Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Honesty - My Journey, My Way

Honesty is a value I hold above most others, in life. If you have been reading my blog, you know that it is in fact very important to me. But the interpretation of honesty has changed drastically for me, over the years. And I believe it is still evolving, though I would say I am in a happy place with my interpretation of it right now.

I was not a particularly honest child, when I look back. There was a lot of lying to save my hide from whipping as a kid. Lied through my teeth about test scores, getting in trouble in school, or anything at all that could get me into trouble with my parents or teachers. I don't think honesty as a concept meant anything to me, as a child, all I cared about, was to not get into trouble with elders. Hiding bad test results, tops the list ofcourse, and the number of stories I invented, I think I deserve some award for that! I have many funny tales to tell about those years now, hopefully someday to my grand-kids.

Then as a teenager, especially during the college years, it seems honesty came to mean, saying just about anything I thought or felt. It was all about speaking the truth. There was no stopping, no controlling, no censoring, what ever was spoken, had to be the truth. If a friend tried on a new body spray, that I did not particularly like and asked me how it smelled, prompt was the reply, "Yuck!". The fact that she felt bad, and I obviously knew that she did, did not make much of a difference. No filter was in place. being brazen was equated to honesty. It happened with me, and most of my friends, besides the few very sensible and matured ones. Though we knew, that giving an honest opinion or account of something may cause hurt or pain to someone, we dished it out anyways, because that was being outrageously honest! Honesty somehow was defined by being rude, it basically meant being able to dish out the ugly truth, no filters. I don't know if it was teenage arrogance, or if it hits everyone, but it definitely took a strong hold of me. While honesty in itself is a wonderful thing, but what I had then, does not seem nice to me today. Honesty cannot be a great thing, if it hurts can it? While the rest of the honesty bit seemed to be on track, but it was the blurting out of the unpleasant, without a thought, that marked 'honesty' back then. And that is what I distinctly remember as 'my honesty' in those times.

During the teenage years and for years into my twenties, my honesty was also defined as being an open book to everyone. Honesty equaled having no secrets in my books in those years. It had been true for most of my life, but these years were marked by the the nothing-to-hide attitude. It seemed like the whole world needed to be aware of every detail of my life, and that meant I was honest(huh??? Even I cannot get the logic of it now). This included defending my choices, explaining them in depth and more, to people who could not care less, and who did not need to know. But the foolish me equated that to being honest, and that is way it was.

And now, just a few days back, while chatting with a very dear friend, I realised, where my honesty really lay, and how calming this kind of honesty is. We were discussing something, and she pointed out very honestly that she felt I was being overly affected, and critical of something. It was completely honest, it was her clear and true opinion. And yet, she added, that she was just being bluntly honest, without any diplomacy, and she hoped I did not mind it. It did not really matter, since we are quite close. But those words mattered, because it showed that she cared, and that she did not want me to hurt, even slightly. And it is the fact that she cared about my feelings, more than just putting her honest opinion across, that ensures that our bonding remains. And that today defines honesty for me, truth that has meaning, and is pleasing. I don't need to be dishonest, all I need to do is care. Care about the feelings of others, and be honest in a way, that is truthful, but not hurtful. My honesty is not defined by aggression, nor is being genuine equated with having my life published for public consumption. I am honest but no longer brazen, candid, but not transparent. Honesty is now, what spreads happiness, and never ever hurts. It is what is honest in deed, more than words, and the act which is done with purity of heart and an honest purpose in mind. And I love honesty, the way I understand it now.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The First Proposal

I Love You

Pops out from the lips of the BB, when he met Aadya this Sunday. I was surprised, as was the GP, to hear him say that, all on his own. He said it, the moment he saw her, without any pleas or requests.We our heart out to him, at home, and he never ever says it to us, but he sees the pretty girl, and the words come tumbling out. Showing us the way for things to come I guess. It was not a planned meeting, but just bumping into each other while shopping, and the reaction was so instantaneous. The boy surely knows what to do and when. This officially becomes his first proposal isn't it? And it is the little Aadya's birthday today, and hence I waited to post this today. Do hop over and wish her.

Sunday we had gone meat and fish shopping, when he spotted a sweat shirt he liked. When I finally agreed to buy it, of the two colours, lavender and pink that were available, the BB picked up the bright pink. The boy has a huge fascination for pink, that is the colour he always insists on when he paints too. I like it. Also he completed his art-class term, and I decided to not enroll him for the next term, because he is more a free-style artist, and the pre-decided projects in a small slot of time, just meant that I had to be doing most of the work, while he tried to grab more of the paint or glitter. For now, its going to be poster paints, brushes and his drawing book at home. But on Saturday, we went there to pick up the things he had done in the few classes he attended this term. We also had the BB's face painted for the first time, since it was open day at the art-factory. He had a tiger-face. And that was fun, since we went to the park and some more, with the paint on his face. And did I say, he looked super cute, unfortunately our 'big' cameras were not with us, and all the photos were clicked through the GP's and my mobile.

The Easter basket is what 'he' made in the last session. And the chicks too.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Connected Or Stressed?

Every now and then, I wonder, with the boom of social networking sites, the e-mail revolution, job sites and more, is it possible for anyone to really disconnect any more? There was a time, about a decade or so back, when e-mail was a novelty, atleast to the likes of me, when letters were written with the precious effort needed to glide a pen over paper in various shapes, envelopes, stamps, postcards, inland letters and such were laboriously sourced from the closest post office, and then written letters were actually dropped into a letter-box, and we hoped and prayed the letter would be delivered at the desired destination. Ofcourse those were also the days that a single 'speed post' from Bombay to Delhi would take over 7 days for delivery. And yet, they were nicer, simpler, easier days. Atleast that is what I think.

I cannot live without a cell phone now, I know it. Well, technically and medically I will be alive, but not practically. I don't think I remember a single phone number verbatim, its so easy to just go to the contacts list and dial, and all numbers are so conveniently stored there. And my new phone has provision for over ten numbers per person, there are various categories of mobile phones, landlines and such. While it does make life convenient, I also think it makes me extremely dependent. If I am in an emergency situation, where my phone is dead, I will be unable to contact anyone, simply because I don't know their number, even though I maybe calling them up every other day. I cannot even term it as funny. Worse still is the fact that one can never be alone, or in peace. The mobile usually ends up becoming a physical appendage to most owners, glued to their bodies at all times, and making them available to answer calls at all times of the day or night. I still remember the absolutely abhorred, calls advertising some scheme/product/card I used to get on my phone almost each evening, just as the local would draw into my station, and I would be ready to battle to get my foothold into the ladies compartment. All tensed and ready, the phone would be heard ringing, not knowing who it is, I would dive into my bag, find it, and the caller would be advertising some godforsaken thing, and by the time this happened, the compartment was packed, and I would wait another 15-20 minutes for the next train to come. So basically one with a mobile phone is never alone, unless you step deep into the jungle, or places that have now come be to defined as 'no network coverage zones'. One could ofcourse switch off the mobile, but even the mention of such a proposition would lead to a multitude of horrific gasps, because we can no longer imaging being 'unreachable', that I think has become the new 'untouchable'! Our cell phones are there with us during work, play, sleep, vacations, travel and even during potty-time.

E-mails brought in a revolution like none other. Post offices started closing down, because their services were no longer required, e-mails meant instant connectivity, no more waiting for the intended receiver to receive the post, this was all instantaneous, just like the lightening speed world needed. Being in communication with people overseas, was no longer about expensive calls, or huge amount of stamps, it was just about a practically free e-mail. How simple is that? Even offices no longer required things on paper, just an e-mail was enough, to confirm a tender, an employment, a resignation, a report, an appraisal, pretty much everything. On the social front, the mails led on to chats, which expanded into audio and then video, and then came in social networking sites. So may things, so many ways to be networked, connected, in-touch. So addicted are we, that vacations are no longer vacations, vacations translate into more relaxed time to do leisure networking, and we cannot think of being without our mobile, Internet connection or laptop. And with the easy connectivity, somewhere I believe the quality of our communications have fallen. Why bother with actually composing a new e-mail, when a simply scrap or wall-message would do? We end up sending a private messages on public forums, just because its easier, and for all the claims of making life easier, somewhere it just takes away from our commitments and efforts at maintaining and respecting our relationships. Having over a hundred friends on facebook, I think there are barely fifteen or twenty of those, I do actually count as friends, the rest don't matter to me, and nor do I to them.

And yet I am glued, as are many of you. Checking mails at all times, the twitter updates, or the blog comments, the facebook feeds. I think I am more stressed for all these reasons than relaxed. It makes my life more jumbled and confused, it is obviously taking its toll on my poor eyes, and the mind which can never ever just simply shut itself down, because I don't let it. So what is the point in all this? I can access a lot more information more conveniently than before, and it can be a huge blessing, as I have learnt from pregnancy and new-mum days. And yet the stress, the over connectedness, the lack of being able to be completely free, it gets to me too. At the end of the day, I am not sure if all these amazing revolutions have actually improved the quality of our lives or just given us more to handle on our platter, leaving us more stressed than before.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Am All Awed

While the world talks, and chatters, she goes ahead and does it. She did it before the Angelina Jolies of the world, even thought about it, she is possibly still the only high-profile single Indian woman to have ever done it, and now she just goes ahead and does it a second time. She adopter her second girl child daughter. Sushmita Sen, you may lover her or you may hate her, but no one can deny, the lady lives her life to the fullest. She does what she wants to do, caring two hoots about what the rest of the world has to say. Just wanted to record my vote of admiration and appreciation here, on going ahead and doing what her heart tells her to.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mediocrity For Inspiration

Aim for the stars and you will atleast reach the moon.

A saying so true and so meaningful, and yet so simply put. I had first come across this when I was in primary school, and somehow the saying has always stayed with me since then. I really believe that we should set our goals at thplise highest possible points and work towards it sincerely, so that even if we reach halfway there, its a worthy accomplishment. The aim, the goal, the ideals, should never be small, easy or substandard, if a person wishes to be more than ordinary I believe. And that is why I am surprised how each day the ordinary, the regular and often even the lame is being portrayed as acceptable, and good in the world today. We no longer set ourselves goals worth achieving is what I believe. It has become more a case of whatever one does is right and good. It is human nature I believe to find excuses for our actions, but the sad bit is, that is portrayed to us as good, even great in our world today.

My thoughts here are probably in complete contrast to that of everyone else, but that is what it is, and I believe in them with all my heart and soul. There was a time, not long ago, when the personalities in books and movies, were people with great morals, tremendous strength of character, characters, who inspired us, made us want to be better people. But just look at what we have for inspiration in the current productions of literature and cinema. A protagonist who is a crook, achieves things by conning and cheating others, falls prey to the weaknesses of his mind, has no strength of character is what we get in most of what cinema or literature has to offer today. And it is not just that such things are dished out, but the fact that this is praised and admired, and appreciated by people, that I don't quite get.

I loved the old movies, where every character is what one ideally should be. The widowed mother, who works hard to earn the pennies to educate her child, the man who would go without food and water, rather than bend his principles, the woman who would marry a widowed man with a child, to be the mother to the child, and forgo her own love for that, these things inspire me. They inspire me to be a better person, to be able to sacrifice my happiness for that of others, to place the needs of others ahead of my own. In Hindi cinema of the previous era, the women, people say, were portrayed as props, or in regressive roles. I completely and totally disagree. I think the women then were stronger better characters, than the ones we have today.

Is it regressive for a woman to love her children, and take care of her family? Is it regressive if a woman is virtuous, or is it regressive if she is strong enough to sacrifice her own happiness for those of others or if she choses her principles over material success? Those are women who inspire me to be a better person. In a world where instant gratification is all that matters, cinema has taken a turn along the same route. It shows us what our society is, sometimes worse, and portraying it in a way, which glorifies, all that needn't be. It makes everything look good, everything that is infact not so good. A con artist becomes a hero, a rich spoilt brat becomes a protagonist, a mean man can form the crux of an entire story. And what I think, really bothers me in this, is that I am surrounded by mediocrity or worse, and have nothing better even in the world of fiction to inspire me.

No, it is not for the elite to get inspired by cinema or idolise what cinema shows, but for an average Jane like me, it matters. It matters because I see it, and it does leave an imprint on my mind. It shows me that an eve-teaser can be a hero, and not a villain. I am no longer shown greatness to idolise, but things that would possibly downgrade me as a person from being what I currently am. Why do we not realise that reality is all around us, weakness, failings of others, what we need to see is what is special, a show of strength, true human spirit, something that will make us want to be better persons. Why do people praise the 'realism' in cinema, when all it is showing us is how we as people succumb to our petty wants and desires, instead of overcoming them, and being better people.

Not just cinema, it shows even in society. I see it everywhere, in people I meet, in the news I read, infact even in the blogs, and that is because these are real people with real failings and problems. So how does reading a book , or watching a movie show me any better? Mediocrity of thought and action, is praised, appreciated, and taken to be the way to be. No one sets the standards high any more, for things that really count. And I just don't get why. Why do we not want to set higher standards for ourselves, why is everything we do right or acceptable, or just fine? It is real, I agree, failings, and faults are but human, but if we make it that acceptable, do we even try to be better or improve? Anything that we are not, is shunned as unrealistic or regressive, the fact is that some of those things are not regressive, they are ideal. Shunning them, or criticising them, just means that we are closing our mind to even the possibility of being better, stronger people. Why don't we have Howard Roarks and Satyakams in our literature and cinema any longer? Why don't we see Mother India or Jane Eyre more often in what we read and watch? Why does our current lot of literature and cinema have so little to inspire. I rue not being surrounded, by characters who are strong, good people, characters who would inspire me to be better, would provide a good role model, and people that I would aim to be, and would hopefully reach half way.

It is not easy to find ideal people in the real world, fiction atleast could provide us with such people, and inspiration. People who make us want to be them, or atleast try.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Another Week, and Some More Stories.

Eating my words, that is exactly what I am currently doing. The BB has decided its time, he tells the world, he is not what I represent him to be. The last week at the playgroup, he finds two plastic dolls, and goes all ga-ga about them. Kissing them, hugging them and being all excited. I was sitting with this other mother, who has two school going daughters, and a little toddler, and had once discussed with her, how boys and girls have different temperaments, from the time they are kids. I had mentioned, how the BB never took to the stuffed toys, we had brought for him ever. And here he was hugging the dolls, like they were his most favourite objects of play in the whole wide world. What can I say, kids are born to do just that aren't they?

In other news, I managed to hurt the BB really bad, when I slipped, with him in my arms, and that caused him to bang the back of his head on the door edge behind. I am cringing in my sleep, each time I remember the incident. There was a rainbow in the sky on Friday evening, and I ran towards the backyard, carrying the BB to show it to him, there was some rainwater near the door, I slipped, and fell, and the BB got hurt worse than me. I don't know, how and why this happens. I am supposed to protect him as a mother, and I end up getting him hurt more than he would if he were not with me. makes me feel really disgusted with myself. Really do. He is even sporting a bruise on his ear, and though I don't think it happened from that particular fall, it looks scary, seeing the clot in the ear.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Had been out for some groceries yesterday, and the Indian Store was the first place I went in. Below, is an ad placed on the outer wall of the store.

Accommodation Available
Only For Gujarati people.

I actually feel like calling up the provided contact number, and ask such people what is wrong with them, why did they step out of their village well at all?? We are half a world away from our country, and this person cannot do with just any Indian, but needs someone from a specific area. I have not put this up with any animosity towards gujaratis, because in the above ad, the 'gujarati' could well have been any other location/caste/religion preference. It just makes me feel sad and infuriated.

Just want to quote a comment by Soin, on one of my earlier posts here, and all I can say is I cannot agree more .

"its good to know our indians have not given up the indianess in them.even after going to a different continent they still hold up our traditions of sectism,castism and all those.soon shiv sena will have a wing there and claim sydney should allow only marathi inidians coz the first indian immigrant there was a marathi.i love my country."

So true, and so sad is our reality.


On a happy note though, while we stood for billing on the counter at our regular supermarket, the woman just ahead of us handed us a 10% discount coupon for the same store. She said, that she had two of them and could use only one, so she gave the other one to us. It is like one of those out of the blue lucky things that happen isn't it? I am still smiling about it, while the GP laments not having larger figures on the bill. God bless the woman.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


A tag, by The Restless Quill, one of the kinds I love doing, something about myself in points. :D The tag says ,
Reveal 7 random things about yourself.
Here are the rules of the tag.
1) You have to tag 7 people.
2) You have to link their pages in your tag post
3) You have to leave a comment in their comments section telling them they've been tagged.
4) You have to say who tagged you.

This is fun, I have done so many of them already, it will be a work finding 7 unreported ones, but let me have a go at it.

1.Roses don't impress me much, unless ofcourse they are pristine white. Prefer bunches of colourful flowers instead.

2.I can never have enough pens or notebooks. Even if they just remain brand new, I sometimes just have to have them. I love the wholesale stationary stores, and I think not having an official reason to buy and use stationary is the only reason I would not mind getting into education again.

3. Have lost my obsession and love for chocolates, surprisingly. I still stuff my face with Nutella every chance I get, but I can live without it too.

4.My pregnancy was the only time for guilt free binging in my entire adult life, else I am always battling weight.

5.Water bodies both entice and intimidate me.

6. There is a certain blog, I just cannot stand, and I still cannot figure out why it bothers me as much as it does. Ugggggghhhhhhh!

7. I worry that the BB may have inherited my inherent laziness.

And now the seven who must do this too, are - D, Trishna, MRC, The Soul Of Alec Smart, Momo's Ma, The Thoughtful Train and 2B's Mommy.

I have also been gifted the 'Blogger Buddy Award' by Trishna. Oh! Thanks thanks.

Indeed the world of blog has given me so so many amazing friends too, and this is such fun to tell them that, so here is my list. Monika, Dhiren, Tara, Smitha, Piper, Mystic Margarita, Quirky Quill, Sraikh, Roop, Mini, Nancy, Silvara ,Sraboney,M4 and back again to Trishna. Each one of you have enriched my life by being in it. Thank you.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Growing Up To Be Different.

Of late I have been observing that the me that existed a few years ago, is different from the me of today in some ways, that I thought used to define me, and yet I believe I remain to be the same basic person. What surprises me, is that these changes have crept in without me really realising it consciously, till one fine day, it just stares me straight up in the face. Like an incident would occur, I will act/react and then, as is typical of me, thinking about it later, would realise that what I did, was not what I would have done a while back. Don't know if that means I am growing up, getting smarter, cynical, better or just plain old, but these changes are creeping up. And I thought it would be fun to pen down how I have changed, might help in a psyche evaluation if I need it some day.

I still value honesty highly, but I no longer believe I need to be an open book to the world, I don't feel any need to explain or justify myself. I realised this, when I met a friend after about 8 or 9 years. She asked me if I had slept with the GP, before getting married, unlike the earlier me who would have vocally and vehemently tell her, I just said, "I don't think I need to tell you". I surprised myself there, had never realised I don't feel the need to tell people all about me, or justify, or anything at all. Even when I was very sure about what I did, I would always go ahead and explain my point to just about anyone who would ask, oppose, have a different POV. Somewhere along the line, I have stopped wanting/needing to do it. Unless it is someone who really matters or really wishes to know, I don't give my reasons to anyone, anymore.

Still love people, friends, talking to them, online or in person or even over the phone. Though the in-person talking has become far and between now, a lot of online and phone talking still happens. And I enjoy them just as much, but somehow, I have recently found myself ending conversations, saying goodbye, and going away, when I need to. I could never do that earlier, don't know why, but I could never end conversations, they would only end when the other person would, and I would stay on, even if I really needed to be doing something else. I am happy I can do this.

I can be ' just acquaintainces' with people now. Something I could never manage earlier. I either made someone a friend, or we remained strangers, and there were of course the people I fell out with after being friends, where I held a grudge/pain/hurt forever. A big reason, for why I could never survive the corporate structure. Now, I can not-care or move on in case of a falling out or be just hi-hello-how are you kind of friends with people. I am so proud of myself on that one, it has taken a huge amount of effort on my part, to change this bit of me. This also means, I don't hold grudges or hatred for too long, unless someone continues to bother or bug me. I am upset for a bit, and then I am able to move on, even managing to maintain a normal relationship with the person in question.

I am no longer on top of everything, and I can live with that. I used to be a control freak in my own quirky way. I had to know everything I needed to know, I always knew how the finances were working, I always completed my scheduled tasks in time, most often before time, a day where I did not do something worthwhile, would drive me nuts. Now I can live in a messy house, atleast for a while, on most days I don't have any idea of how much money my wallet holds, I end up deciding(the bigger task) and then cooking a meal, just about an hour before it is meant to be served. And the other day I completely forgot about packing the GP's lunch, and he had to ask me where his lunch box was, for me to realise I had not packed it at all, and I did not feel all that bad about it either. Wow! I think I am learning to relax.

People who are very different from me in , don't feel all that different anymore. Unlike earlier, I find more similairities, than differences between others and me. The basic human nature is so common amongst all of us. And I like being able to connect in this way, rather than feeling all awkward and different. And the friendships I can now form, never used to happen before.

Do you think you have changed over the years too, and has that changed the core of the person you are?

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Happy Day

is when, a lot is accomplished, a day that is filled with things done. And that is why today is being marked as a happy day in my calendar after ages, because this is how today has shaped up.

1. Kicked myself out of bed in the morning, and made it for my walk. It being, quite cool, and me being very very cosy under my quilt doona/duvet, it was indeed a super duper achievement.

2. Got the BB up, fed and dressed in time to get to the playgroup.

3. Had the lunch ready before we left, since we return home ravenous with hunger.

4. Garam rotis(hot home-made bread) was made, lunch had, and then I went off to make another attempt to bake a cake. The bake has turned out quite decently, mainly because it does not taste like soap, like all the previous ones I tried here. Reason? I was using bi-carb soda instead of baking soda, and that made all the difference. And the books told me they are the same thing, what can I say? But what the heck, nice cake finally done. The base is a bit overdone, but it is still a cake,not soap and hence nice.

5. We received a bag full of home grown spinach from one of the GP's tennis partners yesterday, and I forgot to buy paneer(cottage cheese). The combination of the two, being the only dish in which I have ever liked spinach, meant I either keep the entire thing in the fridge, and wait till I get the paneer or I try making spinach soup, which may or may not turn out nice, and which basically would mean eventually throwing out all the spinach. Nothing appealed to me, palak pakoras were floating in my brain, but this being garden fresh I did not wish to waste the nutrition. Somewhere in my mind, a thought of palak with besan floated. And I concentrated on it some, got an image of what could be done, and what do you think, I churned out a yummy, healthy dish.

6. This was followed by a family stroll in the evening, back , and I finally had my chores for the day done, and could sit down and watch TV or just sit with the laptop. A hassle free luxury I haven't enjoyed in a while, since most of the time I have either stolen my time out of a busy day to do either, or had kept chores on hold. So that really made it a special joy.

So that is what was today, a full day, and now at 9, I am exhausted, completely drained, and cannot wait to go off to la la land. And hope I can sleep this gives-me-a-high exhaustion off. What is your happy day like?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Keeping Us On Our Toes

And this week, the BB, took the car keys, something he usually does, but only that this time he was still inside the car, when we pulled into the garage, and as soon as the GP was out of the car, he locked it. What followed was a calm GP trying to tell him to unlock it, me being super cool, and offering to just go and get the spare sets from home, the GP, telling me not to, so that the BB learns to unlock it and so on and so forth. And in all of this, my BB got too flustered and confused to actually understand what was going on, and just could not unlock the doors. Fortunately the incident happened in the garage, and I could run in to fetch the spare keys. All was well again soon. Most importantly the GP learnt his lesson, not to hand over the keys till the love of his life is safely out of the car. I thanked my lucky stars that it happened after we reached home, and not before. Had it happened at the mall, I would have freaked out beyond measure.

PS - Why are boys so so so completely obsessed with cars, in any, and I mean absolutely any available form? No one ever introduced the BB formally to them. His head turns whenever he hears a bike gunning down the road, and he follows it, till it gets out of sight. What is it with boys and wheels, really, some form of hard-coding?

Addendum - Sunday evening, led us to a park, on our way back from weekend groceries. It was fun, because besides the kiddie play area, this was a huge place, with plenty of running space. There were a lot of families out, it being Sunday evening. And besides the usual swing-n-slide routine, we did a lot of running around too, and hence it was fun. I soaked in the lush green all around. The BB loved being in the new place, and this what struck me the most. All of a sudden he stopped at a place and said photuuuuuus (photos), stood there and did a lot of his pretend clicking. Surprising that he realises, new beautiful places usually means clicking them. The GP and I were quite surprised. And leaving you with some shots from my the park, done with my phone.

Running towards the baseball enclosure.

No matter how much he rules us, he remains to still be a tiny little boy.

A beautiful wooden art-piece at the park. The BB really liked it.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Heart Of Stone... Empty

... that's me.

A few months ago, even the thought of leaving the BB with strangers, in care used to drive me to the point of insanity. Though initially I used to believe myself to be paranoid, my views on that have changed a lot. And so finally when the day arrived this Tuesday, the 9th of March, to actually leave the BB in the care of others for a few hours, and go away, I was shocked that I remained dry eyed. I had always pictured myself being this hysterically sobbing mass of motherly love, when I first leave my precious child alone, but obviously that was just a figment of my imagination. Like a weathered pro, I took him to the centre, told him to be nice and listen to the carers along the way, and that I would be leaving him there and heading home. I think he hesitated a bit initially, because he knew I was leaving. He did not just run into his room like the other couple of times, and even when the play area was in sight, he kept tugging at me to come along, instead of just running out there. But eventually the call of the wildthe of the open play area prove to be stronger and off he went. I signed the book, and left.

Decided to walk back home, and came back home only because of the stormy-rainy weather that has been haunting the city for the past few days. We were out when the storms hit on Saturday, a huge hail storm, which has caused huge amounts of damage in the area and is being described as a once in a hundred year occurence. Probably would have decided to stay out the few hours if I could, but it was not a safe option. Walking back home killed time. I tried calling up everyone I could, and pretty much everyone was either busy, or in time zones, which made it middle of the night for them, and this was not an emergency huge enough to make them jump out of their beds. The GP had kindly, and for the first time ever, managed to leave both his cell phones home, when he left for work that morning, and could not spare time to come and retrieve it. So there I was, unable to even get in touch with him, since he was not at his desk. Reached home, put on the laptop, and played scrabble on facebook for an hour, to keep myself distracted. My mother saw my missed call, and called back, she was not much help. Then suddenly I realised, there was just an hour left for my baby to be back home, and so I hurried through my chores for the day. The GP, was designated to pick him and bring him back, and I waited all antsy, and eager to see him back home in one piece. And that is exactly how he came, just his hat misplaced. Hope I find it in the lost-n-found box next week.

And unlike making for a filmy blog-post, about how I cried my eyes out, here I am saying, how I did not shed a single tear, actually even got some chores done around the house, and had my a## beaten black-n-blue in an online game of scrabble. Wow! I do surprise myself don't I? Maybe I am not really the softie of a mother I wanted to believe I am. I am not happy, with the free hours I am getting, atleast not yet, so wonder what made me not bawl my eyes out. I don't have an answer to that one yet, and I am not sure if I should be proud of myself or ashamed for remaining so exceptionally calm.

And if that was not enough, as I sit writing this post, the BB is sleeping in a new room, alone. The first time ever, and not sharing the bed with the GP and me, for the first time since the last two years. And I am not crying, even now. This was not a planned move. Infact, I just decided to try and put the BB to sleep, in the room that we had officially allocated to him when we shifted here, on the spur of the moment today evening. Till now, the room has barely been touched, besides putting his clothes there. I had plans of shifting him into a new room, post his thrid birthday, but never really worked constructively towards it. And today just out of the blue decided to put him to sleep there. I know he will not sleep the whole night there, will wake up, and I will eagerly scoop him into my arms and get him into our bed, and yet, I have put him there. The GP is no support ofcourse, inspite of his initial resolve, saying the BB needs to grow independent, just as he headed off to bed, he told, me to bring him in, before I hit the bed....What kind of support is that? That's the way we go as parents, gooey in turns.

I think neither of the things have hit me yet, and that is the reason that I am as calm as I am. But then that is the way things work with me. My emotional reactions occur a long long time after the situation presents itself. So maybe I will shed my tears of mixed emotions later, maybe I never will, I don't know. Definitely not following the stereotypes here, of crying bucket loads, and yet somehow, somewhere I feel so empty suddenly, its not something an amateur like me can put into words. But this post will always bear as a reminder of this time, this moment, this emotion.

Addendum - The BB spent the night in bed with us. I think he must have slept for about four hours in the other room, and then he started getting restless. Every small whimper had me jump up like a deer being hunted, and running to him.And I decided its best that he continues to be my cuddly bag for some more time, and brought him in. So much for independence and all that crap. May I say, I woke up with a big smile. I rest my case.


A fun mail, after a long time. Just thought I will share this for a few laughs.

A Brief BUT Complete History of India : As written by a Std X schoolboy, with all the original spellings. Please pay special attention to the spellings and the "derived" nomenclature. If you dont know all this -- you are history!!!

The original inhabitants of ancient India were called Adidases, who lived in two cities called Hariappa and Mujhe-na-Darao. These cities had the best drain system in the world and so there was no brain drain from them.

Ancient India was full of myths which have been handed down from son to father. A myth is a female moth. A collection of myths is called mythology, which means stories with female caricatures. One myth says that people in olden times worshipped monkeys because they were our incestors.

In olden times there were two big families in India . One was called the Pandava and the other was called the Karova. They fought amongst themselves in a battle called Mahabharat, after which India came to be known as Mera Bharat Mahan.

In midevil times India was ruled by the Slave Dienasty. So named because they all died a nasty death. Then came the Tughlaqs who shifted their capital from Delhi because of its pollution. They were followed by the Mowglis.

The greatest Mowgli was Akbar because he extinguished himself on the battlefield of Panipat which is in Hurryana. But his son Jehangir was peace loving; he married one Hindu wife and kept 300 porcupines. Then came Shahajahan who had 14 sons. Family planning had not been invented at that time. He also built the Taj Mahal hotel for his wife who now sleeps there. The king sent all his sons away to distant parts of India because they started quarrelling. Dara Seiko was sent to UP, Shaikh Bhakhtiyar was sent to J & K, while Orangezip came to Bombay to fight Shivaji. However, after that they changed its name to Mumbai because Shivaji's sena did not like it. They also do not like New Delhi , so they are calling it Door Darshan.

After the Mowglis came Vasco the Gama. He was an exploder who was circumcising India with a 100 foot clipper. Then came the British. They brought with them many inventions such as cricket, tramtarts and steamed railways. They were followed by the French who brought in French fries, pizzazz and laundry. But Robert Clive drove them out when he deafened Duplex who was out membered since the British had the queen on their side.

Eventually, the British came to overrule India because there was too much diversity in our unity. The British overruled India for a long period. They were great expotents and impotents. They started expoting salt from India and impoting cloth. This was not liked by Mahatma Gandhi who wanted toproduce his own salt. This was called the swedish moment. During this moment, many people burnt their lion cloths in the street and refused to wear anything else. The British became very angry at this and stopped the production of Indian testiles.

In 1920, Mahatma Gandhi was married to one wife. Soon after he became the father of the nation. In 1942 he started the Quiet India moment, so named because the British were quietly lootaoing our country. In 1947, India became free and its people became freely loving. This increased our population. Its government became a limited mockery, which means people are allowed to take the law in their own hands with the help of the police. Our constipation is the best in the world because it says that no man can be hanged twice for the same crime. It also says you cannot be put in prison if you have not paid your taxis.

Another important thing about our constipation is that it can be changed. This is not possible with the British constipation because it is not written on paper. The Indian Parlemint consists of two houses which are called lower and higher. This is because one Mr Honest Abe said that two houses divided against itself cannot withstand.

So Pandit Nehru asked the British for freedom at midnight since the British were afraid of the dark. At midnight, on August 15, there was a tryst in Parlemint in which many participated by wearing khaki and hosting the flag.

Recently in India , there have been a large number of scams and a plaque. it can be dangerous because many people died of plaque in Surat . Scams are all over India . One of these was in Bihar where holy cows were not given anything to eat by their elected leader. The other scam was in Bofor which is a small town in Switzerland. In this, a lot of Indian money was given to buy a gun which can shoot a coot.

Presently India has a coalishun government made up of many parties, left, right and centre. It has started to library the economy. This means that there is now no need for a licence as the economy will be driven by itself. India is also trying to become an Asian tiger because its own tigers are being poached. Another important event this year was the Shark meeting at Malas Dive. At this place, shark leaders agreed to share their poverty, pollution and population.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

True Equality - Freedom Of Choice

The International Woman's Day has brought up some really good posts all over the blog world, and some thoughts within me have been better crystallised, after reading some of these. I read this well articulated post by M4, talking about gender equality on Woman's Day. She talks about her personal experience about how the women are not given equal rights, even in a situation, when one loses a parent. Its saddening, and cruel indeed. I am quoting her here, on something else she said, and I absolutely loved reading it, for the smirk it brought on my face.

"Most urban men these days think that marrying a non-virgin is a sign that they are not an MCP. Yet, these very same men expect you to put their family before yours, without returning the favour. Chauvinism lives on..."

So true, and so true indeed. Where does this end? And what is true equality then, I wonder, because when in the Indian society a man is happily and openly marrying a non-virgin, we would think true equality has been reached, because finally men are being able to accept the fact that a woman they marry, might not have bred from the day she was born to be his wife, and yet it has not. Because this same man, after marriage, is not able to accept the fact that his wife has her own family, whom she loves and wants to devote her time, and energies towards, that they too are his family, if he expects his family to be hers. This to me is curbing her freedom, her choice. And as long as that happens, there is absolutely no equality.

My views on old customs and rituals will not match those of most liberals or modernists. I have my own, interpretation of them. No I don't side with dowry or Sati(the practice of burning a woman alive on the pyre of her dead husband) or male polygamy or any madness like that, but my interpretation, and understanding of most things, blindly shunned in the name of being modern is very very different. But that is not what I am writing about. What I am writing about is equality, as I see it. And if a woman is expected to suddenly forget about her parents and siblings, having spent all her growing years with them, just because she is married, it is just simply unfair. Not only is it detrimental to women's rights in the broader social spectrum, but it is also hurts the relationship that exists between the couple. And why should a man decide what a woman should or should not do, against her free will, whether she wishes to be with her own parents or not, whether she wants to accept his family as her own or not, show be totally and completely on her own free will, and in there lies true equality.

Equality for me, is not a situation where men and women do the same thing, or have the same rights. Au contraire, that to me is the exact opposite of equality, because that again means curbing freedom of choice, and living defined roles. I define equality as equal freedom of choice. Where both a man and woman can choose what they want to do equally freely, that to me is true equality. In the world we live today, equality has come to mean equal pay, equal education, equal work. To me its the exact opposite of what it claims to be. I like being at home, and taking care of the family and my home. I have the freedom to choose to do just that, and to me that defines equality. Now in the name of equality, if I am forced to go out, work, earn, inspite of that, not being what I wish to do, to me that is not equality, it is as bad a case of discrimination as is not educating the girl child just because of her gender. I believe in some ways we have just gone from one extreme to other, with nothing much really changing, a woman still doing things to appease the society and family as and how applicable.

The honest fact is a woman is still judged, and observed at every point in time, no matter what kind of a society she lives in. She is judged and unfairly punished for being seen with another man, who is not her relative in the Taliban regime, and she is criticised for wasting her time at home, and letting her education go to waste of she stays home in a modern society. So though in complete extremes, the situation remains the same. A woman is not free to do what pleases her without being criticised or admonished. And hence equality still remains to be real freedom of choice for a woman.

I changed my surname after marriage, because I wanted to, it was my own free will. I am at home, because I want to be, and no one dares point a finger at me. I will work, whether for money or not, when I want to, and even that will be my own free will. In my own home, I sometimes believe that I have more freedom and choice than my other half. Because he does not have the choice to quit his job and pursue some leisure activities, as and when he pleases, atleast not till the day I decide I will work for pay, that is enough to take care of my family financially. I wear what I wish to, and choose my friends as and who I feel comfortable being with. And that to me means I am equal and maybe even more in some ways, because I am free to choose what happens with my life. Isn't that what equality supposed to make women feel like? Free and happy, not bound by definitions or expectations?

Monday, March 8, 2010

My Two Bits on Women's Day

Happy Woman's Day, to each and every woman out there. Hope you celebrate this day, for being a woman and a special one at that.

Smitha, Soul Of Alec Smart and MRC tagged me to write about some issue related to women for this day. They tagged me to be a part of a contest, but I guess it was a bit too late, and so I decided to do the post, later, without entering it for the contest. Of all the topics listed, the one that I do feel would stop only with a real drastic revamp of attitude world wide, is 'Trafficking & Sexual Crimes', and though completely off mainstream to the usual line of thought, I am presenting my views here today.

The oldest profession in the world, is the oldest profession in the world for a reason. The sex drive of people is not bound by rules, and cannot be controlled by law. It is what they want or need. Human nature is not transient, things like greed, lust, gluttony, sloth and others have existed from the day man came into existence. And trying to push it under the carpet is like treating the symptom and letting the root cause remain. India is bound by its moral police, or the fake pretense of it and things are just getting worse with each passing day. Making prostitution illegal, or certain consensual sexual acts out of bounds, based on morality, laws and other things will just make things worse, rather than better. A man who wants to have sex, and is not married, and is then bound by laws which don't allow him to seek it by paying, just gets frustrated and desperate, and looks for it in ways which hurt more than help. He will grope, he will eve-tease, molest and in worse cases even rape. No, I am not giving a plausible, or pardonable reason for these heinous acts, but just talking about some reasons, why they may occur. Not every man or for that matter woman in the world has moral mindset that prevent them from satisfying their primal urges. And the need for sex is nothing if not one of the most primal urges in mankind.

There are many arguments about whether it is in fact man or woman who has a greater sex drive, but that is not my point of concern here. My point of concern is as long as there are men out there who want it, and have either physical or monetary power to get it, sexual crimes and trafficking will not stop. Can we kill the desire of men, who do not have the convenience of having a wife/girlfriend/willing sexual partner at hand to satisfy themselves? I think not. The fact remains that even a lot of men who are married, especially in India, get very little action. Think of a family living in a chawl set up in Bombay. One huge room, parents and 2-3 kids sleeping in the same room, how often do you think the couple end up engaging in sex? Very very rarely. And though I would like to believe that a middle aged, father of three, would control his urges, the fact may be very different. So when in a crowded bus on his way to work, he gets the opportunity to stick himself to a woman, he does it, and in that way he becomes a molester. The woman curses him mentally, maybe even verbally, tries to move away the little she can, and yet she has been touched in a way that she did not want to be, and nothing in the world can take that back. The mental scar is formed. We know, under other circumstances, the man himself might have tried his best to maintain ditance, but things what they were, he got the little thrill or pleasure he could out of the circumstances, and yet we will not acknowledge his need. If this man could go, pay for it, and satisfy himself somewhere, would the women on the streets, not be a little bit safer? If pornographic material was available to him, conveniently, would he not probably have used them to pleasure himself?

My point is, that there are women out there who would willingly have sex for money. or favours or even just for the pure physical fun bit of it. If they could openly provide their services in exchange for money, or anything else, life would get a lot easier for women who do not wish to be touched/groped/raped or molested. But we attach social and moral stigma to such a choice of profession, and hence even women who would take up this service, often enough, do not, or do it in the sly, which means their services are not openly or easily available. The demand hence remains much higher than the supply, and so to bridge the gap, trafficking begins, women, and even young girls are forced into the flesh trade completely against their will, and that is just straight up, unjust. In a place where seeking sex, and consensual adult sex does not have any immoral associations, the cases of sexual crimes, as well as trafficking for the same would not occur. Because the cause for any of these things is nothing but the want, the primal desire which is left unsatisfied.

Not every man on earth is virtuous enough to be bound by moral bindings, religion or even law. There are cases of pedophiles abusing their position in the Roman Church, there are the devdasis in Hindu Temples and many such things, which show us that not every person is capable of being moral. And the laws can do nothing till the harm is already done. What is the point in prosecuting a person after he has already harassed or raped a woman. What we need is open acceptance, and a society which believes in real freedom, and like minded adults are allowed to do what they wish to. When I read about the swinger's clubs booming here, in the newspaper, my pre-programmed morals kicked in at first, but then I realised what a wonderful thing it really is. Willing adults are doing what they want to, to keep themselves happy and thus the rest of the population stays safe, instead of having amongst us people, who are frustrated and unsatisfied. The sex drive is a natural need, quite like hunger, so though, when on a diet, we mind what we eat, curb our hunger, every once in a while the need gets the better of us and we binge on what we should not. Fortunately the binging does not bother anyone else, but going berserk with the need to satisfy sexual desire often leads to too much harm.

I am sure many of the molesters and rapists would have stood on the other side of the line, if they could legitimately get what they needed. Unfortunately in the present scenario they don't, and innocent women walking the streets, end up bearing the brunt of it, which is completely and totally unfair. Maybe morality can be preached in a way that psychologically completely revamps man's actions, but that way has not yet been found, and till such time that we do, I think an open honest approach to things, and basic human needs would make life a lot easier and safer for every woman. Trafficking would not happen, if the women who willingly want to have sexual relations with men, could openly do so, without being prosecuted by law or fake moral bindings. It is high time people accepted one of the most basic natural needs of man as normal, and does not judge anyone who seeks to fulfill it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Not Going By The Books

In a world driven by results, every thing is measured and compared. My realisation of this just got clearer, from the day the BB was born. Besides an occasional and very rare mention of 'Each Child Grows At his Own Pace' at certain places, every thing about a baby is measured, in terms of charts, milestones, set patterns. Anything off the defined ranges is a cause of great concern. Height, weight, motor skill developments, crawling, walking, talking, reading..... the list is endless. And no matter where we are, and how open minded we claim to be, at the end of day, the comparison does not cease. Sometimes even the doctors become a part of the craziness, and very often in the paranoid world we live in, it does not take long before experts take over and drive nervous, hapless parents over the edge.

I believe, every child is different, just as every person is. And the difference and uniqueness is a part of us from birth. And yet when I step out in the world, the comparisons happening, the tape measuring, the weighing scales, the charting, the checking, and once in every while, I fall into the trap, wondering why is my child not doing this, or why is he not weighing xyz. And I hate that. I know someone who was born weighing 1.5kg, and is a perfectly healthy girl today. The guy who did not talk till he was 5, and even then found it very difficult to do so. He works in PR and actually charms people with his words today. And so many others, who did not measure up to the charts, the milestone dates set by books, and have grown up to be such normal, unique people. So, why, I think, why do we obsess so much about when, how much, how tall when it comes to our children.

I am doing this post to remind myself, that my little BB is a unique and wonderful person in his own right, and each time, that craziness of measuring up hits me, I want to have something to remind me, why I should not fall into the crazy rut.

He is a sweet tempered boy. Tantrums happen, but rarely, he is not usually cranky nor irritable. There is no wake-up crankiness, nor any being upset for being hungry.

He can keep himself busy for hours. A fallout of being an only child, to a mother who always has some chore at hand, and is addicted to her laptop. Its great, to have baby who does not need to be entertained all the time.

The boy is quite a loving little one. Though he absolutely loves to go out, he would get all dressed up and everything, but would not get out of the house, till, he is absolutely sure that all three of us are leaving. And the same process works, when we are out, no letting one get away or left behind. He loves this merry-go-round ride available for kids in the mall we go for groceries. This time, the GP was parking while I came in with him early, so that he could get on his ride, and we could go on for our shopping. But the boy simply ran right back to the parking lot to get his father, refusing even to go on the ride, which is pretty much a ritual each time we go to our groceries. How many kids actually wait instead of having fun, to be sure they did not leave anyone in their group behind!

He loves people, but he does not pine for them. He enjoys being with them, but does not get all clingy or cranky when they are not around. So even if the GP is off for a trip, I know the BB would not be much bothered, even though the fun he has with his father, is just their thing. No matter how much I try, I just cannot do it with him.

The BB is friendly, he does not mind people or other kids. He is rather open, and runs to other people with open arms, and an open heart. Oh! And he does not hit, ever, even if the other kids push. pull, tug, hit or even poke him in the eye, he never retaliates by hitting or even screaming. (Though in some cases, I think I should teach him to do it. He cannot have people poking him in the eye, its dangerous, esp since I may not always be around as he keeps growing up.) He actually goes and hugs the kids after they do that to him, and I am talking about the ones who do not do it as play!

Addendum - He does not watch TV, has no favourite cartoons or programs. For all he cares, the TV maybe on, all day long, and he would be somewhere else in the house doing his own thing. On rare occasions that he spots a baby on the screen, he rushes in, kisses the screen and within moments is back to doing whatever it is that he was.

No demands for chocolates or ice creams happen either. He loves both the things, but can go for days without either, unless he is offered some. Basically means no mealtime crying for this or that. In fact he always prefers raw veggies, salads and yogurt to eat, any time, any meal.

And no matter how much the world races, rages and compares, my baby is special to me for his own unique qualities and temperament. All the charts, counts and numbers in the world, cannot measure a whole person, and that is exactly what my BB is.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A small thought.

I had been to a new playgroup with the BB today. This group was quite multicultural. There were Chinese, Greek, French and Indian people, besides the Australians ofcourse. There were two Indian mothers, and most of the time, I saw them closeted with each other, talking in Hindi. Once in a while I joined them, and at one of those instances, found one of them in tears talking about how she wants to go to her mother in India, who is ill, and her husband is not consenting. And what struck me was, that chuck the language issues, and everything else, would any of the other mothers even understand her heartbreak, if the lady chatted up about this with any of the others, I guess not, they would in probability be flabbergasted, and find the whole situation quite incomprehensible. Though many Indian women would disapprove of the situation, and find it sexist, unfair etc, but we would atleast understand teh context she comes from, and what it entails, whereas it would be simply so alien to a non-Indian person. And so in some ways, we are really away, no matter how far we geographically are from the country, isn't it?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Something From The Past, In The Present

In her recent post, Piper talks about being naughty, doing the forbidden. I believe the definition of naughty or for that matter the forbidden is quite relative. While it would be forbidden for one woman to even mention she ever had a boyfriend, to the man she marries, others would rattle on and on about all their previous relationships, some would consider it sin to even think of another man/woman post being in a commitment, others would gladly go out and flirt/date/have an affair on the sly, without any guilt. Eventually its our own mind which tells us whats acceptable or not. And we feel guilty only when we do something that our own conscience says is wrong. But here I completely digress from what I set out to write about.

When I was a teenager, in high school, it was quite the in-thing to get hold of the phone numbers of people you had a crush on, and call them up with fake personalities. Crank calls, is what they were called, and they worked because it was the era before cell phones, or even caller-id. One of my friends even managed to get together with the guy she had been having the most massive crush on for ages. We never got it, because she actually looked like a doll, and the guy was a loser in every sense of the word, looks, personality, potential. And yet again I am off on a tangent, teen- age years give us so much to reminisce about.... However getting back to the point. There was this school hunk a couple of years my senior, who was one of the hottest guys in school, lets call him, CG. I think the hallways filled up with drool, each time he passed by.

As you may have guessed by now, this guy was my huge massive crush too, and obviously he was not aware of my existence. For the record, mine was one of the most populated high schools of the country. As always happens in those years, I managed to get his phone number, and high on the rush of hormones, did call him up one day. Not too surprisingly, the Mooney eyed me, kept calling, even after and a period of over two years we became friends. I think CG knew, that I very obviously had a crush on him. He was the kind of guy, who had girls drooling all over him, and he had the attitude to boot. We used to have these marathon conversations over the phone, talking about pretty much everything under the sun. Over a period of time, he began confiding in me, a bit here, a bit there, and the friendship blossomed. It was no longer just me calling him, but he called up too, we would talk a lot. And I pretended in my mind that we were not just two people talking on the phone, without having ever come face to face. Then I went away to college, the calls became few and far between, we stayed in touch on and off. I would give him a call when I came home for my holidays, we would chat up the few days I was there. Long distance calls never really happened, and then over a period of time, it all waned off, and we got out of touch.

During the period of time we were actively friends, and even later after that, I had an image of a matured, sensible and sensitive guy of CG. I was definitely blinded, because we all knew he changed girlfriends at the drop of a hat, and that did not really define sensitive. The crush obviously waned off, as I grew up , and realised we are mentally worlds apart. And life went on. He became a friend, I had never met, and gotten out of touch with. About a year back, I went back and checked the inbox of one of my older mail-ids, and what do I see, a mail from CG. Surprised, I open it to find an advertising mail, which I could not make head or tail of. I mailed him back asking him what this was about, and generally enquiring about his well being. A few mails were exchanged in the process. And what followed, made me realise, why we would never have remained friends, even we had not fallen out of touch.

As we got on to catching up over the mails, he could not stop talking about himself. He had joined his family business as soon as he was out of school, and that is what he was still doing, he was in the city he had been from the day he was born, and doing what he had been doing from day one. In the mails, he told me he was now married, and had a baby girl. Obviously I congratulated him, and asked him their names etc etc. What surprised me about his reply, was that he just continued talking about himself, telling me how much he loved his daughter, and how from the casanova that he used to be, he was not converted into a protective father.... ya da yada yada, and it was all nice, and friendly, but what i observed was, that not even as common courtesy did he enquire about me or my life. Parents usually always ask about each other's kids. I am yet to meet a person with a child who would enquire about mine, if they knew I had one. So this really surprised me, that he did not even ask me how old the BB is or even as much as his name. I told him I lived in Sharjah, and he said, he had a friends who were living there, but had moved to Dubai, because they found xyz problem with Sharjah. And so it went. Losing any common ground to discuss, I made small talk, by saying, he was lucky to be rooted in one place, while I was all over everywhere since I left school. He sent me pity in reply, saying I should not mind as long as I am making money. It just kept getting worse with each mail. While it is OK if someone brags, or loves talking about himself, and I need to maintain contact for work, but I cannot really be friends with such a person. And there is no other reason I would be in touch with him. I then also found out, that he had been regularly dropping in and checking out one of my social-networking site profiles. But he never left a message. And it just got stupid. Maybe he expected me to be a stupid teenager gaping at him. Vain! I think the last mail I sent him was quite a tiny curt one, and communication froze at that.

But what really caught my attention in all of this, was how as a teenager, I had been so awed by him, that I had possibly not observed any of these qualities about him. Or maybe had changed over the years (find that unlikely though!). Whatever it was, I didn't like the kind of person he appeared to be at the present time, and left it that. But I really believe I have not really interacted at a personal, human level with anyone who is so completely vain,arrogant and self-absorbed. To think I once had this huge crush on me, really makes me wonder what was wrong with me. I will just blame it on the raging hormones, and thank God, I had my sensible, thinking wits around me, when I met the GP, hormone rush or not.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

In Which The BB Goes Solo

I has been over two months since I got here, and exactly two months since the BB turned three today. And just yesterday was the first time ever, that he was without either the GP or me, and there was no related-by-blood adult taking care of him either. His first time, on his own. We will ignore that fact that I refused to leave the building, and kept peeking in every now and then, simply because he was not aware of that!

To get to the starting point of it all, I wanted him to start kindergarten/pre-school this year. Unfortunately we arrived here a wee bit too late, since all the admissions for this academic year had already closed by then, and most of the private kinders run programs only for those who are four and above, the ones for three year-olds were once again booked out. This meant, another year of him at home with me. This I did not want, simply because I want him to socialise with other children. So I found a playgroup and started him on that. And then started looking up for other options, found a few activity-like things to do, picked up one, and still wanted more. I needed him to start going to a place where he would be without his parents, so that he starts understanding the true meaning of getting independent and having to take his own responsibility. With kindergarten not happening, the only option I had left was day care. Once again the council day cares, atleast the ones within reasonable distance are all booked in for the year, and hence I started looking at the much much more expensive option of the private ones. There is one that has newly opened at walking distance from home, and not knowing exactly what it is, that was the first thing we had looked into. We had even gone for a tour and looked in on the facilities. While the GP was keen that we fill in the forms and start him off immediately, especially since he has been keen on letting the BB grow his own wings(as if he does not have them already), but I kept dilly dallying. The place is gorgeous no doubt. New and swanky, well done, bright and colourful, everything, but somehow it seemed to be missing a basic vibrancy, a soul. The place just felt too processed for my liking, maybe even a bit haughty. And since I go by my instincts, this centre, just did not speak to me much, I did not feel a vibe or energy, I would love to send the BB to. In the meanwhile the playgroup happened, I looked up some more online, found a few other day care centres, the ones I can reach on my own. And so I called up a few, and booked a tour in one of them too.

This one had been around for a few years. It looked neither swanky nor uptown, and yet, I loved it the moment I walked into the place. It simply was not processed. I had been there in the afternoon with the BB, the kids his age, were out in the play area, doing their own thing, while the carers just kept an eye out. One boy actually came up and introduced himself and his friend to me. I could see that the kids were happy. I loved it, and booked in a half day for the BB immediately. They had been around for a while, and were better aware of the needs of children. When I told them it was to be the BB's first time at a care centre, they suggested I do a couple of orientation sessions first. Which was just what I needed, since I would not have been very comfortable just dropping him off and coming back home on the very first day. He did a one hour session on Friday, and was due for a longer one on Monday, which did not happen, because he was not too well, and I wanted him to stay in and get better.

And yesterday we directly went in for him to start. I stayed in the building, in a waiting room, but he was not aware of that and was on his own all the three and half hours that we were there. From what I see, the BB is loving the place only for its play area, that is the only place he wanted to be, since we got there. So as soon as we went in, he opened the door to his room, and ran in. The door to the play area though, was locked, since it was the middle of the afternoon, and the kids were sitting around being read to, while a very few of the others napped. What do you know, this did not appeal much to my little son, and he wanted to come right back out with me. I stepped out and went away. I knew, he would not get too upset about not having me around, but not being able to play outdoors, may bother him. The carers took over, the lady reading, sat him on her lap and went on, and I went into my hiding place. An hour later I come to check and I see the kids are all out playing, and I spot the BB all smiling and shining in the sun. The manager there told me, that he was a bit upset and had some tears, but has been happy since they were allowed to step out. And that they had let them out a bit early today, since it was his first day, but they won't be doing it always. Works just fine according to me.

The GP arrived there from office to pick us up, and we went in, and the BB was still outside playing. The lady told us, that he had been invited in to paint with the others, but he just enjoyed being outside and stayed right there. Had he been left to it, he would have happily stayed on there till the very last person left the centre. We brought him back home, and I had to give him a nice long wash to get all the sand, from the sand pit out of him. But over all, I believe it was a good day. He definitely did not care a hoot about whether I was around or not(what a blow to my motherly self-esteem that is!) as long as he was out there having fun. There was no drama-shaama about missing me, which is great. And that is how, the BB went solo for the first time yesterday.

He was satisfied with all the playing I know, because he readily agreed to head back home, and happily and nicely bid good-bye to all the carers. I know that his hunger to just play will diminish as he forms bonds with the other kids around, and he sees the carers regularly and becomes friendly with them, and I am sure it will be loads and loads of fun for him. I still think next Tuesday will be tough for me, since I will infact drop him there and go away, hopefully heading back home, and knowing I am physically far apart from him will bother me a bit, but I am sure I will get used to it just fine too. And suddenly the little bundle who was handed over to me in a nursing home, not too long ago, seems to have become big enough to be left on his own. How time flies indeed. Just hope that he keeps growing and learning at each step, and moves on, finding his own friends, rules, likings, passions, while knowing always that his parents stand firmly behind him whenever he needs them.

On a side note, the BB is totally enamoured by the video of 'nani teri morni' on youtube, since I showed it to him, when Monika posted it on her blog. To say he is totally taken by the video will be an understatement. Whenever I am on the laptop, he keeps saying 'mori, mori'(meaning morni). He does not let me so much as touch my laptop, as long as the video is playing, and as soon as it gets over, it needs to be repeated. A different video of the same song would not do, none of the other songs are good enough, so basically my mind is sick and tiered of the repeat loop on which the song is currently playing here. And Monika, I completely and totally blame you for it. A friend who was online after ages today, could not chat with me on Skype, because no way on earth could I halt the 'mori' video. So well, that's the song-of-this-household for now. And I need a change.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Monters, Them All!

Just watched a little bit of Deepa Mehta's Water last night on the telly last night, being telecast as a foreign film. The movie basically deals with the plight of Indian widows, and the terrible rules that bound them in the pre-independence era. I just watched the last half an hour, and I think that left me sleepless for the better part of the night.

Though there are absolutely no graphic displays or even anything remotely suggestive or titillating, but the portrayal shook me to the core. The main story line though, does not revolve around this, I think this part of the movie touched something too deep in the mother in me.

The little girl in the photo above (the photo is linked to the site from where I have picked it.) is a child widow, who goes by the name Chuhiya. She lives in a home for widows, where the oldest one is possibly more than ninety. A prevelant concept of the time says, that if a Brahmin man rapes sleeps/fornicates with a widow, it ensures salvation for them(the widows). Maybe that or the old woman gets a cut out of it, she fools the little Chuhiya, into believing she will be allowed to go home, but can have fun playing and having sweets before that, and sends her off with the devious eunuch to the old brahmin's house, to 'ensure her salvation'. They show the little girl bring brought back by the eunuch in a boat, lying down doubled up, possibly asleep or unconscious or even dead. It stirred something so primal and deep in the mother in me, that I cannot even put it in words. I just wanted to pick her up (the way Seema Biswas incidentally, does in the movie), hug her, console her, and atleast try and wash all the pain away. And once she was better, I would go and present the old B*#@#@d with the most horrific death he can imagine or maybe even worse.

Deepa Mehta must have done an amazing job here, because I don't remember the last time I felt that deeply after watching a movie. And the fact that it was not sensationalised either sexually or even violently, just makes me realise how well it must have been done, to affect me in the way it did. I think it has also a lot to do with the fact that I am a mother now, the instinct to protect and nurture somehow comes naturally. A boon and yet a curse of nature in its own right. The way a slight against a minor affects me now, never did even when I was a child myself. (I always believed myself to be invincible ofcourse, like every other child.) But now, something inside me just cannot handle it. The BB was asleep by the time I got down to watching the movie, else I would have been hugging him tight, just to soothe my nerves, and know that at least, my baby is safe. Needless to say, I was crying bucket loads, and the GP just kept reminding me its just fiction, and he could change the channel if it was bothering me so much.

But, what, and I literally mean what kind of a 'human being', would actually force himself on an innocent little child? Who and how, can anyone do that? They are just as bad, if not much much worse than murderers, killers and terrorists. I hope every pedophile in the world, is castrated, and left to bleed to death on streets, where people come and p#*s on their carcass. They deserve worse in my books. But more importantly, and more than killing them, I want to stop any innocent child from being hurt and abused. Knowing that some little kid, somewhere, in some corner of the world maybe facing sexual abuse, even as I sit and type this, is making me feel physically sick. And no wonder they say, being a mother is not easy, it really is not. I can never be what I was again, in this lifetime.

And after this terrible post, which can definitely not have made you feel good, here is something to soothe the nerves. I heard it on loop all morning to feel better. It helped, the mellifluous tune, played my most favourite instrumentalist of all time. I am simply an ardent fan of Ustaad Bismillah Khan. May his soul rest in peace.

Monday, March 1, 2010

What Matters, Or What Counts!

I have low retentivity of things. This is something I have realised of late. Had the realisation been allowed to hit me earlier, my career choices and path might have been completely and totally different. Its not that I don't remember anything, or nothing stays with me, but its just that, for the life of me, I cannot retain what is in text books, or things I need to study or things that I don't take a liking to. Photographic memory is a long long shot away, but its the simple remembering things that I have read once, that I terribly lack. I do remember my Harry Potter stories well, or for that matter my Sidney Sheldons, but talk about chemical reactions, or the syntax of Java, and you will draw a pure blank out of me.

I know, its quite natural for us to retain what interests us, what matter to us, but the inability to absorb and retain the TCP/IP protocols, in one read just meant extra work for me during college, when the exams neared. And no matter how much I hate to admit it, mugging is what I had to eventually resort to in most cases. For even though I could understand things, I did not really remember them well, because it did not really matter to me. Fortunately mathematics, was not something that completely went out of my brain when I shut the book, else I would have been sitting and going the rote way on that too, like so many other friends, who literally mugged up their sums.

The reason, I write about this today, is because I was thinking about a teacher of mine from school, one who taught us social sciences, civics and economics to be precise. Pretty much everyone in school adored her, she was not a super friendly teacher, but she had a charm and panache about her. I so so wanted to be like her, in the years she taught me. In class 8, she taught us Civics. It was a fun subject, because it used our sensibilities, and she had interactive sessions in her classes. The subject was about society, and life in it. It spoke of educating women, children, reservations, need for population control and things like that. Most of it did not need text book teaching, and she taught us in a way which made us think. In those times, we had tests each Monday, which basically meant a non-existent weekend, and two days spent preparing for the most hated event of the school week. My education, school, scores, were pretty much the central character of existence in my family.There was little else I did, and little else, I was supposed to even think about. So these tests and their evaluations were more than mere face value at my place. Hence a hawk eye was maintained on me over the weekends to ensure I was studying hard enough. Strangely, this one Sunday we went to my aunt's place in the middle of the afternoon, and were there till late night. Mostly that meant I barely studied for the test on Monday. Fortunately it was a Civics test, that Monday, and not too surprisingly, I aced it, I was the top scorer of my class, which had supremely brilliant students, who have proven their academic worth much much better than me in life. And yet, I say, non-surprisingly here, because I simply enjoyed learning what the subject entailed. I did not need rote in this case. I could write a 25 point answer on 'Why Women In India Need To Be Educated?', without needing to memorise anything at all. Because I felt for the cause, and because it was something that touched my heart. So that basically meant, I could function my brain, but only when I enjoyed doing so.

However, the point remains, that my retentivity, for facts, figures, rules, equations and all things like that is abysmal, to put it lightly. I see that everyday. I read my camera manual, and forgot most functions, had to refer back to it quite a few times, to get how it worked, since the GP came up with pure hostility when requested to help.(His logic, learn it yourself.) If I read a book, that is not a story or a novel, its unlikely I will have even a bit of it registering my mind, once I put it down. The same goes with news articles, the once in a rare while I do go through them. And yet, somehow I have a head for figures, no not figures about the area of a country or population of a state, but about money spent, or the tax calculations, or other things related to money. Quite the money hungry sucker am I, isn't it?But why feign nonchalance, money definitely does matter to me.

At the end of the day, I believe I retain what interests me, or what matters to me. Very typically feminine, I never forgets events of incidents that I can use against the GP, in future wars. I remember most stories I have read till date. And yet I so envy the people who have a brain for the technical and the factual stuff. People who never forget the syntax of a programming language once they have learnt it, or chemical equations, or facts and figures they may have casually read somewhere, and can rattle it off anytime, anywhere. For the life of me, I can never remember these things. Thank dear God, my academic days are behind me, and I no longer need to retain what is completely mundane to me. Why is it not worthy enough, to remember stories or events or the grocery bill figure. Why can I not use them as a professional skill? And for all those of you, who can get it all in one read, here is me, expressing my unabashed admiration. And if you have a trick up your sleeve, please do share!