This is Pooja Bhandari*. And every morning, even before I edge out from under my ostrich feather comforter, I grab my iPad and start to Mommy Blog. I always begin by composing a prayer of gratitude for my lovely children: the twins Ruansh, Mysha, and the baby, Kiara. I’m not sure what the word ‘Kiara’ means, but it sounds so pretty, and it was either that or Kimaya from the The One in a Million Baby Names book by Jennifer Moss.
I believe that childhood is a succinct, faultless state of being, and so I’ve tried to enclose my family in a sparkling realm of enchantment, a world that I call Wonderland, right here in my Nariman Point home in Mumbai. I teach my children that money is like fairy dust, so when we sprinkle it around, we can dream and croon and fly, usually in business class. So we bake gluten free heart shaped cookies and share with all the other children in slums who aren’t allergic to stone-milled flour and whey protein.
My friends have been critical of me for not going back to work after my children were born and for making muesli cupcakes and artificial spaghetti instead. But I think of nurturing Wonderland as a full-time activity, and someday I do plan on returning to my private practice of noveau counselling- a shrink chamber located within a spa cum gymnasium on Worli seaface. For now, I’ve begun to sell a selection of trademarked Wonderland collectibles on a website, including hand-thrown ceramic mugs inscribed with the mottos “Wander Into Wonder,” “I’m a Stay-at-Home Dreambuilder”. I’m also marketing a line of child friendly teas imported from French Polynesia made with buckwheat mixed with seaweed, raw cacao powder, flax oil. And in just a few weeks I’ll be introducing my Wonderland home wares line, which will feature hand woven Fairtrade bamboo boxes made in war torn Somalia designed to hold smaller hand woven bamboo boxes available for large hearted buyers in India.
Sometimes, when I’m on the chaise longue in my home office watching my children happily play with Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab which we picked on an forest education trip to South Africa, while I edit the audio of the duets where I sing along with Lady Gaga and then mimic her voice thanking me, I sort of think about my children and drugs. Dr. Fuhrman, of the Disease-Proof Your Child fame suggests that not to tell them to not have drugs. Just keep them stable and healthy. So nestled amongst all of my prescriptions, which by the way I have neatly sorted into imported Japanese porcelain pillboxes, labelled ‘Stress’, ‘Mood Swings’ and ‘Cold Blood Murder’, are fluids like ginseng, Noni, a thirst quencher chock-a- block with brahmi oils and sundry antioxidants presumed to enhance brain stability.
Of course, I hate the idea of the time when my children will begin their their Class 1s at a kindergarten in our area. It is an upscale alternative Wi-Fi enabled school that teaches on laptops under trees and skies (in summers that is from February to October, they move to bamboo made air conditioned huts).
And you can’t label me as those moms with neurotic fears of mosquitoes and leeches. They have been fully immunised. Though I preferred the painful vaccines to the painless ones. My husband and I were quite adamant on that- not cocooning children in a painless world. I even got my children Eboli vaccine, just in case an imported monkey from a Ugandan zoo brings in the virus to India too. I have refused to confine or label my children in any way. Once, after Kiara asked me where babies come from, we had a wonderful afternoon playing with a maternity doll, complete with a full bosom, flip lid rounded stomach with a tiny foetus inside and a vagina.
* The character Pooja Bhandari is fictional.