Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Monday, April 28, 2008

The world at my feet!

The world and its aunt actually :-p.

Hello all! I, Snuggles, ecchh, what kind of a name is Snuggles? Big :-p to mom. I'm going to rename myself Snugster, that sounds cool. I, Snugster, have taken over this blog for good. Since my mom is too lazy to stop me, all you people have to read through (I mean, suffer through :-D) whatever I have to say :-p.

Mom keeps telling everybody what a good baby I am (she doesn't know the naughty streak in me), so right now I'm making her suffer a bit. I have been fussing for a while and pooping some mucous stuff frequently. Well, I thought my plan worked when mom got worried, but it sorta backfired on me what with the doctor suggesting some syrup and drops :((. Anyways, the doctor has told mom that there's nothing to worry about, so well, everything's fine and getting better.

Anyways the whole reason of me taking over mom's blog was to show you how I'm being pampered left and right. You all know how ammamma (mom's mom) has been pampering me in the US. She bathed me and did all sorts of seve for me ;-).

As soon as I landed in Bangalore, everyone literally fell at my feet :-D. Firstly, I had Darshu mama and his hair wrapped around my little fingers :-D.

Secondly, grandpa is totally besotted with me >:-).

Ammi doddamma and Dinni mama also visited us and I had both of them eating out of my hands..

Ooops! I almost forgot about Sanju chikkamma treating me like a doll ;-).

Hehehehe, huggggggggge victory to me!!

(Me-getting-pampered-in-Hyderabad photos coming up soon..)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Missing you..

Another mushy post from me, sorry..

Missing you..

Its not that I cannot see without you,
But you are my eyes' first choice..
Its not that I cannot hear without you,
But my ears long to hear your voice..

Its not that I cannot talk without you,
But my words wish to reach your ears..
Its not that I cannot eat without you,
But few morsels and hunger disappears..

Its not that I cannot smile without you,
But even my joy is somewhat strained..
Its not that I cannot feel without you,
In fact my feelings are too unrestrained..

Its not that I cannot breathe without you,
But my nose yearns for your fragrance..
Its not that I cannot live without you,
But my whole being misses your presence..

Sometimes I find myself singing this song without my knowledge - "Na jaane kyon" from the movie Choti is baath..

Thanks to YouTube and user ilovehrishida for the video.

Wohi hein dagar, Wohi hein safar,
Hein nahi, Saath mere magar, Ab mera humsafar,
Idhar udhar doonde nazar, Wohi hein dagar..
Kaha gayi shaame madh bhari?
Woh mere, mere woh din gaye kidhar?

Na jaane kyon hota hein ye zindagi ke saath,
Achaanak ye mann, kisike jaane ke baad,
Kare fir uski yaad, choti choti si baath..
Na jaane kyon..

Sigh :(((. 2 more weeks until Sri lands here :(((. But on a lighter note, the line about my hunger "disappearing" is a blatant lie. I'm a hungry mama-shark since I have a little shark dependent on me :-D.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Chennai Chennai aasai :))

The heat hit me on the face as soon as I was out of my 2nd AC Compartment. Sounds familiar? Its because this post is a rehash of a post 3 years ago. Yes, I'm talking about a visa interview in Chennai, the only difference being that I had Snuggles with me this time. But hold on, lets start at the beginning.

As you know already, I left my job last year in January (if you don't know, then it means you are new here and you might need to refer the archives on the right pane :-p). Well, leaving a job in US does not plain mean you are leaving a job. It involves a change in status. Hence my status changed from L1 to H4. We applied for the change of status immediately and it got approved fine. So as long as I was in the US, my status was valid. But if I left the country, then I had to get a H-4 visa stamped on my passport. My L-1 visa (got in Delhi 2 years back) wouldn't be valid anymore. All said and done, I had to travel to one of the US consulates in India to get a stamping. Why not our favourite Chennai? :-p.

So started my theerthayaathra. I call it that because each time we come to India, we somehow need to go to a US consulate and put namaskara and come back :-p. Anyways, my hubby, the typical planner that he is, booked the appointment at the consulate for 27th March 2008 at 9 AM, booked train tickets for the previous night and air tickets on Paramount airways for the 27th afternoon as I wanted to get back to Bangalore as fast as possible. I was worried pretty bad, as I'd be travelling just 2 days after landing in India. Sri assured me that we could cancel the appointment if I wasn't comfy (I was worried about Snuggles being not well/not adjusting to the weather here). Anyways, Snuggles was marellous on the planes and took to Bangalore pretty well. The only problem was that I couldn't sleep at all on the planes, as well as the next 2 days (hardly slept for 2 hours each day). My trouble point was that I not only had my jet lag, but Snuggles's jet lag to deal with. Though I would want to sleep at nights here, Snuggles would be totally up and hence I wouldn't get a wink of sleep :-p.

On 26th evening, the Paramount airways people called dad and informed us that the plane was cancelled! Dad gave them a nice scolding saying we booked tickets on their plane only because we have an infant travelling with us and we wanted to get back to Bangalore asap. The rep said she'd look for an earlier plane and would get back. So at around 9PM in the night, dad, Snuggles and I headed to the railway station in an auto. Travelling in an auto with a baby is an experience, I tell you, what with falling into potholes and jumping on speed bumps :-p. Anyways, we got to the train without problems. Snuggles was ok on the train except for a small fussy period (when dad held her (I know, I know, I'm really lucky to have such a sweet baby :-D). I was able to sleep for about 2 hours and thats it :(. Early morning at 4:30 AM we got to Chennai, only to discover that a new flyover is being built right next to the guest house in which we had a room reserved :-p. After quite a bit of walking we were able to get to the room.

I had previously decided to take Snuggles to the consulate. One of my close friends, Aarts, took her baby to the consulate in Nov 2007 and she suggested that it'd be simpler as ladies with children would be given preference. I had bought a sling specifically for that purpose. Handling a file full of papers would be difficult with a child in one hand. So I thought a sling would come in handy. The only problem was the security check - I was worried that they'd make me remove the sling (which'd be a hugge hassle what with removing the baby, then removing the sling, then putting on the sling and putting in the baby!).

We set off to the consulate at around 8:15 AM (dad brought breakfast from the nearby Saravana Bhavan) and reached there by 8:30 AM. I was able to go in without any trouble whatsoever. The security check as also a breeze as the lady didn't ask me to remove the sling and moreover since I carried only the file and the baby in the sling, there were no purses to check. But I'm somewhat surprised at the slack in security, I mean the lady just asked me if I had a cell phone. I said no and they didn't even have a way of making sure. I hope the Americans inside know about this (I'm more surprised because in US airports, they make us remove shoes and jackets and scan everything through).

Anyways after getting in, a security guy saw Snuggles's US passport and took me to the front of the line for the Indian officer/finger-prints queue. The man standing in the front of the line started protesting "I have a 10 AM appointment sir". I was flabbergasted. My FIL had complained about them letting in people of later appointments, but it was still 8:45 AM. I remember previously in Chennai consulate itself, they didn't allow me inside because I was half an hour early for my appointment! I said to the protesting guy "I have an appointment at 9 AM, so please don't worry" (I had half a mind to put out my tongue at him ;-) :-p) and was soon called on to present my papers. The whole thing was no problem except for the fact that the consulates have recently changed the dollar exchange rate and the DD I took wasn't enough. Thankfully, the cautious guy he is, Sri had warned me about this earlier and I had taken a couple of hundred bucks change. I was told to pay the same in a counter inside.

I went to the next building (I was familiar with this exercize as I had visited the consulate earlier) and was asked to sit and wait for a while. Snuggles who was quietly sleeping in the sling all this while, chose this time to slowly start fussing :-D. So I got up and started walking to and fro to calm her down. Soon a guy called me and noticing the DD, sent me to the paying counter. I added the extra money and was told to come back for the change. Later immediately I was taken to the front of the line in the Interview queue and soon interviewed by an American lady. Since I have the habit of putting up conversations, here it is:

Ms. American: Hello
Me: Hi, Good morning!
Ms. American: How long have you been staying in US?
Me: About 2.5 years.
Ms. American: How long has your husband been working for his current employer?
Me: 2 years.
Ms. American: {refering to the previous L1 on my passport}Are you still working for your employer?
Me: No, I resigned last year. We applied for change of status to H4 then.
Ms. American: So you are currently unemployed?
Me: Yes.
Ms. American: {refering to Snuggles} Was your daughter born in US?
Me: Yes.
Ms. American: Ok, your visa is issued, passport will be sent to your home. Bye.
Me: Thank you {smile}.

I hurried to the paying counter, only to find that the girl still didn't have the change ready. I was supposed to get 38 bucks back, but she had only 32 bucks, so I asked her to keep the change. I didn't want to wait, as we wanted to get to the airport asap. Only once I came out did I find out from dad that the rep from Paramount airways the previous day hadn't even registered our complaint. Crazzzzy, I tell you :-p. So dad had to repeat the whole problem to another rep who said that she'd get back (same old story!). He also mentioned that we'd be reaching the airport at about 10:30 AM and to look for flights leaving anytime after that. Meanwhile, we hurried back to the room, packed up and caught an auto to the airport. While in the auto, the rep called back and informed us that there was another 11:30 AM Air Deccan flight and that was cancelled as well. But there was a 2:55 PM Kingfisher flight available and would that be ok. My dad specifically asked her whether that was the earliest flight from Chennai to Bangalore. She confirmed and we said ok.

It was only when we reached the airport, we found out that there were 2 flights, a Jet and a Kingfisher leaving for Bangalore at 11:40 AM. But the reps at the Paramount airways counter said that since they had already booked the 2:55 PM flight, there was nothing that they could do. The Kingfisher people said that changing the tickets from 2:55 PM to 11:40 PM would entail a hugge rebooking fee as well as an addtion in fare charges. It was all very disappointing. I mean, I haven't travelled a single time in Paramount airways and I'm already sick of the way they treated us. Well, what could we do? We waited and caught the 2:55 PM flight. We did make use of the lounge that Paramount airways had in the airport though. But I repeat, I doubt I'll ever book another flight on Paramount :-p. Dad later was of the opinion that the difference in the fare rate might have been the reason they booked the later flght. Whatever, I'd have appreciated beng told the reason :-p.

The Kingfisher flight though a bit delayed, was a delight. The snacks were delicious and the air hostess very helpful. By the time we finished the snacks (the dessert - blueberry mascarpone cheesecake was totally yummy :-D), we landed in Bangalore. We caught an auto to home, during which I, who was totally zonked, handed the baby to dad and slept the whole way. Later at home too, I slept away only to have dinner/get up to feed the baby. Looks like I caught all my sleep in one go :-D.

The trip went a lot smoother than I expected it to. Snuggles was a boon throughout, though a bit fussy, maybe due to the Chennai weather. From then, she also went on to recover from her jet lag completely in about 2 days :-D. Guess the trip shocked the jet lag out of us :-D :)).

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Contrasting emotions..

As I landed in the city that I have missed for the past 2 years, everything felt different. Even the airport has additions. The roads are better, the traffic is worse. There are new hugge buildings that have cropped up everywhere. Many trees are gone, but new plants have been grown. The whole landscape is changed. More lights, less lonely roads. The flyovers which were incomplete when I left are all standing in a newly finished glory. Its as if I have been standing still all this while and Bangalore has moved on...

As I reached the home I have been away from for the past 2 years, everything remained the same. The garden is its same old overgrown self. The gate, the garage, the sofa, the TV, nothing has changed. The staircase is as it is. Even everything in my room remains unchanged. The bed, the cot, the table, the curtains and the cupboards are all as they were. The mirror is the same, but the person in the mirror staring back at me is different. Its as if the house has been standing still all this while and I have moved on...

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Two women and a baby!

Its been a full week since I landed in India. Yup its been more than hectic, what with trips to Chennai and Hyderabad (where I am currently), travelling in cars/autos/planes/trains, visiting friends and relatives and what not. It has been hectic, but it has also been fun.

It all started on last sunday when a man dropped off 2 women and a baby to the Cincinnati airport. Here are the various thoughts that went off in my head as the trip progresed -


2PM EST: "Wah :((. I don't want to leave you Sri :((. Its been more than 2 years of being together alone, how can I leave without you? Please prepone your tickets na!! :'((."

2:15PM EST: "God, I'm going to even miss this house" (as I locked up the house and looked around for the last time.

3PM EST: "Can't believe that its been 6 months since mom came. Now we are already heading back!"

4PM EST: "Phew! Thank God all the check-in luggage are within 50 pounds. These people should increase the limits, I was hardly able to fit diapers in :-p".

4:30PM EST: "I dunno why I'm crying, its not like we'll be apart forever. But 1.5 months feel like eternity as of now :(."

5:00PM EST: "Security check hassles done. Gate reached. Nothing to do but wait. Can't believe I'm going back to India after 2 years!".

6PM EST: "Breastfeeding discreetly in public is not as difficult as I thought it would be :-D". (Note to breastfeeding mothers everywhere - use a cotton skirt worn on the shoulders as a wrap instead of blankets and the expensive nursing covers, you can't guess how simple it all becomes :-D).

6:30PM EST: "Ok baby's bassinet reserved, mom's seat moved next to mine. Now to board the plane."

7PM EST: "Wish Sri was going with me :(".

On Flight1:

"Bye bye US :(".

"Thank God for friends! If it was not for Chans, I wouldn't have known what to do with a baby on a plane."
(Chans told me that breastfeeding while take-off/landing helps with baby's ear-ache and that diapers should be changed ony in the toilets. She gave so many wonderful tips which really helped :) ).

"Ugh, the bassinet is so dirty, let me wipe the whole thing."

"Why do they make these plane toilets so small? How do they expect me, the baby and the diaper bag to fit in there? :-p."

"Oh God, I can't sleep. What if I don't hear the baby in all the noise the plane is making?"

"Does this big screen have to be right in front of me? Its making my eyes ache!"

"Thank God, atleast the baby is sleeping."

"Wish Sri was with me :(".


FST - France standard time

8:30AM FST: "Finally Paris. But why is the plane still taxi-ing? Wonder if it'll go straight to another runway and take-off :-p. Or maybe its going to another airport :-p. On second thoughts, maybe it is taking us on a tour of France :-p."

9:30AM FST: "Looks like everything is a marathon in Paris. We caught a train, got up and down escalators, we seem to be walking forever! Where the heck is this Gate E96?"

10AM FST: "What? Another security check? I thought those were only for flights towards US!"

10:05AM FST: "I'll kill that American check-in attendant if I ever find her again! She said I was to collect the 2nd flight boarding pass at the boarding gate in Paris. Now they say I need the pass for the security check! Grrr.."

10:30AM FST: "Security check over. Mom looks totally tired. But we are still walking. Wish Sri was here with us, things would have been much better :(."

11AM FST: "What? No aeroway to the plane? And this is Paris? :-p."

On Flight2:

"The air hostess is so sweet, she got a new bassinet and put down sheets and a pillow for Snuggles. Thanks Dorothy :)."

"I repeat, why do they make these plane toilets so small? How the heck do they expect me, the baby and the diaper bag to fit in there? :-p."

"Man!! This is grand, there is a personalized movie player for each seat! Wish Sri could have seen this :(."


00:40AM IST: "Bangalore, my God!! Feels awesome to be back!"

00:50AMIST: "This mom ufff! She doesn't let me help with the baggage. She is finding it so difficult. Wish Sri was with us :(."

1AM IST: "I can't believe I'm seeing Darsh after 2 years! Feels so good to hug him :))".

1:05AM IST: "Stupid me, the driver sits on the right side here :-p."

1:15AM IST: "What?? The 3 men took Rs.200 to put 2 bags in the taxi?? Same old India, hehehehe :))."