Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The adventures of Tall, Slim and Fat - 1

I still don't believe it. On Monday night I got on a plane with my cousin 40in2006 and flew to Madras for a quick 52 hour jaunt. Of what importance this is to me cannot be underestimated. Thus far I have never spent a night away from my now FOUR year old. So this is a timely step. I've left written instructions for the very adept father who is a champion on most days anyway. This is not about his existing bond with our child but my inability to let go of 'the schedule', to hover less.

Anyway, enough about the technical vagaries of the situation (school bus drop and pick up, breakfast, packed lunch, afternoon entertainment and an evening routine) and on to this amazing trip.

My cousin 40in2006 (henceforth to be known as Tall) was coming to India to vacation for a few weeks and attend her college reunion. Once we knew this, and after some discussion, I booked a flight to travel with her on this leg of her journey. So she came to Singapore where we had a day and a half of chatter and food, before we flew to Madras on Monday night. 

An aside: To our delight everyone from the boarding call to the pilot and stewards were calling it 'Madras' and not 'Chennai'. 

My younger aunt R lives in Madras - the elder one does too but she is in SanJose looking after Tall's family. R's daughter is Slim. She lived next door to us (she in Italy and we in London for many years and we never met) and moved back to Madras a few years ago. When we were growing up I came to Madras every summer (a story you are no doubt familiar with and bored of) and so I have a million memories of my cousins. As we have grown older opportunities to meet and hang out have been hijacked by weddings, marriages, jobs, babies and sheer geographical distance. This is it. Our sliver of opportunity to catch-up and continue our bond of sisterhood and talk about our parents, spouses, children, work, friends, life. This flying visit is a chance for me to revisit bits of this amazing city, hangout with everyone and to learn to relinquish control of everything my son does. Also to eat my own weight in Idli's.

Yesterday Slim, Tall and I (Fat), the girl half of the Cujins, spent the day shopping and chatting and eating. I have not had a better day or more fun in an age. It was easy, we have so much shared history between us, and lovely beyond any words I can write. I'm pretty sure one of those Malls is now shut for business as in a 5 hour period we bought everything, a carload of stuff between us. We ate chole bature and Paneer Tikka and drank cold coffee (which only Indians know how to make!). 

Slim is a patient guide and adept shopper and with a great eye for design we made wise choices and got almost everything on our lists and more. But tomorrow is another day and no doubt some other part of the city is waiting for us to come buy all their stuff.

I wonder if I will have to buy a new suitcase once I am done? 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


This was breakfast on the 16th. Remains of a walnut brownie and a glass of cold milk while I recalled my 38th birthday the day before.

I feel a bit like I'm in no woman's land, like 38 is not significant in anyway, just a slow lurch to a decade marker. I wanted a quiet day and I only sort of got it. More later. I have more brownies to nibble on. 

Wish me won't you? 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hmmm cake

I wanted to show you more decor thingies I did, like the black masking train track on the floor and better shots of the giant cardboard boxes with their show box funnels that the kids loved climbing in and out of. Also a proper shot of the food train on its track. Sadly I relied on my phone camera and was too quickly distracted by the hordes of children to get any proper ones. 

But I couldn't not post these. The cake was a copy of something I found on Pinterest. Replicated by a local bakery with minor changes suggested by me. That's a real Thomas train, rescued as soon as the birthday song was sung and candles blown out. The kids loved the cake and the 5 kilos of it was polished off in no time at all! 

And the cupcake was made by my sister-in-law. It's just about the only sweet thing my savoury loving son will tolerate because its really not that sweet. The train cupcake holders added to the theme and these large ones were on the table with food for the adults. The kids table had smaller ones in red and white and blue polka dot holders and balanced on a tent cupcake holder. 

So cake, cupcake and food train. May the Fourth be with you my son! 

Saturday, July 06, 2013


And just like that, in what seems like the blink of the eye, my son is four. FOUR. I'm sure it's a cliche but really, where has the time gone?

We had a party this morning - 25 out of 40 odd invitee kids turned up at 10am. The function room in our condo looked amazing (even if I say so myself!) after my sis in law and I put in a lot of thought and effort into this train party. Having summer holidays and two kids (between us) to entertain we had the chance to do lots of DIY decorations. 

25 kids is a lot, a LOT of noise. We had a steady onslaught of activity - colouring Thomas sheets to coal tossing and chugga chugga choo games and an obstacle course -all from 10 to 11.30. Then he cut the AMAZING Tidmouth Shed cake. By then the food was laid out and famished kids fell upon it as if they had not ever eaten. It was a lovely sight - groups of children eating hungrily and enthusiastically. Accompanying parents had their own table of goodies to choose from.

Before we knew it it was 1pm and our last guests were leaving. It took 7 adults and two enthusiast children 35 minutes to pack, tidy and get everything back home. 

Kid got a huge loop the loop Thomas track as a present from us. His first words when he saw this as soon as he woke up were 'WOW'! He and his cousin spent all afternoon playing / reconfiguring it. 

Here's a few pictures to mark the day with: