Letters to my Berry#10


The very fact that I am wring this post 8 days after you turned 10 months old shows how useless a mother I have been this month. Blaming it on my job could be an easy way out, but I want to set a better example than that. I am late, and I am sorry. But, hopefully, my memory will make up for being this late.

You made your first trip to a children’s park this month and enjoyed several rides with Tank. You guys ran around Walpole park and enjoyed ice cream. We should probably take you to a park more often given your obsessions with bubbas. You are ever ready to step out. The moment you hear the keys jingle, you race to the lobby so the person with the keys picks you up to take you out. It’s a game we like to play with you now, we jiggle the keys when we want you to come away from some crazy thing you are up to like putting your hand into a socket (mean I know, but still!).

The highlight of this month has to be the time you have spent with Ajji thatha. They got here on 5th July. You woke up feeling strangely excited that morning even before we went to the airport to pick them up, as if you somehow knew that they were coming to visit you. You so happily went to ajji thatha without an inkling of stranger anxiety, that you normally have with others. Wonder if you made the FaceTime connection? You took to them unexpectedly well since you spent the whole day with them on Day 2 and didn’t cry for us one bit. They also surprisingly handled you quite well (surprising given how many years it had been since they took care of us as babies).

Voice modulation is probably the highlight of this month. Although “ta” is the only sound you can make, you modulate your voice quite effectively to communicate. While “tuh-tuh” is for bye, taataa is for grandpa. The reason you probably started communicating a lot more is because ajji thatha have been around and talking to you constantly. Another benefit of them being around is that you are always well fed and have probably gotten gundu’r. I am a little nervous about not being able to feed you as well once they leave. I’ve never been quite good at these stereotypical motherly things.

You had a health visitor check on you this month and it turns out you are on the same growth trajectory that you were on when you were born, which means we have been doing quite well in terms of maintaining status quo if not having done worse. You are 7.2Kgs and 70cms now (in case you were curious?). Although built quite small, you are fully capable of pushing dustbins or buckets from one room to another, and it’s almost impossible to pull anything out of your grasp.

I know I have said this before, but you clearly have a special relationship with music. It calms you down like nothing else. Whenever you scream endlessly on the tube back home, I keep singing swara of varnas and geetes and you listen to it mesmerised. Thanks to your thatha you have learnt to even sway to music and clearly show your appreciation for it. You enjoy listening to rhymes when thatha sings them for you, you keep bringing him your sheet of rhymes so he can keep singing the same old thing all the time. But it’s incredible how close you’ve gotten to both ajji and thatha. How I wish you could grow up with them around just like Barbie and I did around ours. Sigh.

There’s been a step change in your ability to comprehend what we are saying – you give us things when we ask for it, you come when we call you, etc. You are very adventurous at home, you keep crawling off under everything at home, climbing up and down from everywhere and as appa says, you have figured out edge detection since you now know how to carefully get off a bed/ sofa. You are even training well to becoming a hand-slave as the other day you were picking up clothes from the bucket and giving it to appa and me as we were hanging clothes on the clothes line.

You can now stand up on your own without much support, although you haven’t mustered enough courage to walk. You are pretty happy crawling on all fours, especially to ajji thatha’s room to go hide behind the door to play Berry Kalla with thatha. You keep trying to bulldoze into the wall behind the door because you think it’s some sort of Platform 9-3/4th and you can escape into some hogwarts level place but the point is, you are really dumb. Haha. Fine, I know twenty years hence you’ll think I’m dumb, but it’s okay, it’s my turn now.

I soooo don’t want you to grow up, my 4 teethed monkey (You keep gritting those pearls, use them effectively to bite into things like your carrot/ cheese sticks and also randomly bite me. You’ve even started brushing your teeth occasionally (whenever we remember to. Lol)). Mwuuah my babbeshwari!



The art of finishing

The unfinished business of Michelangelo

The unfinished business of Michelangelo

“Mukhyamantri Chandru” (one of my favourite Kannada actors) once told me at Rangashankara (a popular theatre in Bangalore) in response to my question if he needs any rehearsals for his play Mukhyamantri, which he has performed over 100 times – practice makes him not only get better at his own act, it also helps him cover up for any tiny mishaps/ shortcomings of his colleagues, impromptu, without the knowledge of the audience thus making for a great play overall. Without any experience in being on stage, I believe one needs to at least be capable of controlling his/ her own act on stage to be a decent actor if not aid his/ her stage-mates.

As a stage performer (theatre, music, dance, etc.), one is subject to live scrutiny of his/ her act and receives generous feedback almost instantaneously thus allowing for correction and subsequent improvement in ability. After a few iterations of this, the performer begins to finish every act smoothly. Unfortunately, despite numerous attempts by my parents, I never learnt to finish. I trained in Carnatic Classical music for almost 10 years, yet never learnt to finish a note perfectly since I almost never had to. Being able to sing and entertain guests during festivals at home was good enough. Ok, not nearly, since finishing a note well was never the criteria for being judged as a good singer. If you managed to pass all the tests (junior, senior, vidvat) where you would be judged for your note finishing abilities but fairly leniently, you’d earn yourself the approval of your audience (family and their friends).

Now with painting, there were two problems. Firstly, I was born in the era of modern art and hence, it was hard to differentiate finished from unfinished. Secondly, you’re not subject to live scrutiny unless you’re resourceful enough to exhibit your work either at home or in a gallery neither of which I could afford as a student. When I started working, I decided to take personal art lessons in order to hone my traditional painting skills and learn the art of finishing (since I belonged to that sect of artists who finished off her works with a black felt pen/ micro-tip pen outline). Unfortunately, it lasted only three months since my teacher was learning the art of finishing too, except in his case it was the art of finishing my money!

Recently, while watching two guys harmoniously swing each other in the ballet “Carmina Burana” staged by the State theatre of Prague, I realised something exceptional. One guy precariously compensated for the lack of coordination of his partner without almost any of us noticing this and I realised that there is an underlying/ transcendent motivation in inculcating this art of finishing through a strong performing hobby in kids at a very young age in the hope that the child will not only pick up a certain art/ skill, but will also be able to share and possibly impart this to the rest of the world. It’s harder to sustain the zest for learning as we grow older simply because our ability to learn to finish and finish to learn diminishes with age. But lucky for us, unfinished business is celebrated too, for e.g., Accademia in Firenze has a gallery full of unfinished works of Michelangelo!