Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Can't Really Name This One.

Reading the post by Smitha today, on parenting in a balanced way, sent my mind on a long thoughtful journey. It started with what her post said about parenting, thinking of it in terms of me as the parent, to me being parented, and how everything eventually turned out. To quote, Smitha says ,
I did not want to be a pushy mother, but at the same time, did not want to ‘not push her enough’, if you know what I mean.
And that is where I agree with her the most, and yet suddenly seemed to have found a different line of thought altogether on that, after contemplating on what I read in that post. Sometimes contemplation, actually helps me find words to my thoughts, to actually articulate my abstract thoughts and concepts more concretely.

Parenting is a difficult task, to put it mildly. It needs balance, focus, alertness, and mostly great strength to stick to my guns, in the toughest times. I am nowhere near being the perfect parent, I am too aware of my flaws and shortcomings to claim that. But somewhere along the line I have also come to realise, there is no fixed definition of the perfect parent either, because each child is different, and comes with different needs, likes and dislikes. What makes someone a perfect parent to their child, might make me a nightmare to mine and vice versa. I believe as long as the basic emotions and principles are in place, one is usually on the right track. Coming back to the point of it all, what defines pushing, too much, too little or just right? What is needed by a child, what is not, and where do we draw the line? Its not easy to decide, and its not for any book(or website) to tell.

As a child I was pushed too much, the GP, not at all. We both turned out averagely OK, but I think, I spent most of my initial years, doing things that did not genuinely interest me, nor did I have a true aptitude for it. Case in point being sports. I was quite a fanatic as a child. I stayed up late nights during the football world cups, went crazy during cricket matches, and pretty much scheduled everything around the tennis Grand Slams. And today, I don't even know all of the Indian cricket team. No one pushed me to love sports, but just living in a household that lived and breathed it, I took it in, I left the house, and suddenly sports interested me, not one little bit. This is not to say, that parenting has no part to play, it is to say, that the likes, dislikes, passions of parents will definitely influence their child, maybe even for life, but somethings just remain till they remain under the direct influence of the parents. Eventually, we all move on, to or with things that really and truly interest us. Or maybe its just me.

Its just recently that a very dear friend of mine, who is a life coach, did my personality analysis, without a charge, while it is infact a part of her professional services, and we discovered, that my personality type happens to be one of the rarest. Which either means I am extra special(I am sticking with that one), or I am a nut case. Well actually neither, it just means I am who I am. I loved bits of the description about the personality type, and it made so so much sense to me. Let me digress, and share this. It said , 'You are not so much party-poopers, as you are pooped by the party'. Can't even begin to describe how true that rings for me. I love people, friends, and all, and yet a huge group of people in a social scenario scares me. I am great with people I connect with, and they just cannot believe that I am not so great with general social interactions, but I just am not. Oh! that analysis, and the description of my personality type, just made me realise I am not such an oddball after all. When I was sitting and discussing this with the lady who did the analysis, she herself one of the not-so-common-types, said, 'It really makes a lot of sense doesn't it, and it makes us realise, we are not aliens, in this race of people, just different.' How true. But coming back to the parenting aspect of it, what would have been good parenting for a person like me? Could what's described in the books work for someone like me?

The point being what to do we encourage, in our children, where do we push, and where do we stop, and where do we just let them be. Its a very tough, very difficult choice, and I think it gets even more difficult when we have more than one child. It would be so so so tough to recognise the separate needs of multiple kids, and treat them according to their own sensibilities. But here again, I contradict my own beliefs.

I believe every individual has their own aptitude, and there is that something special for everyone of us. And it is foolish to generalise that. Because we need all kinds for the world to live and continue. the soldiers are needed as much as the doctors, the musicians are needed as much as the engineers, and it is but foolish if we prefer one over the other, and force the choice, or direct our children in that direction. And when we impose nothing on our children, we let them find their own way, find what is their true calling. I believe the most important ingredients in bringing up a child, are
  • an environment with abundant and unconditional love.
  • teaching through conduct of vales and principles that make a good person.
  • and imparting them with the desire to look beyond the mundane, and expect more than money and material things from this life.
This is not to say, I encourage my child to not study the day before a school math test, because he does not feel like it, and I feel that his true calling lies in poetry and not math. But this is to say, that I hope I do not impose my own likes or dislikes on him, in anyway that will diminish or superimpose his own. But then are also those children who thrive in a world full of rules, discipline and routine, what if my child needs just that and I fail to provide that to him. God! parenting is such a difficult job, there just can never be any clear cut, set rules for it. It is for each of us to find the style that best suits our child and us, and that itself is a difficult task, and then to later stick to that path even harder.

I might be an oddity, but I have no big dreams for the BB, atleast not yet. I have no visions of him being a great scientist/astronaut/ player/author/actor/poet or anything at all. I just hope that he is happy, all his life. And hopefully he will find the path that leads him to his own happiness. I hope I can as a parent equip him with the tools he requires to find that. I am more likely to be the parent who does not push the child at all, rather than the ones who push too much. And that is primarily because, I want my child to find his own way, and also because I was pushed way too much, as child myself, and that makes me feel like I lost so so many precious years, following a dream that was not mine, and could never had made me happy, years that were the best time to concentrate on gaining skills or an education to equip me to follow the path my heart leads me to.

I don't know, if I have made any sense at all in this post, but it was more of a clearing up my own thoughts and trying to articulate, those that I feel but cannot express in words. I believe truly that each individual has that something special in them, and each one will follow their heart, and true calling. And I believe that every parent should, let their child/ren find what makes them tick, and to the best of their ability nurture their child to follow that, no matter how similar or different it is from their own. And that is also because I don't believe any child is born with the natural instinct to kill, hurt or do other evil acts, those are always and but always ones that they learn from the people around them.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Why Do You Want It?

Money, that what I am talking about here. Do you want money for the sake of money, or for the comforts or security or whatever else it can afford you? Different people want it for different reasons, and those reasons float around aplenty, and vary greatly too. Some cannot hold onto it for too long, its gone as soon as it reaches them, others, value it more than their own life, and keep it stowed away safely, pinching every penny that's spent. Some have less than what they need, some have way too much. And there are a very very fortunate few I believe who have just as much as they need.

Whatever it is, there are few who escape the charm of money. Is money evil, like a few people claim it is, like the ones who renounce all the charms of the world and go on to attain enlightenment? I don't think so, money like friction, I believe is a necessary evil. We need it, to live in the world, and yet its easy to fall for its charms and lust for it. I was similarly talking about the Internet, with a lovely philosophical friend of mine recently. She does not use the Internet much, except for the essential needs,(much unlike an addict like me) and is wary of how it can be quite a deep dark hole. And while talking to her, I realised, the Internet, is to us what we make of it. For me, its a way to stay in touch with friends, mainly, sometimes pick up bits of information, reading a few blogs, and ofcourse, using Google when I am stuck with pretty much anything. And it was while talking to her, that I realised it myself, and told her, that e-mails, and social networking websites are such an easy and wonderful way to be a part of the ongoings of the life of my friends, who live in time zones, which are almost the exact reverse of my own, and phone conversations or even skype calls, are pretty much impossible to schedule. To me the Internet is a friend, a boon. But then I digress.

So what about money? Just like the Internet, I think it is what we perceive it to be, how and why we want it. I fear developing too much of an affection for money, one where, I want money just for the sake of it being money. I fear becoming a miser, developing a love for money, I fear becoming a slave to it, like I see so many around me are. No there is no denying that I do need money, enough to keep my family and me happy, and definitely that requires more than just basic food, and clothes. But I want to draw the line at that, and not let it engulf my being. It scares me, when I see people like that, completely enamoured by money,people who want it, and love it so much, they have become a slave to it. I hope I always have enough, sense and wits about me, not to fall prey to the entrapment of money in that way. I hope I always, have a bit to spare for the one who needs it more than me, enough to provide for food, shelter, clothing and security for the three of us and not much more, because that may just make me want some more. Somehow, when I think of what I want, its never the money, but some thing that I fancy, a trip, or a meal or something like that but never money itself. There is very little I have ever saved and kept away, I know its not a very responsible thing to do, as a mother, but somehow I don't think I have the mind set to do it. My extravagance has toned down considerably over the years, once the initial rush of having my own money subsided. I in no way discount, they security a huge bank balance affords the owner, but somehow, the idea of having money for the sake of money, just does not make sense to me. Isn't that the cause of all the financial inequalities in the world today?

Tell me, do you fancy money? Why do you fancy it, what does it mean to you? Is it a subtle sense of comfort or the prime motive of your existence? What does money mean to you?

Friday, December 3, 2010


Had to share it here, before I forget all about it. The GP met an interesting personality at his new workplace. the experience is his, but it was too 'special' to not mention here, for a few laughs!

An Indian man, who has been in Australia for over six years now, is working in the same office, as the GP. They were attending a meeting together, which included lunch and drinks. In a room full of people, during lunch, he asks the GP, about his detailed whereabouts, which city in India, what language and more. He then, once again in loud tones, enquires about the GP's visa status, how he came to Australia and more, and people I am just keeping it short here, but believe me, it was an in depth public interrogation, which also included queries about his current pay package, perks and more. The GP managed to escape, and was talking to the others, with a drink in his hand, when Mr.'I-am-from-India', turns up again. And this is what I think was the highlight, that had me burst out laughing, when the GP narrated it to me, but I can only imagine how mortifying it might have been for him at that point.

Him -(Pointing at the glass in the GP's hand and loudly) You drink alcohol?
GP - (nods quietly)
Him - Oh! But people from India don't usually drink alcohol. X,Y* and myself, we don't drink alcohol.

(*X & Y are 2 men from India, unknown to the GP who work in the same office.)

I don't know how the GP escaped that. I think he must have been quite red-faced!

So all you people, who truly belong to India(read, those who don't drink alcohol), please raise your hands here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The One Which Is Actually A Mail

I have been wanting to post, and mail about the move, to all my friends and readers. And I thought, since its basically the same stuff, I will just use it in both the places. Yes, I am now safely in Brisbane, in a serviced apartment, while the GP is off to his first day at work, at yet another new place. Strange how for 6 years he stayed with the same organisation, but has been changing his work place each year since the last three. Anyway, so I mailed, my friends in Melbourne about the move, and I am just representing the mail out here, to all of you. Will just link up the blog friend, here, who has been a total pillar in my existence in Melbourne.

Hi Melbourne!

How are you doing? Do you miss me? I miss you terribly, bad climatic conditions included. I am mailing it out to the whole lot of my Melbourne friends, so please excuse the lack of personal queries about your well being. But this is addressed to my very very dear friends, and I would love to know about how you are doing. (And i need updates on how the quit-smoking program is working out, from the ones on it!! STAY ON COURSE.)

Well, the last few days were quite crazy and hectic, what else is to be expected, when I am moving out of a city, with a kid in tow, and the move includes a couple of nights in a hotel, and then another month and a half in a serviced apartment... I just did not know how to pack, what to pack, and what to send with the packers! But anyways things got done, and on Wednesday, the 24th morning, once the packing was done, I headed off to my last shift at the WIRE phone-room.( I feel really sad, not going there today.... breaks my heart, with the reality of the fact, that I have actually ceased to be an active part, of what was the start of a wonderful journey for me, hopefully one that continues throughout my lifetime. I miss you WIRE, the work you enabled me to do, and the wonderful friends you gave me.) It was a great shift, infact one of my best there, and that is a lot due to the wonderful ladies I had working with me on that shift. :) Thursday was moving of the stuff, us shifting to the hotel and such... The hotel, people, was the one right next door, so made it easy to monitor the ongoings at home, while shifting our luggage there. That day the house, which had become home over the past 11 months, became bare, the carpet was cleaned, I scrubbed and cleaned every available surface, for the inspection, and my little boy, just hung around watching. I need to tell you how wonderful the BB been through all of it, very sporting, no tantrums, no craziness. At the end of the day however, after the carpet was cleaned, we had no place to even sit on, and that was when he asked me to get the bed from the truck. Moved into the hotel soon enough, and at night, he wanted to go home to the bed. I had not the heart to explain to him, that we were not without a home, and would be thus, for a while. He was uncomfortable bathing in the hotel room, but did it anyways without much fussing. and so on.

By Friday evening however, it felt like Melbourne was ready to throw us out. We did not find a decent place to eat at Lygon Street, not that we knew of too many nice ones anyway... but.... Just shows, its not always a great idea to try out new, unknown places. We were tiered to the bone, when we reached back at night... exhausted with the past few days of work, and exertion. I had barely slept 3-4 hours a night, the past few days. And so we decided to just crash on the bed, and sleep till as long as we could, since our flight to Brisbane was in the afternoon on Saturday. Left the packing and locking of suitcases to the morning. BIG MISTAKE! While deep in slumber, the room-phone rang. It was the reception calling to say the check-out time was 10:30 and it was infact 10:30 right then. Jumped out of the bed, packed as quickly as we could and left. Fortunately, managed to catch an earlier flight. Things went well from there on. The flight was nice, got our rent-a-car conveniently at the airport, and were in our current abode, within an hour and a half of landing. The weather was gorgeous. Bright and sunny, yet a nice cool breeze blowing. Wow! I loved it. I haven't any photos of the place yet, because I am yet to pull my camera out of the bag, so sorry about that. We are living just across the Brisbane river, and its simply gorgeous.:) The whole walk-way along the river, is so so beautiful.

My initial impression of this place is, that its more laid back than Melbourne. There are no Coles or other supermarkets, that are open 24X7, in fact the lady at the register, at the Coles Express we had been to, to get some milk and bread, asked us if we had come from Melbourne, since, the stores are open all day(and night) long there. People are well dressed, but not as well as those in Melbourne. We are looking for a house, ofcourse, may take a while to find one, that we love though. Its no help that we know absolutely no one in this city, and that makes me miss Melbourne, with the wonderful set of friends I had formed there, even more. You were the ones who guided me around the streets, the public transport, the shops and more. The ones, who showed me around, and were always there when I needed anything, even to just talk my heart out. The ones who helped me with understanding the culture, the people and the way of life, and taught me not to take things personally. The ones, who inspired me to develop a more charitable, altruistic outlook towards life, and helped me become a part of FOK(Friends Of Kolkata
). And the ones, who helped me understand myself better! I was really sad about leaving Melbourne, mainly because that meant leaving these wonderful friends behind, and also quitting WIRE, which means a lot to me. But then someone in the phone-room, said to me, 'Always remember Melbourne(and WIRE) for giving you direction.' and that is exactly how I wish to remember it, as my starting point. I will miss you, but then I am always just a mail or call away....and that means, I will never really lose my lovely friends.

Visit us soon, as soon as we get a place to live in, and settle down.
Hugs and Smiles,

PS - The house inspection went really well. The agent, thought we had hired professional cleaners for the job. :D Yes I think I may just be ready for trying out a new profession here! ;)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Of Lovely People I Shall Miss

It is really interesting to see, how a small change in mindset, brings in such a huge change in our lives. Fortunately for me its been a positive change, but it also makes me wonder what when the mind takes a negative turn. From the time the BB was born, I was terribly home-bound. Not a bad thing in itself, but somehow it lead to a huge amount of loneliness, and depression as time went by, and eventually culminated into frustration. Led to all kinds of addictions like the telly and the internet. And what are they but hollow pleasures that do nothing for the soul. And all this also meant there were many an unpleasant situation arising in my life, personal issues, unnecessary tensions, needless clashes with friends and family, bad health and more than anything else, always ending up surrounded by people, who had a toxic influence on my life. (And there is a reason why I use the word toxic here, and I will tell you about it soon enough.) I paid too much attention to the things that were wrong, and very little to the ones that were right. It had a ripple effect in every aspect of my life so to say. But since the past one year, things have been changing. I have found a new meaning of life, and everything that surrounds it. What began as a small step, that I took unknowingly, has cascaded into what now looks like a wonderful change in my life.

What was my first clue you may ask, well honestly, it never hit me till very recently, when I realised, what amazing friends, and people I will leave behind when I move now. Oh! wait, I forgot, I haven't blogged in so so long, that I have not said it here. Yes, we are nomads, its official. And so we are moving places. It has got to do something with the BB's astrological alignments, I believe, because he is yet to celebrate two consecutive birthdays in the same place. Yes, so I am blaming the moving around, all on him. So what if he is small, and cute, and immensely adorable. If I say its his fault, well then it IS! And fortunately its a domestic move this time, meaning we don't go out of the country, just yet, so Brisbane it is for us. I am looking forward to the warmer weather, and beautiful beaches already. The winters this year have been really tough for the BB, and now with spring, as prominent as it is here, the little thing is suffering from hay fever, and hopefully Brisbane will bring respite to all of that.

Now that I have told you about the moving again bit, let me go back to the original plot of this post. I was surprised at the fact that I had met more good people than bad in this place. That's a first in my life. I have more issues, of, why-do-I-need-to-meet-such-people-in-my-life, than moments of euphoria, at having met people I love. (I recently found out the reason for that too, atleast the technical one, which says, my personality type is one of the really rare ones, and hence me, and others like me often feel like aliens in the world. So true I tell you! Having it spelt out, just makes me feel so much better.) And so it has been a really amazing stay in Melbourne, and I am really blown away by all the wonderful, lovely inspiring people I have met here, and more importantly the really strong positive friendships I have formed, with people, who help me be a better person, people who have a positive influence on my life. And its difficult to describe in words just how much I will miss them all.

Yesterday, I had an afternoon shift at work(and what a shift it was, we had an old suicidal lady who called up towards the end of the day, fortunately, it was not me who took the call, and yet I was so stressed out towards the end of it.), and so I met up this wonderful lady, whom I had met at work for lunch before that. She was so immensely warm and welcoming, and I felt so wonderful to be around her. She runs her own business, and is now stepping into 'Life Coaching', which is about helping people reach their goals and fulfill their dreams, by understanding them, their personalities*, and then helping them work with their inherent skills, and around their obstacles. Its such a fascinating and fulfilling line of work. And unlike what I have seen of a lot of other professionals, she was so openly sharing her knowledge and tips with me. Its she who sent me questionnaires, to asses my personality, and encouraged the GP to fill in a copy too. She analysed both our personalities, and without any charges. And that touched me so much, because that is part of her professional service. And it turns out she and I have similar personalities, and so no wonder it was so easy to get along. At lunch yesterday, she spoke to me about what are the things that are my road blocks, and what I could do to overcome them. And it was then that she told me, that she uses a technique, where in she gets people to list the relationships they share with friends and family, in terms of those that are mutual, uplifting or toxic. And I realised how infact it would make such a huge impact, if we actually wrote it down on paper and knew what kind of influence we surround ourself with. It was fascinating to just listen to her, and get so many of the things that I felt were oddities in my nature, affirmed, as a part of my personality type by her. She is one of the many wonderful friends I will miss when I move.

The Diwali weekend infact ended, up being very very joyous, and yet a dampener in its own way. For dinner on Diwali, we had a couple come over. I met the girl, C during my training, and she was the one who introduced me to Friends Of Kolkata. So her partner M and she were over. They have both been to Kolkata a couple of times, and hence were looking forward to some Indian food. Made life a lot easier for me, to be very very honest. And it was wonderful to see them relish the meal. Now M and C are a part of a band, and are very musically inclined people. So after dinner C played us a lot of music on her brand new flute...... and we sat around chatted, laughed, and simply enjoyed ourselves till late in the night. The BB refused to go to sleep, and wanted to hang around his new friends. It was especially heartening for me to see the GP, be so open and friendly with people, he was meeting pretty much for the first time, considering how reserved and held back he usually is. It takes him ages to connect and open up to people.

And the very next day we were over for dinner at one of my friends from school, who did not really know too well in school, but we connected in some way in this far away land. And may I just say they are such a sweet and wonderful couple. It was so easy to settle in, no awkward pauses, no strange silences. They had the most adorable, young poodle,O and the BB has completely lost his heart to that thing. Every morning since then he wakes up and asks for O. And after spending the evening with them, where all of us so enjoyed ourselves, I felt really sad at having actually met them just a few weeks before I move away. And that is the reason its a damper, because I will not be around these people, all that much anymore.

Sunday was lunch treat at Trish's, and we reached terribly late, sorry again for that Trish. And had such a whale of a time. The BB and Aadi, actually went and hid behind the sofa to discuss secrets, which was just so cute. Wonder what secrets they have at such a young age! I will so miss not having Trish in the same city as me..... even though we don't end up meeting all that often, atleast the hope of it is always alive so far. And yes, she made some yummy kebabs for us!

And then there is T, another friend I made during my training, who studies philosophy, and speaks so eloquently of the abstract philosophies, thinks so deeply, and is such a beautiful person inside out. I will so miss meeting her every now and then, and discussing the spiritual and the abstract. How wonderful it is to have met so many positive, inspiring people in a span of less than a year. How often does that happen? But then I believe, that the kind of people we attract, is based on our own mindset. Just like so so many people call Melbourne racist, and while I had my initial doubts, they have all been totally washed away now. I have not met anyone who is racist here, nor experienced any behaviour, that I can label as being racist. So I guess its true, that the kind of energy, we radiate from ourselves, is the kind that comes back to us. And so its been a really wonderful and fulfilling time for me here, in terms of meeting wonderful and lovely people. And I will dearly miss them when I move.

On an aside, I scolded an Indian boy/young man on the street yesterday. I saw him throwing away a cigarette stub, on the busy sidewalk in the city, when the bin was less than 50 metres away. By natural instinct, I was upset, but walked away. But then it just did not feel right to walk away. So I walked back to him, and asked him, if he was from India. He was a bit hesitant, but replied in the affirmative. I then told him sternly, that it was really wrong, of him to do what he did, esp, when this is not his home country, and it gives a bad name to all Indians. I probably should have made him pick up the stub and throw it in the bin, but then I did not wish to create a scene. Its not right to dispose off rubbish irresponsibly anywhere at all, but when we are in a different country, our behaviour reflects back not only on ourselves, but on the rest of my country too, that is something one always needs to keep in mind. Unofficially, we become representatives of our family, organisation, school, university, country etc, when we step away from them, and hold them as part of our identity, and our public behaviour should always be a representation of that, and hence it becomes more important to behave better.

* The personality types, that I talk about are based on the Myer-Briggs type indicator. You can read about it in detail here. I am an INFJ.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Oh! But its Just a Whimper!

The blog is back you see, but not with much of a bang, just a whimper. I left abruptly, I know. No excuses would suffice, I know. So let me just straight out apologise. What brought me back? I am not quite sure of that either.... maybe its Harry Potter. OK, let me say it. Once I took the blog out of the public eye. I thought I will re-vamp it and bring it back. Plans were, for a grand re-doing. Well, that did not happen, and seeing my current schedule, and terrible time management skills, I don't see that working sometime in the near future either. And so I waited, and waited and waited, to write a kick-ass post, but.... you guessed it, that did not happen either. And I wondered, if I would ever make the blog public again. But I also knew I had to. And so today, while Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is playing on TV, I decided to multi-task and type atleast a small hello, to all my wonderful friends, who wondered what happened. Thank you so much all for the concern, and queries, I guess that is what brought me back. There has been a slight re-vamp as you can see, but not much of a do-up.

Life has been as usual. A little bit of work, a lot of the BB, and a pinch of the GP. The weather is improving and getting warmer, which should enable me to get out more, but does not happen as often as I would like, where the weather is so so unpredictable. But yes, the warm sunny days, are just glorious. Made a complete a$$ of myself, in a social interaction recently, and God! am I embarrassed. It involves someone I know at work, expressing that she wanted to catch up with me, quite ardently a couple of times. Well, me being the fool I am, thought, it was a genuine interest, and mailed her saying, we could have coffee, sometime together. Her response completely blew me off, she claimed to be too busy, and mentioned, if I called her, she would most likely be unable to even return the call. It was just two sentences, and I wish I could reproduce them here, but that would not be right now, would it? And that just left me feeling like such a fool. Why do I take people on face value, when would I ever learn!!

I miss my blogging, I want to blog, just need to make sometime, hope I can get better with managing time. All I can say is, it feels good to be back. :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Goodbye For Now

Yes, its time for farewell. This blog closes down now......nothing much to say, except, that its just the time I guess. Mind is boggled up, feeling kinda crazy..... need the space and time to think, and no one reading anything off my mind ever seems like a good idea. Take care, and be well friends!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Birthday Post

I am writing this post in advance, because I know I will be hit by the birthday blues soon on the day, and the post may not turn out, the way I want it to. It is really strange how birthdays have become so normal and neutral over the years to me. Ten years back I would not have thought it possible. But it happened... and I am learning to live with it.

This time I turn a year over 30, and it just does not feel special, atleast numerically. Feels like an odd out-of-sorts number to turn into. Strangely I don't feel 31, at all, maybe 27, but not 31, the sprouting grey strands tell a different tale altogether, though. And since there is not much I have to write about, unlike the last time, where it felt like I was going from one era into another, I decided to write about the most special thing in my life, the one thing that I am the most grateful for, the GP. He is my most precious blessing, not only because, the wonderful person he is, but also for the anchor and influence he is in my life.

We have been together for over 9 years, married for almost 8 of them, and I think having him in my life, has definitely made me a better person every single day. Sometimes, when I sit back and think, I am amazed, and can't believe that he is actually mine. He is calm, cool and collected always. (Trust me, I do need that kind of an influence in my life to function smoothly.) There have been moments, that I could not believe he was being as calm as he was, and had it notbeen for him at those times, I might have permanently damaged some relationships. I love the way he thinks before he leaps, so so unlike me.

He is the greatest support, and my pillar of strength. He is not romantic, nor an elaborate exhibitionist, nor a man with fancy words nor the one with pomp and show. But with him, you can be assured of true support and total dedication. He actually supports me in all my decisions, and life choices, stands by and helps me the best way he can. I have learnt to appreciate that in leaps and bounds the past few months. From the day I started my training, he was my rock. He pushed me, when I got cold feet, about leaving the BB at daycare and going, he took the day off from his work (which runs this household), when the BB fell ill on the day of my training. He, took a few hours off work, when I had my mid-training interview on a day, when the BB was to be at home. He has been just extraordinarily supportive. I could not have actually done the training and got on with the work had it not been for him. And I know, its a lot more then most other men would have done. Its surprising, how so many people, at the workplace have actually asked me, if my husband was OK with my volunteer work. I could not in a couple of sentences, explain to them, just how supremely supportive he is. He treats my work, with greater respect, than possibly even I do. After every shift he asks me about the day without fail, does so much to make me feel that my work does count. I have infact been divided on whether to call my 'work' work, or just something I do, and it was again the GP, who recently called my place of work, my office, that actually, made it real work to me. Had it not been for him, his time, effort and support, I would definitely not be doing what I currently am.

Ofcourse, I would not have the wonderful BB without him, and that just fetches him extra brownie points in my book. And to top that,he is just such an amazing father. I am not half as good a parent as is he. His amazing calm and patience, with the BB surprises me. The few hours of the day he spends with the BB are so much more meaningful and productive than the whole rest of the day that he spends with me. The GP teaches him so many things, and I wonder how I never think of any of those. He is loving, giving and amazingly forgiving as a father. He sits on the floor, and plays with the BB's Lego and blocks with him for hours, encourages him in his fun kiddy adventures, lets him play havoc on the laptop, and learning that way. The GP is the more worried and tensed of the two of us, when the BB is ill, he just cannot rest or sit in peace, till the BB is up and running again, I have grown better with that over time. Most of his life decisions are now based on how it would affect the BB. I never stop admiring how loving and giving GP, the father is.

He is neat and tidy, understanding, open-minded and a great great cook to. I forever count my blessings, and feel thankful for his being mine, and truly believe that he is God's greatest gift to me. Thanks for being mine darling, and I hope I celebrate many many more birthdays with you.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Rare Sighting!

We were on our way back home, on Sunday evening, after an outing, and we were passing the Royal Melbourne Hospital on our way. Traffic lights made us stop, and I spotted the whirring blades of a helicopter atop the hospital building. I knew at once it was an air ambulance. Being an avid viewer of Grey's Anatomy, Dr.House and others, does have its benefits. It was like film turning into reality. The GP, was game, and so he went across the road and parked for a bit, while we actually saw the air-ambulance take-off from the roof.

Here are some of the pictures, for you to enjoy.

That's when it was up there, flying away.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Taking A Step

...... small as it maybe.

The abysmal state of preparations for the CommonWealth Games(CWG) are no secret to the world. How terribly it has tarnished the name of India, we can all imagine. It hurts to see a new piece about the bad state of affairs in Delhi, each time I turn in to the news of the television. Not being too into sports helps at times like this, but I can not will not ever stop being an Indian. Last week on my way to work(yes, its work to me now, ever since the GP, asked me 'Aren't you in office?'), traveling in the tram, I had to sit through a rough half an hour, with the woman sitting next to me, talking to a co-traveller, about the CWG, and adding onto it, with many other negative comments on India. I fought hard not to let my tears out. Got off the tram, reached office, and actually took a while to compose myself, before I actually went to work. And it was then that I decided, that though I am not physically in India, and even if I had been, there was not much I could have practically done, to help with the Games, but I decided to do something, something more than whining and complaining. And so I decided to write to the PM of India. And I did. The first draft, was very me, raw, emotional, angry, accusatory, and to me very honest too. I let The GP have a read before I mailed it, and in his usual cool way of going about things, he said, "Its nice. But, I doubt if it will ever reach the PM, with kind of aggression the letter portrays." Earlier I would have sent it anyways, but now I thought, what's the point in taking the effort and not making it count, so I toned it down, re-wrote it and finally posted it yesterday. I am happy that I did something instead of sitting and cribbing about things. One of the reasons I stopped posting on my old blog, on social issues, was because I did not want to just write without doing anything concrete, about things. I think its pointless to rant and rave, and write, and in actuality do absolutely nothing to turn things around. So this is my little bit.

This is what I wrote, and I promise to tell you, if I hear back from him.

"Dear Mr. Singh,

I write this letter to you, in a state of great mental anguish today. I write to you, because I want to do something concrete, instead of lying around, whining, complaining and feeling miserable, as I usually end up feeling in situations like these. I am writing this to you, because I think the ultimate responsibility of India lies with you, every aspect of it, is ultimately your responsibility. And hence, you are the person I am reaching out to with my complaint, or should I say humiliation.

I am currently living in Australia, where my husband works to earn a living, and these days, I step out of my home, onto the streets, with a cold fear in my heart. The fear of being humiliated, or hearing taunts about the state of things regarding the CommonWealth Games. Today, as I was traveling by tram to my place of work, a middle-aged lady, came and sat next to me, she began talking to the man sitting across from us, and during the course of her conversation, she said, "Oh well! There is nothing to say about the Commonwealth Games ofcourse, with ceilings falling off, what can we say." There was more, and besides the words, the tone of the speaker, left no doubt about the feeling of disgust and pity she had towards India. It hurt, and it hurt bad. I upset me a great deal. I was almost in tears by the time I reached my stop, and it took me a while to calm done and settle into my work for the day. I went on with my day, but felt like a knife had stabbed my heart, and was left there.

Why sir, do we let our own country down so badly? Why with a population of over a billion people, could we not make a complete success of the Games? Why have we become objects of ridicule and humiliation in front of the world? Why is the state of things so abysmal, when we have but a handful of days left for the Games to begin. You are the head of the state, and you can command its resources, as you see fit, why then sir, did you allow things to go so terribly awry? I am terribly dejected and disappointed, by the way India's name and image have been tarnished, and I can only ask you, what are your plans to turn things around?

Kind Regards,
A disheartened Indian."

It is not a big deal, I know, but it is an effort to make myself heard. And if anyone else, is interested, in taking such steps, you can find the contact details of the Indian PM online, and you can even send him an e-mail of upto 500 words, if you wish to. It is not a lot of effort, but it can be one step you take, to make a difference. Don't cave in, don't give up. Keep trying.

Letter To The Prime Minister

Dear Mr. Singh,

I write this letter to you, in a state of great mental anguish today. I write to you, because I want to do something concrete, instead of lying around, whining, complaining and feeling miserable, as I usually end up feeling. I am writing this to you, because I think the ultimate responsibility of India lies with you, every aspect of it, is ultimately your responsibility. I cannot do much else, but I think I need you to hear out my complaints, because I am an Indian, and you are my country's Prime Minister.

I am currently living in Australia, where my husband works to earn a living, and these days, I step out of my home, onto the streets, with a cold fear in my heart. Not unfounded, sir, but completely your fault. Today, as I was traveling by train to my place of work, a middle-aged lady, came and sat next to me, she began talking to the man sitting across from us, and during the course of her conversation, she said, "Oh well! There is nothing to say about the Commonwealth games ofcourse, with ceilings falling off, what can we say." There was more, and besides the words, the tone of the speaker, left no doubt about the feeling of disgust and pity she had towards India. It hurt, and it hurt bad. I don't know if it bothers you, but it upset me a great deal. I was almost in tears by the time I reached my stop, and it took me a while to calm done and settle into my work for the day. I went on with my day, but felt like a knife had stabbed my heart, and was left there.

For all of it, I hold no one but you responsible. Because, you are the Prime Minister of India, and the country is your responsibility. Every aspect of it. The communal riots, your failure, the corruption your failure, the poverty, the homelessness, your failure, every crime committed, every terrorist attack that happens in the country is your personal failure sir. Not that of the government, the law, the states, but you personal failure. They all work under you, you command every bit of it, you sit on top of the pyramid, and hence if you enjoy the benefits of that position, you and you alone are to blame to. If you say, it is not possible to take care of it all, then you must be unfit for the position, and should not have tried to take on a responsibility that is too big for you. With resources of over 1 billion people at hand, nothing is impossible, for the man who really cares to make a difference. You sir, have simply no excuses. I believe that when you were sworn into your office, there was some sense of pride and responsibility in you, about the work you were entrusted with. Obviously I was mistaken. As the head of the nation, you have failed us at every level, and you are bringing nothing but shame to India. You provide it with neither safety, nor security, neither food, nor water, and you cannot even ensure that the CommonWealth Games take place well, for which you received money.

I will end by saying, you fail me, my country, and my fellow country men. I am severely ashamed of you, and what you and your gang(I don't think it will be fair to call a bunch of corrupt, criminal people, the government, just because they managed to prise their way into the parliament by hook or by crook.) are doing to MY country, because its you, who is responsible for the sad state of affairs.

Yours Truly,
A Disgruntled Indian.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Jhonny Jhonny

Remember the nursery rhyme anyone???
Here it goes..

Jhonny Jhonny?
Yes Papa,
Eating Sugar?
No Papa.
Telling Lies?
No Papa,
Open Your Mouth
Ha Ha Ha.

Now, what if you have favourite bits in the rhyme, and want to save that for the last? What would you do? This....

Jhonny Jhonny?
Eat Sugar?
Opeen Mouth?
No Papa,
No Papa,
Aha ha ha!

And that is exactly how the BB does it. 'No Papa', and the 'Ha Ha Ha', are his favourite lines, so he says the rest of the rhyme first, in a way that feels like someone, has pressed the fast-forward button on the remote, and then savours his favourite bits at the end!

He picked up the song 'Soft Kitty' song from The Big Bang Theory today. That is the only TV program that the GP and I both love equally, and so I think there has been quite an overdose of it for the BB. But that he picked up the song, is just too fun. This is what was on TV today, its sweet, hear it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Of Babies and Training

I probably should write kids or children in the place of babies, in the title, but then I also know that the BB will forever be a baby to me, no matter how old he gets. He is growing like a weed, with each passing day I miss my little baby, who I could cuddly all day long, who had cheeks that were always hanging, because they used to be so heavy. I have a tallish, skinny boy on my hands instead now. And thus the time runs.

I am in great agony and confusion these days, over the BB's toilet training. He is obviously well versed with the way of doing it, on his own whatever, when indoors, but my problem is with times when we go out. Not always do we go to places with toilets at hand, and often when we leave home, we are not sure of how long would we be out. Add to that, the GP's and my paranoia, about taking the BB to a public toilet, and you have a confused puddle of a mother that is me. I find it regressive to put him in a diaper, when he obviously does not need one, and yet not wanting to get him into public toilets, what option am I left with when we are on long outings. I wonder if other mother's have faced the same dilemma, with their little ones, or am I just being stupidly paranoid. I don't understand, what would be the right way of going about things at this point in time. Any pieces of advice, from others who have been there done that, how did you make the transition complete?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Chocolates As Perks.

Its one of the two professions in the world, I think I am completely unfit for, and I could never picture myself doing either, and yet that is exactly what I took up recently. Not loving it, but its not driving me nuts the way i thought it would. Any guesses???? Teaching it is.

No, its not a teacher's job, and no I am not taking it up as a profession either. I am just helping out. The organisation where I volunteer, as a phone worker, also happens to run free basic computer courses for women thrice a week. The walk-in office has four computers with Internet connections, available for any woman who wants to use it, the rest of the time. The classes are just two hours a week, and when I say 'basic' computers, it is more basic than you think it is. They were having classes on Wednesdays, and I volunteered to help, since I had that as a BB free day. Last week was my first time, and it turned out quite alright.

The four ladies who are part of this batch, are all older than me, two are grand-mothers infact. They have very little if any knowledge at all of computers or the Internet, and are trying to understand what the world is going bonkers about I think. Trying to get them started with an e-mail id, ready to communicate the new-world way, the basics of windows operations, simple things like opening or closing a window, and even familiarising them with the keyboard. That is what it is mostly all about. Besides being time well spent, its interesting to observe what these women learn within the two hours. I hope I have half the enthusiasm these ladies do, at their age.

The one woman I spent most of my time with in the last session, is an old grandmotherly Swiss woman, who has loads to talk, always with a smile on her face. The fact that she is battling cancer now, had lost almost all her memory in an accident a few years ago, are things that I would have never guessed about her, if she had not confided in me. She is a darling to say the least. Very wary of the Internet, because she wonders if it is safe at all to even type her name out there, but very sweet none the less. Today she came in and handed over these little chocolate boxes to the other volunteer and me. And it took me back to my school-days, where we would carry flowers, chocolates, cards and what not every Teacher's Day to school, for our beloved teachers. I could not believe how it was me at the receiving end today. Felt good no doubt!

It is fun, and I am fortunate to have the opportunity to try out different things, while helping others. As for the chocolates, they just make the experience sweeter. :)

PS - For those who might still be wondering, the second profession is practising medicine.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Making Of The Dosa!

Since the past few years, the masala dosa has been one of my most favourite dishes. When I married the GP, and became a part of a South Indian family, my dosa sensibilities were shocked. Dosa was no longer what arrived on a huge plate with sambhar, chutney and sometimes gun-powder, but something that was used to eat the curries with, something akin to my way of eating a roti. I did not take to that too well, I liked my dosa, with masala, the way I was used to it. And it was always so easy and cheap to find this delicious meal in India, and even in Sharjah. But things did not remain the same, once I got here. It is not that easy to find delicious dosa in this part of the world. And so finally, putting all my fears on hold, I actually decided to try making some on my own.

I ribbed the GP about his roots, and he tried his hand at a couple and did quite well, I must add. The masala, was the easy bit, it was the actual dosa that I really feared. But seems like, my fears were unfounded. I did pretty well, and the result was very very delicious. Here is the step by step representation of how it went.

My first attempt ever. I used to so so fear trying this dish, and I am so happy i finally did give it a try. One of my favourite foods, and now I can make it at home.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Some Reflections About WWII

I am reading this book, based during the World War 2, and it has led to a barrage of thoughts in my mind. I am not a person interested in History, Politics or wars, so all that I know about WW2 was what I learned in school. The reasons were obviously political, because there will never be a war, let alone, one that involves pretty much all of the world, unless and until there are strong political motivations. But that is not my point, it is something else that came to my mind, infact something that I think is a very positive aspect of the war.

Adolf Hitler(God knows how I hate that monstercreature), led the single largest atrocious genocide in human history. He tried, very strongly to pretty much eradicate the Jewish race from the face of the earth. Fortunately for humanity, he did not completely succeed. The horrors of tyranny in the concentration camps, are not hidden from the world today. The Diary Of Anne Frank, till date remains one of the most powerful books ever published, some have even said, that is the book they would want to take to the grave with them. However, my point is not that. It is the fact, that Hitler a Christian by religion, was waging a war against the Jews, and that could be all means be seen as one of the most religious wars of all times. What is extremely heartening though was to see, so so many other nations of the world, consisting of primarily Christian citizens, stand up in arms, against the misdeeds of Hitler, fight against him, and provide refuge to the Jews who managed to escape.

There were Christian people, across the world, who joined hands, to protect and fight for the Jews, against another Christian who was trying to kill them. There is no denying the war was not simply altruistic, but there were very many, selfish motives, power struggles, and more that resulted in the war. But we cannot turn our back on the fact that other Christian dominated countries, fought against a Christian(Hitler) oppressing the Jews, and they lent aid, and help to save and protect the Jewish victims. Isn't that what humanity is all about.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Been Long

Its been just so so long, that this space is seeming alien to me, as I type today. Just wanted to see, how it feels to type here. Sometimes, I cannot believe just how madly I loved this space, and would feel a day was wasted, if I did not look in here, and somehow, time, thoughts, willingness, nothing seem to bring me here of late. Not nice, I say. Why? Because I have made such such amazing friends from this space, that I would hate to let it go, and not nurture those wonderful relations.

So much that has happened in the past few weeks, and yet, I don't have the words to actually pen them down today. Just reeling from a sleepless night, last night, with the BB having high fever in the middle of the night, causing us to rush to the emergency room, spending the better part of the night there, and returning home, in the wee hours of the morning without a doctor having a look at the hot little boy of mine. Repeat drama from a few months back, if you ask me, just that the GP was around this time, to be part of it. The boy has not yet completely recovered, but the fever is under control, and that is about it.

Otherwise I feel terribly guilty about not brightening up my blog, working on it, with my heart and mind like I used too. I so so so, want to create a new header, a new look altogether maybe. But like so so so many things that I want to write about here, I don't know if and when the makeover actually will happen. Somehow I think my mind has become terribly dull, from the inactivity, or maybe its the gazillion fat cells I have piled on, over this long stretched out winters, packed indoors, the jaws always on overdrive. Its really disappointing being here now, after the immense hardwork I put in last year to get healthier, its downright depressing. Cold places are so so so not for me, I have just lost the ability to deal with low temperatures, and this being the BB's first one ever, he has been ill so so often, that I just huddle indoors with him all the more.

For a comeback, this is not really a cheerful post, but then this is what I have on my mind, and so I am just writing it out, instead of going on without posting. I hope I can get more regular again, because I do enjoy the mental stimulation of actually trying to string together my haphazard thoughts, and putting them down in the form of comprehensible sentences, though possibly semantically horrendous. So here, is a shout out to all my blog-world dosts, saying, 'I am still around!'.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Presenting... The Friends Of Kolkata!

As a child, growing up in Delhi, there were Diwali melas and fetes galore, each year. And though I rarely got to attend any, what I really missed about them, was being a part of it from the organising group, because I envied all the kids my age, who ran around selling the tickets to the event, or the raffle draw. In groups of two or three, running along from door to door, selling tickets, it just seemed like so so much fun. My want to do something like that is finally being fulfilled, and how! I have raffle tickets to sell, flyers to mail out, put up, invites to send, and am enjoying every bit of it. The best bit is, the entire event is a fund raiser for a charity called Friends of Kolkata.

I have been wanting to write and tell so much about this organisation, and more importantly the incredible group of people who have formed it. But let me first go on and tell you about the event that is being organised.

Its called the 'Bollywood Extravaganza', and its happening on the 12th of September. The place will be alive with electrifying performances of salsa and belly dancing. There will be mehendi/henna painting, food, raffle prizes(like crumpler bags, dance class vouchers from The Salsa Foundation, large prints of professional photographs, drink vouchers and lots more) and more. The best bit being, every penny, anyone puts in, goes to charity,

To support ten children in Kolkata, India, with
education,social work, housing and health care.

And anyone in Melbourne/Victoria, reading this, you just need to hop over to the website, and get yourself entry tickets, and then just drop in for an evening of fun and dancing. All details available on friendsofkolkata.org .

I have been associated with this group, very recently, and have been amazed by the people I have met. A small group of Australians, running a charity for kids in a far away land. These are not high-profile, rich people, or the ones, who just write out fat cheques to charities, and their bit is done. But just average people, working hard to earn a living, maybe studying on the side too, and devoting their time, and energies for a cause. The group, as a whole or a few individuals at a time, visit the children they support in Kolkata, spend time with them, not as the people, who pay for their living, but as their friends. I was so touched by the genuine love these people have for the kids. Most of the members are twenty somethings or in their early thirties, most live in shared accommodation with friends, buy their stuff from second hand stores, travel using public transport or on their bicycles, and yet I have not met a happier group of people under a roof. These are people who are actually being the difference they want to see in the world. And no, they are not a group of amateurs here, I was amazed to see how well, each one had prepared their bit for the upcoming event, well set, and working just as well as any well paid event management group would. Just shows how far a little want to help and good will can take us. All I can say, is I feel so so lucky to be a part of them now, just to be in the company of such altruistic, loving and inspiring people, most of whom are much younger than me and thank God, for putting me onto this organisation.

And here is presenting the wonderful video shot by one of the brand new members of the group, just like yours truly, as promo for the Bollywood extravaganza.

Love it! Don't you. If you are in Melbourne, in or around, just drop in, don't miss the event.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Don't XOXO Me

Its been a while now, since I have been receiving e-mails, and text messages, signed off with an 'XX' or an 'XO'. Being the dud that I am, I did not initially get it, and let it be thinking it is something cool, I am just not in touch with. Then I got to watching Gossip Girl, and finally got what it meant. It is a 'cool' way of saying hugs and kisses, the XOXO. OK! and so people were actually sending love across to me, all this while, but I did not get it. How good is that, it makes me wonder.

It was recently, that I realised, that some values, are eternal. They cannot be trespassed in the name of modernity, or being cool. Its a world today, where people find it acceptable to not respond to messages, even wishes for that matter, where the scandalous has become not just acceptable, but even the norm, and the worst of it being, that actually saying that, we find something unethical or immoral unacceptable, makes the person 'un'cool. And I decided, that I will no longer accept what feels wrong to me instinctively, just to be accepted in a group of people. Well, hopefully I will write a more detailed post on this some other time.

Love, I believe is the most powerful emotion in the world. Not just the kind that transcends into a physical, sexual thing, but every form of it. Between friends, parents and children, siblings, and just two human beings who feel it for each other. Hugs and kisses are an expression of that emotion. These actions and emotions are conveyed by certain words. And the association gives those words the positive power. So why then would I take away from it, in anyway at all. I don't get it. What is the thought process behind this?

I remember long back, having a discussion with a friend, regarding abusive parenting, and she had said that even the verbal abuse, name calling, was a form of the parents expressing love. I was surprised, and replied, 'For all the loving words that exist in the world, why would anyone use abusive ones, to express a so called affection. There is a reason affectionate words exist as such in the dictionary.' And I have the same reasoning here. 'Love','hugs','kisses' such beautiful words, conveying such amazing emotions, why would I replace it with symbols, which also reflect wrong(X) and nothingness(O)? Sometimes I really wonder if the world is hurtling down a black hole, just because we don't spend time to think about our actions, and just jump in, to join the bandwagon of other mindless people following someone else.

I would much rather write, and have written to me words full of emotion and affection, than symbolism, which does not make sense, and in many ways represent the exact opposite of what is intended. Send me love, hugs and kisses people, don't need cross-n-knots.

Any new trend that bothers you, makes you feel that its all wrong and senseless?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Vanity, I thought I Did Not Possess!

I was procrastinating for really long about this post, to do it or not, do I really want the world to know? Wouldn't I rather just hide it and let it be, I thought for long. It gets a bit more difficult to be candid on the blog, with each new friend I make through this space. (I think the fact that the visitors to this space have almost ceased to exist, is making this post a lot easier, I must admit.) So what was it going to be. Honestly, I was shocked by my own reaction to the situation, felt like quite a phony infact.

I have always believed myself to be completely immune to mujhe aunty mat kaho na syndrome. I was quite alright with such addressing, since years now. I am not particularly partial to looking good, nor am I particularly distressed at the thought of physically aging. And well, so I thought I was quite immune to the typical feminine folly of vanity. How wrong was I? What a hypocrite I am!

Well why, you wonder? A few days back I spotted my strands of grey. Yes. I was totally shocked. I had decided ages ago, that I would embrace my greys gracefully and not go running to the box of hair colour. But what did I know they would attack me so early. I had expected them to begin showing maybe a decade later, and yet here they are, peeping here and there, being a mirror to my reality. I was shocked to see the strands, not one or two that had cropped up earlier, but a good 3 or 4. I am depressed, I don't want to be old, not so soon anyways! God! Am I vain. Its a scary truth to embrace, and I am more shocked at the intensity of my reaction to the occurrence.

Have not yet run to colour my mane, but maybe in the not too distant future, I would have to make it a part of my routine!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Whet It Izz......?

Insert word of choice, like papa, pepperoni, car, GPS, jacket, slippers... ad infinitum. That is what my day starts with, and it loops through on and on and on. The BBs new found passion to find out where things are.He wakes up in the morning and the first thing he asks me, is 'Whet it is papaaaaa?'(read as where is papa if you may.) The good thing though is, it has not reached the stage of driving me nuts yet, and I just enjoy it, and instigate him every now and then. Its fun, and tons infact. A word I love have him say is dirty. It started off with this filthy paintbrush he found somewhere, and I asked him to keep it away, stating its dirty dirty. And he repeated 'dorty dorty brush' and since then pretty much everything in the house has been announced as 'dorty dorty'.

His talking, is to our ears, what the first drops of rain are to the parched earth, of a drought ridden place. We have waited and waited and waited. Its has been long, and it has been hard. Not just because we wanted to hear him talk, but because of the moments that we doubted our strongest beliefs, and did not know what to think. I have always been a strong believer in the fact that each child has his own developmental curve, and I knew from day one that I did not want to be a competitive mother. And this possibly was the biggest test, of that belief. At three, when the BB was not already talking a dime a dozen, it became worrisome for us. He would utter a few words here, and some there, but there were no constant barrage of talking, or questions. And all around I saw and heard of these cute little things the kids his age were saying, and I waited for him to begin.

Everyone, who knew him in India, would tell me, how he was a late-talker and would drive me nuts when he began, because that is what late talkers usually do, they said, they are like a dam that has burst. And all I could say was that I was eagerly waiting for the day. It was hard to have words like delayed speech mentioned, or being asked, if I had sought professional help, or even having to mention at places, like the day care centre, that he does not really talk yet. It was hard. And then there were times that I almost broke down, and did not know what to do, where I gave in to despair and gloom. Something within me told me, that he was absolutely fine, just taking his own sweet time, and yet sometimes, the fear would grip my heart and leave it cold. The GP and I fortunately alternated in that state, so there was always one to reassure the other, when we fell into a state of despair. But some days were definitely harder than others. Often I would reason things to reassure myself. I knew the reasons, he was not hearing a lot of conversations around him. It was just him and me all day long, and I am not a great conversationalist, when left on my own. We speak two languages at home, and often bilingual children take longer to pick up a language and most importantly the BB's need to talk was very little. He usually has things work out for him, before he needs to ask for it. An advantage of having the mother around all day long, and yet disadvantageous in its own way. I had spoken to his pediatrician in India, about it, and he had not been concerned at all. And he is an amazing doctor, and my biggest concern while leaving India, was not having him around. He was a boon to a paranoid first time mother like me. Besides not believing in bringing up children on supplements and medicines, just like me, he had very practical things to advice, even on the daily care of a baby. And so, he is the one person I could freely discuss my concerns with, without the fear of the existing paranoia of the medical fraternity scaring me. And I had been reassured by his words. I then found a friend, who told me he had not uttered a word till he was all of 5, and even then it took him a while to actually get talking. Today he stands as normal as anyone can be. And these things soothed my mind. And yet there would be occasions when I would read something, or someone would ask a question, regarding his language skills, often innocently, and would make me anxious all over again.

The BB is an amazing child, really. And I think he was tailor made for me, in many many ways. I know I am a biased mother here, but the fact is, that a lot of the problems I hear parents face with their young children, are things I never had to deal with. There were no teething troubles, no weaning hassles, no problem with him being around new people, nor of him getting cranky when someone went away. He is usually a fuss-free child, he has no favourite toys, nor anything that is a security blanket, and he can keep himself happy with very little. No he is not perfect, he does throw tantrums, and gets cranky when sleepy or hungry, and there is a lot, and I mean a real LOT of screaming, for fun happening late evenings. But truth be told, he is an easy child. The only trouble I had, was when there was a phase where he was pushing other kids, and that lasted about all of 2 months. He is smart, and I say that because I have seen the ease with which he uses the laptop, or the GPS, or the i-pod. There is no random punching like kids his age usually do, but more a purposeful using. He knows how to use the microwave, and enjoys being allowed to operate it. He knows his limits and does not try crazy things, that would make me keep him restrained at all times. We never really formally sat down and taught him things but he knows his alphabets, learnt on his own from a wonderful interactive website for kids, called starfall and is learning his numbers now(yes, the microwave.) I would open the starfall site, and cook and clean away to glory, while he stayed busy exploring the various alphabets. Truth be told, he taught the alphabets to himself. And I appreciate every bit of all these things, instead of cribbing about the usual kiddish bouts of stubbornness or slow eating and such things. But the fact that he was still not conversing, did prick me every once in a while. I discussed with a few friends, and I have to say that I was fortunate, that they were so supportive, understanding and reassuring. My worries would melt away after talking to them. And so I continued to wait. In the meanwhile, we shifted gears at home, speaking in only one language, so that its easier for the BB to understand and pick up. And its tough sometimes, when we are so used to speaking in Hinglish pretty much always.

I realised a while back, that being with kids his age at the day care place was really having its effect. Both good and bad. While he was learning to test his limits, with things like pushing other kids, he was also getting more communicative. He was going beyond using his one word expressions of things he needed. And it was just what we had been waiting for. Maybe it was interacting with children his own age, or maybe it was the need to use words to communicate his needs to the people there, or maybe it was time for him to start anyways, I don't know what exactly it was, but something did the trick, or maybe it was a combination of it all. While the GP and I both noticed it happening, neither said a word, for the fear of jinxing it, and so we waited, till one day he came home and began singing a song he had learnt, and though the words were jumbled up, there was the part where he asks, 'What it izz name?' (read - what is your name.) and then goes ' BBeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee'! There has been no looking back ever since fortunately. And in a way I felt it was a test of whether, I can actually stand up for my own beliefs in crunch time, and I am happy that inspite of the moments of terrible fear and anxiety, I maintained my position, and did not panic running from door to door, trying to 'fix' my child. It is true that no one knows a child like does the mother.

I am happy in a way that I was tested, and that it has just strengthened my belief in each child having their own developmental curve. As parents, the GP and I are sure, that we will never be competitive, pushy or expect the BB to live his life our way, all we hope for, is that the BB becomes a good, compassionate human being, everything else is secondary in life. We just want him to be happy and nothing more, and may God give us the strength to always live with that conviction, and never fall prey to the competitive ways of the world. I love my child, wholly and totally, no conditions, ever!

That's the BB on his first train ride ever. Just last month, on The Puffing Billy.

Surprisingly enough, he had never been on a train before. And I think he enjoyed his first time. Also did his first boat ride recently, and had great fun doing that too!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Giving It Up

I was not sure I would put it up on the blog, but then I realised that every penny counts, and this is not for me, so let me just not act prudish, and share it here. There is the 40 Hour Famine being organised by World Vision Australia. And I decided to participate. There were ads on the TV, and I was intrigues enough to look them up online. It seemed like something I can do, and so I went for it.

The thing is, that I give up something that I need all the time for 40 hours, and try to get my friends to donate to the cause in return. It could be anything, so I decided to go with the Internet, something that I use from the moment I get up, to the time I go to sleep, and the other, is non-vegetarian food. I am thinking about withdrawal symptoms already, but might as well go ahead and do it. Wish me luck people. And just like what I told all my friends, 'No amount is too big, and none too small. Even $1 is most welcome, to whoever wants to contribute.' So anyone, who wishes to donate, even a dollar, please just mail me (goofymumma[at]gmail[dot]com), and I will mail you the link where you can donate.

Its a really good cause and the money generated from this will be used for people and especially children who need it, around the world. As mentioned on the website,
Donations to the 40 Hour Famine this year will support projects aimed at: addressing climate change and increasing agricultural production in Nepal; tackling childhood malnutrition in Kenya; fighting child labour and trafficking in India; providing supplementary food support to families in Cambodia; and assisting with food security in Laos.

Wish me luck!

Monday, August 9, 2010

OK! So I hate Mondays.

Every Monday, is a dull day, when it brings me back to the start of the mundane week. It feels a bit lonely with the GP back to work, and the house needing loads to be done, after the whirlwind weekend activities and no cleaning jobs done. So that is usually what Mondays are, and they are bad enough. But when there is a guest over the weekend, and she leaves, its just so much worse.

It is amazing how things can be, and how infact Facebook can do, what nothing else can. For all those who don't know it already, the brilliant, but now pretty dormant, Quirky Quill, is the one who introduced me to the world of blogs. The fact is that she was in school with me, and infact one of my favourite persons from my very snooty high school. She is a great person, and a brilliant brain to boot. Somehow though we were never belonged to the same group of friends. Met years later on Facebook, picked up the new threads. I had just had a baby, she was going to be married in a while, leaving for her backpacking Europe tour. We would chat on and off, and the familiarity increased to a lot more than what it ever was in school. And something that I never would have never imagined possible, had we even been in the same city we grew up in all these years, happened, and she popped into my part of the town this weekend, and stayed over.

It was wonderful having her over, sharing stories about school, common friends, and trying to refresh each other's memories about events and people from those years. Its amazing how easy it was to talk to each other, even though we were meeting after more than twelve years! Wow! Imagine that, makes me feel really really old now. Never on earth had either one of us thought we would infact meet up again, and yet. No wonder they say its a small world. I felt oh! so sad, when she left today morning, to go back. A Monday, as usual with some more void......

It was great having you over, QQ, and I forgot to crib about this to you personally, while you were here, but here I go now........ HEADER!!!!!! Miss you girl, and hope you pop in here soon, and hopefully with M in tow this time. Must meet him now, after all the wonderful tales I have heard about him.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Use Your Mammaries, Mothers!

[Disclaimer - This is not about women who are physically unable to breastfeed, but about women who are capable but don't.]
If my last few posts have not been mention and proof enough of my disillusionment, with the world as it exists today, here comes another one. For a rare change I was looking at a newspaper today, and as newspapers have the habit of doing, it managed to impart some nugget of information to me. 'What now?', you ask, well this is the World Breastfeeding Week. And you can head over to the dedicated website, to gain more information about the week starting 1st of August, that this is being celebrated.

My point being, however, that we live in society today, where the most powerful and basic form of love, that of a mother to a child seems to be dwindling. I am sure, consciously or without really noticing, everyone in this world has observed some event, where a mother's affection has made the impossible possible. This is supposed to be the love, purest of all, the one without any expectations or demands. But before I go on, about that for a few posts worth of length, let me just say, that breastfeeding is the most basic thing a mother does for her child, and it is strange that there needs to be weeks, days or anything at all dedicated to inform people about it.

We celebrate women because they breastfeed their babies??? *huh????* Next we will need to celebrate the man who drives his family around, or the woman who cooks for her family, or a person who spends his earning on bringing up his/her children. Oh! But I forget, many people already believe they are doing the whole wide world a big favour, by doing precisely these very things. What is wrong with us? Does there need to be preaching and encouragement for mothers(notice, I am not saying women here!! Because the emotional transformation a woman goes through, when she delivers a baby, transforms her forever into a mother) to breastfeed their babies? There is a reason, why a woman's body was designed by nature, to grow a baby within itself, nourishing and growing it, and then nourishing it for a while after too. What exactly can be enticing enough for a mother to not want to do that?

[Image courtsey - http://www.keyshealthystart.org/breastfeeding.htm]

WHO recommends breastfeeding a baby for atleast the first two years of life, and by the time a baby is just about six months old, many many mothers begin to plan their weaning methods, and by the time they are one, the babies are all weaned successfully, as the mothers would proudly claim. And while, in a normal world, I would think that cruel, in the one we currently inhabit, I have to applaud the mothers for allowing their babies access to their, completely personal and self-owned breasts(Yes, I am being sarcastic!), because there are those, who don't allow their babies that privilege. Its a strange world indeed, where mothers are too busy/self-involved/self-lovingcompletely selfish to provide their baby with breast milk. The reasons, could be many, and all equally pathetic. But unfortunately, no matter how much I hate it, such is the world we inhabit. Selfishness, has crossed all barriers, and has invaded even the purest of relationships.

And hence, the newspaper, being a more accepting part of the world, as it exists today, linked up an article about Celebrities Who Love Breastfeeding (a few pics may not be suitable for viewing in office!)as it states, 'In honour of World Breastfeeding Week we feature 12 celebrities who support the 'breast is best' message.' Well, indeed, let us celebrate, and instead of being a sourpuss, who keeps cribbing about what bothers her, let me appreciate the effort that is being taken here, to make things right. And so I will say, its the best way for a mother to bond with her baby. The initial months, fraught with sleeplessness, breastfeeding is the perfect way to relax. Breastfeeding releases hormones, that soothe and ease the mother's nerves, and helps her rest and relax. For the women who have breastfed, they would know, it induces a much needed state of blissful sleepiness. Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of breast cancer. And it helps the uterus shrink faster and sooner. And now that I have said all that I know about how it helps the mother, may I also add the obvious, that it make the baby healthier, it gives him natural immunity against diseases in those precious first few months of life, it is the easiest food for his tender digestive system, and it also gives him emotional strength of knowing he is loved, and not a burden!

So there women, nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing is worth giving up on this special experience, nor any reason good enough to use an excuse. Feed your baby, give them what only you can, don't hold that back.