Sunday, August 29, 2010

Don't XOXO Me

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Vanity, I thought I Did Not Possess!

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Whet It Izz......?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Giving It Up

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

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

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

Wish me luck!

Monday, August 9, 2010

OK! So I hate Mondays.

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Use Your Mammaries, Mothers!

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

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

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

[Image courtsey -]

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Reality Bites

There was once a mother, a long long time back, with a small child, who dreamed and hoped for time, when someone else would take over her child for a while, and she would enjoy some free time. The time came, a couple of years too late, she had by then been maternalised(just like one gets institutionalised). And then she realised, all the free time in the world would mean nothing now, when her heart and mind was bound to her child.

Today I was home all day, and the BB was not. He was having a pyjama-day with his teddy bear for company at his day-care centre. There was a teddy-bear picnic and some. Good thing he was not as miserable as me. Its simply terrible being alone at home. I have lost that ability, in the past three and half years. I was terrified of the day ahead, and even though I had over six unwatched movie CDs lying with me, I did not feel like watching even one. Earlier, I would have a million ways to pass my time, today, none appealed to me. I forced myself through one movie till lunch time, and the thought of sitting and eating alone at that point, overwhelmed me. It was a strange feeling watching the movie without any interruptions at all, or worrying about keeping the volume low, so that the BB would not be disturbed while he slept. A couple of times, just out of habit, I turned the volume down, only to realise later, there wasn't a little warm body asleep, upstairs! I wonder if I have indeed become a pathetic needy mother.

I was not ready to eat alone, so out I went, into the wet cloudy day. Walked to the ATM, got some cash, and then walked the exact other way, passed by my home, and walked on to the closest mall. And what do you think I did? Bought some clothes for the BB. (Yes, I am hopeless, I know it. But then again, what's so bad about being totally in love with my own child, and wanting to be around him. ) Well, a few of his clothes have gone missing from his day-care. He messed up the clothes he was wearing, and they changed him. The spoiled clothes were wrapped and kept in a plastic. And the ever careless GP, picked up the BB in the evening minus the bag. He did not even realise that the BB was in a different set of clothes. Tells you a lot about men does it not? And now, the clothes are nowhere to be found, so I might as well think them gone. What hurts is they were my favourite sweatshirt and trouser for the BB. Ugggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh! Anyway, the shopping really did cheer me up, just as I expected it would. I definitely did take all the time in the world, so that I could stay away from home. Came in really late and hungry. Gobbled up some leftovers for lunch, and by then it was time to prepare dinner. And I was happy to have that to do.

The BB came home, and I felt like, I could breathe again. I showed him his new clothes, and he loved them, wanted to wear almost all of them together. That made me really glad. And before you knew what was happening, from his day in pyjamas, he immediately shifted into his swanky new clothes and pranced around the house. Money well spent, is what I will say!

But I realise now, that I need to work on being alone at home, without wanting to run out and away. And I also understand, that when I actually get the alone time, it is not as wonderful as it was in my imagination. For all my pretense of frustration at having no time alone, I now know, that I really can't handle it. I have re-learn the joys of being alone doing my own thing. Because once the BB starts school, and I am still home bound, I will end up with serious bouts of depression. What a roller-coaster journey, motherhood is!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What Is Racism?

Some of the new found radical misguided notions views on eradicating racism, really leaves me baffled wondering, how exactly do people think. No, don't get me wrong, I am as against discrimination as one can get, discrimination of any form at all, racism being just one of the forms. Its the basic understanding of the concept, where I vary from much of the stuff I come across. Our mind, gets its input from the senses, and forms its pictures, opinions and thoughts. So I would really need to shut my eyes when evaluating a person, if I don't want to know what the colour of their skin is or what clothes she wears, or close my ears and not hear what language she speaks. It is natural for our brain to process the information it receives through the sensory organs, and form its opinions.

I for one cannot look at a person with fair/white skin and not think of it as belonging to a Caucasian, or hear someone speak in a certain accent and not relate it to a country of origin. I don't think, perceiving the obvious physical differences, as being different, is racism. It is when seeing a particular skin colour triggers a stereotype in our mind, and we behave accordingly, that it is racism. That is what I think. But to say, don't call a black man black, is like expecting me to be blind. That I treat him differently than others is racism according to me. But then again, why is it not racist when I treat a certain kind of people better than the rest, why is it labelled racism, only if a certain section is treated badly. A simple example, why is it racist behaviour, when a person is treated poorly based on the colour of skin, but not if a person gets preferential treatment due to their skin colour. Have you ever heard a complaint, from a person saying, 'Its racist that I receive better service at the restaurant just because I am black/white/brown/xyz'. And though I don't know if I am correctly deriving this, but does the human mind process racism, only when there is negative discrimination, and not when its beneficial to them? It feels like a person, who cribs about being minority in a society, and how that's discriminating, but does not feel the same way, when the same factor gets them into quota for admissions to colleges or finding work.

But does the true definition of racism include only the negatively impacting discrimination, or is it discrimination in any form at all. I don't know. But for all practical purposes, it seems to only include the negative discrimination. However, I have digressed from my original line of thought. Coming back to it. Racism is not in the observation of our senses, but in what our mind makes of those observations. I think it is taking it to stupid heights, when it becomes racist, to describe a person by the colour of their skin. I for one am brown, and I am an Indian, and I don't think its racist in any way at all, if anyone says that. It would be, only if they treated me differently, because of the above attributes of my persona. And while, I hate to say it, I think India happens to be one of the most racist countries that exists. The immediate change of attitude towards different colour of skin, exists so abundantly, not only within its boundaries, but the attitude abounds aplenty outside too. The immediate change of attitude towards people, who are white skinned, is just revolting. From being overly polite to the face, to bitching and name calling through the teeth, behind their backs, it simply disgusts me. Why does there have to be any classification at all. Why can the person not be thought of as a person alone, whatever the race? I will never openly admit it, or say it to people here, but the fact remains, as is.

Racism I say again, is not in accepting the facts as is, but it is how we process it in our minds, and react to it. A non-racist, would accept, that another person belongs to a different race, but treat him just the same as he does everyone else.

[PS - please excuse if this post makes no sense, my own thoughts need a little more ironing on this subject.]

Monday, August 2, 2010

Of Duryodhan And Yudhishthir

Its really been ages, since I read or even heard the Mahabharat. I hope I someday get to read the unabridged version of it. Its a tale, where every page has a lesson for the keen reader, where every word has a spiritual parallel. Its as interesting and as complex as a plot can get.

Today, when I sat down to write this post, I was suddenly reminded of this bit from the epic. Details, are foggy in this old hag-brain of mine, what I do remember though, is the basic story. At one point in the youth of the Pandavs and Kauravs, Duryodhan was told to go and find one man, who he felt was truly and completely virtuous, Yudhishthir on the other hand was told to go out and find a man, he felt was completely evil. I think the task was set for them by Bhishma, and they were given a time limit of six months, but I maybe completely wrong on both counts. However, at the end of the time period, both the young princes return without a man they felt, suited their search. On being asked why, Duryodhan said that, even the best man he saw, had some flaw or evil in him, which prevented him from being completely virtuous, and Yudhishthir said, that even the worst man he could find, had atleast one redeeming virtue in him.

Just shows that how the world is in fact a reflection of our own mind and thoughts. The world around us is as good or as bad, as is our own mind. It is what we have in our minds, that is reflected in what is outside. And that is the reason, why the same thing, does not feel the same to two different persons. I have noticed that when I am in a melancholy mood, pretty much everything I look at, adds to it, while the same things feel neutral or joyous at other times. When I am upset, I am flooded with all bad memories from the past, even things that mean nothing anymore. And those memories, just work to increase my anxiety. On the other hand, there have been times, when I am happy, and I have gone ahead and called people, who I had swore to myself, I would never speak to again. Suddenly people, who I disliked, do not seem to deserve so much of my wrath or dislike anymore. And then I realise, how happy would a person like Yudhishtir be, because he sees the good more than he does the bad. What a virtuous man he himself must be to have an outlook like that.

So could our view of the world around us, be the simplest test of what kind of person we are then? And is our happiness, infact all in our own mind?