We took a huge step for our future this week. A really big one. This is the moment when it happened, I always thought I would be jumping around with joy, celebrating with happy smiles. Instead of feeling that way, I find myself more scared than ever. I am like ten percent excited and a zillion percent scared. And this is not the like the scare I had before. When I was travelling to the US on a job assignment for the first time, all on my own, I was so scared. But, that time, I knew doing that, no matter how scared I was, was good. It was the good opportunity. I had reasons to be scared. New place, leaving family, even if I had friends around was scary. But soon it was okay. We had the best times. This dilemma is not like that. I am not sure if this is good and if we should just do it. It feels right, but it doesn’t too. Do we need to wait more? Is this the right time? Is this the right one? So many questions. So many concerns and no easy answer. A, whose words I can blindly believe, tells me what I need to hear. I spoke to him for half an hour and he told me all my concerns on my mind before I even told him that. He has been through something similar. So, his answer or suggestion to our problem is not what I like. I want to go with what he said, but I also worry about what I will lose. I want this to go through. I want to have this. But I worry if this is the right thing or right time to have it. So much is at stake now. I haven’t realized all that before. And knowing that good luck has never been on our side, scares me even more. I don’t know. I don’t know what to do. Its been a dream for such a long time and it keeps eluding me. This was supposed to be easy, but it isn’t. May be, I am complicating this. I don’t know. I feel so lost and unfocussed.
Few weeks ago, I got this thought of throwing a surprise birthday party for Murali. From the moment I thought about it, the plan was just forming in my head. (I guess I am just good at planning birthday parties 😉 ). His birthday fell on a Tuesday. I didn’t want to host a party on that day. Instead, I thought about doing it on the weekend before the birthday. Saturday would have been ideal. But then I realized, I would have to run around doing the decorations at the party place and take care of Abhi and Achu. Plus, what would I tell Murali about where I was in the afternoon (Not that he would question or doubt 😉 )? So, I moved it a day earlier. Friday evening. Perfect. As usual, I will have nanny coming in on that day to take care of Abhi and Achu. I can get out of office earlier and get the decorations etc. stuff done. I debated on the place a bit, but quickly decided on the community center in our apartment complex. Its convenient. Especially with kids. Perfect plan, so far.
Few days later, I told P about the plan. She was going to be my partner in crime for the event. She agreed readily (We are all for celebrations anytime 🙂 ). Next, I told her about my plans about the time and venue. She agreed to that too). And we started talking more. I had this idea in my mind but I wasn’t sure if we should do that. Murali is very fond of Japan. We don’t know why but no matter what the topic is, he brings Japan into picture. If we ask him where he is going, he is going to Japan. If we are talking about where something came from, it always came from Japan. Anything is related to Japan. So, naturally I thought of doing a Japan themed party. That moment, except for few things like lanterns, cherry trees, sumos etc., we didn’t know much about the culture. We looked around but I started to think we can not find all the items easily.
So, enter Murali’s favorite movie star. There is this Telugu movie actor. Very popular, in general. But for all of us, his actions and dialogues are something we LOL at. He can totally beat any law of physics. I don’t remember when this started but Murali used to make fun of him along with us and suddenly he was a fan. For laughs of course. He takes the other side of the argument and that makes the conversations more funny. When the last movie of this actor released, we were stepping out for lunch when our friends called and said they were going to watch this movie. I said it was okay for him to go, so he quickly dropped me and kids back at home and went to watch the movie. See the dedication. Even skipping lunch. 🙂
So, our theme was this Japan and this Actor. Or “Actor goes to Japan”. Few days later, I invited Murali’s best friends U and K (My friends actually). U, P and I met in my first job 10 years ago. After I went to India last year, Murali stayed at U and his wife K’s place for few days. We call Murali and U brothers now and we mean it. They have to see each other now and then or they would start asking about each other. Plus, U is such a nice guy. Very friendly. Any time, he will help you with more than he needs to, even if he doesn’t know you at all. It was very important for U and K to be at the party, so I confirmed with them first. They were all excited too to throw this party for Murali.
I told Murali that we were invited to a kid’s birthday party at the place and we had to go with kids. Our plan was that Murali, Kids and us will come to the venue for that fake-kids-birthday party and all our friends will surprise him.
Later, I invited our other friends. Some of them were going to make it. Some couldn’t. I invited one of Murali’s college friends too. They haven’t met in while (despite living in the same area 🙂 ), so I thought it would be a nice surprise for Murali. But they couldn’t make it. Our guests list was almost set.
P and I started looking at the decorations for the place while U and K took care of the food. Until three days before the event, I couldn’t focus on anything for the party as I was super busy at work.
Monday of the last week, I took the day off and went shopping for decorations. I couldn’t buy anything. I couldn’t store them anywhere. Plus, Murali might see what I bought on my card. So I went and took pictures of what I wanted to buy. Lucky for us, I found something like Japanese fans and lanterns (we were planning to make these at home with paper) at the party store.
Three days before the event, my plan was that P and I will go get some shopping done, but Murali said he was coming with us. Darn. So, I changed my plan. Told him I was going to the Starbucks to read a book and he said Okay. I asked P to take bus home and meet me at the coffee shop. While I was getting down at the shop, Murali asks me if I had the book in my bag. I was going to laugh because I told him I was going to read a book but I didn’t have any in my bag. Lucky for me, I found a book in the car trunk and I grabbed it. P came by the store and we still couldn’t go shopping because Murali was already home and we couldn’t take our decoration pieces home. So, we decided to at least get the cake done. We picked a single layer chocolate cake. We initially planned to get a sumo figure and put it on the cake, but we couldn’t find it anywhere. We looked at all the store we can and didn’t find it. So, we went with our plan B. Inscribing Happy birthday in Japanese on the cake. No one would understand it though. The women at the bakery asked us to get a printout of the letters. We looked on the internet and gave her this. It reads “Tanjoubi Omedetou”. We don’t know if this really means Happy Birthday, but I trust Internet. 🙂
Next day, we printed some colorful pictures of the actor. When P was printing his pictures, printer stopped working. I am telling you, even printer was scared of him ;p . Next, we went to the party store again and bought all the items. U was free and he joined too. We bought the cutlery, fans, lanterns etc. We found this cute umbrella too. I was careful to not go overboard with decorations because, you know, its not a girls bday. We like all colorful decorations, they don’t. We were going home when we heard that Murali was already home. Darn again. Now, we couldn’t carry all the decoration items home. I could neither keep them in our car. Murali would know it. Lucky again. U was there, so we sent all the decorations with him. Cake, food, decorations, guest invites – Everything was taken care of. Next, it was the day of the surprise event. Time for executing the plan.
On such day, anything could wrong. Right? For me, it didn’t really go that way, but, it got tough. Because the same day I had to attend in the afternoon, a team event somewhere. Add to that, I had two meetings in the morning. I didn’t sit one minute quietly that day. I came to work, finished my meetings and then one of our friends A asked me to pick him up from somewhere. I had to drive away from work and the team event, pick him up, go to event and then drop him back again, pick P and the decoration from U and we reached home.
On our way back, P told me some bad news that she may have to go back in the next week. I almost started crying. Luckily A was with us, so he was making fun of the situation and made us laugh. Later, I told P that I wanted to cancel the event and she said she was trying to distract herself with the surprise event. We didn’t change anything with the plan, but through out the evening and even now, I have that worry in my head. I hope she doesn’t have to go back. Not for few more months at least 😦
After we got to the event hall, we started decorating. We kept it simple like we hoped. Pasted photos of actor all around the hall. Murali was at another team party so he wasn’t going to be around home, but we had the worry that he might walk by the hall anytime and spot us. That would ruin everything. Even when we were decorating, we were trying to watch out and see if he was coming home (Few days ago, we asked what route he takes to come home, to make sure we are safe. He said he usually takes some alternate route, but we were worried). I was going to pickup the cake from the store and I saw bus coming. I quickly reversed the car and hid in some parking lot. I had to wait for the bus to pass. Luckily he didn’t come then. When we walked around. we were trying to hide our faces behind the posters etc., so that if he wont see us.
I went home, gave Abhi and Achu bath and got them ready. We planned the event for 7, all our friends started arriving at the hall. Everyone was ready, and then Murali calls and says that he was coming home late. We were all just waiting. Abhi and Achu were cranky so I had to take them for stroller walks all around the place. I called and told Murali we were getting late for the fake kids party. Then Murali calls U and asks him to give him a ride home from where his party was. Funniest thing. Imagine U knew all about this. He was at our place already. He went to pick up Murali and through out the drive he was trying to keep it a secret. Murali was telling him about the fake party he had to go to and U was silently listening. LOL. Then, U dropped Murali off. We were already in the parking lot, all ready then. But, I had to give U sometime to reach the hall. So I took Murali upstairs again. When we were walking upstairs , we saw our friends A and his family coming to our house. Obviously, they didn’t get the message that they had to go the party hall. Kids even came into our house. I sent Murali to bathroom and sent A’s family to hall.
You know what the easiest thing in throwing this party was? An unsuspecting Murali. He had no clue. And he didn’t doubt for a second. Even when he saw A’s kids in the house and the next moment they were gone, he didn’t ask me what happened. I don’t know if I should be happy or sad about the lack of that interest. 🙂 Anyway, we reached the hall and went inside. Someone blew whistles, made noises and everyone yelled at once. Murali was more shocked than surprised. He realized what the event was for, greeted everybody. I also finally met my friend S who came here recently. Our nanny and her family was there too and she helped manage kids a bit and I could go talk to friends and be the hostess. Murali cut cake. Popped open champagne. Food was spicy and good. We didn’t have time to plan any games, so P and I prepared some safe, rapid fire round questions for Murali. Later, we made him dance to one of actor’s songs. He made us laugh so much.
It was fun. Murali was quite surprised. I was very happy to see all our friends. We had a nice time. At the end, we had to quickly clean up and everyone of our friends chimed in. We cleaned up quick. K and I were talking that we are pros at cleaning up after a party. So true. U, K, S and other friend Ki came home after the party. And resumed finishing the opened Wine bottles at the party, stayed until 1 in the morning. Thank God for friends, right. It was such a fun event. Thank God it all went smooth.
So, that’s how we celebrated Murali’s birthday this year. Happy Birthday Murali. May your year be full of success, happiness and good health. 🙂 🙂 🙂
Each time someone hears Abhi and Achu talk, they get very surprised at how well Abhi and Achu are conveying what they want, how easily they are framing sentences, etc. I, myself, am super amused EVERY time I hear them say something. 90 percent of the times they speak clearly and I understand what they are saying. (Rest of the times is more funny. Those words are very weird, make no sense and absolutely sound cute. I just cant laugh enough while trying to decode in my brain what they are saying.)
Last week, we were talking about our friend couple L and D. They have a son Y, same age as Abhi and Achu are. We all went to the UW few weeks ago. While we were talking about L and D, none of us mentioned Y’s name. We were just talking about the parents while Abhi hears L & D’s name and takes Y’s name. I was so amazed. How did he manage to store in his little brain and relate Y to L and D? I still cant believe he said that. Murali and I looked at each other, quite surprised at the association he made.
Murali started teaching Abhi and Achu names of the countries and places. One afternoon, we kept repeating names of different places and Abhi, Achu repeated at least 50% of them perfectly. SouthAffica is my favorite. Czechoslovakia was a popular one. Abhi and Achu tried hard on that and Abhi almost nailed it. We spent fifteen minutes repeating every name we could think of and Abhi, Achu got to all of them with super excitement. I think we covered almost all of the world. Popular places, at least.
Yesterday Achu finishes her milk before Abhi does. She tells me, “Achu’s milk all done. Abhi is drinking milk”. I say, “Okay. Fine”. Then she proceeds onto something sort of turning the bottle around her face saying ‘Tsk Tsk Tsk’. Guess what. Once in a while, just to amuse her, I do the nazar-utaro thing, moving the empty bottle around her face saying tsk tsk tsk. So, she was doing her own ‘nazar utaro’ ceremony as I missed it. She must be very proud of her finishing the bottle first.
We were at the park yesterday, playing ball. This is the first time we got the ball to the park to play, so Abhi and Achu didn’t understand the routine of continuously chasing and kicking the ball yet. I kicked the ball towards Abhi and asked him to kick it. He looks like he pauses for a minute and tells me, “I am forgetting something. Zizzors” (Scissors). I laughed out loud. Amazed again. God knows why he needed scissors then. He must have heard one of us say that and repeated the sentence as is.
This morning Abhi comes to me with a yellow balloon saying, “I got something. Balloon for you Amma”. I couldn’t believe my ears.
Achu and I step out of the living room after her afternoon nap. Abhi was still sleeping in his bedroom. Not remembering that, I started talking to Achu in normal voice and Achu immediately tells me, “Shh. Abhi sheeping” (sleeping). And then I lowered my voice and we both talked hush-hush until Abhi woke up.
I was in all bad and depressed mood today. After we got back from the stroller walk, I was playing with Abhi when he suddenly bit me (he was excited about something). I got serious and told him what I had to. He was upset that I was upset. After few moments, I got normal and gave him a hug, but he was still upset. Achu had already claimed my lap and occupied it (Just to be sure I am not angry on her. She does it all the time to make sure she is not in trouble 😀 ). I asked Abhi what he wants. He comes and occupies the rest of my lap and says, ‘Sing Wheels on the bus’. In one moment all my depressed mood was gone. I just smiled at how adorably he asked me to sing the song for him. Abhi and Achu sat in my lap for few more minutes while I sang various versions of ‘Wheels on the bus’. My one perfect moment in the day.
Blame Pinterest. I am so addicted now that I don’t do anything else on my phone. I have been so lazy about writing and I have so many pending posts. 😦 I am forcing myself to do this now.
(Oh God! I see a giant bee buzzing around. After I am done here I will also have to catch it before Abhi, Achu wake up and start chasing it)
Seeing how much Abhi and Achu like jumping (and also to stop Abhi from jumping in the bathtub), we moved this extra bed into the living room. Bear and Haathi are getting the much needed rest now as the bed is being used for jumping, drinking milk, diaper changing and everything else.
I don’t know if you can tell from the picture – Achu unleashed a tsunami of face wipes in her crib. She was supposed to be sleeping this time. I was turned the other side trying not to respond to her. After a while it got so calm that I thought she slept. When I turned, I saw her sitting in the crib with the wipes box between her legs and every single wipe out of the box. On a side note, I didn’t know the box really had those many wipes. After I was done being surprised at what she had calmly accomplished, Achu and I stuffed the wipes back into the box. But, we can see it wont be useful anymore.
Nanna and Achu resting on the bed and watching Frasier. Achu got up early from her nap (No surprise there. In her world, sleeping is such a waste of time) and joined nanna in watching TV.
Shh! Abhi, Achu drinking milk (In their own words)
Even if it was pouring down a lot, we made it to the cake potluck and the dance show near our house last week. Someone (who is holding the plate you see here) emptied three different pieces of cake and also fed Abhi and Achu Rum cake before I stopped him.
Abhi and Achu helped baked muffins or what they call cupcakes or muffin mammu. They took turns to whisk the mix, fill the muffin pan and even in adding the toppings. I also wish they helped in cleaning up the pieces of baked muffins thrown all over the living room (from the muffins they were supposed to eat).
Abhi is riding the truck.
Money come out. Money come out. Abhi and Achu trying to work their magic at an ATM.
Achu being a responsible pet owner. She moved browny (all of it, including the thread) from the carpet onto this blanket, sang jojo couple of times and even covered it with her blanket. Browny and I got very emotional seeing that.
Achu wanted to control time. So when I gave her the clock, she stood on it. Time gave up. Achu won (And amma lost another piece of home décor). Abhi broke my other vase last week. I didn’t take a picture this time. What’s the point, right?
Abhi left his bottle on the carpet at that angle. So did Achu.
Abhi and Achu’s new found love is spending time in the patio. Weather is definitely better which means they are not locked in the house as they were before. We put on jackets and etc , sometimes and step out. Abhi tells me, “Amma. Look at that. We are outside”.
Abhi and Achu are at the library. Abhi is with me while Murali is watching Achu. We were walking in different aisles when Achu starts looking for Abhi. And that too with a really worried tone. “Wheres Abhi?”, “Wheres Abhi?”. And when she finally found him, she was all beaming with smiles saying, “Here. Found you Abhi”.
Dragon story is our new go-to story. At first, Achu was a bit scared of the dragon coming. Even though Goldilocks is not bad, Achu was also scared of her (because she will come and eat all our mammu, right!). In the morning, Goldilocks or dragon topic comes up. Abhi looks at Achu and asks, ‘Ru cared?” (scared)
Abhi or Achu play and play and play and finally declare, “Im tired”.
Abhi or Achu don’t want to be in the crib. Of course, who wants to, right? They ask themselves, “Do you want to come out?”. They also answer themselves, “Yes. Yes. Yes”.
Sitting on the carpet or couch is boring. Oooh! Sitting on the countertops is sooo nice. “Want to sit there?”. We are told or they ask themselves. “Yes. Yes”, is also their answer.
Achu wants something. Of course. No surprise there. “Achu mants it” (wants).
Abhi is done pooping. “Its working”, he tells us.
Achu opens the door (In her defense, it was her turn. Okay?) and tells us, “I opened it”.
Cutting toy veggies is one of their favorites. Achu picks her tray. “This is mine.”. Points to Abhi’s. “This is Abhi’s”.
Abhi found keys. Toy keys. Abhi runs to Achu, “Achu, see this. Its keys”. Achu takes the keys, “Thank you Abhi”.
Its aachi time. Time to go out for a stroller walk. Achu hands Abhi his jacket. Abhi replies, “Thanku Achu”.
Abhi wants amma. “Amma come here”. I am told. Quite clearly.
Achu finds monkey. “This iz monkey”.
We are back from aachi time. Abhi doesnt want to be home. Still wants to go out. “Aachi time, Aachi time”, he screams. “We are home Abhi. Aachi time over”, Achu tells him.
🙂 🙂 🙂 (And these smiles roughly translate to – As far as I remember they are still small and tiny babies in their diapers. When did they learn to say all these things? )