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Archive for September, 2013

The Red Chair

“Mumma”

Busy cooking, I turn around at the voice.

“See what I’ve got for you”

“My! Whats the chair for?”

redchair

“Oh Ho!! I got it for you”

“But Why?”

Some blushing and smiling later, Lui looks up.

“Can’t you understand?”

“You cant keep a chair here in the kitchen dear. Please keep it back where you brought it from”.

“Hmmm….I thought you might need it”

I smile at her and say Thank You.

“Welcome Mumma”.

And with a big smile, she bounds away.

In the entire conversation above, she spoke only the first syllable.

I swear, Lui has the most expressive face EVER !!

πŸ™‚

image

 

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Every night, the twins demand a story before they agree to sleep. It is almost a ritual these days. Milk, story, prayers, snooze. We follow it to the T. There is some cribbing over the milk or the choice of story, but usually, it is amicably settled.

Initially, when I started on the tales, I would look for stories which had morals in them. I would hunt for short story books and even made an attempt to get the kids to go through picture books. They did take to it initially, but later on, much to my dismay, they preferred my story-telling over their own reading 😐 .

Anyhow, so there was this story about a blue umbrella which was a favourite with them. There’s a movie by the same name, but I haven’t seen it. I just took the premise of a girl who had a blue umbrella, how she loses it and then finds it back again.

AΒ couple of nights back, as we were settling in for the night, with Lui on my right and Shobby on my left, the kids insisted that they wanted the blue umbrella story. Something inside me clicked right then. Why shouldn’t I show them what a blue Japanese umbrella looks like?Β  So I whipped out my new phone, logged in to the Wi-fi and searched for “japanese umbrellas”. The search page quickly filled up a hundred images of breath-taking japanese umbrellas. The twins were awestruck. It was almost as if they were looking at a wonderland! I scrolled down looking for an umbrella which was blue. Finally found it and clicked on it. This was that image:-

Decorative Japanese Umbrella

Lui and Shobbs looked at the image with awe, mouth agape. Slowly, Lui whispers, “Mumma, it is so beautiful. Maine itna beautiful pehle kabhi nahin dekhi”. Shobby turns the phone towards himself and looks at the image adoringly. Then he turns to look at me. It is a look so full of delight that I’m shocked! I just showed them a simple snap downloaded from the net, yet the two were behaving as though they have been transported to another land!

And I wondered again, about the power of the net. I don’t let the kids sit in front of the laptop unless they want to see the kung-Fu Panda movie or their personal favorite, “How To train your dragon”. I’ve never shown them anything on the internet as such. My personal aim is to get them into the habit of reading first. But for moments like these, I don’t have a book handy to show the kids what a Japanese umbrella looks like. Its the net that did the needful. And no doubt, there are many more things that I have at the tip of my fingers. Each time the kids ask me something, I just have to press a few buttons and Voila! the answers are here.

But. But.

Something inside me repels this notion of easy access.Β  My scope of knowledge is obtained from innumerable books that I’ve read right since my childhood. I remember going through volumes of Encyclopedia Brittanica and the huge books on “How”, “Why”, “Where” published by Reader’s Digest. That information still resides with me.Β  With the internet, I get to learn something new, but it doesn’t stay. A month from now, I’ll forget about it. The worst part is that, the forgetting will not bother me. Because I just have to type in a few words and I can retrieve that information again. In a way, I stop straining the grey cells to retain information.

This is something which I want to keep the kids away from. Immediate, easily found information will not stay with them long. The best part about retaining knowledge is the effort that goes behind obtaining it. The hunting, the rejections, the ultimate satisfaction of having found the right answers. This is what I want my kids to indulge in.

But since I downloaded the blue umbrella image, each time my children beg me to show them the umbrella, its the phone I pull out and not any book 😦

Going around in circles, aren’t I?!

I do want my children to go the conventional way in learning but I don’t want them to be ignorant of technology either. The problem is that the technology route is far easier and quicker but less permanent 😦
And my dilemma continues………..

 

 

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bday

A Year went by. Again.

I grew older by a year yesterday. Its funny , you know, one day you are a number and the very next day, you are the number plus one . But then, what is age, if not a number?! How exactly am I different today compared to two days back?

Beats me, I still feel the same 😐

The kids had fun blowing the candle and cutting the cake. As a rule, the twins get to cut the cake for everyone’s birthday at home, including theirs. It doesn’t matter whose birthday it is, they are the ones to do the honor πŸ™‚ , a duty that they much look forward to ( I’m inclined to think we’ve been pampering them to no end!).

Edited to Add : I got back pretty late from work yesterday. As soon as I stepped in, Lui and Shobbs asked me when we’ll ‘celebrate’ my birthday. The BIL wasn’t expected back home before 11pm and I had forgotten to pick a cake for the twins on my way back. So I just apologized to them, promised that I will get them a cake ‘tomorrow’ and went in to change. I came out, and laid out the dinner for the twins. Just as we were almost done, my in-laws came in with a large birthday cake πŸ™‚ . I mean, I had no idea they had sneaked out to buy one ! It was rather sweet of them πŸ™‚ . The twins, obviously, were delighted πŸ™‚

I already received my gifts much before and am going ga-ga on the smartphone. My 3G plan is yet not activated but hopefully, it should be active from either today or tomorrow. WhatsApp, FB, here I come πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

And ohh, this is really sneaky, but my smartphone has an option to click snaps in the ‘beauty mode’. Which means, it takes snaps of mine and blurs out the millions ofΒ  zits and scars on my face. I actually look all glow-y and pretty. I LOVE this phone alreadyΒ  πŸ˜€ πŸ˜›

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On hindsight, I realized that my last post paints a rather grim picture of me 😦

I must be some sort of a monster mom for my son to be over-whelmed with gratitude towards his sister!

Drat!

😐 😐 😐

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Its been a few weeks since I rejoined work. I know I was looking forward to joining back but a part of me still misses the solitude of home!

I’m generally a very affable person and can talk nineteen-to-a-dozen with complete strangers. But I’m usually at my happiest when I’m alone. I love my loneliness and unlike the BF, I can think up of a million things to do when alone. He needs people around him, even though he’ll hardly utter two complete sentences when they are around. But he needs them . Don’t ask why.

The other thing I miss is picking up the kids from day-care, having evening tea/snacks with them, the homework time and then early meals and nap time. With me working full-time, our schedule has gone bonkers. I get delayed, reach home not before 8pm, quickly scan their school diary for homework and thank Allah and my stars if they have completed their homework in the day-care itself πŸ™‚ , feed them dinner and call it a day. Just when I’m about to hit snooze along with the kids, I realize that I haven’t had dinner myself ! Quickly hop out, have a few bites and then hop in again!

Now remind me again, why exactly did I rejoin?

Oh yeah! ‘Twas for the money.

*Damn* !!

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I gained more kilos at home than what the BF lost in US ( We now have a difference of barely 10 Kgs between us)Β  . The stark difference in our girths also highlights the height difference between us ! With him getting leaner and me getting broader, we no longer look like the ‘made-for-each-other’ couple anymore 😦

Staying at home has made me lazy and fat. Luckily for me, friends at office have taken it upon themselves to make me fitter. So they make me climb the steps from our first-floor wing to the 7th floor cafeteria. Its a different matter that by the time I reach the last floor, am practically hanging on to the side rails for dear life, my legs feel like jelly and I’m gasping like an asthmatic. I waddle till the cafeteria, dump some food on my plate and grab the nearest chair. All that excessive breathing makes me lose my appetite and I eat smaller portions than before.

They also drag me along for walks *shudder* at odd times. Imagine! Walking right after a meal?!! Who does that?? I mean, except for half the population of my company, who else?!

I’m hoping it all helps 😐

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We are having some renovations taking place at home. Since the apartment we live in is an old construction, we’ve finally started the process of getting the wiring concealed. Loads of drilling and banging is taking place.Β  Every single piece of furniture/appliance/exposed goods is coated with a fine layer of dust. Initially, I used a cloth to wipe away the dust each day. But every evening, its right back 😐 . So I’ve given up. Let the dust accumulate till the work gets over. Am not going to be bothered with it. I’m ALSO praying, rather vehemently, that no guests should drop by our place 😐 . Its a mess with a capital “M”.

By the way, I LOVE the smell of oil-paints. The MIL’s room is the first to get repainted and every time I pass by their room, I stop to fill my lungs with the sharp smell. It smells so divine πŸ™‚

(Okay, so maybe its just me! And for the record, I love the smell of fresh petrol when my bike is refilled with it. I don’t like the smell of petrol that comes as exhaust :|)

My room is next and I’m petrified of the mess thats gonna happen. I need to shift the double-bed, bunk-bed, 3 cupboards, a study table, 2 chairs and 1 large Army trunk to another room. For obvious reasons, most of my stuff will land up in the terrace. The next few days will be terrible, but the outcome will be worth it πŸ™‚ . InshaAllah πŸ™‚

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I haven’t read the newspapers since last week. Even when I do, its usually in the evenings and mainly the sections that are related to sports, entertainment or like the “Pune Mirror” says, “chai-time”. I like doing the cross-word, Sudoku, the Mensa puzzle, etc.

I no longer bother to start my day with bad news and more bad news.Β  And guess what?Β  I’m in a better mood these days than before.Starting the day on a happy note DOES make a difference.

And sometimes, ignorance IS bliss!!

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The Hug

A cute thing happened last night. I was heating the milk for the twin’s bedtime milk when I noticed that Shobby had secretly hidden the black raisins from his breakfast behind the water container. Thats only because he couldn’t reach the kitchen bin which was on the window ledge. Now Shobby hates black raisins just as much as he craves the brown ones. But the black ones are healthier and I force him to have atleast 2-3 a day. So I was rightfully ticked off when I saw the raisins. Lui, who had accompanied me to the kitchen, and who, I believe was witness to the ‘crime’ immediately grabbed my hand and started pleading, “Mumma, please, please don’t scold Shobby. Please don’t slap him. He don’t like black kishmish. Please don’t scold him Mumma, please, pleeeeease”.

I looked down at Lui with shock. Firstly, I had no intention of slapping anyone, but a firm reprimand was in place. Secondly, the way Lui was begging for mercy made me feel like the hangman 😦

Anyhow, so I went to the bedroom and called out to Shobby. He came hopping and skipping with a big grin in place. I confronted him about the thrown black raisins. The poor boy, his face practically fell till his knees . Once again, Lui started making begging gestures with folded hands and a pitiful face and I had a tough time controlling myself from grinning at her exaggerated concern πŸ˜€

I let off Shobby with the line that I want him to be healthy and thats why he’ll have to eat the black raisins. I also added that the only reason I was being light on him was because Lui asked me not to get angry. At this, Shobby took one look at me, turned to look at Lui and before I realized what was in his mind, he ran and hugged Lui as though his life depended on it. Lui hugged him back and whispered in his ear that she will always look after him. Shobby kissed her cheek and thanked her with a serious face. The two stood there for a few seconds, grinning at each other and I swear, I melted at the very spot. It was so sweet, so pure, the beautiful bond of love between them. Alhamdulillah!!

I hope and pray, they keep looking out for each other. Ameen.

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A New Kind Of Fear

Warning : Long post ahead

I hate newspapers.

Gone are the days when everyone at home used to fight over the morning paper with Dad usually winning the game! None of us at home liked to read a paper in parts, it had to be the entire bunch or none at all. No sharing of pages was preferred. But then, news those days was worth reading. Was worth starting the day with.

With the papers today, it is gloom piled on gloom. The more sadder, morose, heart-wrenching the tale, the more prominently is it displayed . I really have no appetite for 4-5 rape cases reported on the front page anymore. Either the men in the country are really desperate and are on an active raping spree, or maybe the awareness created these days allows more people to come up and register complaints. Whatever the case, it’s a terrible way to start a day when all you read about is how minors are brutally assaulted. My kids are of the age that gets reported in the papers and even the whisper of the thought, of something terrible like this befalling the kids, is enough to make me bristle with fear and anger.

But this post isn’t about the newspapers. Or about depraved men breaking havoc on innocence.

This is about the other kind of fear I’m facing these days.

The twins are a riotous pair. They scream and yell at each other all day long and only when very highly provoked, do they get physical. Even then, the blows are much milder and more often than not, there is intervention by the adults and peace is restored.

Once outside the confines of home, they become different people. My kids, specially Lui, gets bullied a lot. At school, in the van, at the day care and sometimes, even with kids of relatives. Shobby gets bullied too, but I think he has some of that survival instinct that only boys have and he mostly stays away from situations which may end up with him getting bullied (that’s the diplomatic in him). Lui, on the other hand, doesn’t bow down if she feels that the other person is wrong. She points it out to other kids when they do anything wrongful and like most kids who get a lot of flak at home and at school, Lui’s unwarranted words of wisdom are nothing but an irritant. They despise her for being upright , for speaking up. Even in the school van, lots of kids start chanting mean things whenever she gets in. I try my best and be firm with the kids but it’s not them or their chants that I’m worried about.

Its my daughter.

Slowly and steadily, she’s turning into a victim. Somewhere along the line, I have myself to blame. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always told the twins that it’s a crime to fight with other children or to hit them. I’ve always preached about talking politely and never saying anything derogatory to anyone. Now that Lui is at the receiving end of those very derogatory things, she is unable to lash back with a few choice words of her own.Β  Heartbroken, she usually breaks down. This is the cue for everyone else to taunt her as a cry-baby. I wouldn’t have taken it seriously if I hadn’t seen the terrible changes coming over her recently. If you go by my previous posts, Lui was always the confident one, the only one who used to mix with all the students in her class, the only one who chatted up with and helped other kids who were ignored by the rest of the class. Recently though, she is apprehensive of going to school or going to the day-care and surprisingly, of even meeting relatives 😐

It is rather worrying. She isn’t as free as before. There is hesitation in what she says and does and recently, even the smallest rebuke from us sends her into a volley of silent tears. Its heart-wrenching, because this is not how my child used to be. I was always proud of my daughter being the boisterous one. Nowadays, kids younger than her taunt her everyday in her school van. I’ve been begging the drivers to let me know why this is happening. But like most drivers who are more worried about just getting to the schools on time, even this one doesn’t have the time to analyze what the kids are doing behind him. The other attendant only intervenes when the little boys get physical. Verbal abuse by the kids is largely ignored. When children chant “Lui is a monkey” or repeatedly call her “ugly”, the attendant doesn’t intervene. For him, its just harmless fun.

But the effect it has on Lui is terrible. Many times, when I ask her why she cries (and further allows the bullies to rag her) when others are making fun of her, she says that she feels “very bad” and somewhere inside her, “it hurts”. 😦

Ragging and bullying starts at a very young age. It’s usually one against many, as mob mentality begins from a very young age. Children learn very early that they can’t be accused of any wrong-doing if they do it in a large group. No one person will be held accountable and usually, the punishments meted out to a group are not as severe as the ones doled out to individuals. News items like the ones where a 10-year-old died of severe trauma after being locked in a school bathroom or a 12-year-old committing suicide after her ‘friends’ posted hate messages on her Facebook page are unnerving. Β  I’m terrified of news reports that mention mental trauma in kids. Isn’t childhood the time when one is careless and free? Since when did little kids start going into depression and the abyss of self-loathing? All because of a few words/actions of other kids?

Peer pressure is a terrible thing. I don’t think Lui ever reacted in the same manner when anyone at home scolded her or made fun of her. But when kids of her age do it, she is unable to ignore it .

For a long time, I kept wondering if there was something wrong with my daughter. She is a little sensitive, I agree, but since when did being sensitive become a crime?! She is always considerate of other kids, always willing to help, always the generous one, giving out everything dear to her if someone only asks for it. Sharing comes naturally to her. I must have scolded her a zillion times for losing her pencils and her crayons at school every other day. But later I found out that she used to hand over her pencils and crayons to other kids who forgot to get theirs. It’s a different matter that the other kids never bothered to return her stuff. Not that she would ever mind!

It seriously worries me then when my kid gets ragged and bullied. Whenever she is in a good mood, I bring up the topic and I do my best to let he know that just because other kids call her ugly does not mean that she indeed is ugly.Β  That she doesn’t have to take the words of other children as the law. That in spite of all that the others say, she is still our beautiful child and we all love her deeply.Β  Sometimes, Shobby chips in and claims loudly that Lui is the prettiest girl in his class. He says it in a matter-of-fact way which usually brings a smile to our faces, but Lui’s brow remains furrowed.Β  When I’m really upset at her being upset and threaten to come to her school and complain to her teacher about the other kids, Lui does a turnabout and says, “Mumma, aisa mat karo. Teacher will scold them. Phir unke mummy bhi scold karenge. Phir woh bachche royenge. Woh log chhote hain na, issliye unhein samajh nahin aata ki aisa karna galat hai”(Mumma, please don’t do that. Teacher will scold them. Their their mummies will also scold them. Then those kids will cry. They are small kids. They don’t understand that it is wrong to do such things).

Really now!! How can I help my daughter when she suffers from the Stockholm Syndrome?

There’sΒ  a huge learning curve ahead of us. I have to learn to teach her how NOT to accept bullying and she needs to learn how not to react to bullying. She can take a tip or two from Shobby. He plays the safety card well. He himself never bullies anyone (he just cannot!! He’s too tiny to do that!). Unfortunately, he isn’t able to defend Lui either. This is something that she alone will have to learn to face and fight.

So many things to protect a child from! Seriously, our parents had it much easier. I don’t think we ever heard of words like ‘depression’ or ‘peer-pressure’ or even ‘trauma’. When parents used to send us to school, they were confident of wisely investing those 6 hours in us. When I now send my kids to school, there are a hundred different worries running in my mind. Will the driver drive safely? Will Lui be spared the ragging today? Will she have a good day in class? Will she come home without tears? Will someone tease her inappropriately?

Once again, parenting isn’t easy. Its tough, demanding and mind/heart-wrenching! Its has its benefits though and that alone are enough to help us get through each day.

Anyhow, if anyone has faced similar situations where their children have been ragged or are the centre of attraction to bullies, please chip in with your comments on how you’ve handled it. I’ll be much obliged !

Β Thanks πŸ™‚

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As the title denotes, this isn’t a concrete post (Dunno when was the last time I wrote a serious ‘topic’ based post 😐 ) but more of the little things that are happening around me.

To begin with, when I came in to my office this morning, my machine wouldn’t recognize me. Did I type in a wrong id? No. Did I type in a wrong password? Heck, No!

I simplycouldn’t login to my machineΒ  😦

Plenty of calls to the sys-admins and a few hours later, I could finally access my machine and my mails. It seems that my machine had ‘somehow’ gone off the office domain and couldn’t be identified. Talk about walking off into the sunset without a backward glance 😐

Anyhow, my machine was roped back in and I’m now thankfully looking at my blog (I love it πŸ™‚ )and my inbox (empty as usual. Sigh. WHY don’t I ever get mails, huh?!!)

…..work life is back on track πŸ™‚

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Took the train quite late, but I finally have a new smartphone, the latest Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. Its quite pretty and lightweight and does everything but make me a cup of morning tea! 😐 . As long as I can reach the BF 24×7 on video calls, I’m not complaining. Plus, I can also publish posts from it (it’ll take some time though, proof being my previous post). I just need to trim my fingers into fine tapers so that 3 letters don’t get typed when I supposedly hit one.

Cousins and relatives are taking turns, introducing me to WhatsApp and every other conceivable app that exists in the play stores. Thanks people, but I really don’t think I’ll be using even half the features listed for the device 😐

I do have a few games installed, but they have all been hidden from view. I’ve never let the twins use any of my previous phones , except to talk to people. With the smartphone too, they’ve kept their distance once I told them that it was solely for my official use and NOT for their time-pass. The twins, bless them lord, have not asked me for it even once. They do feel upset when “other kids get to play on their mother’s phone”. I feel bad too, but then, rules are rules. They are usually upset for a few minutes after which both are back to playing with each other.

Not sure how long this charade will work though 😦

Right now, my kids have no clue how to unlock a phone. Shobby knows that sliding a finger across the screen will get it to work, but he doesn’t know that he needs a press a tiny button at the side to get the screen active πŸ˜€ . I’ve never shown them how its done and am glad that their ignorance persists πŸ™‚ .

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I also have a new bike now, the Access 125. My TVS Scooty had the proverbial one wheel in the grave and another on a banana peel kind of situation.Β  It still runs fine, except that for some reason, it tends to veer towards the left and would probably go in a circle if I don’t steer it back to position. It was pretty trying, overall. Hence the new bike. I haven’t got the registration number for it yet so I’m not using it. But every time I see it standing tall and proud in the parking, my heart soars πŸ˜€

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Pretty soon,Β  I’ll be working from another client side office, this one would be around 15-16 Kms from my place (This would be my second “local” onsite πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ ). Not liking the idea one bit, but the only other option was to get a project in another office location which is around 26km fromΒ  my place. I chose the lesser devil 😦

The clients have a bus service which would come for pick-up at 8AM. The twins leave at 8:30AM. So now, not only do I have to get up earlier and wake up the twins and get them ready, I also have to worry about the 30 mins they’ll be spending at home before the MIL herds them to their school van. My worry is that the two will most likely go back to sleep wearing their school uniforms (ironed with great difficulty by me!) .Β  The MIL has reassured that she’ll make sure they catch their van in time πŸ™‚

The plus point is that I’ll have an hour’s idle time in the bus. Precisely the reason why I opted for the smartphone. Will be using the morning hour for a blog post πŸ™‚

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Dad, Mom, Bhabhi and Little M are in town πŸ™‚

We had a get-together at home yesterday and the twins had a blast. Aapa was there with her two kids and together the five of them turned my house upside down πŸ™‚ .Β  The best part is that we totally ignored the kids and let them entertain themselves. OnceΒ  Shobby taught the others how to rock a Hula Hoop, they were all occupied for nearly and hour, taking turns and improvising πŸ™‚

We made Biryani and Sheer-kurma, the typical Eid menu, only because none of them were here during Eid time. For some unknown reason, I also made my chilly chicken specialty which was well received πŸ™‚ . I was standing in the kitchen the whole time and believe me, by night time, my knees felt like bricks!

But it was all worth it, because nothing beats getting to spend time with loved ones, isn’t it?!

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Thats all for now folks, there’s more to write about but plenty of work to catch up on too. See ya tomorrow πŸ™‚

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Ig m ore the typos..

….while I try and get the hang of my smart hone
( I hate dictionary help )

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