You, at three

I can’t quite remember the little details anymore, Chotto-ma. When I see a newborn baby, it’s hard to imagine that you were ever that tiny. But you must have been.

Mamma had knitted two pairs of booties, one in lemon and another in peach, and parcelled them over from India. They came with matching cardigans and baby bonnets. And they arrived before you did. That first winter, you were either all peachy pink, or all lemony yellow. Little feet, flailing in little pastel booties.

Now, your shoe size is seven. And I need to remember the Chotto-ma you are today, in these shoes.

So, here’s who you are, at three.

This is your current favourite book:

Your favourite movie is The Wizard of Oz. And the first movie you saw in a theatre, on a big screen, was The Lion King, last month.

You have an elephant’s memory. You remember things in astonishing, photographic detail. Things that happened when you were a year-and-a-half. Places. People. What they were wearing at the time. Details of things you had in your room, in ‘The Blue Door’, the house we used to rent when you were in nappies.

Your most important ritual is a ‘group hug’ when Ba leaves for work in the morning. You also screech like a banshee and run like the wind when he rings the doorbell in the evening.

Today, while sitting on the kitchen worktop, watching me cook, you said “Look Ma, the smoke is going up, to say hello to the ceiling”.

The line above is a translation. Because, you always speak in Bengali. Unless you’re having a conversation with Peter Rabbit or Benjamin Bunny, since it’s quite clear that they don’t understand Bengali. ‘Ora to English lok’ .

When you grow up, you ‘want to be a writer; and live in Paris’.

You hate water on your face in the bath. Nothing bothers you as much.

You like to draw. A lot.

You are thoughtful beyond your years. You will talk in whispers when Ba has a headache. Keep even the smallest piece of chocolate to share with us. And ask to call Kolkata to check on Mamma and Dada every day if you hear they’re unwell.

You ask for a dream every night before you go to bed. ‘Aajke aami ki dream kori?’.

You ‘read’ in bed long after Ba and I have left your room.

This is your room, now:

Yes, you have your own kitchen, but you much prefer mine.

You are convinced that Ba and I will become babies when you become a ‘big girl’. You plan to buy us essentials like shoes and ballet dresses (yes, even Ba). And drive us around, after strapping us into our car seats in the back.

After Ma and Ba, the third most important member in this house is your teddy. Whose name is Teddy. Also sometimes called ‘Teddzabilly’.

You smile a lot. Talk a lot. You give lots of hugs. And are being trained to give a mean shoulder massage.

And your favourite food is a pancake. You eat pancakes for breakfast on Saturday mornings. But given a chance, you would eat them every day.

Apple & Cheese Pancake

The filling first:
3 – 4 apples, peeled and grated. 
A sprinkle of brown sugar 
200 gm cheese, grated 
(I used a strong cheddar. It’s bold, salty flavour combines well with the sweetness of the apples)
Mix them in a bowl, and keep aside.
Now the pancakes:
1 cup plain white flour
A pinch of salt 
2 eggs 
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 tbs melted butter

Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre, and crack in the eggs.
With a wooden spoon, whisk the eggs and flour in regular circles till it starts making a thick batter. Then slowly start mixing in the milk, a bit at a time. Keep whisking as you add.
When all the milk has been mixed in, add the water. And the butter. And give it all a good stir. 
You should now have a batter with the consistency of thin pouring cream.
Now choose a ladle that holds just the right amount of batter for your pan.  About 1/4th cup is right for the average pan. 
Heat the pan, and oil it lightly. Pour in the batter, and turn the pan in circular motion to evenly coat the surface.
When the batter becomes opaque, spoon in the apple and cheese mix onto one half of the pancake.
Cook the pancake for a minutes, till lightly browned on one side. Then fold, and press lightly. Cook for another minutes. This will make the cheese melt into the apple.
Slide onto a plate, and serve. With or without cream
This recipe makes about 8 pancakes.

32 thoughts on “You, at three

  1. She is just beautiful! Your words are just beautiful too! 🙂

    I can well believe that one day she will live in Paris and become a writer, but looking at those pictures (which are amazing for three!), I think she might actually become an artist as well! The troll is brilliant, and exactly how all trolls should look!

    I am also very jealous of that bedroom! (: Emma

  2. awww. super duper post Piya. Love it. Inspires me to write something similar for my daughter 😀 I love her room and the way you have done it. chottu ma looks so so sweet

  3. thank you for such lovely words, emma 🙂
    i must admit i'm a little bit in love with the troll. also, when i saw the drawing, it reminded me that i needed to get my eyebrows done.

  4. yes, it is, leaf. no two days are the same 🙂
    this pancake is a hit every time – you must treat yorself to it sometime!

  5. beautiful post pia…she is growing up to be such a pretty pretty girl 🙂 and am totally in love with her room!!! btw, what's the name of her friend sitting on the chair? guess u missed introducing her…

  6. love love love LOVVVEEEE the post! But then again you had a super duper subject :)…I absolutely love the 'smoke going up to say hello to the ceiling and what am I going to dream tonight'…would love to hear her speak-meet her-see her…
    Hell, you make me want to have a daughter!
    Lots of love to you both…Hugs 🙂

  7. :)) then you definitely need to speak-meet-see her! and then, rush straight into that 'daughter project'! big hugs back, vandana.

  8. Pia, I can feel the love through your beautiful writing. It's so poetic and soulful…

    She is such a sweet little girl and so pretty too 🙂 I have fallen in love with her beautiful, expressive eyes. And I love her kitchen too.

    Belated b'day to chotu ma.

  9. Hi Pia, isn't little R as talented as you are !! We treasure the lovely birthday card she made for Krishna..Her imaginations are so vivid and I am sure she will become a writer and live in Paris one day!


  10. thanks uma! i remember her having a super time doing krishna's card…i had to stop her from adding any more detail 🙂 i'm glad you liked it!

  11. an early 'happy birthday' to your little one, chinmayie! it really is the best time, isn't it? and in a way, they are right about us becoming babies – i mother my parents now, so roles do reverse with time 🙂

  12. What a touching post! I don't have any children (yet) and reading your words and seeing the pictures I feel all the love that I mother has for her child. Your daughter is very lucky to have you.

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