Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Book of the People-A book by Joshua Newton


“It was dark. .A cold wind blew over the hill and the trees swayed and the sleepless cicadas shrilled. By the hillside, through the deep green expanse of the trees and shrubs wild and sprawling , two frail figures ambled on. One tiny and the other frail, both women. One held a small hurricane lamp that allowed an orange gleam just enough for them to walk about. Two women in a pale orange light in the pre-dawn stillness. The path was wet from the night’s dew. Their footsteps seemed to intrude into the silent night that awaited a quiet dawn. The flame in the glass chimney flickered on, shedding barely enough light for the two to take tiny, careful steps. They had to do this before the dawn, before the sun came. The dictum said so. The older one was looking for herbs. ”

This lyrical passage introduces the reader to Biji Rajan, the masseuse , one of the ten people whose lives we become familiar with after reading Joshua Newton’s ,”The Book of the People”.
This passage is an example of the empathy with which the author has approached the small and big details , the twists and turns , the prose and poetry of the lives he unfolds for us.

They are not celebrities whose achievements would clamour out for their lives being recorded to inspire others to walk their way. There is no real drama..nothing that would make the book a nail-biting read and yet the way the extroadinariness of those ten ordinary lives is so surely , but subtly spelt out that they keep bothering you after you’ve put down the book.

Admittedly, some stories leave more of an impression than others. But yes, admittedly again, which of the ten stories gets under your skin may be different for different readers.

I think I was touched most by Biji, who healed innumerable people who approached her, with the love and empathy in her palms. May be the way she was introduced pre-dispositioned me into liking her. The little girl who grew up imbibing all the native wisdom and ethics of healing from her grandmother. Biji who emphasised that “most importantly we needed to love. If our hearts lacked love, nothing would work”.

Manu, who could never tire of elaborating on the “virtues of the wilderness”, and the intricacies of the lives of butterflies and who according to the author “had sprouted into a spirit that imbibed elements naturally belonging to a butterfly-lightness,swiftness,harmony, agility, silence and a love for the woods” , does not fail to impress either. What a charmed life, away from the hustle and bustle of the rat-race.

Koyamon, the native of one of the islands in the Lakshwadeep cluster ,whose life went through its crests and troughs, even as the waves in the surrounding ocean, went through the same routine endlessly and Peter Tomy, whose sense of right and wrong had been submerged way below the surface of his erratic and unruly youth and whose redemption came through an act of forgiveness of his mother-in-law , whom he had attempted to kill also stuck with me. So did Ravuthar, who trudged miles and miles into the forest to gather grass to thatch roofs, something that he had been doing all his life and which he continued to do with the utmost grace and submission to God’s designs.

Then there is Anand, the naturalist, who had eventually found serenity and harmony amongst the trees and plants of “spice Village” in Thekkady, where he lived and breathed in the luxriousness of Nature allowed to thrive with the very minimum of intervention . The boatmen whom one may accost on a vacation trip along the backwaters of Kerala and would as quickly forget once out of those environs, wouldn’t ordinarily invite a second look into their lives. Not anymore perhaps,,not after coming to know Radhakrishan , who had perhaps spent the major part of his life chugging along the vastness of those waters .Time had in the meanwhile changed the teenaged boy who accompanied his father on his cargo boat to a grey-haired man.

old boats

The author has obviously spent a lot of time getting to know these “ordinary” people. At places, one felt, the inclusion of all the tiny details became a deterrant to the smoothness of the narrative. But then again, those details were necessary, I guess to bring out the extroadinariness in their existences which would otherwise escape our notice, swamped as it were with the monotony of their everyday routines. One thing that they all shared in common was perhaps the peace with which they had accepted the place where they had found themselves eventually in life. There is immense wisdom perhaps in the realization that no life is ordinary .

Many times, one did feel that the narrative was by someone who was unfamiliar with the Kerala landscape and were witnessing things for the first time…but then the author has explained why that is so in his Note at the beginning of the book, “ This is what I belive:Our daily lives do hold moments of poetry. I’m not sure which part has won in this book though- the poetry or the rawness. Everything narrated is factual or based on facts. Persoanl life-stories are woven through their day jobs. Obviously, I stand the risk of being called a “faux naïf” examiner , somebody examining his own people as a foreigner and getting away with it. That’s okay. My interest was in drawing material from my own people to create something non-local, a kind of work that will resonate with readers anywhere.”

Notwithstanding that anticipatory bail, I would’ve personally vouched for the poetry winning if it had not been for the sometimes lengthy detailing, such as the one on vermiculture in Anand’s story , which almost seemed to come as an interruption. I think the story of Suresh the “kalaripayattu practioner failed to hold my attention for the same reason.

candy crash


Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Books


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Vanity Bagh- A book by Anees Salim

” In black humor, topics and events that are usually regarded as taboo, specifically those related to death, are treated in an unusually humorous or satirical manner while retaining their seriousness; the intent of black comedy, therefore, is often for the audience to experience both laughter and discomfort, sometimes simultaneously. ”

So goes the description of black humour in the Wikipedia. If a literature student wanted to lay hands on a book in this genre, contextual to our times, Vanity Bagh” by Anees Salim would be a most appropriate one .

anees salim

Six muslim youth, aspiring to attain the hieghts of notoriety of the local don, Abu Hathim, form an allegiance and wait for their moments of specious glory, meeting daily on the stairway of the mosque in their mohallah, Vanity Bagh, of which Bushra Jabbari, the mother of the narrator of this story had said,”The moment the rikshaw stopped, your abba had said, This is Vanity bagh, where we will build our home and make it heaven-like”. She would later speak of the row of dusty green colonaded structures with balconies made of wood and railings of wrought iron, “In my memory these buildings haven’t changed a bit in thirty years”.

Bushra Jabbari and her husband, the Imam of the local mosque , would never have foreseen that their son, Imraan Jabbari, would be incacerated for fourteen years , having been judged guilty of having triggered off the deaths in the 11/11 scooter bomb blasts. Neither had Imraan Jabbari and his five other friends expected the twists in the tales of their macho manhood that they were scripting for themselves. Yes , they had names of famous Pakistani personalities …Imran, Zia, Zulfikar, Jinnah, Yahya and Nawaz Sharif. Yes, their Mohallah had earned the nickname “little Pakistan” after a riot had broken out outside the hair-dressing salon of Sharif Khan, when he and some others had started to celebrate Pakistan’s victory in the world cup by bursting crackers. But all that these youngsters had wanted, was to do what Abu Hathim had done when he was their age,”guarding their mohallah, being saluted by the mohallah-wallahs, collecting haftah, being salaamed by the mohalla-wallahs, making a fortune, being salaamed by the mohallah-wallahs , beating up the mohalla-wallahs , being salaamed still more by them ” and so on. Jihad was not on their minds.

It is indeed a feat to handle a subject ,so sensitive in these times, in a way that even the grimmest of situations is presented thus, that makes you smile.The narrative is interspersed with quotes from members of the mohallah and from the English films that the youngsters watched, mostly on the VCD, after Nawaz Sharif’s Abba pulled down the shutters of the salon for the day, which chips away at the darkness of the situation and lends a lightness , even as it evokes discomfiture in the reader.

And then there is Shair Shoukath , who deliciously steals lines from others and makes it his own , with a flourish , much to the grief of Professor Suleiman Ilahi and Rustom Sahib, the other members of the local Poetry club..

“Cowards die many times before their death. The valiant never taste of death, but once”-Shair Shoukath
“Now you are stealing from Shakespeare.That’s improvement.”-Professor Suleiman
“That’s Shakespeare? Sure? I thought Majrooh Sultanpuri wrote that” -RustomSahib.

I had watched the film “Shahid” , last night , produced by Anurag Kahsyap and directed by Hansal Mehta. It is based on the real life story of Shahid Azmi, who had enrolled himself in a jihadi training camp after witnessing a riot in which many of his community had been butchered and burnt alive , but had fled from there , unable to assimilate the violence the jihadis professed and practiced. He was imprisoned for his suspected terrorist links and spent many years inside. He picks up his life however, goes on to become a lawyer and decides to take up cases of innocents who are jailed on the flimsiest of reasons under the TADA. Shahid himself was murdered. In the short time that he had practised as an activist lawyer, he had acquired eleven acquittals.

The film had many undertones as does this novel, both pointing to a situation that has loads to despair about. But while the film never for a moment lets go of the seriousness of its tone, albeit very well executed, ” Vanity Bagh ” grips your attention with a kind of seeming flippancy which in fact adds to its poignancy.


The figure that remains starkly etched in my mind is that of the Imam , Imran Jabbaris’ father.

“The only time he wanted to be a human bomb was when Ammi came back from Haja stores on the eve of Eid with too many shopping bags and a Chiese umbrella. He frowned at the bags and announced it was time he took Khomeini sahib’s fatwa seriously and blew himself up when Rushdie was around so that Ammi and the rest of us could wallow in the same degree of luxury Mr. Mir sahib’s wife and children were spoilt with “, narrates Imran Jabbari.

He, who rendered the azan in his own inimitable style “that made the mohallwalahs wonder whether to laugh or complain to the Muslim Welfare Board” , had later on started to dread it. ” He dreaded the azan, something he used to love so dearly and with his own sense of rhythm that Wasim and I used to blush when the muezzin’s call drifted across the mohallah. He now feared his voice would be met with boos from the street. He had five three minute ordeals to live through everyday”.

That kind of summed up the tragedy of religion gone awry, of ghettoisation, of politics that fanned hatred , of our loss of empathy and inclusiveness , of the mistrust on both sides, of the resultant belligerance.

It is not a story of hope, Anees Salim had warned us. It isn’t .


Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Books


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Zohaan’s Diary -Part-6

May 13th, 2014

I know Ummamma has not really given you a chance to miss me as I know of her regularity in posting pictures .But a heart to heart teta -a-tete is a different thing right? Ah! You should all see me now, walking about on my own feet. I feel so liberated. I keep walking around the house, with no other specific purpose than that of exercising my limbs. I’m so happy my little leg muscles are so well co-ordinated now. Sometimes, yes, I am not able to control my pace .The lane outside had been all dug up and had even prevented my evening strolls in the pram. Too bumpy it had been. But now it’s all neatly tarred and it’s such a temptation to start running when grandma takes me out for a stroll Nothing comes in my way as the lane is pretty much away from the main road and in that hour in the morning when Ummamma takes me out for my walk, the office goers in my neighbourhood are still probably taking their bath or having breakfast.May be it is that my upper body has not learnt to keep up with the speed of my legs , but when I try to do a sprint , I fall down or may be I haven’t quite learnt to control the inertia of movement. I nearly had my first bruised knee this morning. The skin is intact, though it did turn a nice blushing pink.

zohaan with bottle and tongs 009

I’ve picked up a few words like “dress”, ta ta bye ( the usual stuff) , Mboo ( for the cow), and the more difficult word in malayalam for “water”. It still comes out a little garbled. Guess that particular sound is not easily mastered. It has to be rolled out from the tongue and my Ummamma says I can take my time because a lot of her grown up North Indian friends cannot say it even when the word is repeated to them several times.
But then I learnt to say “Thubham” for “Shubham” and that was quite a feat.


Shubham is one of the group of students who had come visiting Ummamma from the school where she used to teach in Noida. She had been missing them I guess and had requested them to come over for a few days.


I really loved having them around. They were ready to play with me any time of the day and I really got into the swing of things. And I got to roam around a bit too. Of course I loved the Bannerghata zoo the best. Got to see lions and tigers and bears and elephants at close range. We also went to Cubbon Park and Ulsoor Lake was also kind of nice . Went around boating in the lake for a few minutes sitting on Ummamma’s lap. Not much fun that.


I preferred walking barefoot on the grass in the park . I remember how I used to lift my legs up when I was initially put down . Found the grass too tickly. Now I love it.


I’m discovering “feelings” too. I remember that right from the beginning I’ve never been comfortable about increase in the decibels. I remember bursting into tears even at “Good boy!!!!” if the exclamation was rendered too loudly and when I wasn’t expecting the sound to burst upon me like it did. I still start crying when Amir Khan comes all wierdly dressed , making all those strange sounds in that song “Bum, Bum Bole”from the film “Taare Zameen par” but now, Ummamma keeps the volume quite low in the beginning and increases it when it comes to the part I like, because I do insist I want to watch that video. I can say “Bum bum” you see. Also know that the word also denotes my buttocks and can point towards it, if you askme to. I pretty much know all the body parts, external, that is. How could I not when I keep watching “Chubby cheeks” and “Head shoulders, knees and toes” for breakfast, lunch and high tea? No I don’t really have’s just an expression. I do like to take a few sips of lemon tea flavoured with mint from Ummamma’s glass whenever she has it, but it’s not as if I’m addicted to it or anything.
Those videos I’m addicted to though. I have to watch them when I’m having something to eat.

I was telling you about my emotional growth. Well, I’m not comfortable about anything being broken or something falling down or the characters crying.I don’t like to watch Piggy on the Railroad and Hickory Dickory Dock in the version where an elephant climbs up the clock and the clock breaks and it falls down. I don’t like watching the animation video of the malayalam song “Kakke kakke koodevide” either, because the crow comes flying down and snatches the cookie from the girl’s hand. It was pretty much okay in the story book “Sonali and the crow”. I had even learnt to imitate how Sonali cries when the crow takes away her biscuit and I think the expectation of turning over the page to the picture where her mom cuddles her in her arms, took away much of the trauma. In the video the swooping down is too real and there is no mother around. I’ve realised there is a pattern there because I also don’t mind the story where the little kid breaks his balloon and cries because in the very next page the dad appears with a bunch of balloons and takes him in his arms and gives him a nice big hug. My Ummamma would tell you that we never really grow up and that our sense of well-being will always depend on that need for being comforted, come what may. It isn’t really the events that are significant , but the certainty and security provided by the presence of those around you, that makes you feel alright, see?

My motor skills are quite okay , I think. I have a firm grip and I’m able to hold the plastic mug, dip it into the water in the bucket and lift it full of water and pour it into the flower pots that my grandmother keeps outside. Love those watering sessions. Sometimes a tiny little frog jumps out from a pot and of course I’m fascinated.

Kaalu, the black street dog and I have become close friends. It can spot me from a distance and comes running if it is anywhere in the lane outside.Grandma and I feed it from time to time. The poor fellow is quite scared of the other dogs though. There is quite a gang in the neighbourhood and one or two of them are real bullies.

I’ve also learnt to purse up my lips in a shy smile that leaves them all enraptured. Perfecting that these days, much to my advantage.:-)

Going to be one and half next month. I’m sure I’ll have a lot of interesting things to tell you in my next despatch. If my scribe isn’t lazy, that is. See you around folks. Take care. 🙂

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Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Zohaan


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Zohaan’s diary-Part5

February 6, 2014 at 11:20pm

There is a saying in Malayalam which goes something like this….”You can keep a betel-nut in your lap , but not a palm tree”. Well, I’m not that tall yet, but my Ummamma is getting the drift of that adage these days, if you know what I mean.. The only time I deign to sit on her lap is when she reads me stories and shows me those colourful pictures from books. Thanks to Ummamma’s friend Madhavi Aunty , I’ve got a new collection of books published by the Childrens’ Book Trust , all the way from Delhi. Thank you Uncle Venkitesh for carrying them to Kannur. Much, much appreciated.


I’m having a blast.Sometimes I have to fight sleep , so as not to miss out on each precious moment. Ummamma doesn’t understand that and she keeps rocking me in her arms, sometimes for a pretty long time just so that she can lay me down on the bed and have her break. And then, many times, I wake up again just as my head touches the bed. She is pretty patient, but I make out from her sigh that she can’t keep pace with my exuberance. 🙂

Occasionally I give her a real scare…like when I was fidgeting around with this small plastic casio kind of toy which played different tunes when you pressed each key and managed to prise it open at the back and extract the small button like cells. Before she had noticed ( Ah! I am quite a fast one),I had one of them in my mouth. She had literally to fight with my jaw- bones to get my mouth open and take it out. Every other woman in the neighbourhood, has some tale to narrate, of some little one , who had either swallowed naphthalene balls or got fingers stuck in the door that they had tried to bang shut or some such misadventure. It freaks her out , I think. Hopefully, I’ll be more smart.


I am smart that way,believe me. I’ve mastered this gesture of bending my head to one side and smiling at my parents and Ummamma with that angelic smile we babies have, when I’ve done something to piss them off.And it works like magic every time. 🙂

We celebrated my uncle’s birthday a few days ago. Nice it was…cake and all. The guy is kind of strange though. He’ll take me along the lane till the turn to the main road, in the mornings ,when he leaves for work and walk me around when he gets back and all, but he just cannot understand anything I try to tell him. True it all still comes out as Ba..Ba….., but Ummamma and my parents catch on quite quick. This guy just looks at me and smiles and when my decibels increase, Ummamma has to come as the interpreter and explain . Very frustrating, I must tell you. Yea, I know he is not very talkative..but here I am just beginning to learn to communicate and he won’t even nudge me along. I’m told that we share a common trait though…that of tearing bits of the page of the books we are reading and nibbling at it. Me….I’m a little one…. He was in the 4thor 5th standard apparently when this habit took hold of him. Ummamma has now stopped leaving her books around within my reach, even that book which had a picture of a bearded bespectacled guy. I loved staring at that picture on the cover and the one on the first page inside….Chekhov something ..she keeps telling me. I’m missing him. Oh well,,,I’ll make do with my own set for now.


What else?…Yes… I can make sounds like the dog barking, the cat mewing, the snake hissing and of course that which comes easiest to me…Baa.Baa 🙂 You see this grandmother of mine has nothing else to do the whole day long and she keeps talking to me and telling me stuff. And it’s kind of cool …learning new things….specially about animals. There’s this series on the you-Tube ..Baby Einstein…very nice,with puppets introducing the real animals. I can watch that any number of times and not get tired. And the Vinci songs. Really cute 🙂 Some of those songs makes me want to dance along. Pity is, I can only shake my body as of now. Still too unsteady on my feet, but stay tuned. Soon I’m going to be making all the right moves.

Ah ..that reminds me. I did falteringly take two steps forward, the other day. As luck would have it, Mama and Papa had just come to pick me up. Mama was so thrilled that she didn’t miss out on that while she was away at work. Says now I can take my own time going about it . Can’t be long now before I’ll stop being so down to earth.

So how’s it been with you all? I do get to see you all everyday because before Ummamma goes to the You-Tube for my songs and videos, she quickly browses through her Facebook wall. And I love seeing my own photos and the videos she posts. Yes…I am a bit of a narcissist . Be honest, you guys…who isn’t?

Will catch up with you again soon with more exciting news . Bye till then 🙂


Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Zohaan


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Zohaan’s diary-Part 4

December 10th , 2013 at 10:08am

Hello out there, hope you’ve all been in fine fettle folks.

Well, the big news is that I’m officially a one year old grown-up today. But I’m still too young to figure out all that heavy stuff about the relativity of time and about all things happening at the same time etc. etc. etc. So let’s put that aside and talk about some lighter things instead and let’s celebrate the calibrations of my journey so far, shall we? 🙂

I’m surrounded by a lot of love and that I say is the most important thing. See, I’m already so full of wisdom, I wonder where I can proceed from here. I’m told of this line from an Amir Khan movie, “Dil chahtahai” where he says, “You can’t improve on perfection” and I quite agree. Love is the perfect thing. All I got to do is flow with it.

Except that the elders got to be consistent about it themselves of course. I hope they know all about child- led parenting and so on. I really expect that they don’t freak out when I refuse to sleep when they want me to and that they’ll not stop me from exploring on the grounds that I’ll come to harm. Be there and be ready . But don’t stop me. That is essentially my birthday message


I still can’t stand on my two feet without support and my teeth are kind of taking a long time emerging, which is limiting , but that’s okay. See, this is one of the things I have to emphasise upon, please don’t go comparing me with the other kids. I have my own individual hardware and I am not an assembly-line product. Don’t go quality–testing all the time. I will evolve according to my own mysterious codes of which I am not aware of myself just now. But you got to trust me , just as I am trusting myself.

And don’t go about stuffing my mind with the things you are paranoid about. Let me learn to love snakes as much as I love the cute bunnies and the dogs and the beautiful butterflies. Left to me , I would discover wonderful details about everything around me. I would seriously not want any of the adult conditionings interfering with that process. Wishful thinking of a one-year-old, you say, eh?

I love living in the present moment. I hope I continue this way. I find it funny that you grown –ups were once here and then you go brain-wash yourselves with unnecessary fears and insecurities about the future and then when you can’t take the stress no more, you try and make that difficult , difficult journey back to where you were as a child. I really hope I don’t lose sight of this absolutely wonderful way to live.

And that message from the Bhagvat Gita…”karmanyevaadikaaraysthe”…..we kids were born with that message imprinted firmly in our consciousness, which is why we can keep doing the same things without tiring out or losing patience and if it’s not happening, well, we just leave it and move on. I’m not really sure how that attitude changes . I wonder why it does.

Whoever said babies can’t philosophise? I say that if only you adults could read our minds, you wouldn’t mess up your lives the way you do and ours in the process. And what a lot of assumptions you have. Didn’t you have one which you had even grandiosely prescribed for cursive writing exercises ?…. “Save the rod and spoil the child”!!!!! I tell you !!!!

I think they’re going to get me all dressed-up and invite people over and cut a cake and all of that drama. They think it is all about me. I know better of course, but this is the thing….as long as it is making them happy and spreading bonhomie and affections , I can take it. And I heard my mamma tell Ummamma that they’re going to play my favourite song , “In the jungle , the mighty jungle” . That I’m going to enjoy.

And I really want your blessings. So open up your hearts and let it come my way generously and let my soul respond to it and bask in its warmth.

Love you all,


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Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Zohaan


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Zohaan’s diary-Part-3

Hi again dear all,

Glad my bowels are back to normal. Had a queasy tummy last week and was deprived of some of the stuff I had started enjoying…egg yolk with my breakfast and that dash of boiled chicken mashed along with my rice porridge. Real yummy stuff !! Mamma and Ummamma both felt that the stomach upset was a sign of teething troubles . They keep inserting their finger into my mouth and checking out my gums from time to time and then shaking their head. Wonder why it’s taking this long , I too wonder. Could’ve made my menu a lot more interesting.

There’s this guy who passes by our lane in the mornings with a cart full of tender coconuts. I have come to recognize his voice now and I make appropriate sounds to draw Umamma’s attention to his approach. She gets one for me everyday. I have a few spoonfuls of the cool, sweet water and the tender pulp. It just melts into my mouth. Mamma felt I had better not have it for a few days , what with the runny stomach and all. Ummamma agreed , but then cheated And I’m not telling either. We both know better.

My mom reads up a lot on the internet about all kinds of baby stuff. She just won’t take my Ummamma’s word for anything unless it has been been authenticated by her guides from cyber space. I’m not taking sides for now. They may both be right in their own ways and as long as it is not interfering too much with my way of life, why cross swords?

I think I’m getting to understand quite a lot of what they say . They keep checking out whether I can actually understand. I try to help by demonstrating sometimes, but that doesn’t always go too well with them. Like this spittle thing. I’ve just learnt how to let it collect inside my mouth and then blow it through my lips. It’s such fun .So they were all talking in Malayalam (language spoken in the state of Kerala in India) and I heard the word “thuppal” and straightaway took it as a sign to try out my act. “Eee “ and “No Zohaan’’ and what not!!!!Shucks!!!Such kill-joys adults can be sometimes!

I’m learning a lot too. I can recognize many animals, fruits and vegetables. Ummamma shows me the real stuff from the fridge and matches them with the pictures in the books. I really love that . For the animals she uses toys . Now I can lift them and place them on the right pictures as well. I love all the delighted exclamations that comes my way when I do that. Well, so far so good. I’ll have to figure out a way to firmly let them know that learning will be at my pace and only as long as I enjoy it.

I had gone on an outing too , this weekend. But I won’t be able to tell you too much about it because my scribe hadn’t come along with us. I’ll just tell you that I really enjoyed the long ride in the car.

Will share some photos/videos with you soon.
You have fun too 🙂

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Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Zohaan


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Zohaan’s diary-Part-2

November 13, 2013 at 9:41am

I must tell you about some of these obsessive compulsions that I have. No, they are not of the disorderly kind. You see, that’s what nice about being a baby my age. None of those actions considered quirky in an adult is looked upon as such, when it comes to me.
zohaan picking up cards 001

I have this high chair that I’m belted into every time Ummamma has to feed me. On the backrest is the picture of a teddy. It looks so much like the one in the video of the nursery rhyme, “Teddy bear, teddy bear turn around”. I so love the guy and every few minutes, when I sit on that chair,I have to turn around and point it out to her. I just can’t bear the thought that it’s existence may be ignored or forgotten. I can figure out of course that she sometimes gets tired of exclaiming with joy and wonder, because that is the reaction I expect from her every time. But she is quite sporting about it, I must say.

Then there is this unexplainable need to drop stuff when my position is high enough. Not just that, they have to be picked up again so that I can repeat the action. No I don’t get tired of doing it. I think she gets exhausted after a while. I wonder if she realizes how good the exercise is for her. Saving her all that money people spend in enrolling in a gym and so on. Gratitude is not readily coming these days, I can see.

Copy of kannur trip of zohaan 039

And that statue of the elephant on the pillars of the gate next door…yes I have to be taken near it and I HAVE to touch it every time I am carried past. Call it a ritual, if you may. But the constancy of that routine settles me and there is an abiding peace in my little mind after I’ve caressed the smooth surface of it’s granite body. There is a baby elephant standing next to it too. The contours are not as tempting for some reason. May be I’ll grow up to be fond of voluptuous female forms 😉

And then we have this tour around the drawing room and kitchen as soon as I come here, in the morning. Ummamma has to point out each thing and repeat it’s name . I can go on whimpering for as long as it will take, otherwise. There is a long list….the red and blue and other coloured cups arranged in a row on the shelf, the mixie,the plates, all the things inside the fridge, the wind chime hung from the railing above, which does not chime because it is inside the house and she keeps the front door locked all the time(such a pain that is !)and there is therefore no breeze . I hope she realizes that that is the way babies learn to identify stuff…by constant repetition. Please!!!!!! We are not dumb. Just getting our orientation right.

What irritates her most (My mamma gets irritated too) is that every time she holds me in place to change my diapers , I have to turn on my side and struggle to sit up. I know….I know….it’s just one of those things that I have no explanation for .

There are lots of other things ..but you’ll get bored.

Yesterday , I learnt to point with my index finger as against generally pushing my hand out in some direction that requires navigating towards. I can’t figure out yet how it happens. . I mean, I keep observing all the time and I want to get things right in the first instance itself. But it never works out that way . And then , all of a sudden, I get it right. From that point onwards, it’s just a question of perfecting it. The process is quite fast if you consider that I knew nothing of mobility till a little while ago. Sometimes, I think that babies are taken too much for granted. Not much appreciation of the loads and loads of stuff that we have to comprehend in so little time!!! Comprehension!!!!!! Do you guys ever think about it?
zohaan reading 001

I can distinguish between the happy sounds and the warning sounds people make and the lovey-dovey sounds too. Like when she says , “Where is Ummamma’s cutie pie?”, there is a different inflection which I quite like. She sounds the same when she is pointing out kittens and puppies in my picture book, so much so that I’ve learned to copy that sound and I even feel like kissing the puppy’s picture. She finds that so amusing. I can make out these responses because she repeats all of it to my parents when they come to pick me up and there is a fresh round of “Sweetie pie” and so on…Grown-ups!!!! I tell you!!!!They’re actually quite easy to please as of now.

Have a good day then. Will catch up later 🙂


Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Zohaan



Zohaan’s diary-Part-1

Dear friends,

I’ve been off blogging for some months now. And if you read the next few posts I’m going to put up, you’ll know why. I’ll let you get an idea of what’s taking up my time and attention through the words of the “centre of attraction” himself. So here goes 🙂

Hi folks 🙂 I’m Zohaan and I’m all of eleven months old.

zohaan 11mths

nachu and tariq

Really , how time flies! It seems like it was yesterday that I opened my eyes to see this world for the first time. Pretty dreamy ,that initial phase. Not much I could focus on other than feeding, sleeping, peeing , shitting and sometimes crying crankily at dusk. The elders who hovered around me ,would tell you that perhaps the crying was due to cholic. Me….I think I just wanted to make my presence felt. It’s never too early to start.This is a competitive world, right? If they think that I’m one of those meek,submissive ones , I’ve had it. My mom would feed me even if I didn’t cry, I’m sure. But why take chances? Besides, I keep hearing the grown-ups talking about some film , “Don’t mess with the Zohaan”. See? There is already a lot of pressure on me.
zo baby

Some of those who came to visit me at the hospital and at home, I’m gradually getting to know better with subsequent meetings. A few of them , of course have more constant access to his royal highness. Don’t blame me for that high sounding appellate. The way they fuss around me, you’d think I was no less. I’m not complaining. Honesty is best cultivated at a very young age , they say. So I won’t pretend. I love all the attention.

zahira and daddy



Now I’m able to crawl around, stand with support , heave myself up on a few steps of the staircase, hold , pull and drop stuff. Pretty co-ordinated my muscles are getting to be. I can let go of things , but still averse to throwing. Don’t know what that says about me. Man! But have I progressed or what!!! Gosh, it used to be so frustrating when I couldn’t even take my hand to my mouth and couldn’t even talk about it!! Now I can scream and say a lot . Yeah , it still comes out as “”. But I know that I’ve got the grammar and vocabulary, all arranged correctly, in my mind. Some technical problems with the vocal cords and the placement of the tongue etc. It’ll soon be sorted out , I’m sure.

Oh ! And I love food. I keep hearing stories about kids testing the patience of their moms by being fussy about eating. See, I have no intention of spending my energy nay-saying all the time . So keep it coming folks, I say and make it taste different each time. I get bored eating the same stuff.

It’s a little embarrassing that I still pee in my pants. I’m trying to make small sounds that will give them a hint of what’s on the way.Sometimes they catch on. Sometimes they’re just too dumb or preoccupied. Well , handle it yourselves then…what else can I say?

This house my grandma(my mom’s mother) stays in, is quite nice. Lots of crawling space because she doesn’t have much furniture around the place And the lane outside is pretty nice too. I get to see lots of butterflies and dragonflies and pigeons. Then there are two dogs who have become regular visitors outside the gate, whenever I am around. You see, I spend most of the day here, as my momma has to go to the office. And Ummamma ,as I have started calling her , is crazily in love with me. So it’s fun. She swoons when I call her that. So now I’m slowly getting to learn when to use it to my advantage, particularly when she is kind of angry( half the time I think she is just putting on a show) if I go towards corners I’m not supposed to, or pick up that little speck which her broom and mop overlooked. The poor woman has pretty much made the house “Zohaan-proof” as my other gran described it. She’s tied the legs of the chairs to the table legs , so they won’t fall over when I try to stand using them for support and got my dad to cover most of the plug-points within my reach. They are constantly under-estimating me of course. Sometimes, I have to marvel at myself..that I’m learning so much in spite of them.

I’m planning to share my experiences with you. So stay tuned. Okay? Signing off now,



Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Zohaan


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