I found my first grey hair when I was 21 . With a father who was so grey-haired that he was mistaken quite frequently to be my grandfather,I should have been prepared for this premature greying. But instead I was quite devastated.I remember telling my then boyfriend PP about this strand of grey hair and wondering if he would dump the old lady girlfriend to go take his pick from the college full of young girls.And it didn’t help that PP had a head full of silky black hair then. But PP laughed at my stupid apprehensions and we moved on.

I completed my engineering and then got into a B-school based in Pune. 2 years of late nights, constant project deadlines, the ongoing global economic crisis and the related placement tensions didn’t help my grey state of affairs.I came back to Bangalore, got a job and got married to PP.It was about this time that I realized that I better do something to look like PP’s wife and not like PP’s mom and started applying mehendi regularly.(PP is of a small build and was often mistaken to be a college student even after becoming the Creative Director at the advertising agency he worked for) . I was always very conscious of my grey hair(not enough to dye it though) all through this phase.

Years passed by and PP’s genes also started to act up. Like his dad, he also started losing hair.Since he was very conscious of how quickly he was balding, he keeps his head very closely shaved instead of having  little patches with no hair.So by the time we were both 30, I had a head full of mehendied hair and he had a head with hardly any hair.

When I was expecting BB at 30,our favourite joke was that if baby was to end up with both our genes, he/she would make an appearance into this world with about 3 strand of grey hair and continue with that for the rest of his/her life.Luckily BB came into this world with a head full of black, soft hair. But lets see if our prophecy comes true in a few years :D.

A few weeks back, we were grocery shopping in a crowded departmental store and I strayed away from PP as I was searching for something .When I had picked up all my stuff and was ready to bill them,I started searching all the bald heads in the store to find my bald-headed PP.I smiled as I found my bald head and we headed out together.

At 33(OK technically I am 33 and he is still 32 for another 2 months), we are both quite comfortable with our looks now. We have a long way to go as we actually grow old together,but its been a wonderful journey of premature ageing together with PP.

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About a year back, when BB  got a glimpse of the animated movie  Cars on TV and  demanded that we get him a McQueen car, we knew that the the guy was already hooked.So we consciously made a decision to not buy him the DVD and get him to watch the whole movie.But the doting father that PP is, he took the little boy McQueen shopping . They went to the local shops around and asked for a Lightning McQueen car. But surprisingly none of the local shopkeepers seemed to have heard about this character.

The little son was disappointed and to make up for this, the creative father decided to make him a McQueen.So they carefully picked up a red racing car from the numerous little cars that BB has, then they cut out the eyes, smiling mouth, the lightening and 95 stickers etc and pasted it on and soon they had a nice little McQueen. BB was so excited with this little arts and crafts exercise that he decided to paste/draw eyes and a mouth for all his favorite cars.

About 3 months back, PP picked up the DVD and since then BB has turned into a full fledged Cars movie fan.The father-son duo can watch this movie again and again and again. And it is left to me to me to be evil, disciplined parent to police them and restrict their Cars movie watching to about once a week. Now the little fellow is in love with not only McQueen, but also Mater, Doc, Sally, Frank(!),Mack, Red, Fillmore(aka Peace van in our little world),Luigi and Guido.

He also has his favourite dialogues. and he says this one perfectly with the accent and all.(the meanie that I am I make him say this when I am feeling low and I perk up and end up laughing every single time)

And look at what the doting father did in the meanwhile. 

Every night, he would carefully chose a toy from BB’s toy basket which closely resembled one of the Cars characters, paint it the right colour with acrylic paints,let it dry and then paint in the eyes, mouth and the other distinguishing features. And BB would wake up to see  a new Cars character toy waiting for him the next morning !

Last week we were in a big mall shopping picking up gifts for a friend’s new born baby and we saw the whole Cars merchandise on display. I got to say that PP’s hand painted ones are much better( and more economical too 🙂 ).

I personally love the Mater and the Fillmore(peace van).

Tulika and Mother Earth together are having a tree planting event for kids on June 4th to celebrate World Environment Day and to promote the book.

Everyone’s invited!

‘Let’s plant trees’ by Vinod Lal Heera Eshwer is a little picture book that was released recently by Tulika books.

‘Let’s plant trees’ has cute  illustrations with simple one liners on the benefits of planting trees.But the book does not stop at sprouting philosophy, but also calls the children to take action by planting the 4 pongamia seeds that come packaged with the book.

The author introduction as provided in the book:

Vinod Lal Heera Eshwer wears many hats: he is an advertising copywriter, garden store entrepreneur, furniture designer and obsessive tree planter. He inherits his love for trees from his mother who he says spent much time during her pregnancy in their company! He is is a trustee of treesforfree.org. Currently, a filmmaker too, this is his first book with Tulika

Some more trivia about Vinod:

Peepul, Banyan,Neem,Honge, Arjuna, Raintree, Akasha Mallige,Copper Pod, Frangipani,Tabebuia,Umbrella tree, Parijatha,Sandalwood, Pride of India, Jacaranda,Flame of the forest, Ashoka, Cassia, Badami, Kadamba, all the  local Indian fruit trees and many many more(I can remember only these many!) Vinod can give  you the local Kannada name and the botanical names of most of the common Indian trees and medicinal plants. Vinod can also tell you ideal conditions for these trees to grow and if their fruits are edible and can support nesting birds etc.

Vinod’s suggestion for gifts for any occasion are the Treesforfree gift vouchers.

For his brother’s wedding, Vinod managed to convince his parents to give away potted Tulsi plants instead of the traditional coconut and betel leaf tambula.

Vinod’s little son has been planting trees with his father since the time he could stand and walk on his own two little feet.

Vinod can probably name all the trees on the way to his office( or any Bangalore road he frequents) even when blindfolded . (ok that’s an exaggeration,but you get the idea of his of passion and obsession with trees)

Vinod loves drawing and illustrating for his little son .So it was but natural that his first published book would be a book about trees for children

So who is this tree crazy Vinod? And how do I know so much about him?

Vinod is the spouse , more commonly known as the Papa Papaya or (PP) on this blog.

You can read what the author himself has to say about his book at http://planttrees.tulikabooks.com/

You can order the book online at:

http://www.flipkart.com/let-plant-trees-vinod-lal-book-8181469348?ref=ded743e5-2b47-4aff-bbdf-ed8d92827398

or at

http://www.tulikabooks.com/picbooks39.htm


Shruti, this one is for you.Thanks for the lovely idea.

I had shown this lovely tree to the hubby and PP being a tree lover and an artist had loved the idea of using simple hand prints and finger prints to depict a tree.

It was his birthday this week and Baby Banana and I decided to surprise him by hand printing a tree for him.

 

The brown trunk of the tree was BB’s contribution and the leaves were my contribution to the surprise. (The original idea was to get BB to do the whole tree. But BB got quite carried away with the hand painting and had to be given a fresh sheet of paper to try his creative prints  on while I completed the leaves).

Needless to say,PP loved the card 🙂

When we moved into our new house in April 2006, PP hauled a huge concrete pond up to our second floor terrace, obtained Lotus plants from a nearby lake and planted these plants in the concrete pond on our terrace.Unlike its cousin the Lily, the Lotus is not very easy to grow. So to ensure that  their move from their wide spaced natural habitat to the constricting lotus pond did not affect them adversely and to see them through the initial days of their relocation, PP got the lotus plants with large scoops of lake soil and planted the plant with the lake soil in the pond.Within a few months, we had some of the most beautiful lotus flowers blooming right outside our bedroom window.

By September 2006, we had many lotuses blooming at the same time and the terrace garden had a riot of different shades of pink as the newly bloomed bright pink lotuses blended in the with pale pinked lotuses on its way out.By the end of the year, about 20 lotuses must have flowered in out little lotus pond.

PP very religiously collected the seeds of all these lotuses and every time we went past a big enough lake or pond, he would pop a couple of seeds into the water body.So the seeds from our terrace lotus pond has found its way into an almost dried up lake near my parents place in Bangalore, a couple of ponds near my ancestral village in Kerala, a few lakes on the highways in and around Bangalore and when we went on vacation up North, a few seeds also found its way to the Dal lake in McLeodganj.

But 2006 was the last year the lotus flowered in our pond. The lotus plant still thrives and sprouts fresh batches of healthy looking foliage very frequently, but has not flowered since then.PP even replaced the old soil with  fresh soil from the lake,but to no effect.

So imagine our surprise this year when the dried up muddy lake near my parents place filled up with water during the monsoons and suddenly turned into a colorful riot of green and pink.The little seeds that were dropped by PP into this lake years ago had finally taken root, grown into  healthy lotus plants and were flowering!

(Please excuse the quality of the pictures as we didnt have our camera and we just had to capture this joyful sight using the mobile)

A little act was all it took to share the beauty that we enjoyed.

We were gifted this nice table  lamp by a very good friend of mine on our wedding day about 6 years back.

original table lamp

But clumsy  me dropped it a couple of time while dusting it and in the process the shade  cracked at a couple of places and over the years, the fiberglass lampshade just gave way, fell apart and finally broke.

The iron base of the lamp looked really sad without the shade and the naked bulb didn’t serve any purpose, but  the lamp was kept away with the intention of finding a new shade for it as I didn’t want to throw/give away the precious gift from the good friend. But a year later, the only new thing on the lamp was the thick layer of dust.  As my clumsy hands were the sole cause of the sad state of the lamp, guiltily I approached PP and asked his help in finding a suitable shade for the lamp.

Now PP is the kind of person who has these phases every now and then when he goes into creative overdrive .When he is in one of these phases, the economy gets temporarily affected by  PP’s  creative  ‘We will not buy mass manufactured stuff, but will make our own stuff with the personal touch to it’  phase.For example, I would say ‘ PP we need a key-stand to hang all our keys. Why don’t we go out and buy one this weekend?’ And PP in one of his creative phases will say ‘ Why do you want to buy one? Lets make one. It’s quite simple thing to make after all’. If the creative juices are in full flow, then I will probably have an utilitarian , unique key stand up on the wall in a couple of hours. But if the creative juices are ebbing, then 2 months later after quite some amount of nagging from me, we will pick up a mass manufactured , not at all unique key- stand from one of the stores catering to the non creative people.

So when I approached PP with this request for a new lamp shade, PP was going through the high creative juices flow phase. As he looked at the lamp, I could see the light bulb come on ( PP’s light bulb and not the lamp’s 🙂 ).He told me  he had a lamp shade already in mind and to trust him to take care of this .I did so a little reluctantly ( not all his creative outputs are always successful). Next day he came home with a big glossy  printout of a tree. He cut the outline of the tree  and then proceeded to cut some random shape from a cardboard sheet.

Then he glued the cardboard cutout behind the tree outline cutout and then proceeded to fix this to the iron base of the lamp..

Cardboard cutout behind the tree outline

So this is what the lamp looked like now.

huh how does this look like a lamp?

Now PP has 2 first loves in his life- trees and the Buddha  ( the son is a close competitor now in this race for the 1st position in the PP’s love list, but the little fellow was not around when this incident occurred). So if trees feature in his ‘ I am a creative genius ‘ idea, then the Buddha cannot be very far behind and sure enough the Buddha statue from Sri Lanka found its way to the base of the tree.

The Buddha seated under the tree

When the bulb is switched on ( the lamp’s this time 😉 ),  Voila we have an enlightened Buddha with a halo life effect over his head.

Now only if attaining nirvana in real life was this easy.

The Enlightened Buddha