Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Our Big Little Girl

Deepa, the twenty-eight year old lady who has just started helping out at home, is truly a starlet. She has a constant smile on her face and as well as looking after Lily and cleaning, she is teaching me some Kannada and also how to cook dal-a-la-Deepa. I think that has to be one of my favourite foods of all time – a very simple but oh-so-tasty dal and rice. DeLICious. I wish Maya would agree with me…mealtimes are still tricky and she’s so cautious of anything having the slightest bit of spice in it that she announces that something is spicy before even trying it – even plain old orange juice! Thankfully though I am filling her up with pasta, dried apricots, figs, dates, raisins and cashews, all of which she is quite happy with for the time being.

But back to Deepa, she is with us for about three hours in the morning while Maya is at nursery and of that time, I am able to get about one and a half hours of writing time in. I cannot express what an enormous luxury this is. For months (actually, years – we’re talking pre-Maya days when I last had time to write properly), I have been snatching five minutes here, ten minutes there, half an hour if I’m lucky. But finally, finally I have some interrupted time to sit, think and tap away. I feel very, very lucky. The timing also could not have been better as I am feeling very inspired by this latest novel idea. So far, so good and it’s flowing like water. The other good news is that I feel far more confident about writing a novel than I did last time when I spent that year at our rural hideaway in Suffolk. I’m not saying I didn’t believe in the last novel too, but this time round I have a very useful creating writing course under my belt and have also read some very inspiring books, the most recent being ‘Runaway’ by Alice Munro, a collection of stunning short stories which I cannot recommend enough.

On another note, children here seem to be called ‘baby’ up to an age which far exceeds babyhood. I remember when I first heard Maya being addressed so at nursery, she received this greeting with a look of indignation. I know it’s completely normal for children her age (at least in England, anyway) to want to seem older and to be ‘big girls’ and ‘big boys’ and she is, quite simply, very unhappy about being called baby by all the helpers at nursery and other adults that cross our paths. When I went to collect Maya yesterday I was told by the principal that after she called Maya ‘baby’, she swung round and practically shouted at her ‘I’M NOT A BABY, I’M A BIG GIRL!’ Priceless - I can just imagine it.

I have to agree with Maya on that one. She’s been out of nappies at night for a couple of weeks now (hooray!)…and look at today’s photo of her. Is that the face of a baby? When did she get so big? When did she start to talk so much? Not only will this blog be a record for Maya to read one day, but it’s also important for me, for us, to frame her experiences in India with words instead of pictures inside. Because one day our lovely daughter really will be a big girl and we’ll be able to look back at these days in Bangalore and remember and smile.

1 comment:

  1. That's a smashing picture. I can see why she doesn't want to be called 'baby'. But, then, give it a few years, say, when she's 15 or 16, and she might get to like it again in different circumstances!