Thursday, August 29, 2013

Some things never change :) - Blogathon- Post 27

29th August 2013

Do you remember the orange ice lollies we used to have as children. I have very fond memories of those. It used to have 2 sticks attached to it, and we used to very generously break the ice-candy into 2 pieces and share it with our friends.  

The same went with lollipops and sweet candies. I remember an incident from school, when one of my friends was eating a red coloured candy in English class. Our teacher used hate anyone eating candies and  scold very badly if someone was caught. So, she came near my friend and asked whether she had a candy in her mouth, and obviously she blankly refused. She was then asked to show her tongue, and out came a bloody-red coloured tongue. It is needless to say that she got the scolding of the lifetime. But that never stopped her or the rest of us from eating our favourite cheap candies. They used to cost 25 paise for 4. Oh my!

The other day, I saw a big bump inside the right cheek of my 1st grader. Ofcourse, he had a chocolate in his mouth. When I asked him whether he had a chocolate in his mouth, he answered negatively, staring at me with his eyes wide open. The funniest part was I could see him trying to hide the bump in his cheek and moving the chocolate in his mouth. I asked him to quickly finish off his chocolate. The speed in which he chewed the toffee was worth watching!

The same day, I clicked this pic of N, enjoying her lollipop. She was giggling away to glory as she showed off her red tongue. 



These are the times when I think childhood is the same: Then and now. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Happy PENship day :) - Blogathon Post 26

 28th August 2013

I waited for the day I could start using pens. It was a big big thing! And when the day finally arrived, I went for pen shopping with my mother. We were supposed to use only ink pens. The journey started since.

I guess I was in 8th grade when one of close friends introduced me to cartridge ink pens. They were non-messy and the pens came in attractive colours. But honestly, I was never a big fan of ink pens. So, I waited when we would be allowed to use ball pens.

That day arrived too. And off I went for pen shopping. I have to confess, I am a shopaholic with a specific fetish for stationery. My grand-dad was in WHO and he used to get exclusive stationery which was unavailable in India.  My grand-mom used to keep them locked in a closet. Similarly, my parents had unlimited quota of awesome stationery from their workplaces. My home was home to never ending, high quality stationery from Faber Castell, Hero, Parker, Cross and so on. Then there was my uncle who used to and still is in Merchant Navy. By the time he completed 30 years of his life, he had traveled almost the whole world. And the one thing he used to get me was stationery besides clothes. I remember once he had bought a beautiful pencil pouch which had an aquarium on its outside. There were fake fish and real water! There were some not-so-nice souls in my class who couldn't handle the master-piece. The result: When I came back after PT, it was cruelly cut with a blade and the pouch was no where near what it used to look like earlier. Lesson learnt...I never took expensive and exclusive stationery to school thereafter.

Maybe because of all the stationery I grew up with, I love them to the core even today. I have felt my mouth water when I see good stuff.

It was during graduation and post graduation, when there was too much writing, that I shifted over to pens which were between 5-10 bucks. It had to be good but cheap. So I shifted gears to cheaper pens, but I used to always look out for colourful pens. During post-grad, my bestie and I used to hunt all the stationery to get hold of pretty looking pens which wrote well. Trust me, it was fun!

After those days, I never really needed a lot of pens. But recently when I got back to teaching, I re-started writing A LOT. I mean...a lot! There have been times, when I have gobbled up 1 pen within a week. Soon, my entire stock of pens got over. (Yeah...I have STOCK of pens)

And that is when I decided to shop for pens again. The first thought which came to my mind was that I needed colourful pens. Because, we are supposed to use only blue or black colour for checking, the ink had to be blue but the outside colour had to pretty. I decided to ransack Flipkart. (Obviously) But sadly couldn't find colourful pens.

Today, being a holiday I was out running a few errands, and remembered to buy coconut from the local small grocery shop. I tried my luck and asked whether he had pens, and he produced a counter full of ball point pens. It did not matter that A and N were screaming for lollipops and chocolates. It did not matter that my mother was waiting in the car for like 15 minutes. All I saw was colours in every colour.

                                             MY LOOT: I spent a whole 30 bucks on them!!!

There are a lot more in the shop, and I know where to go when I want pens now. Oh BTW, Happy Janmashtami! :D

Monday, August 26, 2013

Signature in making - Blogathon Post 25

26th August 2013

I am wondering how very simple incidents take us back into the past lanes and bring back very fond memories.

Today one of my 1st graders showed me her art book, in which alongside her beautiful drawing was a signature. No, not that of her art teacher or her parents. It was her classmate, a boy of 6 years. It was a ‘maturely’ written name, with a line drawn underneath it, all done with a pen. I looked at the young guy staring at me intently (maybe waiting to hear a bashing). I was all smiles within my heart, but a teacher sometimes cannot smile where she is waiting to break into laughter. He immediately said, “Maam, this is an old sign. I don’t do it anymore.” I said ok and left it there.

But later when I thought about it, it took me back to my childhood days when I was all excited to even consider that I would have my own signature like ADULTS! I must have been in 8th or maybe younger when I used to practise making my own signature all the time. It was everywhere. My notebooks, back of the textbooks, the dictionary, rough notebooks had marks of my creativity trying to get the right signature.

As a little girl, I used to love watching my teachers, the way they walked, talked, corrected the notebooks and ofcourse signed them. I used to imitate them at home and checking the notebooks of the previous academic year with red pens. I wonder what sadistic pleasure I used to get when I used cross all the answers and write: Poor! And then obviously sign it. The high of using a red pen was ultimate.


So when my 6 year old student tries to sign and give me the cutest of the smirk, I know it is all a part of growing up. Been there…done that. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Asura - Tale of the Vanquished - Blogathon Post 24

Yesterday was N's 3rd birthday, and I was buzzing everywhere, hence no post.

24th August 2013

Today's post is about the latest book I finished reading: Asura: The Tale of the Vanquished, by Anand Neelakantan.

Usually, I do not review books on my blog, but this one blew my heart away, and thus this post.

I am a fan of modernly retold epics, and I have quite a few. But this one is takes the prize. (till now)

As a child, I never missed a single episode of the Ramayana: the epic of Rama. Infact, that was the reason we bought a TV! So, when I came across this book, I couldn't stay away from it.

The story has been told from the other side of the table: Ravana. The book portrays what Sanghadasa's Jaina version of Ramayana speaks about: that Sita is the daughter of Ravana.
But unfortunately due to superstitions, Ravana, the Asura king gave away his daughter to death. Incidentally, she graciously gets adopted by Janak. Years later, Ravana realises that he did wrong and wants his daughter back, but by then she is married to Rama. And thus, began the epic war of Ramayana.
It is a different version from what we all have heard and known: that Ramayana was the saga of war which arose because of Ravana's carnal desire for Sita.

But this is not what stands out in the book. What is beautifully depicted is the human being Ravana was (and not the Asura). It shows how the Asura empires were different from the Deva empires. How caste system originates from the Devas and then continued by the Hindus, which is a fact even today.

The book is supported by the character of Bhadra, who is from the lowest of the society's cadre (a Shudra). Highly irrelevant person from point of view of the kings but as much as the story is being told from Ravana's mouth, it is being told from Bhadra's words too. That is what makes the book seem real to life and can be related with.

All in all: Amazing book. My rating 5/5

Friday, August 23, 2013

Just like that - Blogathon - Post 23

23rd August 2013

In a different mood today....

Why is there a tug in my heart,
And demons to lug my soul and pull me deep.

There seems no path to give it a start,
No way to put my thoughts to sleep.

Should I talk or not,
or should I just give away to silence.

I wish the night takes away the clot,
And the morning brings a new word and a new sentence.

To all my regular readers: Its just a day...I am sure it will pass away. These are just words which will seem like a laugh tomorrow.



Thursday, August 22, 2013

To hold a diamond, one needs gold - Blogathon - Post 22

22nd August 2013

Today's post came up from a random comment made by a very close friend.

During a rather insignificant discussion, she said, "To hold a diamond, one needs gold." I am sure she did not even think further on that, but it stuck with me for a really long time. The context in which she spoke was friendship.

M periodically wonders loud and clear how I still have friends from my kindergarten and school days. The answer to that is still unknown to me. I just know that most of us have stuck around. Most of them are in Delhi, and I staying in Bangalore, I cannot meet any of them regularly. But, all it takes is a call and we can talk and talk and taaaaaaallllk.

The way life is, many people have come and gone. Some friendships had to be let go painfully, but mostly I have held on to tightly.

We meet so many people everyday and some of them take a special place in our heart. But to replace our old buddies with the new ones is something I have learnt not to do. Especially it holds true, if there are a few who are like that tinge of sugar and salt without which the lemonade of life will be without a spark.

As much as it is important to choose the right friends and let go of certain people in our life, it is more important to value and keep up with the ones who are the Mirror. (Read the linked post to know who is the Mirror)

These friends are the Gold.

Time passes by, and a lot of interesting people come by who add the extra spice to the food of life. These friends become the Diamond.

For a while the diamonds may take a lead, take all the attention and complement us. But at the end, we go back to the Gold. They accept us with open arms and hearts. Their shoulders never get tired of holding us. Their ears never get tired of our rambling.

As much as we need Gold as a time tested investment, Diamonds add the extra dazzle. But when you get a Diamond, don't forget the Gold.

Whoever said Old is Gold knew business. But whoever said To hold a diamond, one needs gold, knew the true essence of friendship.



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

God's own children - Blogathon - Post 21

21st August 2013

As a child, I remember my father asking me to go to the temple and also attend community bhajans. I used to and still like occasional visits to the temple, but community bhajans was something I never was interested in. I mean, I never understood it. 

I used to wonder why do we have to be noisy and loud to be heard by God? 

Well, the arguments never subsided between my dad and me. Ultimately I found my own path of spirituality, and my dad ultimately did turn around and accepted it. 

Today, my children are growing up. There are times when I am in doubt, as to whether I should tell them how to pray, what to pray, who to pray, whether to pray or not, how should I explain who is God, is there a God? and so on...

We are not a religious family, but we are definitely a spiritual family. Reiki brought us closer to our SELF. A and N have watched us practice Reiki and they know there is something about it which is good. 

We pray, we light lamps two times a day, and we do it every day. We believe in God. We believe that there is a super-entity who cannot be justified or explained. It has to be experienced in order to be believed in. 

Today, accidentally A and I had an interesting discussion. 

A: Amma, Do you pray daily?
Me: Yes. 
A: Why?
Me: Because I like it. It helps me prepare for the day. Do you like to pray? 
A: Yes. 
Me: Why?
A: Because God helps me. 
Me: How?
A: He tells me answers. He helps my mind to think and come up with answers to questions. 
Me: But what do you pray?
A: Nothing. I just say the shlokas you have taught me. Then I say, protect me. (Something I have told him to do.)
Me: Do you like to go to the temple?
A: No, it is boring. You just fold your hands and close your eyes. I like to pray at home. 
Me: Ok. So you do what you want. Pray the way you like to pray. Are you scared of God?
A: Why should I be scared of God? I have never seen him. I don't see a reason why I should be scared of God. 
Me: That's right. He will always love you. 

This is the point where he remembered to read a book for his school project and I started to think why do we parents kill this positivity in children? This feeling of God as a positive entity. Why do we create a picture of God as an entity who will punish if you do not pray well or don't visit temples or behave bad? 

This is where the fear sets in. If I do this, God will be happy. If I don't do this, God will get angry? Ultimately spirituality is killed and there appears a phenomenon based on fear. Who are we to do that our children? 

I am sure if let alone, they will search and choose the right path of spirituality and belief. Who are we to impose our ways on them? 

A believes that there is no one God. There are many Gods. It is not one God with multiple names. There are multiple Gods. His logic: There are so many people on this Earth. How can one God listen to and help these many people. So, there has to be many Gods. Hmmm, practical, I say. 

Let them be. They will learn, unlearn and relearn. Who are we to stop it?  


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The knot of bro-sis-hood - Blogathon - Post 20

20th August 2013

My father used to always say that being Keralites settled in Delhi, we have no identity. Na hum yahaan ke hain, na hum wahaan ke. He felt that as much as we tried to behave like Mallus, we would try to inculcate North Indian-ism too.

I had a different thought. And I am speaking on behalf of just me. Keralites are one of their kind. Apart from a new year called Vishu and Kerala Day celebrated as Onam, we have no other festivals. Yup, that's true. No other festival. We are boring. To the extent that our marriages too are zzzzzz. I have always joked that its like getting married in a court, but with a hundred kilos of gold on the bride.

There are no ceremonies involved, no jazz, no sangeet, basically no such things which make a wedding a Band Baaja Bride.  All that happens is the tying of thali by the groom around the bride's neck, in a temple. And there you go...you are husband and wife. And coming from the north, I have witnessed the best and dhing-chaks of the weddings.

Forget about weddings, I think every part of India, barring Kerala has a range of festivals and special days. I am a huge lover of festivals, special days and everything connected to all this. The dressing up, the doing up of homes, the poojas, mithais, the hugs, the smiles, the decking up...I love it all. As a Keralite I have missed all this in our culture. So I soaked up everything from the North. In the process of being a part of the social circle in Delhi, my parents too unknowingly embraced many of the customs. So, we started doing the Lakshmi pooja, celebrate Diwali, play Holi, enjoy all the 10 days of Dussera, and so on.

The one thing we never felt anything for was Raksha-Bhandhan. I am a single child. I wished all the while for a brother on whose wrists I could tie a rakhi just like all my friends. But it was never to happen.

And years later, today I have 2 kids: a boy and a girl. When N was born, I decided that she will tie a rakhi on her brother's wrist every year.

I purchase a rakhi every year and give it to N. She looks at her brother coyly (the way she does it the best) and then I tie it on behalf of her on A's wrist. Then A gives her a rupee coin.

Today morning too, she tied the rakhi on A's wrist, before they went off to school. I told him to give her a coin, and he gave ten bucks. I asked him why did he give ten bucks and not a rupee. He said, "It's ok. I have lots of money. She can have more than a rupee." (Sighhh)

A asked me what he should do now that N ties a rakhi  on his wrist every year.

I said, "You are not the only one to do anything. She and you have to love, support and stand by each other. Fight a lot and love a lot more."

A looked at N for a while and then smiled.

As a mother, I can just show them the path. I can just tell them it is family that sticks together. To witness it and believe in it, is going to be their experience.



Monday, August 19, 2013

Go girl go! - Blogathon - Post 19

19th August 2013

The thing with having 2 kids is that you undergo a series of situations and then you live your life for a while and then again you undergo the same set of situations. And because you know what to expect, the wait seems longer.

I remember when N was born, I used to keep thinking, "Oh, now this is left. So that's another 3 months. Oh, that too is yet to come. So that is another 6 months."

When she turned 1, on her birthday everyone said, "Oh she is 1 now!" And I said, "Well, she is just 1 now. She is yet to start talking properly, pee on her own, poop on time, eat on her own, tell me what she wants, go to playschool, sleep by herself..." The guests started laughing. Well, I was serious.

The thing is as much as I am a mother and love my kids more than anything, I love my independence. If I love spending time with my children, I love spending time with my girl-friends a little more. While I do enjoy a game of snakes and ladders with my kids, I enjoy more when I go for a movie with M. I could go on with my kids' school project for 2 hours straight, but after that I would not like to see any of that for the next 3 hours.

So the thing is, I like it when kids grow up independent, start doing things on their own. I don't like to mother them 24*7. While I am at it, I have seen women who love that, they can literally be with their kids the whole time. I am in awe of them. I cannot do that. No qualms...just acceptance.

One of the things that I had ear-marked while A was growing was that things look bright when he started going for birthday parties by himself. You see, I am not much of a kiddie party lover. They are just not for me. I would rather sit and read a book, or go for a walk.

But when you become a mother, you are really not the master of choices. So, whenever there would be a birthday invitation, I would have to tag along. And I wished, really wished that A would start going for parties by himself. And then one day it happened, and I felt liberated.


Then N came along. I waited for the day when she would also start going for birthdays alone. I hoped it to happen earlier, because A and N have pretty much the same set of friends.

The day finally arrived yesterday. It was N's friend's birthday and both my kids got the invitation. I thought she is turning 3 next Saturday, so why not?

So, brother-sister duo held hands and went for the party by themselves. I dropped them at the venue. A was holding the gift and about few steps down the road, A turned back, handed the gift to N and said, "Here, you hold it. It is your friend's birthday na, you give it to her, okay?" (In the most big bro tone)

I waited anxiously till they returned home after about 2 hours. When I asked how it went. A's response was, "Amma, this girl na...she behaved so well. She ate properly and did not fight or cry. She has become a big girl."

Yes, indeed. She too has started going for birthday parties by herself. It is a start to becoming a BIG GIRL. :)

To that N said, "This mine. Balloon mine. Gift mine. Cake mine. Chocolate mine. All is mine!"

Hmmm...well. I might have spoken a little too soon. But I don't care. She goes for birthday parties alone. Yayyy!







Sunday, August 18, 2013

The story behind my blog's new look - Blogathon Post 16

18th August 2013

My blog's look has been changed. There is a long story behind it. To be precise a story that started at around 7 pm last evening and it has finally been given a end at 11 am today. I seriously want to go to the temple and break a coconut. It has been that taxing. now you may wonder what in this whole wide earth can that be so taxing? And because, my friend...you asked me, I will vent out. 

So last evening...it was not any other evening...it was an evening when M and I had been back after a back breaking day out. My throat had been thoroughly pissed off with me, and I atlast had to go to the ENT. She very cheekily said, "Your throat is infected and it has worsened because you talk a lot." I am sure she meant my teaching job, but husband thought otherwise and gave me a smirk. Tch tch...

So anyway, after a damn busy day, people decide to come back home and become a couch potato. But, this is me we are talking about. I decided that I do not need one of the pages on my blog. And thus, began the torture. Blogger decided to be friends with my bad throat and decided to further give me a bad time. It stubbornly decided that along with that particular page, it will eat up my remaining pages too. Thankfully, they were not deleted, but it simply refused to get published. Aaaaarghhh!

After spending 2 hours trying to do all kinds of R & D, I gave up. I was hungry and badly wanted to watch Battleship on Star movies. I dragged myself off from my laptop and sat to watch the movie. All the while, as people were trying to save our planet Earth from aliens, I was cribbing about my vanished pages. M did not say anything, not because he understood my anguish, but because his ears stop functioning for outsiders when he watches a movie. It is there...but not there

The first thing I did as soon as I got up was to sit yet again in front of the lappy. I went berserk by the time it was 10:30 am. Apart from the existing issue, Blogger refused to even upload any new templates for my blog.  I am anyway not a huge fan of technology. (The closest I can get is pay all my bills and do banking online and then ofcourse love my Galaxy S-3 like my 3rd child.) Technology is supposed to make things easier for us. Not make me learn and then unlearn and then relearn new things and mess-ups. I mean it never ends. Bugger!

Finally, I decided I will go back to good old plain templates provided by Blogger itself. Now, people don't act against family members right?  And I was right! 

It worked. My pages returned back, and I got my fav blue colour too. 

It is not as jazzy as it was earlier, but it is simpler and easy on my head. So please tell me it is ok and looks just fine. :)

So, this is the story behind my blog's new look my friend. (And thanks for listening to my whining.)


Saturday, August 17, 2013

The paradoxical India - Blogathon - Post 15

17th August 2013

In every nook and corner of India, there are two types of India.

A few years back, I remember teaching my 12th graders the theory of Paradox. In common man's terms, it spoke about how there exists good and bad, correct and incorrect together. To the extent that sometimes, good is what leads to bad. A very basic example: A farmer is asked to produce more. The more the produce, the better the chances for the farmer to prosper. Then comes a situation where there is too much of production and because of which the supply increases so much that the prices go low, and therefore the farmer bears losses.

This is in the Economics sense. But what I am talking about is the fact that how paradoxical India can get even to watch people around.

Today, while we were out for shopping, we drove through Koramangala, which is considered one of the oldest and poshest places in Bangalore. On both sides of the roads, stood beautiful and some palatial bungalows. Most of the these houses had no less than 2 cars, and none of these cars were less than the Benz.

M and I were loving the architecture some of these houses had been built with. As we passed through the lanes, I saw a young girl of about 16-17, trying to put a baby (either her child, or her sister) to sleep. She had tied a jhoola made up of cloth from a strong branch of a tree, and the baby was lying inside the jhoola. She was singing a lullaby (I could make out from her lip movements) and she had a faint smile on her face.

On the other side of the road, stood an old man ironing inside his temporary stall. He was sweating despite the cool winds.

It did not matter to any of them that there were big houses with richness all over. They were leading the simplest of the simple lives, trying to make ends meet.

Where on one hand, lived people for whom 2000 rupees was their child's half a month's pocket money...on the other hand, lived people who tried to eat, drink, educate and everything else in the same amount of money.

What a way of life...

Well, this is life....

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Idiot box truly turns an IDIOT BOX - Blogathon - Post 14

16th August 2013

The question is: What can children watch on TV?

Yesterday M and I (the movie buffs we are, decided to watch all the movies coming up on TV). So it was Ashiqui 2 and then Aurangzeb.

A decided to watch with us. Usually, kids are not allowed to watch movies with us. Mostly, it is because we watch movies after they sleep. But this time, we thought, why not? After all it is just a movie.

Oho! Wrong decision. Totally!!

Ashiqui 2 came up with all the super engrossing love scenes and then there was a bombardment of all the emotions that a 7 year old should not watch: Alcoholism, being hopelessly in a weird form of love, suicide..well, it had it all.

Then came up Aurangzeb. Frankly, we were expecting bloodshed. But there was lot more. Explicit love making scenes taken multiple steps ahead. M and I were left stealing glances. Honestly, I was left wondering what to do first. Hide myself, hide A, make him go to his room...Oh my..what???

Making him go to the room would have been too obvious that it is not an appropriate scene, but then it definitely was not an appropriate scene. But then, creating curiosity was also not a good option. So, just the way I have confused you now, we were too equally confused. Ofcourse by then the scene got over. Thank you very much.

At 6 pm, I decided no more movies. It is too much. The kids were sent off to their rooms. I sat down to watch one of my fav sitcoms: Grey's Anatomy. Now, GT is awesome and all, but the docs as much as they are busy saving lives, they are equally busy making love like rabbits...everywhere, anywhere and with anyone and everyone. I mean how??? Why??? And precisely every time such a scene comes up, either of my kids come out of the their room for a loo break or they get extremely thirsty or they get awfully hungry. SWITCH CHANNELS NOW!

If you are going to tell me how much the ever child friendly cartoons? Well, POGO has definitely been bribed by the Chota Bheem makers. They just do not seem to show anything else in the damn channel. There is this little boy and his group of friends, who apparently have no parents to make sure they sleep and eat on time. All they do is fight injustice after eating laddoos. (yeah, that's the new vitamin.)

Hungama has been banned in our home 2 years back. I cannot digest those Japanese cartoons where the mother is always being a freak and the child is being freakier.

The other day, I told A to watch Nat Geo (to make it safe). There came a documentary on all the animals' breeding habits. What do I say when A or N asks me, "What are they doing??" God save me.

I am worried about all the exposure our kids are getting much before the appropriate age. How much can parents control 24*7? I am doing as much as I can...books, board games, sports, fun activities. But TV is not completely avoidable. I can put on age appropriate CDs for them and the likes. But what about casual TV watching?

The question still remains: What can children watch on TV?








Thursday, August 15, 2013

Happy Birthday India! - Blogathon - Post 13

15th August 2013

Today, at school while participating in the Independence Day celebrations, I noticed the frolic and enthusiasm amongst the age group of 4 to 9. Ofcourse as adults, we too were enjoying every bit of the dances, songs, speeches and ofcourse the chit-chat.

But what I further thought was how much of this enthusiasm and love for the country is really carried forward by the young hearts? As children we too celebrated the National holidays and occasions. But if we be truthful to ourselves, do we really feel patriotism or love for our country?

For a moment, let’s keep aside the country. Do we follow the rich heritage and culture, beliefs and customs which India represents? In the pretext of being modern and forward looking, we forget where we come from. It is uncool to talk in Hindi, wear Indian attire, speak our mother tongue and participate in poojas.

Where other countries still love to flaunt their local language even in beauty pageants and otherwise, I see more and more people rolling their tongues and produce fake accents, even while having informal conversations with friends. I wonder why?

The moment a child turns 10, we start seeing a sudden ‘need’ to be less Indian and more westernised. I guess, being modern is equivalent to being westernised.

For men, being modern is to go around with 10 women, but want to get married to virgins only. Young women start smoking to look cool, not caring what it could do to their bodies. Calling the mothers Amma or Ma is old fashioned and God forbid, if your friends catch you going to the temple. (It does not matter that He is the one you will call a 100 times before the exam results.) It does not matter whether your child is studying in a college which is nowhere near the prestigious institutions of India, but hell…he/she is in the US of America!

And man! You just have to stay abroad for 3 months, there appears the tongue rolling (yet again), the inability to digest Indian food, milk, salt, sugar, basically everything. Oh BTW, you were born and brought up here.

I understand and agree, we have issues. We lack infrastructure facilities like many other developed countries. I sincerely wish there were cleaner public toilets, and men understand that roads are not loos. I wish there is less corruption and crime. I wish the government is genuinely for the people. But tell me, which countries do not have problems and issues? Grass is greener on the other side. 

But is it that bad? Is it so easy to just stop being an Indian and be someone completely the opposite of everything one stands for from birth?


Time to think….

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Break the legacy - Blogathon - Post 12

14th August 2013

While talking to an acquaintance recently, she spoke about how her son does not like to eat vegetables, she further said how her daughter gets very angry and then speaks rudely...just like her husband. I asked her why she does not make her daughter eat veggies or reprimand when she is rude. She rolled her eyes and said, "Oh, that's impossible! She takes after her father. She has inherited his nature. She won't change."

I wish she understands that it need not be like that. I further wish that her daughter understands sooner than later that she does not have continue the legacy her father has 'passed' on to her. 

M, while reading about neuro association told me how this is a mental and emotional conditioning phenomenon. Basically one of the meanings is that you tell yourself that you are the way you are because of the way your parents or genes are.

This is ok till the time things are positive or the way you are attuned is positive. But what about the things which is not positive? 

The one thing a lot of my family members associate me with my father is my lack of patience or the way I get angry pretty quickly. There came a point of time, when the comparison became way too much for me to handle, and I realised that this neuro-association had to be broken. The battle was half won when I admitted that something is wrong and it needs to be fixed. 

Just because there is a past reference does not mean that it has to continued. It really was not a throne I wanted to be passed on to. It took a while. Thanks to Reiki, self-motivation and M's support, it got better. 

I am not saying that I have transformed myself into a saint, but yes, I know the point when it starts to get haywire. I give myself a rain check and it works. 




It is really not easy to break a past pattern. It takes a lot of conviction, self belief and starts with the most important self-acceptance that YOU ARE WRONG and YOU NEED TO FIX IT. Sometimes, all it takes is to accept and say sorry. 






So if you are sailing in the same boat, do take a while and try to accept that you do not have to continue the legacy. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Being a teacher - Blogathon - Post 11

Today I complete 3 months into teaching. Actually 3 months of come back into teaching. After teaching for 3 years from 2006-2009, I had taken a sabbatical for 2.5 years for N.

Last year, because of unfortunate circumstances owing to a few health issues, I had to step down from a recently joined teaching position. The whole of last year was spent in taking care of myself and building a positive mind set. A few lovely friends kept up my spirits and asked me to believe in myself and power of positive thinking. And that is exactly what I did. And here I am.

Teaching is not new to me. I left my corporate career and accidentally stumbled upon teaching in a coaching institute. The experience was so fulfilling that after every class when I returned home, M used to say that my face glowed. I am sure he was not goofing around.

Today I do not teach high school and under-grads like I used to before. I have shifted base to primary school. The kids fill my heart with love and affection every single day. The other day I was telling M that even after excruciatingly busy mornings, or bickering with everyone at home on a late morning or having an almost incomplete bath, how much ever I am in a sulky mood, the moment I reach my school gate, something snaps inside me. It is like a switch getting on inside me and I am all pepped up.

Infact, today I woke up with an allergic eye. (The long drive back to Bangalore from Ooty was not kind on my sensitive eyes.) I almost had made up my mind to take an off, but somehow school kept pulling me towards it. I managed to finish all my morning chores and sent the kids off to school. Later, when I checked my eyes, it was so much better! I had not even used any medication. That is when you realise that you have chosen the right job. :)

As if on a cue, today was the Independence Day speech competition at school. One of my very special students spoke so well that the room thundered with claps and appreciation. It brought tears to my eyes. It struck me that as a teacher, I am building this child's (and many other children's) foundation for the future. What I can do for them is something no one else can. I can teach them to be fearless and confident. I can teach them good and bad. I can tickle them, love them and pamper them, yet reprimand them and correct them when they make mistakes...just like a MOTHER. Which other job in this world can be equally satisfying and soul fulfilling than this? None...none at all. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Grandeur of Grand-Parenting - Blogathon - Post 10

11th August 2013

I am the product of multi parenting. Apart from my parents, my grandparents, especially my grandmother has a big role in what I am and the way I think. I am indebted to her for many lives to come, for the values and good thinking she gave me.

Today, my mother also lives with me. And I am able to see changes in my children. Some are great, some good, some ok, and some well…let’s just say, could have been missed.

If your child/children are being multi parented too, then here are some perspectives which is worth going through.
Let’s keep the math very simple.

Pluses:
  • They are more experienced, so they definitely know a little better: I have seen some great moves being given by my mother when one or both my kids get in mother-of-all moods. Honestly, she can handle them better during those times.
  • They can tell a lot more stories in a much better way than you do: This holds true in my case. Let’s face it. I am a good mother, but I am a bad bed time story teller. I really wish I could catch up on some TV while they sleep on their own. (Sheepish grin!)
  • They definitely can pamper them better: Come on. Do admit, a little pampering has never done harm to any child. Even we had our share of pampering during our golden days. This was pointed to me by my mother, when on an un-cool day, I pointed out to her that she is spoiling the kids. Her response, “You know what? You were just like this as a child. Every child needs pampering. And no one pampers your children better than me.” Okies, point taken.
  • They can reinforce learning your mother tongue better: My parents definitely wanted me to learn to speak Malayalam very well, but my grandmother was the one who took it one notch higher. She made sure that I am able to write and read Malayalam. Being a Delhi-ite, I was a rare species of my age, who could read, write and speak Malayalam. Her point, “You should be able to write a letter to me in Malayalam, when you are away.”


(Yup, this is A with my mother. Its a candid shot and my fav pic recently clicked on a vacation. They were discussing his school, I guess.)

They can truly provide the emotional cushioning which a parent cannot: There is something about being a grandparent. They are so gooey and full of love…always.

Minuses:
  • No, they do not always know better than you: You are closer to your child’s age than them. And that helps you to keep track about the way your child operates. This one is for mothers: You will always know your child the best, no one else.
  • Sometimes, they need to be reminded too: It makes sense to keep expectations clear. It may sound harsh but it is better to do so, so that clashes on an everyday basis can be avoided. This holds true in cases where your parents or inlaws stay under the same roof as you and your family.
  • Sometimes, they might not be the best help for your child: It simply means that they are just not up for it. They might not really enjoy grand-parenting or they like privacy or they might not interested to do the tasks which you may feel is beneficial for your child.
  • So, how do you strike a balance?
  • Keep expectations clear: There are some things you can let go. There are some which can be compromised and some which is inexcusable. Let the children and your parents know that. Let your child know that you are a family and that families do not back bite. It is incorrect to complain and ask the grand-dad or grand-mom to change rules.
  • Set the hierarchy clear: Yeah, the H word appears here too. The child should know when the parent is the boss, and time when the grandparent is holding the baton.
  • No disciplining each other in front of kids: All background talks should happen when the kids are not around. This is important so that no one loses self respect in front of the children.
And lastly, always remember that years down the line, even you will be a grandparent. If you try putting yourself in their shoes, things need not look as complicated as it does. 

Fernhills Palace Resort Ooty - Blogathon - Post 9

10th August 2013

This post is about Fernhills Palace Resort, Ooty, where we stayed during our recent visit. Like the name suggests, it is an erstwhile palace of the Wadiyar royal family. It stands tall and wide at 50 acres!

It has 19 deluxe suites and we had booked 2 suites with a connecting door for 5 of us (M, A, N and me + my mom). Every deluxe suite has a living room, bedroom and a bathroom with Jacuzzi and the good things of life. Every deluxe suite has 2 TVs each, so we had 4 TVs at the disposal. Honestly it was too much. The kids were running from one room to another, seeing 4 different programmes at the same time. It was fun watching them watch TV. In A’s words, taking a bath in a jacuzzi was like having horizontal showers all over which knew how to tickle you. N got scared of the big gush of jets of water. So she just happily took a bubble bath, collecting the white bubbles in her palms and calling it dosas. (Don’t ask me, ask her…why dosas?)


(The living room of our suite)


(The bedroom of our suite)

The palace is true to its words. It takes us back to the era where aristocracy and blue blood was the ultimate life anyone could ever dream of.


(A shot of the walls of the bar)

Today, the palace stands proud of the possessions of the kings, queens, princes and princesses who stayed in the palace once upon a time. Every wall is adorned with old pictures ranging from personal family pictures to the ones taken with the British elite.



(A painting which caught my eye immensely. It covers an entire wide wall.)

The suite on the ground floor just at the entrance is still used by the present Wadiyar king who comes to visit Ooty.  


(The dining area)

The resort also has a beautiful garden, rather a mini park. The children can have an amazing time running, playing in the swings, going on horse rides or simply smelling the flowers.

The adults can do nothing but take a walk in and around the resort. It never gets over and you will never get enough. We literally spent almost 2 hours just walking inside the palace. For a person like me who loves going back in time, I could imagine the past lives of the royal people right in front of my eyes.  The staff was courteous and ever ready to help.

They have an in-house golf cart, which takes you around on a slow drive around this huge campus.  If I have to mention any cons, then it has to be that there is little surprise for vegetarians. Though I am not one, one of the days I wanted to stay veggie, but I was disappointed.

Otherwise, a lovely option to go for, if you want to have a stay which is a little different from all the usual great resorts, spas and hotels. 

Ooty :) - Blogathon - Post 8

9th August 2013

The day started at 4:45am for us and the kids woke with a jump-start at 5:15 am. We were out by 5:40am (the exact time by our car’s clock). On the way, we stopped at Kamath (Chennapatna) for breakfast.  Lovely breakfast, hygienic loo and smiling waiters welcomed us.

The best route to Ooty from Bangalore is Bangalore – Mysore – Gundlupet – Bandipur - Ooty. The roads are good. You will get beautiful views of valleys, natural water bodies, rustic villages and cool breeze. The speed will become considerably low after Bandipur, as the ascent starts from here on.


(Around Gundlupet, you will see a whole lot of sunflower farms. While clicking the pic, this guy came forward saying he is the owner of the farm and that he wants money for allowing taking pictures of his beloved sunflowers. Of course, we gave our warmest smile, asked him to smile for the picture and drove away.)

A drive through a village is something I love to do. People stopping and talking in the middle of the roads. Bullock carts striding away to no hurry. Smoke bellowing out of the chimneys’ of the houses. Children playing with tyres and sticks. A life which relaxes you just by watching them.  
The children loved the drive. We let them roll the windows down, feel the fresh air. After all, they were also on a holiday. Literally they had wind in the hair.  

The most memorable part of the journey for me was when we passed through the Bandipur National Park. Honestly, I felt we could have planned a little better and stayed in Bandipur resort, gone for the jungle safari for a day and then resumed towards Ooty. Nevertheless, the jungle route was beautiful. I was awed by the mere silence, greenery, the gushing noises of the natural streams of water and occasional treat of beautiful deers, langurs and of course good old wild monkeys. But we better behaved, after all we were guests in their home! It humbled us completely.

The last 2 hours of the drive did stretch a little bit. The kids began to get restless. The roads were ok, apart from a small stretch between Bandipur and Ooty. The mountain ascent could get a little clumsy on the stomach for the sensitive ones. We were fine, but N got queasy and threw up twice. But it was no worries at all.  The beautiful views on the way made it all worth the discomfort.





The thing about a drive to any destination is that you get to see another kind of life as close as it gets. It humbles, enthralls and you feel what a different life we lead from many other people.

We did not stop for another of those tummy breaks but we did stop at couple of places for clicking pics and generally stretching ourselves. We reached the resort at 1:45 pm, just in time for lunch. 

Ooty gets chilly during this time of the season. Especially it starts raining in the evening. It is more of a mist fall. It makes a lot of sense to stay indoors after 6pm. Do carry warm clothes. You may also experience a lot of internet and mobile signal issues. A nice duration stay would be 3 nights and 4 days.

Over all, a lovely place to visit with family and friends, to sit back, relax and sit cosy under a blanket, catching up movies with your loved ones with a cuppa hot coffee or chocolate. Ummmm J


Our small BIG car! - Blogathon - Post 7

8th August 2013

Everyone has a memory of their firsts – The first house, the first job, the first boy/girl friend, the first kiss and so on. While travelling to Ooty, I saw a black Ambassador car passing by and it all started coming back to me.

My first car….

Rather my family’s first car.

It was way back when I was around 12…say 1993. I came to know that we have been delivered with our first family car. When I came back from school, I saw it parked near my home. It was a shiny, humungous black colour Ambassador. It did not matter that it was a second hand car. But what mattered was that we had a car, our first family car. It was not a car for mom, dad and me. It was the whole family’s car. It was meant for my grandmom, dad, mom, uncle, aunt and me. Yup, a joint family’s car…that’s big!

It took us everywhere. All those places where we earlier used to go by taxi, auto or a 2 wheeler. It was fun. 7 people inside an Ambi. When we all started to get inside the car, it never got over. When we sat, we used to keep adjusting our bums and hands and legs. When we got out of the car, it never got over. Today, when I think about it, I get sick with laughter.

Nobody really missed the Ambi when we sold it to buy a new car. A lot more cars came along in the many years that passed by. But when I think about my FIRST CAR…I cannot not think about the giant Ambassador car. Even today when I get to see a black Ambi, which is the rarest of the rare treat, it takes me down the lane. Happy ol’ days….

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

T for Travel - Blogathon - Post 6

7th August 2013

If there was one thing I really wished as a girl was to get a husband who likes to travel and see places. God heard me just fine. M loves to travel. He is up for it anytime. Of course his 2nd wife travels along every single time: His camera. In our upcoming Ooty trip, even their illegitimate child is tagging along: a rented 50mm lens.

As a growing up kid, travelling meant going to Kerala during monsoons. Back in those days, we used to catch a train. It used to be a long excruciating 48 hours journey in 2nd class. Today when I think about it, I give myself a pat on the back. I swear, my kids are spoilt. A traveled by air when he was 28 days old. While I sat in my first flight when I was 23.

The journey to Kerala sucked big time. The train would smell of food, sweat and hot wave all the time. On top of it, my mother who was a cleanliness freak, used to bathe me every single day in the train. Imagine a 6 year old and a 30 year old in a small toilet with people banging from outside asking to open the damn door. I completely remember when once when we came out, a guy said: “Is this a place to take a bath?” And my mother replied, well not so nicely: “My child was feeling very hot. So I bathed her. What’s your problem!?”

And then there was the trip we took to Haridwar, Rishikesh, Dehradun and Nainital. Yeah, all at once. Package…sighhhhh. How much ever I rack my brains, I cannot find words to describe that trip. A feeling of irritation + satiation + crap was left etched in my mind for almost forever.

The chaotic bus travel… all the puking by people around me and lack of toilet and therefore toilet everywhere….yikesss! As if this wasn’t enough, the extremely bored guide-cum-conductor of the bus was shouting: “See, everyone…on the left the mountains that you see is Dehradun and the on the right is Nainital.” There it was! I saw the magnificent hill stations. Bravo!

I love my parents, but they never were travelers. I understood that pretty young. I know my mom reads my blog sometimes…so Amma, again…I love a lot!

Like they say, sometimes certain events in childhood remain glued in the mind. This one did too. So when M and I met each for the first time, my only 2 questions were: Do you like to eat out? Do you like to travel?

My friends asked “What??? Did you not ask him about his career, financial status and whether he drank, smoked, had girlfriends and whether you will be in a nuclear family or joint?” And I said: “No” (Ofcourse in my heart I felt rather idiotic.)

Anyway, his answer surprised me. He said, “I was hoping you liked both. Because I do.” I was left thinking, “Aaaah, now that’s a match made from heaven.”

We traveled till the kids came along. And then it underwent a sabbatical. About 3 years back, we decided that we will do atleast one memorable travel every year. It could be nearby place too. But it has to be the mother-of-all-awesome. We have been able to keep it up.

I sincerely save every month for a lovely annual trip. The other day my friend asked me, “Are you saving this seriously for your children?” I said, “This is also for children. Else they will have memories like mine.”

So I leave for Ooty tomorrow morning. The next 4 days’ posts will be from the haseen vadiyaan.

A and N are excited. A’s best friend who had recently relocated to Malaysia is also joining us, with his family. So, Adios. I gotta pack. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Happy Fraandship's Day - Blogathon - Post 5

6th August 2013

Two days back, the entire world celebrated Friendship Day. The cynic in me wondered…Really? We need a day to celebrate the most glorious and fun relationship in the world.

I never had siblings. With both my parents working, my friends were my lifeline. The term Chaddi dost holds true in my case, literally. I still have my school friends with whom I used to hold hands in kindergarten to go to the loo. We laughed and cried together, hit puberty together and had heartbreaks too together. And those long phone calls…rather the crank calls. The looks I used to get from my mother are still etched in my mind.
And then came hostel life. It took friendship to a whole new level. Friends became family. I really want my kids to experience hostel life. What that kind of life can teach you cannot be learnt anywhere and anyhow. Guaranteed.

Marriage brought in my best friend and confidante.

Kids introduced me to a new gamut of friends. These new friends made me believe in me when I almost felt that I have lost myself amongst responsibilities and new roles.

A few days back, one of my friends and I were talking about how we have evolved from complete strangers to colleagues then to ex-colleagues and now to very close buddies. As we kept talking, I said:
“I think everyone should have 4 kinds of friends:

1. The Mirror: She is the one who reflects all your dirt and beauty. You can stay without pretense in front of them. They are like your conscience. They will keep you on track. Every time you are about to do something against your principles, their face will flash in front of you. They are pretty much you. 

2. The Bubblegum: Chewy, juicy and plain fun. They make you smile, laugh and be basically crazy. No strings attached. You can call them after 3 months and still laugh it off. 

3. The Bible: She is your advisor. They are the ones you can count on for information on anything under the sky. They can tell you about the best tailor, the awesome eating joints, the reliable doctors, watchable movies, holiday destinations, et al. 

4. The North-South Pole: They are your exact opposite. If you are calm, they will be the live wire. If you are a worry-wart, they are cool as cucumber. If you are a neatness freak, they can’t even find their clothes under the pile of clothes. If you are practical, they refuse to come out of their Wonderland. They remind you how letting go of your excess baggage can be good for you. They remind you how a little discipline can make your life lot easier."

I guess I'm lucky because, I have all these types of people in my life at the moment.

And then, there are my kids. They are just breaking their own sweet bubbles of friendship. A came back from school yesterday with 3 friendship bands. He was flaunting it all the way. Suddenly, at around 8pm, he said he wants them too for his friends. We sat to make 3 of them from his toy jewelry set. I remember seeing him freaked out when my mom gifted him the set some time back. His exact words: “Ammumma, you think I am a girl! I will never play with it!!”

Suddenly, he fell in love with it, because there emerged 3 very nice looking friendship bands. It adores his friends’ wrists now.

While all this happened, how could N be left behind? She too decided that she needs to have a friendship band. It did not matter that at 3, she does not have a best friend. It definitely did not matter that she flashes her little finger a hundred times to her friends to say ‘katti’ and then hugs them back the next moment.

Nevertheless, she made this all by herself. And I mean it, all by herself! I just tied the knot. Good girl, I say. She of course wears it now. 


So, today morning A asked, "Is Friendship Day celebrated for 7 days? My friend said so."

And I said, "No, It is celebrated everyday and forever."

Monday, August 5, 2013

Lunch box with a twist - Blogathon - Post 4

5th August 2013

Packing lunch is different, but packing 11 boxes is way out of this world. All my sympathies with women who do it every single day. I really understand the plight. 

Everyday in the morning, I run a mini packaging unit in my kitchen. 3 lunch boxes for A, 1 for N, 4 for M and 3 for me. I always thought we eat to live, but just by mentioning the numbers above has left me wondering whether it is the opposite in my home.

A needs 1 box for breakfast, 1 for lunch and another for bus. (yeah...for the bus!)

N, is not the trouble maker yet...she just carries 1. (Phew!)

M takes Chappattis, Sabzi, Dal and multi grain biscuits. 

Finally, I take Chappattis, Sabzi, some snacks. 

As if this is not a task, A comes straight out of his room into the kitchen and asks me the same question every single day: "Amma, what's for my boxes?" And every single time, I give him the look. But he stays put till he gets a response. 

Poor guy, the response sadly is not different most of the days. For my ease and health reasons, junk is limited to once a week. So basically, for a child, the food is blahhh. 

Today somehow the motherhood in me awakened and I felt like particularly doing something special. What I did was this:

It is his favourite Blueberry - filled doughnut. And I stuck this note inside the lid. M was fascinated. "Click it ...click it. Its one of the rare moments." I gave him the look too. "Ahem Ahem, I mean lovely moments."

Whatever....

Kiddo as usual came and asked me what's for the breakfast box, and I sincerely answered: "Sandwich". He grimaced and walked away...and Mommy smiled :)

Wait Wait Wait....and then he came from school. 

"AMMA!!!!!! WHAT DID YOU GIVE??????? A DOUGHNUT.....AND A NOTE!!! ALL MY FRIENDS SAW IT. THEY ALL CAME AND READ IT. THEY SAID, "WOW!!! SUCH A SWEET MOTHER YOU HAVE!"

Happy happy..... 

"Did you like it?" I asked. 

"YES!!! LOVED IT!!!!!"

I was brimming with jaagti hui mamta.

"WILL YOU SEND IT AGAIN?"

"Oh Shona...sure!"

"SEND THE HONEY-FILLED ONE NEXT TIME OK!"

Huh??? What? Sighhhhhh

I saw him walking into his room, and then turned towards me and said, "I loved the note too. I love you."

Oh Shona...you do know the ways....

Guess what? I am so doing that again....Maybe with something healthy :)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The better half or is it? - Blogathon - post 3

4th August 2013

For the past few weeks, I stand witness to the turmoil a woman is facing in the hands of a man, who could have been otherwise her biggest strength, a.k.a Husband. The woman in question is my house-help. You can read more about her here.

Hers was a love marriage with family consent from both sides, about 10 years back. A happy family otherwise, but there had been a distinct difference in the personalities of the partners. While the husband is indecisive, reckless and all that he wants is a life as small as it can get, the wife is a dreamer, likes good things of life and extremely responsible not just about her family but outsiders as well. Where the husband is an introvert, the wife is an extrovert. Now, whose fault is that?

Things started falling out of place when S (my house-help) bought a 2 wheeler of her own about 6 months back. Envious neighbours did their job, and the husband fell prey to the dubious versions people started telling him. ‘She is keeping away from home for too long.’ ‘She doesn’t take care of you or the home or the daughter’. (Funny…they are talking about a woman who took loan from each of her employers, pawned her gold jewellery to pay for her daughter’s school fee, when the husband refused to part with a single paisa for the fees. She had a choice to put her in a Govt school, but she stay put and made her daughter continue in the ICSE board school where she has been for the past 2 years.)

‘She goes to work looking very nice’….and that is a problem? ‘She comes back at 7pm!’…yeah she does that because she has taken up 2 extra jobs in the evening in order to earn some more money. Sad, isn’t it?

S stopped talking or communicating with her husband. The hurt that she felt was being covered under the sham of the smiles she showered during work. Some employers understood her pain, some did not, some did not even know.

All said and done, the husband is back. He has ‘understood’ his mistakes and now wants his wife and child back. But S stands grounded. She will not go back to him. He has turned Devdas…drinking and one step ahead, harass her by threatening that if she does not go back to him, he will take the daughter away. Men!

The society definitely is doing its part… ‘She is not adjusting’….. ‘She thinks too high about herself’ and so on. But S has turned a deaf ear.

She has deftly recorded her husband’s angry words showered generously on her and their 5 year old daughter. She says it is proof under the law. Applaud. Last night she went and lodged an official police complaint. Like they say where there is a will, there is a way. The police men were kind and helpful. They called the husband and gave him a warning. They were about to thrash him. But S told them not to, instead just scold and warn him. I felt somewhere she still feels for him, but such is life. It sometimes makes you think ahead of emotions.

The child, on the other hand is paying the hefty price. From the bubbly little girl I knew, she is now reserved, scared and unsure of herself.

Tomorrow S might not turn up for work. She says she has to go meet the lawyer and apply for divorce.

I am feeling a gamut of emotions to watch her do all this all alone. I am all for family and commitment, but when the very sanctity of marriage gets replaced by falseness, pretence, jealousy and lack of trust and love…what is the point?

Today she stands in front of me as a symbol of womanhood, strength and love for herself and her child. So when under the pretext of feminism, there is money, make up and accented English being thrown away, here is a woman, who earns 6k-7k a month, stays in a rented one room house, pays for her Scooty’s petrol and maintenance, her child’s school fees and now…the lawyer’s fees too.


What shall I say…I am speechless and humbled.  

Saturday, August 3, 2013

SCRABBLE is the word of the house - BLOGATHON - POST 2

3rd August 2013

SCRABBLE gifted its way to our home some time back. It made a grand entry, I must say. Every Saturday and Sunday, we religiously put N to sleep, finish our lunch and spread the game on the table. Infact, today when I came back from school….SURPRISE SURPRISE!....M left all that he was doing on his laptop, A stopped watching TV, Amma started setting the dining table. I was baffled, to say the least….well, bringing my whole family less than 2 minutes to the dining table is near to impossible, but SCRABBLE did it!

“We are playing SCRABBLE, right?” declared the husband. Sure we are, I say!

There have been moments, you know the kinds when you know it’s just the game your family needs.

You know like the one when my 7 year old Shakespeare came up with 2 words in one chance, triple letter and double word. He himself was shocked to see the marks he ended up with.

Or when Amma with a very straight face, in a desperate move to use her tough letters and make some points, made the word SEX. In case you are wondering, yes….A was also sitting right there. We thought he would freak out, but he sat cool.

And then, after a few more rounds, again…blame the desperation, Amma (yeah again!) added a Y to SEX and made SEXY. And that is when A shrieked. “Amumma made the S word!!! The S word!!! Amma, your mother made the S word!!!!!!!!! Yeah got it my darling son. I got it that you don’t know SEX but you know SEXY. Thank you Bollywood.
How can I forget?.... The time or rather the many times when it is asked, confirmed and then re-confirmed through a pocket dictionary, online dictionary and then a Thesaurus whether words like ficy, maily, sicy, lome and the likes exist. Seriously, we need a new dictionary. The ones that are existing is not serving the purpose…CRAP!


And ofcourse the biggest high of all…All the times we have played, yours truly has been the winner. (God promise!)

My son has started words. In the past 2 weeks, he has completed 3 books. And now he is reading my favourite as a child: Enid Blyton’s Mr. Twiddle series J He loves it! And mommy loves it a lot more.


God bless the soul who invented SCRABBLE. BTW, it is Mr. Alfred Mosher Butts. So, thank you Sir. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Are you a ‘Banyan Tree’ parent? - Blogathon - Post 1

2nd August 2013

If it was actually as funny as it sounds, life could have been easier for a child. And here, I mean a child as young as 3 years old to a child who is way into adulthood.

Think about an adult who has been successful, self made and highly opinionated. Many a times these qualities are not mutually exclusive. Now when this adult becomes a parent, what usually ensues is a parent-child relationship in which the parent is highly controlling and monitoring the child constantly. The parent, for the fear of his child making a mistake, takes all his decision and does not really let the child undergo the natural learning process. This is all under the commonly used axiom: “As a parent, I know what the best is for my child.”

The child on the other hand grows up with the need for approval, is not sure about his decisions or thought process, which further affects his independence. This could have serious repercussions when this child grows into an adult and enters into that stage of life where he would have to take serious decisions on his own.

And how is this connected to a banyan tree?

Have you ever noticed that nothing grows under a Banyan tree? A Banyan tree is very vast, especially the roots. On top of it, the branches and the leaves form a huge umbrella. This is why the shade provided by a Banyan tree is the coolest. Slowly these roots get embedded inside the soil. The final result is that there is no space for natural supplements (sunlight, loose soil, etc) for a new plant to grow and thereby become a tree.
Keep the parenting style of the person mentioned in the beginning of the post and the Banyan tree on the other hand. If you connect the dots, you will see that this is Banyan tree parenting style. As much as the parent is hugely experienced in life, career and education…it is not of great impact on the child as the child is unable to grow under the parent. The roots are so deep and spread that it refuses to let go of the child and his natural growth process.

The way such a parent thinks is:

“I have gone through so much of struggle and success. I should ensure that my child gets the best and chooses the best. Since he is my child, I know better than him. What if I let him do this alone and he messes it up. What if he does it incorrectly?”

My question is: Yes, what if…he does it incorrectly? He will falter once or twice or a couple more times, but ultimately understand the best way to do it correctly.
Easier said than done. If you are a Banyan tree parent, you will be probably thinking whether it is practical to just let go of your child.

Actually yes. Because you are not letting go of your child. You are just tweaking the way you care about your child. A few pointers of insight could be:

  • Your child needs to take a decision: Instead of telling him what to do, give him options. Tell him the possible repercussions of every  choice. But let him take the final decision.
  •   Give enough back up: So your child took a decision, and he faltered. DO NOT back fire. Keep aside the “I told you so...” “I never should have let you do this…” A better approach: “Ok, so this happened. Maybe you could try doing like the next time.”
  • Let the child grow: Let go off the “hamara baccha hamare liye bachha hi rahega.” Treat him age appropriate. Look around. You will be able to see what the general expectations are from your child’s age.  
  • Ok, you are the parent: But seriously that does not mean that you know the best….for your child or yourself. Think about all those moments when you screwed it all up. Experience and age does not teach one everything. Sometimes it teaches you to remain wrong and a self declared king or queen. Get a reality self-check

I leave you with my favourite lines from the best parenting poems ever...that of Khalil Gibran:


Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

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