Swimming in an ocean of thoughts.....

Ask me no questions and i shall tell you no lies :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Moved to Wordpress

Ok people!

I had to mention it here too, that I have taken a diversion in the journey of my blogging and have shifted to WordPress.

I miss blogger and I miss the easy friendly ways of blogger. However, it was time for some up-gradation from my end.

I now blog here.
Or, copy paste this link on your browser: http://thesagittariusthinker.wordpress.com/

So if you stumble here, you know where to look for :D

Cheers & God bless!!


Monday, April 13, 2015

I am a SAHM, by choice!

I have a complicated relationship with social networking. Especially now  that I am not really ‘working’ working. (Does being a home maker qualify as ‘working’ ;)). Blogs and books keep me good company most of the days (as am enjoying an uncertainly brief transit period) For me, when I am not blogging, reading is curative as it saves me from unsuccessfully dodging questions like, “Why aren’t you in a job, yet?” or “Don’t you feel bored at home?”, “You know, you should start working by now!” and all that! It is only now I realized on a full scale why, a ‘Stay At Home Mom’(SAHM) is so underrated! And not the quintessential homemaker I speak of here, but a woman who quit her career to be a SAHM by choice! Clearly, I am not adept in answering out-of-the-blue questions from acquaintances (even parents sometimes) regarding my career choices and it takes me a lot of will to refrain from riposting acerbically! But a lot of such questions got me thinking, why in the Lord’s name is a SAHM so looked down upon? Why such condescending questions/looks? 

While I worked with the IT sector before marriage, I had seen many kinds of married couples. Couples who worked and complimented each other beautifully, some who planned their families early as the mother took the necessary sabbatical before rejoining the office, some who planned families and moved to different time zones leaving behind the children in the care of grandparents, some who took their children along to different countries for onsite assignments, and then the few who felt that babies could wait et al. Of course, nothing is more convenient and luxurious for a working couple, if both are placed together and, with the child anywhere in the world! And, there are the others for whom certain sacrifices, compromises and uncomfortable arrangements (like staying away from the spouse for a long time or perhaps having a caretaker in a different country to take care of the child and so on and so forth) are probable options. I was not married then. So, I never really judged anything, also considering my uneasiness over the topic of marriage in those years. Later, the stars aligned in a particular way and I met my match in an army officer 7 years back. (How I met him would serve as a hot post later!) And today, I am a proud army wife and a SAHM now, by choice (considering the nomadic life I live!)

Looking back from where I started this post, I gather I have strayed a bit. Well, a SAHM is not as bad as it sounds! Having a baby and staying back to look after the baby is not as dreadful as those funnily scary doodles appear to be. Of course, the milk stained bras, the baby poop stained paijamas, the sore nipples, aching shoulders and back, sleep deprivation, hunger pangs at ungodly hours while nursing the baby are a part and parcel of motherhood. And definitely, that is not going to go on forever! And so, some mothers delegate the tasks, some stay at home by compulsion and some by choice like me. However it is only after I choose to be a SAHM, I realized that there is more to raising a child than just bringing him/her into the world. Raising a child takes a lot of hard work, certain sacrifices and a lot of cautious decisions right from the beginning. Not to mention, there are intermittent moments of confusion felt almost by every SAHM when she yearns to work again as she sees the world around, move past her. I have had those moments too. Worse, I was served the best job opportunities in Pune immediately after I had my son, and yet could not pursue them because my son was just 6 months old. A part of me was tempted to ask my mother to come over and stay and look after my son. However, a major part of me held me back from asking her. Today, I can say with full conviction that I took the right decision as I see my son evolving in an independent way.

The choice of having been a SAHM for the first three years post my delivery helped me understand the importance of listening, the need to be patient and the right to remain silent when the whole world questions your decisions. Also, unlike what people told me that ‘the child will become too clingy if you stay with the child too much’ theory turned out to be false, at least in my case. As on today, my son is NOT a bit insecure or cranky if I am not around for a few hours (whenever I have some unavoidable social engagements). Sometimes, he even advises me to ride/drive safe (a caution that I load the hubby with!). And, he is anything but clingy. Over the past three years, we have developed an understanding where I don’t need to explain each and everything to him or baby talk him into anything (something that I have never done!). As a SAHM, I have been at his side practically for the most part, except in the small mini breaks I got when parents/in-laws were visiting. The adjustments I made by not rushing into weight loss instantly, by not attending parties and socials, by not watching my favourite TV shows, by not sleeping whenever I felt like, by not reading when the itch to read was too deep to scratch and most importantly, by not giving in to the urge to work leaving my son in the care of a caretaker/parents and in-laws, have paid off immensely when I see my son complaining less and enjoying life as it comes. Not that, he is impeccably behaved as one can gather from my previous posts. I have my moments of altercation with him regarding his food and homework routine. But then, I also understand that it is just a phase. 

There is more to being an SAHM than just the cuddling, cleaning, feeding, outing and talking part. When you, as a mother are around the child for the first two-three years at least, the results that follow are truly amazing. A baby is like a bud waiting to blossom. (S)He does not need just the physical nourishment but the emotional one too. The first two years of absolute presence of the mother in her baby’s life works wonders. And, picking up an alternative career or returning back to the same career is not an impossible task for most ladies. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to choices one makes, as a mother.

Being a SAHM may not have earned me money or brownie points professionally. But it has definitely earned me something priceless, my baby’s unconditional trust and faith in me. I would be lying if I say I never felt the urge to catch up in the professional arena when opportunities knocked at every given chance! But, I am surely not lying now when I say I have no regrets today. Also, who says I would be a SAHM forever! That said, I am proud of my decision of having been a SAHM for the past four years, not to mention, very much by choice!

P.S: I remember having asked my mother a month back; if she would have come and taken care of my son three years back (when he was barely 6 months old) so that I could pick up a full time job. Those days, she would visit me for long breaks but never encouraged me to work full time. This time, she replied, “Why not? I would have been the happiest granny in the whole wide world. You know how much I adore children!” However, she continued, “But you know Narayani, had I done that, I would have deprived you off those divine pleasures of watching those cherubic smiles, happy gurgles, those tiny hands and legs paddling in the air, those adorably cute wailing and most importantly, experiencing the most beautiful sensation when your baby sleeps on your bosom wrapped in the aura of love and a sense of security, that only a mother can give. These are one-time moments in life. Once gone, they are gone! And, I wanted you to enjoy all that. So, I never volunteered, you know!”

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

A wordless post

Humility - The key to exist in reality


The troublesome dilemma..

One of the things I detest in life absolutely is, a dilemma of any kind! The ‘Ifs’, ‘Buts’, ‘Or’, ‘maybe/maybe not’that cloak such vague predicaments (simple ones too), drive me crazy and, to no ends! Just when I am on the verge of deciding something important, the erratic constants of my life turn variable! Right now, I am peeved with how certain inconspicuous ‘constants and variables’ affect certain decisions while the ‘later to arrive’ wicked hindsight ruffles the feathers of ‘could have been better’ regrets! It is like, you have many roads in front of you but your destination could change any moment after you have embarked on your journey! In my case, the moment I decide upon something after a lot of forethought, Murphy bungles it up! And, how bad! It is infuriating, when even a small task depends heavily on many unsaid parameters! Most of my plans die silently even before they take shape. And, when I don’t plan, my parents worry incessantly as to why their only daughter, now also a ‘responsible mother' does not take the planning business seriously. And there is the hubby who enjoys throwing the ball in my court every single time, always supports my decisions only to explain me later about how my decisions could have been better! Now that I am contemplating on whether to even think about forecasting certain things OR not, I should probably be crowned ‘The Princess of Dilemmas’! How charming!

I wonder why such vagueness affects me so deeply. Is it because I do not want to take a certain decision all by self on an impulse and later be advised for a 'better next time' or, is it because time always fails me in the aftermath of certain decisions that are more of goof ups? Do I sound irritated? Sometimes, I am vocal about it. Most of the times, I am just scared of the decisions I need to take in the catch 22 situations. Because, I am never fully convinced about the rights and the wrongs, the pros and the cons, the ‘could be’s’ and ‘could be not’s’, when the stand to be taken appears out of nowhere! Well, I do not dread the decisions or their consequences, but the never ending advice that comes from every nook and corner on how the decision could have been taken and, better! 

And, all I would look at life and sigh,

“C’mon life! Bring it on!”

Phew! A momentary relief for a while perhaps and then, in the conundrums of “to do or not to do”, reluctance supersedes my decisive powers again. And again, the self is stuck in the same spot in a maze of never ending impasses - ‘to do’ or ‘not to do’.


P.S: By the way, forgot to warn that this is a rant post and that, nothing any fruitful about the read! In case, you have already read it, what can I say? (smiles wickedly!)


Monday, April 6, 2015

Some randomness, weirdness and quirkiness!

  1. I am a pain when I have to shop alone! Because, I appear confusing to a lot of people I meet, especially vendors and shopkeepers. For instance, many shopkeepers get intimidated by me, when I ask them to show me stuff (all of it most of the times) and I pick up something they assume, I will not because I would have told them to keep it back and that, I would like to have choices! That quite explains, why I do not like to shop alone. I swing between being extremely indecisive and being utterly tasteless, when it comes to shopping. My mother is my eternal guide in this, as I blindly select what she picks on and it is always a 100% hit!
  2. I do not like groups. Worse, I hate cliques. Although I like to talk, go out with people, and also love to make friends, I just cannot fit in a group. And, the more number of people, the more irritable I become. At such times, I feel like running away somewhere and drowning my head into a book or a pillow. No wonder, I hate to attend weddings, socials and parties.
  3. There was a time, I believed with all my heart that there was a rabbit who lived in the moon and that, all those stars shining above, were made of ice that was green in color. I have had recurring dreams of falling stars and in many of them, I have tasted the stars! Damn Science! You killed all my imagination!
  4. I am not religious in the sense, I am not a big fan of temple hopping, although I do it for parents many a time. But then, I do visit temples which is, when I want to. And, when I do, I just love to sit there and do nothing. I may be spotted closing my eyes and listening to the chants. That said, I love to recite shlokas coz I just love to (also, I feel a calmness that descends upon me when I hear Vishnu Sahasranamam and Hanuman Chalisa) I am not spiritual in the context of quoting from the Gita and the Upanishads. But, I love the concept of live and let live approach of life which I believe is what spirituality preaches. To seek the good within and, in the others!
  5. I am not much into fashion stuff. I have limited number of fashion accessories, maybe a few pairs of pear sets (which I got as wedding gifts) and some pairs that my mother gets for me from time to time. Also, I don't like to accumulate them because I cannot maintain them as I lose them more often. (I have one from each pair that I can find!) I stopped getting facials and face packs a couple of years back, right after my recovery from an auto immune disorder (Something that did change the course of my life) Prior to that and before having a baby, when I was working, a visit to a saloon cum spas was a must for me and, how I loved them! I loved the aromatic smells of the packs, shampoos and the cleansers and the scrub. Somehow, since the past two years, I have stuck to just waxing and trimming of eyebrows. Why did I leave all that, I do not know. I just felt like leaving it on an instinct. All I know is, I have felt better since.
  6. I am a big time Net addict. I love social networking. Not because, I love to see updates on my timeline, but because I love those minions that pop out to give me advice on attitude and life. I am a fervent reader of certain blogs and wish that I blogged too, with the same zest.
  7. I love hot dal chawal with desi ghee/fresh white butter and with rasam, vegetable upma and fresh curd. I can survive on this comfort food all my life. And, I love almost all vegetables (okra, spinach, beans, carrots, pumpkin, beet root and raw banana are hot favorites!) I am not a fruit person. There was also a time when I detested mangoes. After I conceived, I binged on them. I could not imagine a summer since 2011, when I have not gorged on kesar and aplhansos. Needless to say, my son loves them too! Besides mangoes, bananas and water melons are other preferences.
  8. Since the past two years, I have lost interest in pizza, burgers and pasta! Although, I make pasta occasionally when son wants! As for pizzas and burgers, the craze has almost died. Not that, we do not have them at all, but our visits to pizza and burger joints have reduced to like twice or thrice a year. Rest of the time, we relish Mughlai food (my all time favourite) and all Middle Eastern cuisines.
  9. I am very much a milk person. I love flavored milk, malted milk (name all the brands – Horlicks, Boost, Bournvita, Maltova, Ragotin, Ovaltin et al), milk with sugar, milk without sugar, hot milk with hot jalebis at Bhavrilal’s (Mhow) and also, milk with turmeric and honey and then, all milkshakes. But, I hate milk sweets! And, I am not very fond of chocolates, although I like drinks like hot chocolate and cold cocoa. Occasionally, I eat cakes and pastries (which is only if I am not going to make dinner) and love to eat the carrot cakes, cheese cakes and pies made by my adorable neighbor cum friend Nav (from the previous station). Besides that, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. Son and hubby compensate for me on that!
  10. I love to dream a lot. Day dreaming was like a hobby to me once, until my mother would jolt me out of my dreams and bring my vigilante acts to a standstill, back to the boring world of differential equations, laws of thermodynamics and what not! And, I used to look up and sigh to God, “If only you made me a super woman, all your woes about the Earth going brown shall end!” Well, now I have gotten over those weird day dreams, although I still love to dream. Only that, I don’t have much time for it now, as my son keeps me on my toes all day. As such these days, I don’t remember much from my dreams.
  11. I have had a crush on every Hollywood actor I know of! Sylvester Stallone, Jean Claude Van Dame, Arnold, Al Pacino (I still find him very sexy), Gabriel Byrne, Will Smith, Keanu Reaves, Robert Redford, Gregory Peck, Omar Sharif, Christopher Lambert and name them all! Those days, I just couldn't bring myself to watch the Bollywood crap with people going gaga over them. With all that effervescent craziness for the ‘kkkk....kiran’ SRK and appallingly long haired Akshay and Saif, I would wonder what on earth is wrong with these people! Not that my tastes have changed now. But then, there are some inconspicuous ‘taare zameen par’ in Bollywood too who do make me go weak on my knees with their acting and attitude. Like, Manoj Bajpai, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vidyut Jamwal (I wish this actor gets a break in his movies), Jaideep Ahlawat (this man has a killer personality), Rajeev Khandelwal and so on.... I wish these tornadoes of talents replace the Khans once and for all!
  12. I love to watch horror/sci-fimovies/epic movies a lot, some of which explore the unseen frontiers of the universe and bring a third dimension to many of the existing beliefs and cults. That said, I don’t watch every horror movie. Just the classy ones! Loved the 1976’s Omen, 1968’s Rosemary’s Baby, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula (I read the book too!), The Craft, Insidious (with the chapters), Conjuring, Orphan and many more. Besides, I am a sucker for all science fiction and cult movies. Resident Evil series happens to be my all time favorite! Also, loved the Clash and the Wrath of the Titans. Ok! You get the drift!
  13. I am not a big fan of make up. There was a time,  when I owned every possible cosmetic of every brand. But, that was about 4 years back! Now, I just survive on herbal kohl, a comb, a lip balm, a lip gloss (if I am going out) and an Olay Moisturiser. What I deduce, I am happier with lesser stuff now. My fetish for designer stuff waned long back! My fancy handbags of Esbeda and Gucci have been gifted away in 2012 and now, a small leather pouch serves my purpose. I own exactly 3 pairs of sandals, two pairs of floaters and one pair of sports shoes. And, I don’t like to add more to the list, as I have realized, comfort supersedes desires any day! Not to mention, I get ready in about 5-10 minutes when we go out for parties, whereas hubby and son take their sweet time! ;)
  14. I love departmental stores a lot. Even though I may not shop, I can spend hours going through the various rows stacked with ingredients from around the world, countless number of times! I guess, that quality is inherited from my mother. We can happily reside in a departmental store like Dorabjees, given the choice!
  15. I procrastinate a lot and go into a shell instantly! Like, a new place, a new neighborhood, a change in weather, new faces bring out the worst possible introvert in me! Post marriage, when I shifted from a happening suburb of Pune to a conservative yet buzzling Somwarpeth smack in the middle of the city, and worse, with hubby posted in a war zone, I retreated into a shell and did not go out of the house for two weeks, until my parents came and rescued me from my ennui. Later, I got a job and the routine kept me busy. I just loved it! But yes, I still procrastinate!
  16. Of the many house hold chores, there are two things I just cannot bring myself to do. Folding clothes and stacking them in the wardrobe and kitchen cleaning. And for some reason, I have never been able to let the maid do the former for me! At times, I am scared of being ever dependent on a maid. (especially after the #mychoice thing doing the rounds).
  17. I do not like to chat a lot on whatsapp. Nothing like calling up, or meeting the person face to face. There was a time when my school friend and I wrote letters to each other. (she was in Bhopal then). We were in sixth grade. I loved those times. Writing letters and posting them with hand made greeting cards were laced with personal touch. Modern technology makes the feelings more pretentious. You get what I am implying, right?
  18. The first impression people (who don’t know me yet) get about me, I am silent. I am cordial. I am somewhere between warm and cool. I am a little held back. I appear to be very conventional, traditional whatever you can call me! I do take a lot of time to mingle. I cannot smile or laugh with a person whom I have just met maybe, a couple of times or have conversed with, a few times. I connect with few people and those few people know me the way nobody does! But then, there have been times when I have connected with strangers too. And it amazes me, how! Those are few, but when I talk to them the first time, there is already a connection. Did I tell you, I met my husband like that? How I met my husband deserves a separate post!
  19. I was a ‘very angry young woman’ once upon a time! I was attracted to debates, arguments and discussions (mostly on politics and feminism) just like bees to a hive! I am not sure, if I am still. My college mates and school friends feel, I have changed. They are surprised when I shy away from picking on arguments (something I could not resist way back!). That does not mean, I don’t get angry. However, I don’t like to be a part of futile arguments with no results, except in the case, when I feel the need to be heard.
  20. I am my son’s sibling more than his mother. And, he treats me like one too. Sometimes, we take long walks together and he shares his imagination, stories, incidents from school and what not, with me. I love to pull his cheeks hard and see him cry as he complains to my mother about the devil I am! And, once the granny has reprimanded me enough, he runs back to me and asks me to pull his cheeks harder this time! There are times, when I feel like gobbling him up........yummm......slurpp....burp.......! OK! I am not a monster! That was just an expression! But still, I am such a brat of a mother who loves her naughty little munchkin to the moon and back!
Tagging Saroj, Navkiran and Shruthi! You may continue with the chain :D 

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Monday, March 30, 2015

How much is too much?

During my childhood days, I have often seen aunties around bargaining with the vegetable and fruit vendors over a rupee and a little more. My mother never bargained much, except when she genuinely felt that she was paying a little more than what the commodity was worth. Ever since, a question always bothers me in the back of my head. How much is too much? Only now, my questioning perspective has broadened from the bargaining aspect to the other ‘issues’ that are silently encroaching into our mindsets, lifestyles and perception of the world around. The question however, remains the same. How much is too much?

For instance, take the example of the AIB roast where humour was way below the belt. Opinions overflowed. People were trolled. Debates happened and a lot more on the lines- The nation wants to know....blah! I have nothing against all of this. But, as an entertainer who engages his audience, how did not this thought cross his mind, “Does everyone perceive humour the way I do?” The basic issue is, we assume the world thinks the way we do. For instance, take Deepika Padukone, who has lent her voice to the recently viral video on empowerment of women. She has mentioned about the choices in a woman’s life (some of which don't make sense to me) and that, 'she is no choice for nobody'. Damn right she is about 'she is no choice for nobody'! But has she wondered, for which women was this video made? For those who are helpless examples of the adage - Beggars cannot be choosers? When DP, after having undergone depression came out a survivor in her own right, given the luxury of understanding parents and a psychiatrist, came up on this video, I wondered how easy it was for her to represent women empowerment and how uphill task it would have been for her, to work towards it. Many don’t have 'a choice', milady, the way you are offered in a platter! The video is not engaging, It is annoying. The lesser said, the better.

The more I talk about social networking, the more I rant about it. Initially, I had a love hate relationship with social networking. Off late, the hate percentage has ramped up. Nothing is normal. Everything has to be discussed no matter, how ridiculous the topics are. Not to mention, social networking sensationalizes even an octopus like Paul the Nostradamus of Football (RIP, Paul). We have crossed over into an age where people battle on twitter grounds, share unnecessary pictures and excessively boring selfies on Instagram and share a lot of unauthenticated information on FaceBook, leading to misguided anger, baseless opinions and daft arguments. Like, the recent picture of a woman showing off her stained paijamas to the world made headlines for what? Instagram took it down. And what shocked me, that many were furious that the picture was removed and they called the current mindset misogynist and what not. 'misogynist' I accept but NOT for this bullshit reason! A woman menstruating is normal. Agreed. It is like nature’s call. Agreed. It is natural. Agreed. But, what was the idea behind posting something like that on a social networking site and garner 'likes' and 'comments' alike? Whatever the idea was, I do not like it! And it bothers me as to, what this world is coming to? Fighting for taking down a pic when there are serious issues that need some serious addressing? And I wonder, what are you going to post next, how many times you get nature’s call? Get a life! DUH!

A couple of days back, I witnessed an accident near my place. A girl riding her two wheeler was hit by a four wheeler and was injured. She was unable to move. Her leg was fractured. My mom and I reached the spot only to find a huge crowd hovering over the poor girl. We gave the girl some water and asked people around if help had been called for. None answered. Half an hour had already passed and passer bys stopped to give suggestions on what need be done. I immediately called for the ambulance. The moment I made the call, a boy standing next to me made a call too. After a couple of minutes he says, “Ma’am, I have called for an auto. You can ask the ambulance not to come.”. I blew my top and burst, “Couldn't you have called an auto earlier especially, when so many autos had already stopped by?” (as mentioned by few bystanders) What I observed is, whenever there is an accident, about 90% come over to watch someone’s misery. The 10% do their job of calling for help or taking the person to the hospital. I was surprised at the manner in which a few guys hovered over the girl, not one offering help. Each one of them was busy texting. (I wonder if that is the first thing you do when you see an accident). By the time, the girl was loaded in the auto, it was already past an hour. Until then, people watched, discussed what need be done, argued over suggestions and intermittently prodded about the car that hit her. But, none called for help. And, I wonder again, where are we falling behind? What are we lacking? Somewhere, the need to act has taken a backseat in this gamut of sharing too much of ‘intellect’. Sad, but true.

Somewhere, we need to draw a line. We need to sit back and think, “Does the world have to know everything about my life?” This rage is rabid enough to turn friends to foes, break marriages and turn healthy discussions into uncouth arguments. What has been left behind, is murder of personal space. Somewhere, the individual’s voice has drowned in the cacophony of opinions, a result of mob mentality. We have failed to ask ourselves, “How much is too much?” 

Rightly said.

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Some delightfully crazy experiences of a 'three plus year old' mother.

As a mother I have often observed myself in too many avatars. Loving mother, angry mother, sulking mother, enthusiastic mother, emotional mother, worried mother, ‘lost in thoughts’ mother, crying mother, laughing mother, ‘sleeping with eyes open’ mother, feverish mother, tired mother and a hyper active mother too! Did I forget to mention, a multitasking mother? It is here I must mention that I have surprised myself in improbable ways. Talk about patience. I thought I never had it. Not that I have mastered it now or, am the most patient mother on earth. Far from it! However, I have transformed from an active volcano to a dormant one. (explodes occasionally yet unpredictably). After all those sleepless nights of nursing my little one, cleaning baby poop, wearing maternity gowns and bras, cuddling the little one on the slightest outcry and a lot more, motherhood has definitely made me a better woman. Not to mention, a bold multi-tasker too. However, what I gathered from being a mother is, you can never plan something in your head and execute it the way you planned. Motherhood is all about learning and unlearning and then, learning again. Speaking of which, here are some of my delightfully crazy experiences, albeit concealing a few lessons!

Motherhood changes you in every way imaginable. Physically - yes. Hormonal-ly -yes. Mentally- yes. Priorities - Big time. But the most important thing, I have learned as a mother is to hold my horses when the urge to react/respond/retort was on the verge of touching the sky, given the fact that my son leaves no stone unturned in bungling my anger management routine. Sometimes, I sit back and look at him when he sleeps. His perfectly cherubic face overflows with unfathomable innocence. For a second, I forget about the dangerous mischiefs he resorts to, like chasing poisonous spiders of all sizes, calling out to the langoors outside or trampling any kind of insect, big or small under his tiny feet, totally oblivious to the fact that they could be poisonous too. His olive shaped eyes, his little sharp nose, his small pout and his calm demeanor (only when he sleeps) makes me feel as if I am the worst parent on earth for having shouted, hollered and at times, giving this little cuppy cake of mine, the treatment of ‘Don’t spare the rod’, leaving him crying his lungs out as though, “whatever did I do that you are so angry with me?”. (A strong word of caution: Never ever read books on parenting when you are gestating your bundle of joy !). So have I learnt, children have to be made to understand the meaning of a line drawn, a frontier, a boundary, from a very young age, given the deteriorating social fabric of this world. These days, I help my son understand, how dangerous mischief can lead to big problems such as a spider bite could give you boils all over the body (My son already suffered one instance). A year back, my son used to climb on the dining table and call out to me and say, “Mom! I am going to jump”. My first reaction was, “No! You are going to get hurt! Please!” The episode continued for weeks. Hubby after noticing my exasperation asked me to step aside and said, “Ok Son! Jump! You will enjoy it!”  And, A jumped only to realize that the ‘it’ his father referred to, was pain! Children learn certain gospels of life from their own experience no matter how much as a parent we fan over them. Of course, he has comprehended laws of gravity in his own way and, is cautious with heights.

The second thing I learned is, parenting is a journey of erudition and thrills. It is like giving an exam. Only you are not aware of the syllabus. You just need to comprehend the way this little budding mind thinks and perceives the world around. When parenting forums in social media were rife about ‘what a child should eat’, ‘when a child should sleep’, ‘should the child watch tv or not’, ‘how should a child study?’ et al, I was busy learning my son’s interests and aptitude. For example, when my son was two, I gave him crayons, fevicryl colors, paint brushes, pencils and erasers. He first inspected all the items and then, chose crayons first with which, he tried random doodling on the sheets I gave him. One by one, he put them away. Then he chose the colors and the paint. Now, I am not an artist, but I knew a little about the brush strokes and guided him. He enjoyed playing with the wet colors and unleashed what he had in his mind by thumb printing and splashing the colors on the paper to his heart’s content. To see a hyper active toddler busy and smiling at the same time, is a feat!

Much has been said about watching TV for adults and kids alike. Thankfully, hubby and I have common interests when it comes to watching TV. We love watching MasterChef Aus, Comedy Central and everything on FOX Life! As for my son, I have never deprived him of watching TV. Whenever it was TV time, I showed him both cartoons and channels like NatGeo and Discovery. Later, I learnt that his inclination was more towards Nature and its wonders. Not that he loves cartoons any less (Motu Patlu and Ninja Hattori are his favorites), but he loves animals and their lives even better. And it is from my son, I have learnt to appreciate the beauty of nature. His keen observation of the different birds that visit our porch early mornings, his vivid description of crocodiles and alligators from Animal Planet, his explanation on how leopards and cheetahs were different (The one time I made a mistake of calling a cheetah, a leopard….!!) and how monkeys steal (Monkey thieves of Jaipur) made me wonder how much his mind could have absorbed from what is shown on these channels. Not forgetting to mention, my son is an ardent animal lover (except he loves trampling insects with his bare feet!)

As a mother, I learnt how important communicating is. My son and I take long walks together in the evenings. Did I mention, he is talkative? He can incessantly chatter away from one topic to another just the way some teenager in Spain would be practicing parkour. Sometimes, I don’t even remember where the conversation started. There would be some interesting stories that he skillfully concots from the given few characters he encounters on the road say, a dog, a crane, a monkey etc….. These days, he cycles and I have to match with his pace. Later, the topics change to the Sun, Moon and the stars. His questions about why sun looks yellow and bright and why the moon is white and sometimes yellow (it looks so on a full moon day)or about the variety of insects he loves to explore such as how many legs each has, never end. Intermittently, he warns me about the langoors, asserting that I should not call out to them, else they would jump on me and slap me hard. Well, this is the caution I had fed him with initially, to keep him away from inviting trouble. So, I asked him, “What if they come over and slap you instead?” to which he quickly riposted, “They won’t slap me. They are my friends!” Damn right! He has started thinking like me! Old tricks don’t sell anymore. And never be sure of comprehending a child’s thought process. The moment you assume, you have assumed correctly, reality ditches you! Still, if theory of assumption works for you, never better!

Sometimes, discipline stands a better chance than the mellowed down approach. I have figured out, you can never be perpetually cool as a parent except in the case, if your child is that one in thousands, a Buddha or a Dhruv. A is stubborn, he is thoughtful and he is selectively social. He knows what he wants. Yet, he can make a simple process such as finishing a meal, herculean! For instance, he can act really ‘sick’ if he is just not in the mood to eat, despite the fact that he could actually be hungry. Sounds complicated? It is. I have observed this trait in many children during their meal time. If children are in a continuous play mode, their desire to continue playing supersedes their tummy’s call for fuel. It is only later when the child realizes the hunger pangs and ends up throwing the worst tantrums beyond the mother’s understanding. There is just one way to go about it. No pleading, No coaxing and no cajoling. Eat or no food! This trick worked for me as my ‘duracell’ bunny understood, I could be a strict mother too!

Being a mother has made me strong more so, mentally. There is a certain kind of energy that keeps me going even when there are those low days of fever, headache, sore throat, PMS etc. Before the arrival of my son, a simple sore throat or a headache would make me a sulking, restless and a difficult human. Now, despite all that, my routine of getting up at 5:30 stays undeterred. Waking up my son, making his breakfast, getting him ready for school, making him say his prayers and make him have his spoonful of chavanprash (he calls it ‘seven prush’) and then dropping him to school on time are the most important tasks for me. It is then I realized that God watches over the mother as much as he watches over the child. In times when health is not pink enough, I never even have the time to realize that I am unwell and it is only after I get better, I feel this amazing strength only a mother can possess. I for one, have witnessed my mother (who is a super mom herself) through her rough patches in life when health was not very friendly with her and yet, she struggled with me through days and nights to help me understand the importance of hard work and success. Motherhood is a beautiful phase. It engages you. It exhausts you. It surprises you. It overwhelms you. But essentially, it toughens you. To raise a child is a feat in itself. It was never easy. It never will be. Which is why, they say – Mother is the word!! Amen.

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

I just don’t get…

..Why does Deepika Padukone or Anushka Sharma or Lara Dutta for that matter have to take the 14 day Kellogg challenge (as if they really have Kellogs for Breakfast and Dinner) to attain a ‘healthy toned’ figure which they already have! I mean, try someone like me or someone healthier than me, and let me see if the challenge works. Seriously? Did you know you could keep a check on your weight without letting it ramp up, by drinking at least 5 liters of water a day and NOT binging on foods that have only fat, or probably more fat than the other essentials, besides a vigorous regimen of physical activity every day?

..Why is Cricket such a craze in our country? Why does Arnab Goswami have to blow his top because our country lost a ‘match’, ‘because a girlfriend flew down to cheer her love in the game’? Why can’t cricket be treated like a normal game? (Yes, it is far from a sport) Why is social media ‘bleeding blue’ like never before? (Well, Indians can ‘bleed yellow, blue, green’ whatever because I have lost respect for this game ever since the idea of IPL was conceived.)

..Why do people find it difficult to abide by traffic rules? Like, to not ride/drive on the wrong side, not riding on the pedestrian’s path, to not overtake from the left and all? How difficult it is to follow these rules? Or, are they as easy as meeting with accidents (some fatal)? Why isn't helmet compulsory everywhere?

..Why is Justice Katju so brash in making statements? Despite the fact that this man has given some notable judgments, landmark ones in many cases which is why, I was not-so-pleasantly surprised reading his article in the paper today about his views on Gandhi and SC Bose. Well, am no Gandhi fan but I don't get why a person like him should be writing such a childish piece and Indian Express was 'kind' enough to publish the piece too? And, when you are a public figure and have held responsible positions in life, you should know better about the way you communicate with the masses, especially through newspapers.

..Why is AAP hell bent on taking their political bullcrap to a whole new level? Why did Delhites have to elect Arvind Kejriwal again? Isn't once bitten, twice shy enough? (I had respect for this guy once but now, he is nothing more than a clown whose antics are not buying his circus called AAP, any audience! Except in the case, if he really manages to keep up his word as he promised, my opinion on him won't change!) 

..Why does the world care if Katrina and Ranbir are dating or Rishi Kapoor is too old to change his equation as a father with his son? Why is the media still stuck in a rut of the shaming and slamming? And, why does media have to write about KRK? Why can't our country ship idiots like him out of the country, for FREE? For once, why can’t the media focus on good news only?

..Why has the weather gone awry in all places? Why are there no mangoes yet? Why is it raining somewhere and immensely humid elsewhere?

..Why is this world obsessed with selfies? Why is this paranoia not going away? DUH!

Wow! I think, I have ranted enough for a day! Now, I need to have some ice cream to cool myself down…..PHEW!

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Every cloud has a silver lining.

A few days back, when my son and I were watching Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, there was this scene where Buck (the fearless weasel) explains to Manny and friends about where he encountered Rudy (the angry dinosaur) and how he got away with the latter’s tooth.

Buck:……..here I was, my back against the wall, no way out, perched on the razor's edge of oblivion, staring into the eye of the Great White Beast.
Crash and Eddie: Were you killed?

Buck: Sadly, yes. But I lived! Never had I felt so alive than when I was so close to death.

Both of us laughed. But in that moment, my laugh turned into a smile when a certain memory sprung up from the chasms of my subconscious mind and, I realized the depth of Buck’s words when he said the last line. Buckminster’s words must be engraved on stone.

 Exactly two years have passed since my encounter with a rare neurological auto immune disorder – Myasthenia Gravis (a health condition as described in the above image). Two years since the world beneath me shook and all my dreams toppled like a deck of cards. On 7th March 2013 I woke up with a heavy head, nasal twine in my throat and droopy eye lids. Four days later, I was admitted in Rajshree Hospitals Indore. I had lost my speech. My vision had deteriorated. My walk had become unsteady. My eyelids were stuck and I apparently suffered a severe diplopia. The weeks that followed saw me in many shades. The confused young woman. The angry young woman. The helpless young woman. The scared young woman. And, the scarred young woman. Those deafening MRIs, that painful prick on the spine for a CSF test, those debilitating cycles of plasma pherasis (plasma dialysis), those erratic heart beats when I was in the ICU battling between the worlds I did not understand, those hallucinations that terrorized me when sleep eluded and those weeks of ingesting everything nasally are forever etched in my mind. It was only when I recovered slowly yet steadily, I realized how alive and how determined I had felt when I was wheeled into the ICU after I suffered an erratic behaviour in my heart (a cascading effect of a plasma pherasis cycle that went awry) when my blood pressure skyrocketed alarming every doctor on board. Never had I felt that calm and composed. Never had I felt so resolute. That was my moment of epiphany that God was on my side, right from the moment when he guided me through many unfamiliar people who helped me reach the right doctor at the right time! 

And, 25th March 2013 was the day I was discharged. And today, I look back and I realized that angels watch over us in many forms. And, the angels who healed me and helped me see the brighter side of my life are, my parents, hubby, my son, my neighbours (Nav and Sujju), hubby’s comrades, the doctor and his team and the hospital staff and in fact, everyone who saw me through that stormy phase of my life. So many angels prayed for me, worked for me, worked on me and stood by me. I emerged stronger, positive and, a level headed person. (would like to believe so) 

All I learnt from this life changing experience is, there will always be confusing moments in life when hopes are bleak, faith becomes hard to keep and life topples in a snap. But then wait, every cloud has a silver lining. I can say this with conviction because, till a year post recovery, I suffered from nightmares, waking up in cold sweat and checking if my vision and speech were intact. And, I used to recite my prayers instantly and the fears would go away instantly. I have felt the presence of the good that soothes my fears and helps me sleep. That said, I am not implying that I am fearless. But then, I know for a fact that if man made fear, then God sure has made ways for man to beat them too. People can prove there is no God. And I for one, have seen Him in all these people I have mentioned in this post. You see God in the good you do for people and in the good, people do for you. I will leave it at that.  

And, Buck my diesel weasel, I love you to pieces!!

1998 - the year of mushroom cut and, a lot of blah!

It was the year 1998. I was in my eighth grade. And, one fine day I had this strong urge to get a hair cut. This is how the episode went:

Me: Mom, I need a haircut!
Mom: Why?? For what joy of life, do you need one?? (examining my long wavy curls that touched a few inches lower than my shoulder.
Me: For every joy of life, I need a haircut this time!
Mom: NO means NO!
Me: Please! I am not going to shave my head or something! I need to get my hair trimmed. That is it! And believe me, I will be a changed soul. My academics will improve and you will be surprised!
Mom: What??? You mean to say it is your long hair that is not allowing you to study regularly?? Why don’t you share your out-of-science explanations with your dad?? Am sure, he will be ‘pleased’!
Me: Puhleeassseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…………………
Mom(looking at my puppy face): Until he says yes, am not financing the hair cut!
Me: Please, you may tell him after he sees me in the new haircut which is nothing but trimming the hair ends. Literally, there is not going to be any difference between the old ‘me’ and the new ‘me’!
Mom: Ok! But promise me you won’t cut it short! Just trimming, that is it!
Me: Deal!


At the parlour,

Me: I need to trim my hair.
Lady: it will be 150 rupees. You will have to wait for a while. Until then, have a seat. You can find some magazines here. 
Me: (never been to a parlour before all by self and thinking..150 is more or less?)uuhh…ohh… ok…!!

Did I mention, this was the first time I visited a parlour and the second time in my life when I was going for a hair cut (my first time was in first grade). I loved everything about this parlour. The Buddha statues, the long incense sticks, the wafting spells of wonderfully aromatic shampoos, conditioners, creams and what not. Although I was aware of the beauty tips and tricks at an early age, I was introduced to the techniques of shaping and trimming of eyebrows, waxing, facials and clean ups only a year before I graduated from college. Yes, that is the truth. Ok, I am digressing. So, I was sitting in the parlour when I saw this 30 something lady with long flowing tresses sitting on the chair and describing to the hair dresser, the kind of hair cut she wanted. 'Mushroom' is the word I heard. A few minutes later, the scissors and the rattail comb made way into her dark dense head as chunks of thick tresses covered the smooth mosaic floor. Not that I was a fan of long hair (I hate it really) but, I could not believe this lady was getting rid of such beautiful silken hair. Well, not my business. So, I continued to stare at the way the hairdresser was working with her paddle brush, scissors and the multiple combs, all at once. About 15 minutes later after all the ‘blow dry’, ‘blow hot’ and ‘comb inwards’ and ‘comb outwards’ jargons, I saw a new face. The lady looked younger with her head appearing smaller than before and her forehead was partially hidden by the silky short hair falling across her face and the glow that came to her face when she viewed how a haircut elevated her look, was too conspicuous to miss. The lady gestured to me asking how it looked and I, already awed by the hair cut heard myself saying loud, “I am getting that cut too!”

The hair dresser looked at me with a funny expression and said, “Maybe, you should just trim your hair. You have quite dense and curly hair and a mushroom cut is preferable for women with straight hair”. 

For a 13 year old me, that was an insult! I made it clear that I wanted a mushroom cut for three reasons:
  1. I hate long hair
  2. I don’t have to make double plaits!
  3. And, I care two hoots about how I look thereafter.

Maybe, I was a tad too fast in mentioning the third reason, which kind of slipped from my tongue before my mind could act. And that was it! After shelling out double the amount (mom had given me more so that I could save the rest and put it in piggy bank), and on my way home with exactly 10 bucks, I felt light, nervous, relieved and adventurous all at the same time. However all my dreams of tossing my head like Demi Moore or Meg Ryan disappeared into thin air, the moment I saw mom chatting away with N aunty. With great deliberation, I made a move towards the gate, when my mom called out, “yes?? Kisse milna hai?” For a minute, I thought she was joking! I blinked at her and she blinked at me back! Maybe I should have checked myself in the mirror for a second time before I paid and left, as I did not much recollect, how I looked! I said, “Mom! It is me!”. Her eyebrows knitted and she opened her mouth to say something and there, I heard a car honk outside the gate. Dad was back.

I have little to share about how the later part of that day’s evening went as I was greeted with a stone cold silence each time I tried saying something. The next day, when I boarded my school jeep, Saeed Uncle (our driver) looked at me and asked, "Ye kya kar diya aapne baalon ka? Tabiyat to theek hai na!". Well, i knew the day at school was going to be worse. I was teased, praised, petted and trolled, with the following comments of kinds:

A (One of my arch rivals): haaaaahhaaaa…..humare class me new admission hai! And wait, it is a boy!
B(another boy): WoW! You look like Indira Gandhi….only those whites near the temple are missing…..
C (girl): not bad! You look different!
D (girl): Hey, you are good in studies. You participate in everything, the school knows you. What made you do such a thing?
E (girl): You are looking damn cute! Looks like you are wearing an inverted basket!

Well, not one in my class agreed with the other on how I looked. For some, I looked like Indira Gandhi. For some, I was a clown. For some, I suddenly became a weirdo. For some, I looked disturbed and for some, I looked confused. I was hurt. And, I would be lying if I said I was prepared for the kind of attention I drew from juniors, seniors, teachers and the principal too. The amount of speculation on why I opted for a mushroom cut seemed more interesting to discuss rather than how I looked in it. It was only after Sis Molly (our School Principal) summoned me later in the office and asked, “Whatever happened to your hair? I loved those dark curly hair of yours! Why, Narayani, Why?”, the tears almost welled up. But then, I am my father’s daughter and humour came to me more easily than tears! I just quipped, “Well, hair grows back always. Doesn't it?”

On a lighter note, I was the star studded subject of the school that day right from the gossip sessions among the ayhas, and then in the classrooms, staff rooms et al. Not even teen romance would have been discussed with such alacrity as much as my mushroom hair cut was! I was relieved when that day ended. The days that followed in the week were tolerable. My parents soon accepted my new avatar after I promised them that I was never going to experiment with my hair without a proper supervision. That said, I did not have a haircut until the beginning of 2007, when I joined Cognizant.

So much for a haircut that goes by the name – Mushroom! DUH!

P.S: Well, there are a couple of things I learnt:
  1. What looks good on someone else may not necessarily suit you. Most of the times, it will not!
  2. Always listen to mom!

Even if you forget the first point, no problem. But don't forget the second, or else the world will have every reason to laugh!!

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