Monday, May 31, 2010

Trying To Keep Mum!

I have heard or read somewhere, that the more often we talk about the unpleasant experiences of our lives, the deeper goes its impact. Somehow talking about it, seems to keep reviving the memories of the incident, maybe even, some other unpleasant ones connected to it and just digs deeper into our minds. Its like if I have a fight with a stranger on the street about something, and seethe about it. Then I come back home and tell the GP about it, the anger is revived anew, then I speak to a friend the next day and tell her about it too, and once again the mind gets agitated. And hence each time I talk about it, the agitation, anger, frustration just goes deeper inside my mind. Creating a deeper pocket of negativity.

I think the concept is true, it does indeed happen, the more we talk about it, the more we end up thinking about it, and the more it keeps bothering us. So how easy is it, then to just shut up and not talk about it? Not easy at all, I think. Something happened today, something that would seem rather small, but it got my goat, besides that it triggered a memory of similar past incidents, and just got into the snowball effect. I am trying to get my mind away from it, but then the mind does have a mind of its own. Its easy to fall into the vortex of anger, negative thinking, self pity, bitchiness. So I have taken a proactive step, something I have never done before. I have decided not to talk aloud about it. It is coming to my mind now and again, and it will be easy to just call up someone and talk about it, but I am not doing it. I did tell the GP first off, because it was just too fresh in my mind at that point, but post that I decided to try this experiment, of keeping mum about it. It is hard, very hard, but I am trying. And I am hoping that it works, and I get over it sooner, and better. The three hours of watching Avataar definitely helped.

Tell me how you deal with situations that bother you? Is it always a good idea to tell a friend and lighten your heart and mind? What are the tricks up your sleeve, please do share!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tales From Tonight

First of, let me apologise, to all the people who peeped into this space the last few days to see, if there was anything new here, and found nothing, and some more, to the couple of readers who actually asked me what is keeping me from blogging. I apologise, because I am very disappointed when there are no updates on the blogs I visit, I keep haunting them for updates. There is not a clear reason, as to why there have not been any new posts in a while. Just that life has suddenly gotten busy with a million things happening almost each day, and I decided to live it rather than struggle for time, lose sleep and blog about it. I miss posting regularly, but I am forcing myself to take it a bit easy.

My training began this week. It was an amazing experience. I will, for my own sake, post on it, in detail. And then some more.

But this is just something that happened tonight, and I just had to share it. Today, the BB forced us to buy him a box of lollies, at the market, and we did. At night, he wanted to hold the box and sleep, I was very unhappy about it, and told him to go to sleep on his own, if he was not ready to let go of the box. He chose the box. Good enough. I left the room, telling him to not come out of the bedroom and fall asleep on his own. For a while we could hear him, and then it became quiet. I decided to go check on him after five minutes of silence. Opened the bedroom door to find no one...... surprised, I looked around, and this is what I found.

Do note the box in his hand, and the phone charger near his legs. I am guessing he was trying to plug in the charger, and fell asleep doing that. He was deep asleep, and awakened by the flashing of the camera, but went back to sleep easily enough once I put him on the bed. My little cartoon I tell you!

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Sound Of 'Something'

Looks like I have to eat my words, and fortunately for once, I am doing so rather happily. When I recently wrote the post, which stated, I was expecting a disappointment heading my way, I was rather sure, it would come my way, and I would mope and moan about it for a really really long time to come. I even had a super duper post title prepared in my mind to share my woes with the world. It was to be called, 'The Sound Of Nothing'. And since things turned out to be different from my expectations, so did the title of the projected post.

Now to bring you in the loop, about what happened. Since the last few months, I have been a little edgy, feeling the need to add more to my life, wanting to do more. Even the blogging has slowed down, often enough I have opened up to write a post, and been unable to go beyond a few lines. The reason being my mind is dulled, and yet agitated. My mind works the best when it has a lot to do, when I lay it to rest, it just does not start up easy. As simple as that. Coming back to 'my thing', I was not sure, how exactly to add to my life. Time-wise, I have pretty packed days as is. I am a really slow worker, you see, but I needed something to keep me happy, something to feed the mind and heart. I had planned on studying a course, close to my heart, but it did not work out for certain reasons. And so I was back to square one. Went back to looking for options. The only one being work, and even there I have a million constraints. I don't want to go back to where I once was, and I cannot work full-time, and I cannot work from home, and I cannot travel too far, since I don't yet drive, and......... well so you get the picture. The thing is, I wanted to start working, in a field, where I would be interacting with people as persons, I wanted to get into something along the lines of social work, counseling and such. Tough luck again, because I have never even dipped a toe in that river. But I kept looking.

And I came across a women's help group. They recruit and train volunteers, and the whole set-up really appealed to me. I called them up, and they sent me information brochures, from which I learnt, they were about to take in a new set of trainees. Obviously I applied. So the week before last I attended an orientation session, where they told us, everything about themselves, the training, and the work thereafter. I filled up my forms, and was requested to attend a group interview the next week, for them to assess, if I fit the bill. Surprisingly, for a place where an applicant needs to pay for training and then commit to a whole year of volunteer work, they had double the number of applicants, to the number of positions they needed to fill. It has been ages, and really ages, since I attended a formal interview of any sort. And here, I did not even know how to prepare. But knowing myself, I know I perform best impromptu and so I left it at that. Last Tuesday afternoon was my interview.

Things can mess up horribly, when you are really looking forward to it. I had to drop the BB to his day care centre and then take the tram to my interview. I needed to leave home, the latest by 12:30 to be able to make it in time. The BB however had coughing fits throughout the previous night, fell asleep only at around 8 in the morning, and I had to force him awake at quarter to 12. Fed, him dressed him and finally left home only past 1. I knew, I was running very very late. Had to call a cab to the centre to pick me up. Made it to the venue just in time, and the rest of the group was waiting. Started off, and what did I know, there were women with so many qualifications and and such vast experience in the field, that I felt like a complete fool, even being there. There are confidentiality issues here, and so I cannot go into details, but believe me, there was no one, as inappropriate to fit the bill as me. I just prayed, that, my true zeal for the work shows. When we were done, the ladies interviewing us, told us that the ones selected, would be called up and informed, before the end of the week, which basically meant by 5pm Friday. And I thought it would be better to get some confirmation of a rejection, instead of no intimation at all. And hence came the title, 'The Sound Of Nothing', to my mind.

Thursday afternoon, a friend and her little one were around, and the house was one hurricane hit place, with the BB and Aadya having the time of their lives. We were sitting around sipping tea, when my phone rang, and I wondered who it was, since I receive very few calls, and when I do, they are usually ones that I am expecting. I picked up my phone, and saw the number belonged to the training coordinator of the organisation. And I knew that I had made the final cut, and my joys knew no bounds. I pretty much gushed through the entire call, where I was offered an opportunity to volunteer. The lady at the other end, infact even commented, that she was happy to find me so excited. Once the call ended, I hugged everyone around the house. Called up, the out-of-town GP and informed him of the good news and bounced like a ball around the house a few times. Then in my usual fill of low self-esteem, went on to dissect the reason I had been selected, such as, I am not working or studying anywhere, so they can be sure I have the time to dedicate and such like, till finally I think Trishna got tiered of it, and said, "Maybe, it is because you were good!". It felt so nice, just hear someone say that, and I felt even better.

So basically it has been a cloud nine thing for me, since the call. I am settling down, and also realising the fact, that this is not fetching me any money or anything, and yet this is just the kind of work I want to do, and it does not need me to commit much time. The training will be a little rigorous, but even that will just need me to commit one working day in the week. And that is just such a great way for me to start off at this point. I am just not prepared to leave the BB everyday of the week and go, and the fact that really gives me comfort, is that the GP's workplace is close to his Care Centre, and that way one of us will be close by at all times. And that brings me to, my beloved GP. He has been happier than me about this, more supportive than I can imagine. I had almost dropped going for the interview, since the BB was coughing so much the night before, but he persuaded me to just go and give it a try anyways. And had it not been for his pushing, I may have, just not gone.

Since a baking spree is on currently, I decided to bake a cake, to celebrate my own success. This one is made with whole wheat flour instead of the all purpose flour/maida, and hence healthier than the average cake. Frosting is a newly learnt skill, so I indulged myself there, and decorated with a few gems. It tastes absolutely heavenly, and everyone who tasted it, rated it as the best one I have baked here so far! So please be a part of my joy, and dig in.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Trans-Continental Baking Experiment - A Chocolate Mud Cake

I have been baking cakes for a while now. Nothing fancy, nothing great, but just regular, simple cakes. I have had issues with them each time I moved, and I have ranted galore about that too. I must be settling in, because the baking has improved a lot since the rants. But yet, my cakes as always have been plain and simple, the way I learnt as a child. Equal quantities of sugar, flour(maida), eggs and butter, all beaten really well, a pinch of baking powder, a flavour additive if we like, and off in the oven to bake. And that is the way it is for me. Since I love chocolate cakes, I picked up a packet of dark chocolate melts from the supermarket on one of my recent visits. Behind it, was the recipe for a mud-cake. I have been for a while, wanting to try my hand at frosting a cake, something I have never done, but seeing the gorgeous cakes my hot-shot expert baker/blogger friends belt out, I have been wanting to have a go. The recipe I found was complicated, it needed a lot of things, and I was not sure it would turn out great. So I looked up for other options online, there were many recipes for mud-cakes, quite different from each other, and I was totally nonplussed.

And so I decided to take the smart route and mail them and ask for a recipe that had been tried. Most of them had not tried a mud cake, but 'A' graciously sent a link to a recipe she had used to bake cup-cakes. I tried, and frosted a cake for the very first time in my life. While the frosting turned out really well, and the cake tasted heavenly too, the texture of it flopped miserably, and I had almost no sponginess or pores within. The taste though was, purrrrrfect. I reported my results to the 'jury', and the experienced women, decided to tackle the issue head on, and each one of them decided to give it a try. 'A', Monika, Smitha and Trishna, got on the jobs, did a little bit of tweaking here and there to the recipes, and landed up with absolutely and delightfully perfect versions. The flurry of e-mails, and exchange of tips and ideas that happened over all of last week amongst the five of us, has definitely left me a lot smarter about baking. I say this with no qualms, that I am the least experienced baker of them all, and infact the worst of them lot. After my not-too-great first attempt, when each of the other ladies came up with such perfect renditions, I knew I had to give it another go, even if just to save my own self-respect. And I did, on Sunday. And would you believe it, my first try, did not bake properly, because we needed to go out, and I checked just the sides, which had been baked, but the centre was still completely wet. I realised this when we got back home at 8pm. All my Lindtt, dark chocolate down the drain. But by then I knew I could not rest till I got it right, so I got down to bake another one, just then, and was finally done with the frosting and decorating by a little after midnight. And had to wait till then to cut in and see if this one was good. And yes it was, just perfect.

It was the perfect culmination for all the fun we had learning about baking, small tips and tricks from each other. Five women, four different continents, Asia(Monu), Europe (Smitha), North America ('A') and Australia (Trishna and me) and one cake over a period of one week. It has been awesome fun, and the fact is we have branched out into a lot of other recipes and more. Thank you ladies for teaching me so so so many ways to improve my baking and taking the time and effort to share your thoughts, experiences, and actually trying out the cake. Hope we keep doing this, again and again.

Presenting you with my final product.

And just hop over to read about how 'A', Smitha, Monika and Trish baked theirs.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Nothing To Say

I have a disappointment heading up my way this week, and I will definitely post about it, when the time comes, have even thought up of a cool title for that post. So expect that sometime in the weekend, or if I am too busy, early next week. Frankly speaking though, I have been desperately wanting to write a post today, and I am absolutely unable to come up with anything at all, when I finally it down to do it. I have a few ideas, but somehow i know I cannot translate them well into a coherent post at the moment. So what do I do? Torture anyone who drops in with the mundane, my life.

The GP is away yet again, on a business trip. (I wonder if business trip is the right term for someone who is employed and not running a business per se.) Its kind of depressing on lonely winter evenings, when the man is not around. And yes winter it is. Its freezing and chilling out here. Like a fool I went out with just a sweater on yesterday, no socks or shoes, hat or gloves, and I actually froze up partly and had to thaw my feet when I got back home. It has been ages, and I mean literally ages, since I have been in a place that cold. I had forgotten what it really feels like, and it will take me a bit to re-ignite my chill fighting skills. happy being indoors, heater on, warm and nice, really! And yes, I am desperately missing my fur(faux) lined black leather jacket, from the times I actually lived in a place that got chilled in winters. Officially though we are still in autumn time here, the winters are ushered in only next month, and I can only pray that I will survive. I have no idea why I am dreading the cold so so much. Maybe the joints that have already started to creak have something to do with it. And no, its not exaggeration, my joints are actually creaking, makes me wonder what my real bodily age is.

In other news, the BB is fascinated with the hair and head of his peers, and his been tugging at any that he can lay his hands on. The problem is I don't even understand why he is doing it, so I don't even understand what to tell him. And yes, I am taking a break from the playgroup for the next few months. Because, once again, it is really getting cold, and its no fun waiting for long periods of time on the bus-stop, or walking in the chilly breeze, and most importantly, because I am really mad at the other mothers there. I think the last one is in fact the real reason. I don't really wish to go into petty details right now, and maybe I am mis-interpreting the social cues of this society, but whatever it is, I am unhappy! And no, there is nothing racist about the situation.

Life is on as usual, a little happy a little sad.I am sleeping a lot these days, and I mean a real 'lot'. Its so cosy inside the quilt, I just don't feel like giving it up in the mornings, and most mornings I lay in till the BB decides he wants to be up. Privileges of being a stay-at-home-mom I guess. And of course, I love my sleep.

So tell em friends, what is up with your life? And yes all my blog readers are my friends, so just tell me what is up with you too.

Monday, May 10, 2010

And What Was Yesterday?

Going by the staple idea of an ideal mother, in the Western society, I kind of made the cut this Mother's day, by baking a batch of choco-chip cookies for the sonny. Fresh out of the oven, the whole wheat variety, to be had with a glass of milk. This was my first ever attempt at baking cookies, and the first batch burnt up, because I thought I had to let them be in, till they harden up, fortunately the second batch behaved better. The recipe comes off one of the rather accomplished bakers of the blog-world, Monika, and I completely loved this rather healthy cookie recipe she put up. And no doubt, it was super duper yummy too, to boot.

Like them?

Mother's Day, a well peddled, advertising gimmick, to celebrate one's mother, that is the way I look at it. Why? Because my child had better celebrate having me for a mother, every single day, atleast till he gets on with life on his own. At the least I can live under the illusion that he does. And inspite of thinking of the day as an advertising gimmick, I always welcome gifts, and so i greedily lapped up the many baking dishes that came in as my gift of the day!

The fact is being a mother, is all about having a part of your heart growing outside of your body. That is literally how I have come to feel, in the few years that I have been a mother. For a bit we take our hearts for granted, it will beat, pump the blood in my body, and so on. As a mother I take my child for granted at times, just like that. And a slight little pain in the heart and our anxiety levels shoot up, sky high, the child is a little unwell, and we react the same. And yes, a little trouble with either, a heartburn in our heart or a big, sad puppy face on our child, the guilt trips they can take us on, are rather enormous. We walk, exercise, eat well to keep our heart healthy. We mind our language, behave well and generally try to be good role models for our children. How different are they really then from our hearts, besides the fact that they grow outside our bodies, and as they keep growing, they also spend a lot of time being physically farther and farther apart from us. At many many times, being a mother is equivalent to being on one of those horror rides of amusement parks, because you never know what to expect next, and the scares can be big. And yet, just like the heart, a child fills us with love, softness, tenderness and kindness, like nothing else ever can.

Being a mother is so far, no mean task for me, for most importantly I still just cannot let go. I will get there I know, someday, someway, maybe because I simply have to, but not just right now. It has brought me on my knees, broken me down, scared me to my bones, made me grow guilt the size of an elephant, it has taken a toll on my body and health, has made me perpetually teary eyed and yet it has made me more loving, giving, kinder, softer, gentler, and filled me with joys like nothing else I have ever known before. It is not easy, being a mother, really it is not, and I will not mask it with words like, but the smile makes it all worth it, because really when you have not had a decent night's sleep in months, and your baby decides midnight is the right time to exercise his lungs by crying out loud, and refusing to keep quiet unless held by you, for hours at a stretch, the smile does not quite cut it, at that moment. And yet,in ways that I did not quite realise, motherhood caught me unaware, and converted me into a creature, which is a mix of a doe, in constant fear, because a piece of her heart is outside her body(remember???), a tigress who can kill to protect her cubs and an ewe, who lovingly nurtures her lambs. Am I happy with that? Well honestly, and cross my heart, I am. I do miss the times, when my entire heart was in my body, and did not need feeding, cleaning, teaching, disciplining, being put to sleep and a million more things, because those were carefree days, but I think I am too deep into motherhood now, to ever be able to go back to that. I am in 24X7 job.

And knowing what it is, let me raise a toast to every mother out there in the world, man or animal, biological or adopted, female or male, because it is not easy being you. And each one of you, in your own special way, love and cherish your child like only you could, and make the world a better place being the loving tender shade of care for your child. Happy Mother's Day!

And that is the little creature who makes me a mother. The piece of my heart, growing outside of me.

Friday, May 7, 2010

See It To Believe It

We recently saw an hour long documentary on this video shot by a tourist in Africa, and I could not help but be fascinated. Wanted to share it, for everyone to see. Sometimes the ferocious lion has to beat a retreat too.

And a wonderful comment left on youtube
"parit1211 iv heard this footage was taken by a tourist at the Kruger park. This amateur managed to capture a clip which many experienced photographers haven't been able to do in their careers displaying the circle of life beautifully. "

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Doing Something Right

Yesterday, I wanted to go to attend a meeting/seminar in the city, and so decided to drop the BB off at the care centre in the morning, instead of his usual post-lunch timing. With the passing days, he has just become more comfortable going there, and yesterday for once he did not cling to me, even when I said bye and gave him a kiss. I turned to leave, and headed for the door, while the carer, told all the kids to put on their hats, and get ready to go out into the play area. The BB's room had a door opening to the play area at one end, and towards the exit at the other. Like all the other kids, the BB absolutely loves being in the outdoor play area, which has the bikes, the sand pit and more. And hence I was sure, he would run to the door, just like all the other kids had, and were huddling around waiting for the door to open. Instead he turned and began his journey towards the exit door, and I worried, he was going to be clingy for a bit. What did I know?

There was this one little boy, who could not find his hat. he was holding his bag with one hand and groping in it with the other, to find his hat. The BB, just came upto him, and started pulling him. He had no idea, what the other kid was doing, and the other kid did not really get why the BB was pulling him either. But I knew, the moment I saw it happen. The BB would not leave this one behind and head out to the play area, he thought that the other kid possibly did not know, and came to take him along. He does it at home too, he refuses to step out, till both the GP and I, or more people if present, are all ready to go out, and this no matter how much he himself wants to be out. I lingered at the door for a bit, to see what happens. The boy would pull away his hand, and get back to digging into his bag, and the BB would keep tugging at his arm, to take him along. And it lasted for the good two minutes, till I left, and possibly even after. My BB was ready for forgo his play area fun to ensure that the other child did not get left behind. What a moment of pure motherly pride it was for me.

I cannot express in words, the joy and peace I felt. And for once I realised, that in my mind, my own accomplishments, and deeds pale so miserably, in comparison to the littlest nice things the BB does. I do not need my son to be an academic genius, or a rich business tycoon, the only thing I want him to be, or rather hope he turns out to be, is a good human being, and nothing more, possibly also the one thing that is completely for him to develop into. And if I can see small bursts of that happening, the sheer joy I experience is boundless and more immense than anything I have ever felt before. I called up everyone I could, to share the tale, and told all his grandparents too, and their gloating and glee was way more than my own. I went about the rest of my day with the widest grin on my face, and knew that somewhere, I was doing something right in bringing up my son! Love you my little darling.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

My SaTuRdAy

What do you think is this?

A huge container full of books and more, being given away!

When a month starts on a note this high, I only hope the rest of the days to follow can keep up, or rather I hope they do! It was Saturday, and we were in mid-day limbo, trying to decide on what to do for the day, when suddenly my phone rang, and a friend informed me, that a library had closed down in the City, and they were just giving away their entire collection on the streets. Well, the whole family was dressed and on the go within the next 15 minutes, though we expected to find very little by the time we got there. But fate had different plans, the container was still full of books, and more was being poured in every now and then. It was just, pick, take and go. Can you imagine, a whole library full of books just being let go. I jumped in, and grabbed as many as I could. And what was amazing was there was no pushing, no shoving, and not even any tugging, people, and surprisingly few, considering the fact they were being let go, were there, taking there time and picking what they liked.

My LOOT! 34 of them. There is even one by Rahi Masoom Reza.

Isn't that just the best way for the month to start. I informed a couple of other friends about it, and at least one, did rush in to get some for herself.

And then I caught sight of the 3rd Zombie shuffle happening in Melbourne. It was amazing to see thousands of people dressed like zombies, walking down the street. Most of them with unbelievably realistic make-up, making them look so so scary. I wish I had time to capture more photos, or atleast my camera with me, but the phone is what I had to make do with.

And then ofcourse my day ended, with my first ever attempt at a cake with frosting, and that too a mud cake. Did not turn out 'great', but tasted quite well, and so I am happy.

And so, this is how May has begun for me this year. How has it been for you?