Tuesday, May 3, 2011

And When I Need To Look Within

It has been a while since I stepped into the world of blogging. The reasons were many, I changed blogs, changed URLs and more in this period. Met some wonderful people, made some long lasting friendships, and also found the usual bout of craziness that I see in the world around me. But I believe it is time now for me to stop, bid adieu, atleast for a while. The reasons again are many. I am not sure yet, if this will be me completely stopping writing anything whatsoever on the blog, or would I just stop pouring out ideas, and just record small events of joy in my life, what I know for sure at this point though, is that it is an effort to step back.

I enjoyed writing about things I am passionate about. And when I write, I am so absorbed with the thoughts, that my quality of writing is miserable to say the least. I have often commented on posts, by fellow bloggers, posts that have really touched me somewhere, and I have later read the comments to read, just how badly written out they are, the same applies to many of my own posts. Re-reading a post or a comment is not one of my virtues, I am impatient to say the least. While continuing writing, is good practice, it helps improve the quality of writing, that is not of prime importance in my life, its just a hobby and not something I do for a living, and then what is the point in writing out to the world, with thoughts that are not expressed well, not even articulated properly at times and add to that mistakes, that would make my junior school English teachers cringe. And if I really need to make an effort, correct my mistakes, re-read what I type, I lose the joy of writing itself, so what then remains the point of blogging? Most of the bloggers, I really enjoy have almost stopped blogging, or their posts have become few and far between, what remains feels like something of a filler, just because I don't get what I want. And hence I wonder if it is worth burdening my mind reading that, which is of no consequence.

It has been a while that I have been contemplating this, but I always turned back, and stayed tuned to the blogs I follow, simply because I did not wish to let go. However I am at a point in life now, where I wish to look inside, more than the outside. I wish to go within, than spread my wings out and fly, I want to realise what is within me. While blogs are a great way to expand one's horizons, learn about other perspectives, and gain insight into lives beyond ours, it is also a way to keep the brain churning, adding new thoughts and ideas in its repertoire to chew on, it is exactly the opposite of what I wish to do right now. Its introspection that I am looking for. I had read, a long long while back, in a book authored by the great Swami Vivekananda, that,

Thoughts are like pebbles thrown in the lake of our minds, they cause ripples. While what we seek is a calm mind, a frozen lake. 

 While its impossible for me to have a frozen lake for my mind, I do wish to turn my thoughts inwards, rather than outwards, atleast for a while. And hence I seek to step back from, rather than flow in the river of blogs. I cherish my friends a great deal, and I hope they understand what I seek, and pardon me for not visiting their blogs and sharing into the pool of their thoughts. But then you always know, I am just an e-mail or call away.

I waited for April to be over, so that I could be a tiny part of this great campaign to spread awareness on child sexual abuse in India, before halting, atleast for a while. It has been a wonderful journey, had its highs and lows, and was a great learning experience for me in many many ways. Here is wishing the very best to the wonderful bloggers out there.

Monday, April 25, 2011

CSAAM April 2011 - Eve Teasing Or CSA?

This is a simple question to the adult women. 
Do you think, that if you faced any of the instance of eve-teasing or molestation, groping, touching in public places, that you faced in your growing years, today, you would be much stronger in your reaction, more enable to defend yourself?

I look forward to knowing what you think, but my belief based on myself, and informal discussions with friends, leads me to believe, the answer would be yes. Simply the process of growing up makes us stronger, wiser. It is much tougher for an adolescent or child to even understand the situation, let alone react to it. In an age, when they are coming to terms with their own sexuality, grappling with surging hormones, trying to figure things out, an event of molestation or even eve teasing has much worse impact, than, when faced as an adult.

It is not easy for a child, to believe it is not their fault, or sometimes to even comprehend the event. Often enough its simply fear, and nothing beyond. The perpetrator often being much older to the victim, further inhibits any form of defensive reaction, in a culture, where we are taught to respect our elders, and leaves a psychological impact too. When one has faced it as a child, and felt shamed, humiliated, its likely to be a feeling they carry forward to the coming years. And even though wiser and stronger, the feeling of humiliation is likely to be stirred up at every similair incident.

As an adult, if a man tries to grope me in public today, my defences will act up much faster with outrage and anger, than it did when I was a teenager. I will yell, scream, hit or whatever else that seems possible at that time. I will not be intimidated, and anger and outrage will be the only emotions overwhelming my senses. I will be enraged, and I will react. But this is not what happened when I was younger, the first emotion to come to me would be fear and a sort of shame. I would not do anything, simply not to attract any attention to the incident or myself. A sense of violation would build up, but it would be held back by my fear. And that led to much worse scars in my mind than the way it would affect me mentally today.

Almost ten years ago, I remember traveling in a DTC bus in Delhi, one afternoon. It was relatively empty, and there were two school girls, not more than 12 or 13 going back home, sitting and chatting. A man  alighted the bus a couple of stops later, and stood close to the seat where the girls were sitting, and while I was not keeping a watch, one of the girls just stood up and shouted at him. She made him apologise, told him to turn and stand away from her. For women who have travelled in buses in Delhi, we all know , how often the shoulder of a sitting woman, is used as a massage tool by these men. I am guessing something similar happened in that case, and that was nothing unusual at all. But what really caught my attention was the way the little girl handled the situation. Shaming the middle-aged man publicly. But its a rare instance, of a girl so young, able to react and tackle the situation thus.  While most others her age would just shut up, deal with it and possibly shed a few tears of anger, outrage and disgust.

There is a reason the predators try and get away with children rather than try it out with adults. Besides the pedophiles, there are those who know its easier to get away by misbehaving or molesting a non-adult. Simply because the victim is less likely to react, or defend themselves. And that is the reason I believe that public acts of verbal or physical sexual abuse done to a child or teenager needs to be named differently, and treated otherwise too. The age of the victim makes a drastic difference in the severity of the crime. And hence should be treated as such, passing comments on a 30 year old woman, is not the same as doing it to a 13 year old, and that needs to be acknowledged and dealt with accordingly.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Culture Versus Person story

This is a discussion I had with my cousin a while back, and there was so much to be said and realised from it, that I wanted to write it down. The very loving aunt to the BB, who is still a kid herself if you ask me, during a recent conversation with me, asked me, how would I imbibe the Indian culture in the BB, living in a land far away, not being a part of any Indian associations here,esp since most of them are regional and The GP and I belong to different regions of India, without as much as Indian television channels at home. I told her straight up, that I cared more for the kind of person the BB became than the so called 'cultural' values. If Indian cultural values are what is displayed on Indian television, I would rather he not know.  And so on it went.

For every example she came up with, I could tell her, how a good person would automatically do the right thing, no matter to what culture he/she belonged. And if it is Indian music or arts that is our culture, I am sure there is enough Indian music playing at home for the BB to pick up, if he has an inclination for it, the rest of the arts, neither The GP, nor me are great connoisseurs,  so well, we cannot really help on that front. And what if he did not pick up Indian art forms, but Western ones, or even African ones for that matter? Does it make him any worse of a person. Things like communication, familial ties, respect for adults are something that is a part of this household, like any average Indian household, imperfect, but that is the way it stands, and so that is what he will observe. But to me the more important question is will he offer his seat to an older person on public transport, will he help a blind person cross the road. And honestly I don't think it is a part of Indian culture, atleast not the India that I have lived in. There are some amazing people who do it, but not enough to call it our culture. And at the end of the day, I believe its just a matter of the kind of person one is. And that is why, that is the only thing that counts for me, when it comes to my child.

It went on then further to family values, and how they will differ for the BB compared to what it is for her or was for me. She wondered how would he adjust if he needed to live with them for a while. And while the food habits maybe a bit different, I don't think there are cultural issues at risk, besides the fact that he may never learn Bengali. A simple thing like eating on the dining table, we as a family very very rarely do that. We are more of a sit around the TV and chat over our meals kind of a family. We have always had dining tables wherever we lived, and it has pretty much always been a dumping table. But my point is, if I am a sensible and sensitive person, and I am visiting someone, I will automatically adapt to their way of life. I will eat on the floor, if that is the way they do it, or the table, or from a communal plate. I will pretty much follow things their way, unless it clashes with my sense of personal values or hygiene. And that is what is the most important thing to me. It is about being sensitive to people's feelings and genuinely caring for them.

Then what is it about the Indian culture that me or anyone for that matter may desperately want in their child. It is but obviously always the positive, good bits, like warmth, helping people, being respectful. And I think all of those are essential bits of being a person, the rest automatically falls in place, if we have that in place. Coming back to the previous example of eating, we ate on our dining table, when my aunt and uncle were visiting us, because they are elders and that is the way they did things. Common sign of respect. But unfortunately, their child would not join us around the centre table for meals, when he came to visit us alone. The fact is, that a nice person, would have jovially joined in on the fun around the centre table instead of sitting aside in a corner alone. Also if our culture involves, as I see widely around the country, eve teasing, pick pocketing, aggression, lack of patience or even politeness, then I would rather that my child not learn it at all.

What do you, other parents feel about this, or even those who are not parents yet? How do you define Indian culture, what do you think is a culture specific thing that should be imbibed in a child?

Friday, April 8, 2011

CSAAM April 2011 - In the Mind of Pain and Shame

[ This is my contribution in the month long campaign against Child Sexual Abuse. To read and know more about it, the views and tips shared by many others throughout this month, hop onto the CSAA blog. ]

Sex, abuse, children, pain, shame, fear, life-long mental agony. These are the things that come to mind when I hear, Child Sexual Abuse.These are my perceptions, my ideas. And I doubt they are very different from anyone else's, besides the perpetrators of such heinous acts. Has it been happening for generations, possibly, I don't know. But I know that it definitely exists. The point is, what do we do about it, and how do we deal with it. A lot of rather, stellar, and informative posts have already come your way about this. So what does a person like me, who has fortunately neither experienced it, nor do I personally know anyone who has been abused say? I tell you what I think about it,  and how the very thought wrings my very insides.

A child, is in a state of growth, mentally and physically, it is the stage, where they learn, observe, understand, try to make sense of the world around them. And while no one has a perfect childhood, we make do with the normal. And then there are some unfortunate ones, who are dealt with a blow, that renders them helpless to go on normally. Sexual Abuse is physically discomforting, even painful, depending on the level of abuse, but the mental trauma it causes is what does not heal even when the scars go away. There are few who have access to counselling, or can share the pain with friends and family and lighten their pain, but there are many who live on with a sense of shame for life. The one time I remember witnessing CSA was in the movie Water by Deepa Mehta, and it shook me to my core. It was on the television late one night, and I remember going to the bedroom and tightly hugging my little boy, while he slept blissfully unaware. And while I knew it was just a movie, I could not calm down, and remained disturbed for days about what I had seen. And this is just me, a passive, distant observer. What happens then to a child who actually experiences this?

I can only imagine. The shock, the fear, the shame. Often the perpetrators, use their power(being older) to intimidate the victim, to scare them into silence. And the poor child is left all alone, to deal with the situation, possibly leading to repeated assaults.The initial shock, soon paves way for a sense of tremendous shame, often laced with a guilt, a feeling of having something to do with the occurrence of the assault. What then? I remember watching a show, which had various women, who had been victims of CSA in their teenage years, talk about it. And they all had the opinion, that being teenagers, their body experienced pleasure, and that made them feel even more ashamed of themselves, because that confused their emotions. While even a single tiny incident leaves a scar on the mind of a child, repeated assaults can and most likely will completely alter a person. Almost every woman who has grown up in India, has at some point or the other been groped, or touched in public during adolescence. I personally was always infuriated, and the inability to retaliate, in a crowd of a hundred unknown faces, is what always got to me. For me it was always fury, but then I was a teenager, with some understanding of life. But, what about a child?

The hurt, the pain, and sometimes, when they dare and tell parents about it, the parents shun the notion right away. What does the child do? If the emotional consequences of the incident are not dealt with properly, it can lead to many abnormalities in the growing personality. Since each person is unique, we cannot generalise the outcome, and hence it can have many variants. Some may become aggressive, and distrusting of people, esp of the sex of the perpetrator.Others can completely go into a shell, and grow up a loner, some have even experienced a change of sexuality after being abused. There are others who grow up and become perpetrators themselves, to either pretend that what happened to them was normal, or as a form of revenge. And then in extreme cases, of highly sensitive individuals, some form of mental disturbance may set in. An act like CSA, not only harms the physical body of the child, but also scars their mind, their very soul. Its one of the worst things that can happen to a child.

I am not an expert, but I believe one of the best ways to help a victim would be acceptance, and believing their story. During my training, as a phone counselor, we were told, that it is very important to believe the story of the victim, because even if they sense a slight doubt, they are unlikely to share any more. And so yes, it is very important to believe. Often new facets of the incident may turn up, as the victim talks, because often the little things come to light , when they think about it. The next step is to reassure them about them being the victim, and having nothing to do with the crime they were subjected to. This is the most important step, for the healing process to begin. To always let them know, they were right, and did nothing wrong, and it was never their fault. From then on, I believe the help has to be tailored to suit the personal needs and mindset of the child, but these are the first and most basic steps. For friends, and family, it is very important to show support, and yes, in such cases, you have to pick sides, one cannot be friends with the both the victim and the perpetrator. It is the unconditional support of loved ones, which is the strongest healing potion for the wounded soul of the child, and from there the healing will begin.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


The beauty is in the eye of the beholder they say. So often in life I have faced situations, or observed incidents where various people have absolutely different interpretations of the same thing. Never fails to amaze me, and then somewhere I feel that is actually a true judge of a person's character, because how we perceive things, is how we think. The GP for example always finds a kind loving reason for everything, even things that make me fume. God! How I love the man for being my calming factor. Coming back to the point, I thought it would be fun to list some things that people interpret differently, and it would be fun to hear if you have some too!

A child running in a mall without any visible adult guardians.
What careless parents.
Its so difficult to manage and hold onto kids that age.
Children today are completely wild and unruly.

A woman drinking.
Aajkal ki 'modern' aurat!
Aah! she is cool.
Who cares?

A woman not drinking in a pub.
Why do these people even come here?
Must be a first timer, soaking it in.
The boyfriend must have coaxed her here.

A working mother.
These kinds do justice to nothing.
Doesn't lover her own child enough to stay with the baby?

A woman open about her sexuality.
Gosh! She has the guts man, I could never talk about myself like that.
Sex is all she has!
Uff! Aaj ki bhrashta nari.

A woman who does not talk about sex or her sexuality.
Pretending to be holier than thou! Its all just an act.
Its just because of her cultural background.
That is the kind of decency I like.
Must have really high moral values, to be this way, in today's world.

There are millions like this, and its just amazing to talk and think about, seeing how we interpret things. I have my own interpretations of various people, incidents, events. Often different from that of others, and yet they make sens e to me. The thing that stays with me though, is how some people always look at the positive, and others almost always at the negative side of things. I know this woman, who claims, everyone wants sex. She can find sexual connotations to the most simple, basic events of life. But then that is what we are. The world is nothing but a reflection of our own minds. The loving one, sees a mother's love when she beats her child, the cynic sees a violent woman, who cannot control her temper, and an average Jane like me wonders, what the child could have done to invoke the wrath!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Just Stop This Shit

Alert - may contain words and idea unsuitable for people under 18.

Clarification -I am not against homosexuality. It is the linking of people's name to it without a solid ground for it that is bothering me. In the post the words 'dirty' and 'disgusting' etc has been used for the mindset of people, and not about anyone's sexual preference at all.
I am sick of people not being able to think beyond sex and sexuality, and sexualising every damn thing they see. Tells me where the damn perverts are born from really!

Everything is looked on sexually. And now this cry about Mahatma Gandhi being bi-sexual. I have a simple thing to say here. Petty people cannot look beyond themselves, to them the entire world is as petty as are they, and hence they cannot even conceive or even begin to understand greatness. I am sure soon enough someone will come up with sickening stories on Jesus, Ram and more, well just because they think that everyone is as shallow as them. Abstinence, is not easy, and all those who are sexually active will know that. How many of us can even imagine giving it up for life? Very few, and most of those who do would not even succeed! So the people who have or did, are now labelled with all kinds of names, because dimwits cannot think beyond themselves or their own lack of self control. If someone does not or did not marry and remained a bachelor or spinster, they must have been homosexual. If they had a close friend of the same sex, they must have been homosexual or bi-sexual.

I wonder what warped world these people come from, or is the world getting so warped, that we cannot think beyond the nasty? Have these people never had friends, or have they never had any relationship in their lives that was not about sex? If you have not been able to tell till now, I am extremely enraged. Takes me back to the one thing that irritated me about JK Rowling, her claim about Dumbledore's homosexuality. Yeah well, its her character, and she can shape it as she pleases, but why does he have to be homosexual or not?

Somehow, no one aspires to be better anymore I think, its about pulling people down to your dirty level. I want to have sex outside of marriage, I do it, and then claim the whole world does, they just don't say it. Why be ashamed of what I did, why let there be a moral high ground? I would rather pull everyone down to my dirty level.Makes life easier doesn't it. So everything has an OK, any kind of sex, any kind of relationship and wow what a wonderful world we have.

I have not read the book, and I would like to believe the author, Joseph Lelyveld, when he says people are misquoting and misunderstanding his work, but its the very idea that people think this way that sickens me. I can bet my entire life, that not one of these so called writers or critics have the guts to do one tenth of what the Mahatma did for not just India, but the world. So what do they do, they try to tarnish his image and give  new dimensions to his persona. Its been done before, its being done again. Its shameful and utterly disgusting, if you cannot emulate any of his great principles, and I am sure most of us don't even try, the least we can do is show respect, and admire a great man.

Each and everyday I seem to find something that tells me how little we value our morals, and how easily we let virtues rot. Commitments, who needs them, its ok to break them. Extra marital relationships happen, there are bad relationships ....... what about commitment, what about honesty? And while it does take place, there is no denying that, to actually accept it as acceptable, by mainstream society is what scares me so so much. No one thinks its a virtue to be patient, or humble. If you don't beat your own drum you lose out, and again the worst bit is not just doing it, but claiming, that to be the right thing to do. God! I can go on endlessly about this, and it will just make my blood boil some more. I am too enraged and upset to be coherent I think, so I will link you up to a post, which is written clearly and precisely, talking about many many more such incidents and I loved it.

The fact is, morality exists for a reason. No I am no supporter of the Shiv Sena or Shri Ram Sena, but it breaks my heart to see how easily everyone lets go of anything moral, by giving it a million different names, to do things that are easy and require no self control or restraint. And it is really shameful to not only do that, but the people who really led the hard life by following the moral principles of life, being trivialised, and made to look petty. I personally know two women, one of whom was a spinster all her life, dedicated to the profession of teaching, and I can guarantee she died a virgin. Another widowed before thirty, who never indulged in any kind of sexual activity for the years after. If anyone dares, call them homosexual, or whatever I will personally wreck physical havoc on them. I have just this to say to such people, "I pity your existence, without any morality or ethics, because not only is your mindset lowly, the sad bit is you can never even comprehend what greatness look like. Much like the pig which can never even look at the sky, but lives and eats filth."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Little Pleasures

Last evening I went to pick up the BB from his kinder, and the half an hour from then till we got home, had some sweet incidents in store, which left me smiling for the rest of my evening. The BB was just so happy to see me, he took me around his room, showed me everything he played with through the day, and gave me the warmest cuddles ever. And then just as we reached the gate, of his play area, two little girls from his room were to be seen sitting on a log there.  And the BB, was busy telling me they are sitting there, when the two girls looked at him, and said aloud, "Bye bye BB!" And one of them just stood up, ran with her arms open wide towards the BB, and put hugged him. She even bent down to put her head on his chest. Gosh! It was the cutest little thing I have ever seen.

I left the place smiling, and as we were walking back home, it began to rain, and as is Murphy's law, I was not carrying our umbrellas. This was the first time the BB and I got wet in the rains. Being his very first time, the BB was not sure of how it felt, and walked with his hands up ahead in front of him once they were wet. We reached home, he took his umbrella, and walked around, just to have a feel of the rains with his umbrella.

And aah! for the little pleasures of life.

Monday, March 28, 2011

CSAAM April 2011 Is Coming Soon!

That is the Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month April 2011. With great initiative, by a couple of motivated and concerned bloggers, namely Kiran and Monika, the CSAAM, will kick off this Friday, the 1st of April. A month, that will give us many informed, posts, articles and discussions to think and talk about the very taboo topic of Child Sexual Abuse. Read about how it all began, if it interests you in Monika's introductory post.

It is not an exaggeration, when one says almost 80% of women in India have faced some form of sexual abuse as a child, most often by people known to and trusted by the family. The fact that the awareness and the concern about such a widespread phenomenon is so little, is what this initiative plans to change. Information and knowledge is the best way to deal with this evil. Most parents ridicule the very idea of their child being abused, and hence neither explain the possibility, nor equip the child to deal with such a situation. Thus leaving a child more vulnerable to being hurt and abused. There is also a lack of acceptance, when such an incident occurs, an attempt to push it under the carpet, which just makes it much worse for the victim. The aim of the campaign, is to bring out to light the issues surrounding CSA, to remove the myths and bring out the truth, to make people aware of it. Knowledge and awareness of this very prevelant social evil is the very first step towards our beating it.

The campaign has support from NGOs which work with victims, besides many wonderful bloggers themselves. Be prepared to learn facts, feelings, real life incidents and the best ways to cope with it or help a victim. But foremost, it is a campaign to make people see CSA in broad daylight and accept it.

Click on image, to see the blog.

If you would like to add to the discussion or know somebody else who would, please note that we welcome entries

a. mailed to csa.awareness.april@gmail.com OR
b. posted as FB notes and linked to Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month Page

c. posted on your own blog with the badge and linked to the main blog OR
d. linked or posted on Twitter tagged twitter.com/CSAAwareness

e. sent via some/all of the above methods

The list of topics is available here
. Anonymous contributions are accepted and requests for anonymity will of course be honoured. I will probably be hosting at least one guest post and encourage you to do the same for non-blogging friends.

Please remember to send in a mail with all necessary links or just your input to csa.awareness.april@gmail.com so that we can track your contribution and make sure that it is not inadvertently lost or something.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Feeling Redundant!

Yes, that's me today. Its strange how the wheel of time turns. Somehow I feel my family could live all on their own. Would not miss me much if I were to suddenly disappear tomorrow. Oh! Well, yes I am being all maudlin here. But I have my reasons, and would have shed my tears at some point right?

If you know me, or my family, you would know we are a very child centred family. So no, the GP and I don't really do things without the BB or have 'dates' or anything like that. A lot of that is our circumstances, having no one we would be happy to leave the BB with, and the rest is, well, just us, or maybe more me. I was never comfortable leaving him, anywhere at all till very recently. So well, that is the way things have been. And it seemed worth it, with the BB's only need in the world being me. He can be anywhere, with anyone, as long as I am around. Or he could be. He needed me always, till a year ago, he would not even go out with the GP, without me. Well things have changed.

I have now become the boring lump of a human being who stays home all day, does not really entertain him with the things he enjoys, like playing with the tool box, or sit on the motorbike and honk the horn, or try and take his cycle apart. So well, to put it mildly, the BB is now an extension of his father, the 100 watt smile on his face, as his father walks into the house each evening, is really worth seeing. And I would be lying if I said, that does not hurt a little bit, well it does, and quite a lot. The two of them would roughhouse, and do their guy stuff, and well, I look on and pretend to be busy on the laptop, or the kitchen or elsewhere. Once the father is home, the BB can actually walk through me, without even realising I exist.  And somehow I feel out of the loop, don't know what would be fun for him anymore, or what would entertain him at times, and just wonder when did this really happen, when did he infact outgrow me?  And while I did not cry, when he spent his first day at the day care, or started his kinder, I am filled with a deep emptiness today, as the tears flow freely, wondering if I have infact become redundant for my little boy.

Earthquake Survival

This is a mail I received, and  what it says, made sense to me, and hence I am posting it here, so that it can be of use to as many people as I can reach. And if you don't feel like reading the whole thing, just look at the pics at the end.

Where to go and survive during an EarthquakePlease read on.

Remember that stuff about hiding under a table or standing in a doorway? Well, forget it! This is a real eye opener. It could save your life someday.

My name is Doug Copp. I am the Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager of the American Rescue Team International (ARTI ), the world's most experienced rescue team. The information in this article will save lives in an earthquake.

I have crawled inside 875 collapsed buildings, worked with rescue teams from 60 countries, founded rescue teams in several countries, and I am a member of many rescue teams from many countries. I was the United Nations expert in Disaster Mitigation for two years, and have worked at every major disaster in the world since 1985, except for simultaneous disasters.

The first building I ever crawled inside of was a school in Mexico City during the 1985 earthquake. Every child was under its desk. Every child was crushed to the thickness of their bones. They could have survived by lying down next to their desks in the aisles. It was obscene -- unnecessary.

Simply stated, when buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings falling upon the objects or furniture inside crushes these objects, leaving a space or void next to them - NOT under them. This space is what I call the 'triangle of life'. The larger the object, the stronger, the less it will compact. The less the object compacts, the larger the void, the greater the probability tha t the person who is using this void for safety will not be injured. The next time you watch collapsed buildings, on television, count the 'triangles' you see formed. They are everywhere. It is the most common shape, you will see, in a collapsed building.


1) Most everyone who simply 'ducks and covers' when building collapse are crushed to death. People who get under objects, like desks or cars, are crushed.

2) Cats, dogs and babies often naturally curl up in the fetal position. You should too in an earthquake. It is a natural safety/survival instinct. You can survive in a smaller void. Get next to an object, next to a sofa, next to a bed, next to a large bulky object that will compress slightly but leave a void next to it.

3) Wooden buildings are the safest type of construction to be in during an earthquak
i.e. Wood is flexible and moves with the force of the earthquake. If the wooden building does collapse, large survival voids are created. Also, the wooden building has less concentrated, crushing weight. Brick buildings will break into individual bricks. Bricks will cause many injuries but less squashed bodies than concrete slabs.

4) If you are in bed during the night and an earthquake occurs, simply roll off the bed. A safe void will exist around the bed. Hotels can achieve a much greater survival rate in earthquakes, simply by posting a sign on the back of the door of every room telling occupants to lie down on the floor, next to the bottom of the bed during an earthquake.

5) If an earthquake happens and you cannot easily escape by getting out the door or window, then lie down and curl up in the fetal position next to a sofa, or large chair.

6) Most everyone who gets under a doorway when buildings collapse is killed. How? If you stand under a doorway and the doorjamb falls forward or backward you will be crushed by the ceiling above. If the door jam falls sideways you will be cut in half by the doorway. In either case, you will be killed!

7) Never go to the stairs. The stairs have a different 'moment of frequency' (they swing separately from the main part of the building). The stairs and remainder of the building continuously bump into each other until structural failure of the stairs takes place. The people who get on stairs before they fail are chopped up by the stair treads - horribly mutilated. Even if the building doesn't collapse, stay away from the stairs. The stairs are a likely part of the building to be damaged. Even if the stairs are not collapsed by the earthquake, they may collapse later when overloaded by fleeing people. They should always be checked for safety, even when the rest of the building is not damaged.

8) Get near the outer walls of buildings or outside of them if possible - It is much better to be near the outside of the building rather than the interior. The farther inside you are from the outside perimeter of the building the greater the probability that your escape route will be blocked.

9) People inside of their vehicles are crushed when the road above falls in an earthquake and crushes their vehicles; which is exactly what happened with the slabs between the decks of the Nimitz Freeway. The victims of the San Francisco earthquake all stayed inside of their vehicles. They were all killed. They could have easily survived by getting out and sitting or lying next to their vehicles. Everyone killed would have survived if they had been able to get out of their cars and sit or lie next to them. All the crushed cars had voids 3 feet high next to them, except for the cars that had columns fall directly across them.

10) I discovered, while crawling inside of collapsed newspaper offices and other offices with a lot of paper, that paper does not compact. Large voids are found surrounding stacks of paper.

Spread the word and save someone's life...

The entire world is experiencing natural calamities so be prepared!

'We are but angels with one wing, it takes two to fly'

In 1996 we made a film, which proved my survival methodology to be correct. The Turkish Federal Government, City of Istanbul, University of Istanbul Case Productions and ARTI cooperated to film this practical, scientific test. We collapsed a school and a home with 20 mannequins inside. Ten mannequins did 'duck and cover,' and ten mannequins I used in my 'triangle of life' survival method. After the simulated earthquake collapse we crawled through the rubble and entered the building to film and document the results. The film, in which I practiced my survival techniques under directly observable, scientific conditions , relevant to building collapse, showed there would have been zero percent survival for those doing duck and cover.

There would likely have been 100 percent survivability for people using my method of the 'triangle of life.' This film has been seen by millions of viewers on television in Turkey and the rest of Europe, and it was seen in the USA , Canada and Latin America on the TV program Real TV.

Subject: Save your life with "The Triangle of Life"

"Triangle of Life":

Without listening or reading, simply by looking at the following self-explanatory photos, you can learn more than in a thousand words about how to protect yourself during a major earthquake...

If you are inside a vehicle, come out and sit or lie down next to it. If something falls on the vehicle, it will leave an empty space along the sides. See below:


Monday, March 14, 2011

The Boy With Wants and Observations

Did I tell you, or have I told you often enough, how much I adore my child. To me, he is the best in the world, and how can it be any other way. All mothers, fathers, doting grandparents, aunts and uncles will know exactly what I am talking about. Well, the thing is the GP is a minimalist, his only passions are gadgets, the only thing he is willing to spend good money on, besides for the family, for his own pleasure. If he could get away with it, he would not add anything to his wardrobe for atleast a decade. His wants are very limited, and he is or used to be amazed at my ability to shop non-stop. I am a woman, I love shopping, retail therapy, or should I say I used to. Not to say it makes me unhappy to buy things for myself now, but the intense desire to get myself things, to spend the hard earned buck, has diminished markedly over the past year of my spiritual growth.

Coming to the BB, he has been a minimalist child forever. Its because of my desire to see him in varied clothes, and his growth alone, that new clothes are added on consistently, he could not care less. He has never wanted a toy, or a anything at all. I don't remember ever going to a shop, where he has expressed a want for something. Its upto us, to see what interests him, and then buy it for him. The least he does, is picks one of two or three options we show him. So this weekend was a first of its kind. Last Valentine's we had bought the BB his first bicycle, and he loved it. For months he would use his legs to move it around, and then after a few months, he suddenly got the hang of pedaling, and its been a non stop riot of fun ever since. Of late however, the doting father, felt he had outgrown the bike, the knees were touching the handlebars, when he pedaled and things. I feel he is quite alright on the bike still. So this weekend, we went to a departmental store, and the GP let him try on a bigger bike. He wanted to ride it back home trust me. And starting Friday evening, there was a chant of, "Want big bike. Bring big green bike from shop." haunted the household. That was all he spoke about when he went to bed, that is all he said when he was half asleep. I was amazed. Finally there was something my son really wanted! And so Sunday evening, we went and got him the new big bike, and man does he love it. Its got a brake too, and he got the hang of it pretty quickly. He pretended there were traffic lights, and stopped when it was red, turned when there was a signal to turn. It feels wonderful to have bought him something he really wanted!

When he woke up today morning, the first thing he did was rush downstairs, rode on the bike for a bit, and then came back upstairs to get dressed for kinder. :) And then he noticed. You see, the GP now uses a motor-bike to travel to and fro from work. Parking is a nightmare near his workplace, and using public transport involves a lot of walking, which he does not particularly enjoy. So the point is, he burnt a couple of his trouser legs, while riding, since they flap around the hot exhaust pipe. And no, he has not, and is not buying new ones! So the BB, all dressed waiting for his father, has the following conversation with his father.

BB - Papa, what is that?(Pointing to the burn marks)
GP - The trouser got burnt.
BB(unhappy) - Wear other one.
GP - I don't have another one, we will get one over the weekend.
BB - Get papa pants, weekend!

That maybe the new chant for the week, but what I am interested in finding out, is if the father will give in to the son's demand? Because with me, it can be gruff no, that puts an end to all conversation, but that will definitely not work with the son!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A True Role Model

It never ceases to amaze me, how truly great people, never blame the circumstances, no matter how tough it gets. They harbour no malice for people who may have treated them in ways, that is nothing short of cruel. I wish that someday, I am able to achieve such a mentality, where I can look beyond any negative influences in my life. It is not that I have never tried, and that is possibly why, I appreciate even more, the people who are capable of doing it, because its not easy. Came across this article in the newspaper yesterday, and it left me, inspired and in awe.

This is a 27 year old woman called Rukhma Lakshman Kale, residing in a village in Maharashtra. She is a volunteer with UNICEF, and is working to help young girls and women in villages, by encouraging them to go to school, as well as by teaching them basic life skills like personal hygiene, basic banking and accounting and so on. Inspiring enough just for this, but what really amazed me, was her personal story, for which she holds no grudges. She was made to live in a cowshed with a newborn baby, and yet all she says is, "It could have happened to anyone.". How many of us can ever be that gracious? We crib and bitch for hours about minor incidents we might have experienced at work, or with in-laws. And here is a woman, who  is a single mother, bringing up her child alone, with no grudges, and actually doing something concrete to make a difference to the society.

And that is what I think a true role-model should be like. truly inspiring, in every aspect. Unfortunately we look at models and actresses as your goals for body image, and then think we are good enough ourselves to not need to change ever. And we shortchange ourselves for life that way. Because we don't believe in really changing or trying to excel as a person. I am inspired by women, people like Rukhma. Who are truly role-models and  are actually acting for change. Who or what inspires you?

Monday, February 28, 2011

A While Back...

This is the only kind of household wildlife I had to deal with, give or take a few houseflies.
These pics are from the day we cleaned up and put to order the garden of our home in Melbourne, before handing over the keys.

Look at what we found hiding in a corner, while removing the weeds.

Something we could happily put on our palms, and be friendly with.....

..... but that's not all.
It was never me, who was brave enough to do it.
Now see whose hand the snail rested on!

The BB was learning about animals and their lifecycles at his nursery then, and was very excited with the snails. We even put them in a mug of water for a while, and treated them like our pets, till the poor creatures escaped for dear life. :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Backyard Wildlife

I have never ceased to be amazed at the wonderful wildlife I have been seeing around, since I shifted into my new home. Some of them land up in my own backyard, and I managed to click a few. What I have not been able to capture however, are the gorgeous butterflies, that I see all around the place. Larger than the average size, and what vibrant colours! When I manage to get shots of that, I am definitely going to share them here. And there are birds too, white cockatoos, turkeys, and some birds I have no clue about. However, these are the only ones I have photographic evidence of.

On the grill of the door leading to our backyard, one evening.

This one had a huge web when we shifted in, and unfortunately we had to get rid of it, to make the place safe.
Another huge spider.

The gorgeous bush tailed possum, we spot around the house often after dark.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bulletin Board Friends

It worries me, it bothers me, and when I let it grow, it claws at me heart. No, I am no perfect person, I know it. And for all the flaws I have, I used to take relationships and friendships seriously, a bit too much at times I think. But experience made me harder, the part of the heart that was soft and nurtured loving relationships, kept getting hurt and healing time and again, and finally the scab never went away. It replaced, the softness there, with its hard shell, and is now there to stay. But as they say, old wounds hurt more than new ones, because their roots still lie within.

What prompts me to say this? Well, besides, it being a totally crappy day today, its the second time this week, I received communication from someone, who does not have time to even send out a one line e-mail in a whole year. It is strange how people, who cannot spare five minutes in a whole year, suddenly think of me when important happy events come into their life, and expect me to go all ballistic about it. Honestly, I am happy for you, but it is beyond me now to go all gooey over your happiness, because you are one of the reasons I have scab instead of softness in a part of my heart. And well, yes, I remember. Am I being vindictive I wonder really, but this is my natural response, because I am hurt and withdrawn.

One of my oldest friends, who pretty much takes no efforts ever to stay in touch, facebook et all, all being in place. Every time I have called her, she has told me how busy she is with life, and cannot find time. Truth be told I have heard this from many people, and it either means the person thinks I have no life and hence can devote all my time to them, or they simply don't want to stay in touch. It could be either, so again after repeated mistakes, I have learnt to step away, and let them lead their really busy lives. And yes, I don't believe anyone is ever that busy!! Coming back to my friend, I last spoke to her on Diwali, when I called, which was I think almost a year since I had last spoken to her, and I admonished her for not staying in touch. She said things would change, which obviously did not. And I finally decided I had tried, enough and was just not willing to be anyone's doormat anymore, so I gave up. It hurt more because she to me always was a dear friend, and to know how little I must have meant to her, to not even try to maintain a relationship, is what pricked me the most I believe. That was that, till last week, I got a cryptic, telegram like mail from her, telling me she was having a baby. 2 lines, and that was it. I know its mean, but I am too hardened after the many many years that things have been this way between us, to know how to react. I felt like an in-law, whom, one needs to inform of such happenings in their life, no matter how unwillingly its done. I replied back, congratulating her husband and her, and just could not go on any further, because my resentment still stands strong. And I wonder what is the point of it all anyway, if we are not even going to be in touch. I hated myself for being this way. And yes, what I thought was a closed chapter was reopened with pricking and clawing yet again. I wish I was bigger, I could let go, and reply with a huge long mail, and maybe more, but it has been so so so many times now, that I just don't have the will left to be the one trying to make it work, while she as always remain busy.' I should have anyways seen this coming since the many times you have happily forgotten even my birthday, to drop me a line of wishes. I just feel like a fool, that I let you mean so much to me, when I did not mean a dime to you. I feel like a fool, that I actually missed your wish, even though I had so many others wishing me truly and deeply.

The second mail arrived today. Again an old friend, from work. He had moved away and gotten too busy to stay in touch. Many many mails and messages remain unanswered over the years. And today there is a mail saying he is getting married, and with a positive claim, knowing I will have loads to ask him, and that he is eagerly waiting for me queries. I understand his excitement and joy, wanting to share it with someone, but then why me? Cannot just drop someone off, and then pick them up from wherever you like, whenever you like. I just did not know what to say. I congratulated him, and replied, saying I unfortunately have not much to ask, but would love to hear whatever he has to tell.

I realised a lot of things from these interactions.

The older a relationship, the greater is its power over us. I was more worked up by the first mail than the second. I have more resentment towards my oldest friend than the guy who I worked with.

Relationship dynamics don't change much, unless both people are ready to make it work. One person cannot work for two in any relationship.

While it may feel good to be the better person, trying your best in a friendship, persisting, eventually it breaks down my self esteem, and makes me feel like a door mat being trampled on, when the other person will not as much as turn their head, to maintain it.

Closure works for me, when I stay away from the source of hurt, it comes back with a bang, if the person comes back.

I have become a lot harder, and I am not happy about that, over the years. I hate being resentful and mean, I hate it.

I want to believe its their loss and not mine, but it is me who feels hurt and not them. I don't know what karmic debt I owe to these people. But I have paid enough really!

If the basic values between me and someone is different, its best not let the person into my heart and mind, because no matter how good things seem to begin with, eventually, we will grow apart, and I for one will always hate that.

I don't expect people to call me everyday, I understand that it gets too expensive for a lot of my friends in other parts of the world. But how much does an e-mail cost you? Once a month? No one in the world can honestly claim that they cannot spare 5 minutes in a whole month, so please stop giving me stupid excuses. And how hard is it to hit the reply button on your e-mail, and jot down a few lines to a truly concerned person. A lot possibly, when the person is a bother more than a boon. Good enough. Let me walk away now. I am trying hard to maintain control and not tell you all of this personally, because I don't want to be the prick in the balloon of your joy. I just wish I had it in me, to be indifferent enough, to not be bothered at all by all of this. I hate this state of resentment, I just hate it!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Darn these kids!

Do you know I have actually started writing posts, that I am not publishing? I cannot believe I am actually doing that, but I am. But I have a reason, and I will tell you. These are posts I write with honest thought and passion, mostly with strong opinions for or against something. Yes, I know they are my thoughts, this is my space, and I can put it up. But I don't want to. Simply because even though I truly believe in what I write, I know others who might be hurt by what I say, and I don't mean to do that. And so while I am getting the freedom and actually writing it out, I am not putting it up there, simply because hurting anyone is not the purpose, my views are mine, and others have every right to think and feel differently. Isn't it?

So anyways, for someone who can barely manage to type in two para posts once a week or even less, that is quite a luxury as you might guess. I am trying to figure out my son these days. He has suddenly developed a lot of opinions, and wants. The other day, the GP had the most hilarious conversation with him.

GP - Do you want a dog?
BB - No, I want a Possum!
(possum for a pet?????)
After a while, the GP pursues,

GP - BB, do you want a dog?
BB - No, I want a horse.
And since then a horse is what it has been. The GP ofcourse is faking desperation, to hide his amusement, and wondering aloud, from where in earth would he get a horse, and then where he would keep them.

The BB also has a new passtime, filling and emptying every bottle, sipper, flask he can lay his hands on in the house, in an unending cycle. Yes, I am terribly worried about my water bill people. However, coming to the point, I have been on a constant screeching spree of , "BB, stop wasting water!" Not that it has much effect, but atleast I try. So the other day, the GP was in the kitchen, cleaning up his barbeque grilling plate in the sink, and the BB pipes in, "Mumma, papa is wasting water." I think I was just shocked, stunned, and I could not control my laughter. How quickly do these people connect the dots???

Thursday, February 10, 2011

All Grown Up

Its been a while, but I wanted the whole thing to settle down before I announced it out and loud. Yes its the BB, and he is all grown up. Because he sleeps alone in his own room now. Its been almost a month now. He falls asleep on his own, I just get him ready, tuck him in and wish him good night. For a while there is blabbering and chattering, but then it becomes all quiet, and I go, cover him up again, and switch off the brighter of his two night lights.

Well there was a heat wave post cyclone Yasi, and we could not sleep without the AC, so the BB was promptly brought back on our bed, and we, the parents, loved it, the BB on the other hand was not too happy with the idea, of leaving his own bed. But then it rained and cooled down and he is back in his room, on his bed. But for now, its such a big grown up step. My lil baby sleeping through the night on his own, who would have thought this day would come!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Taking The Bull By The Horns

- A Confession

There are always fears, but it is upto us to decide how we deal with it. We all have various things that motivate us, those that impede us, and then its upto us how we use it all. I am beating around the bush, yes, so let me just say this. I am learning to drive. Yes, finally. It is one of my biggest fears, followed closely by swimming. I am old, with creaking joints, which need regular maintenance, and yet I am finally fighting my fear.

I have ridden two wheelers, the basic ones without gears, years back when I was in college, always borrowed from a friend, and I have managed to bang them up twice. So you get my fear right? But now its high time I battled it, because its my son who needs me to be able to drive more than myself. In a place where auto rickshaws are not around, and buses are not very frequent, one cannot always rely on one's feet, to take them places. What when it rains, or its too hot, or if someone is not feeling well. Walking cannot be the only possible solution always. The BB will begin school next year, and I need to know basic, for use driving. And that is my greatest motivation factor.

Had my first professional coaching yesterday. Lets just say, my teacher was not impressed. But, this is not something where I have an option, I just have to go up there and do it. Might have to work a lot harder than everyone else, but I have to do it. Wish me luck people, I need loads of it. And hoping that actually saying it out aloud here, will mean, that I will try extra hard, to save me some shame, and actually be allowed to drive on the roads, sooner rather than later.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Time Moves Relatively

Have you ever met people after a really long time, and wondered whether the time never moved for them, or maybe not for you? Two ends of the same spectrum if I may say so. Facebook, to me is a necessary evil. Evil, because it leads me onto waste huge amounts of my valuable time, updating status messages or commenting on those of friends, and necessary, because its the easiest way for me to stay in touch with so many friends who live so far away. I digress. It is also a platform to find long lost friends, or those we have been out of touch with. And often the friend request there, leads to exchange of other contact details, e-mails and even phone calls.

And while its great fun to re-connect with friends, some of them end up leaving me astonished at how time has moved at vastly different paces for the two of us. Recently it was a guy I knew in college, used to be quite a buddy of mine. A fun loving flirt, always upto something, that's the kind of guy he was. And, almost ten years later, that is exactly how he still seems to be, being married and everything. And while it has been nice reconnecting, it is difficult to find a common ground any longer. While he still lives in a world, which is full of college trivialities, or atleast that is how it seems to me now, I have moved on so so much. He talks of our classmates in college, still in terms of crushes, good looking chics or cool dudes. He still talks about who had affairs with whom back then, who made it, who broke up, and such stuff. While its always fun to know how old friends are doing, after a while, it just got boring, because all of it is just so much in the past for me now. And more so the details, which have no importance at all. I really wonder how his wife deals with it, has he sucked her into the world of our college with all his tales? And mostly I wondered if time has stood still for him all these years, while it rushed by me.

And then my qualms were put to rest. Found an old old school friend recently, and God! I would not recognise her in a million years, if I met her now. The shy, pretty girl, a top scorer, she looks like a ramp scorching top model. Its been a metamorphosis like none I have seen before. She is still a brainy babe, with her LSE degree and everything, but is she a super hottie or what? What wouldn't the boys from school, give to have been a better friend of hers. I so always expected her to turn out to be the scholarly type, working in a big bank, being the best, which I guess she still is, but what I had never expected was this absolute glam doll, hanging around at night clubs and discs each night. Well, I afcourse am a social butterfly like no other, because I was and will be a caterpillar all my life in that area, and hence while I felt great catching up with a really dear friend from school after ages, I felt lost after a while, self conscious and more. With her it felt like time had stood still for me, while it simply rushed by her. But whatever, it is great great fun reconnecting with her!

And while on the topic of facebook related things, one of my pet peeves is people having public opinion polls on the looks of their spouse. Putting up a photo and actually asking something as 'duh' as, Isn't he/she cute? on a public website.... I would not have believed it possible, had it not been done by people on my own friend list, whom I readily dropped after the incident! Why, why and oh why, would you so objectify your own spouse, no matter what a looker he/she is. Please don't do it!

In very very happy news of national pride though, came across this is the newspaper today, and am so so so proud of India, and what to say of Mr. Chandrakant Singh, who really has done what others only dream of. He has set up a top notch, school of international standards in a village in Bihar, where the students are taught through video conferencing, by some of the best in their professions. This is what true patriotism, and a real desire to do something leads to. While we still languish in our worlds, of material desires, and material gains, its people like this, who give me hope for mankind, for India, and inspire me to try harder, do more. And yes, the true friend, teacher or guide is not one, who helps you whenever you need it, but rather the one who provides you with skills that let you fulfill your own needs and enables you to fight your own battles. And that is what impresses me most about this school, it is not dependent on the charity of others, but is able to sustain itself.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

After the Break Or Break Ke Baad

The reason for this post is, that I am still unwilling to let this blog completely die, I am just not ready to completely give up on it yet. And yet I have to accept that regular blogging, like in the past, is unlikely to happen, atleast anytime soon. So I will post as and when I can, and with whatever I can. There have been many events in the past month or so, that should have been posted about, but was not, including a wonderful 4th birthday for the BB. And I am not making any false promises to myself or anyone else,that I will post about them. But what I can do is make this an update post of sorts, and then hopefully keep posting on and off through the year. And since this is my first official post for 2011, here is wishing anyone who reads this a very very Happy New Year.

Well, I think most of you know, but for those who don't, I moved to Brisbane in November, searched high and low for a place to rent, found one. And as soon as we shifted, in came the floods. They have been devastating, terrible. I was very fortunate to be in a place, which had no water coming in. The GP's office was flooded, and they were evacuated from the building. Follow that up with the building sustaining substantial damages, which meant employees were not allowed in for the past few weeks. The GP has been working from home, and is set to resume office finally from tomo, after nearly 3 weeks. The advantage was, that the house was settled more quickly, and that makes me happy, but not at what the cost was. It was heart breaking to see, people, old couples, who lost everything, their entire life's possessions. And no matter how non-materialistic we are, losing an entire lifetime's worth of things, including memories, photographs and more can be a very very hard ordeal. What shone through though was the spirit of Queenslanders! Cheers to that. The council got overwhelming requests for people wanting to volunteer and help. Over 60,000 people wanted to do something, and the council had to end up apologising, for not being able to fit everyone in. Such marvels of the human spirit always brings tears to my eyes, just as it is doing right now, even as I write this. It is a long hard path ahead, what with the main city, the CBD(Central Business District) going underwater, but we will get there!!

The BB's birthday was celebrated on the 3rd of Jan, a few days before the floods. It was a wonderful day, that we thoroughly enjoyed, and which completely calmed all my doubts regarding how we would do in a new city, where we have no friends yet. It was a day at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Which meant we actually held a Koala, fed kangaroos out in the open with our own hands. Awesome fun, and the best bit being the BB enjoyed it without a sign of fear. It was lovely. Follow that up with a ferry ride across the city, and some biking along the river....it was a great fun day.

And the BB, well he has begun kindergarten here. Which basically means he has a ball of a time, running around, playing barefoot with friends, but there is rona-dhona, when I drop him off in the morning, and that does not occur if the GP performs those duties. So well, you get the picture! Not that nature has gifted me with enough mother's guilt, to last me 3 lifetimes, but my son has to add to that, and make me feel like the meanest mother on earth for leaving him in a place where he can play and have fun with children his age! The good bit is, that he is getting along with the kids here, more than he did in Melbourne. Maybe he has grown up. But unlike in Melbourne, where he would mostly play on his own, or just alongside other kids, he runs up quite a riot with the ones here. And he has loads to show and then tell me about his day, when I pick him up. I just think the bright sun makes him happier. We are, after all, tropical people, how can we survive without sunshine?

And then I obviously have to tell you the great BB's tale of glory. This Thursday, we took him for his 4 year old vaccinations. The list though similar to the one followed in India, has slight variations. Its a big pain for them as well as us, while they sit and compare the list, trying to make sure, my child has received everything that he needs to. fortunately this time they gave me an Australian list all marked and stamped, so that next time, there would be no need for all of that. And then as she said, the next shot will be, only when the BB is in high school. So rest and relax for now! Coming back to the point, I went in believing there would be 1 shot, the DPT+IPV, but there was also the MMR Booster, and then they wanted him to get an additional shot of Hep B, because they felt he should have had one at a longer gap. And they said, he could have them all the same day. Till last year, I could keep the BB distracted well enough not to realise the shot coming to him, till it actually did, and then it would be over before he knew it, and all would be well. I was a bit worried this time, since he is not quite as easy to distract now. So I tried to make it sound fun. And went all , "Oh! Wow! we are going to get injection. So cool! And the BB is such a big brave boy now. Wow!"insert more such things here. And then within a minute one after the other he received 3 shots on 2 arms, and would you believe it, not even a whimper. His eyes were set on the injections, he saw them piercing him each time, but not even a whimper. I think I am the proudest mother who ever lived.(Between the GP and me, I am the brave one here. The GP is terrified of objects that pierce the skin, while I stare at the injection while it pierces my vein and everything.) The centre was out of bubbles, and so they only gave him two little star stickers on each hand, and the boy went through most of the day without washing the back of his hand, for the fear of losing the stickers. Not a whimper, not even one... the nurse, another set of parents who were in with us, were all amazed. And yes as I said, I am the proudest mother in the world!

That kind of covers the main events so far. The house is still being set up, in terms of beautification, but I am happy with it over all. For one it has a bigger living area, and a kitchen than the older one, so more sensible planning here, and I feel good. The locality is nice, lots of family with kids, quiet, very very green, which means lot of spiders and other wildlife too, but so far I like it. Please tell em what have you been upto, and how has it been at your end, and I will try and keep updating this space, as often as I can.