Monday, 8 March 2010

Maya takes on Twickenham

This time one year ago, we were preparing to leave England for India. Boxes were being packed up, goodbyes being said and Maya, our two and a half year old daughter, couldn't possibly know what was awaiting her across the seas and skies in Bangalore. Now, one year on, we are unpacking many of those boxes in a different home back in England. Maya, at three and a half, often seems impossibly grown up, mothering me in a way that sometimes takes me utterly by surprise ("Are you cold? Put on a woolly jumper then." Or "Have you got enough tissues for your nose?")

Three months after we've returned, and is she missing India? Is she really? I have to be very, very honest and say no, I don't think she is. I've mentioned this before, but three year olds live in the present. Maya has thrown herself wholeheartedly into her new life here: the house, her kindergarten which she adored from the word go (what a contrast to starting her nursery school out in Bangalore) and she's even had a new lease of life on the food front, wolfing down anything in sight. Amazing to think, not so many months ago out in Bangalore that I felt it necessary to resort to a vitamin and mineral supplement syrup as she was on food strike for much of our time in India, only really eating carbs. Speaking of food, we chuckled last week when we went to our favourite South Indian restaurant for lunch and we were catapaulted straight back to the same old scenario in Bangalore with Maya only eating iddly's (steamed rice cakes), dosas (pancakes) and plain rice, turning up her nose with an almighty yeeeeuck! at all the gorgeous fare that Andy and I were salivating over. Lily, on the other hand, sat at the table, opening and closing her mouth like a little bird as I fed her mouthful after mouthful of all the spiciest food. She could not get enough of it!

But when I say that I don't feel Maya's missing India, that's not to say that she doesn't have memories of her time there, and some very happy memories at that. The most random of events still throw themselves up and she'll mention 'that man with the strange ears in the park in India' or a funny dance that Aanya (her best friend from school) taught her. She still calls aubergines 'brinjal', remembers the taste of chicoo (a sweet fruit that looks like a potato from the outside) and likes showing people photos of our Indian adventures. BUT. The head wobble has well and truly vanished. As has any trace of that Indian accent she sported, for example whilst singing 'Twinkle twinkle leetle star' and which I, quite meanly, encouraged for as long as possible.

Maya's Mama is really, really missing India. But it's important also not to look at our time there through rose-tinted spectacles and acknowledge that there were many things about living there that I found hard. There are things that I am loving about being back in the UK and other things that I'd gladly run back to Bangalore for - namely the weather! But I musn't be boring and moan about the British weather....Besides, spring is definitely round the corner and we've been preparing our allotment. As you can see from the photos above, Maya has enjoyed helping out and last weekend she did some raking and seed potato planting!

I thought I'd have had more time to indulge in this blog over the weeks and chart our return to England. But I don't, I really don't have time at all. I miss being able to write but I'm vaguely toying with another new blog at some stage. After all, we can all make time in our lives for the things we love doing. We have to. If I DO start a new blog, I ought to to do so before the end of July as this will herald another small family member in! That's right, I'm four and a half months pregnant, feeling rather large already and enjoying the sensation that the little wriggler creates every time s/he does a somersault. We like surprises, so we're not finding out, but as far as Maya is concerned, she is going to wheel her 'little brother' around in the buggy and he will sleep in her room (she's assured me that she's fine with it if we have a girl, but the conversation isn't worth having since it just IS a boy!!).

The purpose of this posting is really to draw Maya's blog to a proper conclusion, as I don't like leaving things untied. Thank you thank you for reading this and I will definitely do this again when we next go abroad, most probably for Lily. I want to leave you with some beautiful words I've taken from a children's book called 'Elephant Dance - A journey to India' that I bought for Maya before we left to help introduce her to some of the things we'd find out there. The words and images appeal directly to children, but this book has become very special to me also as some of the things the grandfather talks about are what I fell in love with in India.

Namaste and lots of love from us all

Maya, Rebecca, Andy, Lily and the bump

'Is it hot in India, grandfather?' asked Ravi.
'Yes, indeed Ravi.
The sun is a most fierce fellow,
hotter than a hundred cooking fires.
At dawn he rolls into the sky like a fiery ball,
then he uncurls and he is a ferocious tiger!

'Grandfather,' said Ravi. 'What is the wind like in India?'
'When she blows from the western desert lands, Ravi,
she is strong. Like a wild horse, she stamps and snorts.
She snatches the children's kites and storms away with them,
beyond the hills and over the ocean.
Sometimes the wind is a gentle one.
Then she pit-pats through the trees,
hushing the leaves to sleep.

'And what is the rain like?' asked Ravi, as they sheltered under the trees.
'The monsoon rain is like a curtain, silver like Anjali's bangles.
It cascades like a waterfall from the sky,
making many mirrors on the ground.
Raindrops scurry to and fro like little silver fish.
When the sun and rain meet
they make a rainbow;
s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g over the sky.'

'Is it the sane as the rainbows I see here?' said Ravi.
'A rainbow in India, Ravi Beta,
is seven silk saris hung across the sky to dry;
red as the watermelon,
orange as lentils,
yellow as saffron,
green as the parakeet,
blue as the kingfisher,
indigo as the deep ocean,
violet as the storm-sky before the thunder growls.

'Grandfather,' said Ravi, as he got ready for bed.
'Do you love me?'
Grandfather put his arms around Ravi. 'Ravi beta,
you are as warm as a newborn kid,
as soft as the frangipani blossom,
as sweet as the juice of the mango.

And I love you very much.'


  1. What a lovely end to Maya's Adventures. Good luck with your new baby and you rnew life in England. I know what you mean about missing India more than Maya though - I still have painful days of longing for life abroad while the kids are just fine and dandy here.
    I am sure it won't be long until your next adventure though!
    Take care

  2. Will look forward to hearing from you again at some point. Good luck with the new baby.

  3. Hi Rebecca,

    Its wonderful reading your blog... Congratulations on your bump/baby :). Am sure it must be time or just past the time of your having the baby. We miss you all ! Which is why I read the blog :) ! Do give our love to Maya and Lily, and the bump/baby.

    Take care, and keep writing !


  4. Hi Rebecca,

    Great blog! We are moving to Mumbai with nearly 2 year old "Izzie" in a few months and was wondering if we could meet up for a chat about India with todders? We live in Twickenham also.


  5. Hi Rebecca
    Great to read your blog - you're a very gifted writer. I am an EFL teacher, my husband is an engineer, and we have a 6 month old baby. We have the opportunity to move with my husband's work to Bangalore in the new year. I'd love to ask you a few questions. Could you email me on and then I'll mail you back properly. Love to hear from you


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