to the yoga class twice a week. I've also been 'spring cleaning.' I did my pantry the other day (it's amazingly organized!) ... today I cleared off my dining table and emptied out a suitcase of unpacked clothes (I have plenty of those, with all my traveling). There's still so much to go, but I'll eventually get there...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Baby Dreams

Had a very vivid dream last night ... this took place after the baby had already been born (I wasn't sure how much after) ... I was on a cruise with Labonee ... which makes me think it was Kathak related and we were on tour or something. I had left baby home with Kingsuk for the week, and they would be joining us at the end of the week at the end of the tour.

When they arrived, I remember I was so excited to see the baby, I didn't even give Kingsuk a hug, but immediately reached for baby ... and it was a baby girl! She was about 8 months old, really, really cute and pretty ... and I could see a resemblance of myself in her! It was such a strange dream, because it felt very real, and it was the first time I had such a detailed dream about the baby. Perhaps the dream was inspired by the fact that King told me the other night that he thinks it's a girl. Up until now he's never had a feeling about what it is ... I've been saying it's a boy ... but honestly, I don't have a gut feeling or anything about it, I'm just saying that ... and neither of us really have a preference, so either way we'll be thrilled.


But the baby was really shaitaan ... she couldn't sit still and kept kicking and climbing on top of me when I was holding her godi.

:-)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Back Home

Ughhh ... I don't wanna be back to reality!! At least Kutu was here so it's been a little more exciting. I just spent 3 hours getting my email box down from 200+ messages to 32 that I need to work on this week. And I'm already feeling stressed out.

I hadn't scheduled my 16 week appt with the doctor, but she took me in yesterday at the last minute. Brahma didn't go with me, which is a shame bc she let us look at the baby through her crappy ultrasound machine (Vaish was with me, so I wanted her to see the baby) and she would have been able to tell us the sex, but I told her to hold off, since Brahma wasn't there with us. Oh well! Will just have to wait it out another couple of weeks I guess.

Baby's totally grown in size -- he's 5.5-6 inches big. My tummy has really grown too ... apparently my uterus is the size of a canteloupe right now ... I definitely feel super-pregnant. You're supposed to gain 25-35 lbs in the duration of the pregnancy -- I've gained 12 so far ... hopefully that means I'm on track??

Anyway, back to the reality of the real world .. I've been out of town for the entire month ... this is going to be rough ....




Monday, August 22, 2011

Off to Venice

Despite free wi-fii the last three days in Positano, I never blogged abt this trip! Well, to put it shortly, despite the disastrous bus ride here, where I had an emotional meltdown and couldn't stop crying in the middle of the streets of Positano, and arrived HATING this forsaken town ... it's beautiful, and of course I loved it. Our first day of food was rather mediocre, but yesterday was stellar (Saraceno d'oro and Il Ritrovo). Didn't do much shopping; it's too hot here in the daytime ... spent a lot of time hanging out at the Hotel Sirenuse, drinking fresh lemonade, eating olives and marcona almonds, admiring the view ... even had a celebrity sighting, lol! The lead actor from 'American Pie' was staying at that hotel and we saw him hanging out poolside both days we went there.

Ok, gg now .. checking out now :( Excited about Venice, but sad that it means our vacation is 2/3 over!! I don't wanna come back to real life. Being out here has been such an escape from reality ... no watches, no email, no idea what day or time it is, nowhere to be, but to hang with my hubby.

Btw, Baby is kicking a lot more! I've decided it feels like mild pins & needles -- like not a whole lot of them at once, but as if you had a couple happening at a time. So, rather uncomfortable, but nice knowing it's there.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Capri

Last meal in Sorrento: that's a bed of buffalo mozzarella on the bottom!
We did our day trip to Capri today. Well, it was more like a couple of hours. We took the ferry to the island, and arrived at a very hot and very crowded Capri. The line for the cable car to get to the city center was so crowded, I got tired just standing in that heat. The town was really cute in Capri though – loved all the little shops and me and Kingsuk bought some really awesome shades for ourselves (gift from Mommy Bhardwaj to us). I got exhausted way too quickly – if Capri hadn’t been so hot or so crowded, I would have been ok, but the combination of both was too tiring. We came back to Sorrento, had lunch at a nice portside restaurant that had really good seafood (Vela Bianca) and then came back to the hotel. King fought off the rest of his jetlag by staying awake without falling asleep – he went swimming while I napped. In the evening we went to dinner to the much awaited ‘Il Buca,’ a one-star Michelin restaurant in Sorrento. It was our most expensive meal on this trip, and, sadly, our most disappointing meal as well. My antipasti was really good – a mashed potatoes dish; King’s prawns with lemon were mediocre at best. My pasta with courgettes was bland as hell; King’s pasta with seafood was barely any seafood, and just lots of pasta. It was also severely under-salted, so they took it back to properly season it, and when they brought it back, mine was better, but King’s was over salted. What a disaster. At least they didn’t charge us for King’s pasta. Dessert was good. King had Sorrento’s famous Limoncello for the first time, as an après dinner liquer. His reaction was hilarious … first sip he grimaced and said ‘This needs like 5 parts soda and 1 part limoncello and then it’ll be drinkable!’ At the next sip he smiled, ‘Aaah, it’s sweet now… nice.’ Half a minute later he took another sip and said disgustedly, ‘Saale, itna bitter banaate hai!’ I think you had to be there, but I burst out laughing at his see-saw of melodramatic reactions to the famous drink. I don’t understand why Sorrento doesn’t just make awesome lemonade with all those lemons; would be so much tastier.
Today we’ll be heading out to Positano. We just had breakfast – King is waking up at more acceptable hours, I’m still waking up pretty early. I also just threw up all my breakfast right after eating it. That was disappointing – I thought that phase was over, which I guess it still is, but it’s still lingering a bit. It’s also just worrisome because now I’ll be worrying about getting sick in public or inconvenient places, and that’s no fun. I’m gonna pull out the vomit bags and keep them on hand, just in case it happens again.
Off to Positano!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Arrabiatta with a kick


So, after our fantastic 7am breakfast buffet (which we ate at for an hour, there was SOOOO much variety), King and I hung out by the pool. I found the first place in the world where I didn’t like the fries – I didn’t think that was possible. Yeah, yeah, why am I ordering fries in Italy, but the Hilton pizza/bruschetta was not worth a repeat order, and I figured, the potatoes probably taste so good here that the fries would be awesome. Not so.
We went to Kutu’s recommendation, Gaetano Vino Vero, this restaurant up in the hills which both Vaish and the concierge had said is a better lunch place. I don’t know why Kutu used the word ‘ghetto’ to describe this restaurant because it was absolutely beautiful! It was way up in the hills and overlooked all of Sorrento, on an outdoor patio surrounded by olive trees and flowers. There was this really old Italian couple sitting next to us (they looked like they were 80) but they were so full of life and ‘shaukeen,’ their entire lunch must’ve lasted 3 hours bc they were there before us and were still hanging out afterwards. They didn’t speak a word of English, yet we managed to have conversations with them about how it’s our first time in Italy, we’re originally from India (she thought I was Turkish because of my eyes), where we’re going over the next few days, etc.
'We'd like to pay our compliments to the buffalo who gave us this cheese.'
The buffalo mozzarella was by far the BEST mozzarella I’ve ever had. It was so rich, creamy, and chewy all at the same time … I cheated and had to eat some, it was just too appetizing. My one piece of cheating became two, but I stopped myself after that. Gotta hand it to you Vaish, you know your food. I also ordered myself a Rocket (arugula) Grana Padano side salad, yay!!
As per our orders from abroad, we ordered the arrabiatta and the ravioli. I took my first bite of arrabiatta, and was pleasantly surprised at how flavorful the tomatoes were, and how extremely spicy the arrabiatta was, and then I felt the kick.
Or I should say kicks, and possibly punches. I felt baby kick for the first time!! It was still small enough where it couldn’t be felt on the outside, but it was DEFINITELY kicking. It repeatedly thumped against my tummy, tiny little hits … hard to describe what it feels like, but normally I think I would just ignore it for some sort of weird gas bubbles or something, but because I was sitting, and my stomach was otherwise very calm, I could feel the distinct repeated kicks. It was so exciting and so cute to imagine my little avocado-to-turnip sized baby kicking away J I’ve been trying to feel it since then, and I think I’ve felt it once or twice more, but never as clearly as the first time.
The rest of lunch was a little bit of a damper for me because I started not feeling so well – I think the time in the sun took it out of me; I was completely exhausted, a little bit nauseous, and needed to just lie in the A/C. I brought back the arrabiatta and just ate it right now at 6:30 am – it was still really good.
Let’s see what we do today, maybe we’ll go to Capri? But our jetlag is getting better, we woke up after 6am – better than 3am!   

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Arugula/Rocket

Ok, I dunno if it’s cuz I’m pregnant, but the Arugula here is just AMAZING. Who would have thought something as simple as arugula could leave such a lasting impression on me??
King and I woke up at an obscenely early hour this morning, and were the first people to show up to our hotel’s breakfast (I pushed it to 7:10 but that was the latest I could go). Really nice breakfast buffet – I made a grilled emmantel cheese toast with fresh tomatoes, salt, pepper, and olive oil (they have olive oil packets like ketchup packets here!) – it was really good. And a fantastic spread of all sorts of pastries, danishes, croissants, and juices.
We got on our train to Naples - I love European train stations and the whole rail system by the way.  No hassle of check-in, arriving an hour early, security check, and the train leaves on the DOT. I’ve decided that the natural beauty (at least from Rome to Napoli) was most unimpressive. I remember Austria and Switzerland being lush, rolling hills, with cute houses trickling the landscape; Germany was thick, lush forests of pine trees or whatever those trees are; even France had a very unique countryside. Maybe it’s bc California has a similar climate and similar Mediterranean inspired architecture, but it really didn’t look all that different from my drive from San Luis Obispo on 101 last week. Only until when we went on the local train from Naples to Sorrento did it finally start looking like a different landscape.
Anyway, at the Hilton we had to wait an hour for our room to be ready, so we ate at the poolside bar while we were waiting. The margherita pizza was decent – really nice sauce. We also got a bruschetta, and there were a few leaves of arugula at the base of the bruschetta that I had – so peppery, and spicy and flavorful! I could just eat a bowl of that with shaved parmigiano reggiano and olive oil.
It was siesta time for us after that … I guess thanks to our jet lag our timings are matching those of the Mediterranean. Apparently all the shops close here between 1-4 pm and then open up again to stay open until late at night – 10pm onwards. The main shopping area was so cute, and so bustling with activity. And the weather is freakin perfect. King and I window shopped in random boutiques, and I ended up buying a lose white shirt that will hopefully fit me beyond this week, and King bought a blue Boss polo shirt with a small Italian flag on it. I also really liked this goose down winter coat for 345 Euro – so stylin’ … but can’t justify spending that kind of money on a coat right now. Esp bc there’s no way it’s going to fit me when winter actually rolls around.
I am, by the way, expanding on a daily basis. While 1st trimester was about baby developing all his internal organs, systems … this trimester seems to be geared towards growing larger in size. He’s the size of my palm already, and growing by the day … and it seriously shows on my body. By the time I come back to the U.S. I am gonna look full on preganator!
So dinner was at this REALLY CUTE restaurant called Antica Trattoria. This was clichéd cute – with an outdoor terrace area covered in vines, flowers, with a crazy Italian musician singing love ballads at every table. Ambience is great and all, but me and King were like ‘what about the food??’
It did not disappoint. They started us off with an amuse bouche of sorts of a ‘ricotta melanzane,’ deep fried ricotta cheese with eggplant. Wow, it was excellent. The pomodoro (sauce) with it was so tasty – how can just a simple tomato sauce taste so good? For our antipasti, I got a zucchini blossom dish and King got a caprese salad. I thought mine was ok, bc I couldn’t really taste the zucchini blossom as it was tempura-ed and filled with ricotta. The side salad with slightly sweetened pickled onions was really good though. King’s caprese was really good … I’m not supposed to eat unpasteurized cheeses … so I only ate a little bit of the mozzarella … it was like you could taste the thickness of the milk in the piece of that cheese.
My main dish was an melanzane pomodoro. I’ve realized I’m not one of those people who is crazy abt eggplant in any shape or form – it’s got to be done really well, otherwise I’m really fussy abt it’s texture and taste. I started cutting into my dish, and was amazed at how soft the eggplant was – I was expecting a battle of cutting through the stringy vegetable, but it was buttery soft, and just soooo freakin good. They had a piece of fried parmagiano on top – I LOVE FRIED PARMAGIANO. I remember I accidentally discovered fried cheese at home once when  I was making a fried egg and some extra grated cheese fell into the pan and got slightly pan fried, and I thought to myself, this is amazing … and it was just random cheddar or something. Now imagine that was Italian parmagiano. Yes, it’s 6:30 am as I write this and I’m starving again … Breakfast is our most anticipated meal of the day right now – just passing time writing this blog so it’s 7am already and I can go eat.
My eggplant pomodoro with a fried parmesan crouton. YUMMY!
But the arugula! We got a side salad – just some ‘insalata mista’ (I will never look at those two words the same way again). King took a bite and said ‘you’re gonna love this salad, it’s right up your alley.’ I was having a hard time tearing myself away from the melanzane but tried it, and he was right. I felt like mom when I said ‘Just plain salad leaves and it’s so tasty! Yahan ke vegetables ka taste hi kitna zyaada achcha hai!!’ But, hey, we’re not the only ones who say that!! To quote Eric Ripert, ‘Vegetables in Europe just TASTE different!’
Anyway, so the rest of dinner was great too. Oh, King got some local fish and loved it. You know it’s a great meal when after the initial ‘oh my God, this is amazing’ comments have passed, you’re eating in total silence for the rest of the meal. I cleaned out my dish, and the dessert and petit fours to follow. European portions are so much more doable … granted we’re doing one less course than recommended on a traditional menu.
Today’s plan is just to hang out and kick it. I’m tired of journeying here and there for the last two days. After breakfast we’ll just hang out by the pool, do lunch somewhere (maybe that really amazing and ghetto place Kutu suggested?) … come back and sleep, and then hit up the shops and Il Bucaa in the evening. Tomorrow we can consider doing Capri since we wake up at the butt-crack of dawn everyday anyway. At least we’re still accomplishing enough on this holiday and aren’t just sleeping it away like we did in London, lol.
It’s still not 7 am!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Roma

Today was our 'rest' day in Rome ... we landed around noon and took a cab into the city center and got to our hotel by 2:30-ish. The Rome airport, btw, is quite disastrous. We ended up exiting in the wrong terminal (a couple other people from our flight did the same thing) and ended up at a baggage claim that didn't have our baggages ... had to walk back 2 terminals and go thru security again just to get our stuff ...

Our hotel, the Romanico Palace Hotel & Spa is a five minute walk from the happening Via Veneto (and just a 15 minute walk to the Spanish Steps) but somehow being off the main road by just 5 minutes gives it such a different feel. Apparently all of Rome is gone on vacation this week, so it's exceptionally quiet in the city ... except, of course when you hit up the main touristy areas. The Spanish steps area was really crowded, but I couldn't believe how clean the streets and sidewalks were. The heat was really oppressive -- it was nearly 100 degrees around 3pm -- and we hadn't eaten (all restaurants were closed for lunch), had just gotten off a 12 hour journey (albeit a very comfortable business class for 10 of those hours) ... the heat kicked our ass. After a gelato (really good) and some walking around we decided we had to head back and take some rest -- there was no way we could stay awake until dinner.

After a 3 hour nap (which felt soooo good in the A/C) we decided to go to a small local joint for dinner -- still away from the touristy area. It was decent food ... I wouldn't say bad, and I wouldn't say great either. I was obsessing over trying 'cacio e pepe' (cheese & pepper) pasta, which I saw on an Anthony Bourdain 'No Reservations' episode on the flight over and got that -- it wasn't as authentic as his one from the show (was missing some components) but still a good dish and something totally different than what I would have normally tried and ordered. The pecorino and parmagiano was so tasty. Kingsuk got a carbonara, and then we split a tiramisu which was fantastic. King's table red wine was also really good he said.

We walked around the more happening area for the next two hours ... without any particular agenda -- just enjoying the 'raunak,' and the warm evening -- I love that I could wear a sleeveless dress at midnight and not feel cold.

I'm glad we're not doing Rome on this trip -- it's just too freakin hot. I also realized that I prefer humid heat to dry heat -- it's dry here and really kicked my a$$.

Ok, off to bed ... taking a train to Naples tomorrow morning. Hopefully I'll blog more about this trip!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Nausea free!! (knock on wood)

... And just in time for Italy!! Last week at retreat (which I really should've written abt) was the first week I went puke free since week 7... Will Complete 16 weeks tomorrow, nearly 4 months! At the airport now, abt to board flight to Rome. Just stopping over in Rome for a rest day, then 3 days in sorrento, 3 days in positano, and 3 days in Venice!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

12 week ultrasound

This week was the 12 week ultrasound. Priti had come and spent the night before at our place, and we did our first trip to a maternity store and bought some essentials -- like the button extenders for jeans & pants (what a genius idea). Anyway, I was so distracted with Priti, that I forgot that I was supposed to drink a whole lot of water an hour before the appointment. I was really hoping that I hadn't messed up our ultrasound, bc I really wanted to get these measurements taken, so we could get the test results and finally tell everyone that I'm pregnant! 

Luckily, the lady still had a good view of the baby despite my deflated bladder. It was sooooo exciting to see the baby! I mean, it's just hanging out there, in my tummy ... and I don't even know it. I couldn't believe that it had a proper head, arms, legs, and you could even see the profile of the nose and mouth and chin ... and the most surprising part is that it's only 2 inches big -- the size of my thumb! Overenthusiastic first-time dad took 20 minutes of video footage of mainly white noise, of which sometimes you can make out the baby's shape. Anyway, I'll try to edit the video down to the 'exciting' parts and post that next.



Saturday, June 25, 2011

9 weeks Completed.

It's been exciting telling a few people -- Guru ji, Celine didi, Rachna and Rina. Udayan sensed that something was up, and kept prying, asking Kutu what's wrong with Antara ... asking Brahma the same ... so that Brahma had to tell him. I'm so ready to tell everyone else, but we're just waiting for the tests to come out ok -- which will be around 12-13 weeks, after our NYC trip.

Have been battling vitamin induced nausea -- which I figured out today is because of the plant based DHA supplement that I've been taking. My Bengali fish-eating baby wants me to take the fish oil DHA supplements -- he's got no problem with those! I just threw up my dinner, and prenatal along with it.

Today's also the first day of summer camp and it kicked my ass. Teaching 4.5-6 year olds for 7 hrs a day is so hard ... keeping their attention span for that long is totally kicking my ass.

It's 10pm and I'm in bed. The baby hasn't even arrived and look how much it's changed my life. I haven't danced in so long. I haven't felt normal in so long. I just feel fat, bloated, and exhausted all the time. The second trimester is supposed to be awesome, but I have a hard time imagining how all this is suddenly supposed to change practically overnight. Then again, it came about practically overnight as well.

Still, it's all very exciting. Yesterday I was at Mona's baby shower and I was so excited at the thought of being at that phase myself. And then having a friend whose baby will play with own -- how crazy is that! Sapna didi needs to have her second so Baby Brahma has a cousin his/her age. I think Risha will be kinda close to his/her age -- less than a year apart -- that's pretty good. And Ria will be 2 yrs older -- that's a crew right there! Awww, that's so cute to imagine!! So many fun times ahead, knock on wood.

Ok, off to bed if I wanna survive another day of Summer Camp.

Here's a pic of Baby Brahma at 7 weeks -- looks like a dot within a dot to me. The bright dot is the heart, and you could see it flickering as it was beating. The doctor said 'the baby's looking beautiful,' and I thought to myself, 'ok, if you say so ...'


Thursday, June 2, 2011

BFP -- Big Fat Positive

The morning of May 27th I was leaving for Mexico for my best friend Priti's bachelorette party. As usual, I left my packing to the last minute and went to bed at 1:30 am -- I had to wake up at 5:30 for my early morning flight. I had decided that I would take a home pregnancy test to make sure I wasn't pregnant so that I could drink all that I wanted in this upcoming, debaucherous weekend. I was 99% certain I wasn't pregnant, but knowing would just make me not worry about it.

Low and behold, I got a BFP -- a Big Fat Positive. By the way, there are a million acronyms that us normal people don't even know of in the TTC (Trying To Conceive) world, as I soon discovered. I had no idea what that positive meant ... I ran over to my snoring husband and asked him 'What does this look like to you??' He thought I was showing him a flight itinerary or something ... and then registered the stick in front of him ... 'Oh ... ok, I guess you're not drinking this weekend!'

My flight got cancelled that day (after spending 3.5 hours at the airport yelling at one person after the other) but the upshot was that I came home and scheduled a dr's appointment and was able to confirm the pregnancy!

Though I had never imagined that this would be a phase to share, the first person I told was Kutu. I sent her the MMS of my HPT (Home Pregnancy Test) and she was totally shocked! We both started planning how we were going to tell Mom & Dad. I didn't wanna do the desi 'You're about to become a grandmother' dialogue ... eeeeshhh ... but wasn't sure how to tell them ... we seriously had not thought this through very much.

I remembered that when Shilpa didi had gotten pregnant the first time (hahahaha!) ... she had told me by saying 'Hey, check out this new book I'm reading...' and handed me the 'What to Expect When You're Expecting' book ... and I remember screaming with excitement. I decided I would do the same with Mom & Dad. Kutu was excited and said, 'Make sure you video chat me at the time, I wanna see their reaction too.'

So I went down to Santa Cruz with my new book in tow. We got all of us on video chat ... at some point, Mom decides to leave the room. Kutu looks at me, and tries to gesture, 'what do we do now?' Daddy notices that us two are trying to have a private convo over video chat and leaves the room saying 'You're having you're private talk, I'll leave.' I finally had to demand 'Everyone come back to the room! This is family time!!!'

We segue the conversation over to the new books we're reading, and I say to mom, 'Lemme show you the new book I'm reading,' and hand her the book. 'Oh, achchha...good.' and awkward silence. Me and King were so confused -- were they not happy? Do they not showcase happiness for this kind of stuff in our family?? Finally I said 'No one's going to congratulate us?' And then Mummy's eyes widened with recognition and she screamed with excitement and hugged us. Talk about anti-climactic.

So far it's been pretty good ... going to the bathroom more, having disturbed sleep, and eating a lot more. Anyway, it's an exciting time, and I'm staying positive. I've decided I'm not going to have nausea!! I'm going to be the 25% lucky ones.

I can't wait until the 12 week mark when I don't have to keep this huge secret anymore! 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Player hater ... hate the game, not the player

What does that even mean??? I never understood that.

Anyway, after days of being frustrated with the logistical nightmare that is the production the size of Chhandam's RAMAYANA Dance Drama ... I am FINALLY excited about it!! What's crazy is that 24 hours from now, this performance -- that we have worked for hours and days and weeks and months for -- will be history! Such is the nature of performing .. "Once you get on stage, you're history," as Guru ji says.

But it feels pretty freakin' awesome while you're up there! 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A simple Tweet, and her life is complete

I was rolling my new foam roller on my IT band, practically screaming in pain at every juncture. It was 10:30 in the morning, and I had already rehearsed for 1.5 hrs, and done a 1 hour pilates class, and now was stretching my poor, broken body. I have another 2 hrs of dancing ahead of me in the evening, and I'm already feeling the dawn of plantars fascitis in my left heel -- it's not looking good. As I took a break from the torturous stretching, I looked at the News Feed on my FB, and saw this status update: 
Ohhh my god..! After much time, energy and devotion...Abhishek Bachchan finally tweeted me back directly on Twitter!!! I wished him a "have a great day today AB!" and he said "thank you and the very same to you too"...AHHH!!! My life is complete. ♥ (followed by 27 likes and 15 comments of how amazing this girl is, how lucky she is, congrats, etc. Who knows how much this number will grow to by the end) 

Now, had this been a teenager who had posted this, I would have laughed it off. I would even extend it to an undergrad student -- I remember being pretty ecstatic when Jackie Shroff randomly phoned me one morning in my Berkeley apartment because I had written an email on his website -- though there was no Facebook back then, I doubt I would have publicized that to the world, but that's just me. 

But this is a young woman in her mid-20's. Those who are responding to her are also in their 20's and even 30's. This is our next generation of  professionals who will run the world in various industries -- doctors, lawyers, businessmen/women, scientists, politicians -- the creme de la creme of the Indian community that makes us the most affluent immigrant group in the United States. This generation will be defining the values upheld by the future generation of Indian Americans to come. The fact that getting a TWEET from Abhishek Bachchan -- validated this girl's self-worth and made not only her feel like this was the happiest moment of her life ... but also made her friends envious of her 'star status,' is completely beyond comprehension to me. 
What is it with people's obsession with Bollywood stars? I understand being a fan of the movies, the actors, the music, etc -- but where does one cross the line from simply appreciating something, to starting to define their own sense of self around these stars? What really do these people achieve by taking a day off work, to stand all night in the cold, outdoor shoot in Healdsburg to see Shah Rukh and Kajol shoot for MNIK? Ok, they saw them in real life ... even got a picture with them ... now? खेल ख़तम पैसा हज़म. 
Firstly, what kind of values are we upholding if we are basing our self worth (and deeming other people's worthiness) on who they know, or who they mingle with? As if getting a tweet from Abhishek Bachchan is really knowing him, but the idea that's making everyone salivate is the fact that this girl could possibly, someday, know Abhishek Bachchan. Oh my f---ing God!!!!! (followed by squeals of giddiness)
Secondly, what kind of values are we propagating if we are idolizing a mediocre actor whose only claim to fame is his last name -- Bachchan? Even Abhishek Bachchan said at one point in an interview that his last name was the only reason he was getting any movies, he'd be an idiot to remove that from his name (as his numerologist advised). I guarantee you that none of these girls drooling over Abhishek right now would turn twice to look at him if he was named Abhishek Banerjee and offered to buy them a drink at V Bar in Santana Row (then we'd see standard bitch Indian girl behavior, but that's completely off the topic!) Perhaps this idolizing of the 'son of a famous person' is just an extension of the first issue, where we base our self worth on who we know. Actually, it would be the other way around: because we value others only on who they know (in this case, valuing Beta Bachchan based on Papa Bachchan), we, in turn, do the same in our lives with ourselves and our friends. 
Where is these people's self-esteem? Do they really validate their superiority or luck in life on chance encounters from celebrity stalking? And what do they achieve by that brief encounter? What if I'm the one who is in the wrong, by not finding a meaningful happiness in a 38 character typed message sent from 10,000 miles away from a person who has never met you, and could never be bothered to meet you in their life? 
Anyway, I was feeling really upset about this, and felt the need to vent. I read a few articles about celebrity worship, and found a quote from a Blogger named Jennifer Gibson that I liked on the subject: 'Idolizing or admiring someone for their accomplishments, and then pushing yourself to excel in the same way are positive elements. But, are we worshiping celebrities for the sake of being famous, or are we worshiping true heroes? ... If we confuse heroes and celebrities, we are depriving ourselves of real role models. We should admire those who are famous because they are great, not those who seem great because they are famous.' 
That, in the bold, is the crux of my issue with all this. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fatigue

The screening of 'Upaj' on March 18th just happened this weekend. It was a whirlwind of stress & activity for the last two weeks, and now I'm feeling completely burnt out. There's still tons of work to be done on the film ... and the mere thought of it makes me want to go to sleep. Actually, aside from going to sleep, nothing else has sounded appealing to me.

I've told myself that I'm allowed to be completely useless & lazy this week, and then I have to start up normal life again next week. I just don't know if I'll be ready a week from now. Right now I feel like I could sleep day & night for weeks.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

1099, are you outta your mind??

If there's one area where I feel completely clueless, and fearful of the unknown, it's taxes... and by association, accounting for the IRS. You would think this fear would make me extra cautious, and make me watch every step I take. On the contrary, I'm so afraid of it, that I put if off until there is no possible way for me to delay it any more. The last minute has arrived.

February 28th. My 1099's were due today, and, of course, I hadn't done anything about it. I thought about it ... a lot ... but did nothing about it. But, thanks to my good friend Avani, who had already told me this was very simple, and nothing to worry about -- I relaxed a little. In my case, this was bad, because it was further justification to put it off until today. But really, all I had to do was pick up the forms (avail at any Office supply store) and fill out the names of the people who I had paid more than $600 in this business year, and mail them out -- it had to be postmarked by today to make the deadline, and I started working on this at 11am, so I wasn't terribly concerned. Because 'Upaj' had no funds for most of 2010, we hardly did any work, except towards the latter part of the year. I had gotten my individual hires to fill out W9's (unlike the year before where I didn't even know what a W9 is ... not that I know what it is now, but I know I have to make individuals fill it out at least!)

Office Max -- no 1099's.
Office Depot -- no 1099's.

I finally located an Office Max that had one packet of 1099's left. I told them to put it on hold -- I would be there within the hour (I feel like Jack Bauer). The Office Max was right on Market and 3rd -- talk about crappy parking situation. However, I found the associated multi-storied parking garage (which would validate the first 20 mins, so that wasn't so bad), and picked up the package of forms -- a package of 50 ... each page has 2 on it, so 100 forms -- I had three employees for the entire year. Talk about a waste of money. But oh well, it's the IRS, you can't really get around it.

I come back home, and after realizing that one of the guys never sent me his signed W9, track him down and get his info. As I'm on the phone with him, I open the package just to make sure that I don't need any other info from him. BLANK. The pages are blank. ALL OF THEM. WTF?!?!

Apparently this is the electronic version. Where you print the stuff on it? I don't know ... I don't think I have the software for this, and I really don't need anything that fancy. I just need two forms.

Sooooo ... I make the treck BACK to Office Max ... wind up the claustrophobic parking structure to the seventh floor, park, remember to get my parking ticket ... and the Office Max guy looks at me like I'm a moron. 'Yeah, it says blank.' Really helpful dude. 'Well, can I get the pre-printed ones?' He points me to the pile of tax forms, as if I'm a blind idiot, and low and behold, they don't have the pre-printed ones. Of course not.

The only saving  grace was a) I could return the opened package of blank 1099's and b) he recommended a store a couple of blocks away that might have them. So back on the 7th floor of my parking garage, I call the new shop, and make sure to ask for the 'pre-printed 1099's' this time. They have them! And better yet -- they sell them INDIVIDUALLY for $0.80/page, so I can spend $5 on this rather than $35!

That made me feel better ... ok, so what, I wasted an hour, but at least I'm saving money for my production. I park at a parking meter a couple of blocks away, and pick up the papers, and come home to work on filling them out. At this point, I have gotten all the missing info from the other people who I hired for the year (ok, I have to admit, out of the three people, I didn't have info on two of them; I was not on top of my sh--). I sit down to fill them out, and I can't seem to figure out which box to put the amount of money each person was paid. No worries, I leave a message for Avani, she'll call me back and let me know. It's still only 4 pm -- all I have to do is fill three boxes and make it to the post office which is three blocks away (they have parking, so I can even drive it to save time).

Avani calls, and I read out the choices of boxes for where I should be putting in the amount, and she asks me 'You have the 1099 Misc forms, right?' I look at the top right of my forms '1099 Int.'

I have the wrong bloody form.

It's 4:30 at this point. I have resigned to the fact that it's just NOT HAPPENING TODAY. I have no one to blame but myself -- this is what I get for leaving it for the last minute.

I called the other branch of the new stationery story and asked them for the 'pre-printed, 1099 misc forms' and they say they have it. I will be picking them up tomorrow. As a contingency plan, I've asked Avani to pick up a couple for me as well -- worst come to worst, when I go to Redwood City for my car servicing this week, I'll pick them up from her in Palo Alto.

I should take this as a lesson to not wait until April 10th to complete the accounting for my company, and then be going thru this massive stress & confusion & hysteria. I hope that 6 weeks from now, I don't have another post complaining about how badly my day went, because of my own fault.

I should remember this moment, and think of this quote:
"Every duty which is bidden to wait returns with seven fresh duties at its back."  ~Charles Kingsley

Tell me about it.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

You are there/You are the one

One of my favorite songs 'Yeh Vaada Raha' was coming on the desi radio today (I'm totally into the Desi Radio app on my iPhone which has like 15 different Hindi radio stations that play 24/7). Ironically, I'm always singing along with that song, and have never really bothered to listen to the song itself. Today, as I was driving down the 405, I sang along with Asha, but decided to enjoy Kishore da's part and listen quietly.

तू, तू है वहि दिल ने जिसे अपना कहा 

All this time, I was singing तू, तू है वहीँ and not वहि!!

How funny that a slight nasal sound in the word can change the meaning entirely ... it still made sense to me तू है वहीँ -- you are there. I never bothered to connect it with the rest of the sentence to realize that it actually makes no sense.   

It just made me think how complex language is. I didn't even consciously realize until today that there are two words वहि and वहीँ  in the Hindi language, that sound so similar but mean two totally different things. 


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dhing-chak!

I just saw the movie 'Band Baaja Barat.' I had heard from Jagmohan ji that it was really good, and then my Mom & Dad said it was decent ... so I went into it with lukewarm expectations. I was sitting alone for the two hour film, and found myself laughing out loud randomly at places in the film -- something that doesn't happen very often for me. And, of course, I was getting senti at the love-story aspect of it.

The hero from the movie (I still don't even know what his name is, and part of me doesn't want to look him up and attach a different personality and other roles to him) was this sleazy, low class guy from some Harayana village, who obviously has a lot of money, and is "studying" in Delhi college, but is really just squandering away his father's wealth, being a complete wastrel. Luckily the film doesn't dwell too much on that -- one scene is enough to understand this type of guy. But he's sooo low-class in his mannerisms, behavior ... it's hilarious how authentically he played it -- we've all met people like that in our lives. I was watching the opening with Sid Bhaiya and said, 'Oh my God, if this is the hero of the movie and if she is going to fall in love with him .... !! That will be some miracle writing for me to start liking this guy." Low and behold, less than 10 minutes later, I found myself totally rooting for this character, looking forward to how the romance was going to pan out for the next 90 minutes.

Despite the film starting to drag a bit towards the end of the second half, I really enjoyed it. It was refreshing to see a modern Indian story, with the typical Bollywood masala added to it ... but all the 'dhing-chak' (a reference to the film) added to the story and didn't take away from it.

It's great when you only watch 6 Hindi movies in a year ... you filter out all the garbage, and come out feeling a sense of optimism for the future of Bollywood.

P.S. And I also really liked the song 'Dil to aivayin lut gaya' 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Upaj Website

My website for 'Upaj' just went live today!! Have been working on this for nearly a month now with a company based in Pune, called the Website Gurus. You know it was the name of the company that sold it for me ;-)

Anyway, that's another first for me with this film ... not only have I never:
  1. worked on a documentary
  2. produced something ground up
... but now I've also created my first website :-)

Next week, we'll have a new trailer up on the website, that'll be the next step! 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Case of the Nectarine


Summer Vacation. Two words that have no significance in present day life. Summer vacation doesn't even exist in adult life. It's like the tooth fairy -- she stopped coming after you realized that she didn't exist, or you lost all your baby teeth -- whichever came first. In this case, adulthood started, and two month vacations ceased to exist.

But as a child, those two words were the sweetest music to your ears.

Every summer, I spent the months with my cousins. Either we would go and spend the majority of the two month holiday at my Uncle's place, or my cousins would come and stay with us. Some summers it would just be two cousins that came over. The best were, of course, when all six cousins came over – but those times were far and few, and not for nearly as long as two months.

This particular summer was the summer of ’88. Four of my cousins had come to stay with my family – Shilpa didi, Shashank, Sapna didi, and Samir. The didi’s (or elder sisters) were 5 years and 3 years older than me. At the age of 9, that made them a different generation altogether.  My cousin Shashank was one year older than me, and Samir was two years younger than me, and we were inseparable. My younger sister was only three years old at the time, and mostly hung out with the didi’s who doted on her like a doll.

One morning, we woke up as usual – I don’t have any recollection if it was a weekday or a weekend,  but it hardly mattered, since it was summer vacation. After folding our sheets and sleeping bags, and putting away our pillows, we brushed our teeth and headed towards the kitchen.

My mother stood behind the dining table, waiting for us to arrive. The dining table was empty, except for a single nectarine, placed in the middle of the table.

“Do you see the nectarine?” she asked us. We all moved closer to the table. It was a normal nectarine. The only distinguishing factor of this fruit was that a small piece of its flesh had been removed.  I couldn’t tell if it was a bite mark, or someone was trying to tear off the sticker on the fruit and took off a little too much.

All of us peered on silently, not sure where my mother was going with this.

“Someone took a bite out of it, and then put it back on the table.”

We stiffened, knowing what was coming – someone was going to get in trouble.

As if reading our minds, my mother softened her tone and said, “I’m not mad,” she smiled. “I’m just wondering who would do such a thing?”

We all stood in silence.

“I didn’t eat it,” I broke the silence.

My mother looked at me questioningly. “Are you sure? I know you don’t like fruit. Maybe you took one bite and then decided you didn’t want it anymore?” I shook my head no. I hated fruit, why would I even take one bite?

Shashank chimed in, “Bua ji, I didn’t eat it either.” Mummy nodded. The two didi’s had already been asked about the fruit before we had come in, so they were off the hook. All eyes turned to the youngest of the lot.

“Samir?”

At seven years old, Samir had to have been one of the cutest kids out there, though at the time, we only thought of him as a spoilt brat. Slightly chubby, bowl cut hair, big almond shaped eyes that could put a puppy-dog to shame,  he looked up to his aunt and said “No Mausi, I didn’t eat it.”

Mummy nodded. She realized that none of us would be willing to confess to our ‘crime’ in front of the others, so she changed her tactic. “Well, if whoever did it wants to come and tell me later on, they can, and I won’t be mad. I just wanted to know who ate it – if they wanted the fruit, they should have just taken the whole thing.”

She continued with her daily business, serving us breakfast. But us three never forgot about the nectarine. It was the ‘Case of the Bitten Nectarine,’ whodunit?

The rest of the day, we all suspiciously eyed one another – thinking we could stare someone into a confession. The most likely candidate was undoubtedly Samir. Samir loved food the most, plus, he was the youngest and he was used to getting whatever he wanted, and never getting in trouble for anything. Often he would tattle on the rest of us, and we would get reprimanded for making him cry – we were older, and should be more mature and sensitive to the youngest one.

Shashank and I secretly conspired to each other, “It must be Samir… Did you see how guilty he looked when Bua ji asked him if he ate it?” I nodded. Shashank was older and more knowledgeable in these matters. Besides, I knew it wasn’t me, and it wasn’t Shashank, so it had to be Samir. Though we didn’t discuss the matter with the didi’s, we knew that they, too, silently agreed that Samir was the culprit, and as usual, he was getting away with it for being the youngest.

In the evening we went on our usual walk through Evergreen Park. Most days were too hot to play outside in the afternoon hours, so evening was the time that we’d finally be able to expend all our bottled up energy on the various obstacle courses and strength training exercises along the path of the park. I lagged behind the others as I stopped to tie my shoe, and felt Shashank’s hand on my shoulder. “Look,” he nodded towards the scene ahead of us.

Samir was talking to my mother, all by himself. That was it – he had confessed to eating the nectarine. We knew it all along, and now we had our proof. But we  wouldn’t say anything to him – we were older, and more mature than that. And so the evening continued, and passed like any other evening in the summer of 1988.

Throughout high school, us cousins continued to meet regularly. In 1998, all 8 of us got together for a housewarming get together at my aunt’s house in eastern Washington. It was late at night, we were reminiscing on the ‘good ole days,’ not realizing that the time we were currently spending would soon be the good ole days themselves.  Somehow or the other, the topic of the nectarine came up again.

“Samir,” I say, “It’s been like 10 years already – can’t you just admit that you ate it?”

“Dude, I swear to you, I didn’t eat it!”

“Come on Samir, we know you even confessed to my mom later that day,” I remind him.

“Huh?”

“We were at Evergreen Park,” Shashank joined in. “You were talking to Bua ji separately, she put her arm around you and patted your back.”

Samir shook his head. “Look, I don’t remember that, but I do remember that I didn’t eat the nectarine!”

I roll my eyes, irritated at his lack of maturity.  All the cousins start ganging up on Samir – even my sister, who was only three years old when the incident took place, tried to convince Samir to tell the truth. She had grown up hearing about the Case of the Nectarine, and like the rest of us, just wanted to hear the truth, straight from the horse’s mouth.

“Actually guys, I ate it.”

We barely even heard the sentence amidst the pandemonium. But sure enough, it had been said. Seven pairs of eyes darted towards Shashank.

“YOU ate it?!?!” I couldn’t believe what I had just heard. Shashank nodded.

“See?!?!” Samir jumped up. “I told you guys it wasn’t me!!”

Everyone looked incredulously at Shashank.
“Why didn’t you just say so? All these years?” someone asked.
“I was scared at first, that I’d get in trouble. And then when everyone started suspecting Samir, I just went with it.”

This was just like the game of Mafia. Shashank had just maneuvered the master play – to convince all the Townspeople that he was the Guardian Angel and Samir was the Mafia – and we all bought it.

Suddenly everyone was angry at Shashank, and felt total guilt for holding the poor, innocent Samir as the culprit in our eyes for all these years. How could we rectify this?

“Mummy!!!!” I called out and ran downstairs where all the parents were. The cousins followed closely behind.

“Remember the nectarine that someone ate, long time ago? In the old house?” My mom took a few minutes to place the incident – it had been, after all, ten years.

“It was Shashank who ate it!” Samir proudly proclaimed. Shashank nodded regretfully.

“Oh…” she thought about how she should respond.  She shrugged, “Ok.”

And that was that.

What an anti-climactic response to an unsolved mystery, revealed by a fluke confession ten years later. At least now we knew.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Shoutout!

Shruti is a student of Chhandam who has a blog and wrote about the upcoming 'Upaj' premiere on her blog. I was surprised to see that she linked up to a piece I had written for the Chhandam website a couple of years ago when we had just come back from the shooting ... I didn't even remember writing it! Pretty cool when someone else is writing about you in their blog :-)


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Worst User Interface EVER

I just spent two hours trying to figure out how to upload videos from my new video camera (Canon Vixia HF m30) onto my Mac. Mind you, I'm a decently technically savvy person, esp when it comes to consumer video/photo products. This camera is soooo stupid on so many levels:

  1. The installation software they provide is only for a PC. Who doesn't, in this day and age, give software for Mac users? 
  2. The Manual tells you nothing, and refers you to their online version of the manual, which also tells you nothing about uploading as a Mac user.
  3. After scouring the Canon website for hours (and seeing on the web dozens of posts of other people who are tearing their hair out on how to figure out how to upload their videos from a Mac) I figure out that it can be done with iMovie or FCP. 
  4. My camera doesn't show up on the computer when I connect it through the USB -- why? After hours of going back and forth (connecting through a normal USB card reader, which in theory is the same thing, but not for this stupid camera) I find a setting that says that the camera must be in 'Original' playback mode in order for it to show up on the computer. How is ANYONE ever supposed to guess that???
  5. The camera must be plugged in to a power outlet if you're connecting it to a computer. WHY?!?! In this day & age of wireless this, hands-free that ... you're expecting me to be plugged into a wall for a computer that's the size of my palm? This is totally the opposite of something that is supposed to be small and travel friendly.
Anyway, I shed a few tears tonight out of sheer anger and frustration at this stupid, stupid camera. The only तस्सल्ली (justification) I'm giving myself is that this is my replacement for a crappy camera on a phone, or a FlipCam, which I am highly unimpressed with. Granted the FlipCam is truly idiot proof, and it's a simple drag & drop, whereas here I'm stuck logging & transferring from FCP -- and then God knows what issues will come up along with FCP ... but I guess at the end of the day, I should be grateful for the optical zoom and image stabilization.

Grrrrrrr ...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Brahma Family Brunch

Weekends are generally the busiest time for me ... I teach on Sunday morning/afternoons, and then have my own rehearsal till the evening. I generally leave the house at 9 am and get back at 6:30 ... completely exhausted and can only manage to get myself to the couch, and pull a blanket over myself, and that's about it (this results in Sushi Sundays, to be discussed in another post).

Saturdays are technically my weekend, but with performances often taking place on Saturdays, that day tends to get taken up also by rehearsals, performances, events, etc. So, essentially, King & I hardly ever have time together.

But in the rare occasion that we do have a free Friday evening and whole Saturday, especially when the weather is nice ... it's the most exciting feeling ever. I feel like we have a world of opportunity open to us for these next 10 hrs of daylight! Considering how beautiful the Bay Area is, we really do have dozens of options of what we can do with our time. Most of the time we end up in Sonoma, or Napa, or Sausalito -- three of our favorite local spots, where you feel like you've gone on a mini-vacation for the day.


Today was a little more ग्रहस्ती   (grahasti) for the lack of better word (the computer is not letting me put a 'chhoti ee' on that word, I'm pretty sure it should be spelled with the other 'ee'). As usual, we slept in, only getting up because it was so freaking hot in our apartment. All East facing windows with no cross ventilation -- great for the winter, because we never have to use our heating, but on the rare days that it's actually 'warm' in San Francisco, our apartment becomes 80 degrees, no exaggeration.

Today's POA included the maintenance guys coming in and installing our mirror and chandelier! Sounds mundane, I know, but so exciting, bc this mirror has been sitting in our hallway for a few months now, and the fact that King & I even decided and agreed on a chandelier is a miracle in itself. We've had a bare bulb above our dining table for two years and five months now.





Slow and steady, our house is getting there.

Anyway, so my favorite ritual is what I have called 'Brahma Family Brunch.' Yeah, yeah, it's only two of us, a pretty small family (I've gotten enough pressure about having children in this last week enough to last me the whole year, so let's spare the jokes and move forward) ... but it's the only day of the week that we eat breakfast food together.

There are three standard menus that are rotated through for BFB.

1) Fried egg on toast with pepper jack cheese (with Iguana hot sauce and avocados)
2) Pancakes (plain or chocolate chip)
3) Deep's Aloo Parantha with mango pickle and yogurt


I'm sure at some point I'll add more to the repertoire, but for now, this has more than sufficed. Today I added roasted tomatoes to the menu. Well, I should say, I wanted to add roasted tomato to the menu ... but while I was waiting for the oven to heat up, and my half cut tomatoes lay on my counter, waiting to go in the oven ... King came by and ate the tomato raw. That was our last tomato, and he ate his half ... so I ate roasted tomato with brunch.




Anyway, the rest of the day turned out to be suprisingly wonderful. It was mid-70's, no wind, and a sunny afternoon, so King and I went swimming in our building's beautiful outdoor lap pool. Then we went shopping at the Embarcadero Center shops, since they are outdoor based, and I didn't feel like being cramped up in a mall on such a beautiful day. In the evening we had close friends and family come over to hang out, which turned into an impromptu game night (Apples to Apples!).


I was proud of my impromptu hostess skills, by providing my friends with wine, chhole chawal for those who were hungry, chocolate covered almonds, popcorn (albeit I burned the first bag bc I didn't realize there's a popcorn setting on the microwave), and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.
Now we just need to purchase more board games.