Orange Biriyani

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

In July, my dear friend Taina finally married long time boyfriend Shamus. The wedding promised to be great fun, but a squalling Rohan forced us to make an early exit. Rohan is on the whole fussier than his sister, but he makes up for it with enormous smiles from time to time. Kiara adores him, and asks every day if she can stay home with baby brother instead of going to camp. My invariable answer is "no", because I have returned to moderating my blog for the Times, and between that, Rohan, cooking, cleaning, errands and attempting with little success to study, I have enough to do.
Today, however, she's home because we've been having thunderstorms, which make it hard for me to drop her off at camp - I have to juggle, her, her lunch box, her backpack, Rohan and an umbrella. Also, she doesn't go swimming on rain days, and swimming lessons are the best thing about camp.
Kiara had a "talent show" at camp - and I use the word "talent" loosely. It was a disorganized mess, and an extraordinary number of children and counsellors appear not to be able to carry a tune. Makes me nostalgic for the performances at Sacred Hearts, grim nuns and all. Kiara's talent show was in a room with no air conditioning in close to 100 degree heat, and I was worried for Rohan's well being. Next summer, I am considering spending the school holiday in India rather than putting the kids in camp and daycare.
Ranjit is having a very busy summer at work - long days and scorching hot walks to and from the station.
We are considering moving house next year, but the more we look at various options, the more we appreciate what a lovely situation we have here in South Orange. Our home may be - well - snug, but it's wonderfully located and we have the best neighbors in the world.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Bangalore Meri Hai

Prabhus 4

Wise Saws and Modern Instances

Kiara is a linguistic delight. She has introduced me to two neologisms that are both useful and musical sounding. One is "wristle". Usage: "The hand bone's connected to the wristle bone". The other is "grocious". Usage "Eewwww...grocious!".
Of her picturesque speech when in India her uncle Adrian has this to say:

I've been meaning to email you about Ranjit and Kiara's stay. Kiara was a
real delight. Glad the books were okay.

Some gems from Kiara:
1. When I asked her whether there are crocodiles in the bathroom in New York
she thought for a minute and then said "No, only potties."

2. As I was leaving Rohan and Usha's house she gave me a whole list of
instructions about how to drive safely. I don't remember most of it but one
of them was "Drive only on the car and not on the road."

3. She seems to have seen a tubelight for the first time at Rohan's place.
She glared at it for a minute and then said, "You rascal light!" I asked her
why. She said, "Did you see what he just did? He went off and then came on

4. Karina was playing Doctor and I lay down on the bed and said that my
stomach was paining. Kiara immediately jumped on my stomach. I said "Ouch,
what kind of doctor are you, Kiara?" She gleefully replied, "A bouncing

Kiara's Evolution from Jayalalitha (age 2)...

...To Uma Bharati

Monday, July 09, 2007

Of Motherhood and the Motherland

April 2007
Kiara and Ranjit made a trip to India – I didn’t travel because three final papers and one baby were all due in May. The trip was fantastic by all accounts. Kiara reveled in the love and attention lavished on her by her very immediate (Ranjit), intermediate (grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins) and extended family. We are truly blessed to have such warm, generous, loving people in our lives. The holiday included a trip to Goa, where Ranjit and Kiara lived it up in style with Dan, Karina and Alisha, Aunty Philoo and Uncle Kevin, Rohan, Usha and Ari, Abba, Mai and Grandma Sheila. The rest of the trip, I hear, was a whirl of parties and sundry jamborees. Kiara has returned tanned, skinny, fairly insect bitten and completely enamored of her family in India. She’s happy to be back but has since expressed longings to see everyone again – one of those wishes will be granted when Grandma Sheila visits in August.
In their absence, I achieved much – wrote three papers, went to the opera, went to see a medieval cloister, spent a weekend with my Aunt and Uncle, Leonie and Mark, saw the move “300” on the big screen (a rare treat), and watched a play called “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)”. On the night of the last event, there was a storm and my basement got flooded. Lucklily, my friend Arpine was staying over after the play, and between us we dried out the basement – Arpine even went out in the storm and dug a trench to drain the house!.

May 2007
Kiara returned to school, where her classmates lined up for hugs from her. She also turned four this month. For her birthday, I did a music session with her friends in school, took a “princess cake”, and gave everyone maracas as party favors. This was Friday, the 25th – on Kiara’s actual birthday, Saturday the 26th, we went out for pizza and a movie (Shrek II).

June 2007
School’s out for me, and I have a semester off. My son, Rohan Prabhu, arrived into the world on June 10th, without fuss (he has since made up for the lack). He is thriving, as am I. Kiara goes to camp every day, where she swims, dances, and occasionally goes on field trips. Ranjit and I are managing our expanding family with ease and good humor. Life is good.

Friday, April 20, 2007


Love Knows No Species 02/07

Kiara on Superhero Day, 01/07


Four months into 2007, and not a new post from me! It would be shameful, but wait till I tell you what-all we've been up to.

We had a lovely time at the "First Night" celebrations, which is the family friendly New Year party here in South Orange. We watched a Punch and Judy show, a Cinderella Ballet and some clowns, Kiara got her face painted, and all of us - Gautam, Ranjit, my friend Arpine etc - learnt some line dancing. The evening ended with fireworks, followed by dinner at the Gaslight Brewery, after which we brought the new year in at home. All the other adults had been staying up all night like adolescents - I'm the only one who turned in at a decent hour each night and hence was able to keep Kiara and Diya quiet in the mornings. Anyway, said adolescents went skiing and other crazy things and so were completely exhausted and stayed up till a barely respectable 12:01 a.m. on Jan 1, 2007, and then tamely went to bed.
"Ballen-Times" day was a lot of fun at Kiara's school. Kiara and I made doily-trimmed hearts for all her classmates.
On the whole, we've had a mild winter, with one or two snowy days but nothing to substantiate my shovelling anxieties (what with Ranjit's back and my pregnancy, I was wondering what we'd do with a bitter winter). Kiara is mastering the art of winning friends and influencing people. One of the games they play in her school is "guess which animal this is" and they have to mime the animal. Kiara did one where she wriggled, then jumped, then repeated. The kids were totally flummoxed, as Kiara yelled "no" with much glee at all their guesses. It turned out she was being a snake which jumps.
April finds me sans family, as Kiara and Ranjit have flown to the orient whence they came. In their absence, I have increased in size, spent weekends with people I love (Aunt Leonie and my friend from college), visited the medieval cloisters, the Metropolitan opera, three late night lectures and a play called "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)".
I am now working on three term papers. My blog job is going great guns, what with all the awful news people have to blog about - particularly the Virginnia Tech shooting.
Ranjit and Kiara return from India on Sunday, 4/22. More news will then follow.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Trick or Tweet!

So much has happened since I last blogged. The most important thing is that we’re expecting another baby, due in June. We’re very excited – and it should be interesting to see how Kiara takes to having a sibling.
Halloween came and went – each year the fun increases as Kiara is capable of trick or treating for longer and, unfortunately , can consume more candy. She dressed as a Toucan. Every other girl in her preschool was a Disney princess of some sort.
After Halloween, Normama visited and we spent Thanksgiving with Josie and Pettu in West Virginnia. Normama as usual filled our house with good food and good humor, and left it more beautiful than she found it. Thanksgiving was a lot of fun, with Binny Tellis turning fifty (Kiara performed an impromptu solo dance routine at the party) and Pettu as usual pulling out all the stops to make it a truly wonderful family holiday.
In grimmer news, a careless caregiver at Kiara’s school sideswiped my parked car, and the body shop is still romancing the Rav, two weeks later, while we drive about in a hired car.
Our house is full of people. On Christmas eve, Ranjit’s friend Gautam, Gautam’s brother Hemant and Hemant’s wife and daughter, Gitanjali and Diya, came to stay and here they will remain until New Year’s Day. We’re having an excellent visit. Christmas was chaotic and delicious, as Christmases should be, largely thanks to Normama’s kuswar, which included a very alcoholic cake that contributed to the general hilarity. Diya, who is almost three, and Kiara, who is almost four, are a delight. They fight from time to time, but for the most part they have delightful conversations, lecturing each other on the world according to three year olds, coming up with irrefutable logics and witticisms. They enjoyed opening their presents on Christmas morning, and it was delightful to have children crawling down in their pajamas to unpack their stockings and packages with such excitement – classic Christmas moments. We also had Mark Tellis over for Christmas lunch, and the Bayless family from next door to Christmas tea. It was nice to be surrounded by so many loved ones.
Last night, Ranjit and I had a rare opportunity to catch a film together because the house was filled with willing babysitters – we watched the latest Bond flick, which was a bit brutal but very entertaining. Today we plan to visit the Big Apple Circus at Lincoln Center in the city.
Tomorrow I will both visit my doctor – for my fourth month check up.
On New Year’s Eve we plan to join in local public family-friendly festivities, including fireworks and bands, which should be fun for all.
I am on holiday from college until the end of January, but have taken on more blog work for the Times, so that I will continue to be busy all day. Being busy suits me – I am having an easy pregnancy, haven’t gained any weight as yet, and am feeling well rested since I only have one last paper to write.
I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and I hope the new year is full of little joys and free of big sorrows.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Maria and Michael's Roce and Wedding Pictures

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Three for the Road

The Prabhus made yettanother road trip this week, driving fourteen hours (not counting breaks) to Chicago for Maria and Michael’s wedding, with three-year-old it tow. Kiara is no longer so simple and tractable as to sing and sleep for the entire journey (as she did when she was two), so this time we caved and bought three movies (Cinderella, Mulan and “Aristoffcats”) for her to watch on the ice-pod, as she calls it. We also stopped on Wednesday the 11th at a motel for a few hours of sleep. On Thursday we reached Chicago in the afternoon, and had time to nap and bathe (thank God) before attending Maria’s roce.
The roce was held at Peter and Rita Noronha’s home. The bride and groom were both present, but other than that, it was a very traditional affair, complete with voyos, bridal and groomal finery and sorpotel. Kiara renewed her acquaintance with the baby-lovin’ Noronha family. The young Noronha girls (Tara, Tanya, Maya, Tina, Sonia, Shani, Jasmine and of course Maria herself) were looking as lovely as youth, health and overflowing spirits can make people look. Also in our midst were Ivan’s pine-tree sons, Rohan and Ryan. We had a lot of dancing and a lot of singing (unfortunately accompanied by mediocre me).
Friday found us wending our way Elmhurstward for lunch with Stevie and Sandy. They are excellent cooks! Also invited to lunch was Tara Noronha’s rambunctious pug Atticus, who was a bit over enthusiastic about Kiara.
On Saturday, the wedding mass was at noonish. The bride looked beautiful in a simple sari. All the young cousins on both sides did readings, and they all read very articulately. Aunts and Uncles collaborated to sing a blessing which was a surprise (and a very pleasant one) for the couple. Kiara slept through mass.
After mass we were invited to Gerard Aranha’s beautiful home for chaat etc. When we finished chaating with everyone we headed back to base camp (Gautam Shah's house) to sleep off our excesses.
Saturday night found us all in our wedding finery - Kiara in the obligatory pink frock, in which she felt – and danced - like a princess. Tara raised a wonderful toast, gently humorous and short – there were three or four short toasts, all of which were good.
Peter Noronha organized the bride’s father’s favorite song, “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”, to which the bride danced with her father, and all the children at the wedding were provided with soap bubbles to blow on the dancers! Kiara really enjoyed that.
There was a lot of dancing – the DJ took one look at the wedding guests and decided that it would be a bollywood evening – every second song was bhangra. Unfazed, we danced the night away.
We drove home on Sunday, and on Monday it was back to work for me, and back to school for Kiara. Kiara had a field trip to an orchard where the children got to pick apples and pumpkins. Also this week, they had an art workshop where a visiting artist did some fabulous collages with them.
Yesterday, Kiara’s best friend Grace called with two extra tickets to an orchestra performance. Kiara and I went. The afternoon started with an “instrument petting zoo” where the children got to touch and play all the instruments in the orchestra under the kindly supervision of the orchestra members. This was followed by the concert itself, where we took a musical tour from the baroque era to the modern age, with a very funny narrator who postured his way through baroque (powdered wig and all), sobbed his way through the romantics and then composed a very hilarious modern piece. Kiara thoroughly enjoyed the show and knew most of the music (they played very popular stuff, like the Four Seasons, the Valkyries and the Ratetsky March) so she sang along with the whole perfomance, to the amusement of an audience that was unusually tolerant because most of them had young children in tow.
And that’s all the news as of now.
Happy Birthday Nana Elsie, and love to you all!