2009-05-30

Visit to OT

Aarush was having cough for long time almost few months from now. Every now and then it used to increase and then it subsided with cough syrup. Every time we thought after a week of cough syrup treatment it will be better but it somehow never got cured completely. In between, we tried different "pathys" as suggested by experienced parents. Now last month while he was getting immunization after 15th months doctor suggested to visit ENT specialist because of prolonged cough and speech delay. We took appointment with ENT specialist at Manipal hospital and he gave him some antibiotics. After two more visits he felt both his ears still have congestion and things are not improving. The same line thought was shared by his pediatrics too so suggested for a microscopic operation.

It seems middle ear infection is quite common for children below 3 years. Read the same on WebMD if you are curious. There is a nice slideshow to explain.

Filled all the pre-approval hospitalization forms and again another set for Insurance company. And ensured bed/room booking is all set before the big day. Night before Aarush got admitted and we three spent the night at hospital. Aarush was in very playful mood. Might be Aarush was thinking he has came to a hotel for a travel or so. Few doctors and nurses made visit and advised Aarush should be not given any food or drink after midnight. He was scheduled to be operated in the morning itself. Around 10.30 PM nurse came to take his blood sample of about 3ml which was horrifying experience for all.

Aarush in new Hospital dress - all set for operation

In the morning, he got his hospital dress and wrist band before moving to OT. He was in very cheerful mood as he couldnot make out what actually will happen next. While we were waiting just outside the OT we saw 2 others little boys being treated on emergency. Pamela recognized KOUSIK - they were there with their son Iravan. We only know them virtually as we follow their blog from time to time. We were not in a mood to say 'hello' for a quick introduction. Wishing a quick recovery to Iravan.

Aarush operation finished within 45 mins. He was very cranky and cried a lot after returning from OT. IV fluid channel was setup in his right hand and he wanted to remove the same. After 30 mins or so we moved back to our special room. It is now almost 11 AM and still our litte one is without any food or drink  for last 12 hours. After incessant crying he slept and woke up bit fresh around 12 noon. We gave him some Mosumbi juice to start with. Around 1 afternoon he had his lunch and being famished he finished his portion of hospital meal without any fuss. The amount of food supplied was enough for us and we also finished our lunch.

Around 2 PM went to see his pediatrics and all seemed normal. But we were still worried about cough and he said it will get better now and to revisit him in a week.

Aarush sleeping after operation

Back to room we are still waiting for the ENT specialist to visit so that we can get a release note from hospital. The doctor was too busy and came around 4 PM and we were given green signal for release. Oh ! what a relief... that really is a big burden spending another night in hospital for no good reason.

After  good nap Aarush was playful, looks like he adjusted with that big needle on his right hand quite well.  As we are getting medical insurance to cover this operation we  could not be released before completing 24 hours which means we are hostage till 9PM.

Dinner for Aarush came around 7PM and this time he did all his routine work for food which means it took an hour with lots of pleading, running behind and cleaning the floor etc. At 9 PM paid my part of the payment  and got the release order by 9:30 PM we were out of hospital.

P.S. Aarush is doing well(finger crossed). Hope he recovers speedily.

2009-05-26

Little Tibet

(....Continued) Soon after leaving Brindhavan garden and on touching the highway (SH88) road condition improved which looked like recently renovated. Aarush was fast asleep after having his lunch which always translates in smooth driving and I was able to drive at 80-90 KM. Along the road crossed Bilikere, Husur & Piriyapatna before reaching Bylakuppe. It is an odd name which houses one of the largest Tibetan settlement in India. We had to take a left turn from SH88 to go to the monasteries. As soon as we took left turn we almost felt like driving in North-East where you are greeted with Mongolian faces. There were bright prayer flags along the road which symbolizes hope where as white ones are for death.

This is really a bit of surreal - you are at middle of Karnataka, only few hundred kilometers away from Bangalore and surrounded by thousands of Buddhists monks and families. These people have left their home land almost 40 years ago and new generation are born here only. Still they keep their faith and tradition alive for generation to come. Like all Tibetan settlements in India here also one requires special permit for "Non Indian(foreigner)" to visit.
We went to Kagyu monastery first. This one sits on a hill top from where you can see “Nalanda Institute” and other monasteries. The largest of these 4 monasteries is Namdroling or commonly known as “Golden Temple”. That day sky was in perfect blue and shrine with bright colors were looking magnificent. Unfortunately, we ran out of battery(camera) inside Namdroling. Aarush was bit startled with humming sound and to see monks playing big drums.


For facts lovers the original name of Namdroling was "Thegchog Namdrol Shedrub Dargyeling" luckily his Holiness Dalai Lama shorten the name during his visit. Around 5000 monks are today studying there.

There is a big shopping area with lots of souvenir shops, ATM and restaurant. Lots of magnificent stone show pieces were available which were expensive for my budget. After having a very late lunch - momo (it was not that great we get better momos at Siliguri - my home town) we started for our homestay which was still hours away.
After Kushalnagar the road condition was not that good as lots of work is going on to widen the road. Only mobile network which really works on mountain road is of BSNL; both of our phones with private networks put us on thought how to locate our home-stay. We entered an estate as soon as we saw name “Sandal” on it. After driving 1-2 km through coffee estate we realized we are in wrong place, luckily we found a good Samaritan who lent his mobile (BSNL) to call our home-stay for more specific direction. It turned out our home-stay is another 6 KM ahead on that highway. With more information on route direction we were able to find our home-stay. This being a first time at home-stay we were bit shy as we reached at our host’s door. (To be Continued....)


Some useful links if your are interested in visiting this part of

2009-05-21

Sondesh

Bengalis are considered as food-lovers (khadya-rashik).For them any sumptuous bengali meal is always incomplete without a sweet dish. Just like any french meal which would remain incomplete without a bottle of exquisite french wine.

I was not a big fan of sweet earlier but when you live with someone for a long period of time, you quickly start to adapt some of your partner’s habits be it deliberately or inadvertently. Maybe sometimes for the good or worst - so is my case. My sweet S unlike me, does love his sweets quite ardently. With us, desserts do not necessarily need to be complicated or fancy; they simply have to be labeled dessert. Sometimes, only a piece of quality bittersweet chocolate will do especially after main meal be it lunch or dinner.
Well known Bengali sweets are generally made of milk products and sugar be it sweetened cottage cheese (chhena), khoa (reduced solidified milk). Sometimes even flours of different cereals and pulses are used to prepare and embellished with nuts, raisins or grated coconut.
From quite a long, I was craving for Narkal sondesh (grated coconut sweet). But somehow things were not in my favour and it didn’t get prepared. Much like other aspects of life, it takes a bit of perspiration and lots of inspiration. At last, I had to ask hesitatingly to my Sondesh guru and my inspirer (mil) to prepare for me which she accepted it considering my situation…peut-etre!
I learnt preparing this from her but today I will recite my joy of eating for the one she prepared on my request to tantalize my tongue.

Simple to prepare
  • Mix sugar powder and grated coconut paste.
  • Place the mixture over the heat and stir constantly to avoid lumps.
  • When the sugar melts, add milk powder and remove the pan from the heat. Stir few more times.
  • Add the cardamom powder and mix again.
  • Now cool it a little and then smear the stone mold with oil; Press sugary-coconut on the mold to decorate their upper surface occasionally with help of water.

These sweets are commonly prepared for religious festival or marriage or offering to household deity. But as I said, today it was prepared for me.

2009-05-15

Fifth Month

May 17- June 16
By 5th month slowly started introducing solid food like banana and apple puree to Aarush. According to our custom till "Annaprasanna" we are not suppose to introduce solid food like rice or wheat to baby. And his didu was also against using common baby food item like "Cerelac" as they contain rice or wheat. This resulted in his first solid bite being fruit -- mashed banana. The first spoon he swallowed as my mom fed him, but little man has a frown of disapproval, like "what the heck they are feeding me?!" Well, as predicted, he didn't like that much for the second spoon and started crying. We had to try again and again. Though we had apples and banana in the fridge for him it seems he started liking banana but not apple puree. His didu use to feed him making him sit on her lap.

Our li'l one started to roll a bit; can be on his tummy. He tries to edge forward by pushing with his feet or pulling with his arms. Rarely adorable, toothless smile was given in response to our talk. He can make different sounds come out of his mouth – and was delighted in experimenting with them.
By June 1st when his sissy's left my son was bit upset as house was not buzzing any more. He had a great time with them. After they left he use to look around as if he has been deserted. On June 4th his parental uncle came to meet him for a day and Aarush was happy and playful that evening. Suddenly there was strike at Calcutta and uncle's flight was delayed that helped to spend more time with Aarush then expected.
This month was very hectic for Santanu as well me. We traveled a lot almost criss-cross the whole country. It was not only traveling but also move from Bombay to Bangalore, Santanu had to do it single handed. From finding apartment to movers, closing or transferring various accounts and establishments was not an easy task. Many a times we ended up in arguments over phone for not things going in a way one wished for.
At first Santanu came to Mumbai for 4 days when he spent two days with movers while they packed our belongings for Bangalore. After that he ensured gas connection is transferred which is essential for living in urban India. But lots of bureaucratic paper work as all domestic gas agencies are controlled by government and it is a regulated market space. From Bombay he came to Durg to take us to Siliguri. On June 10th we departed from Durg for Calcutta after our long stay. Aarush cried a lot during this flight but we had a great service from King Fisher hostess.
After spending a half day at Central Calcutta (Santanu's uncle's place) we left for Howrah Station in the night. The train was at midnight (23:50 to be precise). Journey by train didn't made him happy. He was OK during the whole day even though it was very hot and humid through out the day. Surprisingly, the ever crowded Howrah Station did not bring any adverse effect on him. But as soon as we got in to the AC compartment he started to cry incessantly. May be because of claustrophobia or some other discomfort can't say....he cried and wailed that were enough to wake the dead. Luckily the compartment was empty and we had no co-passenger complaining.
We went to Siliguri for his first rice ceremony which his thamma arranged. It was five days function similar to that of Bengali marriage. On June 16th, he first tasted rice without any fuss. It was a lot of hard work, preparations and although we were dog tired, it was well worth all the effort. All our expected guests came. There he met many relatives as well people from neighborhood. Things went smoothly once we reached there.

2009-05-09

Coolie


These people in red shirts are commonly known as “coolie” or porters who are commonly seen at Indian Railway Station. They remind me of those childhood days when they were part of our vacation (mass aviation is still in infancy at India). They help to carry big over sized luggage that Indian travelers travel with. As Indian travelers are not that physically fit like westerners to lift their own luggage. Coolies are not permanent employee of railways but have a long and strong working relation with them. They get lots of benefits from railways like medical, schooling for their kids and etc. Their recruitment process is very complex and I am not an expert to write on details. What I know is their badges can be transferred between family members and the definition of family members is very vague. This often results in badge being auctioned between 5,00,000 to 20,00,000 INR( 10K-40K USD).
Their working wage according to railway rule book is very minimal; through which they will not be able to sustain themselves or their family. So there is little bit of negotiations between coolie and travelers. Most of the time they are like moving timetable of Indian railways, you can cross check for platform number, coach position for your train and they will guide you to the right place at right time.
Going down the memory lane there is a famous Mohmohan Desai's movie by same name acted by none other but Amitabh Bachan in Hindi at 80s. The movie is very close to Bachan fans as he had a near death situation while performing a stunt for this. Whole India was gripped by this news and the movie release was eagerly anticipated by his fans.

2009-05-08

Gallerry 3 sneak peak

Gallery 3 is going to a big change from current gallery 2 and initial alpha release did not have any migration path from gallery2. It was pushed to Beta release after 2 alpha releases. but to my surprise I found it was implemented in alpha 4 and here is the test result of a new neat code. I am really liking the new compact code making gallery 3 faster and lean compared to its predecessor. Similar, to WordPress new theme development is easy no more smarty - thank God I never really mastered those PERL look alike. Now it is simple PHP and CSS. Another core feature is Akismet which does a fantastic job of filtering spam comments. I was able to import 3000+ images in 200+ albums without any problem. There are few things which needs to be ironed before I can put the same in production.

Day 3 - Rishikesh

The weather looked gloomy with an overcast sky as we woke up. We had breakfast at the hotel and decided to visit Rishikesh today. Again we...