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Archive for May, 2011

The kind RS from B’lore (No, no, not my twins RS, but the one from Penny for my Thoughts ) has tagged me to do a post on what Mommyhood has taught me. My first reaction was to jump up yelling, ‘me first, me first’ like we did in school, when a teacher asked a particularly tough question and you felt that you were the ONLY one who knew the answer and raised your hand , desperate for the teach to look your way 😀 .

Alas, as I went through the other blogs doing the same tag, I realized , to my immense consternation, that I’ve learnt very little.

I haven’t yet learnt to curb that vile temper of mine.

I haven’t yet learnt to stop lamenting over the lack of sleep I get.

I haven’t yet learnt to accept that this is just how life will be and in all possibility my hectic schedule will just get worse as the kids grow older.

Whew 😦

Mommyhood is one of the toughest courses in the university of life and the only drawback is, after ALL that hard work, after all the years of study, late nights, battering and emotional trauma, we still get nothing. No certificate, no plaque, not even a black robe and hat commemorating our dedication and perseverance.

Yet, we women fall for this course. Again and again and again and again. Wait. That came out wrong. Kindly limit the ‘again’ to two, at most three counts. A women has to be a real veteran of sorts to go for this course the fourth time and more. Hats off and deep bow of respect to them. My eyes seek the feet of such women, to lay myself prostrate at them and beg for tips 🙂

Anyhow, looking deeper into myself and seeing nothing but a bunch of bowels, I’ve come to the conclusion, that I’m rather inept at profound analysis. I cannot reflect on the last two years and conclude as to how exactly the twins have changed me as a mother, or as an individual. I cannot hold court on what mommy-to-be’s should expect to face when they have a whiny, wriggly, uncompromising bundle in their arms (or two for that matter!!). I’m not a very hands-on mother myself, being a working woman and all that jazz and hence, I consider myself as the very last resort for the seeking-motherhood-tips type of people 😀

B-U-T.

Fear not me lassies and lads, coz this is one momma who cannot be expected to keep shut even when she knows nothing about the matter at hand. So, without much ado, let me share with you the practical lessons I’ve learnt in the last 2+ years. Which means, I can give handy tips on child-rearing 😐 . Trust me (I dare you 👿 ) . I can share gyaan on how to handle kids in a joint family. I can give tips on how to make everyone in the family (including the maids) take ownership and responsibility for bringing up your children (major emphasis on in-laws here. You wouldn’t want them to shrug off their responsibility towards the fruit of the fruit of their flesh-and-blood, would you 😉 ). So shrug off those lines that adorn your pretty brow (strictly for ladies) and read on –

Lesson 1

Unless fate decides otherwise, make sure you have ample age-gap between two children. Sometimes, it may not work out, the elder one may feel left out of love once a new one arrives. On the other hand, if the gap is too less, the elder one may not be able to differentiate as to how exactly his/her sibling’s needs are greater than his/hers.

I’ve personally felt that where companionship and closeness are needed, the twins need not look beyond each other. But there are times (too many, too frequent) when the two demand attention at the same time, each one bawling that I shouldn’t pick the other. Sometimes, it even leads to little fists trying to maul each other 😦

All I can say is…..give yourself a break. One howling kid can be traumatic enough, so save yourself from facing two of the same age group 😀

Lesson 2

If you use home made cloth nappies for babies, make sure you note down this rule of thumb – Double the thickness of the nappy at the bottom if it’s a girl and if it’s a boy, double the thickness at the front.

Also, if it is a boy, ALWAYS change diapers/nappies with the baby lying horizontal to you. So if you are sitting like ‘|’ make sure the kid is lying down like ‘-‘ .

I learnt it the hard way after many a well-directed sprays landed in my mouth 😦 . ( Its salty, in case you were wondering 😀 )

Lesson 3

However smart, brilliant, cute, clever or pieces-of-heaven your kids might be, avoid repeating these terms in their presence.

Kids are like sponges, absorbing good and bad alike. Positive encouragement for what they ‘do’ is different from outright praise of skills they’ve not ‘learnt’. Where the first one allows growth and makes the kid put in effort, the latter makes them feel entitled to compliments without putting in an iota of effort. Desist from gushing about your kids in front of them. You may blog about it though 🙂

Lesson 4

Your family is as much responsible for the upbringing of your child as you are. So if you find them reprimanding your kid, don’t pull out the daggers and call out a war. Take a deep breath and a moment for it to sink in that even they have a right to correct your child if S/he does any wrong. It may not always suit your sensibilities, but what the heck, kids are tougher than what we give them credit for. A few strong words and a little spanking won’t scar them for life. Being brought up like a namby-pamby might!!

Lesson 5

I’m not sure how many people would agree to this, but I’ve learnt that though your partner may not have carried the baby for the nine month duration, he has carried everything else that goes with the coming of a newborn. He has carried the hopes, the expectations, the worries, the expenses. He may not have maternal instincts, but what he does have for the child is pure, undiluted love and concern. So give the guys a break. Trust them with your babies. Never reprimand a man when he’s holding a child in his arms. He’s more scared than you are. Don’t add to his worries by screaming at him that the babies’ neck will break if not supported properly!! Also, give the guy some privacy with his children. Sometimes, a guy wants to coo sweet nothings into his babies ear, just to hear them gurgle with pleasure. Let them enjoy this private moment. Its their’s after all 🙂

There is so much more to add here, now that my gears seem all oiled up. But the tag limits me to a count of 5. Alas 😀

Anyhow, I need to send this tag to 5 mommas. Surprisingly, most of my blog friends do not have babies. Yet 😉 (a girl can hope,can’t she 😀 )

So I’m forwarding this tag to another round of blog friends whom I’d love to know better. Take this up girls :-

Manasi

Tulika

Priya

Rakhee

2AsMom

I have a faint feeling that you guys might be tagged already. Anyhow, do take this up and teach me a few lessons 🙂

For those whom I missed out, apologies. Please feel free to share whatever nuggets of knowledge you can. Be sure, I’ll be the one sorely in debt of you 🙂

Till then, I bid  goodbye (until the next post. Which, given my recent slackness, doesn’t look too close in future)

Tally Ho!!


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It was a Bad idea!!

Bad Bad idea to gang up with 6 kids (5 under the age of 4) under one roof in the peak of summer.

The repercussions of my well thought out plans (or so I thought at that time) can be felt strongly even now 😦

The kids drove us crazy. The heat ensured we couldn’t go out anywhere during the day. Frequent power cuts (which Dad assured us wasn’t the case before) drove the children restless. Keeping them occupied became a traumatic experience .For once, I chided myself for not making my kids used to watching the telly. That way, I could at least make sure they sat in one place for a while instead of running up and down the stairs 😦

Whew!!

Looks like I’m ranting as usual.

Well, now that I’ve already groaned about the negatives, let me take my time and tell you about the good things that happened.Just to maintain the balance and all that jazz 😀

– The Family . The entire family (read, parents and siblings) got together after ages!! I think the last time we all came together was in Dec 2008 at the naming ceremony of the twins. After that, someone or the other was always missing. This time, we all came under one roof and had a ball. Literally 🙂

– The Love. The twins got to know their cousins after a long time. This was one totally fantabulous get-together. Where we elder siblings were busy reminiscing about our childhood and the years gone by, our kids were busy getting to know each other. Its a pity we (me and Aapa) stay so far away from the other two siblings. I swear all the kids took to each other as though born of the same womb. There were loads of hugs and kisses given for free between the toddlers (which the elders say have to be coerced out of their children), the eldest kid became a leader of sorts, with a faithful following of 5 toddlers behind him and it was a tearful farewell indeed when the kids of B’lore had to bid goodbye to the kids of Pune.  *Sniff* 😦

– The Time. I had one of the best times ever with the twins. From dawn to dusk, we were inseparable (blame it on the kids. I SO craved for loo breaks and bath times without them yelling blue murder behind my back!). Though it might sound clichéd, I must admit, I bonded with the kids BIG time. Back in Pune, I share them with so many people, but here, I took complete responsibility. Also, since the maid refuses to wash clothes and we use the washing machine, I washed the twin’s clothes by hand (that includes soiled clothing, remnants of a  losing battle in toilet training).

– The Food.The FOOD!! I must’ve gorged on a zillion mangoes (by the name of Banagenapalli which is now my all-time favourite!!), eaten dozens of fried fish and slurped on many a chicken/mutton curries. Needless to say, I’ve returned with one too many heat boils on my face. Ultra-clearasil and Face-Clin gel are now permanent residents of my purse 😐 .  I was apprehensive of feeding the kids non-veg (we had limited their intake to eggs and chicken/mutton soups), but seriously, you can keep a catholic out of church, but not a muslim away from non-veg !! The terrible two, fussy eaters them both, coolly munched on fried fish and chicken pieces as though they were born doing that !! And no, they didn’t touch the rice or rotis 😐

– The Talk. Where the twins earlier uttered at the max 5 syllables in a sentence, they have now progressed to entire stretches of conversation, which, if not stopped could go on for hours!! It was hilarious to see the twins trying their best to talk to the younger ones , often repeating the same line over and over again, obviously wondering why the youngsters were so daft! In return, they were at the receiving end when Baby M (who’s a year older) and elder cousin brother Bojo though that the twins were speech impaired. Luckily, everyone inspired everyone and the vocabulary of all the kids is now much enhanced 🙂

There is so much more to write about. But I think I’ll pass the talk and post the pics. There aren’t that many, because I was too busy having fun with the kids to bother with the camera. But I’ll surely post them as soon as I download them to my machine.

Till then folks, gotta say, its great to be back 🙂

(And Oh, I MUST write a completely new post on my trip back to Pune which is an experience in itself!! Let me keep that for later.)

Have a great week ahead 🙂



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I was purchasing some quick goodies a couple of evenings back when I came across a restaurant menu board displayed outside the restaurant next door.

I read it. Then re-read it. Checked to see if anyone else was giggling too. Alas, I was the only one !!

Am not sure if there’s one single item where I can point my finger and guffaw. Anyhow, let me show you the list first. And also, let me categorically state that there was no attempt at humour when this list was put up (or so I’m hoping 😀 ) :-

The Menu

So what all do we have here?

  •  A single ‘S’ acting as a replacement for the ‘S’ after the apostrophe and also the abbreviated form of “Special” — Check

(I specially like the way this particular coup was executed 😉 )

  • Suspenseful Soup name , given the space between “MAHI” and “SOUP” — Check

(I tried replacing the blank with EVERY alphabet. Nothing made sense 😦 , except maybe if they made a mistake and put up an ‘H’ instead of a ‘G’ and then realized they were out of ‘C’ )

  • Passenger Name Record  Hot pan, Methi AND Adraki — Check

(What?? Isn’t that what PNR generally stands for ?!!)

  • Fortune brand of rice — Check

(First time seeing a brand of rice being displayed prominently on the menu. By that margin, wouldn’t ‘Kohinoor’ make a better impression??)

  • Desert name followed by exclamation of error/regret — Check

(Am LOVING that OOOPS. I seriously wonder what was going in the mind of the guy who put up this board 😀 )

  • Ladies available at 10% Discount — Check.

(Err…ummm…. 😐 *wagging finger* Not good man, not good!!)

And the biggest surprise of all??

They spelled “SIZZLING BROWNIE” correctly!! Really!!

Wonders will never cease 😐



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I was out shopping last Saturday.

I’m off to Bangalore this weekend with the twins for a two-week vacation to meet the parents and siblings. Aapa and her kids are coming along too. Needless to say, I’m frantically shopping at the last minute to grab goodies for the people back home. This time, I thought of gifting stuff other than clothes (which, given the high tastes of Bags and Bhabi, were bound to be rejected 😦 ). So I bought a deck-chair swing for Baby SA and handbags for Bags and Bhabhi. For Mom,Aapa and her kids, I stuck to clothes. Aapa likes everything I get for her. She’s such a darling 🙂 .  I haven’t had the chance to shop at leisure  as I wanted to, given the work in office and at home, but I had a few hours to spare on Saturday and so made the best use of them 🙂

Anyhow, there I was, in the peak of summer, driving under the blazing heat, getting lost in the heart of the city. It was the heat I guess, that made me take a wrong turn (I was relying on intuition to lead me out from the labyrinth lanes of Old Pune) and drive right into the city’s Red light Area.

It took me a few seconds to realize why this particular area was so crowded. It took some more seconds to realize that I was being hooted at. Some even called out rude names to me. A quick look around confirmed my suspicion. I was in the wrong territory. For a second, I was almost tempted to send out my apologies, but the very next , I raced as fast as I could from that place.

I’ve never been in such an area before, and now that I have, I’ll confess that I’ve never ever felt the sense of foreboding, of fear, of stifling restlessness as I felt there in those few seconds. Once I was back on the main road, I was shocked to realize that I was actually gasping for breath. That, when I was driving!!! Hadn’t realized that for those few seconds back there, I’d been holding my breath, my heart thudding loudly somewhere in the vicinity of my throat.

Why did I react like that??

Its not as if some mean pimp would throw a rug over a plump thirty plus lady and drag her into the flesh trade! Then what did I fear?

Frankly, I have no idea.

I’ve seen social workers on television, who frequent such places to educate the girls, letting them know the importance of sending their young ones to schools. I never gave much thought to those social workers. At least, not until now. Now, I know the amount of effort it would take to walk through those bylanes, passing by women with gaudy make-up and sleepy eyes . Women as old as the aunt next-door or sometimes, as young as the maid’s daughter who drops by for work when her mother falls ill.

I saw a couple of girls in jeans and T-shirts walking by. They looked so normal, so regular, that it would be easy to mistake them for college students. Its only when they called out to the men passing by that I found out that they were masters of another study!! When did these girls get into this trade? Why did they?

I’m sure they are victims of circumstances. There are regular news reports of girls being brought to the city and sold to the brothels here. There are plenty of North-East Indian girls here, probably kidnapped and sold, long lost from their families and loved ones. I wonder who cares for them now.

I also wonder at the kind of job which makes young women brave the summer heat to stand out on the roads, calling out to prospective clients (is that the right word here?) , dressed awfully (usually in their night-gowns) but loaded with make-up. All of them standing together in a row like dominoes. I wonder what goes through the mind of a client when he sees this assembly line of sun-toughened booty 😐 . I wonder what these women do in their free time (IF they have some free time). I wonder if they ever think of leaving this trade behind. I wonder if they know of a life beyond those lanes.  I wonder how it feels to conceive a child and not know who the father is.  I wonder at the kind of life’s lessons that kid gets to learn. How do they cope?

Clearly, I’ve been think way too much about those women these days. And all because I ventured into their territory by mistake.

And as usual, I’m stumped at the extent to which I’m clueless about life and people. There is SO much to learn. Our sheltered and cocooned life gives us very little opportunity to see the lives of others from their point of view. I’m  truly humbled. Allah has been highly benevolent on me and my kin. For that alone, I can bow my head a thousand times and offer prayers of gratitude. Ameen.



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Wordless Wednesday

Naah!!

Just kidding 😀

You really think I can be kept away from being Word-y?

Anyhow, after the long rant in yesterday’s post (which I confess was about to go into more deeper anguish but I managed to reign in the impulse and end it quick) I think I’ll do a feel-good post. Okay, so maybe not that feel-good for you, but definitely for me 🙂

You see, since the GMIL is in the hospital (still!!), the onus of looking after her beloved plants fell on me.

Me!! The serial plant-killer! The one whose very touch caused leaves to shrivel and buds to die before they bloomed 😦 I have poison in my finger tips  I confess, there has to be a reason why plants never survive me. Even this time, once GMIL left for the hospital, ALL the plants died within the first week. Obviously, I could NEVER remember to water them in time. Moreover, the awful heat made sure that we kept the doors to the terraces closed, to avoid hot winds blasting into the house!

Anyhow, after much hand-flailing and cursing self for not watering the mites in this heat, I got back to Operation Recover.

I watered the plants, added the manure. Placed the pots in strategic locations so that they got just the right amount of sunlight. I prayed , I sang. I did everything but pull at the shoots to sprout a leaf. Gradually though, nature favoured my efforts and the plants started springing back to life.

I’m glad to see that before the GMIL comes home this weekend, her little garden is alive and thriving, pretty green leaves sprouting from every stem. I haven’t *errrr..* failed in looking after them 😀

So folks, whatdya think??

No idea what this thing is called

Ajwain

Aloe Vera

Tulsi

This is the first time I saw purple flowers on Tulsi!!

Kadi-patta

There are many more plants, but I never got around to clicking all of them. I’m just glad they are all alive, which, given my reputation with plants, is a HUGE achievement 😀

GMIL will be back this weekend and I’m sure this time around I won’t get the grunt of disapproval I got last time 😀

Fingers crossed!!

And yeah, I’ll be at the mini-garden every spare second until she is well enough to look after them herself. After that, I’ll just wash my hands off these greenies. Literally 😐



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I could write a funny little couplet with the three characters , Obama, Osama and me, but I won’t. Because though funny thoughts do creep up my mind, what I’m posting today is far from it. I’ll be writing about Osama and how he changed my life. I’ll mention Obama, who must have have faced a percentage of what I did. I’ll talk about me and the ones close to me. I’ll talk of all the agony and pain we went through. The humiliation, the anger the confusion. I’ll talk of all the things that went wrong because of Osama and why his death does not bring any relief or respite.

But first, something about Obama. Its close to election time and since the Prez didn’t have much to count on for a second term, does the timing of this operation sound suspicious to you?? It does to me at least. So there was Osama, not hiding under a rock or a bunker, but living lavishly in a large bungalow with his family. So, wasn’t the US aware of his hide-out until now?? I, for one, am not impressed at the way the operation was carried out, even if Obama was hunkering over the screens, watching with baited breath as the Navy seals went about their task.

So the big Terrorist- chap was gunned down in his house. Great.

He was done in in the presence of his family. I wouldn’t really say ‘Great’, but I guess the family saw it coming one day or the other.

Since we are not typical television watchers AND we didn’t get any papers yesterday (because of labour day), it was pretty late in the evening when we saw the news and were stunned into silence.Initially, I was rather skeptical of the whole act. The US claimed they shot him and dumped his body in the sea. Really?? I don’t believe you, I said. I refused to accept the news until finally, sometime later that night,they showed his dead body. It did look like the same fellow,I admit, specially the mouth part. With a head riddled with bullets, it was difficult to be 100% sure. But the world was sure and slowly, I too accepted that this guy was no more. Till late in the night, the family was discussing the consequences and repercussions of this death.

Wonder why??

Because as a middle-class muslim family, we’ve had our share of abuse because of him.

Remember 9/11??

I was doing my post-graduation at that time, didn’t have a TV or a radio at home. When I reached college, I heard a lot of animated conversation around. Conversation, that would suddenly stop in its tracks when someone spotted me. Gradually, someone came up to me and asked me if I knew what had happened that day? I remember joking about some lecturer not turning up for class. Alas, the truth, when told, was more horrific. Because, though I was informed about the ghastly deed, it was with a lot of raised eye-brows and hidden questions. ‘Did you know about it? How do you feel now that your people have done such a horrific thing’?

Good friends stuck by me, not bringing up the issue in front of me, unless I did so myself. I could feel their reluctance to talk about in my presence. For the life of me, I could not understand why they thought talking bad about the taliban would hurt me!! I have NOTHING to do with them, I could have yelled and it would still have fallen on deaf ears.

My brother had a traditional day in his office that day. He wore a Pathani to work. The minute he entered the office, the first thing he heard was a colleague shouting across the workhall, “Kya ______, yeh kya kiya tune??” Brother was obviously confused, until colleagues came up and demanded explanations about why he blew up those towers. Can anyone imagine the humiliation, the consternation of being accused of such a heinous crime publicly?? Something which he had NO hand in whatsoever?

It was the same for years after. No PG accommodation/hostel was ready to take me in after learning of my surname. I walked from one place to another, saw that there was vacancy and yet, the owners would claim that the place was taken. It came to a point when the first thing I did after ringing the bell was to let the owners know that I was a muslim and if they were okay with keeping me as a paying guest. Should I be surprised that ALL of them bluntly told me that they don’t keep muslims. The only time I got a place was when a girl living in one house turned out to be an old friend from Dehra-Dun days. Even then, she didn’t tell the owner aunty that I was a muslim. It was only on the day that I entered the house that she found out the truth. She didn’t like it one bit, but it was too late to back out. Thankfully, the one year that I stayed with her, she encountered no issues with me and we got along rather well.

In all this, would it have mattered to anyone if I told them that my father was a war-decorated army officer? That he spent 35 years of his service for his country, a country that is as much mine as it is yours? That patriotism runs in our blood as much as it runs in yours!!

You know what irks me the most? That no other religion bears the brunt of activities of some of its outcasts!

So a bunch of Sikhs can blow up a Kanishka, but no one will point a finger at a Sardar and insinuate that he’s a terrorist or a persona non-grata. Christian terrorists can blow up sections of the North-east in India or hundreds in Cuba, but no one will ever dare to term Christianity as a terrorist-religion. Hindu fanatics will go around burning people alive, but Hindus will always be the ones terrorized . Its only when a muslim terrorist blows up a place and the entire populace is quick to term ALL muslims as violent. ALL muslims are terrorists. ALL muslims should be avoided, boycotted. Like the time the BF was in USA and was refused accommodation because of his religion. Yes, even he was directly told by the owners that they didn’t rent space to muslims. Whom did the BF finally put up with?? Other muslim students who were similarly shunned. The irony is that the BF was on H1 visa to US with his colleague and good friend, who was a hindu. His friend got a place easily, the BF didn’t. I think, if you are NOT a minority, this kind of humiliation would be difficult for you to fathom.

(Please note, I’m NOT pointing fingers at anyone here. I’m just puzzled at the way the wave caught up about equalizing muslims with terrorists. It has come to such an extent that it is actually fashionable to talk of the two in the same breath!!)


This is something we go through each day. Try hunting for a house in a good society…..sorry, No muslims. Try getting admissions to a good college…..sorry , no muslims. Try even schools ……and you have a fledgling of a chance of getting a seat. And even then, you’ll be made to feel gratitude, because, you see, the management doesn’t generally allow muslims, but they’ll make a concession for you . For a hefty amount, of course!

Now that Osama lies buried somewhere in the Arabian sea (probably eaten up by the fishes by now), a normal middle-class muslin can think of breathing easy, for a while. But somewhere, there will also be a niggling thought eating at us that this may just as well be the beginning of the end. Things may just get worse from here. We may rejoice his death, but there are many more like him around for comfort. And the stigma that lies buried in everyone’s mind will never go, Osama or no Osama.

But I guess this is just the pessimist in me speaking. I would LOVE to be proved wrong. I would love to see my kids holding their heads high when they walk into prestigious schools, places where they get admission on their merit and not religious inclination. I would LOVE to live in a society where the neighbors don’t call their kids back home just because they entered our house.  I would LOVE it if my kids came back from school and talk about their achievements rather than wonder why their teacher called them some bigoted names. I would LOVE to see my kids mingling with other children, understanding about their culture and religion and not wonder why no one’s bothered about their’s. I would LOVE to have the freedom to be treated as an equal citizen of this country, a place I was born and brought up in. A place I love just as much as you if not more. A place, I hope my kids get a chance of knowing and loving as much I do.


So tell me people, am I asking for too much??




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