29 December, 2017

Sweet spot.

Life is at that beautiful sweet spot in a year where you know it's after Christmas but you do not know the day or date but it's somewhere before new years. That sweet spot where even a place like Tirupur gives you the chills and the breeze gives you goosebumps on your hands.

Socks on, winter cream on, son asleep, tea brewing and waiting for the husband to arrive from the airport. Sweet spot. Tea, socks and cuddled up son on the lap. This time of the year, everything just dials down. Those hundred whatsapp groups that exchange annoying messages and forwards have piped down because everyone is away from their phones or doing something at the end of the year. Sweet spot.

That time of the year when everyone is making life decisions for the next 12 months. Some to keep and some we know we won't. Well, practicality points. Sweet spot. That time of the year when everyone is using up every last bit of grocery so the new year can start with a fresh lot. Sweet spot.

It's that time of the year when everyone is cleaning out their closets to find that sweater they used last December only to find extra cash stashed somewhere for surprises like this. Sweet spot.

The beauty of December.. or let's call it the December wave.. the month that makes you dance when the month starts and when it ends. Just like a wave.. up and down.

Oh December, the beauty you bring in life!

Countdown to 2018!

20 December, 2017

Phoenix almost ashes.. 2017 bidding bye

Okay I've just reswound this entire year and gone.. wow, that was fast! It was probably the fastest year but truly, I haven't accomplished anything this. Well, out of my bucket list for this year, I have completed a few. And I've done a few first time things so yay!

Run a marathon.
Read & Write with G man.
Learn something - silambam, Zumba and bokwa. (Sticking only to silambam now)
(It's an ongoing process but I've started)
Train ride with G man.
Trip to Chennai just me and G
Trip to Salem just me and G
Book shelf in the house
Do something arty - pebble painting

G mans list is admirable I guess..

First time on a train
Learnt swimming
Learnt UNO
Learnt memory
Learnt writing sentences
Did a dad and son cook out at school
Played holi

A friend of mine does thus visualization board every year. I'm a bit inspired.. of course I do set goals.. but to visualize something and see it take shape is a bit exciting. I'm working on my visual board over this week. I've planed to occupy G man's room door for the display. Updates in a week !

27 November, 2017

Motherhood test of time - phase 2.

The first day I dropped Gnan is school was phase 1. It's so difficult as it is to wean them from the womb to the World. Then comes the actual weaning. Then when we release them into the world of school. Now to watch them grow so quickly is a big ball of mixed emotions.

Right now I'm going through phase 2 of this. Swimming class. I got G boy enrolled in swimming classes so he would learn early unlike me and at this age it is quite easy.

The first 3 days tested my patience as a mother. To watch someone else train your child to unwrap their fears and face the water was a new world altogether. He kept looking at me to help him out of it and all I was asked to do was ignore. After four days of ignoring, he is now floating and kicking on his kick board. Another 8 days of this and I'm hoping he will swim without support by then.

The things we have to do!

01 November, 2017

Social media and Schools

The monsoons are in and now break period has snacks. Samosas puffs and chips to keep the chats going.. well, we are mum's and hungry ones. With the drizzles coming in we have been munching down our snacks fill the kids finish class. This whole week we've yapped about so much that every might there is something to think about.

Some of them had a lot of to say about my abusive usage of Instagram - well, I knew that already.. but then I got home and deleted a hunch of people I knew I wouldn't want seeing my pictures. The topic strayed into sharing picturea online and somehow ended up being about how schools share pictures on Facebook. Wait, what! Why!? Schools do that apparently and I had no idea. Also, I got to know that schools also have whatsapp groups with all parents of each class in one group - Wait, what?!

The weightage of news shared on these Facebook pages and whatsapp groups range from homework details, holiday information, emergency messages and pictures as well. Information about the kids is sent to parents on a day to day basis with pictures. Talk about over communication!

I prefer a simple diary with all information written by the teacher... G boy's class now copies the stuff written in the board now. I get to see him using capitalisation and punctuations on his diary everyday. I'm not an over protective parent but Id rather receive a call from school personally than a message sent to a group. Nuh- uh!

16 October, 2017

Me too.

It's the day before Diwali and my Facebook is filled with 'Me too'. An awakening for all of us about how many around us have been assaulted, be it verbally or physically.

Well, me too. Yes, me too. And I'm typing this because seeing so many people say 'Me too' has actually given me the courage to say it out loud as well. But just saying me too won't do.

It happened to me when I was working in Hyderabad for Google. I was living with 5 roommates in a 3 bedroom apartment. It began with the landlord giving me phone calls in the middle of the night. He would call and sound drunk and slurry and then talk in Telugu. Step one, I changed my number. It began happening to another room mate of mine. One Saturday evening, he visited the house in the context of collecting rent and stood there for a while. That's when we decided we all had to move.

End of the first year in Google, I moved in with another friend to a 2 bedroom apartment. The landlords were senior citizens and the house was silent and peaceful. Four months into this house, my friend has taken a trip to Bombay for a weekend. My 67 year old landlord knocked on my door and asked me if I had had dinner. Well after all the niceties were exchanged, he handed me a bunch of CDs saying I could watch Hindi movies while I was bored. I thanked him and shut the door. After a few hours I decided to watch one of those movies on my laptop and opened them. To my shock they were all X rated porn movies. In my head the only calculation that was happening was 'how can a 67 year old man who has just married off his daughter do something like this?' It was way close to midnight for me to leave the house. Also I was too scared the bugger would notice me leaving. So I decided to stay in and leave at the break of dawn. Meanwhile, I searched inside the house for any kind of hidden cameras in both my roomates's bathroom and mine. None to my relief but not entirely relieved till I leave the house.

Hardly slept, I left the house with a suitcase enough for a week to a friend's house. She lived with her father and I knew I was safe there. Come Monday, I reported this to a very friendly HR person at Google and the house was blacklisted for any Google employees to stay further. Brokers who led employees to this house were all called and warned and the HR handled it well. We moved again. This time to a building that had loads of Googlers so we had familiar faces around all the time.

This incident has me shook to the core even now. Other incidents on trains, roads and buses I have handled on the spot by either chasing the guys away or screaming for attention. But a 67 year old man shook the core of my inner strength that day.

I've had conversations with people about many things but I haven't had the courage to talk about this to anyone except the HR person and my husband who was my then best friend.

It's important to speak out. It's important to face it. It's important to deal with it. It's important to share. It's important to understand.

I have in my life the best of gentlemen in family and friends. Gentlemen who know how to treat a woman right and to respect her for who she is. The same reciprocation applies. The men I know open doors for women and also allow me to open doors for them. They always ask me to sit in the last chair and will oblige to take it if I insisted. Treat other's how you would like to be treated. Be it a man or a woman. I'm thankful for the men in my life who make everything great. But because of men like these sleezeballs, I choose to be a feminist.

Today, I've killed the demon that has been eating inside me for 8 years. Indeed a Diwali. Speak out.

15 October, 2017

Jolly waali Diwali

It's that time of the year when the entire city is in a frenzy.. shops are open way past midnight so people working the day shift can shop at night. The roads are so bright with all the serial lights making the street lights look sober!

Jolly Waali Diwali is here and this time we have again gone for a minimal Diwali. Minimal Diwali is where we are educated enough to realise that crackers equals pollution but childish enough to burst just a fewnpatakas for that little bit of joy. G man is particularly excited about Diwali crackers this year .. he has been collecting all the ten rupee notes from both our wallets to buy crackers. Well, it's not much but it's still happy.

Diwali with my parents followed by two days of us time in the apartment. We are planning to play UNO, watch TV, long drives to nowhere and loads of sweets! We are looking forward to a family Diwali.. what are your plans for Diwali?

This is our first Diwali just us. This whole year we have been doing things on our own and I'm hoping some become traditions for us as a family. If in twenty years, my son snuggles in a bean bag reading a book every Saturday morning, it'll be a tradition that lived. If in twenty years, Padhu puts his phone on charge only to realise the next morning it hasn't been charging all night, it's a tradition that lived. If in twenty years, my hibiscus plants haven't bloomed, well, that's just a sad sad story. Hoping these first years we make traditions that live and stories to tell!

Happy Diwali everyone!

05 July, 2017

Maid of Honor - Break Period

If you've read the topic and imagined a beautiful wedding in a church with similarly dressed bridesmaids, snap out of it!

Maid of Honour - Pun intended.

Last week I received a message from a friend. It said that her long term servant maid who had nannied her two children for over 14 years had passed away and she mentioned that this lovely lady just visited her a week back to see the children. The message mentioned the inconsolable children and the heartbroken family.

My Himalayan Baahubalian level craftily talented friend always shared pictures of her kids when they went for a costume party, birthdays, Christmas, Easter, weddings, Onam etc. I had always noted this little woman would be around somewhere or her mention would always be there. For Onam, she has helped my friend's daughter to decorate the poo kolams and a very happily proud mother would share pictures with us. A rainbow themed birthday and the mother would share a picture of her daughter and maid to show us the decorations they had done. Every time I received a message, I would hurry to open it because no matter what, her messages always made me happy.

The message was heartbreaking - yes. More than heartbreaking, I was moved by how my friend had is chosen to eulogize the memory of her accepted family member so beautifully and share it with all of her friends. Family is who we choose beyond the biological connect. Family is what we make it.

In memory of Rengamma. A woman I didn't know. A woman I had never met. A woman who just made things better for the family she was in. 

02 July, 2017

Being there - Break Period

With a whirlwind of occasions and family situations, i hadn't been in touch with my writing. I've just hit the pillow and thought what the past two weeks have been like. 

The back to school routine is on and early mornings are the enemy now. Somehow Mondays and Wednesdays and happy happy cause of the super silambam classes I'm doing. It's been four classes now and I'm hooked. 

The past one week has been a roller coaster one. My maternal grandfather had been in and out of the hospital. It came as a sudden emergency all of a sudden and at that moment I didn't really know what I was doing. G man was in school, mum was in the hospital with her dad and my other set of grandparents needed babysitting. With a whoosh I picked G from school and in a few hours I was in the hospital with my brother in a city 53 kilometres away. 

Grandpa is better now. Big sigh of relief but then I had been thinking how unprepared I was at a time of emergency. Well, it is an emergency, yes. What we prioritise during these times is so important. The whole situation turned out to be a difficult one since most family members were travelling. Dad in the US and my husband in France. All my brother and I had in mind was to be there to support mum. Somehow to me I just felt it wasn't enough. We were there, we did whatever we had to. We never feel adequate when we have to be there for our parents. Somewhere there is a hole and it just isn't enough. 

Being around one another and being there is the most important thing, in whatever way you can - this was the conclusion at Break Period.  

The ladies had nothing else to say. We do what we do for our parents but it's never going to be how our parents did it for us. 

I'm just dozing now thinking - I hope I'm doing enough for my little boy. 

Lesson from the weeks gone by. 

Love, matters. Love matters. Be there - in person, over the phone, video or anything. But just be there with a voice and face - time is fleeting and some moments are the one that make a mark for a lifetime. 

19 June, 2017

Your recent inspiration - Monday Chit chat at Break Period

After the weekend, at Break Period there is a usual sigh of relief about meeting again and about getting sometime without the kids at home. I had an exhausting Monday with a few meetings in schools and I couldn't really wait for today's chit chat. We have a bunch of new mommies among us and we couldn't stop yapping.

I was dying to share with the group about a recent event that had inspired me so much. I had recently heard about a friend who had given birth to her second daughter at a birth village in Kerala wherein you do not do scans, vaccines or anything hospitaly. Instead, you had an assisting midwife who helps you deliver your baby naturally without any scientific interference. I found this an extremely gutsy story and came across this picture of the baby with the placenta and umbilical cord intact. Very few pictures have been emotionally, spiritually or mentally awakening to me. To me, the mental image of seeing my parents whenever they picked me up from boarding school keeps running on loop because that image never leaves you. Another recent picture that I came across was the picture where Jacqueline Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy kneel and bow their heads on JFK's coffin. I haven't been able to get that image out of my head ever since. This one with the baby attached to her placenta was another. I was shaken by the raw human truth behind it. What a wonderful message and what a wonderful way of being the example!

The group had so many things to share and a few mommies ended up reading it online right there. That's when I realised that I was sitting among a bunch of women who were all about uplifting each other and appreciating the emotion behind this! I had also noticed that ever since this story had made the rounds, the power I see in women who talked to me about it was radiating!

Get to know more about this amazing lady at www.durgeshnandhini.com

17 June, 2017

What's in your bag? What's in your car?

To remain inpsired and to keep the writing going, I've taken up 30 topics to write about - one everyday for a month. Apparently doing something the same way for 21 days makes it a part of your daily routine, so let's give it a go.

Writers block is my best friend so these topics do come in handy. I did pick out the best few that made sense and remained informative. Mommies who juggle part time work, maintain a home, cook, clean, iron and chauffer your little ones around - hi five! Give us something more, and we will do it just as well. Well, today I chose to write about two topics - What's in your bag and car?

Juggling a life like this may seem like a lot of things to carry around, but recently when I moved out of my in laws home to an apartment, I discovered the Konmari method of decluttering. This method has been a blessing. I've gotten rid of so much stuff which has helped mentally as well. I didn't stick to the method too much - but whatever worked for me I chose to go with it.

What's in my bag?!
Well, I carry the Longchamp tote with a small handle. Its one of those totes that folds back into a small wallet sized thing during storage. For those who have been struggling to make the change from carrying a diaper bag that held everything including your foldable tent for the kid, this bag, I highly recommend you start with a tote. Let's face it, none of us have Hermoine's extension charm to hold the whole world in it anyway!

1) Lip balm - if you are someone who carried it around, you know my emotion.
2) Wallet - cards, change, ID cards and driving license
3) Charge bank - Having taken the plunge to use an iphone, it's so necessary to stick to using a phone bank cause well, it is an iphone.
4) Jio - well, Padhu and I took the plunge to use Jio portable wifi and believe me I'm not complaining. It's quick and it's not heavy or expensive.
5) Water

What's in my car?!

I wanted to write about this because G man and I commute by car for everything. (Also because I don't know how to ride a two wheeler and thus do not have a license for the same). We spend a lot of time in the car and I stick to some things when in the car.

1) Sunglasses - for both of us
2) Bits of fabric - we make squares of fabric and keep them in the car to use as napkins in case of snack spillage.
3) Snacks - I may as well travel with a fridge now but I'm waiting for automobiles to catch up and come to that point when we can afford it.
4) A big basket - I keep a big basket in the boot so when we go shopping I don't end up carrying heavy bags. Instead I just put them in the basket and carry the basket. It's easier on the fingers.
5) Empty tiffin box and empty water bottle - This you will understand if you are a roadside shopper like G man and I are. We buy nongu and theluvu (Palm fruit and palm juices) and coconut water frequently. These empty vessels don't make much noise.
6) Cloth bags - The dash always has cloth bags so we can stop at the farmers market to pick up fruits and veggies. The bag goes back to the dash after use.
7) Travel pillow - I got a pillow cover made that can be fitted to the seat belt. When G man dozes off on the way home or school, he doesn't hurt his head anywhere. It's just one of those things that is better by being there!

What do you keep in your bag and car?

16 June, 2017

What are mommies talking about these days?

If you are from a small town and you have a child, you may know what this post may be about. Over the past five years, ive understood the life of small towners and the dos and don't of it. I've only understood them, not mastered any.

Well, in my town, we do weddings, parties just like any other. But what do mommies do? What do we talk about? Where do we take our kids and what do the kids like?

I enrolled G man in a phonics class and that's how I met this wonderful bunch of women who had become friends for life! We've been friends for over a year now and we spend about 50 minutes together everyday. When you put together a bunch of women without children (cause they are in class) it becomes verbals chaos mostly.

Over a year, we've discussed everything under the sun! Schools, syllabus, bags, lunch boxes, clothes, cars, acne, hair loss, jewelry, family, siblings, gossip, scandals, labour, delivery, c section, epidural, ice cream, laser, Botox - what not! Probably everything under the sun. While in school, remember when you longed for that break period when you could just open your snacks box and eat that yummy snack mummy packed for you? Well, I pretty much wait for this 50 minute break period from the busy schedule of the day. One may call it stress buster or time pass - but we have just become good friends who can make each other feel easy and relaxed so I'm just gonna call it break period.

Break period happens every Monday to Thursday. Kids learn sounds while we The Yappers Club just have friends time.

What are mommies talking about today?

Today, we were mostly talking about what amount of academia intake a child of 4-5 can take. Some kids from our mommy bunch take French classes and some learn swimming. While almost all of us were guilty of trying to push our kids to some class or the other (yes, I said that out loud cause that's the truth and let's deal with it)we were worried about how a two month summer break can make a child forget literally everything he learnt. Each one had a few suggestions and some practice suggestions. None of us are superwoman mothers who want the child to do everything on their own. We are just mommies who want to make sure the kid has all the help he needs at home.

P - P sits down with her kid and gets him to write his alphabets and numbers everyday.
A1 - A giver her kid a slate so she can scribble the alphabets as and when A1 calls them out.
N - N gets her older kid to help the younger one so two inputs help the kid.
E - E sits down every week and helps her kid write his alphabets and numbers.

What I do - G man and I would discuss how each alphabet looked. For example , while in the car he would describe to me how a W looks. He would either say 'two Vs put together' or 'four slanting lines'. I was supremely guilty of not getting any writing done for G man over the summer. As for numbers, we always recited numbers 1-100 in the car or while our evening walks. Writing numbers - nil. We would circle alphabets in the newspaper. For example, circle all Gs - and then say some G words.

How do you get kids to remember what they have learnt in school? Or, what do you do when your kid forgets?

Life is such...

Is it ok that at one phase of life one just doesn't perform and one knows it? Is it ok to wake one day and say, 'today I feel like my old self'? Does anyone ever feel like their old self after a bunch of years that just fly by? 

Today was a day of many horizons. I had kept the love for writing sleeping. Today, I wake and realise it ain't right. It ain't right to blame a situation to hide one's laziness. 

Over a few years life has gone by with many winds of change but today I realise the ship still remains. May have seen storms and summers, winds and winters but the ship remains. Sailed, sailing, setting sail and rowing. 

The storms have tattered the sides of my row,
I thus blamed the storms, 
I know not the storms don't last.
I know now the storms have gone, 
The sails are up, 
The winds of change - they come and go,
They come and they go.

Lightning, be the light that guides,
Thunder, be the songs that entertain,
Waves, be the rains that make me dance,
Let's just set sail again! 

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...