17 December, 2013

Friend.

If you have disappointed your best friend, you have really done wrong. Good news is, they will always forgive you. 

Soul searching. You.

Me : so, why do you go to this ashram?
She : soul searching.
Me : who's soul?
She : mine. To find myself.
Me : you've lived with yourself for 27 years and you are going to find yourself in an ashram.
She : ok, then to lose myself.

Spirituality : a deep meaningful relationship that gets a process in knowing oneself. 

16 December, 2013

Motherhood and what has been so far...

I knew there would be a point in life when I would jump with joy about a cupboard filled with new clothes. Well, it's now.

Motherhood takes its toll. Every mother I have known and talked to has said it's the most beautiful feeling. To have a cute clueless baby smile and laugh is beautiful. But staring into a cupboard and not knowing what to wear every single morning is... Is practically every woman's problem... But a new mother's waste of time as well. Cause when u r deciding what to wear, your baby has either pooped, thrown up or is biting into your cell phone's charger.

After 1.4 years and ten months ... Of a changing physical body, I have a feeling my body has decided to remain in a state. So ta-da!! Here I'm celebrating a cupboard of new clothes.

If you have a WTH reaction on your face... Just close this window. Only mommies my state will understand. 

22 August, 2013

When arranged marriages become 'love' marriages..


I have heard of stories from my grandmothers about their arranged marriages. My maternal grandmother was married to her sister's husband's brother. Her engagement was done with another guy when her brother in law fought for her hand for his brother. Apparently her father gave in and got her married immediately, at the age of 13. She bore no children for 7 years and then my eldest aunt arrived and my mum followed, then my uncle and then my youngest aunt. My paternal grandmother's wedding story goes like this... She was the last child in her family. Being a girl baby, the villagers suggested her mother to kill her as soon as she was born but my great grandma didn't cave. After ten years of love, she passed away leaving my grandma the sole woman in the family who started running the kitchen, the fields and everything on her own at a very young age. My grandpa had no father and he was raised by one of the village elders who also paid for his education. Being the only young man in the village with an SSLC certificate he was offered jobs out of town which made it difficult to find a bride for him. No one wanted to see their daughter go away. Who does! My grandpa's brother and his girlfriend were getting anxious to get married somy great grandma got my grandpa married to this girl who lived like a queen since she was 13. They moved out immediately after marriage and ended up in Tirupur. Arranged marriages in those days were so quick, practical and dealt with in any way. They learned to fall in love, they learned to stick it out and they just didn't let go. They saved, they starved, they strived and they lived. 

Arranged marriages in my father's generation were a little more luxurious I'd say. My father's sister was married to someone who had a government job and she lived with her parents till they built a house for her and then she moved out. Luxury. My father was married to someone who he didn't know, who was younger than him by 13 years and a sportswoman. They saw each other twice before their wedding. Or that's what we know. They had a few telephone calls, which were pretty expensive then. Then apparently they met once when my mum was on her way to a badminton match in the train which stopped in Tirupur for 5 minutes. Hmm. Then they met only when they got married.


Arranged marriages today are different. So different. This is how it goes in Tirupur today. The two families meet at a temple or public place to allow the girl and guy to talk for maybe 5 minutes. Before this there is an extensive Facebook search for the obvious. They agree or disagree based n those few minutes. Then they go back home. Obviously in those desperate 5 minutes they have exchanged phone numbers and common friends names. The courting over the phone begins. Then the day where the families officially eat at each others houses comes. The boy is allowed to come to the girl's house but the vice versa isn't possible. You know what happens when the girl sets foot in the guy's house even before marriage. Sky falls down, really. Wen the guy's family comes to the girl's house, they eat,  exchange gifts, give the bride jewellery. Please note I said bride only after she gets the jewellery. Cause till then it's not confirmed no. Thanku. The girls family in turn gives the guy jewellery at his house. The men sit together talking politics, trade and the whole who knows who aspects. The women sit in groups discussing the house, the room where the bride will live in after marriage, the maid aspects (if the groom's house has a maid). Then they eat and leave. Then comes the shopping for the engagement and wedding. Bride and groom go with siblings or cousins one day prior to shopping day and select jewellery and clothes they will wear for the wedding and engagement. The next day the same amount of people come back to see what the two families have bought. The older ladies change the bride's saree selections and the men just stand outside and talk politics, trade and the who knows who aspects. The clothes and jewellery are billed and paid for at an auspicious hour. Cause it is really difficult for the bride and groom to have done it the previous day. What will the world think. Unmarried girl and boy buying their own wedding clothes. Sky will fall, really. Did I mention the jewellery worth Crores which will lie in a bank locker for years together? Exchange of gifts - guy gives girl iPad/phone/puppy (in some cases). 

They Skype, they call, they SMS, they MMS, they flirt (officially), they make promises, write their own vows without paper. This is also love. 

But the fun doesn't end. 

So now comes the day where the bride and groom choose their card. The wedding card that the two give out together to friends. With the tackiest lyrics inside copied from good old google. The card cannot be in colours like black and white amuse you know, the sky will fall. Well, invites printed, sent. The comes the days with the long phone calls like we see in all movies. Somehow the whole world has been thinking these two haven't met separately before. But they obviously have gone for dinners and dates together with the knowledge of no one but their parents. There is always someone who they know who has sen them and the word spreads like wildfire. Anyway, sky hasn't fallen yet. The day of the wedding is here and the whole Mandap is full. The bride and groom have each their personal photographer shooting every bit of their wedding. The food, the menu, the flowers, the make up, the make up box, the makeup woman, the flowers at the arrival desk, the flowers at the buffet, flowers everywhere, flowers n the girls' hair also cause if she doesn't wear them, the sky will fall. 


Pictures clicked, videos taken, parents crying, best friends smiling, hundred million phones clicking along, smoke, fire, kum kum, thread, tied - DONE. Done? No way. You think it would stop with that? What about the reception? A thousand guests again, elaborate menu, flowers he, flowers there, makeup, clothes, jewellery - entire bling. Pictures clicked and the end. Now? Officially yes, but this is where we really get showy. Remember those personal photographers? They aren't getting paid in lakhs just so they can click pictures of flowers and other people and get away with a big fat album and cheque. We have the outdoor photography. Then the out of town photography. Then the portraits, ok explanation. Wear the same clothes and jewellery like at the wedding, reception and engagement and have a shoot of just the bride and groom... Sorry husband and wife AGAIN so there will be some pictures where they aren't tired or sweaty. Fancy huh! Then comes the Indian honeymoon shoot. Explanation again -Take ur new wife to a beautiful place within India and pose like you both are in a song from a tacky Tamil movie and have a photographer click pictures of you. In the woods, by the new car your father in law gave you as a wedding present, by the new car you father bought for you cause you know you got married, with the girl in a saree, wit the girl in a saree with her hair loose, with the girl in a saree and her hair let loose looking at the husband and all that jazz. Indian honeymoon recorded. 


Somewhere after all this a honeymoon abroad is planned and time well spent. No photographer. 



Pregnant yet? If yes? Please read two lines below. If no, read on still. 
Line 1
Line 2
Here we are. If she's pregnant, there is more photography. Pregnancy photography. Baby shower photography. Birth. Infant photography. First family pictures. Meanwhile someone somewhere is arguing as to why the wedding pictures haven't arrived yet? Of course the photographer had time to work on them. Wedding pictures arrive... Amidst diapers and sleepless nights, pictures are seen, enjoyed and shared on Facebook, whatsapped. 

Love exists. 
Right from the times where girls saw their grooms only the moment they got married to now, where girls see the guys everyday, in any which way. 

Love exists. Arranged marriages don't. 
Right from the times when the girl shyly picked up the receiver to speak that STD call her to be husband made just so he could hear her voice, to now, where every other second there is text, mms or SMS. 

23 July, 2013

Turning 1, as parents.

Come August 14, and Baby G will be one year old. A year that has been so eventful, a year that has brought so much joy, a year that has been recorded, photographed, written about, video-taped and memorized in every way possible. There is a part of me that thinks there isn't enough technology in he world to record a little more. Motherhood has been so overwhelming. I know I've screwed up a few times in this year, but the satisfying thing now is he doesn't know it and he has just accepted me the way Iam. Even in the initial few days where I had no idea what to do or how to do it, he felt comfortable in the warmth of my hands and my hold. That acceptance has changed the entire me. 

After a very safe 3 months with my parent's help and love, Gnan and I moved in again to my in laws house. We spent the first night in the same room, just the 3 of us on Gnan's 29th day and the togetherness had begun wonderfully ever since. The 3am poop and the 6am cry have been so memorable... the goof ups of putting the diaper wrong with those sleepy eyes, getting powder on our faces too, rolling over his tiny hands in our sleep are just unforgettable. Now we share a room with our little boy who sleeps before us, wakes before us and rolls between the two of us leaving us laughing at odd hours. 

The firsts of everything have been carefully photographed and youtubed. First time he rolled over, first tooth, first rain, first wedding, first shoes, first smile, firsts vacation... all the first are just amazing. Not just because the baby book's need the date and time and picture... but because the wonder of birth was gradually looking smaller than the wonder of watching him grow.

As parents Padhu and I have so far spoiled G so much. Im not sure if we will be strict parents or confused parents... but from the looks of it, we are going to be accepted parents. Gnan has changed our lives every way. As a parent, everyone says, responsibility tags along.. I think we see their point. Or wait, do we? 

Right from the day I got pregnant, I started writing a baby journal for Gnan. To give to him the day he begins to understand as a child and read as an adult. His 16th birthday. Wishing he loves it as much as I do.

He right now hugs his dad's hands and sleeps at night, calls his 'baaba', calls me 'immmma', stares into my eyes when he wants to poop, says 'mmaaaaa' when he sees our cow, fearlessly pats my dogs chitti and remo, calls my brother 'mama', does the thalam when I sing to him, shakes him head like he's enjoying it when my grann sings to him, says 'ommmmmmm' when he goes into the puja room, crawls with one leg folded, walks with some support around the bed, table, shakes his bum to fast beats, listens to the same songs he heard as a foetus when he sleeps, licks our cheeks when we ask him for a kiss, bends down to suck him toe, bites anyone who touch his lips or tries to check his teeth, poses beautifully for cameras, watches rhymes with his toy in hand, shakes his head when he listens to Johny say 'No papa' in the rhyme, claps his hand when his cousin says he rhymes, eats 5 meals a day, goes for a walk every evening with his imma. 

A very fun loving and cheerful baby so far, I hope Gnan remains happy and healthy and loved by everyone around him. As a parent, I hope to give him a lot of courage and be courageous myself to see him grow and turns years older! 

July 23, 2013.

Cake ordered, balloons bought, guest list ready, just hope Baby G doesn't fall asleep when he has to cut cake. 







06 June, 2013

Go one day without...

At my bachelorette party, my friends all put in advices in small chits and I had to pick them one by one and find out who wrote them. There were so many whacked out advices but a few have helped me so much. One of them said 'listen to your mother in law and your husband, then do what you want. It's your life after all.' My favourite of all. There was one more, which I did not give much credit for. I still do not know who wrote it. It said 'go one day without complaining. It will make a world of difference.' 

A bunch of my friends and I went to watch a Hindi movie, Rang De Basanti, when in college. I remember a dialogue from the movie which was 'I cannot believe I packed my bags and came to a country where people are waiting for a chance to kill each other.' It was about India. All of us are waiting for a chance for something or the other. 'I'll do this the next time I visit Chennai.' 'I'll buy it when it's on sale.' 'I'll do something for him on our anniversary.' Why not now? When you can? When you want to? Why an occasion? 

Go one day without looking at your watch, and maybe you won't have anything to complain about anything at all. Time is the hero. Take him out of the picture and maybe nothing else will hold. All meetings will fall and alarms will die. A beautiful sunrise and sunset will make your day. 


15 May, 2013

Facebook Free

After years of being an active social media user, I finally pulled the plug on Facebook. It's was an instant decision and it is right.

Birthday wishes had become wall posts. Expressiveness had stopped with 'aww' and 'Like'. I wasn't laughing out loud when I said 'Lol'. A mere smile is considered lol. Every time i went somewhere, the world had to know. Pointless pictures were taking over my albums. Instagram made my Nikon a loser.  Pictures of friend's on vacation just made me depressed sometimes. Pictures of food made me even more depressed. A pathetic pizza in Tirupur's Domino's was what i started craving for. Friends were all selling cakes, jewellery and anything under the sun on Facebook. Somewhere something said 'Do it' and  I clicked 'Deactivate'. I feel like I just got rid of a disease.

On a brighter note, in the past 4 days, I've read three books. One of them repeated to get me started. Downed Danielle Steele's Legacy and Anita Rau Badami's Can You Hear The Nightbird Call. Life's good. The Khalid Hosseini lover in me wants to read Kite Runner again, yet again.

More of writing and reading from now. Life's good. 

06 April, 2013

I've never..

Its been a long day.. I'm awake at 12:51 am writing this. Its a list of things I've never done. Its a very very random post. One of those posts I'll regret writing a few days later.

I've never...
...tasted alcohol.
...been to a discotheque.
...had a pedicure.
...stolen.
...wait, it sounds like a matrimonial ad suddenly.
...been to the overrated United States Of America.
...Capitalized an O before in the United States of America.
...finished a cookbook.
...successfully achieved anything.
...gone to sleep without resolving a fight a Padhu.
...let my hair loose and gone out.
...driven a car alone.
...cried into a pillow.
...given up on keeping in touch with my friends who are far away.
...written such a dumbass post before.
...been awake so late after Baby G was born doing nothing.
...something tells me I should finish with a 'I have' list now....

Lets..

I have...

...worked in Google (Its going to be on my tombstone if they bury me, so please just deal with it)
...successfully delivered a 3.8kg baby normally.
...fallen in love, married and loving it..
...eaten Mc Donalds for 15 continuous days just for their Happy Meal toys.
...gained 4 kgs after that.
...learned to master the saree.
...watched a movie all alone.
...danced in the rain.
...watched a butterfly lay eggs, a spider spin its nest and an elephant deliver a calf.
...felt wonderful after that.
...woken without snoozing the alarm. Its an achievement to me.
... realized I'm falling in love with myself now. and yawning like a fool.

I will wake up and regret. Just for laughs. Goodnight world, sorry, half of the world. Good day, the rest of you.

12 March, 2013

Life.

If its a bad day, it will go by. The sun will rise again and all wil be well. A disastrous headache cannot last long, it will die. A bad situation cannot remain, it will go by. A helpless situation will see a ray of hope. That's what we are programmed for. 

It's ok to cry a little, crib a little, beat oneself up, ponder over something bad and cry about being stout. Cause when there is an effort, the times will change. We will all laugh a lot, laugh at the bad times and make them learning memories, lose weight and look fabulous. 

All it needs is some effort. 

Laugh a lot, eat what you like, love like the skies, sing out loud, dance when you want to, say what you want to, do what you want to, become someone's love, break a heart, get heartbroken, scream in a tunnel, get lost in the woods, chase fireflies, pout at the mirror, act like you have a magic wand, imitate your professor, call someone you haven't called in a while, climb a tree, click random pictures in a public train, dance with your little baby, cry into your pillow, pat yourself on the back after your laundry is done, get yelled at for a high mobile bill, travel without a ticket on a train, share gossip with a friend, roll on a patch of grass, wave at school children in a bus, smile at other's babies, smile at others, jump into a pool, flirt like the clouds and skies, cycle around, talk to people, learn from people. Live life, let go! Unclench. 

Cause its our life, make your own mistakes and live it big! 





05 March, 2013

Forgot and remembered now.

It was a very not-happening evening at a very boring wedding reception of a very boring person. Ok, I'm a bad person for saying that. I was so very bored when my husband's very annoying friend came by and said his very enthusiastic hello. I had no energy for the guy but said hello in return. He immediately took seat nearby and started talking about his gym workout that evening. Leave it to guys to show off about their workouts and biceps and triceps and abs. He went on and on and suddenly he started this conversation...

He : So Pragi, tell me how you stay in shape.
Me: I wake up, bathe, eat, log in to Facebook, then eat lunch, then doze off for a while, then have tea and then go for a walk and then eat something else and wait for dinner time. Then I eat and fall asleep. I wake up the next day and repeat.
He : Not bad ya, so how long on the treadmill?
Me : What?
He : I run for almost half n hour.
Me : I ate chapati I in the buffet cause the dining hall was full.
He : that's great ya, stay in shape.
Me : huh!
He : Catch you soon! Bye

This happened when I was four months pregnant. A few days later a common friend calls and asks me 'Pragi, you are running on the treadmill even when pregnant?'
Me : Oh god no!

Some people just don't listen, but talk a lot. I had forgotten to post this then.


04 March, 2013

The new awareness that's creeped in.

When I opened Facebook recently, I saw the 'life event' update option. Clicking that leads one to a variety of options like wedding, anniversary, birthday etc. When I read through them, I realised I do have a new 'life event' (if that's what Facebook calls it). No, not Baby G. I find myself wanting to eat organic and avoid artificial foods. I do give Baby G cerelac and tinned formula, but I choose to do the natural thing more now.

About a month ago, inspired by Pinterest, I planted a few cloves of garlic, some coriander (or cilantro, for those who really don't say coriander) and a pineapple. I'm sure the word pineapple made you think 'what he hell does a pineapple plant look like'. Good thought. Google it! I did so too and I was shocked. Pineapple plants are kind of funny looking. I'm a pineapple lover and so I just decided I would go ahead with a few suggestions from pinners. Here's a look into my garden, both at mum's home and at my in laws. Successfully cultivated my first batch of cilantro... I cannot say that anymore. Coriander. Kothumalli. Phew.






The garlic and coriander are doing well both places. The pineapple at mum's is the one I'm excited about. If my pineapple turns out well, I'd be really glad.

The new awareness : a kitchen garden is easy, less time consuming and healthy.

My nest item is 'herbs'. A variety of Indian kitchen herbs.





17 February, 2013

The Hahahahas of my long pregnancy story!

Everytime I see a pregnant woman i know now, I politely smile. That's it. Earlier, I used to be nice and ask when she was due or what baby she wanted. Now, nothing but a smile. Or an added 'how are you' to sound interested. Been through the pregnancy thing now. It's a wonderful ten months with so many different emotions. Everyone accounts for their milestones, first heartbeat, first ultrasound, first kicks, first cries. I did it too with a lot of excitement! Those little tiny toes and fingers make everyone go awww... But during the pregnant days, many things drive one crazy. One such thing is the free advice one gets from visitors, relatives, passers by etc.

I wanted to account all those advices in one place. The strongest advice I gave myself was 'Listen to your doctor, and your gut. And of course your bump!' I did listen to everything people said, hilarious as few were. Advices poured n from visitors, relatives, neighbours etc... Mine went on to auto drivers, waiters, waitresses, cashiers and the little boy who irons clothes at the end do the road. Yeah.

Here's  a tiny little list of a few hilarious things people had to say...

'Don't have your coffee hot, your going to burn the baby's eye lashes.' - em, ok.

'When you wake up, do not look into the mirror. The first thing you see is the first thing baby sees.' - that being true, what's wrong if the baby saw me?

'Whenever you eat make sure the baby is not kicking. The food may get deposited in difficult places near the baby.' - gulp, what is a difficult place?

'If someone offers you anything to eat, say no. If you take it immediately, your baby will be a glutton.' - excuse me! I'm pregnant. All I want to do is eat and sleep.

'Make sure you sleep with kumkum every night. It's good for the baby.' - how?

'If baby kicks too much one day. Don't eat what you've eaten that day again. It means the baby doesn't like what you've eaten.' - huh. I thought that was morning sickness.

'If you go walking too fast in your final months, your baby will get delivered on the road.' - oh dear. Someone shut her up.

'You have gestational diabetes? The doctor prescribed insulin? Don't take it.' - wat are you suggesting?

'Don't stop with one kid. Have another one. Only two kids make a family complete.' - let me get done with one. I'm not a gum ball machine!

Pregnancy stories that took the cake....

'Once a girl went into labor and couldn't reach the hospital in time and delivered her baby at a railway checkpost. The baby had bandages on hands and legs. Make sure you reach hospital on time.' - thank you, you made me feel so much better.

'Ive heard of a girl who didn't deliver after ten months. So don't worry if you don't go into labor. It's not going to stay there forever.' - yeah, I know. After ten months I'm going to start charging the baby ten bucks for every day more.

'Pragi, walk, do yoga, eat well. I didn't do anything of those and I had to get a c section. My husband was out of town so my dad signed the papers.' - why on earth was ur husband out of town close to your due date?

'One girl actually hid under the labor room sink while n labor to avoid pain.' - how does it help? Sink sinks pain?


When some stories were just for laughs, others were of great help. Some personal encounters were just sharing, some bragging. Now all I do is smile when I meet pregnant women.









Back to the grind

With the start of the academic year here, life is almost back to the grind. School is priority uno for both G boy and me. This year looks pr...