New year – a new beginning?!!!

Don’t we all love new beginnings??

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I remember having a new beginning at least 20 times last year!!

It starts with the New year’s day – ‘This New Year’s I will change myself one bit at a time’ – after day 2 I am back to loving my unchanged self.

Then comes the first of every month – I will definitely change this 1st!!

Nope – not quite there yet!

Then every festive season – be in Diwali, Eid, Independence day – anything – we decide to turn a new leaf – and since it is India I get plenty of opportunities here.

Birthdays mean new beginnings – don’t it?

Then the new year according to the Lunar calendar or maybe the Chinese calendar has to be a new beginning.

And so my love for new beginnings shall continue this year too – with me waking up and starting afresh every time I get an opportunity!

Some may call this procrastination – but I’d like to call it ‘Looking forward to!’

Cheers to the lovely year that was!

Cheers to clean slates!

 

Many more Cheers to the new year and the spirit of new beginnings!

Let girls be girls : The myth that is Gender Equality!

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One thought that was been implanted deep into my unconscious being from the time I was little was – I am in no way lesser than my male counterpart.

But somehow as I grew older I interpreted the same as ‘I am equal to my male counterpart.’

I would have lived through this fallacy all my life had it not been for Motherhood.

Duhhh!!! The fundamental difference between a man and woman is the latter’s ability to reproduce – Like we didn’t know about it!

Read More…

 

…Annnndd the television belongs to…

If your household has just 2 generations – that is – Yours and your toddler’s, then you are blessed in one way atleast – You may get the idiot box to yourself sometime during the day.

Being the second generation in a household of three generations (and sometimes four when am at my mom’s) has dangerous connotations to my state of sanity – in more ways than one.

 How much ever I try not to – I must admit that I do use electronics for babysitting my son when I need some time to clear the mess around at home.  Hence my 3 year old has over a period of time gotten used to various cartoons both on television and the internet. And guess what? There are cartoons he loathed initially but the familiarity while switching channels has broadened his horizon.

SO if Disney isn’t working he switches to Pogo – that gives the third generation in the household ample opportunities to exhaust his television hours during the day.

And Once upon a time there was a woman who looked down upon all women who were pinned to the never ending dramatic soap operas Indian television broadcasted. Yes – that was my MIL 3.5 years ago – till on a fateful day my grandmother (Damn her!!) introduced her to the world of soap operas.

I must admit that at 86 she still is quite skilful in influencing minds.

From then on 6 pm to 10 pm MIL is glued onto soap operas.

And when am not doing chores or sleeping or playing with Dhruv – The Idiot box is owned by Dhruv – on goes Chotta Bheem, Thomas Train, Mickey Mouse and so on.

I get frustrated and switch on my laptop – maybe I can see something on youtube. Nope.

The moment I switch on the laptop, the television gets switched off and on goes Peppa Pig – another cartoon Dhruv would die for.

And to think I used to nastily look down upon allll my little cousins while we were small for their endless fetish for cartoons – I think they secretly cursed me to be blessed with a cartoon loving son. Sigh.

I go to my mom’s place for some solace occasionally –  that is when I dump all my motherly responsibilities onto her and sit down to watch some television myself.

Enter the Villain- my grandmother. I lose my mind seeing the same episode 4 times a day because she sleeps through bits of it (and No she will not admit sleeping). Any normal person can see it once in 6 months and still weave up the story. But at 86 my grandma is neither normal nor kind enough to let the younger ones take over her only priced property – the television remote.

So the soap opera starts and grandma dozes off, Dhruv very quietly tip toes to her and skilfully takes the remote from her hands and hands it over to me – ‘Amma – This is non sense – don’t see – only crying happens in these serials. We’ll see Thomas – Happy Amma???’

Of Course I am as happy as happy can be!!

‘I have too much work Mommy!’

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Somewhere between the second birthday and third – there was a divine intervention in my child’s world.

Until then, my son was oblivious of worldly matters – unaware of terms like – busy and stress and work overload – But some night – I dont know which one – God came into his dream and I assume said the following – ‘How dare you sleep thus Dhruv?!? You have so much work to do – You need to follow your father’s footsteps and assume that the whole world is your responsibility.’

There my world came crashing down.

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The Art of Procrastination!

It is amazing how my 2.5 year old has mastered the art of procrastination.

Every single morning he would wake up anytime between 5 am to 5.45 am. Wow that is an early riser you would think. Yes. But he also makes sure the entire neighbourhood wakes up with him.

So we tried hard to get him into the habit of brushing his teeth straight out of the bed. SO after a bit of cuddling we would break the news to him.

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Me:        Dhruv lets brush your teeth.
D:           No
Me:        See mom and dad have all brushed their teeth. Ha Haa (close up style fresh breath of air)
D:           Mine is also Ha haaaa (urghhh fire out of dragon’s mouth!)
Me:        Ewww bad breath. Which is why you need to brush your teeth!’
D:           Noooo
Me:        Yesssss

I drag him out of the bed into the bathroom.

Me         Yayyy. Lets brush!!

Dhruv looks up at me wondering why someone would get excited about scrubbing his mouth.

I proceed to take the brush to his mouth when he says thoughtfully: ‘Ma I can’t see the mirror here. I need to see myself like you do when you brush your teeth.’ – Excuse 1

Damn. We proceed to some place with a full length mirror so he can admire himself.

He checks himself out and exclaims ‘Ahhh my tummy is hurting – I need to lie down.’ – Excuse 2

It is been 15 minutes and I am beginning to lose it. I am at the verge of explosion when he calmly says: ‘I don’t like you brushing my teeth. I want dad.’ – Excuse 3

Then there was:

Excuse 4 – ‘The Toothpaste is bitter’

Excuse 5 – ‘I want to brush in the living room’

Excuse 6 – ‘I want to watch a video and brush my teeth’

Excuse 7 – ‘I want my grandma to brush my teeth’

After freaking 25 minutes when all of us have successfully tried all peaceful ways to clean his teeth, We finally give up proceed. Sabarish holds him tight – his hands and feet tight enough so he can’t wriggle out. I hold his mouth – open it wide like it were a sewer and scrub.

In 2 minutes it is all done.

Sabarish and I – give each other a high five on successfully completing our mission – with both our brains crying out on the effort we’d have to put on get this tiny devil at bay!

Dhruv yells and cries and is deeply hurt that all his efforts have gone vain. But I can see the determination in his eyes. His tiny brains are already busy plotting the plan for tomorrow. God save us!

The ceremonial blunder..!!

This whole thing about India being multicultural puts in so much pressure on a normal human bring in totally worthless situations.

SO I get invited for a baby naming ceremony. Nice!

And the million dollar question of what to wear for the function comes up.

I kept procrastinating but when I did give it a thought, I was haunted by the situation. Here is a glimpse of what went through my head:

  1. Which state of India does the family belong?
    Because all 29 states and the 7 union territories will have different ways of doing the same function.
  2. Which religion would the function represent?
    Again the many different religions will have different ways of doing the same thing. To add to the confusion all the different caste/ sub castes within a religion will do it differently
  3. Is the tradition really going to be traditional or contemporary?
    Like the million possibilities of geographical location and religious orientation wasn’t enough people who are in the city choose to do it differently from people in the village. Why? Because the city dweller is of course ore sophisticated.

In cases of inter-state/ inter-religious functions, it gets all the more messy. Both parties would want it to go their way and as a compromise there would be a little of this and a little of that.

Why?? Why can’t something be absolute?!

So, after a lot of introspection I finally decide to play safe. I decide on a Kanchivaram sari and some gold ornaments (just so that people know which part of India I come from!).

I mean kanchivaram saree is for all occasions traditional – isn’t it?!

Sabarish sees me and is dumb struck. Awww my beauty – mesmerizes him. He doesn’t utter a word. He isn’t any good with compliments anyways – I think to myself.

But I have to ask the trickiest question a husband can be asked – ‘Listen, how do I look?’

‘Umm. Don’t you think it’s a little too much?? I think you can tone down – just a bit’.

Wrong answer. I narrow my eyes and gaze at him so hard that he feared for his life.

He quickly corrected himself ‘You look wonderful darling!’ Hmm. Better.

My little Dhruv looks up at me in sheer wonder – like he is seeing an elephant in a temple procession!

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Oh my baby! You will soon realize the pomp and show in any Indian function – I think to myself.

We drive down to the venue. The drive was pretty silent. I was busy adjusting my flowers and jewellery.

We finally reach. We step out, the guards greet us. We walk into the venue, my head held high.

And then in a fraction of second I wanted to run. Run for my dignity.

There I was standing amidst a crowd of less than 50 people all dressed in cocktail.

WOW!! I, in my bright red Kanchivaram was obviously the focus of attention.

I immediately turn around to Sabarish with fire spitting from my eyes.
My eyes say: ‘How could you do this to me?’
His eyes say:  ‘I didn’t do anything.’
I: ‘Of course you did. Couldn’t you tell me what this damn party was about?’
He: ‘Well! I tried but you..’
I: ‘Oh yea?! Really??’
My nose was turning red out of fury.

The verdict was made: ‘Hubby dear will be on the couch for days or maybe weeks to come.’

The rest of the evening I tried hard – real hard – to convince people that I had another south Indian wedding to attend and hence the costume.

Atleast now I know what the elephant at the temple fest would feel!!

Confessions of An Erstwhile Superwoman

So I was born thinking I could do just about anything I really wanted to and the fact that I really wanted not too many things made life much easier for me. So being ‘normal’ was more than enough for me.

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I had no super natural wishes as a kid. I never really wanted to grow wings and fly.

When I was a round blob at the age of 10 – I never really thought it was necessary to be otherwise. I was more than happy being a nerd because c’mon who doesn’t want to be a nerd?!

Through teens also I must admit that I had a very simple wish – just continue being a nerd – no more challenges. So you would think I had explored all aspects of being the nerd like the spelling bee and quizzes and debates and elocutions. Nah. Only the curriculum please. No more no less. That popular girl in school who manages to look like a super model and manages to dance sing and play tennis along with acing her studies? Who wanted to be her! Not me.

So you see I was pretty complacent all through my life. No challenges No risks. Happy that God gave me all the ‘essentials’ to be happy and healthy. There would be many people who seemed to be everything and do everything but I was happy in my small world. Let them stretch themselves and conquer the universe.

Evidently throughout most part of my life I had very limited aspirations and responsibilities which needed no super natural powers.

And then it happened. It happened so gradually that I didn’t even realise. It grew on me till I could no longer ignore it. I was showing symptoms of what would later be diagnosed as ‘Super woman syndrome’

Until recently I managed to juggle between all the roles that nature has bestowed upon me pretty well. Umm let’s see in no particular order:

  1. Some bit of house work
  2. Some bit of chores
  3. Some bit of office
  4. Some bit of my Hammock and swing business
  5. Some bit of blogging
  6. Some bit of exercise
  7. And a huge bit of momming.

Well that’s a lot of bits – but I did manage. Wuuu Huu – Super woman I was!!

It was something I least aspired to be but I became out of sheer circumstances (as is the case for most of us).

All was smooth till God looked down and said ‘Hmm now you seem very comfortable missy. I think I’ll shake you up a bit.’

So my support system (read Mom In Law) at home unfortunately decided to support me less from now on which resulted in me deciding to work from home.

BANG! My whole world just came crashing down on me.

Are the meals made?  Barely

Is the child dressed and sent to school? Barely

Is the house and hubby taken care of? Ignore the question

Is the child fed and happy? Really? Can children be happy?

Are the blogs done? Not in a month

The business did you say? Oh thank god for hubby dear

Office work? Hmmm. The fruit of compulsion.

In this sorry state the erstwhile super woman in me decides to dump me and fly out of my body and transforms into a shooting star.

I am now a normal being who is left haunted by the ghost of the superwoman with a pile of this that and everything to finish.

One look at the to-do list and I am quick to prioritise the essentials – the rest can wait – eternally. Essential being just ummm food?? So blogging, work, housekeeping and everything else can wait.

I shall now be the Queen of Procrastination till I figure out another support system (no, not really another MIL) which will alleviate me to the super woman I was!

Till then I go back to my sweet slumber..

Johny Johny..?!?

The moment you become a parent you become virtuous. Instantaneously. The pressure of setting an example for a much smaller human being starts hitting you. So you try to always be well mannered and righteous. Well, almost always.

There are a few things one loves dearest. I mean ‘things’ not people or even living things just material things.

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Now if your off spring grows to love the exact same things – there are 2 possibilities – unbreakable bond (Like Fevical ka jod!) or unending conflict (like milk and curd!)

There are few- very few kids who I have heard of – who hate chocolates. They love fruits and veggies. WOW! How I wish my progeny was one of that kind. Didn’t wish hard enough I guess.

Chocolates – It seems will make us the worst enemies we can ever be to each other – my son and I.

Dhruv is done with his lunch and demands for his daily rather hourly doze of the brown evil. I open the fridge and scream. Whaaa!!! The whole pack of Lindt had disappeared. I just saw it last evening!

I look at my mom in law. Eyes narrow and sharp, so sharp that I could have her heart piercing with my gaze. She is usually the first accused in times of crisis like this – by the virtue of she being the ‘in-law’.

She quickly defends herself ‘Don’t you dare give me that look! It isn’t me. Ask your son, he is the one who so diligently had one chocolate every hour like a doctor’s prescription’. Damn!

The fridge which is usually always stacked with chocolate bars, suddenly seemed devoid of any. The last of lindt was smiling at me.

It was tough fight between the split personalities within me – A true forever giving mom Vs an ardent chocolate lover.

The argument that ensued was thus:

True Mom says: Oh C’mon. It’s just a chocolate, let him have it.

Chocolate lover says: Just a chocolate?? Whoaa!! He emptied the whole box for God’s sake!

True Mom says: He’s just a child. Let him be. He’s finished his lunch. SO just give it away.

Chocolate lover says: Precisely. He is just a child. So much chocolate can harm him. So just give him jaggery and let him be. What sort of a mother are you? A box of chocolate? Imagine the calories and cavities…

True Mom now is thinking hard. Jaggery it is.

The chocolate lover does an ecstatic jumpy dance. She then quickly picks the chocolate and puts it in her pocket.

‘Maa…Where is Dhruv’s chocolate??? Dhruv finished his lunch. Seeeee. Tummy full.’ Innocent smile. But not even to shake the chocolate lover in his mommy.

‘Dhruv – there is no chocolate in the fridge. See? We will ask Acha to buy some more. Now you will just have to settle for some jaggery. Sorry baby..’ followed by a hug and a kiss.

He settles for jiggery. My understanding little one!

The moment he is out of sight I quickly open the wrapper and hurriedly dump that chocolate into my mouth.

Bliss! I relish it with my eyes closed. Suddenly I feel someone pulling me from down. Arghhh. Do not disturb!

But the pull gets tighter. I open my eyes and find my little detective.

‘What are you eating?’

‘Hmm??’ slowly moving the chocolate from the right cheek to center so it would be less noticeable.

‘What are you eating?’

‘Hmm?’ trying to look around..

‘Ammmaaaa WHAT ARE YOU EATING?’

‘Hmm?’

‘Oh God! Can’t you hear?’

By now the chocolate has molten into a liquid state and I swallowed it slowly.

‘Jaggery??’

‘Yea!’

‘But why does jaggery come in the Lindt wrapper??’

Damn!!!! I can see the True Mom giving the narrow eyed stare to the chocolate lover. You dare teach my baby to lie!!

HELP!!!

Phonetics – The Aa Aaaa E Eee of English..

English is a very tricky language. It may come as a surprise that I say this considering the complications in Indian languages.

So languages are very tricky. I’d rather prefer sign language!

We all think office meetings and presentations are fabulous.

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So I attend one such product presentation. The presenter is a middle aged man who makes it seem like he definitely knows his stuff.

Apparently neither he nor his content seem to interest many people. Well, quite obvious in a post lunch session.

Then as part of the product presentation, he says ‘Let’s not have all this erotic information randomly placed all over the sheet’.

Eyes pop out and now he definitely has everyone’s attention. Good job! Well done!

He continues ‘How can we present all the information so erotically?’

OKAY, I thought it was a brilliant trick to grab everyone’s attention. But it clearly wasn’t. For a moment I had immense appreciation for this man for awakening all the sleeping souls.

All those uncles seated far behind, who were snoring are now wide awake desperately looking for anything close to erotic on the screen.

He gets nudged by his well-meaning colleague – this man will be his best friend for life – the one that pinched him in the middle of a meeting – stops him from further damage and corrects him – ‘you mean erratically..’   ‘Yeah! That’s what I said – erotically!’

Whispers, giggles, laughs follow.

‘e r r a t i c a l l y – erotically’.

Ahhh….and I wondered what the big deal about phonetics was!

His colleague takes him aside and explains quickly his blunder just so that he avoids the forbidden word.

He is as red as a beet. He sums up the courage to continue ‘Now that I have everyone’s attention: we may now look at the slide being presented with information just ‘randomly’ put across’ No more erotic or erratic. Safe!

He continues ‘If you look at this image of the concourse.’

A friend who just couldn’t hold the laugh within himself and realizing that this meeting is not going to be taken seriously anyways mumbles: ‘Are you sure concourse or intercourse?!’

This incident will haunt the poor man all eternity.

All for an aa and aww!!!!

Old habits die hard.

So I have spent almost all my childhood never once using the Public Loo.

Never.

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I am sure I am not alone in this. I, for certain know at least a handful of people like me.

This forms the bottom line of every small and big decision we make which includes but is not limited to the following:

While I book a hotel room for a stay:

Single bed / Twin bed – I don’t care, I can sleep on the floor if I have a mattress.

Room service – I can compromise there too; I could go to their kitchen (which I hope is not mice infected) and make my own food.

Bathroom – Does the website give a picture of the bath and the toilet? If not then can we send an inquiry asking for the same of the room we are allotted to stay? I am okay if they only have a shower and not a bath. Do they use a bathroom freshener by the way?

If I am reviewing a restaurant:

The food was good. I loved the chicken. BUT I think they need to put in atleast 10% of the cost of the food into maintaining their washroom..(I may then go into the details which I refrain here).

Visiting a friend’s place:

Like a recent ad rightly mentions, they are classy if they use a toilet freshener; all other mistakes are forgivable.

This has not changed despite living in a hostel with 400 other inmates. Now you’d think my hostel had the cleanest baths/toilets. Nope, the bathrooms were not close to clean, but I appreciate that I didn’t get used to the filth in all the 5 years being there!.

The phobia remains.

The golden rule every time I step out of home is – Drink water if and only you think you are going to die out of dehydration; I somehow pulled through that while I was pregnant as well!

In the rare case when I have to re-hydrate myself; I practice special yoga to retain the water within. It is not that I have an unusually large bladder. I’d rather go through the physical agony than the mental distress.

And then Dhruv got out of his diapers, got toilet trained. That should have come as a relief and I would have celebrated the milestone BUT his pee could come in a sari shop, a jewelers store, a crowded temple or the Indian Railways – which would result in him yelling out to me ‘Amma peeeeeeeeee coming..’ every time he wants to use the loo, followed by ‘Ooo Oooo Urrrrgent!!’.

Not good. Especially because none of the above mentioned places pay any attention to their restrooms. So even if I’d take him to a loo there, he’d rather pee in his shorts than pee there (followed by me puking)!

But pee he must. That is when I nudge daddy dear and ask him to run with the kid to the nearest relief point.

When we are unaccompanied, we close my senses and his and carry out the process.

Damn. I see all the public toilet signage mocking me saying ‘Its payback time – for all those years of looking down upon us!’

Can I get him back into diapers please?!