The Ice Age fiasco

           We never believed our very active (read ‘hyperactive’) 15 month old daughter S would be patient enough to watch a film in the theatre. And so we never tried. But the musically inclined little one fell so much in love with the songs of the film Cocktail on TV that I couldn’t resist giving it a shot. You had to start somewhere, so why not with this? The other pluses about the movie being that even if there were to be a ruckus, I could breeze out of the movie with no major heartbreak (given the unrelenting poor reviews it had got). And since the movie hall was expected to be 70% empty, we could move about and around as frequently as required. So me and S, off we went for Cocktail, with a cousin for company. Here I must mention that the husband promptly backed out saying Cocktail was not HIS kind of movie and so he gallantly volunteered to skip the movie (now please don’t ask me what HIS kind of movies are, coz that’s another post altogether!).

              Well, surprise of all surprises, our evening rocked!! S thoroughly enjoyed the songs and was dancing freely in the nicely vacant theatre, while we lazily munched our popcorn. The movie was no good, but our trio made the best of it, given the entertainment provided by S. I could not believe that we had so effortlessly breezed through her first movie, and I cursed myself for not having attempted this sooner. ‘It’s all because of my staid unexperimenting husband’, I muttered. I returned home with a gait in my walk and rubbed it all off on the husband who, nevertheless amused, very promptly made it seem as if it was no big deal that he missed all the fun.

             And then I read this blog post about a mom and kid bonding over an animation movie, and boy, was I touched! I so wanted S to look wide-eyed at an animation film, and watch her face light up with joy. She accompanied me to Cocktail, so I should definitely take her to her kind of movies. Simple logic, or so it seemed. And this time, I was in no mood to leave the husband out of the fun. I scanned the papers and figured out that Ice Age 4 and Krishna and Kans were due for release. Perfect timing! I told the husband I was booking tickets for the movie Ice Age 4 that weekend. ‘Ice Age 4?’ he asked. ‘What about 1,2 and 3?’. Here, I have to clarify that the husband does not even remotely follow animation movies. I had to really coax him to come for this one, giving him a long emotional lecture on what I thought were the ultimate tenets of parenthood. And since he never has the heart to refuse something where either S or his parenting approaches are involved, he relented. And we planned to go the following weekend to Krishna and Kans so as to give S the joy of both desi and phoren animated films. I did a small victory jig.

             As we settled comfortably ensconced in our Gold class seats for Ice Age (yes, I had chosen the best class for the occasion), it seemed all so ‘picture-perfect’. That is, until the guy with the 3D glasses came. As soon as we put on our glasses, S decided I looked really weird in them and started tugging, insisting that I remove it. Well, me being the primary bearer of S, had to relent. Now if you have ever tried watching 3D movies without those glasses, you would agree with me that it gives you a strange kind of head and eye ache. ‘I should have booked 2D’, I hissed to the husband, who was watching the movie unperturbed with his glasses on. Five minutes into the movie, S let out her first cry of boredom. Unfazed, I softly tried pointing out the various animals to her. No luck. I pointed out some kids nearby who were watching the movie. She suddenly clapped her hands with joy and lurched out of my lap wanting to play with them. I tried explaining to her in my unruffled-mother-who-can-handle-any-situation voice that this was not time to play and that a wonderful movie lay ahead. She watched for few more minutes before asking for water, biscuits, water, puffed rice, juice (huh? I hadn’t got that with me, she had obviously overestimated her mom there), biscuits and more water again. Needless to say that each of these demands resulted in a substantial amount of ruckus and total inability to focus on the movie. We played with the 3D glasses for some time and when I tried re-concentrating on the movie, S let out huge wails, enough to disturb the people sitting around, who gave looks which clearly implied why I was torturing a poor little baby by forcing her to watch a film she so obviously did not enjoy. I had a brainwave, took S out for a short walk to help freshen her up. By now, I had completely lost the movie plot and my unruffled-mother…. avatar. I returned to my seat to find the husband watching the film with a sudden found interest for animation movies. I glared at him pointedly for quite some time, no use though.

                 My discomfort was broken by the intermission. I heaved sighs of relief, which, however, were not to last long. When the coke-samosa-french fries combo ad was aired on the screen, S bawled a long ‘Mammammmm’ in the most piteous and hungry voice she could find. I got pure dirty looks from the crowd around for not only dragging a disinterested poor little baby, but also a hungry, underfed and tired one at that, all maybe in our desperation to watch the movie. I immediately despatched the husband to buy some popcorn and the reminder of the movie was spent peeling the soft portion of the popcorn and feeding it to S. I walked out of the movie hall not daring to risk any conversation by meeting anyone’s gaze.

          Apparently the husband enjoyed the movie. Needless to say, we didn’t go for Krishna and Kans the following weekend.



Her first li’l ponytail


As parents of babies, toddlers or children, we gush over a lot many things. And we wait for a lot of firsts. The first smile. The first ‘tata waving’. The first kiss. The first step…well, the list is endless. More so, in the case of first babies, much to the agony of the younger sibling, and the embarrassment of the older sibling, whose ‘first everthings’ (including the first nappy) are not only preserved zealously, but also demonstrated with gusto to select audiences.

One of the things the husband and I were waiting for, from quite a long time, was the daughter’s first pony tail. We could never get enough hair to pull back into a pony. So the baby was always seen only with two distinct hairdos – either a la Zakir Hussain (but not as tidy as Hussain saab), or a fountain pony right on top of the head, when I could manage tying it up.

                Our wish came true last month. I realized, with glee, that I could finally have a 90% pony tail (of course with great difficulty and tact, as she doesn’t like any pressure on her tresses). I immediately pinged my husband, who was on a month long tour in the US. And we skyped. He was equally thrilled.

So here’s to you, S, on this occasion:

–          I know you will reach an age where pony tails are so passé, and you would laugh at me if I suggested it as a hairdo.

–          I know you will have Monday mornings, where your biggest ‘waking up concern’ would be whether to cut or to keep your hair long. And curse your lineage for not having given you a headful of glossy, easily manageable, and totally artificial looking ‘shampoo-ad’ kind of hair.

–          I know you will hardly recognize yourself in your ‘first ponytail photo collection’, and may nonchalantly wave it around, asking your friends, “Can you even believe this is me?”

–          I know you would probably be very anxious on how you turn out on your important days, and would be experimenting with your looks maybe for days together.

–          I know you will probably have a lot of admirers gushing over you, some of whom you will just vainly ignore, and one of whom you may choose to share your life with.

–          I know you will have a panic attack on seeing your first grey strand of hair, and will spend the next few years in denial, and further few subsequent years, ageing gracefully.

All I want to say – don’t stress too much about your appearance. To two sets of people, you will always be the most beautiful of all – your child, and your parents who eagerly waited so long to see your first little ponytail.

The songs babies love

My one year old daughter S has picked up a trait from last couple of months. She will open her mouth for khichdi ‘only’ when her favorite songs are playing either on the telly, laptop or mobile. Now, before you super good, uber efficient mothers pounce on me, asking ‘HOW could you introduce her to this habit’, ‘Kids should be trained to eat without any prop’, and so on, let me please clarify (fellow mothers are welcome to vouch for this) that I DID NOT train her this way. It just happened.  I realized that babies, no matter how toothless and tiny, know how to get their fair share of entertainment. What I also realized incidentally, is that the kind of entertainment varies with each generation. Our parents’ generation ate while being showed the birds, trees, butterflies etc. Our generation maybe stretched it to watching adverts on TV. The newest generation, let’s face it, loves movie songs. And the kind of songs they love are so unlike what you would like them to. I am not a fan of these ‘Anarkali Disco chali’ numbers. The raunchy steps and the garish almost non-existent costumes of today’s item numbers are so unappealing. Having said that, I would however, not dismiss the music element of these numbers. Some of these item, dhinchak songs have amazingly peppy music which prompt me to leave the music channel on for some time during the day. Fellow mommies, please don’t grudge me this adult entertainment. As much as I am mentally tuned to shield my baby from the Telly belly, I have realized that it’s extremely difficult to be on baby-friendly behavior all through the day, more so when you are the primary caretaker stationed at home.

So these songs are played during meal times. S loves the music so much so that she recognizes the songs as soon as the first background score heralding the song is played. If it’s one of her ultra favorite songs, she will give me a ‘Hey, it’s our number!’ look. Or the ‘you know what, let’s dance to this’ look. And we dance. Mindless of her half-eaten bowl of food that’s running cold. Or mine which is still uneaten. And the fact that lunch hour has passed. Everything can wait till the two minute song gets over. So what if it’s something we dance to three times a day, every single day! The look on her face hardly suggests that.

I have been asking myself why I can’t let her see some child-friendly song that may offer the same level of musical joy, sans the suggestive steps and other adult paraphernalia. I YouTubed and found only a couple that were timeless and appealing to kids of multiple age groups. The unmatched ‘Lakdi ki Kaathi’. The otherwise friendly YouTube which keeps suggesting ‘other songs that you may like’ based on the song you play, was surprisingly mute.  I didn’t take long to find an answer to that. There are hardly any kid songs these days. You do get some 1950s, 60s children songs like ‘Nanha Munna Rahi’, ‘Eechak dana’ , ‘Lalla Lalla Lori’and the likes. But take a step beyond the 60s and such songs are hardly there. Bollywood seems to have forgotten about our tiny clients who had to be entertained as well. A very rare exception being ‘Bum bum bole’ post 2000. Perhaps we as a society, have taken for granted that the new generation has lost its innocence and hence doesn’t need to be exclusively entertained. It’s sad.

Babies have an uncanny knack I discovered. They can tell you if a song is going to be superhit by listening to it just once. They can compare nuances, and all abilities of the song including hummability, recallability, dancability and watchability. They can effortlessly pick ‘Jhalla wallah’ over ‘Aa re Pritam Pyare’, ‘Tumhi ho Bandhu’ over ‘Chikni Chameli’, ‘Anarkali disco chali’ over ‘Dhadang dhang’. So here’s to you Music directors –

  1. Get your near and dear tiny tots if you want to churn out a highly likeable number

2. And please , please put together some infant friendly songs, people! How long can we listen to Lakdi ki kaathi???