May 5, 2016

Two for Travel

Now its always about the way we did things when T was small as compared to when V is small. I think our first trip with T was when she was over 6 months, and a short drive to Coorg had us all tired out.

But this time around, we started of with our travel when she was 4 months old. We went off to Delhi and then onto Jodhpur and Jaisalmer to bring in the new year. This was not her first flight experience though, as when I returned from Trivandrum, that flight was her first time on an aircraft. So, this time around we did a train journey to Jodhpur and then from there to Jaisalmer by bus too. I think we have covered pretty much all modes of transport now. One of the things we are looking to do is a cruise, maybe in another year when V will be a little bigger... that is on the cards.

Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

Back from Delhi, we were next off to Goa with a group of friends, just to meet up and relax. And the sea and the waves did her good after the cold chill of Delhi and Rajasthan. But I think being about 5 months meant she was more mobile and wanted to be on the floor. That was not a possibility with the place we were staying at, and Goa being Goa, there was always sand everywhere!

Morjim Beach

Next we were off to Singapore, visiting friends and family. Both the girls had so much fun and I think I relaxed so much that 1 week. Somewhere it was meant to be a detox trip, where rules don't matter and norms need not be adhered to. One of the things about Singapore is the ease of doing stuff, and even a plan to go across town works out without too many glitches. We had a super relaxed week with a movie, breakfast and lots of other stuff thrown in.

Clark Quay

I have never been to Chikmagalur in spite of being in Karnataka for over 9 years now. So, this Ugadi, had to drive across and see what this region was all about.

And what did I learn?

There is so much natural beauty here and so much to see, but with a small kid in tow, there is nothing much you can do other than drive about in a car.

So we did what was the next best thing possible. We decided to visit Belur and Halibedu. The temples were great, good to see and lots to read up before heading to the temple. I am not a big fan of guides.. I prefer either reading up stuff or else having a audio tour which will let me go at my pace.

Belur Chennakesava Temple

May 2, 2016

Book Review: Hedon by Priyanka

Hedon by Priyanka... when I read the blurb I was expecting something of a metro read. But, I was in for a surprise. The language though much more easy an breezy, than what I usually like, I thought this was a good debut nevertheless. Falling into the category of a romance and fiction, bringing about new elements to the writing style and the usage of these elements to bring in a stronger influence of the story on the reader.

We look at Tara's life through school, college and once she enters back into society as a woman on the path to setting her own life and home soon. When the book starts off, there is a disconnect one feels with the flow of the story, but soon as the story picks up. The age difference between the two main charachters in a way pulls you to see how things will pan out for them over the years. It is heart warming to read about the small meetings, exchanges and talks between them which paves the path for love.

The prose has a poetic quality which makes the reader savour each word and I also believe it does bring more feelings into the story. Or maybe it brings a softness to the long love story starting at the tender age of 17, the child like love story which transforms itself some heart ache and finally a strong and forbearing love. At times I did feel that the indepth explanations very a tad bit unncessary and in a way took my mind away from the real story. I did not enjoy these bits, and did tend to skip some of these small bits which really contributed in no great way to the story as a whole.

Rating: 3.5/5

January 20, 2016

T4Tales - A chat with the author, Pridhee

I have been a reader since the age of 8, or so I believe. I do not have any recollection of books before that. But, I know for a fact that I have always seen my parents reading, and I did try to read words in the newspaper much before the age of 8. When T was born, I started reading to her when she was around 6 months. I did quite a bit of research about the various kinds of books available, and wh which were suitable at each age.  These were mostly in English. The moment I sort a way to build a love for regional languages, I found books only in Hindi. These books in Hindi were paperbacks which are more suited for a 3 or 4 year olds.

Where are all the board books, lift the flap ones, cloth books and the so many options which you find in English? There were none in any Indian languages, and the ones which were available ... not something I would pick up for toddlers and preschoolers for sure. So, I resorted to digital media to bring some bits of the fun element of Indian languages to my daughter.

Almost a year later, Pridhee has brought to us, the very same thing which so many moms have looked for and now I hope that it will help the many new moms to bring Indian languages to their tiny people early on.

Speaking with Pridhee about the book, T4 Tales and her journey so far as a publisher and author.

And while we are at it, you can pick your copy at Shumee (India) or Amazon (US)

How did you turn from a biologist to an author?

I became a mom. The only way I could get my daughter to eat was if I told her stories or read books to her. I quickly realized that I was  reading only English books. That was when I asked myself if this was the end of Hindi in our family?  Will we have to rely on Bollywood movies for some exposure to Hindi? I thought maybe there are other parents who feel the same as me. I decided to give it a shot and that is how T4tales came alive.

What prompted you to go the board book and lift the flap route?

Kids from the 0-4 age love to be independent and are by nature very curious. As the Reggio Emilia approach says children learn by self exploration and discovery. They should be allowed to learn through experiences of touching, listening and observing. Board books are sturdy and allow children to practice their motor skills of turning pages without tearing a page. Lift the flap books add interactivity that keeps children involved and curious about what will come next. It helps them feel independent to explore and discover.

Tell me a little about Bolo Kya

Bolo kya started off as a riddle between my daughter and me. It was like a game of "I spy" but in Hindi. Kiki (our little T4tales bird) takes the children on a ride of exploration of animals, colors, parts of the body, opposites and of course a riddle with an answer.

What are you trying to bring to your readers through Bolo Kya?

A fresh way for children to read and enjoy Hindi. A book that would compete with the high quality English books (in illustrations) and content that does not always focus on providing a moral lesson. You do not have to know the Hindi script because we provide the english transliteration. It is not your usual moral story or panchatantra tale. Most of all it is visually appealing to the children.

How has your journey been so far? And what do you see ahead for T4Tales?

Going from being a full time scientific officer to a full time mom and now author has been quite a roller coaster ride. But I have found something that brings a smile to my face and am passionate about providing to the coming generation.  

As for T4tales, we have a long way to go but I do hope we are able to bring back the interest in learning Hindi to our children and our coming generations.

January 11, 2016

Been there, done that and still going back ...

When T was small, we rarely stepped out for a meal, and that was a conscious decision that B and I took as we didn't want that whole hassle associated with going out with a small person. But, this time around with V, we felt like trying what it would be like with 2 small persons tagging along for a meal :). We had a plan for lunch and then heading out to do some shopping for essentials, and we ended it with lunch and rushing back to the comfort of our home and breathing a sigh of relief.

Between T and V, both of us were either making a formula feed, feeding the formula feed, helping T with her food, walking V around to burp (and then followed by the spit up which never ever happens at home), ensuring T is not converting the place into a play area, rocking V to sleep as she is surely bringing the place down else ... I really wonder whether it mattered if they served us even the wrong order. And we had no time to wait around for the right now, so we just changed the order to suit what was served! Aaah... end result, we decided, or maybe it was just me who decided, to head straight back home.

And, now sitting here, I wonder, why did I even venture out to attempt the impossible!
Whoever said Nothing is Impossible!

In fact I question myself why I ever did think this time would be anything different. I remember once I did take T out when she was something months, and after that decided that a repeat of that meal out would be after she is at least 2 years. And since she has been 2, we have been regularly going out for weekend meals, and now I believe T misses that the most. I really need to figure out how to incorporate those outings for her.

But, all of us going out for a sit down meal, not in the next year at the least!

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