Archive for September, 2012

“Touch Me Not”

Fiery Lui is our school-teacher these days, teaching us everything that she learns at school. Her most ardent student is Shobby (of course πŸ™‚ ). But when she’s not busy tutoring him, she is busy speaking up her mind. Sometimes, I’m just left speechless after her outbursts, but there are times when I just cant stop smiling πŸ™‚
In the last one week, this is what Lui has been saying –

The kids are hanging on to the window rails, eyes glued to the Ganesh visarjan procession in front of our house. The best part about the visarjan is the dhol-tasha troupe that plays a sensational, rythmic beat as it passes by.
Suddenly, Shobby lets go of the window rail, raises his hands high and yells, “Ghanpatti Bappa O-liyaa”.
“No, No Shobby”, corrects Lui,” Say, Ghanpatti Bappa Mallya”.
Right. Good thing she didn’t just say Kingfisher 😐
I’m packing their change of dress, to be worn at the day-care, in their bags. I pull out a T-shirt and a pair of jeans for Lui.
“No Mumma….I don’t like this. Woh pink flock rakho. It is my favlette”.
“Huh? What”, I didn’t get her.
“FAV-Lett. Favlette. Jab bahut achcha lagta hai na, tab favlette bolte hain”.
“You mean, favourite??”
“No Mumma, aapko nahin aata. Say Fa-Va- Lett”.

Its a regular hectic morning, I’m frantically getting the twins ready and making sure they drink their milk.
“Lui!! Come here. Finish this milk”.
“Mumma, actually, I don’t like it”.
“Huh?” I’m stumped for a minute.
“I said, actually, I don’t like it”.
“Since when?”
“Actually, mujhe doodh achcha nahin lagta”.
And then it struck me. I was talking to a friend in the morning and had mentioned something where I’d used the word ‘actually’. I had no idea my daughter knew where to use it herself 😐


Lui is not cooperating for having dinner. She insists that she isn’t hungry. I yell that I will confiscate her doll (called Lollipop) if she doesn’t eat up fast. When she still continues to ignore me, I get up and grab her doll.
“MUMMA!!!”, she yells, ” HAVE YOU TAKEN PERMISSION? You not ask, then why you take my doll??”


I’m trying to wake up Lui in the morning.
“mumble…mummble”, she says something burrowing her face in the pillow.
“What??” , I yell at her (I do a LOT of yelling around this girl, I swear 😐 )
“I said, don’t touch me!!”
“No touching me anywhere, okay??”.
“May I touch your legs?”, I joke.
Lui gets up indignantly and wags a finger at me ,” Mujhe koi bhi touch karta hai, I don’t like it. Okay??”
Thats one worry I can get rid of. This girl has already learned how to say no to other people’s touches. We just have a wee bit of problem with the difference between a good touch and a bad touch 😐
As for me, she gladly climbed into my arms, had me scrub her clean, wipe her down and dress her up.
So much for not touching πŸ™‚

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Gluttony Overload

Chocolate Cheesecake
Black Forest
Dark Chocolate

First two made by me. Cut by twins, devoured by all.
Chocolate Cheesecake bought by BIL. Cut by twins, eaten by all. Finished by me.
Pineapple bought by BF. Cut by twins, devoured by all.
Black forest bought by ex-project colleagues and lunch group at work. Cut by me, devoured by all.
Dark chocolate bought by current project team. Cut by me, devoured by all.

I’m hoping, really hoping that this is the end of the cake saga. Frankly, I’m now having dreams of whipped cream frosting with pink cherries and I swear it is liquid chocolate that now flows through my veins.
Ideally, I should be nauseous at the thought of more cake…but you know what?? Its just the opposite. I feel like having more and more *hangs head in shame* . Its almost like an addiction, you know. You start eating and eating and realize with a gasp that you just cant stop! All the sugar goes up the brain and fires up some circuits. The choco gives a constant buzz and whatever little remnants of sane thoughts residing in the brain are neatly tossed out of the window. So now, after a year of sincere efforts to lose weight (while I was 65kgs), I now weigh a ridiculous 75!!
Go on. I’ll wait while you digest that fact.
Thousands spent on gym membership, sporadic yoga at home, constant running after the twins and yet, YET, the weighing machine seems to inch further and further the wrong way.

This Birthday, I threw caution to the wind and dug my way through food. What to do? I feel hungry all the time and I LOVE cake πŸ™‚
B-U-T. This is wrong. So wrong 😦
It’ll take me ages to undo the damages. I’ll just have to start with baby steps once again, isn’t it?
Tomorrow, ladies and gentlemen, tomorrow, I shall turn into a new leaf.
As for today, I need to wrap up the leftover cakes πŸ˜€ . Get rid of the temptation. Clean up the refrigerator. Warn family and friends of dire consequences if another cake crosses the threshold. In short, erase every memory of the sweet, creamy, gooey, chocolatey,….goodness!! What the hell am I doing?!! I gotta stop right now!!
C’ya folks tomorrow πŸ™‚

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Through Tears And Smiles

It is Dad’s fault.
He was the one who called me up early in the morning. On a Sunday!!
I spoke to him for a few minutes. It felt good. He sent me oodles of prayers and best wishes for the future. As I bid goodbye, I promised to call him up more often.
“So, how does it feel?”, the BF asked.
Thats when the dam burst.
I sobbed. I sobbed hard. The BF was shocked. He didn’t think I would take it this bad.
“Its okay sweetheart…you are just a year older”.
“Ish knwat that. I mish my pah-ents”, I muttered between sniffles.
“Lets ask them to come and settle in Pune”, he offered by way of help.
I would have thumped him with a pillow if I wasn’t already busy with drowning in my tears.
“Okay, why don’t you make a quick trip to B’lore next weekend”, he offered, in the way he knows which helps avoiding major conflicts.
“*sniff* *snort*”.
“Take the kids, spend some time with them”, he comforted.
“Cant. Much work. Tickets ‘spensive”.
“Well…you either gotta think about the money or about the family. Take your pick”.
Damn this guy!! He cant even let me wallow in pity on my own birthday!!

So friends, this is how I ushered in another year in my life. I was sad, upset and whiny. I wanted my Mumma and my Dad and I wanted to be the little girl I once was. For a few moments there, I was overwhelmed by it all, the kids, my job, the home, my responsibilities and my overall ineptitude. A part of me wanted to get out of it all. I don’t want to grow any older 😦 . Thirty Three done. Thirty Four Start. Whew!! Seems a count too many, doesn’t it.
But then, like Dad says, age is frame of mind (His frame is definitely the best teak out there, because he just seems to get better as the years pass by. Mine must be made of oak, rotting from the inside 😦 ).
Anyhow, the dark clouds didn’t linger too long over my head :). By 9:30AM, I was happily making curries and whipping up cakes. Good cheer and sanity were restored. The kids were in a benevolent mood. There were no tantrums or howls of protest πŸ˜€ . They got to cut up cakes and blow out candles (in that order πŸ˜€ ). The BF and I managed to sneak in a couple of hours to go and watch a movie (Barfi. Good one). We bought some toys for the kids on our way back. Evening was spent with the family. We had a family dinner, followed by some more cake-cutting. The BF had to go out for some work and got delayed.He came back with another cake and a bunch of red roses *blush*
So we cut the last cake of the day at around 11 in the night. The kids were too full of sugar to feel sleepy and we had a nice story-telling session till late night.
As we finally said the prayers for the night, I thanked Allah for all the little bits of love and happiness that surrounds us.
And here’s hoping (and I really, really hope) that I mature up and have the courage to face whatever comes my way.
Brick or bouquets, I’m ready for both πŸ™‚

Edited to Add : To everyone who called/messaged/emailed/walled/scrapped or did anything else to wish me, Thank You. You made it a great day for me πŸ™‚

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Title : The Krishna Key
Author : Ashwin Sanghi
Publisher : Westland
Cost : 250/-

A Killer on the loose.
An unsuspecting historian and symbologist accused of murdering his best friend.
A smart, no-nonsense lady-cop. An equally smart student of the symbologist.
Lots of twists and dollops of history.
Who knew Indian history could presented in such a captivating and interesting manner?! Not me, for sure 😐 (History were the periods where we fought with each other for the last benches in the classroom ;)).
The Krishna Key by Ashwin Sanghi is a curious amalgamation of the present and the past. Of history and mythology. Of views and perceptions. The tale of Krishna runs in parallel to the current proceedings and at each turn, we see how much the past effects what happens today. Though the book carries a disclaimer that the views expressed in the book are solely the author’s, you are compelled to believe in each word that you read. How powerful is that?!
Indian history has its fair share of mysteries. We’ve had invaders running amok on this land since time immemorial (I doubt any other country in this world has been sought as much!).
With the kind of cultural influences converging on this landscape, it is but natural that one loses track of the secrets passed down from generations before. Ashwin takes the efforts to study the fragments of available material and then fills in the gaps. It is these filled in gaps which provide the maximum food for thought. Right from the early pages where the nuclear reactor at BARC is compared to a Shivling to the pages in the end where the mystery of the Taj Mahal is explored, we are fed varied tidbits of information which are right before us, but we never had the right perspective to understand them. It is amazing to see the kind of research that must have gone in the effort to write this book. Commendable πŸ™‚ .
The only false note (in my opinion) would be with the plot line. Borrowing heavily from The Da Vinci Codes to The Lost Symbol, it almost feels as if we are reading a desi Dan Brown (nothing wrong with that , really). We have a mysterious killer who is led along by a secret hand (Da Vinci Code). We have a antagonist who believes he is on the path of God but is actually quite in the opposite direction (The Lost Symbol). Combine it all with a protagonist who is a professor of Indian history and symbology to boot and one can’t help but wonder if the book was just translated from one of Dan Brown’s.
Ashwin Sanghi lays to rest all these doubts as he slowly and surely builds up a book and a narration which is truly Indian at heart (with an international audience in mind. No wonder a cop reads out the rights from an Amendment of the law before performing an arrest. I’m yet to see/hear of a single cop actually doing that in India  ).
But these are minor quibbles in an otherwise terrific book. In fact, I’m rather proud that we have authors in India who can compete with the best in the Western world—in their language  (Check if Dan B can write a thriller in Hindi !! )
Do pick up a copy of The Krishna Key. The book is well paced and never once did I feel bored. Rather, it was tough to put down between reads. I believe this is the third of his books (the earlier two being β€œThe Rozabel Line” and β€œChanakya’s Chant”) . I think I’m going after the earlier two books now. They must be damn good too 

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

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Somewhere in early 2000, I wrote my last letter to Mom. Parents were in Kolkata at that time, me, Bro and Bags were in Pune. For the first time in my sheltered life, we were living away from parents, from the comforts of a bustling household, from the aroma of fresh, tasty food, from the ignorance of managing a house and the many, many little things one needs to do to keep the home running.
Living alone brought along its hardships, right from washing utensils to clothes, sweeping, mopping, cooking, the works. Bro used to work long hours, Bags was in a management course and had ungodly hours at college. I was the free one, giving up a post-graduate seat because I didn’t want to pay for it and preparing for the admissions for the next year.
Since I was home throughout the day, looking after the house became my responsibility. It wasn’t easy, far from it. I had trouble deciding what to cook for the three different meals. I had to keep an inventory of the groceries needed so that Bro could buy them in one go. Luckily, he loved shopping for vegetables too, so that saved me some trouble πŸ™‚
My routine comprised of cleaning up the house, washing clothes (in the washing machine πŸ™‚ ), washing utensils (by hand), cooking, folding dry clothes, sorting vegetables, folding laundry , etc. In the evenings, we usually sat down to do our studies, me and Bags. We didn’t have a television, so we either used to watch a movie on the desktop (which had a 2 MB hard disk *gasp* ) or simply listen to the radio (Aakashwani, since Radio Mirchi wasn’t born yet).
We used to call up parents regularly (thankfully, we had a land-line) and it was comforting to share our domestic tales with Mom.
One day, after a fight with Bro over making tea, I got fed-up of managing the house and instead of calling Mom, sat down to write a letter. A couple of drafts later, I realized how utterly juvenile my rants were. There was no need to worry Mom over such a trivial matter. So I just wrote a nice little letter, letting her know that all was well on our side and that we missed her.
I dont remember the date on which I wrote it, but it was definitely my last. I never wrote a letter after that 😐
Till this date, I wonder why! Mom LOVES letters. She loves reading them more than writing them. By the way, the second thing she excels at (the first being cooking) is writing. She writes in Urdu and believe me, if you could read her, you would relaize what a fine writer she would make (if only she agreed to publish her diaries 😐 )
Many a times, Mom would gently remind us to write letters. We would say, yeah sure and then completely forget about it. As long as we could call her up and update her on our status, all seemed to go perfectly fine with us.
I went on to get a job and Dad gifted me my first mobile (Nokia 3315. Remember anyone??). Distances grew shorter. I could call parents anytime I wanted πŸ™‚ . I would send Dad a hundred messages, mostly irrelevant and he would message me back to shut up πŸ˜€ . Life was fun. But not for Mom. Even till recently, when she was in Pune, she said, “I’m not tech-savvy like your Dad. I can’t read mails…so why don’t you just write me a letter?”.
As usual, I assured her that I will. And I didn’t 😐 .
So imagine my surprise when I see this envelope waiting for me when I reached home yesterday! The address was in Dad’s handwriting, but the minute I opened it, I knew it was from her. She is the only one I know who has the capability to really fill a letter, if you know what I mean πŸ™‚ . There were two foolscap pages covered back-to back in her neat, tiny handwriting. I don’t have words to describe how it felt to receive a letter. Bikram does a much better job here πŸ™‚
Needless to say, the letter was brimming with love and oozing concern and best wishes. I couldn’t get enough of it. I read it with a grin on my face, imagining Mom’s brows furrowed with worry as she wrote about how she worries and prays for me πŸ™‚ .
I LOVED it. I LOVED it LOVED it LOVED it πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
And now comes the difficult part. I haven’t written a letter in ages. 12 and a half years, to be precise. I don’t even know if I’ll be able to fill a page 😐 . But you know what?? I sure am going to try. And there’s only one reason why. Because no matter how many times you call or send an email….nothing and I mean nothing can match up to the thrill of holding those papers close to you as you read them out, or as you clutch them to your chest and feel the love pouring right into you.
Letter writing!
Can’t be so tough, can it?
I’m surely gonna try it out today.
Will let you know tomorrow πŸ™‚

And oh, in case you want to try it out, write a little note to your loved one today. And see the difference πŸ™‚

Cheers πŸ™‚

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Monday Laughs

Its rather late in the day, but what the hell, its still Monday here. Got some funnies in my mailbox after a long time.

Two deaf men were in a coffee shop discussing their wives.
One signs to the other, boy was my wife mad at me last night! She went on and on and wouldn’t stop!
The other Buddy says when my wife goes off on me I just don’t pay her any attention.
How do you do that? Says the other.

It’s easy! I just turn off the light!
One bright, beautiful Sunday morning, everyone in a small town wakes up early and goes to their local church. Before the service starts, the townspeople sit in their pews and talk about their lives and their families.

Suddenly, at the altar, Satan appears!! Everyone starts screaming and running for the front entrance, trampling each other in their determined efforts to get away from Evil Incarnate. Soon, everyone is evacuated from the church except for one man, who sit calmly in his pew, seemingly oblivious to the fact that God’s ultimate enemy is in his presence. This confuses Satan a bit. Satan walks up to the man and says, “Hey, don’t you know who I am?” The man says, “Yep, sure do.”
Satan says, “Well, aren’t you afraid of me?”
The man says, “Nope, sure ain’t.”
Satan, perturbed, says, “And why aren’t you afraid of me?”
The man says, “Well, I’ve been married to your sister for 25 years.”
A blonde decides to try horse back riding without prior experience or lessons. She mounts the horse with great effort, and the tall, shiny horse springs into motion.

It gallops along at a steady and rhythmic pace, but the blonde begins to slip from the saddle. Out of shear terror, she grabs for the horse’s mane but cannot seem to get a firm grip. She tries to throw her arms around the horse’s neck, but she slides down the side of the horse anyway. The horse gallops along, seemingly oblivious to its slipping rider.
Finally, giving up her frail grip, she leaps away from the horse to try and throw herself to safety.
Unfortunately, her foot has become entangled in the stirrup. She is now at the mercy of the horse’s pounding hooves as her head is struck against the ground again and again. As her head is battered against the ground, she is mere moments away from unconsciousness or even death when Frank, the Wal-Mart manager runs out to shut the horse off

Have a great week folks πŸ™‚

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These days, I return home around 8pm (which is rather early) compared to the 9pm entry I was making until last year. I leave a little late in the mornings, making sure that the kids get into their school van and then leaving for work. I eventually reach office around 10am or later. which means, that after 9 hours, I leave around 7pm or later. So 8pm it is, when the kids expect me back home.
The minute I enter, the kids rush up to me. No no, they don’t rush up for a hug or kiss. More likely, they’ve been fighting over something and I have to make a judgement RIGHT NOW! I hold them up for a while and politely ask them to give me a few minutes to at least freshen up. “Okay, aap paanch minute mein fresh ho jao”, Shobby magnanimously permits. So I quickly wash up and head to the kitchen, where the MIL (Bless her) keeps tea ready for me, everyday :).
“No no Mummy. No tea”, both the kids yell at me. “Why not?!” I’m appalled. My cup of tea is my savior…to get me through the rest of the evening.
“okay, tea piyo, but no reading paper”, he pouts.
“Alright”, I resign to my fate. At least I’m allowed to have my cuppa.
The kids continue their bickering and fighting for every piece of toy that lays strewn across the house. I don’t pay heed. The picking up can be done later. Once tea is over, I have to practically threaten the kids with dire consequences if they don’t have their dinner ASAP. Shobby obliges, Lui doesn’t πŸ™„ . Much running after, the kids are fed. We quickly get our school bags out and check for the day’s homework.
The one thing that I’ll eternally be grateful to Allah for, is that my kids love doing their homework. They love their number writing or coloring or sticking pictures. The only trouble I have is to restrict them to the page they have to fill. Left on their own, they would cover all the pages with their scribbles and proudly display them for our compliments.
Homework over, we have some time for playing, mock-wrestling or pillow-fights πŸ™‚ . Around 10pm, I start prepping them for sleep time. Last visit to the toilet is followed by cups of milk, narrating stories and then goodnight prayers. The lights are turned off and I stop replying to their umpteen queries. The idea is, they should take the hint that their mom is asleep and they should drop off too. Usually, I’m the one who actually starts snoring and the kids start playing in the dark. Their father comes in around 10:30 pm and the kids are up and perky in seconds. What follows is some serious father-children bonding time where I don’t come into the picture at all (since I’m busy snoring).
The kids are hyperactive (MashaAllah) and minding them for a few minutes is a trying activity. Sometimes, they are in good behavior mode and don’t run around much. But there are other times, when I’m left gasping in their wake, unsure whether to catch Lui before she upturns the box of cornflakes on the floor or run after Shobby, who is perched precariously at the edge of the window sill. Obviously, both are at separate ends of the room :|.
And this is the reason why, when I get up each morning, I look at their sleeping forms and wonder, for the umpteenth time, what if I had them earlier??
I never thought I would feel this way, but as the days pass by and I feel more and more exhausted by the time I come back home, I wonder if it was wise to have kids so late in life? Frankly speaking, we had the kids as soon as possible after our marriage, but the point is, we married late. I’m least ambitious where career is concerned, so that was never a problem. Its just that favorable circumstances for marriage came our way pretty late. I know it isn’t late late, but its late enough for me to regret it. I’m not as active and healthy as I used to be. I want to run around with the kids in the park without resembling an asthma patient with a severe attack. I hate to give up midway in some of our games at home because I’m too tired for the action. I’m annoyed with myself because a pillow fight with hardly 2-3 hits from me makes me feel as though my arms cant take the pillow weight any more 😦
These are the twin’s beginning years….there are many more to go. I had planned on teaching them badminton and playing matches with them. It seems like a distant dream now. I wanted to be a part of every new sport or game that they learn, but lately, thoughts of pulling out seems very appealing.I never wanted to be a mother who sits on the side lines and watches her kids play. I always wanted to be the mom who was right there on the field with the kids, dunking a ball through the basket even as they tower over her 😐 .
The twins and I have a neat 30 year gap between us. It didn’t seem to matter much when I had them. But when I look back now, I wonder why I delayed so much 😦 . I have friends who got married early and had kids early. They are the same age as me, but don’t have to run after their children anymore. That phase was over for my friends when they were still in their early 20’s. Most of them have kids who are teenagers now! I think I can handle teenagers in my present age. To think of handling my kids 10 years down the line petrifies me 😐

The only thing that keeps me from toppling over the cliff of morosity is that, if I had kids before, they wouldn’t have been Lui and Shobbs. Though mine, they would have been any other children (I cant even imagine faces for them), but not my twins. And to think of a life without Lui and Shobbs is…is …impossible! I’m addicted to my kids and though my knees creak after a couple of minutes of playing horse-horse, I’d rather have this than prance around lithely with unknown children 😐
What can I say now? As usual, motherhood never comes easy….early or late 😐

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An Unexpected Outcome……

of my previous post was that the BF is in a fix. The issue I mentioned, kind of snowballed into something bigger than anticipated and though I stand by what I had written, I now cannot ignore the possible threat of the BF having to face some uncomfortable questions coming from the concerned quarters.

I hereby felt that it is best to lay low for a while (the post will come up again some day, but not today πŸ™‚ ). Thank you all for reading and commenting on it. I’m glad that we are all on consensus on how really such lay-offs should be handled. Hopefully, we haven’t really become as ‘western’ as the West and have a little compassion left in us πŸ™‚

On that note, have a great day you all πŸ™‚

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A Birthday Just Passed By

We turned Three yesterday.

Not the twins. The Blog and Me. We turned three.

Somehow, the date, 9th Sep, just didn’t register when I woke up yesterday. And this morning, as I saw the calendar in my Outlook, I got the proverbial flash of tube-lights coming on in my head.

Oh My Gosh!!

I missed my own blog’s birthday!!

Not that the blog was complaining or anything…but still!!

A quick look at the stats and the comments assured me that total number of hits I’ve received in these three years is far lesser than what most of you get in one month, or a week, or a day.

Yet, to all those who dropped by, I am indebted, for letting us live πŸ™‚ . If not for you, I’d have quit ages ago (me being the procrastination queen after all 😐 )

On that note, I do hope you all come back again and we shall continue to ponder over the mysteries of life, universe and everything.

The answer, by the way, is 42 πŸ˜€

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Note : This is not a paid plug for LifeCell πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

I just remembered it today when I saw the folder containing the receipts of my payment for banking the umbilical stem cells for the twins.

It was my Bhabhi who first opted for it in our family. Bro didnt have much of a clue, but Bhabhi being a doctor, decided on it. When I was pregnant, I never thought about this, but then, one day I saw an advertisement in a magazine and was bowled over. I mean, here was a sureshot way to ensure treatment in case your child ever encountered any major illness after birth. We checked the site. We called the representatives to our house for a demo. We checked out the videos, spoke to Bhabhi and a few doctors, browsed for all available information on the net and finally made a decision. A couple of years later, Bags made the same decision.
A little background on stem cells, from their website –
“Stem cells are the body’s “master” cells that regenerate and turn into the cells that form all of the tissues, organs, and systems in the human body. Given the right environment, stem cells can give rise to a number of tissues that constitute the different organs.  Also serving as a kind of repair system for the body, stem cells can divide repeatedly and then differentiate and replenish cells within the body. These unique characteristics are the reason why stem cells are considered a breakthrough in regenerative medicine. They have the potential for providing cells and tissues to treat various debilitating, life-threatening diseases.”
Check out the list of diseases that are curable through stem cells here :- http://www.lifecellinternational.com/treatable-diseases.aspx

We went ahead with the stem cell banking at the time of delivery.
Surprisingly, my gynaec had no idea about LifeCell and its benefits. When I called up LifeCell’s branch in Pune, they immediately sent a representative to the doctor’s clinic to brief them about he procedure. My doctor was suitably impressed and even went ahead with suggesting it to her other clients.
We were given the boxes months in advance. I immediately kept the gel packs in the freezer and the boxes on the table. I warned everyone at home, that the minute I land up in the hospital, they’d have to rush there with the boxes and the gel packs. The nurse’s (from LifeCell) number was set on speed dial. My delivery was scheduled for 9am on 18th Nov (through C-Sec). But the lead surgeon was not available until 3pm. In that duration, there were many hoax instances when it appeared that the surgeon had come. I must have called up home a hundred times to say, “get the boxes” and “no no, don’t get them now. Keep them back”. The BIL must have rued bitterly about volunteering to fetch the lifecell kits and frozen gel packs to the hospital right before my surgery!
Finally, when I was called in for the prep, I made a final call home and begged the BIL to rush to the clinic ASAP.  The BF, poor soul, was stuck in a meeting with a visiting client and urged me to take it cool and not rush until he  came in. As if it was in my hands 😐
Post prep, I was led to the operation theater. I grinned my way in, totally kicked about getting the immense weight off my tummy πŸ™‚ . When I walked in, I didn’t find a nice and quiet, squeaky place stuffed with equipments. I mean, it was clean and squeaky and there were equipments. Its just that, with the circus in there, I could barely make out any :|!! I  mean, excluding me, there was a plethora of doctors and nurses assembled . Wasn’t it a routine C-sec?, I wanted to ask my gynaec. But they were all so busy chatting among themselves that no one paid even the slightest attention to the specimen lying on the table. Me 😐
In between, the BF barged into the operation theater, wild-eyed and frantic.
“Don’t worry”, he mumbled, too shocked on seeing an operation theater for the first time and also disconcerted at the crowd in there.
“I won’t”, I assured him as the nurses hustled him out. Frankly, I just wasn’t worried. I knew I was in safe hands and I didnt have a single negative thought at all πŸ™‚

For the record, there were 9 people in the op-theater, excluding me. There was my gynaec, the anesthesiologist, the lead surgeon, his assistant, the pediatrician, a back-from-Australia-doctor who wanted to observe a twin-delivery, two nurses of the clinic and the nurse from LifeCell.
Initially, the other doctors had no idea what the LifeCell nurse was there for. One of them asked her and she started explaining the concept. Eventually, the doctors lost all interest in me and started bombarding her with questions. In my limp state, I could not help but fret that the doctors were paying far too much attention to the nurse than the tummy they had just split open. I got a small glimpse of the surgeon as he rapidly sewed the tummy in place, all the while checking out the pros and cons of stem cell banking (i’m glad to say, its all Pro and no cons. Unless you consider good health a con. Its your choice, really :|) .  A tiny peek from under the eye-patches and I could see the surgeon deftly sewing up the gash. I surmised that the baby-pulling-out-slapping-bottom routine was completed. Twice πŸ™‚ . Surprisingly, though the kids yelled out loud and clear (as vouched by those outside the theater) I don’t have any recollection of the sound 😦
The umbilical cord blood was drained into blood packs and encased between the frozen gel packs, the boxes were couriered to Chennai, where the LifeCell facility is.We received news of the successful blood typing and stem cell extraction within a month of delivery (Lui is O+ like me and Shobby is A+ like his father. There, we distributed
evenly amongst us, didn’t we? πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ )

The LifeCell stem cell storage facility is expensive. A little steep, if you consider that you may never actually need the extracted stem cells yourself. But if not you, any other member of the family can benefit from it ( you need to do the HLA matching first) if suffering from the list of ailments given above. A small excerpt on HLA typing from the website :-
“HLA antigens are proteins found in most cells in our body. Our immune system uses these proteins or markers to recognize which cells belong in our body and which do not. If the immune system determines a cell as not belonging to the body, the cell is attacked. Thus, HLA typing is done to reduce the risk of the transplanted stem cell being attacked by the immune system of the recipient. A close match between the patient’s HLA antigens and the donor’s can reduce the risk of the patient’s immune cells attacking the donor’s cells or vice versa. HLA typing is usually done for all allogeneic transplants, using a blood sample.
There are 6 HLA markers that are matched. For a successful transplant, at least 4 of these 6 markers must match. In some cases even a 3/6 match has been successful. However, it is best to have 4 or more markers that match as it reduces the risk of graft versus host disease”.

Lisa Ray, who suffered from Multiple Myeloma, was successfully treated using stem cell therapy. It just made me all the more glad that I had opted for it. More so, because it was the ONLY chance I had of securing a health insurance for my kids. Their stem cells will not generate again (except Lui, she still has a chance in future :-http://www.lifecellfemme.com/index.aspx). If the children or anyone else in the family never need it (InshaAllah), then I also have the chance to donate the stem cells to others who do need it. Or, I can allow LifeCell to use them for further research.
The reason I started typing this post was because I’ve seen so many of my friends going through pregnancies and deliveries, but no one seems to opt for this procedure 😐  (it isn’t altogether unaffordable). We suffer from far more lifestyle illnesses than ever before, with diabetes ruling the roost in India. I have friends from by office batch, who each suffers an ailment greater than the other. I’m at present , much better than them, but its just a matter of time before age catches up. By the time our kids grow up, I wonder what else we’ll have to encounter. Good health isn’t a given anymore.

So now, People who have opted for LifeCell, do let me know what you think about it.
People who had considered and then backed out, please let me know why you weren’t convinced enough.
People who are interested, do check out this site :- http://www.lifecellinternational.com.
And once more, I wasn’t paid to write this post. I have an uncle who has severe diabetes. The doctors say that his kidneys/liver aren’t up to the mark. There is a chance that his family contemplates stem cell therapy in the future. When that happens and they need a donor, they needn’t look far πŸ™‚

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