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A special thank you to the few special people who are still reading my blog.

I had given up.

On one front, I had a tag around my neck, announcing I was a part of the rat race again-bringing with it the usual office drama, driving through Bangalore traffic, and coming back to kids' homework and class tests.
And on the other, it was the bindis and bangles, reminding me that it was "adjustment" time again.

But then there's nothing wrong with a bindi or bangles, isn't it? Just a tiny adjustment to keep the family happy?

Oh, but they are still unhappy over so many other things.
So I make few more little adjustments.
Don't wear what I want to.
Eat what I don't want to. Don't eat when I need to...
But then what's a little bit of acidity or some headaches when it comes to the family's happiness?

The family was however unhappy, because I slept when I wanted to.

How do I find the will or the space to think, feel, talk or write?
By counting the blessings…

Sisterly love

Yes it’s incomparable.
If you have grown up with one, or a mom to a pair who are bickering incessantly, constantly, you know what I mean. Like most Moms, I too have developed selective hearing and manage to tune out most of the
She did it first…
She always…
..and react only when it reaches the level of..
It’s bleeding, look she scratched me!
That’s enough.
If you don’t stop behaving like cats and dogs I’m changing your names to Tommy and..well Kitty..
Oh! Can I be Kitty? She always growls like a dog anyway.
How dare you? You are the one who runs howling to Mom. You Tommy Shooo
Shall I scratch you again and show you? You…
Too late to take back my words, I tune them out again.
Motherhood does teach you some amazing skills!

This time of the year…

..when the drumbeats announce the arrival of Goddess Durga and the Bong in me gets homesick-again.
Yeah I miss the fun and those friends.
And since some moments do not come back we go forward and create new memories. This is a glimpse of the Dussheraprocession from the southern-most tip of India-Kanyakumari.

So different, and yet the enthusiasm is the same. Isn’t it? Wishing you a great time this festival season!

Best Friends Forever

Mamma, can you guess who is my BFF?
Ishita? Well she was the one you loved to play with most as she has the most awesome collection of Barbie accessories.
NO. She is not my friend anymore. Last time she bought chips from the canteen she did not share all of them. Cheater.
Saumyaa is my best friend now.
She shares everything. I also like playing with her little brother and we always have so much fun together.
Some days later she was in tears because she would have to miss Saumyaa’s birthday party. It was on the day we were travelling to Goa. No amount of cajoling would convince her ….
I know I’ll like Goa but it’s not the same thing Mamma. I’ll be missing all the fun and games in the party.
Yes I know we’ll be partying in Goa also, but MY FRIENDS will not be there.
You can take me to her house another day to play with her, but IT’S NOT THE SAME THING! I won’t be wearing my pink party frock or the heels, will I?
She won’t be giving me a return gift either.
A muffled sob and tear filled eyes-and…

Letting them be

Image
....what they want to be.
That’s what we should be doing. Teaching them to fly and then letting them free to go explore, build their own nests, and fight their own battles. But as my chicks are trying out their new wings I am not sure how well I’ll be able to do that.
My 10-year-old says that she shouldn’t be spending too much time on her studies because anyway she is going to be a fashion designer, or an actress, or a dancer. (The logic-they are fun, you get famous and you don’t need to study).
I cannot find the words to cheer her on-so I resort to my Loverna-like manipulations. Introduce her to more interesting ways to study, tweak her selection of books at the library, and try to get her to explore more options by enrolling her in a Robotics class.
This, she enjoyed. It was not like regular school. They got to watch videos, work hands on with building and programming robots, and as a final workshop, even design and build a robot of their own choice.
They called the parents to see the fin…

Moms have all the fun

There are two sides to every story. As I kept thinking I had the toughest job in the world, this was my daughter’s statement. And as usual she had a long list of reasons…
You keep getting my hair cut short and grow yours because you wanted to be the prettiest in the house.
We have to wear the same uniform everyday and you can wear all pretty clothes to office. You can use nail polish and even lipstick in office! And your office doesn’t give any homework. (She really loved my office)
We have to study in school and also do homework. We even have exams. And your work means using the laptop and going online. (How can that be work?)
You stop going to office but we have to go to school every day. (That hurts her most-just the thought of mom waving her off to school and being free to watch TV).
What brought matters to the head was me feeling too sick to eat Roti-Chicken, or to cook for myself. I made some maggi and took it to bed. You are eating Maggi! And when I was sick I had to eat khicdi and so…

Running out of Mommy skills

This is a question to all moms or rather all parents:
Do you get mad at your kids? Really angry, annoyed, pissed off enough to say Ok-Do it your way!
Or am I one of the few who cannot keep the ‘Mom hat’  on at all times and say no matter what you do or say child (or how obnoxiously you say it), I forgive you because I cannot remain angry with you?
As my daughters live up to their pre-teen (is that supposed to start at 7!!!)  identities with gusto,  we are having more frequent and serious showdowns each day. I get seriously upset when I have to juggle schedules, work crazy hours to meet my deadlines, miss out on things I wanted to do, just to ensure that they do not miss out on anything, be it be extra classes, doctors appointments, trips to the library or even a birthday party, and all they do at the end of the day is crib!
Sometimes I really question my maternal instincts. I do not have that unlimited patience and wisdom motherhood was supposed to come with.
We had another of these sho…

Words that live on

Remember the days we prepared for exams and dreamt of the holidays to follow? I always had a long list of things to do in the vacations-that I would keep updating as I would make notes for the exam next day. And then the vacations would be over before I got to point no. 2 or 3 on the list.The same things happened to my blog. The last few months I kept pushing off things because I would be free in a few weeks. And then,   things just got busier and crazier till I forgot what I wanted to write about. Some of the things didn’t matter anymore…
Just one incident that still finds me shaken was reading about IHM’s daughter. Something no mother should have to go through, something that is so brutal, so final…
I remember holding my grandfather’s hand for hours as he turned to a cold block of wood. And I felt furious at the hordes of relatives who descended and suddenly started calling him “the body”. He was still my grandfather. I was praying so hard. He would of course draw in a breath again… Bu…

A Stay-at-Home-Mom

Now that I am a stay-at-home mum, my excuse of “No time” shouldn’t hold any more. Yeah, but life just got busier (as if that was possible). But more than me, it is my loving daughters who are puzzled (as opposed to thrilled :( ). And I really wonder why, when they have a loving mom at home, ready to give them all the time in the world. Who is ready with healthy stuff whenever they are hungry (Yuck!). The kind of mother they always envied-you know the ones who keep their homes sparkling. (Nooooo, you can’t fine me for the messy cupboard, you asked me only to clean the room) A mom eager to play Badminton with them (Hey, we can’t count playing with you as free time).  A mother ready to guide them with their studies (No, You can’t open my school bag without permission. It’s Private). A mother ready to talk whenever they want to..(That’s Ok, but I still need to talk to my friend whom I play with everyday, and who lives just a floor below, for 20 mins on the phone). Someone who is ALWAYS there fo…

Another Gym, Another Woman

I could not go to the Gym yesterday as I had some urgent work to finish. And well today is Saturday, and tomorrow is Sunday…


And then I remembered the story of an unknown woman so like me, which had come in an email forwarded many times over:


Dear Diary,


For my birthday this year, I purchased a week of personal training at the local health club. Although I am still in great shape since being a high school football cheerleader 43 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try. I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Christo, who identified himself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swim wear.Friends seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.


________________________________


MONDAY:


Started my day at 6:00 am. Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Christo waiting for me.…

Gym Update

I resolved not to be too put off by the PT, and crawled with my aching muscles, into that attic full of monstrosities again. 


They have out up a new height v/s weight chart. According to this one, I am just 6 (and not 11) kg.s overweight. 


I like this room a lot better now.

My Gym Diary

I celebrated my day at home by finally visiting the gym. My gym diary actually starts six..or eight..or maybe ten months ago.

I walked in to this room full of contraptions and found only one which looked familiar—the weighing machine. Looking just as diligent as all other inhabitants of that planet full of huffing-aliens, sweating profusely on swooshing machines, I too clambered on to this one.

The numbers proved I just did not belong and I walked out, promising to visit every day, starting next week.

Some weeks (just about 10 or 12 of them) later, I walked in more resolutely, did a few rounds on the weighing machine and told the trainer I was ready to sign on—from next month (well it was only 2 weeks away).

A few more weeks later-I asked the trainer if I could start from the beginning of the next month. (See-I am persistent.)

“Ma’am, we’ll start your month from the day you join. (Gosh-after Julius Ceasar and Augustus, now the calendar moves around for ME!!) You can start today.”
“Oh, we…

When the going gets tough..

Some get tougher,

Some give up,

Some hate it

And some are grateful…


Like me
Because it made me rethink my priorities


And pushed me into taking a decision which I would have kept pushing away for tomorrow

Yeah. It’s not easy admitting that I am not supermom.
That I need to drop a ball or two, to be able to keep dribbling, bouncing, juggling the others
I am taking a break from work.

And instead of feeling euphoric, I am scared.
Will I be able to do something useful?
What if it doesn’t work out?

Will I be able to get back to what I was doing?
What if…

Well things might not work out
But, as the cliche says, I’ll be glad to have tried my best

And maybe, they do work out;
And I’ll be grateful for these days..

...The blog was one of the first balls to get dropped, will it bounce back?

Going uphill and back in time...

After my enforced writing spree, I am off on a break again.


This time it is a vacation. We are off to the land of Momos and Lamas. Will share the experience when I am back

We are also going to Kolkata, my summer home, for all the memorable, growing-up years.

It’s a city I have avoided for almost a decade-because for me, it was my grandparents’ home. Now they are no more, and even that home is not there anymore. I just didn’t feel like going back to the changed city.

Yet there was a lot to go back for. A big part of the family, who’ve always been a part of me. A bit of the heritage our children need to know of course, a whole lot of memories---the rolls and mogali porota at gariahat, the tram-n-metro rides to esplanade, shopping for junk jewellery in new market, alu-dom at the lake, spicy chinese in Tangra, and our all-night aadda sessions.

Can we go back in time to all of those?
I know we can’t.

I just hope we are able to build new bond and shore up new memories to bring back with us.

Wishing…

My Mom and me

The galaxy changes when you become a mom, doesn’t it? It starts revolving around a new center.

The realization hit me a long time ago when I was going to the hospital for a c-section. Every time I had been seriously sick before that, I had needed my mother. Yes. Even as a rebellious teenager, and independent adult, whatever…

This was the first instance when I was insistent that Mom should stay at home with Elena. Just so that my daughter can see Nani when she wakes up and know that all is well with the world.

Over the years, as life became more about taking care of others, I needed my mother even less. To the extent that this time when I had to get admitted for an emergency op, she was one person I didn’t inform at all. She would not have been able to do anything from so many miles away, and have got more stressed because of it.

But I still missed her…

One Night in a Hospital..

..and you realize how much you have to be grateful for.
You realize that beyond a point your wealth, your education, your contacts, your smartness (or the lack of any of these), just doesn’t matter. Only the skill of your doctor does. Pray for her.
You are wiser. The next time you feel a niggle, you’ll check out immediately with your friendly GP, rather than waiting till there is no option but the XYZ certified, swanky, multi-specialty hospital.
You see a live demo of the value of medical insurance. You need to stay in the floral-disinfectant smelling bed, eat “healthy” food, and wear a striped uniform for two days for what might have taken a few hours in the OPD.
You are so much better at playing sudoko on the phone that you can even beat your kids at it.
You pray. Specially if the bright red door painted “FIRE EXIT” in big bold letters has a shiny, big, padlock on it!

Elena's world

What do you do when you are frustrated?


As a mother of a ten-year old who already behaves like a teenager, I tried to convince Elena that there are ways to channelize your frustration. Creating a different world with your words is just one such way.


Does it work?


Please check out http://elenawrites.wordpress.com/ where she does it and share your suggestions..

In Absentia

It's been so long..


That I found the time and space and the mood and the keyboard all together...


I've missed blogging. But there was almost something else to do. 


And then the time was wrong. I even wrote a post, only to delete it in fifteen minutes because it was just a reflection of rocky times. Not something I would like to keep as a permanent reminder of these times.


So I just decided to wait till things are better and start all over again.


And when will that be?
Let's just wait and see!

Wishing on a billboard

Battling the peak-hour Bangalore traffic in the rains I disconnect a call offering a free for life, platinum card. Then there is a huge billboard announcing something about diamonds and women’s wish lists.
At that moment, I just wish I had the time to make my breakfast.
I wish someone would make a microwave that could run on a car battery.
It wouldn’t take too much improvisation to rig up a conferencing system in the car would it? We could just finish with the meetings on the way and get straight to work.
Oh and while we are on the wishlist..a toggle to shrink the sides of the car by just a few inches so that I could squeeze by these competing BMTC buses would be such a welcome innovation. Nothing James Bond about it surely?
and just one thing more: a distance monitor to see what the kids were upto while the light turns red for the third time and I move ahead by exactly seven inches.Those people had it even during the Mahabharta…
Hey anyone knows how to get in touch with My Phungshook Wangd…

Vote for me

At:

http://avantgardebloggies.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/best-consumer-rights-post-2/
http://avantgardebloggies.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/most-humorous-post-2/
That is, if you liked the post...
For me I already won the day, when I started this great adventure, started sharing my stories, found so many wonderful people along the way and discovered a world where we could just write it out....
Thank you for voting for me
But more than that, thank you for travelling with me, for egging me on and being with me as my blog celebrates it's first birthday.

The Best Birthday Gift Ever

That was what Elena said when we gave her the watch with its entire set of interchangeable straps, dial etc
That got outvoted when Mami sent both girls gift vouchers for the Oxford bookstore.
I too loved the idea because it meant we could delay buying the books till the exams were over.  (Well, I still can’t work/sleep with an unread book at hand so couldn’t expect that from them in any way.)
The exams done with, we finally made the trip and I could see optimization at its best:
Mom what is 65+65?
What if I take another book for Rs 65? How much is left over from 250?
Why don’t you take a St. Clares’ instead of all Secret Sevens?
Oh but I’ll be able to buy only two of them. And will not get anything for the remaining 30 bucks.
(Being Loverna-I obviously don’t offer to pay up the balance)
Oh where did Aurora go?
We found her tucked away between two bookshelves: I finished two fairy stories. I want to read another one.
Mamma, can you please select the books for me?
I shortlist some really fancy coll…

My daughter and my best friend

Elena grew up as my best friend.
She looks like me and even thinks, talk and reacts like me.
And she hates me. She proclaims this at least 10 times in a day.
She hates me because I refuse to let her change her school bag for the fourth time in this month.
She hates me because I refused to let her go swimming when I am not at home.
She hates me because she has to take my permission at times, while I don’t need to take hers.
She hates me when I don’t let her use lipstick, but I do so myself.
She hates me when I do “personal work” (work which is not directly related to them or the household).
She also hates me when I am around too much.
In fact, if I start compiling all the reasons, it will go on till next week. And the conclusion will remain the same.
Is it because I am such a dragon/ogreee? Or because she is of “that” age? Or both?
Or because, as our Grand Referee says, Elena and I are just so similar in the way we think, talk, react….
There are times when she does stop treating me like a friend,…

An old conversation

Bits of a conversation long ago, which lingers on, and feels so real now:
I was taking a couple of years off employment, waiting for my babies (four and one year olds) to grow a little more, before I could resume my career…
I could not understand why a woman who had worked all along, juggling home, bringing up two kids, building  a great career, would need to quit because she could not manage anymore..
Her sons were fifteen and twelve, independent, self-sufficient, and yet…
“My children need me emotionally NOW” she explained. “They have out-grown nannies and day-cares. I cannot control their phone-calls, internet time, TV habits through my phone calls any more. I need time to be there now or their whole education and career is at stake.”
Oh, but aren’t kids supposed to be responsible enough to look out for themselves by that age? I had wondered all those years ago. 
I grew up fine with an office-going mother. So many children do.
And being with them all the time is no guarantee that they wi…

Coming Back

It’s been so long..

..that I had the time to write,

..the space to think,

..the energy to key in a few words,

..the enthusiasm to spin the words,

..the will to make the effort,

So trying hard to get back-yet again and I start with again with saying a big Thank You to those of you who are still with me in my travails and tales…

Time out

Right now I am at moving in overdrive-the moments are whizzing by before I can capture them...

Struggling to do too many things...
Balancing, prioritizing, stumbling and yet loving every moment.

A friend congratulated me on completing 10 years of motherhood.


I wrote back clarifying that it actually 10+7=17 years.


No, she wrote, it's 17*365*24*60*60 seconds. Each second you are a mother.

It is a lifetime.
It is eternity.

And it is a roller-coaster!

One to Mom to another

Me, the office-going mom:
I try so hard to be there for them and yet she fell so badly, and I was not there..
My friend, the stay-at-home mom:
Well, I was standing right next to my son; he still slipped and broke his arm…
Guess we can only do so much.

The days Moms dread

Déjà vu
I was holding packs of ice to stem the bleeding as a neighbor drove us to the emergency section of the hospital. Last time it was Aurora , it's Elena this time.
My neighbors proved to be the real blessing. Last time I had just taken one look at Aurora’s blood soaked face and rushed to the car-without even my purse or phone, and leaving the house open. Someone locked up after me, and took Elena home (to have a sumptuous dinner with lots of TV), while another one drove me to the hospital. This time, they had already cleaned up the smaller of the wounds by the time I rushed in..
And I am so thankful to the staff at the often maligned Manipal Hospital. Their response in case of emergencies is fantastic. Right from their approach, promptness, level of preparedness, their concern and expertise- I am so grateful for all of that.
My warrior is home now-with five stitches on her chin.
She has stopped clinging to me as a sign of "return to normalcy".
She hates the doctor who tric…

Birthday updates-II

Yes there have been a few millimeters of progress.

Elena has finally decided on the return gift. I think we can do better and am still keeping the options open.The guest list and menu are final.She has revised her wish list yet again and just wants to go to Dubai-and get a watch like the one Tanvi got from there. 
All other discussions are on hold until the Unit tests are over. (Amen!)

And right after that:

Like every year, Princess Aurora wanted to have a “Barbie” themed birthday, pink gowns and stilettos and the Barbie doll cake– Boys who had a problem with that can just stay away.

She stepped down and agreed to do away with themes as long as she was allowed to dress up like a princess. 

The return gifts are decided. (Thank goodness-That’s always such a big part)

For her Birthday gift she only wants the table which didi got last year. [ Conversation 4]
(And if their room feels cramped-we’ll simply 'change' to a bigger house)
 Still a couple of weeks to go-wish me luck!