Adventures of an engineering dad – part 1

It is interesting how everyone becomes an expert in the general theory of kid management on the basis of having just one or two of them in a lifetime. It’s a bit like reading Shashi Tharoor’s tweets and claiming to be an expert on post-independence Indian literature. Everyone has theories on how to put them to sleep, for instance, but that is a silly notion because babies have their own theories on how and when they will sleep, and that rarely seems to match with the suggestions put forward by these experts.

It’s been a year since this curious object with fully grown nails and a mildly peeved expression came into my world and I have been making certain observations of the changes in my life. The wife now preens and struts around family weddings, baby in tow, with a look that says “Duty over. Now let me go back to reading Transmetropolitan“. Tambrahms have this great fascination for doing things early. We wake up early to do holy rituals at unholy hours. We wake up early to study for exams. We have our lunches at 9.30 am. Grandfothers will extoll the virtues of proper early morning bowel movements before early morning baths and early morning Sandhis and grandmothers will insist on an early booking of the uterine tract, much like how we book train tickets. If you don’t do it early, there will be problems later. 

But these social games apart, the subject in question has been, in his own way, going about the business of growing up in what must surely seem like an alien world to him. My observations of the subject have stretched across several pages of cloud synchronized iPad & iPhone notes, Evernote clippings, text files on my laptop and a large number of visual recordings of the subject. Um..and a few carefully designed experiments that did not sit well with the ladies in the house but well, for science, I say.

For the first 1 or 2 months, he was largely asleep most of the while and when he was not, he was making strange movements with his mouth that originally seemed to suggest that the Klingons wanted to send us a message. Despite detailed internet research, the messages were indecipherable. After a while, hand movements accompanied mouth movements and I was pretty sure that mankind was missing something important. By the third month, we had cracked it. He was hungry. Pouty expression, fingers to mouth accompanied by Klingon phrase meaning “I shall destroy you to dust” – I am hungry. Random transition from smiling face to intense wailing – I am hungry. Frantic handwaving indicating imminent invasion of the Earth by Romulans in American sign language – I am hungry.

With a strategic eye towards ensuring the safety of my many musical instruments, I was keen on inculcating in him, an early interest in the arts, or shall we say inculcating a lack of interest in creatively destroying fragile instruments at the first available opportunity. I first had to establish what genres of music the subject had a preference for. Blues was attempted. St James infirmary. Not bad. Despite the crushing sadness of the song, It did not induce crying in the subject. If anything, subject proceeded to turn my stringed instrument into a percussion instrument with a dramatic vocal accompaniment that was clearly off key. Second experiment – Air – by J.S.Bach. The long violin notes immediately induced crying. In true scientific spirit, I had to find out if it was the plaintive notes of the piece or the sound of the violin itself that was the root cause. So I played the Schindler’s list theme next, but the experiment remains inconclusive because the baby’s mother arrived on the scene with implements designed to destroy my instruments if I continued this experiment any further.

Subject does not like objects placed on his head. Despite very poor hand eye coordination, such objects are flung away with great force. At this point, it takes about 14 or 15 repeated attempts to cause subject to get annoyed. This is based on a poor sample size because the baby’s mother has put a stop to further validations of this number.

Subject now moves around in a walker. And to considerable consternation of the ladies, the subject now conducts scientific experiments on the temperament of household dogs post high velocity impacts from babies in walkers. Strict territorial delineation had to be done to avoid further escalation of the situation.

Subject now constantly executes Houdini like manoeuvres to extricate himself from adult hands and be set free on the floor, and much like characters in Hanna Barbera cartoons, the legs and hands are perennially in a state of motion to the point where setting the subject down instantly results in an exploitation of Newton’s laws towards nearest small object that can be eaten.

Subject will attempt to eat any suitably sized object in his hand. If said object is not in his hand, subject will marshall his limited mobility and hand eye coordination to grab said object and then eat object in hand. Subject often unleashes extreme violence on objects that are beyond his ability to grab successfully. Subject shows great fascination for the Hindu newspaper, but we are unable to discern the scale of his political philosophy and the moral compass of his mind’s geometry box because subject ate the newspaper in question. If subject is held very close to one’s face for a detailed examination, an attempt to eat one’s nose will be made.

When subject gets hold of contraband substances (such as smartphones, balls of dust and fossilized food particles), subject initiates stealth protocol. He turns away from the line of sight of adults present in his vicinity and attempts to eat said contraband. However, if eye contact is established, subject smiles, leading to an embarrassing giving away of aforementioned stealth. Subject may not be suitable for RAW recruitment on the long run.

Subject has a precisely defined micturition schedule. Just after every nappy change.

Subject now recognizes his nickname, Sumo, and the tone of voice that means “Do not continue to do what you are just doing”. But subject smiles, as if to say “Here, take a smile in exchange for your tacit approval of this banned action” and proceeds with illegal activities till he is physically lifted and transferred to a neutral zone. Subject uses the airlift time to plan his next moves.

Subject, after extended periods of action, does not, as common sense would indicate, fall asleep. Subject goes into an intermediate stage, much akin to hibernation of MS Windows and indicates that to us by plugging in his tools of mischief (index and middle finger of his right hand) into his USB port (his mouth) for charging. Subject then also seems to require a small piece of cloth for moral support before eventually proceeding to close his eyes. Subject presumably has dreams involving the Wehrmacht because when he is asleep, the bed turns into the map of Europe circa 1939 as he rolls across with impunity to colonize and subjugate all parts of it.

Subject, despite possessing very poor knowledge of basic science and mathematics, is keenly aware of the melting point of the cardiac region and one hopes that as he grows up, he does not forget this all important secret to a happy life.

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41 replies

  1. Hilarious@ subject may not be suitable for RAW recruitment! I think his true RAW capabilities will depend on how easily he sneaks a girlfriend into the house in the coming years.

  2. “Subject, despite possessing very poor knowledge of basic science and mathematics, is keenly aware of the melting point of the cardiac region”
    Nailed it! The said cardiac region belonging to the readers too, I can safely say, have been in a continuous state of melting throughout the interval of reading this post :)

  3. Awesome man! You could compile all this observations and create a contraband “Konar Tamil Urai” like thingy for clueless fathers in future! ;-)

  4. i shall politely refuse to acknowledge the validity of said subjects response for it does not involve the vader theme as rendered by said subject matter expertise gainer. it would work in the benefit of the subject and therefore humanity if he was exposed to the wonders that is the wars at an early age.

  5. “plugging in his tools of mischief (index and middle finger of his right hand) into his USB port (his mouth) for charging. Subject then also seems to require a small piece of cloth for moral support before eventually proceeding to close his eyes” This holds true even in the case of my 4 year old subject, just that in his case it is the thumb and his blankie. Also ‘melting of cardiac region’ – wondering how strong a cardiac region we mums (and dads) possess that despite being in a constant state of melting, it still manages to function!

  6. Don’t remember the last time I read a blog post where I smiled throughout the entire duration of reading it. Wonderfully written.
    P.S.- Expect the subject to be more than peeved when he grows up and realizes you called him a ‘subject’ once.

  7. Nice to read your blog after a long time. It is brilliant :)

  8. I laughed so hard when I read “Subject shows great fascination for the Hindu newspaper, but we are unable to discern the scale of his political philosophy and the moral compass of his mind’s geometry box because subject ate the newspaper in question.” :D :D …… Thanks for coming back after such a long time!!

  9. Back with a bang! Was laughing and smiling through out! Pls keep noting down said subject’s activities!!

  10. Only if you have “sappadu” (lunch) at 9:30 can you have tiffin at 3:30. After a mid- day nap, ofcourse.

  11. After a long time, a brilliant post on a refreshing ‘subject’! :)

  12. Reblogged this on All About time, space and thoughts and commented:
    hilarious as usual….

  13. subject’s history is hilarious…pl continue the research…

  14. you have vapid interests and have been effectively emasculated, Tam Brahm, I hate the auto-drivers of Madras that take you for a ride, chattering nonsense all the time to distract one from realising that one is indeed being taken for a ride, thank-goodness Jayalalithaa is your CM, have had enough of the DMK shits, from one Tam Brahm to another…….. I’d really like you to show your blog to your kid when said being is in teens, I’d like to see you caught in the crossfire between wifey and kid, I program synths for a hobby, and I speak MIDI, am glad am not married or have a kid to get mileage from on the net, for a lame blog. Just goes to show that we, as Tam Brahms are losing our touch, be it Veganism/anti-cow slaughter activism, animal rights, need proof ? well, Vishwanathan Anand lost to a Brit, we can’t sink any lower can we ?

  15. sorry about the harsh comments, I’m separated and my ex-wife is still f***ing around with my babe’s life, and she’s going to be 2 years old soon, and my in-laws are influential and turn a blind eye to my ex-wife’s cheating with her high-school boyfriend and they don’t let me see my daughter and she won’t sign the divorce papers. I work in IBM, Bangalore and its showing in my workplace, the stress, sorry I lashed out at you, fellow Tam Brahm..

    • Sorry to hear about your situation and I can understand your bitterness, having seen close family go through something similar. As for mileage on the internet, well, I won’t deny it. We all derive mileage from whatever form of self expression works for us. For me, it’s music, writing and photoshopping rage toons. If my son asks me to remove all online references to him when he grows up, I will comply. I’d like to think that I work hard to be someone my wife wouldn’t consider getting frustrated with but I won’t descend into the kind of arrogance that proffers someone else life advice based purely on personal anecdotes. We all live uniquely different lives and that’s that.

      I don’t really care about politics apart from poking fun at every type when I get a chance and the blog has absolutely zero world-changing ambitions. My angriest rant ever was on a new version of Mile sur mera tumhara. I’ve never felt the need to assume any special pride for being a “winner” in the ovarian lottery that resulted in my birth in a Tambrahm household. This blog and the toons are merely a bunch of observations I’ve made over the years that some people seem to enjoy reading.

      Best of luck with the rest of your life and I hope you get the opportunity to interact more with your daughter in the near future.

      • thank-you for your magnanimity, I just want custody of my daughter and she can grow up with my cousins and their kids, this high-school flame of my ex-wife is just interested in free sex and not marrying her and raising my daughter. I don’t want my daughter to be raised by some beef-eating fellow speaking trash/coarse tamil profanities and rubbing his crotch all the time when he’s speaking to any woman. what can a father figure he be when he is an open LTTE sympathiser and goes every evening to eat ‘aat kaal(goat leg)/maat(cow leg) kaal soup’ and I don’t want my daughter growing around such impure people……… and degenerates. I’m so sick of the institution of marriage………

  16. all I want is a DNA test to prove fatherhood of my girl and I’d like to see her now and then, but my ex-wife is crazy about a DMK idiot whose father or grandfather spewed venom against Brahmins in TN and hence our(Tam-Brahms) exodus and this high-school rowdy took her virginity and when we got engaged, I requested her to come clean as I did and she promised that we’d put her past behind us, and I have never done it with a woman before my now ex-wife, it seems silly to call myself a virgin, but if that means having no sexual contact with any woman before my ex-wife, then I am purer, I have wanked-off during teen years but never did the nasty before marriage……….. I’m so depressed, wish I had a happy scene like you do fellow Tam-Brahm………….

  17. welcome to the world of parenting.. felt good reading ur post after a long time.. so waiting to know more about the ” subjects” antics.. :)

  18. LOL :D Sema! Keen observations + Very descriptive witty writing.

  19. If the investigator requires leave, I am available to take over the investigation on the subject. I love such subjects.

  20. hey dude,
    Beautiful account of subject and the surrounding. Looks like ur one year-old is on a spree and wonderful post. All the best with the baby and congo:)
    Cheers
    Vishal
    http://www.vishalbheeroo.wordpress.com

  21. I think it is no coincidence that in many non-native English speakers have a hard time discerning between hungry and angry.

  22. Whether you’re expecting your first child or your kids are grown and on their own, being a dad is a new experience. When my wife was pregnant, we decided to have a homebirth. We hired a doula and two midwives. I won’t tell you how much it cost. According to them and other experts, labor was going to last 10-12 hours. My son had other plans. My wife’s labor was so short that the only other person in the room when he was born was – guess who? – me. After nine months of preparing to support my wife in the birth of my first child, there I was, with no medical training, serving as midwife, doula, and doctor. I fought off the strong desire to run out of the room as fast as possible. When I caught Joaquin, I experienced pure exhilaration and love. ^;

    Be well
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  23. another subject at another city has been onto all of the above and then some… reckon, it’s Klingon effect after all!Earth has already been infilterated!!

    mitthies to the younger subject from older-subjects-mum!!

    p.s: and the bicycle has got toppled! uff… gotta go :)

    pps: great report, agent!

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  25. Absolutely amazing! :) Im awestruck on the way u write.
    It such a pleasure to read ur posts, keeps the stress away. Been blessed to hear you in person when u came to our college. Let the vuttufying peter and sutthufying ooru stories keep coming in..

  26. Absolutely Hilaious!! thank you for posting this and keep having fun with experiments and observations on the subject!!

  27. Absolutely amazing! :) Im awestruck on the way u write.

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