Archive for April 27th, 2010

Woke up around 9 AM on 18th morning, brushed and freshened up. RS was still sleeping, so I took the liberty of having a cup of tea in leisure (yeah yeah, I know all about how tea is prepared in trains, but I consoled myself with the thought that since this particular train had a pantry car, maybe, just maybe, the water was boiled in a different manner!!).

We all had bread-omelette for breakfast and placed the order for lunch. The twins surprised me by showing interest in the omelette and having quite a few bites from it. I think they liked the bland, no-salt, no spice kind of eggs. Mentally made a reminder to feed them eggs made like this once the monsoons set in. The BF wanted  to play cards, but the kids made sure that we dis’card’ed the thought of even opening the pack in their presence 😀 . Moreover, since we were right next to the door, and SS was quite keen on exploring the other side, the BF had his hands full just making sure that people didn’t just bang the door on SS’s face. Once or twice they came close, and we got a few admonishing glares, but I guess people are generally sympathetic towards parents travelling with kids. In our case, we had two master brats and the only reason they were forgiven was because the twins turned on their sweetest, brightest smiles for those strangers!

A wierd thing happens on trains, you know, specially on long distance trains…..people get up early, have tea, have breakfast and somewhere around 10 AM, they hop back on their berths and take a snooze. They get up again around 12 or 1 PM, have lunch, chat a little, wrap up with a cup of tea or coffee and somewhere around 3 or 4 PM, they hop back to sleep, only to get up around 7 PM for another cup of tea/coffee or snacks, wait till 8 PM for dinner and then hit the sack again.

The reason I mentioned the schedule above, is that , though I’ve been guilty of the same behavior in the past, this particular time, I didn’t sleep a wink 😐 . The kids kept me awake ALL the time!! If RS was asleep, then SS would howl for my attention. When he went off to sleep, RS would wake up and scream for me. The BF took turns handling the kids, at least allowing me time to have tea or my meals. BFG and BFS, though tried their best, could do very little other than sympathise with us and make sure we didn’t have to look into other issues like managing the luggage, handling trash, making the berths, etc. God bless these two. Without them, I’d have left the kids with the BF and jumped out of the moving train 😦

Anyhow, time went by at a snail’s pace and I must have pestered everyone loads by asking for the time every 10 minutes. As evening drew closer, I was seriously  looking forward to finally reaching Delhi, taking a bath and taking a nap 🙂 . In fact, ALL of us were planning the same thing ! Obviously. Except the kids, of course. They couldn’t care less!!

By the way, the lunch sucked BIG time!! It was awful!! A watery dal, potato sabji which made me swear off potatoes forever and half-cooked rice. And tell me, who really likes to have a chapatti that is barely 3 inches in diameter but an inch thick?? The very first bite almost made me Moo my discontent!! Dinner, we decided , would have to be anything other than the regular ‘meals’ being served. We had some Veg-pulao or Veg-biryani kind of dish which was surprisingly good. Even the twins had a few bites of it and were clamouring for more. Of course I didn’t feed them much of it, since it was steeped in loads of garam masala!

Post dinner, within minutes, all the lights in our bogie were out, except ours. We switched off, believing that the kids would sleep if it got sufficiently dark all around.

Ha Ha…..how naive we were!!

The kids, for some unknown reason, were super-charged. Their yelling got louder, their antics got wilder and my chances at sanity got leaner. The BF, unused to all this noise, almost gave up and moved out of the bogie. He preferred the noise and stench of the vestibule to the loud racket of the kids. I personally think he was embarrassed with all the angry glares and comments passed by people who were trying their best to sleep. Anyhow, somewhere around late night, maybe 11 or 12, the kids dropped off to sleep. We let out a sigh of relief and lowered our tired self carefully on the berth.

Around 2AM, SS howled out for his milk. I practically fell off the edge of my berth and rushed to the BF’s berth. Poor guy…..he was so tired, he didn’t even notice SS trying to climb over him!! I picked up my baby, made his feed , made one for RS too and put both of them on my berth. I stood there for nearly 10 minutes before I realized that I needed to sleep too, and uncomfortable though it may be, there was no other space than on the berth. So I climbed in again, ever so gingerly so as not to disturb the kids, turned on my side and tried to sleep in that uncomfortable position.

Needless to say, by the next morning,  one hip was completely paralysed and the other suffered a severe muscle pull 😦

Ahhh…the joys of parenting!!

The BF didn’t leave an opportunity to mention throughout that he should have booked flight tickets as he had initially planned. But we, me and BFG and BFS had scrapped his plan, reasons being many. By night-time, I could have kicked myself real hard for not listening to him and taking sides with my friends.Anyhow, that all is past. The BF has sworn not to ever go anywhere where he might be required to drag the kids along, at least till they are 10 years old!!

The journey, till now , was one big nightmare…and the only consolation was that the next day would be better.

Or would it??

(To be contd……)

Edited to add :

Updating the post with the snap taken on the train :-

Abba minding the twins while their mom has her dinner 🙂

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……for the many orphans on a railway platform in Orissa.

We need more people like Rajesh Singh in our midst, who, at a young age, decided that it was better to make engineers out of orphans than become an engineer himself. How selfless is that?!! Do read the article on how he overcame personal obstacles to do what he thought was right.

It makes me feel cheap and small in comparison. I have a good household, children, luxury of a job and income. I give khairat and zakat as per the tenets of Islam.

Yet, there is something lacking majorly. I do not take out time like my maternal grandmother to visit each house in her neighbourhood asking for old used clothes, washing them and then visiting the slums and distributing them (I did pursue this activity a couple of years back. The reason I stopped doing it was when I found out that the clothes were being sold by those slum dwellers in the local chor-bazaar!). I don’t take out time like my mother to do little things like buy grains, clothes and fruits for many impoverished families and personally deliver it at their doorstep, making sure she hands over some cash too. I don’t sponsor the education of orphan girls like my MIL  and the BF do, making sure that apart from the fees, they also support the girl’s lodging, boarding and clothing requirements.

The only thing I do nowadays is give away money. But I have no idea if it is put to good use. Is it charity? Is it worthwhile?

I guess not.

The biggest charity or helping a social cause would mean donating my time. To take out some time to visit orphanages, to visit old-age homes, to call upon old, far off relatives just to check up on their health and well-being, to take out time to actually do something. My friend Srihari speaks Marathi as much as I do, yet, he actively participates in many social causes for children in and around Pune. The language barrier does not hinder him. But it hinders me. For me, if I cannot communicate with words, I’m handicapped 😦 . I clam up and recede into my shell. Just standing like a statue and smiling politely is not going to get me anywhere.  And that is my one excuse for not actively going out and participating as much as I’d like to 😦

And when I read articles like the one above, I feel an emptiness, a hollow sensation somewhere deep within, you may call it guilt.

Guilt , for being blessed with all material comforts and yet, unable to give equally in return . Guilt, because there are people out there, much more underprivileged and yet, doing their bit. How clear is their conscience…..and how murky is mine 😦

I know it is not lack of initiative from my side. I’ve taken plenty of them. Conducted clothes drive in office (ever heard of Goonj by Anshu Gupta ?? He guided me on the process of the collection and donation ) , collecting old clothes from colleagues and distributing them among the poor. The poor, ironically, didn’t need the clothes, they just wanted the money…..and I felt all my efforts going down the drain. Post marriage and kids, I seem to have even lesser time for myself, let alone for the needy. I keep consoling myself that when the kids grow a little older, when they start school and are not so dependent on me all the time, I’ll start with baby steps once again. Target an area and help as much as I can.

Till then, its best to read about people like Rajesh Singh and Thank Allah that there exist people who have their priorities set right 🙂

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