Hrishav was born on 25th January, 2003 in Bangalore. A few days before his birth the doctor had told us that his position in the womb was lateral and hence not congenial for a normal delivery. She had asked us to choose a good date for the c-section. We’re a bit amazed at the proposal, because till then we hadn’t heard of such thing. To our more surprise we learnt that many people now-a-days consult astrologers and come up with a date and time where all the concerned stars would be in the most favorable configurations. No doubt it sounded ridiculous to me. Nevertheless, the idea of choosing a birthday was indeed pretty cool – it gives a sort of feeling of superiority over the nature…….Well, when all these things were happening it was already 23rd January, the birthday of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. We’d just missed the opportunity of making our first child a birthday-sake of Netaji. The immediate date of importance was 26thJanuary. I thought, for any Indian can any other day be more auspicious than the Republic Day? When I suggested that date the doctor told that she would take a leave on 26th January. Then it suddenly struck me that 26th would be a holiday always in India and it’s nothing like partying the whole night of 25th and then getting an off the next day. So we thought of presenting a valuable gift to our child – a night full of birthday bash and a warranted leisure the very next day throughout his life!! When we told our choice of date to the doctor, a typical South Indian devout lady, she was more shocked than surprised!! Anyway, that’s it…..that’s how and why Hrishav was born on 25th January. Our first gift to our child was his birthday!!
Like everyone else, we’d also spent quite some time before Hrishav’s birth in choosing a good name. As I don’t believe in numerology, there was no restriction with regards to the number of letters or the presence of any particular letter in the name. Also I had the liberty to spell the name correctly rather than spitting a ‘K’ or an extra ‘A’ somewhere in it!! I wanted a name that’s unique (or uncommon), has something to do with music and sounds good and doesn’t mean anything bad, and off course, which doesn’t give any scope to my kid’s friends to distort it and come up with some obscure and ridiculous nick-name. I don’t remember now how I got attracted to the Indian names of the seven notes of music. Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha and Ni are actually short forms of Sadaj, Hrishav, Gandhar, Madhyam, Pancham, Dhaivat & Nishad. Madhyam and Pancham were ruled out because neither were they unique nor did they sound good to me. Sadaj is unique but sounds really aweful. I repeated to myself the name “Sadaj Das” a few times and tried to figure out what nickname my kid could get in future. The flat or Komal note of Gandhar is used in many compositions to express pathos and hence was ruled out. Out of the remaining two, I chose Hrishav, the source of the second note ‘Re’, which coincidentally is also the second of the seven notes – Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Si – as per Western notations. Hence Hrishav was chosen for a boy’s name. For girl’s name we chose Anshruta, which means something not heard of. This word has a mixed origin, with the prefix ‘An’ (as in Anjaan, Anhoni etc) a Persian one and ‘Shruta’ very much Sanskrit. Somehow I liked this name. Finally, as we’d a boy the name Hrishav was used and Anshruta is still unheard of!!
Bengalis have two names. Hrishav became the official name of our child. The other unofficial name, called the ‘dak naam’, in most cases turns out to be quite embarassing to the child when he/she grows up. Most parents have the bad habbit of calling their kids with some obscure and ridiculous ‘daak naam’ like Poltu, Montu, Putu, Buchki, Pocha, Fuchu etc, which, I’m sure, most kids hate when grown up. We decided to give a decent ‘daak naam’. I like the names of the characters inBuddhadev Guha‘s books. They are small, simple, unique and sounds really good – like Ribhu, Kurchi, Prithu etc. We chose Prithu as the ‘daak naam’.
In an interview Lata Mangeshkar has mentioned that when she and her siblings were in wombs, their father used to always sing songs and chant beautiful hymns besides their mother, so that the children could procure a good sense of music from a very early stage. Well, I don’t know if this actually worked or it was just a coincidence that all of the Mangeshkar siblings have extraordinary music sense. Nevertheless, I took this opportunity to regularly listen to my favorite songs along with Trinita, even before Prithu’s birth and we continued that till Prithu revolted against us and shifted his loyalty to watching cartoons. But it was really a very interesting thing that for almost a year he used to go to sleep only after listening to Jagjit Singh’s ghazal. I’ve always wondered how Jagjit Singh would react if he hears that Prithu has treated his ghazals as lullaby!! At some point of time my friends used to get frightened every time we mentioned that Prithu would go to sleep, because by that time they would have already heard the same songs zillion number of times. Eventually Prithu started liking other types, or rather I’d say any type, of songs. Till recently Prithu couldn’t sleep unless the FM radio was kept on for the entire night at a low volume. It didn’t matter what the DJ played throughout the night, as long as the radio was just on.
We wanted Prithu to get accustomed to our frequent road trips. In August 2003, when he was eight months old, we travelled to Chikmagalur, some 200 km from Bangalore, on our Maruti 800. In 2004 May, we took the courage to go for an Europe trip. The majority of our luggage was the glass bottles of Gerber baby food, which though tastes horrible, is generally liked by most kids in the US and is very convenient during travel. We’re lucky that Prithu managed to survive the entire trip of twelve days on Gerber. Though Prithu could already walk by June 2004, still he never walked an inch, except for when we’re travelling on trains or ships.
Prithu started to go to school in December 2004, when he was just 1 year and 10 months. The four months, Dec 2004 to March 2005, in his first school, EuroKids, brought drastic changes in him. He started communicating with other kids, though till that time he spoke only broken Bengali. His favorite Purva aunty also picked a few Bengali words that he used frequently. At two and a half he started going to GEAR, a school near to our house. Finally we admitted him to Greenwood High in 2007 in LKG.
Prithu had started having girlfriends since his GEAR days. We rarely heard names of any boy from him. Even now we hear more of Shreya, Mihika, Monal, Romita and very less of Srisai or Ishwar.
We don’t remember when exactly he started liking cartoons. They are his world now, with little space also for Shahrukh Khan, Jadoo, Krish & Munnabhai. I’ve mentioned some of his favorite cartoons in the “Favorites” section. He has a large collection of VCDs & DVDs of his favorites and he can play the DVD player all by his own. At times we wonder when he will like humans instead of cats and mice and octopus and ducks…..well, the list is just too long!!
He plays my keyboards now. Though he is quite reluctant to learn anything from me, still he has managed to figure out the song bank. His latest updates are that he can call my mobile phone from our landline, write and send mails from my laptop, behave like Krish and half open his jacket and sing Dard-e-Disco!!
Well, that was last year, 2008, when I started creating this site. Now, it’s June of 2009. He has started learning Western Classical Music in keyboards since the past one and a half months. I’m also brushing my knowledge in Western Classical Music after a gap of almost 25 years – I stopped learning violin in 1985, when I went to a boarding school. Since then I never gave up playing violin, but also never learnt any further. Now it’s so nice to learn alongside Hrishav. He started with C & G major scales. The first piece that he learnt is a song called “Ode to Joy“, composed by Beethoven. It’s a part of the 4th and final movement of Symphony number 9, also called the ‘Choral’ Symphony.
Such is my enthusiasm now about Western Classical Music that I’ve started downloading scores of the major compositions and I’m really thinking of devoting good amount of time for this. One thing that I’m seeing is that there’s no good book of a compilation of important compositions adapted specially for kids. I’d love to see a book that has small pieces taken from each of the 41 symphonies of Mozart and 9 symphonies of Beethoven and many more. I’m sure there can be simple pieces like ‘Ode to Joy’ (taken from Beethoven’s Symphony 9) created out of these. If I don’t get such a compilation I’d be interested to make one myself!! Let’s see…. high hopes off course.