Sunday, August 30, 2009

What Is In A Name You Ask?

When a baby is born, the parents have a huge amount of responsibility to deal with. For first time parents it is even worse, because they have no idea of what they need to do, and they cannot stop worrying about what is the right way to do things. This is a baby, who you realise is more precious to you than life itself, the very first time you see him, hold him, and the entire responsibility of his life is placed on you. It would be alright if this were a walking, talking person, but this one does not do any of those things, atleast yet. So how do you fulfill his needs if he cannot even tell you what they are. He cries for everything, when he is hungry,sleepy,in a wet diaper or has air trapped in his windpipe from suckling too hard, and you need to figure out what the crying is all about, sometime it maybe just to get you to hold him. Its quite crazy, to be honest and add to that the responsibility of finding a good name for him. And that my friend, is not an easy task.

When the BB was born, I had a pre-selected boy name. Actually I had two, since I had wanted twins, but the ultrasound scans had dashed all my hopes, and I knew it would be just one. So one name was what I had in mind for a boy and and one for a girl.(I did not officially know the sex of the child, since it is illegal in India to disclose that, but I had a strong hunch from the second trimester that it would be a boy).However, when the BB was born, the name did not feel so good anymore, neither the GP, nor I wanted to keep it. And so began the hunt for a name. And it took us nearly a month to finalise it. And then we thought the job is done. But apparently not.

There are explanations galore that I have to give to people, who have a million questions to ask, about why we named him what we did. For those who don't know, the DH and I were born to families of different faiths, and hence the name could have been signifying either of the faiths, Christianity or Hinduism. We picked a name that is Greek in origin, because we both liked the name, its meaning and it sounded wonderful to us. Barely did I know the game had just begun, when I felt that it was actually done. Before the name was selected, there were strong hints and messages sent across to the DH by his relatives, telling him a Hindu name was not acceptable, and later I have ended up hearing no end to it.

To me a name is a word, belongs to a language, not any religion per se. So its the meaning and phonetics of the words that were important to me. I did not care to give him a name that is Indian so to say, because I had to, I just wanted something nice. I was not determined in picking any particular kind of name. I wanted something Egyptian or Greek because both the mythologies entice me and I find them very exotic. My own name is quite exotic, but quite a tongue twister, and I knew I definitely did not want that for the BB. All my life I have heard my name butchered and liked it a little less for that. The Hindu/Christian angle in a name just never occurred to me. With a high probability of not being in India all our lives, I found it a sensible thing to give him a name, which is easier to pronounce. The only thing I had decided on , was the first alphabet of the name, that had to be. It is the last alphabet of the DH's first name, because I thought of this as signifying that his son, would take up from where he leaves, had it been a girl, it would have been the last alphabet of my own name, same reasoning.

As is the case, when you tell someone you have had a baby recently, they ask the name. And so often I have had surprised looks and words from people for not giving him an Indian name. How could I not put a bit of my ethnic background in his name I have been asked time and again. An old colleague infact told me quite bluntly on the face, that India has great names to offer, and its only stupid people, who want to ape the west who go looking for non-Indian names. I was quite taken aback by his hostile reaction. And there have been more and more and more such incidents. I do not even bother to reason anymore.

But I wonder what is this mentality about Indian names. What is the issue here? That we cannot open up and accept new things, or is our culture not strong enough in itself? I have heard and known names formed out of Indian languages all my life, and hence the name I picked sounded more unique and exquisite to me. When people from other cultures can appreciate and adapt to our culture, why can we not do the same to theirs. What is the big deal? Does that not make us a richer culture, when we combine some more. And selecting a name from a non-Indian language, does not alter the culture of an entire nation so to speak. And the culture that people so wish to defend, also includes, sati, dowry deaths, spitting on the roads, wife beating and worse. So get off the high horses, people. Its my child's name. I choose what I want to, you have issues, move on, and name your own child, I don't need your censure.

The name has nothing to do with religion or culture, it is just something that I believe would sound good, and be meaningful. I don't believe in surnames either for that matter. I believe in individuality, and the burden of a family name weighs us down. I am what I am, not what my ancestors have been over generations. Every family name, carries an energy with it I believe, based on the people who have formed the blood line, and the heritage of carrying it scares me honestly. I want to be free, and do what I want to do, as I want to do it. Not carrying a surname, does not mean I am any less related to the people who are family, but it does make me feel free. In India, it is quite impossible to expect to survive without a surname, and even worse in a state like Maharshtra where the name has to have the father's/husband's name inserted into yours, else you lack credibility. I was actually questioned at my passport's police clearance, for not mentioning the DH's name as my middle name. Imagine, what would have happened, had I gone without a surname or even my maiden surname for that matter. The police officer would have probably fainted. It is just so pathetically regressive, that it is not even funny any more. So if I ever manage to get to a truly free land, I am getting rid of all surnames, and may just pick a fun last name, or maybe use the DH's first name as my last name, like Sushma Swaraj does. Would probably do that even for the BB, I don't need him carrying the burden of family names. Want him to grow up as a strong individual, a good human in his own right, without names shackling him down.

My name was selected in a lucky lot kind of way, traditionally. A few names were selected, (not based on particular alphabets or anything) written on the floor, like rangoli/aalpona and diyaas were lit, one for each name. The last one to remain lit was the chosen one. The BB's name came from a lot of googling, seeing baby name sites and constant discussion between the DH and me. The DH's was picked by his father. How was your's chosen, or your child's for that matter?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Just What I Needed

As goes with my shopping frenzies, I get obsessed with one thing at a time, and keep buying loads of the same. At different points in time, they have been sarees, dupattas, footwear, bed covers,coffee mugs and such like. I just need an excuse to shop of course, but then I do OD on particular objects at different times. The current flavour is accessories, and I am definitely overdoing it. I have way too many necklaces with me now, and I still want some more. Recently say a post on Sraikh's blog about this nice necklace stand she has, and felt I could do with one too, its so much more trouble opening a box, and sifting through the contents to find the one I like.

Last evening, for the lack of anything to do, I brought out my box of jewelery to look at my collection and feel pleased. I just opened it, and lo- behold, my wish is granted. Please see the photos below, for my personalised necklace stand.

The fork in the background, is the one the BB was playing with, for his pretend cooking, before he turned his attention my way.

Now they all look so good, I would never know how to pick one, and it would never look as good on me!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The BB's Birth Announcement

When the BB was born, I had everything set in place. I need to have everything set in place for my peace of mind. I can be a bit like Monica from F.R.I.E.N.D.S. , though not so much anymore. I had no idea how groggy I would be post surgery, so I had made a written list of people to be informed, marked for those who needed to be called up immediately, those who were to be messaged and such like. I had even composed the message to be sent, and left it on the DH's mobile. Yes, I am super thorough that way, and I have to be, when my man is overly relaxed about everything.

Yesterday, I was thinking about the day the BB was born, and remembered the text message, they were four rhyming lines that had been sent out. And suddenly realised my mobile phone was the only place where I had a copy saved. The GP changes phones too frequently, and I had no expectations of him having a copy anywhere. And the one in which I had a copy, was the one which died when I had been to India in March this year.It just died, and I could retrieve nothing from it. I was worried about the photos mainly at that point, having completely forgotten about the important messages I had on it. And yesterday the realisation dropped on me like a bomb. I searched high and low, on my PC, hoping I had it on a mail or some document, but no such luck. Then I checked the memory card of my old phone, switched on each and every one of the DH's old phones and tried, but no luck. I was so angry, just so angry. Called up the DH, asked him if he had it with him anywhere, I was mostly blabbering and being incoherent, since I was totally upset at that point. No help from that quarter either. He suggested I ask the people we had messaged, and I knew there was no point, it has been over two and half years now, no body would have that message with them, still. And I gave up.

At around 4:30 the DH got back home. Its Ramadan, so he gets back home early these days, and the first thing I told him was get a pen and paper. Somehow like magic the lines came back to me, and he wrote them down. A bit here, a bit there, but finally we got them perfectly. I don't think I have felt the feeling of happiness and relief in a long long time. And thank God, my mind still has the capacity to recollect somethings. And I am putting the lines here, so that I don't lose them again.
We think you should know this,
This is a news you wouldn't wanna miss,
Our family has increased by one,
We now have a baby son.

On a completely different note, my eyes had been giving me a scare, with blurred vision the past couple of weeks. But then by chance the BB took out my old pair of spectacles, and I tried them on to realise the new pair had the wrong power and was making me go cross eyed. Feel lucky to have realised the problem before I did severe damage to the eyes. And the BB was the one who broke the old pair, forcing me to go get the new one.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Did I Get Lucky?

I wonder sometimes, in relation to the DH. Just today morning, I saw the CBS morning show, and there was a talk about this blog, a woman writes about how her husband annoys her, and gets loads of comments from other women, with similar issues. One has to be really annoyed to start a blog, just about the husband's annoying habits isn't it? But then I think most of these are boy-girl, male-female issues most of us have. Our minds work differently remember? Tara shared this amazing video with me, and as I saw it, all I could think on! Go ahead, have a look.

Most women are tiered of the man-ways of the men they live with. I have been very lucky on most of those counts. The DH is not the man who leaves wet towels lying around, or shoes and socks all over the house. I don't have to be a mother to him, when he is sick or tiered. He can serve his food for himself, cook too, when needed, I am not expected to wave him off to work each morning, it is quite alright if I don't cook for a whole week or even a month for that matter, toilet seats have never been an issue.... and I can simply go on and on here. So when I read about all the man- woman issues most women are dealing with, I cannot help but count my lucky stars. Though they make for cute narrations, I guess they can be quite a nagging pain, when needed to be dealt with on a day to day basis.

The DH though, is a no-brainer man when it comes me being depressed or just feeling low, he has to come up with stupid ideas on what can be done to make me feel better, or do a root cause analysis, which absolutely drives me up the wall, but I have to forgive him for being a male at some points atleast, right? But over all, he is a great guy, and quite a joy to live with too, believes himself to be a family man, and does his bit for the family and home. And I think that makes him more of a man than those who shirk away. And yes,I do think I got lucky, because this guy..................(huge theatrical pause).................... he even cleans up after he cooks. So what do you say to that?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I am not a poem person. I do my kiddish rhyming ones, once in a while, but that is about it. Reading poems never interested me, even now they don't. But there are a few, and I mean a very few that have remained with me from the time I was in school. I owe it to my amazing teachers, for making those poems come alive to me. For making me understand what they really mean. Of all the poems I have ever read, if I had to pick, just one, it would undoubtedly be If by Rudyard Kipling. I simply love this poem. It was written by the poet for his son, as guidelines for leading a worthy life, and I don't think the advice can get any better than this.

I can harp on about every word in that poem, and because it speaks to me a lot better now, that I am all grown up, than it did when I was in school. And I love it some more for that now. Every word makes sense, and teaches so much. If we could be half of what this poem inspires in us, we would be some of the most wonderful people in this world. The words in this poem can be put to use in an context, absolutely any. From work place issues, to in-law issues the advice holds true everywhere. That I think is because this poem is for the core person that we need to be, and not about anything else. It is really difficult for me to express in words just how much I love this poem.

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
Are the lines that have been running in my mind, since yesterday. The meaning suddenly became crystal clear to me. It is about having faith in yourself, without being conceited is it not? Often enough, we get so sure of ourselves, that we ignore anyone, who does not believe in us. We need to remain grounded, and humble, no matter how much we succeed, how high we climb. It is a very difficult to task to achieve this combination, but it is indeed the perfect one too. In a different context, if we apply this to religious tolerance, does it not work perfectly too? We may be completely devoted to our own religion, but that should not breed intolerance for others, who do not.

It is not an easy task, to be confident about your own self, and still be open to contradictions by others. And yet, I think the really successful and great people, never belittle the doubts and contradictions of others, do they? I wish I could achieve this trait, wholly and completely, from within, where I am as open to other's doubts over me, as I am sure of myself.

So, what is your favourite poem, and what do you take away from it?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Don't Come Asking For My Wedding Album

because I don't have one. No, I did not lose it, nor was it destroyed, it just never came into existence. Since there was nothing to make one with. Yes, there is not one single photo of the day I got married. Not one. One of the biggest regrets of my life? Yes, it is. I don't know how I looked, I have nothing to show to my kids or my grandchildren. I have no wedding pics.

It kills me each time I think of it, it really does, but what can I do, except regret. Could not exactly force people to click a photo of me could I? It is a one time thing, atleast for me. I know I will never marry again, and this is said to be one of the biggest days in a person's life is it not? There was no wedding finery involved, just a plain cotton churidar-kurta, some junk jewellery and a bindi in place I think. And yet, it was my wedding day after all. I don't have a single photograph of myself from that day, not one single one.

My wedding itself is a long filmy story, one I think of with regret, awe, a sense of adventure at different times, but whatever it was, I have no memories to revisit, except the ones in my mind. And none that I can ever share. Honestly I don't have any idea how I looked on that day, and I would never ever know. The DH is not the kind of poetic man, who would describe me eloquently, I doubt he even remembers for that matter. I want it, I want photos, I want to see it, to feel the day, to revive the memories, but it is not for me to have I guess. I cannot fight against everything you know, and sometimes I just have to suck it up, and move on.

Another bigger regret in my life is not celebrating the BB's first birthday in the biggest way possible. He deserves it, and I wanted it. To be honest, post marriage there has not been a single big celebration in my life, except for the party my parents threw, when we visited them early this year. that was the first party the BB had. The first birthday had a cake, and some oily disgusting food ordered from out, for the adults, the birthday boy himself had nothing special. An elderly relative decided to settle himself in our home, on the pretext of a bad back for an entire fortnight, and made sure no celebrations take place. His only plans for the birthday celebrations were drinks for himself. I don't want to go into details, which will just make me seethe. Nothing was done, except for a cake cutting, and the photos are of me sweating like a sow, in a completely worn out disgusting T-shirt, and the BB dressed up in some nice clothes cutting his cake. We did not go out for a meal, pretty much did nothing. The DH, claims it does not matter, because the BB was way too young to understand or even enjoy. He has to, it was his relative after all. Even if I agree, it matters to me, I remember, and what do I show the BB when he grows up as his birthday celebrations? His first birthday was very very special to me, and I hate the fact that it was nothing but like any other wimpy day, with a measly cake cutting to show for it.

The lack of celebrations for the BB's first birthday is a bigger regret for me, than the absence of my wedding photos, because the wedding photos were not under my control, the birthday celebrations were, and I did nothing. I blame myself totally for it, I don't think I will ever forgive myself on that count. Keeping the million excuses, and that horrible relative aside, I am still at fault. Can we ever turn time back?

I will publish this now, before I lose the nerve, and put it up. I am in a totally frustrated state of mind, which brings up all old regrets, so please excuse the errors in this post.

And When I Had Forgotten About Power-Cuts

Yesterday, we had two and half hours of power cut. The first time in the last one and half years I have been here. The entire city got phases of power cuts, and the reason was either maintenance or setting up of the light decor for Ramadan. Whatever the reason, it was quite a surprise when off when the power late afternoon, and I realised how ill-prepared I am, to actually face a power cut. I don't have anything but a couple of birthday candles, not even a torch, an emergency light is just too much to expect. How easy it is to get used to comforts. It has not even been two years since I left the land, where we were doomed to over six hours of daily power cuts and were forever prepared. Almost ever home had an inverter and there were powerful torches on the ready if we needed to step out post dark during the power cuts. And here, I have nothing, literally nothing to even combat the darkness if needed.

Also missed out on my post lunch quota of peaceful net surfing, and with no TV either, I realised how much I take these things for granted now. Spent the time lulling around. Tried to sleep for a bit, but the BB was in no mood for the same. Called up or messaged almost everyone I could, to tell them we were having a power cut. People expressed concern, and it felt strange, because I was just excited about having a power cut, where I have never faced any. Also reminded me of the times when we used to have power cuts, without inverters or emergency lamps, but just the candles, family and friends to pass the hours, till the power was restored. How have power cuts now become a norm instead of an exception in India now? Is that progressing or regressing?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

An Apology, Where Applicable

The chats, and messengers, should burn in hell I feel at times, and cannot help but thank the stars for them at others. While they are a great and inexpensive way to connect and stay in touch, they can lead to misunderstandings and mis-communications of epic proportions. An necessary evil you say? And I definitely agree.

The written word actually leaves a lot to interpretation. It is atleast a good fifty percent less than just talking, even if on the phone, where the voice is audible, with all its nuances. More than half of our interactions is more than just words, it is the tone, the expressions, the punctuations, all of which is simply unavailable when it is the typed written word. Facial expressions and body language obviously do not exist. So in a chat if I type 'You fool!', it maybe interpreted in a million ways, rudeness, bluntness, or even being mean, while it may have been said in the most jovial way possible, the reader will never know with surety. I have become a bit scared of chats and e-mails now, and feel the need to clarify every word I write for the fear of misinterpretation. And there can be so many, especially when interacting with someone I have never met, who does not know how I talk and I don't know about her. With so many blog friends, I am never sure when and where I am getting off on the wrong foot. It can be more tedious than fun. Sometimes things just click and fall in place, at others they just go bad, with faux pass after faux pass.

I write whatever nonsense comes to mind, and often enough there are typos, syntactical errors and more so,while chatting. I type in haste and make a mess of it. Fortunately though my friends are kind and understand what I am saying, or they just prefer to not hurt my sentiments by telling me I need to concentrate on what I type. And honestly I cannot because, I am never really just sitting and chatting, I am either cooking or cleaning, or playing with the BB or doing something else alongside. Sometime I am standing, carrying the BB and typing, so it goes real bad. Mails are often dashed off in a rush, again no spell checks or proof reading, nothing. I really feel bad for the people who end up reading my garbled messages and actually manage to make sense of it. Sometimes it is so tough for me to leave an interesting conversation and head back to chores, and I often don't leave till the absolute last minute. I am usually casual about things, not attempting perfection, so there are more errors than required. The goofiness is always there too, goes without saying. All in all not a great combination, when communicating with someone through words alone.

Internet is such an indispensible part of our lives now, its an addiction and more, every little thing comes to mind, and I am off to look it up or write it down or whatever. The laptop is always onconnected, and I am always online. So are some others, but most of us are not really on the machine all the time, but on and off, running to and from the computer. Some are more disciplined, and do I admire them for that. They get online only when they are really and truly free, and enjoy the experience. Me on the other hand am almost always there, but never really available. And I feel really bad when I cannot talk to a person even though I am 'online' so to speak. It happened yesterday, with a blogger whom I really like, and who is hardly ever online. I had to rush off to my chores. I so hated doing it, but with all the time zone differences, the free times, just never ever coincide. And I was so afraid that I may have offended her. Then there is another, who was very friendly, poured her heart out to me and then suddenly stopped communicating, got busy I am guessing, but I cannot be sure, whether something upset her or its just lack of time. Electronic communication can get to hugely confusing and frustrating for such reasons, that I cannot term it anything but the devil then.

Besides that ofcourse there are comprehension issues, what if I mean something, and it is interpreted completely differently by the reader. And it happens so often, that I don't even get it anymore. Are there any rules to follow while chatting, any etiquette guides? If they are I am sure, don't multi-task must be one of them. And yet like with every other thing in life, I cannot only chat, except maybe the times I am online late into the night, with the rest of the family asleep. The blog friends, are friends, mainly through chats, I have not met any of them, and spoken to only a couple over the phone, but they are friends, and ones close to my heart. Its quite difficult to not communicate with them, the only way I do. And yet there is always the fear of being misread.

Do you ever feel this way? Have you ever had a communication issue on a chat? Need to know I am not the only one.
To anyone I might have offended without meaning to, over chats or mails, the title is for you, please accept my apologies, its the medium that is the issue, not the words that were exchanged.

The First Alphabet Tag

When there is nothing else to write, do a tag, that I guess is a helpful blogging commandment. So Monica's tag comes at just the right time to me. And here goes.

It’s harder than it looks!(Mind It). Copy to your own note, erase my answers, enter yours, and tag your friends.
Use the first letter of your name to answer each of the following questions.
They have to be real… nothing made up!
If the person before you had the same first initial, you must use different answers.
You cannot use any word twice and you can’t use your name for the boy/girl name question. Have Fun!!

1. What is your name: Passionate Goof

2. A four Letter Word: Part

3. A boy’s Name: Paul

4. A girl’s Name: Piya

5. An occupation: Painter

6. A color: Pink

7. Something you wear: Pins

8. A food: Pear

9. Something found in the bathroom: Pot

10. A place: Pune

11. A reason for being late: Prayer Timings (An oft used, and relevant excuse here!)

12. Something you shout: Papa

13. A movie title: Pyaar Ke Side Effects

14. Something you drink: Pepsi

15. A musical group: Pink Floyd

16. An animal: Panther

17. A Street name: Panchsheel Road

18. A type of car: Porsche

19. A song title: Pyaar mein kabhi kabhi

20. A verb: Praise

Addendum - Forgot to pass on the tag, I pass it on to anyone who wishes to take it up. :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"Waaaaow" To Simple Pleasures.

That is the word always on the BB's lips these days. Anything, and "Wow". The origins lie with the GP though. Each time the BB would dress up to go out, or put on the sunglasses, the GP would say ,"Wow!". And so the BB now follows. If I tie up his longish hair into a tiny pony, he says it, or when he tries on my hairbands, as soon as it is in place, out comes a big ,"Waaaaow!". The word is repeated about a hundred times a day in the household in different lengths and tones, and it is yet to lose its charm on me. Each time he dresses up, he says it to himself, when his meals are served, he says it if he like the food, he even says it when his favourite ads turn up on TV. The most wonderful thing though, happened this weekend. I was getting dressed up for a weekend outing, and just as I finished, and was looking at myself one last time in the mirror, the BB walked into the room. All done, I turned to leave, and he pointed at me, and said , "Waaaaow!". And I went out feeling a bit bouncy.

Today evening, I went out with the BB in tow, sans the stroller, I think of it as an entrapment, though immensely useful at times.It just does not feel right to strap in a child who would love to run wild! After doing off with the errands, the two of us headed off for a tiny walk, and suddenly the wind started blowing really hard. The joy on the BB's face was indescribable. He was squealing in joy as the hair on his face blew in the winds. It was such fun to just be there with him, and enjoying his delight. Not surprising, since the GP and I both love the wind on our face, the bike being our favourite mode of transport for years, till the BB happened. I see him going the same way.

And now for some learning, when there is a toy bucket at home, it needs to be useful, besides simply holding the toys. So the BB has put the bucket to some more use, as you can see.

He overturned and emptied the entire thing, turned it upside down and just climbed on it. Now I only hope he does not realise too soon, that he can take the bucket to various places and use it as a way to reach the things he otherwise cannot!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stop, When the Signs Say So

It is said, that if we look around closely, nature gives us clues about what to do or not for that matter. Unfortunately being a foolish human, that also means even when it is in obvious forms, I choose to ignore it, and go right ahead and do what I clearly should not.

The Al Ain Wildlife Park is a well known zoo in the UAE, and is famous for the variety of species it has. It is almost two hundred kilometres from home, and hence visiting it meant a day outing, which had to be planned. And the plan has been building up for almost three months now. We as a family are not big planners, we may wake up at noon on a weekend, and then decide to go to a place which is over a hundred kilometres away and just do it. It works out great here, because of the good roads, and amazing speeds though. So this planned trip not working out was getting to me. We just could not set it right, because this one meant leaving home at a decent time, so that we could spend enough time exploring the zoo, and then, also head home before it gets too late. The biggest problem was waking up in time to do it. So I finally fixed it for the three day weekend, where we would be rested enough to wake up early, but that turned out to be one stormy weekend. The weekends post that, the GP was not feeling to great, and it did not seem right to stress him out with the long drive ahead. And so the plan was stalled as always. But it never struck me once, that with so many obstacles cropping up, it would be best to drop the plan.

This weekend we decided to do it, come what may. Since the GP and I both love animals, we were atleast equally interested in doing this. Now the point is, I have been to another great zoo, and blogged about it, when Rakesh told me that the Al Ain zoo was an even better option, and convinced me that it was air conditioned, just like the one I had been to, but larger and better. So that is what I had in mind, and all the googling told me was about the location and timing. I dressed up in black jeans, and a full sleeved black shirt and off we went. What really struck me about the place, was that it is much greener than anywhere else in the UAE, and naturally so, not the cultivated greenery, but the natural one. From the time we started, we were amazed to see some greenery along the highway instead of the dead sand all along as we usually do here. Two hundred kilometres, and an excessively oily KFC lunch later, we reached the zoo.

To be honest its a well planned, and very well maintained zoo. Nice visitors gallery, green walkways, laid out over a huge area, loads of animals to see. So it would have been paradise, except for the fact that there was no air conditioning of any kind. At 42 degrees, with over seventy percent humidity, this was not the ideal condition for a relaxed walk around. Worse still the BB is not used to so much heat, and he gets heat allergies at times. And I on my part, have developed an art of inappropriate dressing. The day we got caught in the storm in the middle of nowhere, was the first time in my life I wore a ganjee like top and had to end up being around people, who were not used to seeing women much, and even then in anything less than an abaaya. Fortunately I had something like a stole to wrap around me, and that was my only saving grace back then. And this weekend, I was dressed completely in black, in the direct heat, and walking, till my legs felt like they were burning.(See the photo for proof and my accessorising efforts. It was HOT.) I have to learn to anticipate, more than what I expect now. And damn the photo-ops.

We got our tickets, and entered the park, walked around a bit to find the air conditioning, just that every step we took, told us there was not going to be any. We walked around just one section, which had the lions, pumas and some such animals, most of which were hidden in their dens, getting respite from the heat. So we saw a very few animals to be honest. Fortunately the BB's stroller was with us, and we put him in, much against his wishes with the canopy unfolded. He turned completely red inspite of that. The zoo had these water mist forming devices, which were let on occasionally to cool the area, and every visitor just stood in them enjoying the cool mist. We just rushed through a very tiny segment of the place, and ran out into the cool of the car. And I am so going back there for a nice trip once the temperatures dip.

Some proof that we visited the zoo.

As we were on our way out, and I felt like I was being burnt into a crisp toast, especially due to clothes, I saw women in black abaayas. And I knew immediately that I needed to stop the self pity. These were women in two layers of clothing, and the top layer fully black, and synthetic. It was like a form of medieval torture in that wretched heat. Atleast my clothes were a more humane cotton. Why and how can people be so obviously oblivious, to cruelty I wonder. Are the women really used to it? Would they really mind not feeling quite that hot? Sometimes God really does put things into perspective, and I thank my lucky stars for being where I am, and not anywhere else. And my heartfelt sympathies for the ladies in black.

This was one of the amazing rock formations. Looks like a lion's head to me.

Once out of the place, it felt like a really bad thing to have driven so far for nothing. Fortunately though, there is a mountain the vicinity called Jebel Hafeet. A little over a kilometre to the summit, with a nice winding road, it seemed like the best we could do to make the trip worthwhile. I am not really a mountain person, but what really took my breath away, were these amazing rock formations, that are visible. To say the least, they are unusual and gorgeous. At the top the temperature was a good seven degrees less than the foothills. The view, was better from one of the viewing galleries on the way, because at the top, the bottom was a bit hazy due to the suspended sand. But the cooler temperature, was worth the climb.

Being a weekend, there was a lot of crowd here. Friday, the 14th of August is also the Pakistani Independence Day, and Man! were they celebrating. There we cars full of people holding out the Pakistani flag from the windows, with the flag draped on the roof or even the bonnet, loud patriotic songs playing. The Pathans would get off the vehicles, turn on the songs louder and dance to it. It was amazing watching it all happen, and I think this was the only time I could have observed Pakistani patriotism. And I guess its right when they say, distance makes the heart grow fonder. It was rowdy, but it was their way of celebrating, what is close to their heart.

And from there, we came back home. And relaxed for the rest of the day. Saturday was just about getting the grocery shopping done, and a drive along the beach in the evening. And that is what this weekend was like.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Mother I Am, And The One I Will Be

Long before I actually became a mother, I knew I would not go back to work once I did. Not within the stipulated maternity leave time atleast. I knew this because I was sure I would be unable to leave my child at home with anyone else, I so needed to be there at all times. I am paranoid, and need to be in control as a mother, so handing my child over to someone else, just would not work for me. And I personally believe, no one can replace the mother. Once I became a mother, such thoughts only grew stronger, and I wondered, if I would ever be able to let go and do my own thing again.

What I never understood was that the BB will grow up and need less of me in terms of quantity of time spent and more in terms of quality time. (I am incredibly slow at times.) So I wondered how I would manage being at home all times, because I knew I was not motivated enough to make it last a lifetime. I marvel at the women who do it. The ones who stay back and take care of home and family of their own free will. Because this is the one place, where one needs tremendous self motivation. There are no obvious perks, no raises, no benefits, nothing. The only thing to keep one going is their own want to do so, and the knowledge that they are giving something very special to their family. I am extremely impressed by the women who can do this. Being a stay at home mother, means less money, more work (yes there is more to do at home, than at work), less adult interaction, a lot of self discipline, and over all just a lot of self sacrifice. And very few women actually have it in them to do it without holding any grudges or getting absolutely frustrated. And here I have completely gone on a tangent to what I really want to say here.

Coming back to my initial line of thought, I was quite an attached to the baby kind of mother, when the BB was little, still am in a lot of ways, but I can see that the need to constantly being together is indeed gradually reducing. No, this does not mean I can just leave the BB with a neighbour and head out to the spa, quite yet, but I know I will get there in a couple of years, atleast, I see the hope now. I know I need to get out, and work, do something self satisfying to stay sane. I cannot stay at home forever, I am incapable of that kind of dedication, and it would lead me to get supremely frustrated, which is not a desirable state of being. It is not happening immediately, and I know that I will not be able to let go right now either, but I know it will happen in the future.

And I just marvel at how I have changed in my attitude as a mother, without having even realised it. I was such a paranoid crazy new mother the first few months, that the thoughts of going to work would have actually driven me crazy back in those days, and now as the BB is growing, getting more physically independent each day, I understand that his needs are changing, his need for me is not the constant physical presence, but more in terms of what he learns from me, and how that helps him interpret the world. Two years back, I could not even have imagined this as possible. And yet, here I am today, knowing that things are changing and will keep changing in the mother-son relationship I share with the BB.

Its fun, fun to know that there are no constants here, except for my love, even the protectiveness will over the years diminish, because he will step out into the world on his own, learn and explore, and I will have to let go, for him to learn, and that will be indeed the real test of what he has actually learnt from all that I teach him, that is when it will show whether the core values that I wish to impart does really hold or not. It is scary, and yet challenging, because I always need to be prepared, think ahead, and be prepared for the next step. So far it looks quite good, but I know the real tests of strength and capability lay in the years ahead, beyond the breastfeeding and lulling to sleep each night.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Of Cribbing and Crying

OK, so I need to crib, and I thought of giving the DH a little break, since he is usually at the receiving end at most times. So here I am to my other option, and hoping no one comes up with smart a** comments here. And if you do, I am not publishing it!!

The thing is, I had written a while back about a certain old ring, that fit into my finger after ages, and I was so very happy about it. Seems happiness is a short lived commodity in my life these days, and the ring fit me for exactly three days, and has gone back to being too tight to slip on. Yes it is just not fitting back on. What did I do to my fingers I wonder, to make them get back to their bloated state of being. There has not been a great fluctuation in the weight either, so I don't really know. And I am so damn sad. I am completely deviating from my usual nature, and cribbing my heart out about this. Why and why me? Why does this have to happen to me?

And now I have a terrible back/neck pain, so I am pretty much vegetating these days. Which means a lot of weight gain for me. Because the ill-effects are two fold for me. On the days that I do exercise or walk or cycle or do anything at all as a form of physical activity aimed at weight loss, I eat healthier, on days that I do nothing, I hog. Strange but true. Working out should make one hungry and hence lead to eating more, but it works out the other way for me. I guess when I do sweat my gut out, I am better motivated to make it work by eating healthy too. So here I am without the ring, with a pain, sitting and doing pretty much nothing. I do have a right to crib you know. I have taken all the rings off my fingers, because I don't want to see them and keep feeling bad.

Usually I enjoy being happy, I can make fun of serious situations, and smile through the worst. And yet there are other times. Like now, a phase I am going through, where fate is dealing me with one blow after another, while I can just come up with something to put the previous one away, something worse is already up front to battle. It is just getting to me now. I am smiling, trying to stay happy, and go on, without pulling everyone around into the gloominess with me, but it is getting tough. Another reason I am happy I can crib here. I know I can deal with it all, but I just need them coming at me a bit slower. I need a breather, really really do, before I am convinced that I am goner. Who am I kidding, I can never believe that, its just a temporary thing, while I am still down, but I know I will be back up again.

On that note, hear this

So now that I have written it, some things openly, others a bit cryptic, I feel a bit better. What would I do without a blog, I wonder now. See, I can always see a silver lining in the clouds. I am still hoping for a rainbow with a pot of gold at the end of all this. I think this is some kind of OCD I have, being overly positive, looking for something good at the end of everything.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Questions About Love, Life And Such Like

There is a girl I lived with for three years when I was in college, my room mate, and needless to say when you are sharing a living space of 8ft. by 10ft. with someone for three whole years, you pretty much know each other inside out. She joined college, fresh out of a relationship with someone, from back home, me never having had one ever, never wanting one either. That was back in the days I never wanted to marry, and had huge,possibly extremely unrealistic plans about my life ahead. (The DH of course came into the picture later, and messed that all up.) She was a tall thin girl, quite the waif like eye-catcher, so lets call her tall-slim-girl(TSG). I was rotund and tom-boyish.

She and I met, liked each other, and decided to be friends and room-mates. She started dating one of our seniors towards the end of our first year. A guy called P. P and she were into what we can term as a serious relationship. Fortunately for them, they belonged to the same caste, creed and all else that matters in a marriage. From choosing the kind of house they will live in, to the names for their children-to-be, pretty much everything was in place. I was a pesky friend, and whenever the poor TSG would narrate these or any other deeply romantic exchange between P and her, I would burst out laughing. Sorry, I cannot handle mush, just cannot. Or maybe I am just insensitive, don't know, but talks of moons, stars and such just make me giggle. Here they were with each other, almost every possible minute, with love and dreams in their eyes and hearts. P actually enrolled in a low grade B-school to stay in the same town after he completed his graduation, so that they could both be together. Even though I never initially believed they were there for the long haul, such acts, actually convinced me that the baby names planned, would actually be put to use.

And there was the nut that is me. A lot of male friends, no romantic alliances, no hopes, no chances. When I met the DH for the first time, I was rather uncomfortable, mostly because of the terrible planning, of the mutual friend who introduced us, and made the situation as bad as it can be. But as they say, fate works in strange ways, and here we were, becoming friends, close ones at that. Liking each other, but never saying it out aloud (yes, I know quite the filmy stuff, and hence my strengthened faith in Hindi movies), and finally deciding to date each other without strict commitments of any kinds. (May I add here, that the DH buckled first and decided he wanted me for keeps. Yes, yes, yes he did!) Of all my friends, who were in relationships, mine was the only one without any plans of a future together. The DH finished his studies almost as soon as we started dating, and left the place. I still had a whole year to go, so we did not even get a lot of time together.

Three years later, I was married to the DH, working, and happy. The TSG, was finishing her masters degree, her relationship with P, after almost six years broken, and she was engaged to be married. Indeed, strange how things work out. She went on to get married to a man doing well in life, chosen by her parents, and approved by her. The DH and I were on the other hand freshers at our jobs, struggling to stay afloat, and yet happy, while TSG was enjoying African safaris, unrestrained shopping and living in the US.

Though she and I were great friends, all along our years in college, things changed gradually post that. All calls from her, were about how well she was doing in life, and how she was enjoying staying at home, relaxing all day long, shopping and the like. I was not bothered by what she said, but got tiered of knowing how happy she was, by her saying it aloud so often. She had a daughter about six months after the BB was born, and when the comparisons started there, I shut out. I am usually nonchalant about competing, I don't get drawn in for more than a couple of days, but the BB is precious to me, and I am not getting him into pettiness, from anyone. I think that was the point when I reduced, and then finally shut out my communication with her.

The DH and I had tough years financially at the start of our marriage, and I mean REAL tough, not the I-cannot-buy-the-imported-brand-of-we LCD kinds, but the we-could-do-with-a-cupboard-for-our-clothes kinds. But we managed to sail through, we fought like cats and dogs then, just as we do even now. There are times in our marriage we feel like pulling the hair out of our head, at the thought of having to live with each other, and then we have our sunny, full of joy days too. Our marriage is not perfect, or anywhere close to it, we are neither mushy, nor supremely romantic. If one thing defines our marriage at this one point, its our dedication to the BB and our roles as parents. And we disagree on methods there too. So basically we disagree on way too many things, and in turn express that quite vehemently too. The TSG portrays her marriage as perfect, but I am sure, like any other, she must be having her marital woes too, and having them does not really make a marriage bad, unless we are talking of abuse and such like. She did not see the hard days, like we did, and I am sure its a lot rosier to be in that state compared to what the DH and I went through. In terms of material comforts, I am happy where I am today, and value each and everything that I posses. I believe she is too, from what I hear, she has more and if that makes her happy, it works out just fine.

Now coming to the question that M4 poses in her post about love versus practicality, love won for me. Practicality won for TSG. That would be the obvious way of looking at it, but I believe it is practicality that won for each one of us, because selecting our priorities is being practical. I think it would be safe to say we are both happy today. At the end of the day we all know our priorities, and stick to what is more important to us personally. It takes courage to break out of moral bindings and accept the need for material comforts in life, or social status and prioritise that. To each his own I think. I am not taking any moral high ground here, because honestly I don't think there is any, as long as one is honest to himself or herself, that is the best choice to make. Had I married a man of my parent's choosing, I would have been richer maybe, had a similar cultural background as my spouse, but would I be happy, I don't know. And I don't think so, because I doubt any man would accept me as wholly as the DH has, knowing all my quirks and flaws. To me personally, the meaning of my relationship means more than other things. Money and comforts, came as and how they were required, that is why and I am where I am today. So for me love was the practical decision, because I would not have survived without it, the rest, which is required too, but stands a little lower on my list of priorities, followed in, as it always does with time.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Medical Sensitivity, Too much to Expect?

This is something that gets my goat, each time I come across it, and I believe it is the worst kind of insensitivity that exists. Because a doctor is meant to maintain confidentiality of a patient, what is discussed inside a doctors chamber is meant to stay that way. But more often than not it does not, and the worst bit is, instead of being the party who is in control, being the one who is doling out the moolah, the patient is the helpless one, knowing no better than to have to deal with his most personal details being out in the open.

Years back, I had been to a plush gynecologist's clinic in south Bombay with a friend. Now we are talking about, one of the best gynecologist's in the city, where there is a waiting list of 4-5 months for an appointment, and each appointment is as pricey as it gets, three receptionists, someone to take down records and the works. The clinic, like most gynecological clinics was more of a fertility treatment centre. I was sitting in the waiting area, flipping through magazines, when out came a couple, aged in their early forties I am guessing. And off went the main receptionist rattling out tests, where they need to get it done. These were things like sperm counts, ovulation, as personal as it gets. The receptionists nonchalantly, and very audibly asked them about the lady's cycles, dates, when they should get the tests done. I was filled with revulsion. Is this not breach of ethics, is this not being insensitive to the highest degree. The worst was, the couple kept answering, feeling conspicuous, embarrassed, and feeling there is no other way to go about it. How does it feel? I can only imagine,and doing just that much makes me feel so terribly vulnerable and violated. I don't visit the doctor for publicity to my health issues, I go there for treatment, hopefully in the privacy of the clinic/hospital or wherever else.

Have you ever walked past a doctor's chamber with the door wide open, while a consultation is underway within, with every word being clearly audible to you. It so disgusts me, that I cannot even express it in words. Just this weekend, I was at the hospital for a blood test, and while waiting near the lab for my turn, I witnessed something equally repulsive. There a was man in the chair, waiting for his test, while a lady, I am guessing his wife, was waiting for him at the door. The technician suddenly says aloud, real loud in the silent confines of a hospital, "Yes, there is a special test, we can do a sperm test." Equally moronic people waiting outside turned to have a good look at the man inside, and my insides turned at the lack of discretion.

Is that what visits to doctors are supposed to be like, where I go to get healed, and instead come out, with my every gory problem laid out in the open for public consumption. The incidents I am telling you about are just a couple of the many I have witnessed. I have seen worse during my one week stay in the nursing home post delivery, and this insensitivity never ceases to disgust me. Every person who works in the health care industry deserves to be given strict training in the ethical and moral codes of their profession. They need it, and need it bad. It is never a happy occasion visiting doctors, and to make it a miserable experience due to lack of discretion simply stinks.

While many people, say it is an everyday affair for the doctors and other medical staff, and hence they are not sensitive, here is what I have to say, this is a profession they chose, not one they were forced to adapt. Is it similarly acceptable, if the defence personnel or the policemen for that matter randomly shoot and kill people, just because it is something they do everyday? I think not, and if the medical personnel cannot really understand their responsibilities, it needs to be put in as rules in their field of work. Does this happen everywhere in the world or are there places where stricter rules, and may I say code of ethics is in place?

The Header

The current header is a lot of hardwork, and I am happy with what it shows. The best bit is I can keep editing it, change some of the images as and how my life evolves and changes. After going through a phase of constantly changing the headers, I have finally got one, that I would like to keep. And it will be simple enough to alter it bit by bit when I feel the need.

For long I have been wanting to do a header with my own photos, but the thought of sorting through, and finding the ones I liked, seemed like such a tedious job. But somehow the time just felt right to do it this time. I went through nearly every photo on my hard disk and picked these up. Though not consciously done, but I realise now, how each photo has a story to tell. Almost every one of them is special in its own way, and has some amazing memories associated with it. The white-pink roses for example are from my office desk, back in the days when I was working in one. Picked up from a flower vendor on the way to office in the morning, kept my desk fresh and spruced up for a couple of days. The one with me standing in a doorway, is from an ancient temple in Gwalior, one of the most memorable vacations the DH and I had.

So here I am absolutely happy with this header, and my efforts. All I can say is long live photoshop and digital images. Ah yes, two of the photos are from the Net, and I will keep them till i find good substitutes from my own collection.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I Am Happy With A Little Less

Yes, that's me. I don't want everything, nor do I want the best of everything. I am happy with a little less than all. Does that mean, I will get nowhere in life? maybe it does, but my purpose in life is to be happy, not fight all along trying to get there. I am materialistic, you bet I am, it will take one look at this blog, which is less than a month old, to know that, but I don't need the best or the most expensive things. If I really want something, and cannot afford it, it takes me about two minutes to get over that and move on. So, I manage to stay happy quite easily.

I want to work, have more money, a home, family, luxuries, friends and more, and yet I don't want it all, or a lot of it all. I have my priorities very clear, and thank God for that. I have seen way to many people struggle and suffer due to lack of prioritisation. Don't want to go the same way, not because I would not love to have it all, but because I don't want to feel that pain and angst. If I want to lose weight, I am happy even if I don't have washboard abs, but just a decent shape, a slight bulge of a paunch will not leave me biting my nails. I am quite an non-perfectionist, and way too content for my own good I think. I don't strive to be the best, and worse still, it does not bother me. The only place where I wish to excel is, in the role of a mother, and I can see that I am nowhere near perfect already.

In a way that does not push me to my limits, in certain fields, I can never come out and say I am the best yes, but I am happy, and I am just simply happy the way I am. I am content, with what I have, where I am, and I know I would be equally happy if I had more in terms of money or love. I never forget to be thankful for each step I take towards a better life, somehow I never get complacent, forgetting how I have a better life now in some way or the other than before. More than a year down the line I could have been used to it, but I am still glad that I now live without power cuts, twenty four hours of water supply and honking horns blaring into my bedroom.

So if you are competing with me, don't , because I will really not even stand up and try....... sad, lazy me, as always!

Addendum - I realised what it is that makes me want to attain perfection. It is my creative pursuits. I am never ever satisfied with my creations, I find them way below the standard I desire to achieve. That goes for everything from knitting to embroidery to writing to cooking. Absolutely nothing I do ever satisfies me.

On a completely different note, the BB can now say Baby Boy. Ironical? I definitely think so. :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Not All Parents Are Gods.

Foreward - This is a long post, with views that may not be acceptable by many or even enrage some. I will not be surprised, and so be cautioned if you are going ahead and reading this post, it stands strongly against the common belief system of most people.

Loving ones parents is a diktat, which we all grow up with, and I wonder why. Who created this unsaid rule, I wonder. Why is a child expected to love the parents unconditionally, while the expectations should be exactly the reverse.

Recently, while talking to a friend, the conversation led to such thoughts, and she said, the parents have the baby because they want to, and the child owes nothing to them. This refreshed my memories of an old friend, a man who spoke bluntly, but honestly. It was ages back when I was in terrible mental turmoil, and he narrated an incident to me, where tiered of his parents expectations, and demands, he once retorted, in the presence of guests saying,"You enjoyed yourself, and brought me here, so might as well deal with your responsibilities." Back then I was shocked. Now, not so much, in fact I have started to agree with the mindset. Its not that I believe a child needs to hate or disrespect the parents, but I believe the emotions should not be expected from every child irrespective of circumstances, nor is it necessary to blindly love ones parents, no matter what they do. It is infact the parents who want the child and have a child, with the responsibility of bringing him up to the best of their abilities. Whether its a planned child, or an unplanned one, it is definitely not the baby, who needs to come. Sometimes, I believe it is a conspiracy, to make a child believe that parents are always, perfect, so that they can be controlled.

The worst fallout of this blind following, is the lack of improvement. If I have grown up thinking my parents are perfect, I will blindly follow them to create myself as a replica of them, with no scope of growth or development. Sad really. I would love to quote my class twelve class teacher, who put as beautifully as I can ever imagine. She said,
To continue the process of human evolution, one must learn from their parents faults as much as from their qualities. One should love his parents, but must not be blind to them. One should see what their parents are lacking in, and eliminate that from themselves.

This has forever stayed with me. I just love what she said, and I appreciate it even more, having become a parent myself. I would never want my child to blindly believe me, I want him to ask questions, to observe and decide for himself, and most importantly develop a mind independent of either of his parents. I want only to instill in him core values like honesty, integrity, loyalty, kindness, but I want him to interpret life on his own. I want him to be better than his parents, to succeed where we have not, to posses what we lack. How selfish would it be for me as a parent to want my child to not achieve that, not even want to, and just be where the DH or I am, with nothing more. Unfortunately most parents want their children to be exactly like them, following every word they say, and be just like them. If these are averagely decent people, good for the child, else, we just have a species, which has stopped evolving.

It is scary when we look around and find people who are absolute clones of their parents, who believe they are independent thinkers, but are actually like the computers, which are programmed, in this case by the parents, and simply reflect their parents in their every word and act. Everyone picks up certain qualities, beliefs, morals from the people who bring them up, but to never give it any conscious thought, and just maintain that, without ever even realising if that is indeed their own true nature, is that not scary? The human consciousness is then stagnating, with no development, no change. A person who has grown up in a strongly religious family, where other communities are looked at with suspicion, will continue to do so, blindly without ever really understanding why. It is just blindness.

I for one, can never love anyone, except for the BB, based on legal relationships I have with them. I am incapable of that. I care from the core of my existence for people, whom I love, and I love them, because I like them as people, not because they are my sister, brother, cousin, uncle or aunt. My every personal connection is formed with a person, never with a relationship. When I like someone, I am extremely expressive about it. I can say it often enough to tire the person out. My appreciation never ceases to flow, because it is genuine, and my likings only form, because the person has achieved it. But absolutely no respect, emotions or liking can be expected from me for a person who is related to me, just because he is a relative. I have developed the art of maintaining a formal appearance of decency, as every woman needs to after marriage, but respect or love, just cannot happen. The BB is an exception to the rule, because I wanted him, and he is in the world today only because of the GP and I wanting it that way. It is absolutely my responsibility to love him unconditionally, and support him in every possible way to the very best of my ability. And I hope that as he grows, the love will keep growing, because he will grow up to a person who commands my love and respect, and not just as my child, but as a wonderful human being. I want him to love me, for what I am, and not just because I am his mother, I want him to question me, when he does not agree with me, so that I can make him understand the reason for my actions, or understand his point of view, learn and change where needed. I want him to have the space to grow and develop a mind that knows, only what his mind believes is the right thing to do, and not to blindly follow norms.

The second, grouse I have against this rule of blind love for parents, is that if a child feels a natural, instinctive dislike for the parent, he is too scared to express it, just like the fear of expressing homosexuality, no matter what the reasons. Censure and taunts is what he can look forward to. Nobody thinks it is acceptable, we are brainwashed to believe it is evil to dislike parents, and anyone who does that, is evil. So even if a child is being tortured by the parents, he has not a soul to confide to, without fear. If he does express himself, he need to give a million explanations for why. Why not? I ask? Why does one have to love their parents, why can an abused child never say he has been abused, and be understood by people, why do people need to blindly follow their parents and replicate themselves as monsters where applicable. Is it not the parent who wanted the child in the first place, and was it not an absolute responsibility of the parent to provide the best to their child, emotionally and physically?

A child may have grown up in the worst conditions, due to the parents, and yet, due to mental conditioning, he continues to be subservient and dutiful, or needs to be completey blind to his own personal misery. Because of the ingrained false sense of morality that says the It is a case where I believe the classical conditioning takes over, and seemingly bad behaviour towards parents is filled with guilt and pain for the child, because he has grown up being forced to accept that parents are always good, and should always be loved. I am not aware of cultures beyond India, but I know that this is the way it exists in India. Very, and I say, a very few are able to stand up and say no, without guilt attached to it. Its a cycle very very hard to break, and even tougher to maintain, that state of mind once achieved. A lot of married women will agree with what I say here, I know. But it is applicable as much to men as to women. There are a lot of children who are exploited by their parents, but never even accept the truth of it, because they are conditioned not to. What follows then in a vicious cycle, is the same brand of parenting when they themselves grow up and become parents. If one looks at it from a distance, it is heart stoppingly terrifying. Exploitation, does not necessarily mean being beaten up, but can also mean a child who has no control over his life, where every decision is the parents, no matter what the age of the offspring, where the life of the child is only about fulfilling his parents wishes and desires and nothing more. There are so many parents who blindly refuse to accept their child's choice of a spouse, and in many cases the child quietly agrees, and does the parent's bidding, the same happens in the choice of career or education. These are not as obvious forms of exploitation of harmful parenting as is beating up a child, or forcing them into child labour, but the psychological repercussions can be far deeper. From growing up with no ability to take decisions, a lack of self confidence, to an ingrained belief that nothign they do is ever good enough. These things are extremely detrimental in real life. What does such a child really owe to his parents. What indeed?

Picture an average girl, in an average, educated, middle class family, growing up. An only child, expressing to the world the true mental liberation of the parents, not obsessed with the a male child. From the day she is born, she is taunted for being dark skinned and ugly, by none other than her own mother. Not a day passes by when she is not chided for her pathetic looks, and how she is such a let down for her peaches 'n cream complexioned mother. This happens so often, that guests visiting the household, feel free to similarly taunt her, even going as far as to say that she looks like the backside of an elephant. She grows up some and fights it out loud, telling the mother in clear tones that it is such a horrible thing to say, because she is growing up in progressive family, a modern one. Asking the mother to stop taunting her for her looks. But within, its a lost cause. She believes herself to be ugly and worthless in every possible way. Twenty years down the line, the mother may turn and say that it was all but a joke, but by then the girl's spirit in gone. Never can she believe she is worth a second glance, or that she possesses even decent looks. Even when someone truly compliments her on her physical appearance, she can never really accept it, because she can never believe she deserves it, in even the minutest possible way. This kind of bad parenting is not outright, nor obvious or apparent, especially when she is being educated in premier institutions of the country, the parents are feeding and clothing her well. Who would dare say the parents are bad? No one, at all.Imagine the strength and courage it then needs, for a girl like that to break out of that cycle, the oppression and step out. But even then it is not easy, because no one really understands her, without her begging them to, with explanations and horrific tales of her scarring childhood.

When a child does give up on his parents, every person who even remotely knows him, will persuade him into believing he is wrong, that parents could not possibly ever be bad and the fault lies with him. Sometimes it does not. It really does not. And at this vulnerable juncture of life, when the person most needs reassurance, it really does not help to doubt him, needing himself to explain himself everywhere, trying to convince himself as much as anyone else, that what he has done is not the wrong thing to do. It is a very tough decision to make, for one, and the vulnerability one feels at that point cannot be explained. One can compare it to a divorce maybe, but it is worse. Because when one gives up on the parents, it is giving up on the secure shelter of life, or atleast the illusion of it. It is not easy. What people need to understand too, is that in the true sense of nature, a child is the weaker, helpless being, and the parents the stronger more powerful one. Nature has given people parental instincts, because the balance needs to remain. But in today's educated and uplifted society, where every natural order and instinct is looked down upon, the parental instinct is gradually dwindling too, leaving a small child in great peril. No one believes that a child is exploited by parents, unless they witness it themselves, it is not considered possible. And the knowledge of this disbelief makes it so much tougher for the child to ever come out, and express his pain and distress. It needs an immensely tough person to be able to first point out what is wrong, accept that it truly is wrong, and then break away. It is not easy either, when every other person who he looks at for some support doubts and judges him at this crucial point.

Why does society question a man who moves away from his parents, not fulfilling his responsibilities towards them, inspite of the fact that the have been hurtful to him forever, have used him for their own selfish motives, and never cared for him. And inspite of all of this, the parents are blindly believed to be good, and the child to be the one who is wrong. The parents will cry hoarse about how they have been abandoned by their child in their old age, and the whole world will sympathise with them, but no one will feel for the man, who was young, and helpless as a child and mistreated by the parents, because it is a given, that parents are good. Why is our view so lopsided, so biased, so pathetically uninformed and narrow minded. It is evil to even utter a bad word about our parents, no matter what they do to us, if we leave abandon them, the whole world will try to persuade us to think twice about it, but no one bothers to say a word to parents when they mistreat their child, a child who knows no one but them in this world, who cannot survive without them. Why and why again? It is so bad infact, that the child himself is full of guilt, and continues to be dutiful towards parents, to whom he owes nothing at all, because it is drilled into his mind that he needs to serve his parents.

Note - The last paragraph has been removed, because it was taking the focus off the post and onto other things, which are actually inconsequential to me at this point in life.

Little Boys Grow Up, And We Just keep Wondering.

The BB is growing up way to fast I feel at times, I already so miss the time, when he was a teeny weeny baby, I had sleepless nights then, but yet there is nothing like a newborn. Teeny, tiny, adorable. They mostly cry, but they keep your heart with them, always.

Now he is suddenly learning new things almost everyday. Over the past week, there have been so many new things happening, that I am amazed at the speed of his development, both mental and physical. Each day he grows taller, and can reach greater heights, literally. One day he cannot reach the doorbell, and the very next day he can. It is that kind of growth.

The boy now believes, if any book is picked up, it reads ABC, and so if he picks up any book at all, that is what he says, "Aye, Beeeeeeee, C". That is the extent of his alphabetic knowledge and that is what he thinks all books read. He will pick up mine, open them and say A,B and C.

He has finally got the words now to indicate he has an impending nature's call to attend to. Aah! what a relief that is. Though it is not always used, I am now positively hopeful. Till now I had to guess he needed to go, seeing him run around in circles, and already being halfway there by the time he got in place. Just meant a special pile of laundry each day, for antiseptic washing. In the summers, with the AC working nearly all day long, the frequency of needing a release is greatly increased too. So I am extremely glad that a word has now been found to express his need. It is shushu.

This weekend, we were at a mall, and there was this adorable little girl, around the BB's age. short straight hair, lovely hazel eyes, chubby lil cheeks. Oh! she was a doll I tell you. She spotted the BB, and was very interested in playing with him, the BB had not noticed her, so I took him to her, and he almost pounced on her for a hug. She was a tinier than him, so I kind of pulled him away, before he would topple both of them over. And then I said, 'Give her a kissie.' Now my boy, knows only to receive them, so promptly he pressed her lips to each of his cheeks and then his head, while holding her head steady with his hands. It was hilarious, because here, she was the smaller one, and the one who should be kissed, but the BB got her to kiss him instead. The girl was very friendly and playful too, and it was nice seeing two enthusiastic kids interact, without either shying away or getting uncomfortable. Usually other kids shy away from my over enthusiastic son, so this was a nice change. I wish I see the girl again, she was just so adorable.

Choice of his clothes is a brand new development too. He often rejects my choice now, opens the cupboard and brings out what he wants to wear, leaving the rest of the cupboard in a mess. As of now, it is very cute, but I am so dreading the tantrums which are likely to follow, soon enough. Full length pants are preferred over shorts, nearly always.When he knows something is a part of a set, he just would not wear it in a different combination. So yes, my boy is growing up.

The BB is now capable of opening the refrigerator, so at random times of the day, you will find half eaten cheese cubes lying around in the house. Tough! And telling him not to do it, is currently no use, so I am just hoping he gets over his love to open the fridge. And this is a phase that too will get over.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Of Shopping Joys and Some

Shopping is one of my bigger passions in life. I love to indulge in retail therapy like any real woman. It does not have to be expensive or grand, for me to enjoy, I like to take my time about even my groceries, going about unhurriedly, picking things up. Shopping is therapeutic to me, quite like blogging itself.

Early on in my marriage, the DH had a lot of on site assignments to attend to, which meant, he used to be out of station quite often, sometimes for lengthy periods of time. In a city like Bombay, with its hectic pace, I hardly had time to socialise with friends, weekends usually reserved to being with my better half. So when the DH, was out of station, it was quite a boring deal getting back home after office, with no one to meet, and a few days at a stretch, would start making me feel low. And that would be my cue to shop. I think that is when the madness really caught onto me. with a job, earning dough, meant I did not need to ask anyone to buy anything, for the first time in my life, and it was just such a wonderful feeling to buy. So I would shop, and buy things for myself, while the DH was away toiling in some unsightly place as an excuse for a site. It was then that I realised the power of retail therapy.

However for a shopaholic, I am not brand conscious, and I always need value for money. Denims and sneakers, and the only two things, I think are worth being brand conscious about. The rest, not so much. I think brands are bland. And I have my reasons for that too. (I cannot afford high end designer stuff, so I am not even going into that territory.) I prefer shopping from places, where I am comfortable with the pricing or the costs are worth the goods. Clothes were such fun shopping for, always, especially Indian wear. One could walk into a departmental store, pay about twice or thrice the real cost, and shop at one stop, but I always preferred the normal shops, or cloth markets. So much more variety, and the right pricing. Here though, the shopping always happens in malls, in the big stores, and I so miss the days at Mangaldas Market.Brands, offer good quality, nice fits, but somehow, I miss the chutzpah of the rasta(read - street side) shopping. The excitement of finding something great, out of a heap, just does not exist when I am in a store, and am confident that everything in there is good. I miss Linking Road and Hill Road, I miss Sarojini Nagar and Lajpat Nagar. Aah! The colours, the choices, the fun. I get bored of things easily, and good stuff, which does not wear or tear, means that I am stuck with them for longer than I would like to be.

Prices are important to me. Growing up in a very middle class family, I value money, and so overpaying for things just does not appeal to me. There is no fun in shopping if there is a nagging doubt about the pricing attached to it. So I always need to be satisfied with the pricing. I look for thrift stores, and browse through for the finds. And shopping is so much more fun when I need to find things rather than, just pick stuff off the shelves. I always search for places which are priced more to my tastes, in a new place, I am more likely to find the shopping delights before anything else. I do enjoy shopping for luxuries, a diamond here, or a pair of designer sunglasses there, a classy watch maybe, an exquisite home decor item, but I enjoy them only when they are occasional. What fun would it be, if that is what I bought all the time?

Life here is about mall hopping. In the summers, its way too hot to be anywhere outdoors, and that basically means, outings at malls, which also means, some shopping being indulged in each time. Malls, are such beautiful places, designed to entice you to get things that are not really needed. Shopping to me, also involvesambiance . The fun of shopping in an Indian market can never compare to the stuffy calm experience the malls here can be. I am more of aSarojini Nagar market(Delhi) or a Crawford Market(Bombay) person. Malls enthrall me, only when they are occasional occurrences.

Now that I have said so much about my shopping preferences, I must say something about my latest shopping sprees. A couple of weekends back, I went hunting for some tops. Needless to say, I found pretty much noting to my liking, what I liked in style, would inevitably be too sheer for my tastes. After looking through nearly ten stores, I finally managed to find a stand alone store, which had a few things that I liked, and I ended up buying the same pattern in different colours. Happy that I atleast found some. It had been so long since I bought any tops, that I was rather glad.

This weekend, I went hunting for accessories. Sraikh's latest ventures, and Kimberley's blog, which Sraikh had linked, and I am now hooked to, have me enthralled. Both the ladies are accessorising so beautifully, that I am terribly tempted to follow suit. I have always loved buying junk jewellery, and used to gladly stock up, but I never wore them. Infact they simply laid with me, till I passed them on to someone else. But now I try and wear them. So this weekend, I picked up some lovely neckpieces.

These three are from the Al Arsa Souk. Its difficult to find pieces that are not completely traditional here. And all my previous buys have been absolutely traditional pieces, but this time, I looked for ones that would also gel with western outfits, and these are three of my finds. The red one, is red corals, the green stone is Akik/Hakeek. My favourite is the blue, red and white one, though I have no outfit that this would particularly suit, but the combination was so eye catching, that I just could not let it go. The stones are firoza/turquoise(blue), pearls(white) and red corals(red). The red corals in this one are big, and since most of the pieces are antiques, one of the stones is a bit worn, and I can actually see the coral-like insides. Also bought a plain, slightly long string of pearls, but have left it at the shop, so that some silver beads can be added to it for the extra zing. [ Prices: Red Coral string - 25, Akik string - 25, Pearl string, with silver beads - 60, the three stone combination string - 60, yes, I love good deals! ]

Then while mall strolling yesterday, found a part sale on at Claire's. A while back I had bought a chain from there, and loved it. So I walked right in, and see what I got. The first two chains from the left are for just 5 each, and the hoops, and the last chain for 10.(If you click on the image, and see the enlarged version, you can see the prices.) Yes, I absolutely lucked out people. Now am so eagerly waiting to get a chance to wear these. While leaving the mall, we also picked up two small vials of ittar, amazing fragrances, we just could not resist them.

This was the most important purchase this weekend. My last frame too has been destroyed by the BB. I am not sure how long I will be able to keep the new ones out of his hands. Wish me luck. The store had huge brands, and even the 'non-big'(I know that is not a real word) ones were Italian, because they hardly have anything indigenous products in the markets here. So I came back with the biggest frames I could get, because size, was my first priority. The good news being, my power has dropped a bit in one eye, and that makes me happy.

So tell me, what do you like the most of all my purchases? Got any favourites, or ideas on adorning them? And, I am still looking for a nice plain white shirt, yes the front open kinds!
[* All prices are in AED]

PS - Thanks D, for the Picassa tip, did the pics on that. :)