Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Five - VII or the New Year One

1. I have come to love this time of year in London despite the bitter cold. It's crisp (yes, I feel like a shivering lettuce when I am outside) but so long as it is dry I try and go out for a short walk each day. Of course we've just had two solid days of rain (drizzle) which were miserable but on the whole we've had more sunshiny cold than wet cold. We've already seen some snow and apparently there is more to come in the new year. Of course it is nothing like the States or Siberia but it is always amusing to see how 5 snowflakes cause an entire city to shut itself down. No wonder the world laughs at us when a bit of snow closes the transport system and has people working from home to avoid panic attacks of commuting in an already rubbish system.

2.This year, after 7 cold winters dealt with, a small miracle has occured in the 30 household. V turns on all the heating as soon he is awake. Yes, in every room. And encourages me to keep them all on till the house is like a mini-furnace by mid-afternoon. Now to people who turn their heating on in September and only turn it off in April this may seem like a non-event. But for the penguin that is V this is a total turnaround. Till the day we discovered that a child was on its way we never turned the heating on because it 'gives me a headache' (his mantra) and I should 'add some layers (my winter fashion look). Well, miraculously the headaches have vanished because house must be kept warm so said child can crawl around. If only my double socks, multiple layered person had known that it was a child that could procure me heating I would have had the child years ago!

3. We spent Christmas day as we always do, making and eating pizza and watching rubbish on TV. I had a glass of wine after about 4 years. Sort of went to my head but no hangover whatsoever. I shall be returning to the occasional social drink in 2010 after a long dry hiatus. Tequila shots here I come!

4. Unlike the past 7 years of New Years parties this year we are staying at home like boring old people. For one, most of our friends have gone out of town on exotic holidays - Boston, Spain, India and Argentina. Two, V would like to not have to host yet another party but instead stay home and play with his son. Three, I guess it's impractical to host a party for the 6 people who do remain in London considering we'd have to dumb it well down for the sleeping child. I have to say though that I am disappointed and sad for I love-hate hosting parties and look forward to this every year. Instead I will cook couscous with peppers and peas and bake chicken with lime and chilli for dinner and possibly have another glass of wine while watching the fireworks, to bring in the new year.

5. All that remains is to say that I am busy compiling my 2010 resolution list and going through last years resolutions to see how badly I fared. In the meanwhile I hope you have a splendid New Year party (think of me - grumpy old woman wrapped in blanket and with her bedsocks on by 10pm!). This is 30in2005, V and babyboy signing off for 2009 and wishing you the best, brightest, healthiest 2010 possible. See you on the other side!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry as wine

A break in my (slow moving, rarely read) Delhi stories to say Merry Christmas all.

At around 5am UK time, 10.30 India time, it will be 8 years to the hour that V and I stood in front of our closest family and friends and declared mental fitness to be tied in holy matrimony (the requirement of a public registered wedding!). Under a tree draped in strings of jasmine and terracotta lamps, on a glorious Delhi winter sunshiny morning, decked in finery and smiles so broad they contained our whole hearts in them.

Like every year between then and now we will celebrate with homemade pizza and wine, perpetuating a tradition we created for ourselves to mark the passing of time, the strengthening of bonds, the joy of our lives together and the anticipation of another year. Happy Anniversary V boy.

And if you celebrate it, Merry Christmas cyber world people.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dilli Kahaani 2

I think I've said before that in our family it is the Nik who has the midas touch. Each year he plays cards before diwali, wins a s**tload of cash and then uses that (plus some) to do something house enhancing. In the crap construction of DDA it is only enhancements and continued bolstering that ensures the buildings remain standing or re-saleable. Last year it was pop (that's plaster of paris, not my father) and painting. This year, in anticipation of being a married man next year, it's fixing his loo and building a walk-in closet for his room.

In true desi style the builder promised a one month slot in which he would finish everything (before diwali) and of course nearly 2 months later when we arived things were more than a nudge away from being complete. It didn't help that only my dad was at home to supervise while the loud, bellowing, authoratative voice of my brother was sitting at work all day. So when we arrived in Delhi it was not to the room of my youth that baby and I settled. It was my parents room, thereby displacing my father who was more that happy to live with the gadgets in the TV room.

Once the dust had settled and every garment and shoe in my room (see I still refer to it as my room, even though it was always 'our' room and even though it hasn't been my room in about 8 years) had been washed/ drycleaned/ ironed/ scrubbed to a shine, we began the slow move. Of course not before we procured new matresses and unpacked our suitcases into the new shiny cupboards. This whole process took most of the second week and it was not till week three that the room was actually usable.

By the start of week two I had shed my sloth like avatar, comandeered the car and driver and was trying to leave the house each day, father, baby, car seat and 10 million pieces of equipment in tow. We had lovely lunches with my parents (kidnapping my mother from work), an afternoon with my cousin M & her two adorable children, and an afternoon with my school friends sitting around our living room and chatting nineteen to the dozen over chai. I read bundles of David Baldacci books each afternoon and night (the Nik has every single one) and ordered a different kind of stuffed paratha to be made by the cook each morning. I tell you there is almost no vegetable that man cannot stuff into a circle of deep friend cholestrol.

In the evenings, the Nik and P would entertain us with stories, gup-shup and the bubliness of youth (mainly funny noises which baby thought were hilarious) and sometimes their friends would drop by for a bit. We ordered in a variety of eats from momo's to kathi rolls to kebabs to ice cream depending on the day, mood and state of stomach.

It was a tiring week what with all the weeding and cleaning out, one final push before the room could take shape and the rest of the house and we could all settle in our respective corners. But it was that most pleasant of aches, where all the activity made for a little progress each day and a deep satisfied sleep each night.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dilli kahaani 1

There is so much to tell that I think it is wisest I break it up into little stories. Also it's been over 2 weeks since we got back and it all seems a bit like a fairytale to me rather than a real life lived. Here goes.

My parents live in a DDA flat. For those non-familiar with the term, officially it stands for Delhi Development Authority. Unofficially, as my father succinctly puts it, it means lowest tender construction. It's a south facing ground floor flat, well proportioned but not of garangutan proportions. When we first moved to it in the early 90's even our school bus would not venture this far south. We had a private pool of parents taking on the resposibility of organising transport for school and lobbying for the windowless DTC buses to ply our way. It was a deserted shell of a colony and people stared in utter amazement and laughed out loud (at us, not with us) if I ever told them where we lived. It was akin to telling someone that we lived in the middle of the Thar Desert. Of course now it is considered a reputable outpost of south Delhi and with burgeoning Gurgaon to its south it seems almost central what with its endless malls and ridiculous rents and house prices. Who's laughing now?

It's south facing-ness with just a prk in front always made my parents feel like they had won the lottery. My brother and I used to grouse growing up that living at the back of the colony with wilderness in front of us meant that we lived at the southernmost tip of the southern end of Delhi. It also meant a 10 minute trudge to the bus stop each morning - and that meant a few extra freezing cold or burning heat minutes (depending on the Delhi season) than the oh-so-lucky kids who lived facing the front road. We hated it.

Well, now we have no one peeking into our house and the flat gets that delightful Delhi winter sun streaming through its large windows. And we have a park with somewhat mature foliage between us and the ample parking space. So I guess in some small way my parents did win the lottery. For the entire first week I stayed indoors, reading and napping and eating my way through anything made of flour and deep fried in butter. And most mornings I lay on the sofa chatting with my dad as he sat on the doorstep, reading and chuckling with the baby on his lap on the doorstep, soaking in the sun, listening to music on one of his many many music systems. After our whirlwind 4 weeks, 3 cities tour both baby and I needed it, that feeling of stopping and letting everything settle. It was a good week.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Waapas in London

It's been so long that I think I no longer know how to write or how to organise all the gazillion things I have to say to you my dear blog. That is what comes of a four week break in Delhi, at my parents home, where I don't have to think about what/ how to cook, when to do laundry, whether said laundry needs to be seperated into colours and whites, how clean clothes can be magically ironed or if I take a long bath will my kid bawl his lungs out. Bliss. So much 'breaking' in fact that I took long naps, read and chilled out at home for 4 straight weeks and as a result look like Goodyear blimp. I blame it on fried parathas for breakfast.

Of course we are waapas (thats 'back' for the non hindi speakers) and I am trying to adjust to the reality of cooking, laundry and the zillions of other small chores that need doing. Really a tough gig when all I want to do is crawl under the duvet at 4.30pm. Reality sucks.

Here's back to blogging more frequently. Already a 100% improvement from November. But I promise more Delhi tales and food stories.

What have you been upto peeps? Miss me at all?