Sunday, 30 December 2018

Ayaan's favourites: his Grandparents

~ 93 weeks to my 'Tees' (30th) ~

This last week, we've had both sets of parents home at different times. And Ayaan, obviously has had a ball throughout. He's close to both sets of grandparents and it's endearing to see him bonding in different ways with each of them. 

Right from when he wakes up, he runs to their room, tickles them up even or joins them in their yogasanas or pranayama; he then relishes rusk/biscuit dipped in 'chai'; he enjoys sitting on his playmat and showing them his cars, animals and "FlintoToys"; he likes to be sent and picked up from playschool by them; he likes to be showered and dressed up by them too; not to forget all the yummy food they make, he likes to be fed by them even; post his afternoon nap, he likes to go out to "another park" while crooning "Grandma/Grandpa finger (x2), where are you?"; and at night, he prefers them to read him bedtime stories or sing lullabies or show him his own photos/videos (one narcissistic baby he is!), before drifting off to sleep. 

All in all, seems like his parents are having a restful week ;) Well, we are - nothing to hide about that right? In all honesty, childrearing is not an easy breezy job. Kind of borderline bragging here - but, I think so far Prantik and I have fared pretty well in balancing out the various aspects of our lives, since the entry of our energy ball (read Ayu) into our lives. And while both of us are busy in our respective time-and-energy-consuming professions, it is true that often we are starved of time for ourselves, in the midst of our day-jobs, family and social obligations, (work) travel and other such commitments. So, when we do have additional hands at home, we obviously are thankful; for indirectly, it also means, we do get some time off :D

On another note, I feel also that we get to see new sides to our parents. I think grandparenthood brings out a more loving, giving side - often throwing a blind eye to the little one's mischief; which as parents they might not have done with their own children (i.e. us) I often tease my mother about it, but I also empathise better with her as a mother now, myself. And while, our parents share tidbits from our childhood, it is indeed fun to recall nostalgic stories from our school times, summer vacations etc. - to imagine what Ayaan would be like when he would be that age is quite an amusing mental exercise as well. Often, it's entertaining to compare our varying childhoods and tantrums even. For example, Prantik would apparently insist on going out with only one shoe on - so when Ayaan makes a fuss about walking outdoors without shoes, we can deduce where that streak of naughtiness came from; also, I am told I was easy to please and win over with gifts - not a surprise then that he loves when the grandparents visit with a bag full of gifts (much like Santa indeed) - who doesn't? ;) However, the similarities do not end there - we have indeed noticed quite a few traits which seem to have passed on from his uncle (my younger brother Rohit) - for example, his musical rhythm sense and voice quality, his love for curd and watermelon, amongst other things. Quite interesting this game of genotype and phenotype don't you think?

Jargon aside - I'm typing this while in the PICU call-room, on my last 30+ hour call this year, on the last weekend of 2018. Prantik and I had to do away with our customary eve of NYE date in exchange for my call duty all of today where I attend to ICU admitted children, while he attends to our boy. But we did manage to steal some time for ourselves the day before, when we met another couple for an afternoon of board games at a quaint cafe, before then treating the parents for dinner at the Club. #LifesGood 

P.S. I kissed the boy goodnight via FaceTime, and said "I love you ..." to which he responded with "I (l)ove you" which kind of sounded like "Aiyayyo!" :D 
Praying the rest of the night goes alright - next post shall be in 2019 - until then Adios Amigos!

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

'tis the season of giving/gifting

~ 94 weeks to my 'Tees' (30th) ~

'tis Christmas season - best time of the year to experience the joy of giving/gifting :)

This year, apart from usual gifts piled up under our little Christmas tree, for family and friends; we decided to do some earlier-than-spring cleaning and giveaway some of our precious stuff as well :D

So, we dusted our library shelves (2 whole cupboard worth of books - yes we are book-hoarders by nature) and gave away atleast 30-40% of our old books from our coveted collection.
PranMaz had lost weight over the last half year, so it was easy for him to give away clothes that were too loose for him now; in the meanwhile, I let go of dresses that I wore when I was size 0 (nearly!) and decided that in the name of body positivity, I should be comfortable in my skin and wear my post-pregnancy curves with pride (definitely aim for better fitness but not necessarily, meaning getting back to being almost skinny thin!)

We also (reluctantly at first) gave away all of Ayu's first 2 years worth of clothes that he had outgrown. Some really cute onesies, some adorable shorts that his bum looked super cute in, the kurta that he wore for his first Diwali, his first bday bow tie etc - so many memories associated with each of those clothes - heartbreaking nearly to part with our only child's first clothes but then we realised that these clothes could warm up so many other needy, underprivileged children. And thus, there was no looking back. We also packed away his old toys, that he no longer played with - some we even handed down to some friends with babies younger than Ayaan.

They appreciated it; also, the home and heart generally felt lighter.

To keep the festivities and feasting going, we dined with the family at the Singapore Cricket Club, enjoying the Singapore skyline view.

I was also excited to have the weekend off: so mum and I baked M&M cookies for the little one; we shopped some stuff for the household (which is our annual Christmas gift to ourselves); we celebrated our friends' kid's 5th birthday, in full on SuperHero theme; we went for Sunday brunch (yes! after what seems likes ages, considering I'm working most Sundays) with the parents to a pro-organic farming restaurant and relished our salads and smoothies.

Last but not the least, for 5 days until Christmas, we've been dropping little gifts from "Santa" into the stocking, to be discovered by Ayu upon waking up (things on his wishlist: chocolate/chocolate sticks (clearly, 'cause we don't let him have much of chocolates - he wishes Santa would give him atleast!)/some "prize"/"red blue red"play dough/Mickey Mouse?! (by this time, he was drifting off to sleep :D) The excitement on his face is to live for...
He thus, reinforced that often, it's in the small things, that happiness is derived from; and within each of us is a child, who really just wants the little things, with great love. If only we understood this, all year round.

Monday, 24 December 2018

"Har Ik Friend Zaroori Hota Hai"

~ 95 weeks to my 'Tees' (30th)~

Had a lot of catch-ups this week. 

Met my school best friend, who had been married for a year, and she had successfully completed her PhD so we went over to her place with a little home-baked rich chocolate cake to celebrate over homely lunch. We wrapped up the rainy afternoon over chai and kachori - heart-warming as always. 

The same evening, we celebrated another friend's 30th birthday, with dinner and drinks at their abode, followed by clubbing until early morning. That was a fun night indeed.

A couple of days later, a childhood friend of mine and more, my younger brother's (with the same name) came home - he was in Singapore for a conference, from the US, where he's currently pursuing his Masters+PhD course. It was a nostalgic evening indeed and was surreal to just sit back and watch him play with the little one - when 20 years ago, they were the little ones!

Later that Friday, the gang celebrated another friend's birthday, over dinner, wine and fun conversation at the Club. Missed the husband, who was enjoying (a cousin's) wedding festivities at Kolkata. 

After the 30+hr ICU weekend call, I decided to host an impromptu Christmas party at home with our cousin-couple. So there was grilled chicken with asparagus, corn soup, garlic bread, pesto pasta with veggies and the best was the mulled wine, prepared by the guest :D We had loads to gossip about and laugh and make merry with some Boomerangs too ;)

Looking back, it was indeed a "satisfying and happy" week. Recently Prantik (who doesn't like to be referred to as 'the husband' all that much) shared an interesting article contrasting happiness vs satisfaction - which said happiness is a fleeting emotion, while satisfaction is more retrospective, based on meeting expectations etc.

I'm not a very social person in general, though my social media accounts might suggest otherwise. However, I have a handful of good friends, who I share my stories with - few from school, some from medical college and then, now the husband's friends who've I've grown close to too. But what I've realised over the years is that there are different kinds
of friends. And how close one is to each could also vary - but like that ad from yesteryear - "Har Ik Friend Zaroori Hota Hai"(Each friend is essential). Also, it's wrong to expect one friend to behave like another. Over the years, I've learnt to value these friends and friendships, for what they are. I may meet some less often, and some others more frequently, but I respect them all nonetheless. 

Given busy adult schedules, it gets tough to keep in touch all the time, but what I do is at least send a message once in a while; remember birthdays/anniversaries and send e-gifts perhaps; or like the husband does, just ring them up. You end up feeling mutually good and well, isn't that what friends are for? Happiness from the endorphin rush on the short run, but satisfaction in retrospect for a life lived and shared well. Not friendship day even, but just felt like writing a blog to celebrate all the varied friendships! Cheers y'all! Thanks for being family beyond family :)

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Out of my Comfort Zone, again

                                                   ~ 96 weeks to my 'Tees' (30th) ~

The week started with another leap into the unknown - began my Paediatric ICU rotation this week.
I had completed 2 months of Children's Emergency and when I started that rotation, I had felt out of my comfort zone too and now again, PICU was not something I was honestly prepared for.

But I went in with an open mind, ready to learn and absorb whatever I could. Well, the colleagues were really kind and open hearted too! I learnt on the go but most humbling experience has got to be from the inner strength of the parents, of the ICU-admitted babies/children.

It made me value what I have even more than I already do. As a doctor, we see a lot of sickness, and death around us, day in, day out; and so, I always share with my family, how my perspective in life is often different from a lot of others obviously. Of course, if one were to follow my social media accounts, they'd know me as a family and friends person, celebrating small and big wins alike, loving my food, music, books, travels with my folks, and well, living life, maximizing in every way possible.

But the face they don't really get to see much is my work side. Being a full time resident-doctor and at the same time, raising my little one isn't the easiest. I have ample help thanks to my mother, who holds the fort while I'm away almost 12 hours a day. But often after a long day, when I'm back, I'm often tired and in need of some quiet. While most days aren't like these, but my low energy days, I could be my not-best self with my little one, if he's in his tantrum mode. And yet, if you were to ask my husband, he'd tell you that more often than not, I am the more giving, kinder parent while the father often chooses a more strict disciplining tone, to balance out parenting styles! Oh well, this PICU month only taught me to value my kid even more.

In my own defence, a two year old isnt easy either.
There are days he cries for no reasons; somedays he asks for milk and then stops drinking after a sip; he says hes hungry, but then he won't eat what's offered and he'd insist on chocolates? He behaves like a teenager, who wants his way, come what may, rebelling against the baby chair, and what not.

But my first week in PICU, taught me to throw a blind eye at all these tiny things that would often potentially exasperate me. I found in me a deep well of gratitude for a life, where I really have no complaints. I found utmost respect for the parents I was dealing with and the week taught me deeper empathy, as a doctor who's also a mother. I valued the fun and good times with Ayaan, which far outweigh the cranky times and found beauty in whatever little time we got to spend together.
After a 30hr+ duty, mid week, I took the little one out to play - we had fun at the ball pit (where he asked me 'not to juggle' - reinforcing my philosophy of doing things, one at a time, with full attention and love), riding a train under the starry sky and posing with the huge Christmas tree and reindeers. I was physically tired after the ICU call, but mentally so refreshed and charged, by his laughter, his loving smile, his gleamy eyes and his endless enthusiasm.

I've always been the kind of a mother, filling in my non-work hours with family activities/outings, sometimes, as a measure to deal with my #workingmomguilt, but as a fellow doctor-mom said to her toddler (yes! I was eavesdropping), "Somebody has to look after the sick kids here! You enjoy with your father now, I'll see you tomorrow!" I realised I should throw whatever little guilt I was harbouring, out of the window - and just feel privileged. For the Universe doesn't hand to us anything beyond what we are capable of handling - so everything is meant to be. Just like I shall get past this phase, so will Ayaan grow out of it... With time, we'll get comfortable.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

A week away from home

~ 97 weeks to my 'Tees' (30th) ~ 

Well, on Monday we woke up in Hyderabad, India. Prantik and I were there for an exam of mine. Another so-called sans-baby couple trip, where I just sat in the room revising while the husband was busy on his work-related conference calls. We ordered in food and had a restful time together.
The next day he dropped me at my exam venue and later picked me up after the exam was done and dusted. Phew - what a relief it was to be done with another exam (results are a month and a half away) but atleast the dangling sword was off our heads.

Following Hyderabadi thali lunch, we headed to the historical Golconda fort. I had last been there about 20+ years ago - and the younger brother, Rohit at the time was roughly the age that my own toddler is currently. It's always surreal to think back and realise how our life journey has panned out over the last couple of decades. We climbed many, many (as Ayu says) steps, to reach the top - and enjoyed the wind, and the view of the city from atop. The sunset was one to behold indeed.
We then headed to the the CharMinar - and were dazzled by the many pearl/jewellery stores around; following which we headed to a rooftop resto-bar, to grab some dinner and drinks, prior to our flight back to Singapore.

As planned, the parents brought our luggage and Ayaan to the airport, and soon enough, we were aboard our next flight - first with the little one having his own seat - off to our short holiday at Langkawi island, Malaysia. The idea for this trip right from it's conception, was to just chill with our little family, and have a relaxed time together, at the beach resort. Additionally, we were off social . media too for that week or so.

We spent 100% of the time, just being in the now and enjoying each others' company - isn't that the kind of vacation one needs?! We'd eat breakfasts like kings (champagne breakfasts FTW), chill at the beach or lay back and read books, max out on spa time, spend happy hour at the pool or get back at the beachside, watching Ayaan making sand castles (or food even!), behold gorgeous sunsets from the sunset deck and cheers together to the good life (touch wood), read bedtime stories on repeat and after the little one had fallen asleep, binge watch some online series, before falling asleep, into restful abyss of slumber, like a baby.

One of the days, we did head out to check out the famed SkyBridge, a suspension bridge at 2170 ft above sea level, reached after perhaps the steepest cable car ride. The view that met the eye - of the archipelago: island-studded blue ocean, meeting the cloud-studded blue sky was beautiful indeed. Ayaan also saw monkeys up close for the first time - after the initial awe, I presume he was a bit scared too - but soon after, we were happily singing "Five Little Monkeys" and jumping about in glee. The little one also had the experience of playing a grand piano and also, playing with marbles.

The week away was full of feel-good experiences, and getting back home felt good nonetheless. We were back to the world of responsibilities, and were back on our phones too - realising also that we didn't really miss out much huh? So much for FOMO :D But most, importantly, it was just nice to be in the present and for once, just soak it all in...

Friday, 30 November 2018


~ 98 weeks to my 'Tees' (30th) ~

The highlight of this week was the celebration of Happy Marketer's 10th year.

What started off as a one-person business, founded by Prantik's good friend, Rachit - had over the years become one, big happy family! Prantik had joined a few months prior to opening of it's Bangalore office in 2012. That also was when Prantik and I became friends and soon enough, started dating, while I was still studying in college, not too far away from their office space. So, I've sort of seen it grow exponentially over the years from then to now; and parallelly, so have we all personally... So, to actually take a step back and witness the gala celebrations was surreal, to say the least.

I joined them on the evening of day 1 (after my mock exam, headed straight for the airport, pretty much empty-handed) - I actually changed in the cab on the way to the beachside seafood restaurant :D Meeting everyone, was like flipping through pages of the past - quite some fun memories were refreshed, while enjoying the 'Ikan Bakar' and the sea breeze. I still remember, meeting Siljith to send some things over to Singapore; the #HMTribe dancing to super crazy fun songs like "Fevicol" and "Gandi baat" on our Sangeet evening; to hosting them over at our first, humble abode in Singapore, catching up over Pizza and some beer. The HM folks were overtly kind and thoughtful, when the first Happy Baby, ie Ayaan was born - they turned up at our place with amongst other things, a 'diaper cake' :D. Mela, has always been a sweetheart - when Ayaan turned 6 months old - she came over with home-baked cupcakes and a self-knitted woollen quilt; Terrence and his wife, had gone the length to create a DIY scrapbook of sorts, which I've been using to preserve Ayu's leaf collection over the last couple of years...
There were so many memories that sprung back, any direction I looked - and so, I decided to just take it all in and just enjoy the present, for now. We called it a night after the 'Beer by the Beach' party, under the gorgeous moonlight.

Day 2 started early, with all of us in our #HMX tees, all set for the Amazing Race Bali. We had been divided into groups, each in 2 vintage Volkswagen cars, driving and running across Ubud temples and museums, in search for answers to the clues provided. The last task actually saw us don sarongs in the picturesque setting of the Holy Spring temple. The race was thrilling and tiring at the same time - thanks to the overhead sun, so when we finally arrived, at the lunch restaurant - we all ate to our hearts' content - the special 'Sambal' and Bintang combo was to die for!
In the late afternoon, the employees had a workshop, while I chilled with my bro-in-law, Saurav by the Kuta beach, enjoying a beautiful sunset; later, moving to the pool. We were a tad bit late for the Chinese dinner, but oh well, after filling our tummies yet again, we were off with a gang to La Favela, which was just a few minutes away by walk. The interior decor and lighting was simply amazing (for lack of a better word) and the Instagrammers including myself couldn't stop from clicking many a snap, before even checking out their menu.

I had to leave early next morning, and the HM folks had workshops all day. What I terribly missed was the Gala dinner later that evening, at a beachfront restaurant, Moonlite overlooking the horizon. The set up was heart-warming & mind-blowing - the photobooth, floral arrangements etc. I had left them with my little gift too - a nostalgic video (link: showcasing their journey from when Rachit and Prantik were just friends back in college, to growing Happy Marketer together, to an award-winning company; also, showcasing some snaps from weddings, festivals and such fun times to more personal scenes, like commencing on the adventure of fatherhood. This, as well as another video montage of congratulatory messages, compiled from dear friends and family - left the boys all teary-eyed. I wish I was by their side, hugging them and telling them, how bloody proud I was of them - but for now, this will have to do.

Their journey so far, has been nothing short of inspirational. And so many years down the lane, the most precious thing remains their friendship. Seldom does one get to see 2-4 men, not only have such a thick bond of friendship and mutual respect, but also a strong, business partnership - this makes me really proud and happy for these guys. If the past 10 years are anything to go by, the future decade is going to be epic - but that night, none of that mattered, I gather - there were those 60 odd people under the Balinese skies, dancing and singing their lungs out until wee hours of the next morning- toasting (some even joined in virtually!) to each other, for being such an important part of the enviable #HMTribe, and the story thus far. Upwards and onwards ... Stay happy, stay awesome you guys!
Wishing you all the very best :)

Friday, 23 November 2018

Health is Wealth

~ 99 weeks to my 'Tees' (30th) ~

Clearly, a late post - because not unexpectedly, I've been rather busy.

But I want to rid myself of excuses and blog however little, every weekend!
(So the next post shall come sooner than next weekend and then hopefully, I'll be on track henceafter)

The last week - a lot of focus was on health actually.

I was down with sinusitis; the husband had just returned from a work trip in Manila with a stomach bug and then I had just returned from a morning shift at the Children Emergency (CE) to find that my toddler had started vomiting non-stop too.

I wasn't too bothered initially but when he couldn't keep even sips of water/ORS down - I decided it was time to take him to the CE to get a dose of anti-vomiting medicine to arrest the puking. So that's what we did. Thanks to me working there, I could go in right away and my consultant could attend to Ayaan - within a couple of hours we were headed home. The next day I stayed home and attended to the little one, thankful that his spirits were still high, and he wasn't bogged down from all the times his diaper had to be changed thanks to the diarrhoea that had begun too.
But in a day or two all of us were back to normalcy.

And that's when I spotted the TIME magazine cover at the 7-11 stand one afternoon- and flipped through the pages.

I often share with my family about the sick kids (maintaining patient confidentiality throughout) I attend to at the CE and how strong the parents I meet are ... and how every day, I only feel more grateful for the relatively unperturbed lives we lead (touch wood)

This year in fact, on occasion of Ayu's travel-theme birthday, we sent monetary funds in aid of children refugees. Last year, it was a panda theme party - so we had donated to the Save Pandas fund (under the WWF banner). Little drops - but they say little drops make the mighty ocean - so we got to keep at it.

But just seeing this, made me sick in the tummy like nothing else. Seeing how children, who should be attending schools, playing on the streets and enjoying their childhood (the way we did)- all from the same family infact, were victims of war - some crippled for life, and stuck on hospital beds or wheelchairs, in much agony.

I remember discussing with the husband, how we must seriously think about how we can do something, however small, for children like these. We can't stop crime and war, but nothing should stop us from being peace crusaders! It was a nice chat, with a lot of wishful thinking, as we chased sunset, on our unusual ride together post work, headed home.

On the positive front, this week saw us celebrating some good health numbers too. By numbers I mean those on the weighing scale :D So the husband was down by 8 kgs since he first started hitting the gym with a personal trainer and watching his diet, lowering his carbs intake and upping the protein content specifically; while the father-in-law was also down by 10kgs, thanks to a month-long retreat at an Ayurvedic centre, which comprised of strict diet control with only plant-based salads etc for food and a lot of yoga, breathing exercises etc in addition to some herbal medications. Without any conscious effort, I realized I was 3kg away from my own weight goal too (yes! I still had my pregnancy and post-partum weight on me :D)

Coincidentally, I also happened to attend to a friend's daughter at CE and they were very grateful and appreciative of how I spoke and managed to calm their nerves. That was reassuring obviously, for what makes a good doctor isn't just medical knowledge but as the friend said, how you make your patients and their families feel.

So by last weekend, we had come a full circle - from reversing roles by being the patient's mother to being the kids' doc on other days; from recuperating from sickness to celebrating small victories on the health & fitness front. As a doc and mother - I cannot emphasize more "Health is indeed Wealth" - so let's be more mindful of how we treat our bodies and as the husband says, if we can spend money on other wordly things, shouldn't we invest so in our health as well, instead of spending much more later when sick? Wise words eh?

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

100 weeks to my 'Tees' (30th!): Resurrecting the BlogSpace

So, Nov 14th is celebrated as Children's Day in India.

I honoured my own toddler and spent the evening playing, cuddling and singing "Row, Row, Row your boat" with him and Mr. Husband.

I was grateful for the heartwarming time spent together, despite our busy schedules and so I sat back later at night, only to realise that it was exactly 100 weeks to my 30th.

Previously, I've done many countdowns: right from 25 weeks to my 25th; 2 weeks to our 2nd wedding anniversary; T-10 to Ayu's 1st and then T-24 to Ayu's 2nd (#24Citiesin24Months); #100HappyDays, daily "Awesomeness", monthly "rewind" emails to the family etc.

I started blogging right before my 25th as well - did a weekly chronicle for 25 weeks until I hit the 'silver lining' - so I decided to get back to blogging, and resurrect this space by trying and blogging every week until I turn 30.

To begin with, I did a simple makeover and changed the theme/background of the blog to give it a new look.

Let's see what the next 100 weeks have in store for me and us!

This is a way of getting more disciplined hopefully, documenting more in the written form and not just by means of umpteen photographs (that are getting drowned amidst 25k others) but more importantly, seeing the extraordinary in the seemingly-ordinary days, weeks and months that pass by and being earnestly grateful, along the way.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018


The truth is I've not been as awesome a mother as I envisioned of myself. I honestly thought, I'd document more of you and store in forms that we could revisit at will. But I've been pressed for time, especially ever since I got back to work (nearly a year ago)- but no excuse is ever justified. So, this is me trying to make amends, if that were possible.

I realise it's been almost 9 months since my last blogpost but I've always harboured the itch to write - so here goes: My latest baby project :D I call it "AyuAfsaane" as a sequel to "The Miracle Series" - the latter chronicled my pregnancy journey through blogposts and with "AyuAfsaane" I intend to save in black and white, some tales from baby Ayaan's growing days, which I hold dear and hence, would like to cherish, years later, when he's all grown up and probably living in another country or planet, who knows?!

As of yesterday, Ayu, you turned 1.5 years old - 18 months i.e. - as parents, annoyingly for a lot of people, we remember our baby's age in months instead of years :D
To recap, we try and do fun stuff and take you out, as you grow a month older each month - not saying, we are boring parents on other days - but we particularly make efforts to do something that's fun for you and thus, we "make memories" every 26th.

Like when you turned a month old, we were at the Immigration Office, on our first out of home trip, since your birth (barring our routine visit to the baby clinic of course) and later in the evening, we clicked snaps of you with the "happy birthday" helium filled balloon (from my birthday a couple of weeks earlier); when you were 3 months old, we were in Jakarta, chilling after our first overseas travel, with your maternal grandparents, before flying to Bali for the NYE and your dearest grandmother's 50th; at 5 months, we were in Alleppey, Kerala, to visit your great-grandmother - we have a rather gorgeous snap for the wall (which deservedly found its place in the annual family calendar) from that trip - followed which we headed to Pune for your Annaprashan ceremony, planned and executed by your paternal grandparents.
At 6 months, we visited the Aquarium with an aunt of yours (she was living with us at the time, thanks to her broken foot) - we also had a small
gathering at our condo function hall, with close friends in Singapore as a "play date" with a chubby little you - you got a lot of gifts expectedly, for some it was the first time they were meeting you (yea! You've had a rather busy schedule right since birth - haha!) but one that must be mentioned is from dear Mela aunty, who not only baked cupcakes but also got you an amazing hand-stitched sweater - in addition there was a personalised star with "Ayu Babu" spelt inside, from the Strathmore folks, which till date adorns your photowall, right at the top.

You turned 9 months old in Siem Reap, where we explored the temples, just the 3 of us on our second "three musketeer" trip (the first one being Goa). I was busy working on a very busy call duty in the hospital, the day you turned 11 months old, I got back late at night when you were already asleep but you didn't complain - to compensate and deal with my own guilt, I took you to your favourite splash zone that weekend. We rang in your 1st birthday, with our beautiful KaMazumian family, aboard a luxury houseboat, on the ever-so-serene backwaters of Alleppey, Kerala - prior to which we were holidaying together on floating cottages over Ashtamudi Lake.  Once, we were back in Singapore, we organized a "panda party" for our little panda-lover! There was a tiered panda cake, a lot of panda decor thanks to Etsy, including a Panda canvas with fun facts about you and "Pin Panda's Nose" game - and of course a lot of black and white balloons, panda party caps, panda plates, even tissue paper - we had little panda stuffed toys as part of the 'return gift' package - we contributed to the Panda Fund (under W.W.F.) under your name; but of course the celebration would have been incomplete, had we not visited the giant pandas, Jia Jia and Kai Kai, at the River Safari - albeit a few weeks later, around Christmas - after you had recovered from a bad flu bout.

As you turned 3x5 months old, we flocked together to visit your favourite feathery friends at the Jurong Bird Park; at 16, we had a ball at the play arena with thousands of balls; and then when you turned 18 months/1.5 years old, we visited the zoo, with your paternal grandparents and your great-grandmother as well - 4 generations at the zoo!

There's been cupcakes/home baked cakes/paayesh/pancakes/rasmalai what not to ring in the 26th each month - we've clearly added on a few inches to our hips, in the name of celebrating you - (ooops)

Every month, as you grow older and wiser - you teach and reteach us wonder, surrender and love, in its purest form.
In the last 1.5years since you first breathed and cried, there have been a few tears and laughter in abundance; we've found that our hearts are deeper than we've ever known; you've enriched our lives in ways you'll never know and may only hear about when you're older, if our memories don't fade... But having said that, we may forget the dates of when you first turned over or took your first steps - in the larger scheme of things, these milestone dates may not be as significant as the fact that you're showered with love and blessings - but we'll never forget how lucky we are to have you in our lives; So, until you let us, we'll love you to bits - we'll hold you close, sleep in on weekends, tickle you and cuddle long, play those games you love and read those books you've grown to associate with meal-time, repeatedly; and we'll click-click-click - pictures on our phones (10,000 and counting - thanks to the cloud!) and time-permitting (and if writers' block has been dealt with) on our keyboards, to document what an absolute wonder you are!

Thank you baby Ayaan, hamari Jaan, for the wonderful opportunity and privilege to be your parents and for joining us on this beautiful journey of life together. Let's continue to make cherishable memories... (now, I'll come and kiss you, while you slowly transition out of dreamland)