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Archive for October, 2013

Diwali Mela

I’m not a Diwali shopper for obvious reasons! The markets are far too crowded and rushed with genuine shoppers for me to indulge in window shopping. So , I usually desist.
Also, a long time ago, when I was out shopping during Diwali in a very crowded part of the city, I heard a woman howling piteously because someone had stolen her money-bag. She lamented about the money she had lost, the answers she will have to give at home and at the end, the despair her children will feel. So deep and heart-breaking was her anguish that it felt as though she had lost a loved one. Though I wanted to help her, I was not at that stage in my life when I could monetarily recompense her in any way. The lady was there with a relative and both women were genuinely grieved at the loss.
That incident is always fresh in my mind….maybe thats why I don’t make a big deal of buying new things or clothes during Eid. Sure I do buy stuff, but I usually buy the clothes whenever I get the chance and not necessarily around Eid time. I’m not afraid of pickpockets……I just don’t want to build up the anticipation in my children. God forbid, ifย  I’m unable to fulfill their expectation, I would be in the same place as that woman and that is somewhere I don’t want to be ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

So yeah, i buy stuff around the year as and when I get the chance. Also, I get to shop without the hustle and bustle. Sometimes, I get greatย  off-season deals too ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyhow, this post isn’t about me going out shopping. I wanted to talk about what happens when the shops come to me ๐Ÿ˜

People who know me, also know that I have very little control over my purse strings. Show me something pretty, weave a sad little tale around it and chances are that I will fish out my purse and shell out whatever amount you quote for it.

Its a disease!

Needless to say, I’ve been putty in the hands of hardened salesmen and women. Being older and wiser, I don’t allow any of them near my door anymore. But seriously, how do you control yourself when your office arranges a plethora of stalls for Diwali shopping right in your work-premises?! I mean, check out the stuff below….who can resist, I ask you!

Sparkling stones.....!

Sparkling stones…..!

I had a tough time pulling myself away from the glittering tables loaded with stone jewellery. They were so sparkly I sure my eyes twinkled just looking at them ๐Ÿ˜

The *ahem* price tags changed my mind. Spoilsports!

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Little diyas and tea-lights

The diyas surprisingly didn’t find many takers….I think even my Diwali celebrating friends found them too steeply priced. The tea-lights were priced between 400-500 for a set of three. For that rate, I’ll simply light up the bulbs in my house ๐Ÿ˜

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Pretty mugs and haldi-kumkum cases

The haldi-kumkum containers were cute. I’ve never seen them before so they were a novelty. A pity that I have no need of them ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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Baubles….loads of them!

Confession timeย  – The baubles drew the largest crowds. I think I must have personally held each and every piece in my hand before replacing it back with a big sigh. Why oh why are delicate, beady necklaces so expensive ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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Aroma dispensers

This aromatherapy diffuser was my personal favorite.It was so cute and effective! Just light a small lamp inside and add a few drops of aromatic oils to two tablespoons of water in the top container. The heat from the lamp will diffuse the oild all over the room. Enchanting! I booked one immediately. Alas, I didn’t buy it at the end of the day. The renovations in my house will begin shortly and I realized that I shouldn’t be adding to the existing clutter.

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More colourful diyas

These diyas were expensive too. But yet, it found some takers ๐Ÿ™‚

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Pretty kurtas

I took a fancy to this black and blue kurta, although it was two sizes too small for me. It was just so fish-like (the light blue sleeves go right down till the bottom of the kurta, something like fish fins) and different, I just had to have it. The wise friend who had accompanied me, made me see the truth and dragged me away from that counter ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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Awesome handcrafted lanterns

These were the most beautiful lanterns I have ever seen. They may be common to many, having seeing them before, but I think that the fellow who made them must be a very talented chap to make the cut-outs so neat and clean!

Of all the stuff above, I didn’t buy anything. But I did buy a beautiful white Lucknowi kurta which was exorbitantly priced at 1170/-. But the fabric was pure heaven and Iย  just had to have it ๐Ÿ™‚

I also bought a nice cotton dress-material for the MIL. Haven’t shown it to her though. Will get it stitched and then surprise her with it ๐Ÿ™‚

Also bought a pack of Khakhra and garlic-sev for the in-between hunger times in office. I had withdrawn 2K from the office ATM and at the end, I was left with a Rs.50 note ๐Ÿ˜ฆ . I’m awfully apologetic towards all those people whom I had booked stuff with, but didn’t bother to buy from. I hope the booking amount keeps you happy….don’t want to ruin your Diwali, seriously ๐Ÿ™‚

I hadn’t planned on spending as much as I did yesterday, but I’m sure you all must have splurged for Diwali ๐Ÿ™‚

Since most people will be on leave from tomorrow itself, here’s wishing you all a lovely, bright and safe Diwali.

Bring out the lights people ๐Ÿ™‚

Love,

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The Nameless

Hey there ๐Ÿ™‚

Its been a while now, you know, I’ve been talking to you all through this blog, expressing all that I have to express and then some more ! Some of you, when you see a connection, go over to the comments sections and drop in a line or so. But most of you, those hundreds of people who escalate my stats but are mostly nameless, are a mystery to me. It cheers me to no end to see that however silly the twin’s antics, there are people out there who find it entertaining enough to open my blog once in a while to read about them. Sometimes, they get the short end of the straw and end up reading about me ๐Ÿ˜ .

Life’s not always fair, I admit ๐Ÿ˜

Nevertheless, I want to know about you. You don’t have to write paeans about me or the blog. Just drop by to the comments section and give me your name. Or just say “Hi “, just so you know, I’m assured that there isn’t a hacker sitting out there somewhere ,who takes sadistic pleasure in hitting up my stats.

Also, I really do want to know how many of my true friends are aware of this blog ๐Ÿ˜€

Most are, I confess……but I just want to mess with the rest ๐Ÿ˜€

So, what do you say?

Wanna give me your name? Wanna drop by and say Hi ?!

Go on, I’ll wait……

angry-cartoon-woman-seated-shooting-computer1

 

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Thanks to you all, I have finally managed to collect the required documents for my passport. Hopefully, I’ll get a submission date sometime this week and after that, all is in Allah’s hands ๐Ÿ™‚ . I think I’ve been jinxed enough already. Every time I get one step closer to joining the BF, something or the other pulls me back two steps! BTW, have I mentioned that I finally got my visa? Well, I did, after a horrendous wait of 10 months! There are many other factorsย  which will decode whether I finally get to join him or not! Keeping fingers crossed…….the twins are so, SO keen to see the snow…and hopefully (inshaAllah), we’ll fulfill their wish this winter ๐Ÿ˜‰

Else, I’ll just hand then both a cube of ice ๐Ÿ˜

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I had to get my photograph taken this weekend for the passport submission. The neighborhood Kodak store came to the rescue and the fellow assured me that I’ll get good quality prints in an hour. Well enough, I said, as I sat demurely in front of a white curtain. A look at the mirror in front of me had me a little worried. For the last few weeks, I have been suffering a severe facial allergy which has left me with some horrible red/brown rashes. The marks were still there ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

The photographer took a couple of snaps and asked me to select the one which I wanted to get printed. I selected the least offensive one and went my way. Later that evening, I collected the snaps and came back home. Going through the snaps, I realized that , man! I still look good ๐Ÿ˜€

But hey, wait an effing minute? Is that my snap?? Well…it did seem so.

Then, why did it look so different?? I mean, it was me, but it was somehow not me? Got what I’m saying?!

And then, with a bang, it hit me – The photographer Photoshopped me ๐Ÿ˜ !!

There was distinct airbrushing around the cheeks and nose which gave me a smooth , blemish-free alabaster skin tone! I’m not sure whether to be flattered that I have such a lovely snap of myself (which will eventually go into my passport) or be appalled that the guy took the liberty to Photoshop me without my consent ๐Ÿ˜ !! Did I really look that bad in person?!!

Truly torn ๐Ÿ˜

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The house-help snapped!

Not at me, or at any of her employers. She finally snapped at her husband.

This maid (lets call her L )has been with us for the last 5 years. She is a gentle soul and like all gentle souls, she was subject to inhuman levels of physical violence and torture by her husband. In her words, its not just his drinking habit which is at fault, it is his mental instability which is the root cause of his illness. She had him treated many times, even got him admitted with a psychiatrist, but there was no luck. She suffered his wrath because he was ‘ill’ and like a good dutiful wife, it was her duty to stick by him. Though we begged her to leave him and move out with her children, she was afraid of what ‘people will say’ and refused to do so.

Anyhow, last week, for the first time in her life, she raised her hand at him. Beat him with a broom, she confessed. For a long time now, I’ve been goading her to fight back, to not take his violence sitting down, to think of the repercussions of the discord on her children (who are blessedly boys and above 15 years of age). The husband did not take the broom-hit lying down either. He threatened to kill her and her children . That was enough for her to snap . She has complained to a local women’s group about him, logged a police complaint and even told him that she will be leaving the house. He, in turn told her that he is ready to leave himself, provided she shell out money for his everyday food and drinking ๐Ÿ™„ .

Obviously, the lady is so ticked off that she wants him to rot in his house ๐Ÿ˜€ . Sometime this week, she will look out for a new accommodation for herself and her sons and move out for good.

I’m really happy for her, for her being able to finally take a stand , to open her eyes and realize that a husband who is less of a man is no ‘pati-parmeshwar’ she has to suffer for life.

Send your good wishes her way please….she needs all the good vibes for the difficult task of breaking free ๐Ÿ™‚

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Antibiotics make me crazy!

Am on a dose of heavy-duty antibiotics for an infection I ignored earlier and which is now rather severe (What?!! Can’t the educated be stupid for a change?!). So the dosage is rather high and it is doing strange things to me (besides killing the bad bacteria inside me). I’m woozy, have difficulty keeping my eye-lids open, though I’m in complete control of my mind and I think I know how Pinocchio must have felt with his wooden body.

Antibiotics bring out empathy. Must note that one!

Its tough typing out this post with only one eye open at a time. This line is courtesy the right one. The top para was by the left.

The meds have also given me the patience of gun-powder. So just don’t ask me how I am…most likely I will bite your head off first and then spit out the remains to figure out what exactly it was that you asked about.

So yeah, Antibiotics make me crazy. Very crazy.

*Snoooozzze*

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Why do children turn to gold in the night? And then turn right back into the devils in the day-time?

I was feeling rather low last night, the above antibiotics were kicking in with a frenzy and my inner turmoil was buzzing loud and clear in my ears. The twins were a tad upset to see me so distraught, so they did the best they could. Snuggling up to me, they put their little arms around me and muttered the sincerest promises they could come up with.

“Mumma, we will never do any masti again”.

“Mumma, we will always listen to you”.

Hum kabhi bhi zidd nahin karenge“.

“Mumma, always aapki baat sunenge“.

“I will never ask for anything”.

“We will be happy with what you give us”.

I think I passed out even as they kept cooing their vows into my ears.

This morning, I think I’m the only one who remembered them vows. The kids were back to being the brats they are.

“I DON’T want to get up”, yells Lui from under the covers.

“I want Pediasure in my milk. Why did you add Bournvita”, howls Shobby.

“Mumma, please don’t go to office today”, begs Lui.

“I want to talk to Abbu RIGHT NOW”,ย  demands Shobby.

And life is back on the regular track !

๐Ÿ™‚

So, how is the week kicking off for you?!

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Passport Woes : Help Needed

Dear Blog Friends,

My passport expires this December and I need to get it re-issued at the earliest.

Since I’m working in a far-off place now, I cannot make trips to the passport office and hired the services of a travel agency to help me out. The agency filled out my online application and submitted the challan for 1500/- to SBI. Since I had applied for Tatkal, they charged me a fee of 700/-.

Now, my concern is, I need to submit a Verification Certificate along with my documents. Obtaining the Verification letter by itself is not the impossible task. It is difficult because I don’t have the required contacts, but I’m sure I can work out something. Point is, when I checked online, the passport website mentioned that I also need to submit a self-attested affidavit on non-judicial stamp-paper. This is something that the agency did not inform me about. When I called them up, the guy at the other end said that I need to go to the passport office and confirm whether I need the verification letter in the first place.

I need to change two major details in my passport – My name (changed from maiden to married one. This is something I never wanted to do, but the passport office guys made me change it in all my documents when we were getting the twin’s passport made) and my current residential address . I underwent a police verification check last time for address verification. Since I’m now applying for a new passport with a new address, I’m assuming that police verification is a must. I’ve been told that the Verification Letter can bypass the police verification.

The agency guy also told me that I can check with the passport office if I need a VC in the first place. If police verification has already happened before, then I might not need to submit a VC. This has confused me a lot! Isn’t a police verification mandatory for every address change? And isn’t that why we need to furnish a VC? Everytime I call up the agency, they ask me to go to the passport office and verify the details. I’ve asked them multiple times if they can at least find out these details themselves and let me know. They refused, saying that they don’t have the authority to do so.

The reason I approached the agency in the first place was because I did not have the time to run to the passport office myself. Am not sure if the agency simply fooled me into paying them for their services or is this what the current procedure is?! Right now, they are waiting for me to collect all the documents (part of which they didn’t even tell me were needed) and let them know so that they can book a submission date at the passport office.

My problem is, I need someone to tell me what exactly is the right procedure to get a new passport under tatkal scheme and what documents are required for it. There are a lot of “IF” and “OR” clauses in the website that has me confused. The agency is no help either.

So if anyone has faced anything in Pune or anywhere else in Pune, please guide me to the quickest way to get this done!
Also, the website mentions that the verification letter needs to be from a Class 1 Gazetted officer. It does not mention whether the officer has to be from the same state. Is it okay if I obtain the letter from somewhere else other than Pune??

I’ll be much obliged ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks!

Edited to Add :-

I’m indebted to Sheetal for sending me such a wonderfully composed document for re-issuing of Passport under tatkal scheme. Girl, I’m seriously grateful ๐Ÿ™‚

So detailed is her her document that I want to post it here so that anyone of you who has any confusion/doubts can benefit from it. So here goes :-

===================

Everyone comes across a time in their life, when there is going to be a travel abroad, you want things to fall in place well in time and BANG! The passport is either not there, or expired or needs some amendment.
I went through the same too.
Then is the time you start searching the internet for all kinds of information regarding passport application and see how can you apply for one, how long does it takeโ€ฆ etc. and come across โ€˜Tatkal Passportโ€™ application.

Internet is flooded with information, but most of it is personal experience, which might or might not suit you exact needs.
Well this also is from personal experience, but I will try to keep it as generic as possible.

I applied for a passport re-issue under the Tatkal scheme. It is advisable to apply for a re-issue before the expiry date of you passport, however, you can apply for a re-issue until 1 year after the expiry. After that itโ€™s treated as a fresh passport.

How to apply for a Tatkal Passport: (Re-issue of a passport)

1. Go to https://passport.gov.in/pms/Information.jsp Read the instructions and then continue.
2. Fill the application form correctly, and fill all fields. DONOT keep any fields blank as the fields provided there are scanned and they cannot be hand-written.
3. Once done submit your application. The next page will show you your file number and have an appointment date associated to it. Please note this file number. [This is useful incase you want to print your application form again, if you forgot to save/print it]
4. Choose a suitable appointment date and continue. You can visit the passport office on your appointed date and time or till a fortnight there after, i.e, you can go for you application on the appointed date-time or till 15 days after the appointment date-time. If you fail to go within 15 days, then you have to refill the form and take a new appointment. Old application/application no will be discarded.
5. Once done a PDF will be displayed. Save this file. This is your application form that will be needed to be carried to the passport office.
6. Fields that are filled in this form by default are no to be overwritten or cancelled.

Fill the rest of the blank fields where every applicable. Parts not applicable should be filled as โ€˜NAโ€™.

Now comes the part of collecting the required documents for Tatkal passport. A lot of websites and the http://passport.gov.in itself lists the documents, but sometimes itโ€™s rather confusing.

Documents:
1. Photographs โ€“ 3 at least and keep another 2 handy. On a white or light background and your ears should be visible (else they think you are deafโ€ฆ Seriously โ€ฆ Do deaf people not have ears?!?)

2. Identity proof. PAN Card/Driving License will do.

3. Address Proof: Ration Card/Electricity Bill/Nationalized Bankโ€™s Passbook will do.

If you have changed your residential address in the last 3 years, then you need proofs of each address that you stayed in.

If you are applying for a name change in your passport, you will need the appropriate documents to support the name change, like an affidavit or marriage certificate (divorce letter etc.)

Then comes an affidavit โ€“ annexure I. This is required only for people applying under the Tatkal scheme.

1. The annexure I is a form executed (printed) on a Rs. 100 non judicial stamp paper and signed by a notary. (There is nothing special about a non judicial stamp paper, you can get it at the Council Hall or other advocates easily. They will charge you somewhere between Rs 120 to Rs 150 for a Rs. 100 stamp paper).

2. The signature of a notary is important. The notary will usually print it out for you on a Rs. 100 stamp paper and stamp and sign it for you. You need to attach your photograph where the notary stamps/signs the affidavit.

a. This whole process should not cost you more than Rs. 200 or Rs. 225 if done prior to you appointment and from outside the passport office. (Some known notary or from the council hall in Pune etc)

b. If this is done a the passport office, this will cost you Rs. 350 to Rs. 400 as they will charge you for the urgency and need too

Now the next set of documents is another one for the Tatkal scheme. There is another annexure F that could be attached. This document is NOT a necessity. This verification certificate (annexure F) can be seen as the one here: http://passport.gov.in/cpv/ANNEXUREF_vc_tatkaal.htm

If one cannot get the annexure F (because it needs the signature of some top officials which is not readily available), they can submit 3 out of a list of 14 documents:

The applicant also has the option to obtain a passport under Tatkal Scheme on submission of three documents from the Fourteen documents as mentioned below, provided one of the three documents is a photo identity document and at least one of the three is amongst the documents indicated at (a) to (i) and a standard affidavit (Annexure โ€œIโ€) on non-judicial stamp paper duly attested by a Notary:

(a) Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC);
(b) Service Identity Card issued by State/Central Government, Public Sector Undertakings, local bodies or Public Limited Companies;
(c) SC/ST/ OBC Certificates;
(d) Freedom Fighter Identity Cards;
(e) Arms Licenses;
(f) Property Documents such as Pattas, Registered Deeds etc.;
(g) Rations Cards;
(h)Pension Documents such as ex-servicemenโ€™s Pension Book/Pension Payment order, ex-servicemenโ€™s Widow/Dependent Certificates, Old Age Pension Order, Widow Pension Order;
(i) Railway Identity Cards;
(j) Income Tax Identity (PAN) Cards;
(k) Bank/ Kisan/Post Office Passbooks; – copy of the first page showing the name and address and also a copy of the passbook entries.
(l) Student Identity Cards issued by Recognized Educational Institutions;
(m)Driving Licenses; and
(n) Birth Certificates issued under the RBD Act.

Make 2 sets of each document and arrange it in order for ease at the application center.

Carry the originals of the documents for the appointment. You might just need it!

Thatโ€™s all the documents you need. Phew!

Now comes the main part of going to the passport office.

If you reside in Pune, then you will have to be at the passport office at 7 AM in the morning irrespective of the appointment time. There will be a HUGE queue otherwise and you might not be able to submit your application. The passport office opens at around 10 am and is open till 12:30 pm.

1. Once the passport office opens, a guard will check your application and let you in. No backpacks allowed from here on.
2. Once you are in, another officer will now scrutinize your form and see if all applicable fields are filled properly.
3. He will then print a window number on your form. You will now have to go and stand in another line for your turn at that window no.
4. Once you turn comes, the officer at the counter will check your documents and order and verify them with the originals.
5. He will then ask you for the fee, which is Rs. 1000 for application and Rs. 1500 for Tatkal. โ€“ Rs. 2500 total.
6. Once he is satisfied, Yiippeee!!!, your application is submitted!
7. He will now give you a receipt, which will help you track your application online (though this is not truly at par with the actual status).
8. Your old passport will be stamped as canceled and returned to you.
You are now free to go. The passport will be dispatched to your address once its ready.

If the re-issue of a passport, within the expiry period did not have an address change or a name change (with respect to your old passport), then no police verification is required and your passport will be at your doorstep within 8-10 days (mine came in exact 8 days).

If there is some address or name change (with respect to your old passport), there might be a police verification required and you might need to visit the local area police station for the same. Usually at the police station, once the questionnaire of the inspector is over, he might ask you for a bribe. You ARE NOT REQUIRED to the bribe, since itโ€™s his duty to hand over the report to the passport office. He might threaten you that he will reject the application or delay it, but after a certain point in time, he has to send it to the passport office. If you arenโ€™t in any urgent need, avoid the bribe!

Once the police verification is done, itโ€™s waiting period, until your passport arrives at your doorstep which usually shouldnโ€™t be more than 2-3 weeks. If it takes longer, you will need to visit the passport office again (at the enquiry counter). The phone numbers on the site donโ€™t work!

I hope this helps at least someone in getting the passport ๐Ÿ™‚

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A Day At The Park

The twins miss their evening time at the park.

With my schedule, its impossible for me to take them out. By the time the in-laws get back from work, it is either too late for them to accompany the kids or they are too tired to do so. Can’t blame them too. The nanny whom we had hired a long time back, was given the boot sometime early this year. Her constant disappearances and no-shows were not working for us. So now, the twins go to the day-care after school, the in-laws pick them up around 5:30-6:00 pm after which they come home. We cant let the twins go alone because there are plenty of bullies out there who have pushed and shoved my kids off swings and slides right in front of me !! I wonder what they will do if my children don’t have an adult for supervision ๐Ÿ˜ .

Every weekend, I plan to take them to play, but each weekend, something for the other comes up and we miss out on the trip. Lately, I’ve been feeling very guilty of the kids being deprived their play-time. Sure they play at home, run around and jump over every visible furniture at home but it isn’t the same as going down a slide or feeling the hair blowing behind you as you reach out high on a swing ๐Ÿ˜

Last Sunday, we visited the BF’s aunt. The minute we landed at her place, the kids pleaded to be let out to play in the society garden. Since we’ve been there before, the kids knew where to go and what to play with. I went down with them because I’m still not confident of letting them out of my sight in public places!

The sheer glee with which the kids went out running was a little heart-breaking! I mean, its a simple pleasure of life, loads of kids play in parks everyday, but for mine, it was a luxury to be let out in the open like this. Even after entering the park, they were torn between running to the swings or climbing up the slide or the merry-go-round or see-saw! They finally charted their own paths and began enjoying in earnest ๐Ÿ™‚

swinging along !

swinging along !

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Shobby tried the swing, but as always, his motion sickness kicked in and within a couple of minutes, he begged to be let off! Its funny once again, how completely opposite the twins can get…Lui swings so high I’m terrified that she will flip and break her head and Shobbs cant tolerate even a moderately paced swing ๐Ÿ˜

But my boy is a great slider! He can play on a slide in continous loops for ages, without a break! Wonder why the motion sickness doesnt kick in then….it sure does to me, at least when I look at him constantly. All that flurry of his movements makes me dizzy ๐Ÿ˜

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Sliding down together

Sometimes, he’s brave enough to even try out stunts

"And this is where I decide to give Mom the shock of her life"

“And this is where I decide to give Mom the shock of her life”

After about an hour’s play, I took them inside. Keeping the kids occupied at relative’s place is usually a difficult thing to do so I normally carry some toys for them. This time, I’d bought a cheap railway track with four bogies (running on a single pencil cell) from a store near my place. It was a last minute purchase and surprisingly, the kids have preserved it in its minted form. Many expensive toys have been trashed within minutes, but this silly little train is cared for deeply. The twins dismantle it carefully, stack the tracks and the bogies in their respective slots in the box , put it inside its cover and then keep the box inside the plastic bag I had bought it in ๐Ÿ˜ . The worst part is, they follow this routine religiously , each time they play with the train! Finally growing up, I must say ๐Ÿ˜€

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“Look Mom, we assembled the train”

I went a bit off-track there (see what I did here? ๐Ÿ˜€ ) . Was talking about the park-time!

The kids were so happy with the park that towards evening, they once again insisted on going there. This time, they wanted the see-saw. I’m not very happy about see-saws myself. I have sustained more injuries because of see-saws as a child and in my opinion, it is a very unsafe plaything. But the twins insisted so I piled them on one. I think what I’ll remember most about that evening was the way the twins laughed heartily each time they soared up and came crashing down ๐Ÿ™‚

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Lui LOVES being called a Chinese. Wonder why?! ๐Ÿ˜€

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Shobby giggles far more than Lui. Wonder why?? ๐Ÿ˜

For all the time I was there with the kids, I realized with a pang just how much they are deprived of some joys and how less they complain about it ๐Ÿ˜ฆ . We had a blast at the play area and I think I must make the visits to the society park at least a weekend affair.

Its only fair on the kids, right ?! ๐Ÿ™‚

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You Know………

…that you will always be needed, when,

your loudmouth, all-knowing, sassy daughter finds comfort in your arms during a bout of illness in the night. All the years seem to melt into that one moment when you held her as a baby, rocking her gently as she sleeps. She may usurp my role most of the time, but for the rest, I’m still needed ๐Ÿ™‚

….that you will always be a gloating mother when,

your children speak with impeccable courtesy in front of guests/other people and they start gushing about how well-mannered they are ๐Ÿ™‚

….that you are in a different generation zone when,

you discuss about the benefits of drinking water with a young colleague, casually mention that Milind Soman suggests drinking a sip of water every 15-minutes and she gently cocks her head, raises an eyebrow and asks, “Umm….Who’s Milind Soman?”

Milind Soman“, you insist, “The Super model!”

She looks blank.

“Tuff shoes??”

No luck!

“Made in India??”

*Silence*

*STAB STAB STAB*

You look up in horror, not at her ignorance, but at the realization that today’s generation has no clue about the hottest man of our times. That indeed, our time was so far back!!

…that you are still a young girl at heart when,

Your husband sends lovey-dovey messages in the middle of the night and even from the deepest slumber, you hear the slight ping of the message, check it out and giggle with exuberance of a 15-year old ๐Ÿ™‚

…that you are deeply loved when,

you little boy puts his tiny arms around your neck, nuzzles up to you and mutters that he will ALWAYS be there for me and take care of me, all this when I’m deeply engrossed in thoughts about the BF!

…that you have crossed an invisible age-line when,

songs from the popular FM band don’t register in your head. You know some music is playing, but you realize that an entire program went by and you cant recollect even a single number from it! Also, you quickly switch over to 101FM and delve into the pleasure of decades old Rafi/Kishore songs.

…that you have gained a few more inches in the middle when,

that shalwar of your starts climbing up your ankles. HATE  the ankle-climb ๐Ÿ˜

fat-cartoon

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So It Happens Again!!!

Lightening never strikes twice in the same place. Heard that one?

Well, I’ll let you on in a little secret.

It does. It really, totally, mind-bogglingly does!! Take the cases listed here (Some of them are rather bizarre and NSFW. Just saying).

Forces of nature are random, they cannot be predicted. They follow their own chart, picking their own targets. Some people are lucky, never falling prey to these forces.

And some, like me, fall for them head over heels every single time ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

To cut a long story short, a couple of years back, while I was deputed to work from the client side, this happened to me. It was a planned fire-drill.

(Old time readers of this blog will already be sniggering at this point)

Now I have a love-hate relationship with fire-drills (anyone in my situation would have the same). I love it because I like the safety angle, getting people to evacuate at a short notice, taking a head count, making sure all are safe and sound, getting to demonstrate how to use a fire-extinguisher, etc !

2313

I was an ERT (Emergency Response Team) member once and was quite capable of handling a crowd. I also know that a lot of ERT members are cursed under breath for disrupting work, disturbing meetings, disallowing coffee on the stairways and also for preventing people from talking on the phone during evacuation.

I understand their plight. Been there, done that.

B-U-T. one thing I’ve never done as an ERT member, is to target an innocent ๐Ÿ˜

But, before I further my tale, let me tell you what happened with me first.

So there I was, my first day at the client side,ย  talking to my manager, taking in the surroundings and the silence (used to a loud,ย  boisterous work-culture at my company), getting spooked at the eerie way people were glued to their monitors , with not a whisper from anywhere, when suddenly, a voice pips up.

“You need to go down right now”.

I turned to see a young lad (may be older, but the stray whiskers on his upper lip indicated otherwise) with a notepad and pen in his hand.

“Excuse me”, he repeated, “You need to go down right now”.

I looked at my manager. She looked at me, both puzzled deeply. It was my first day on the job there and I don’t think I had a run-in with the law or something!

“Err…why”, I asked politely.

“Because we are having a..”, he straightened up considerably,”…fire drill”.

I looked around. Everyone else was seated, quietly doing their business.

I was specifically being asked to go down first in a fire drill.

Dรฉjร  vuย much??

Hell yeah!!

The ignominy, the irony, the sheer lighting on my head was enough to set a blaze in my eyes. My entire body stiffened with indignation, at which, the astute lad (he must be astute, to be an ERT member) immediately changed his track – “Is there any pregnant or unwell member in your team ? If yes, they need to evacuate immediately before we can start the fire-drill”.

Quick thinking, I must say. He realized, within a fraction of a second, that the woman he had assumed to be much pregnant, was indeed, not!

Without a backward glance, the lad quickly made his exit, no doubt exhilarated at the thought of escaping my wrath.

I looked at my manager, who, by now was a helpless mass of giggles, clutching her stomach and almost doubled over her seat.

“Yeah yeah, laugh away!!”, I lamented, “YOU were seated, that’s why he didn’t target you!!”.

My manager couldn’t reply to that. She was still busy laughing her guts out.

Me, I made my way to my seat, cursing for the umpteenth time, the extra fat clinging on to me .

Of course I was furious, of course my face was burning with humiliation and of course I had to share this news with the BF.

Trrring trring……I called him later that day.

“Hello, whats up”, says the BF.

“We had a fire drill today”, I started.

“WHAT?!! OH NO!! DON’T TELL ME!!! I THINK I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED NEXT”, saying which the dear husband started guffawing as loudly as the international lines would allow him!

And therein, dear friends, lies my sad tale.

I am struck again and again and again ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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Warning :

a)ย  Long post ahead.

b)ย  Post talks about periods.

c)ย  I can get pretty graphic at times.

I’ve been wondering whether to write this post or not for a pretty long time now. There were considerations for the menfolk who drop by my blog occasionally. Didn’t want to gross them out. But then, most of the guys I know are either married or have girlfriends. So finally, I decided that it wouldn’t harm them to know what I’m going to say here. They can even forward my opinions to their wives or girlfriends (Notice how I’ve cleverly replaced the ‘and’ here ๐Ÿ˜€ ) if they wish to.

For people who get nauseous at the very first mention of ‘periods’ or ‘menstruation’, you may close the browser now. OR, you may head to my post on baby poop, pee and puke. Less revolting. In fact, I didn’t get graphic about the poop and puke at all!! Maybe it was in this post? Umm no, thats too decent too. Damn!! Why can’t I find a gross post when I’m looking for it?!

(Nah. Just kidding. Close the damn browser right now ๐Ÿ™‚ )

mfln3290l

Coming back to the topic. I’ve hated periods all my life. They ruined most of my carefree nature, landed me in embarrassing situations more than once, took away much of my freedom, cramped my lifestyle (literally) and in all, appeared to be the worst thing that could ever happen to me. Or to any woman for that matter! Then I had the twins. Everything seemed worthwhile , even the rashes and the PMS. At least for a while. I still don’t have a benevolent attitude towards periods. If I didn’t fear early setting in of osteoporosis, I’d have gladly gone in for a hysterectomy right after the twins were born! No seriously, am not kidding.

My earliest memory of suffering was when I hit puberty. That was the age when I’d just begun excelling at sports. Badminton and swimming were my personal favorites. I had a large group of friends with whom I used to go to the pool regularly. If the pool schedule wasn’t too hectic, we’d have a round of badminton before heading back home. Or sometimes, we played badminton after reaching home. Blissful days those were ๐Ÿ™‚

Then one fine day, when the gang came to collect me, I just shrugged and said I couldn’t come with them. No explaining done because in those days, we didn’t talk about it openly in front of guys ๐Ÿ˜ . A couple of girls in the gang understood, a silent communication that happened without my saying a single word. Later on, I’d realize just how close women can get sharing this one secret! The next day, when the gang dropped by, I refused once again. After day 3, they stopped dropping by my place. It felt terrible. Not just because I was missing out on some great activities and fun but also because I was sitting in my house, sitting through a terrible napkin rash that had broken out on my thighs. It hurt like hell but I had to let it heal so that I could attend school the next day.

The rashes. Its not something that assailed all girls but for me, maybe because my skin was sensitive, I’d have the worst case ever. Getting through a school day would be an ordeal. We didn’t get exempted from physical training or sports (in a co-ed school), soย  I had no option but to grit my teeth, grunt through the pain and just get on with life. The only thought while going back home was to sink myself into a tub of ice-cold water! And stay there forever. But a tubful of ice-cold water was not readily available those days, so one got by with generous doses of neosporin powder or sometimes, just plain talcum. The skin was allowed to heal in the privacy of home before facing the next day’s challenge!

With age, the intensity diminished, but with every month, the rashes dutifully came back. I have tried every single napkin that has come out in the market. I even bought napkins from international brands. Nothing helped. The rashes came back just as stars come out each night ๐Ÿ˜

14

A couple of years back, after much contemplation, I switched to tampons. We get only one brand in India (OB, by J&J), the one that doesn’t come with an applicator. Needless to say, the initial trials were utter failures, not to mention painful! Gradually, with time, I learned to use it successfully. Tampons helped with the rashes immensely. I no longer feared the periods. For a good 18 months, I was happy that I’d made the switch.ย  The only drawback was that the tampons cause severe dehydration of the vaginal walls towards the end of the periods. Sometimes, it is dry enough to cause severe pain or cramps.

Then one day, while going through IHM’s blog, I came across a post on Menstrual Cups.

This was interesting. I had never heard of such a thing before and before I knew it, I was hunting all over the web for it. I asked plenty of people, posted queries on forums, but like me, most Indian women were waiting for reviews on it. None that I knew had ever heard of it, let alone used it. After much contemplation, I took the chance and decided to use it myself rather than wait for someone else’s feedback. But good intentions don’t necessarily come with prompt actions. It took me a good year before I finally decided to make the switch.

The BF, bless his soul, had bought me a box of Diva Cup (purchased through Amazon). The Amazon offer included one Diva Cup with two bottles of Diva wash, a pH neutral wash to clean the diva cup. It was a pretty good deal, really. After using the cup for a few months, all I can say is, I’m never going to back to the conventional methods again!

The Diva cup is steeply priced. But it pays for itself after a year of use. In India, we can purchase the SheCup which is currently available only online (visit www.shecup.com for more information).ย  A rough calculation is as follows :-

Suppose you spend an average of 30/- per month on sanitary napkins, then you would spend 30×12= 720/- for a year’s supply. The SheCup comes for approx. 675/- . A single menstrual cup can last for up to 10 years if used as directed.

Imagine! One purchase and for a good enough decade, you don’t need to spend on any other sanitary product! A drop of any pH neutral hand/face/body wash is good enough to clean the cup. Once in aย  while, it would be a good practice to sterilize it by boiling it. Now I’m sure some women would be averse to using kitchen utensils (or even gas-stove for that matter) to sterilize a menstrual product. They can go the normal soak-in-dettol-solution-for-ten-minutes route. It works too. Also, if you wash the cup regularly with the prescribed liquid cleaner you needn’t sterilize it every cycle. But then, the level of hygiene you want to maintain depends on you.

Coming to hygiene, the menstrual cup is by the cleanest method I have come across so far. Since the cup sits inside your body, collecting the fluid, there is no exposure to air and hence, no oxidization and mercifully, no odour. Yup! You heard that right! Menstrual cups have ZERO odour. So even at the peak of your periods, you wouldn’t smell a thing! At all!

Also, because it sits inside, there is no leakage. One can go up to 12 hours at a stretch without the need to change. In case of heavy periods, the cup may get full earlier, so aย  quick trip to the washroom is all you need to dump the contents, wash with water or wipe with a tissue and re-insert. Thats it. you are done!

I’m going a little haphazard in my glowing review of the cup, so I’ll just quickly summarize the key features that make it click. Hopefully, you will be convinced enough to make the change ๐Ÿ™‚

So, here goes :-

1) A menstrual cup lasts much longer. It is made of medical grade silicon and is allergy free.

2) A menstrual cup is environment friendly. Very environment friendly. Sanitary napkins are made with chlorine bleached wood pulp and polyacrylate gel and polyethylene film as the cover. Though this makes the napkin super absorbent what it also does is to make it virtually non-biodegradable (it takes nearly a hundred years to decompose a used sanitary napkin). With the number of napkins you use in a month, multiplied by 12 and then multiplied by the number of years you’ve been using it, imagine the extent of toxic waste created by you! It is never to late to switch to a more environment friendly version of sanitation!

3) Like I mentioned before, there is zero odour. I know many women get grossed out changing their own napkins. Much has to do with the menstrual fluid which gets exposed to oxygen and oxidises to release odour. With a menstrual cup, the duration of exposure to air is so minimal (while you are dumping the contents) that there is no time for oxidization to occur and hence, no chance to generate odour. No smell means feeling wonderful and radiant even during the peak of my periods ๐Ÿ™‚

4) A menstrual cup, when worn properly, does not leak. Not even a drop! Unless you are lazy and cross the 12-hour barrier. Even then, there is very minimal leakage. There are no embarrassing episodes! You can sleep through the night without an ounce of worry of staining your clothes or the bed-sheets. You needn’t opt for mile-long sanitary napkins just to get a sound night’s sleep ๐Ÿ˜€ .

5) It is pocket friendly. One purchase and you are set for many years! At the max, you may need to carry a few panty-liners in your purse, for the days close to the actual period days.

6) You no longer need to let anyone know that you are having your periods! No more carrying your purse to the office washroom for every change! No more hunting for old newspapers to carry to the bathroom at home.

7) Extreme comfort! Menstrual cups do not harm the insides of your vaginal passage and are allergy free. There is a bit of learning curve associated with using it. People who have used a tampon would find it much easier to use a cup. For first timers, instructions are available in plenty on the net. You can start by going through this video first. I did experience initial discomfort , which I later found out, was because of the stem of the Diva Cup. I trimmed it a bit and now it sits like a dream. I don’t even remember that its in there ๐Ÿ™‚

There are plenty more benefits, I’m sure. I’m still new to the cup but the experience has been more than awesome. I wonder why such products are not advertised here, why menstrual cups are not manufactured and sold in bulk?! One reason, of course , would be the direct hit that the sanitary napkin industry would have to bear! But since we still haven’t figured out a good way to dispose off those napkins, I think we should resist from using them.

In case any one of you is interested, you may find more information on menstrual cups here. It has a nice list of all available types and sizes, the usage, the squish factor and much more.

One word of warning though. The menstrual cupย  cannot handle your PMS and your cramps ๐Ÿ™‚

( As the millions of tissues in your uterus contract and expand to discard its lining, sending shooting pain signals starting from the tips of your toes to the back of your head, the only thing you can do is grin and bear it as you’ve been doing all these years. Sorry, but that is the sad truth. And if you feel like killing someone while going through it, please feel free and do it. Millions of women around the world will back your right to do so ๐Ÿ™‚ย  )

Hopefully, you’ll become a convert like me ๐Ÿ™‚

Have a happy period, people ๐Ÿ™‚

Love,

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Lui Says……

……the damnedest things!!

Lui, with a body of a nearly-five-year-old, has a head of a 90-year-old. She spouts wisdom at the drop of a hat and even without!ย  Though we call her the granny of the house in jest, the truth is that she exhibits so many qualities of her great-grandmother (the Big-Dadi) that it borders on the spooky!!

Big Dadi was fond of fruits, Lui can survive on them entirely.

Big Dadi was very loving and affectionate. Lui loves to hug people, pat their backs and say that everything will be alright ๐Ÿ˜

Big-Dadi , while watching TV, used to sit cross-legged with a hand propped on her knee, with the palm supporting her face. Lui sits EXACTLY like that (Creepy ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ) .

Big Dadi was fond of her butter and Ghee. Lui can eat butter and ghee with a spoon. ( *gag* ๐Ÿ˜ฏ )

There are too many similarities between to list here, but suffice to say, Lui is a reincarnation of her Big-Dadi ๐Ÿ™‚

Being the granny that she is, Lui comes up with lines that have me mostly banging my head against a wall or more recently, looking around helplessly, wondering how come I landed in this parenting mess in the first place ๐Ÿ˜ !

Some recent comments from Her Highness –

1) Lui and Shobbs went crazy over a jar of sweet, strawberry flavored water sticks that I’d bought them once. The jar was steeply priced for a very little quantity and I didn’t buy it again. A few days back, I saw that jar in aย  shop and purchased it. The twins have been on impeccable behavior for some time now and it seemed apt to reward them for it. As soon as I entered the house, I yelled out for the kids. Lui came running to greet me. I beamed at her and pulled out the jar.

“Look what I’ve got for you”, I was all excited ๐Ÿ™‚

Lui, instead of hopping with happiness, gives me a look of pity, pats my shoulder gently and as though explaining to an imbecile, says, ” Mumma, this is NOT healthy at all!!”

Huh !!

๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜

“Err…you don’t want this??”, I was, to put it mildly, beyond shocked!

“Its okay. I’ll eat it because you got it for me”

Good Lord!! The generosity!!!

Just then, Shobby bounded into the room and as soon as he spotted the jar, his face split into two with the widest grin I’ve seen in ages!

“Wow Mumma, you bought this!!”, he exclaimed, happiness oozing from his every pore. Thank God for Shobbs. My little saving grace, thats what he is ๐Ÿ˜€ !

“Shobbyyyy”, calls out a stern voice. “This is not healthy Shobby”, warns Lui.

Shobby’s face falls, he’s torn between his love for the wafer, but is terrified of the repercussions if he defies Lui…..it is a tense moment, I’m not sure what to say or do. I look at them silently glaring at each other.

“Okay, eat one now. But only one, Samjhe??”, Lui gives in magnanimously.

Shobby’s grin is back, he pulls out two wafers, gives one to Lui and brother and sister walk away hand in hand.

I sit there withย  the jar, and after looking at it for a while, just throw caution to the wind and yank out two wafers for myself!

As long as my kids know how to keep healthy, why deprive myself ?!!

๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

2)ย  I was feeding the kids dinner (yeah, I still do that….its the only meal we have together and I like feeding them myself. MUST stop it soon, maybe sometime around their Birthday, I’ll wean myself out of this habit ๐Ÿ˜€ ) . The twins were enjoying the luxury of watching TV (some inane cartoon which I’ve decided never to let the twins watch again because it contained inappropriate content). The in-laws were having their dinner peacefully in another corner of the room. Shobby got bored of the cartoon and switched the channel. Lui, without a second’s hesitation, whacked him hard on the chest. Her movement was so quick and so unexpected that with Shobby, we all gasped out loud.

“Lui,” I thundered,” How dare you hit your brother?”.

He changed the channel. I was watching it “, she yelled back.

I was furious, more so because the violence was brought out by a stupid animation ๐Ÿ˜

“Lui, if you EVER raise your hand on Shobby again, I’ll punish you. VERY BADLY. Got it??”. I yelled back at her.

“Listen Mumma”, she toned down a bit but the attitude was still in place, ” Nobody in this world is perfect. Only Allah is perfect. Everyone in this world makes mistakes. Ho jaata hai“.

Huh?!!

๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜

Am still not sure if it was said to calm me down, was an apology or just an excuse for her behavior.

But this is when I looked around helplessly, terrified of what the future has in store for me. I still have another 15 years to go before she charts her own path.

So Allah, being perfect, please help me ๐Ÿ˜

3) It was bedtime, the twins had changed into their pyjamas . I asked Shobby to switch on the Goodnight which he gladly did. As I was fluffing-up the pillows and dusting the bed, Shobby says in a small voice, “Mumma, mujhe Abbu ki yaad aa rahi hai“.

I took a deep breath and turned to console my child.

No luck !

Lui beat me to it.

She was hugging Shobby to her bosom, patting his head and back, caressing his cheeks and cooing lovingly that Abbu will be back soon and that he missed them too and that we’ll all have fun when he gets back.

I was stumped. The two stood there for what seemed like ages, hugging each other, sharing their grief.

Lui has usurped my role successfully.

Someone please remind me what exactly am I still doing in this house !!

๐Ÿ˜ : |: |

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Sticky Wicket

No, this isn’t about cricket.

I abhor cricket from the depths of my soul and it would be sacrilege of me to dedicate a post to it on my blog.

(I need to do a penance for the last two lines itself ๐Ÿ˜ . AND for the title ๐Ÿ˜ฆ )

I’m in a little tricky situation these days.

My children go to a day-care that is runย by a lady who is Jain. She is very good with the children and I don’t have to worry about them while they are at her place. She makes pretty good lunch dishes for them and I must confess, she is responsible for making the twins enjoy their cabbages and bhindi. Being an ex-English-language faculty, she is also responsible for the twins picking up English faster than their classmates. Also, she’s the only available day-care near my place and I’m heavily dependent on her!

My only concern is regarding what she feeds into my children’s minds.

Earlier, I didn’t pay attention to the one-off comments, but with Eid-Ul-Zuha around the corner, she has upped her ante and keeps bombarding the twins with statements which are disrespectful of our religion.

“Only cruel people kill goats”.

“So many animals will die. When they go to heaven, they will complain against you”.

“Eggs are nasty things. They make normal people like me vomit”.

Obviously, the twins are mighty influenced. They are ready to give up their eggs and chicken because the day-care lady says so !

I did try to convince the two that sacrificing of a goat to feed the poor is not a crime. It is ordained in the Quran and is by no means sinful. Also, it is possibly the only ‘ritual’ in Islam. For people who cannot afford a goat, giving even grains to the poor is acceptable. The crux of the ritual is to feed poor people what they would not normally afford to eat.ย  Also, the leather from the goats is used in leather factories for making shoes, belts, etc. What I want to say is that the sacrificial goat is not wasted.

This was a little heavy for the twins to understand, though I put it forwardย in the simplest manner possible.

My concern is, should I confrontย the day-care ladyย about this? Communal statements aside, she is rather good with the twins and takes care of them well. For this reason itself I’ve been keeping quiet all along. But it irks me to find her feeding negativity about our religion to my children. I don’t force vegetarians/vegans to change their choices and I don’t expect to change mine for them. Then why should my children be coaxed to do so?

There is a lot more cruelty towards animals happening around us. Hundreds of birds are killedย annually during kite-festivals, of which some birds are already in the endangered species list. Plenty of animals suffer food poisoning around Holi and Diwali, not to mention other ailments due to loud sounds (We lost a much lovedย pet due to a rocket that landed in his food bowl). 80% of the western world survives on meat as theirย the only diet. Situation is worse in countriesย like China & Japan. More animals are killedย in road accidents than by any other means. These deaths are not accounted for or repented. But a goat sacrifice during Eid-Ul-Zuha that becomes an act of cruelty, knowing that all that meat is given to the needy & poor people?

Explaining this to a hardcore vegetarian may beย next to impossible and that is one reason I’m skeptical about bringing this up with the day-care lady. But then, how exactly should I ask her to stop making my kids follow her beliefs? My kids sit with her when she performs her puja, I’ve never objected to that. My kids fold their hands and go around in circles chanting “Ram, Ram”, I’ve never told them that they cantย do that in our house! I’ve been as liberal with them as I’ve been brought up to be. But there are times when a line has to be drawn.

My problem is, I just don’t know how exactly to draw that line?

Any suggestions??

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