Thursday, July 30, 2009
Each time I bring my laptop, he follows with the cord, and plugs it in. The moment I put close the laptop's lid, the cord is unplugged from the laptop. In fact if I lock the laptop, and the password screen shows, he does not rest, till I shut the lid. For someone like me, who has pretty much no rules in place, it is quite a pain, to follow the rules.
It is exasperating, when I clear out the floor of all his mess, all over the house, for my vacuum and mop routine, and halfway through, find the floor messed up yet again, sometimes worse than before. If I dare leave the laptop anywhere within his reach, it would be attacked with ferocity, he even tries to sit with my laptop on his lap, and I am fortunate, that the screen has not detached itself so far.
Every pan I use for cooking has to be placed on the burner by him, else I will see no end to his screaming. He holds the bottle, when I fill water, and would be upset if its filled up before he gets a chance to hold the bottle. Similar things happen when I am making the bed or putting the laundry in for washing. If I lie down for just a minute on the carpet in the living room, off comes the quilt from the bedroom. Which only means I have to go and put it back in.
While it may sound cute, but it slows me down so bad, that it gets irritating. And sometimes I really need to scream to get him to stop. And later I just hate myself for doing that.
The BB's favourite alphabet is B, and he opens his alphabet book, and says only 'B'. He even says it in his sleep. B for BB after all!
PS - I tried the SG, BG thing, but it just is not working for me. I am completely messing it up. So am back to the original nomenclatures!
1.Visiting my grandmother as a child, is one of my loveliest memories. She is the only grandparent I had and I felt like a princess when I was with her. I was her only grandchild too. The amazing food that would be cooked on an Indian clay stove. My great grandmother, all wrinkled and shriveled, and so sweet. The amazing sweets that were always made for me. The old style home, where the kitchen and temple were across the courtyard, the huge trees, the beautiful flowers. My circus visits with her, were so much fun. Sleeping with my grandmother at night, hugging her close, her saree, her smell. They are some of my happiest childhood memories.
2.Last day of school before summer vacations were amazing days. In junior school, it meant a class party, lots of screaming and cheering. We screamed all the way back home from school. Fun it was. High school meant waiting for the school hours to get over, changing into casuals and heading out for pizzas and movies with friends.
3.(This will sound really strange)The time I broke my leg in high school, is a memory that will last with me forever. Four of the five papers in the finals were over, and I broke my leg, to be precise dislocated and broke a toe. What followed was obviously an X-Ray and a plaster, but more importantly all my friends oohing and aahing over me in school.
4.Back in March 1993, India had a Davis Cup tournament against USA. The then world no. 2, and former world no. 1 Jim Courier was a part of the American contingent. I was an absolutely crazed lawn tennis fan back in those days. Actually lied at home, got the directions to the DLTA from my home, and cycled down around 6 kms, and got the man's autograph. Will never forget it
8. My first year as a mother holds some of the most precious memories of my life. It has been an amazing journey ever since.
9.26th July 2005, Bombay - The day Bombay drowned, and the BG and I made it alive. I travelled the distance between the BG's office and mine, which would usually take about 45 mins over a period of six hours, made it through alive, travelling in my boss' boss' boss car with her. Spent the night at the BG's office. Got home the next day afternoon, wading through waist deep water, without footwear on a rough, uneven road. Don't think I can ever forget it for the adventure it was, and also for making it out of it alive.
10. 17th July 2009, Sharjah.
Monday, July 27, 2009
A marriage if seen from the Indian perspective, of uniting families, is always a lot tougher than one, where just two people commit to each other. The more the people, the more the likelihood of trouble, because there is greater amount of interaction , with greater likelihood of frictions. If the question is subjected to marriage as the relationship between just a man and a woman, I would say whatever their cultures, whether the same or varying, making a marriage succeed or fail is completely about the two people involved in it. Their level of commitment to the relationship, their belief in each other, as well as the mutual love and respect. A marriage works or does not, just based on the people involved, how well they get along and how deep is their affection for each other. Their region, religion have no consequence in a relationship that close.
Couples fight no matter whether they belong to the same culture or not, but what they fight about, how they handle their differences is completely based on them as persons and nothing else. It is unfair to think that belonging to the same culture would mean less marital discord. How does something like religion matter when you are sleeping with a person, living day in and day out, even having babies together? But if they do split up, the cultural difference is just an excuse to put up. Would they not break up if they belonged to the same faith? I don't think so, the difference in region or religion can only be an add on, or an excuse for breaking of a relationship, in which the reason lies much deeper. I have friends married to people of the same subset of background they belong to, with enough marital woes to last them a lifetime, and there are those married to people as different from themselves as can be, and yet their marriage rocks. This is just an example to say that the typical mindset of marrying a person of a different background spells doom is not correct, because every marriage is eventually the product of a relationship between two people, and just the two people alone.
A regular married couple can fight about who gets up in the morning to make tea, but I doubt that it is because of what religion they belong to, they may have altercations about their children's education, but does it really matter here, what their caste is? I think any marriage, is a reflection of the people who make it, it can be a sweet loving marriage between two people from different parts of the world, or the most horrible suffocating one between two people who share a common heritage. This post at the Indian Homemaker's blog for example, is about a woman in a hopeless situation, how would it be different if either of their religions, caste or creed varied? At the end of the day it is about the two people involved.
Coming to the bigger perspective of an Indian marriage which involves families, the reasoning remains the same. It is about the people. A nice person would be nice irrespective of their background, and a nasty person would be they way he is. In such situations, the difference if present, is just that another tool is used to hurt or taunt. In my case for example, if there have been relatives from the in-laws side who have passed snide remarks about my being from a different faith, I know for sure, that those particular people would have passed snide remarks irrespective of my faith, just that then the context would have been different. Wouldn't you agree? When we think of relatives, some people are always out there to get you, and after marriage it is quite impossible to completely evade the politics, and games that exist in a scheme with a large number of people involved. Some have personal vendetta or ulterior motives, some are plainly hurtful, some will befriend you defying all expectations, some just sit quietly and observe, there those who will stab you on the back, and also those who will stand up for you in your absence. There are all kinds, everywhere.
At the end of the day, it is all about the people, their personalities, and their values, which do or do not create trouble in a marriage. The commonality or difference in cultural backgrounds are just a very small, almost insignificant part of a marriage, the big things are trust, love, mutual respect, the want to create happiness, honesty and ofcourse the readiness to change.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Harry Potter movies obviously are not an optional thing for fans. My relationship with the movies goes back to when I was in college. The first movie was (The Philosopher's Stone) was viewed, just because it was running in the theatre. I did not know who or what Harry Potter was at that point, but I loved the movie, I guess it had a lot to do with the fact that I had not read the book, had I read it, I might have not quite liked the movie. Never did I have imagined back then, that one day I would be watching a movie in the same series with my two and half year old son.
So the tickets were booked online, and off I went for the six in the evening show. A big bucket of popcorn in tow, to keep the SG happy. A small multiplex screen, was not even packed, being a weekend evening. Maybe the movie really has received all the bad reviews it so rightly deserves. The SG was happy, with the popcorn, and was not at all disturbed by the darkened theatre. The issue then? He kept blabbering, and occasionally a screamed to express his excitement, especially when the screen showed special effects. His parents being the overly conscious people they are, kept asking him to keep quiet, which he did for a little while before going back to being all happy and excited. Finally with the last half hour of the movie to go, the BG left the theatre with the SG. Just did not feel right to kill the viewing pleasure of the other viewers. And that was how the SG debuted at his first theatre visit.
If you are expecting a review of the movie, there is none, because it is quite impossible to say anything even remotely nice about the movie if you have read the book, lets just say, they butchered the story, and worse than any of the previous attempts. And trust me I did not realise just how badly, till on the way back, the BG asked me several questions about the storyline, having not read the book, he just could not understand what was going on. It is that bad, for someone who has not read the book, there are way too many gaps in the storyline, and for the ones who have, you will be shocked at how much they have deviated from the original. I just prayed they would keep the last sequence true to the story, but they did not.
I had dressed up, because I was really excited to go to a theatre after ages. And well for nothing else, but the fact that it was the SG's first time, I am happy. The movie was followed by a trip to a bookshop, and after a really long time, I picked up some books to read, the last one I had bought was Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. Have not bought a book since then. All my books are languishing, in a humid dump at a relative's place in India, don't know if I will regain them in good health. Libraries are not much of an option here, so I finally went and bought myself a few books. Reading is something I can barely make time for, and now it basically means I sleep later than ever, but I am happy, to be reading. Once upon a time, no matter how tiered, I could not shut my eye without reading a bit. In school I would have atleast four books of fiction on my bedside at all times. In college we would circulate books in the hostel, there was never a dearth of reading material. Later while working, my reading time used to be the four hours of travel time, I managed to read in the packed locals. Never realised how and when I gave up the habit. Too much time on the net I guess. Hopefully will be back to reading books, more than blogs.
So much to do, so little time, how do I prioritise. Lucky people with maids, I am so sick of the rinse and repeat cycle of housework. Dishes, laundry, home-cleaning, cooking. The endless cycle of it, why can't we be without food, I wonder sometimes. The dishes pile up each day, just as does the laundry. If only there was some variety to this work. Guess not, will have to make do with what I have, improve my efficiency, rather than dawdling time.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Then I conceived. The pregnancy involved a lot of eating, and complete bed rest. To say I ballooned up is putting it mildly. The fingers started swelling up, and I got the rings off my finger before they could get stuck. And that is the way they remained till date. I bought a couple of new larger sized rings, ones that fit my finger, and wore them. I got rid of all my pre-pregnancy clothes, convinced I would never get back to where I was. For a clothes' lover like me, that meant wardrobes full of clothes, some barely worn, some still awaiting their first appearance. My heart broke, in ways only I will know. More than a year after delivery, when my weight was not coming down, I gave up hope, I felt I was stuck in my huge form for life. I looked bloated, unhealthy and enormous to say the least. I am not giving figures here, but I am not the kind who would cry at gaining two hundred grams, here I was closing in on a century. I used to take the rings out of my safe once in a while, trying them on unsuccessfully, and mournfully returning them to their box.
Moved in to a new place, with central air conditioning, and yummy fattening food easily available, fast food joints at a few seconds walk from home, and I piled on some more pounds. The clothes I had stitched just before leaving India, fit a bit more smugly than when they were stitched. Things just went from bad to worse. I was tiered of being huge. My dreams of being a yummy mummy forever dashed, and trying to reconcile with the idea of being a huge, comforting pillow instead.
This year started on a new note. I found a new friend, Roop. If there is a guardian angel for each one of us, then mine, put me onto Roop. In the real world, I would never have been her friend, really. And we are as different as chalk and cheese in the most obvious ways, and yet there are the commonalities, in the more basic things in life, like principles, beliefs, thoughts. This world of blogs has given me such amazing friends, and she is one of the finest. Gradually she started urging me to do something about my weight. She helped and guided me to start, taught me how to work smart about it. Her own eating habits, and tips on cooking, made me more aware of my nutritional needs, and helped me get over my emotional eating habits. She was candid and genuine, and called a spade a spade to shake me out of my unhealthy, unfit slumber. And the process started working, like nothing else ever had, every time I got stuck, she showed me a new way to try. She motivated me to keep at it, and encouraged me to work harder. If there is one person who deserves appreciation for my efforts, as much as myself, it is her. The weight finally began to drop. "A" and Sraikh, gave me amazing inputs, having treaded the path themselves. It is amazing how they took the efforts to respond to each and every query I had, write in detailed replies, document all the information and share it with me. I love you guys, you rock. "A", actually made me a worksheet, and offered more help at every step, and she did it even without me asking. All my efforts have been based on advice from blogger friends and their encouragement.
It was beyond my wildest beliefs, when the scales started tilting downward. It had been so long, with only gains, that a drop was quite unbelievable. Even the BG did not take notice till the first five kilos were gone, and it changed the figure in the tens place.Then in May, my heart broke, when blood tests revealed somethings, which sent me into a pit of depression. I dreaded my very existence, and poured my heart out to Monika and Roop. They both actually supported me better than I could have imagined, Heard out my sorrow tales for days, till I snapped out of it, and knew that I am going to be good, and fine. And as I usually do, I emerged out of the ordeal stronger than I was before.
So over the last five months, the weight has reduced, the stats are shrinking, but more slowly than I would like them to. And as the weight melts I get motivated to work more for it, and I have so many wonderful people I can ask for help, whenever I feel something is not working for me. But there are always dampers. Like a relative who saw a recent photo of mine, and spent precious bucks to call me up and ask me if I have lost weight, because it seemed so in the photo, and expressed concerns, that I may in fact become thinner than her. Considering the fact that she is well into her fifties, this was really a corny statement. On the face of it, she always encouraged me to try and lose weight, and look good. But the reality became apparent with her call. I should remain the fat one, who she can shower sympathies on, and advice, but dare I actually lose weight. This incident totally got my goat. I had to actually mail her some
I am yet far from my normal BMI, a long way off actually,have just managed to move into the overweight category from the obese, but atleast now I have hope that I will get there, the process has started, my efforts are showing results. And I am happy. The BG actually went out and bought me some diamond jewellery when I crossed one of the milestones, and we were both so happy, not just because I am losing weight, but because I am gaining health. Coming with a family history of cholesterol issues, high blood sugar problems, heart disease, excess weight can actually be a killer for me.
Friday, July 24, 2009
[Photo Courtsey - http://media.photobucket.com/image/rakhi ka swayamvar]
Thursday, July 23, 2009
At a little over two and half years of age, we have been eagerly awaiting the words from the SG, and now they are coming, and sound like honey to our ears. My little love, now touches the parts and says ice(eyes), ear, knon(nose), mou(mouth), teet(teeth), keeks(cheeks) and tos(toes). Learnt well wouldn't you say. Last night he was seeing his photos on the laptop, and he pointed to the parts he knew and said them aloud in each of the photos. I tried to teach him hair, but realised it sounds too much like ear, and this was the first time I realised that.Being a mother really is teaching me new things. I am loving it. :) So now let me go off and see the scrunched up knon.
Its amazing how well the SG is observing and picking up things now. Let me put it all down, so I can reminisce later. The little guy sits in his car seat, at the back in the car, and notices every little thing the BG and I do. On the occasional times, he sits with me in the front, he tries all of those things. He knows how to work the car radio, so he puts it on and adjusts the volume, Then he pulls down the sun shade, opens the mirror, checks himself, this is followed by an attack on his favourite item in the car, the GPS, if it is not in use. He now apes his father in putting up the GPS stand, starting right from blowing at it, to moisten it. It is just so much fun seeing him do all of it.
Most of the day he is up and around with the vacuum cleaner in the house, assembled, plugged in, switched on and working. As I sit, typing this post on the sofa, he sits next to me, with his laptop on his lap, and pretends to type. The SG wears a hairband, as soon as I put on one, and looks amazingly adorable in it. When I wear my earrings, he pretends to wear some himself. He is quite capable of turning keys and opening doors now, so the key is kept quite out of his reach.He tries on our sunglasses all the time. We bought a pair for him, but he refuses to wear them. At home, he finds my spects and puts them on. And not only does he wear them, he puts it up on his head, like I do with my shades. This boy is getting there I tell you.When about to leave home, I pick up a bottle of water and glass for him. he immediately produces the bag to put them in, puts them in the bag, and places it in the tray under his stroller, which is where I put it.
The sweetest little thing happened on Saturday, and I missed it. I was off to get myself some tops, and was in and out of the trial room in a store, trying them on. While the SG ran about the store, with his father following him around. After we got home that evening, the BG tells me, there was a mannequin in the store with a bag on its shoulder, the kind I carry when I take the SG to the park. The small canvas one, which is usually worn across and holds the basics. So the little guy reaches out to the mannequin, opens the bag and pretends to pull out something, then holds it to his ears, talks, says bye and put the phone back in the bag. My little baby, is that how much you notice, and know? You have learned to play with pretend toys, and things. You are growing up so much, so soon, and I am loving every bit of being your mother, just as long as your pretend cooking, which involves spilling all the bottles of water available on the carpet stays at bay. Oh! and just yesterday he saw the newspaper, with a photo of sliced mangoes, and enthusiastically barged on to pretend eating them.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I remember reading a poem/story in school about a man getting caught in a storm in the woods, in a cold winter night. He finds shelter in a cave, where there is also a huge bear seeking refuge from the storm. The two spend the night hugging each other for warmth and comfort, safe in the knowledge they needed each other for survival. A fierce beast living in harmony with man.
An even more amazing story is of lioness Kalmuniak in central Kenya's Samburu Forest Reserve. She could not have babies of her own, but her maternal instinct was as strong as any other's. Quoting from the article
In Biology, we know that there exist the thing called food chain. It could be like this: soil nutrients consumed by grass, grass consumed by deer, deer consumed by lion, lion die consumed by microorganism into soil nutrients, and so on. The food pyramid draws on who eat who and who get eaten by who. This means, an oryx, a kind of horned deer living in Africa, is a food to wolves, leopard, lion or other predators.
However, as what was reported in BBC 7 January 2002, A lioness in central Kenya has baffled wildlife experts by adopting a baby oryx. Reports say the full-grown lioness came across the oryx two weeks ago in the Samburu Game Reserve, scaring off its mother. Instead of then attacking the defenceless calf, the lioness adopted the baby, protecting it from other predators, including a leopard.
The local witnesses stated that every evening the lioness and the baby oryx would rest together. The lioness would curl up her body to the side of the oryx. The lioness even allowed the real oryx mother to come playing with the baby oryx, giving the baby milk. When the baby gets full, the lioness would then chase away the mother to go.
That also means extra work for the lioness, for she has to protect the baby oryx. In any way, the oryx do rise the appetite of her predator relatives, many other lions would love to meal on the oryx.
I had seen the entire documentary on this on Nat Geo, and it was unbelievable. Kalmuniak, could not go and hunt for herself, because that would leave the calf vulnerable. Eventually she got too weak to move, and it was then that a lion hunted down the oryx. She was too weak to protect it any longer. Even after the death of this oryx, she is reported to have mothered the young ones of other species.
(Text - Sitting in a 3.8 metre sea kayak and watching a four metre great white approach you is a fairly tense experience)
Monday, July 20, 2009
So Friday morning, I woke up and started to search the net to find any possible places to visit, and found some archaeological sites at the bottom of a travel guide site.The problem was, none of these places could be found on the GPS, except for Al Madam, which was a small town of sorts, very close to the Oman border. So that is where we headed to. Long well built highways, with large stretches of the vast desert on both sides, is the way leading to Al Madam. Something like wilderness, but of the desert kinds. Along the way, we saw a group of camels walking in the desert and parked for some nice photo-ops. They were not very close to the boundary wires, but I was excited none the less at seeing these animals. Unlike what I had expected, we don't really get to see too many camels around the place. A couple of camels actually lied down and lolled around in the sand. Something new seen.
We continued on our path and reached Al Madam. I was surprised to see expats in that place, because it was just such a small little place, could hardly even call it a town. It was tiny, really tiny. We drove around for a bit, the BG absolutely not wanting to take the SG out in the heat. There was no sign of any archaeological site, and we were just a few miles away from the border or Oman. And then the lightening began. A storm had been predicted for Sunday, so we expected Friday to be quite safe, but here, we were seeing the skies darkening, with heavy lightening and thunders. There was a lightening bolt striking about ever five seconds. The BG's protective instincts kicked in, and he decided it was time to rush back towards home, towards civilisation about a hundred kilometres away, and an about turn is what we did. I clicked like crazy to get atleast one lightening in my photo stock, but got nothing.
A little bit down the way, the skies looked clearer, the wind was not howling, and things seemed fine. A signboard, suggested we go right to get to one of the places on our list. And we thought we will give it a try. On hindsight, it was a bad bad idea. A little way down the turn, I saw a camel farm,(photo on the left) and thought it would be nice to go close. To do justice to my blog name, I persuaded the BG to turn the car into the sand towards the farm, which was at about a couple of minutes of walking distance from the paved road. This place was like a small settlement with about five or six houses. As soon as the car turned, we were stuck. the sand was soft and the front wheels went right in. An attempt to get it out would mean loads of sand flying everywhere, and the car going deeper inside. There were no people around either. I was dressed most inappropriately for such a situation, in a sleeveless ganjee kind of top, and believe me in small place, where women are covered from head to toe, it was terribly discomfiting. Trust me to get a sticky spot stickier for myself. Fortunately for us, while the BG was running around trying to get help, a car stopped by and the man, offered his help. He had a rope, he tied it to our car and tried to pull it out, the rope broke. After a while, he left. Then another man, I am guessing and Afghan, came with his truck, and he was determined. Just as the BG and he tried to tie the rope, the storm hit us. The sand was blowing everywhere, and the visibility almost killed. I panicked. This was not the best situation to be in with a child. And I had only myself to blame.Opening the car door for just a second, was filling it up with sand. But the man was determined, and kept working at it, and we gave it another try, but once again the rope broke. I got off and clicked photos, and the BG was irritated, I understood, but I wanted to have photos to look back at this experience. I could just click one or two, before the BG would lose it, and that is all I have. A couple of fruitless tries later, a couple of more men wandered into the scene. Mind you, the storm was in place by then. Finally, with two men pushing the car, one car pulling it from behind from really close, we got out. Aah! Thank God, atleast a part of our worries were over. I really wanted to walk down to the farm and atleast get a few photos, but did not, because the storm was getting worse, and the BG did not think it would be a good idea to waste more time, when we were so far away from home, in wilderness. The SG was remarkable, in that he did not get upset or anything, but just sat quietly through the entire thing in his car seat, while his father and I kept flitting in and out of the car.
This was followed by travelling through about 50 kilometres in very low visibility, at a very low speed. I could not get photos of the worst times, because at those moments I was sitting on the edge of my seat. From the look of it, I felt I had been transported to the winters in Delhi, with thick fog engulfing us. As we closed in on habitation, the visibility improved, since there were buildings and other man made structures to act as barriers. Closer home, it seemed impossible that we had been through the storm we had. Strangely enough, we got home by around six, and by eight, the sand storm had completely abated, and visibility completely restored. So guess the storm was meant for us. However, the was the BG and I are lusting for rains, maybe it just happened, so that we could get a small taste of the rains. And I would never have seen the real force of a sand storm in the open desert if we had not been there. There was a possibility of the storm recurring, and hence we dropped the plan the next day to hit the zoo, because it was in another emirate altogether. And as expected, there was no storm post the one we braved.
The photos below are a comparison in the visibility before and during the storm.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
If there is one thing that I wish to always hold onto in life, it would be my ability to learn. I never want to stop, grow complacent, or just sit and think, this is it, I am the best, I know all there is to know, or even that I am too old to change, to know. It is not age that I fear, but complacence. The body may get old, feeble, weak, but the mind will do that only if I let it.
Everything we do in life, everything we see, can teach us something, only if we are open minded enough to accept it. Not everything we learn is good, but I believe nothing we learn is a waste. Every failure, every negative situation has great lessons to impart, if only we can receive them. Learning is a lot more than what books and lessons can teach us, learning is about how we lead our lives, what we do or for that matter don’t. I try to learn from everything I see, not always successfully incorporating the lessons, practically, but I do try.
Just like the body, I believe the mind begins to wilt, when it stops growing. Our mind has immense capability to grow, and it is up to us, whether we nurture it to do that, or just let it be. I want to learn, not science, math or economics, but just things that help me grow as a person. Things that help become a better human being. Recently a cousin, eager to get back home after a tough semester at her business school, was offloaded from her flight, because she was late, had way too much luggage on her, and not enough to pay. She was heart broken, to say the least. She managed to get on a flight later that day, but most of her thrill was gone. I told her to write down what she had learnt from this experience, which would help her avoid letting it happen again. That is the kind of learning that takes us through life, with a smile, and some more.
I am not perfect, nobody is, as they say, but it would be foolish to not try and reach closer to the perfection. This was not the way I thought till a few years back, when I let life take its own course, neither learning from it, nor growing, and now when I do realise the importance of it, I regret the years I have lost, without reaping rich benefits off them. And yet, better late than never. I am never afraid to say I don’t know, never shy of changing my point of view, nor apologising when I deem myself to be wrong. All these things may make me seem unsure or indecisive, but the fact is I learn and I absorb. I think, before I accept, but I do accept what I conceive as a betterment.
Life to me is a journey, and the destination is decided, and it is in me to decide, how much I make of this journey.