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Archive for November, 2013

Soft And Silky??

I catch Lui washing her hands at the basin and once again, her sleeves are wet till the elbows.

“Lui”, I thundered, “How many times do I have to tell you to roll up your sleeves before washing your hands?”

“But Mumma”, whined Lui,”Maine roll-up ki thhi. But my hands are so soft and silky ki sleeves slip hokar neeche aa gaye!”

😐 😐 😐

Too much of Vaseline body lotion ? I wonder 😐

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woh

Book : The Winds Of Hastinapur

Publisher : Harper Collins

Price : Rs. 299

Indian mythology is complex. In school, I had my first introduction to the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The textbooks tried to cover the entire epic without getting into the details. Obviously, it all seemed like one long story which didn’t really connect. Watching the same on Television was a different thing. I still recollect the excitement of seeing one arrow splitting into ten and killing ten people in one go! Oh the thrill of it πŸ˜€ !!
Obviously, limited special effects had their moments of glory πŸ™‚

Over a period of time, I treated the epics for the tales they were and nothing more.There were a myriad of characters over different periods of time and it became difficult keeping track of them. That was before I read Chitra Banerjee’s stellar “Palace Of Illusions”. It woke me up with a start and I realized that there was more to the Mahabharata than what I initially thought!Β If Palace of Illusions was Draupadi’s take on the Mahabharata, Sharath Komarraju’s “Winds Of Hastinapur” narrates the epic from Ganga and Satyavati’s perspective.

I was hooked to WoH the minute I started reading it. The story begins from a time past, when Ganga, the Lady Of The River was a mere slip of a girl.The book is split into two parts, the first half is the narration by Ganga and the second half is the story of Satyavati, the fisher-woman who marries Shantanu, the King of Hastina. The tale begins with the circumstances that Β result in Ganga coming down to the plains of Hastina,marrying Shantanu and bearing him sons. Β The story ends with the birth of Dhritrashtra (Satyavati’s grandson) and the expected birth of Pandu Β and Vidur.

Of all the characters in the book, it is the character of Bhishma, who holds the tale together. It is him we find out more about, the origin of his birth, his life, his oath and the reasons for his actions and his popularity . Sharath draws a very believable picture of Bhishma, a person as much a man of his own making as that of the circumstances surrounding him. It is difficult, not to feel for this person, his inner strength, his control over his emotions and his sense of loyalty.

The other character who stands out is Satyavati, the fisher-woman. She is someone I never heard of before, maybe only as the one because of whom Bhishma takes the oath of celibacy. Here, Satyavati is a character who has her own failings. When younger, she is proud and haughty but as the book progresses and she ages, we realizes just how naturally she becomes wiser. Her moments of conflict and eventual regret are beautifully put together.

While reading the book, I realized how much the author’s style is different from his previous outing, “Banquet of the Dead”. While BoTD was a murder mystery, WoH is a retelling of an epic in a beautifully articulate manner. It is surprisingly mature and delves deep into the psyche of its characters. Frankly, I had trouble believing that the two books were by the same person!

Here are some snippets from the book, which I personally liked :-

“She felt her stomach churn and threaten to turn itself inside out. She had almost forgotten what it felt like to curse someone. A curse came out of that part of you that was black and it nurtured all that was bad inside you and brought it to the fore, made it bigger and made you feel small and weak. She had heard sage Vashisht say once that that man is truly good who has the ability to curse but still cannot, for that means there is no blackness in his heart.”

“….every woman had to give up her son for fostering at some time or the other, and she now saw the wisdom in the High Sage’s words. The line of men was always measured by the father. Yes, the mother bore him, fed him, carried him, reared him, but it was the father whom the son ought to follow, and it was the father’s deeds and name that the son ought to emulate. That was the way of the world, and it was neither cruel nor kind, for the world does not care for the whims of man.

So it was right that from now on he was no longer the son of Ganga. He was the son of Shantanu.

And the son of Hastina.”

The “Winds Of Hastinapur” is a classic tale retold in a simple manner. The author claims that it is his own perspective of the epic and I am inclined to go with his version because it just makes more sense! There is a logical outcome of each situation, nothing is thrown at us in the name of special powers or magical prowess. There is no mention of arrows splitting (alas !) and maybe that is why, it is easier to relate to!

Do pick up your copy if your interest is piqued just as mine was. I’m going to place my copy right next to the “Palace of Illusions”, a book I hold in high esteem.

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A few days back, after the twins were done with dinner, me, the MIL and BIL sat down for ours. As we were eating and chatting, I noticed that the twins had strewn their stuff around the drawing room. I called out to Lui who pretended not to hear me and carried on with her drawing. I called Shobby and he immediately came to attention. I told him to pick up the stuff and he dutifully obeyed.
The MIL got a little riled when she saw this. “Hey”, she said,”This is not fair. You hardly make Lui do anything whereas you always make Shobby run around”.
“Its not so”, I denied.
“It is”, she said, turning towards the BIL,”sometimes I feel , her hatred for men shows in the way she treats Shobby”.
All this was said in jest and good humour.
But it got me thinking.
Was I really a man-hater?
Kind of surprising for her to think so isn’t it, considering I ended up marrying her son πŸ˜€ .
But jokes apart, I took a long time that night thinking of why she came to the conclusion which she did. With a whole lot of introspection, I realized that I did make Shobby run around a lot more than I did Lui. But, so does the BF. Does it then mean that he is a man-hater too?
Of course not!
His reason is that Lui will one day get married and leave him and he wants to treat his little girl like a princess till then.
(The man hasn’t used these words exactly, but I can make out by the way he fulfills her every wish and command πŸ™„ )
My only reason for making Shobby run errands is that I don’t want to bring him up believing he has special privileges in life just because he is a boy. Many households still consider making boys do house-work as taboo. I encourage my son in whatever he likes to do and also involve him in stuff he doesn’t like doing (nothing to complain here as he actually LOVES housework).
I have no qualms about my son’s interest in cooking and Lui’s complete lack of the same. One day, when I told Shobby that will make a good chef if he practices well, the MIL got annoyed and said that Shobby will not cook when he grows up. It wasn’t what she said that surprised me. It was the sheer vehemence with which she said it that shocked me. Almost as if it was a fate worse than death if her darling grandchild served his wife breakfast in bed πŸ˜€ πŸ˜›

Can’t blame her though. Its the social conditioning of ages, of being married into a household where catering to men’s needs was the sole purpose of a woman. Even the FIL confesses that when he was a child, he was strictly forbidden from entering the kitchen or even making his own bed. It was how things were done in those days. To some extent, the BF and the BIL too shared a similar thought process, that there were demarcated things that a woman should do and other things that a man should do. The MIL, even though a full-time teacher, slogged terribly at home. She woke up earlier than everyone else, did the dishes, washed clothes, swept and mopped up the house, cooked food, packed the lunch boxes and then went to her school. After coming back home, she would have to first enter the kitchen and cook dinner for the whole family before even thinking of putting her feet up and resting with a cup of tea.
She did all that she did because she was conditioned into believing that her job was secondary to her primary reason of existence, to serve and look after a household.
After I got married, the BF realized how terribly careless he had been towards his working mother, not realizing the amount of effort she had to put in. It is not something he is proud of, but he is willing to accept that he was wrong in expecting royal treatment as his due. That he could shun housework because he was a male. Today, he does everything to help out at home, be it me or his mother for he realizes that we work just as hard as men and in fact, even more.
Better than late than never, isn’t it?!
I want Shobby to involve himself with household chores just as he would with chores outside the house. It would be the same for Lui too, only difference being that with her, people have already started outlining what she should be doing. When guests come and we ask Lui to serve anything or just pass the dishes, people comment on how it is a good thing that she is learning “her duties” early. Ticks me off each time someone says that in front of Lui! I don’t want my daughter growing up believing that she has to do housework as is the wont of her lot (girls). Β In fact, I think I don’t make Lui run errands because of this same reason!

Truly speaking,Β I don’t think my actions or ideas are feminist per se. They are reasonable and logical on humanitarian grounds. Shobby and Lui are two sides of the same coin for me. There is no way I can treat one any different from the other. I believe in equality and I will treat my children just the way me and my brother-sisters were brought up – as equals. There is no house-hold chore that my brother isn’t adept at. Heck, he even knows how to embroider, because along with us, mom made him also stitch table-cloths πŸ™‚ . Dad taught us to swim and to play badminton just the way he taught Bro. Except for him getting a separate room and us sisters having to share ours (so unfair!), there wasn’t anything we could complain against the way our parents treated us all.

When I express such sentiments at home or even at work, I’m dubbed a feminist, a member (and sometimes leader) of the “Mahila Mukti Morcha” ! I don’t mind the titles as much as I mind the belief that I am going against a norm or fighting for a lost cause. I don’t laugh when a male colleague makes fun of the work his wife does/doesn’t do. I don’t find it funny when they crack jokes on women’s intellect. I don’t approve of beauty pageants, for women married or otherwise and I’m dead against pageants for children ! (I can never understand how a woman’s practiced pirouette in high heels and a bikini will help the world become a better place). Β Call me a grumpy old hag if you may, but by demanding a right to being treated as an equal, I’m just making an attempt to make tomorrow better for my daughter. For all our daughters.

Isn’t that a cause worth championing? And wouldn’t it be great if we teach the men of tomorrow to treat women the same way they would expect to be treated?

If this classifies me as a feminist, so be it. I’m proud to be called as one πŸ™‚

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3d9bd-one-lovely-blog-award

“Hah!!”, you wonder, “Why the heck would I want to know moreΒ  about her anyway?”

Good question. And try as I might, I have no answer to that!

But since RM was sweet enough to tag me (because she is a regular reader and after all these years realized that no one tags me, ever ,or awards me for that matter πŸ˜€ πŸ˜› ) I think I have to honor her request.

But first, I’ll just quickly list eight things that you already know,

1. I have twins.

2. I have no desire for any more kids.

3. I’m a hair’s breadth away from putting up my kids for adoption.

4. I’ll rip out the hair of people who come near my kids to adopt them.

5. I’m prematurely graying.

6. I blame the twins for my ageing. And my extra weight. And my troubles at work.

7. My children promise to make all my troubles away.

8. I believe them.

*Whew*

Now that we have the groundwork done, on to the bigger issues at hand.

Much of what I write here gives people some indication about the type of person I am. Yet, some things are never written about. Unconsciously, I hide some traits and some others take a front seat.Β  Its not that I want to portray a very wonderful picture about myself here! I have my flaws, its just that I prefer fewer people knowing about itΒ  πŸ˜€

But since I got a tag and my blog is a place where honesty rules,Β  I’ll be truthful and speak up about myself. Some things are good, some are nasty and all of them make me the person that I am today.Β  So, buckle up, coz here it goes ;-

1)Β  I’m rather affable by nature and love to meet new people and make friends. But most don’t know that I’m happiest when I am alone. Even an hour or so of complete solitude (no family, friends or phones) makes me feel recharged. It is the time when I would revel in my “Me-time”. I could just be sitting in a corner and staring at the wall. It still makes me happy πŸ™‚ . The problem arises when my sudden urge for loneliness strikes me in the middle of a gathering! Then, life gets tough 😐 !

2) As a child, I suffered my share of molestation. I was too young to know or understand what was happening then. But as I grew up, I realized the horror of it all 😦 . This makes me supremely cautious of people who get too close to the twins. I’m suspicious of EVERYONE 😐 !

(On an aside, when I was appearing for my SSB, I found out that 29 out of 30 girls had faced the same fate. Shockingly, NONE of us had the guts to confess this at home 😐 ….Deplorable state of affairs 😦 . Will write more on it later)

3) I am a sloth! I hate, Hate, HATE hard work. I do it when I have to, but it doesn’t mean that I like it!Β  I’m lazy right down to the ends of my little toes and nothing that anyone says or does can correct this problem. I LOVE being a sloth πŸ˜€

4) I can’t handle money. Sad as it may seem, money and I aren’t really good friends. I’ve been working and earning for ten long years but in all these years I have never saved up enough to buy myself even a single pair of gold earrings. Not that I like gold, maybe thats why I never bought them. Bought lots of fancy artificial stuff though πŸ˜€ ! Anyhow, I digress. I am incapable of handling money. Period.Β  The BF does it for me these days and I am thankful for his help. At least now, even around month-end, I still have some cash in my account πŸ˜€

5) I am an ice-eater. Meaning, I can munch on ice-cubes throughout the day (or night), any day of the month and any month of the year. Winters are no excuse for skipping ice-munching. I eat up to a tray a day on average. Got into the habit when I was a little more than a toddler and ate fresh snow outside our house in Srinagar. I can still remember the taste of it πŸ™‚ Β *sigh* . Alas, the refrigerator cannot replicate the same flavour…each time I fill up the trays, I hope and pray that I get that taste again πŸ˜€

6) I use men’s soaps and talc 😐 . Β They smell a lot better than the stuff available for women! I get nauseous at the whiff of fruity, flowery,citrus-y aromas. Alas, all women’s soaps/talcs/perfumes are made along those lines. I’d rather have an Axe than a Ponds! I use Davidoff though…the only thing till now which doesn’t smell, fruity,flowery or citrus-y πŸ˜€ πŸ˜›

7) You know how they show people breaking eggs into a bowl? They crack it, dump the contents into the bowl and throw away the shells. Not me. I use my right Β thumb to clean the insides of the shell which have considerable amount of albumin clinging to it. I mean, given the size of an egg, it is a shame to throw away a teaspoonful of egg-white just because you are too lazy to wash your hands afterwards!

Or maybe, am just too stingy. Whatever!

8) I have a violent temper. It is not something I am proud of and in the last decade or so, I have learned to curb it , albeit with limited success. The only person who has experienced the full wrath of my anger , is obviously the BF πŸ˜€ . He is the only one with whom I can vent out without fear and he understands and accepts it. Maybe his acceptance is the reason I have toned down over the years. I still get angry and feel the surge of it, but now I keep quiet instead of lashing out. Sure it makes my head spin and I’m almost trembling with my efforts to control it, but I’ve realized that by keeping quiet I save myself from saying things that I will regret later. The BF says I do more damage by keeping it in 😐 . Still trying to figure out the right way to handle it !!

Thats it folk…..just laid bare my true self for you to judge. Or not. YourΒ choice πŸ™‚

And now, to the most difficult part…..tagging other Β bloggers to take this up. Such a difficult task…specially when a) most of them have already done such tags ten times over and b) there are just so many out there that its a shame to pick out just five 😦

I’ll just call out to people I want to know more about. If you have already done the tag, do send me the link as a comment to this post. Else, take it up and send me the link as a comment to this post. See, I just gave you a choice πŸ˜‰ . And yeah, don’t forget to add the little image given above to your blog. Its a cute little award from my side πŸ™‚

Pallavi, Gunjan,Β Tulika, AshreyaMom, Deepti, Deepika, Seema NΒ andΒ Seema K, looking forward to hearing from you all πŸ™‚

Love,

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Thank You

Dear Readers,

Thanks a lot for sending your good wishes for the twins. Lui and Shobby are the sole reason this blog exists and it is humbling to see the kind of love that is being showered on them….mostly by people the twins don’t even know!

(Neither do I 😦 )

If there is one thing I’d like to do, is to meet you all and express my gratitude. I’m sure that one day, when the twins visit this space, like me, they too will be equally overwhelmed to see such goodwill . It sure brings me immense cheer and it will do the same for them πŸ™‚

Once again, thanks for dropping by πŸ™‚

Love,

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F-I-V-E

Dear Lui & Shobbs,

There were a lot of ways in which I wanted to write this post. The first plan was to do a comparative analysis of the differences between the time when you were wee little infants and your current boisterous selves.

I dropped that plan pronto 😐

(No point in going back to the infant you. That time is long past. You are individuals in your own right with a mind of your own πŸ™‚ )

Then I thought of doing a round-up of the year, of listing all the major milestones covered, the achievements, the speed-breakers….but then I realized that I have not chronicled this year very well 😦 . There were large gaps between my posts and not much can be inferred from what I did put up! I regret it deeply and I guess this situation kind of motivates me to write more often, take down every little thing you say or do πŸ™‚

Frankly, this year was very different from the past few. This was the first time your father wasn’t here to pamper you silly. If you were a little older, you could understand how deeply he was hurt at missing your birthday. His prayers though, are with you , as usual πŸ™‚

We didn’t have a party on your birthday, per se, but two days before that. It confused you a bit initially, but you realized soon enough the difference between “just-a-party” and “actual-birthday” πŸ˜€

You got more gifts this year than all the years before put together!

This was the first time you both helped me with the decorations, suggesting where to put up the balloons and how to string the streamers πŸ˜€

You didn’t cry or throw a tantrum, rather, I guess this was the first time you were comfortable with the crowd and enjoyed the company of other children πŸ™‚

You didn’t eat a single bite of the delicious chocolate cake or the kiwi one 😦 (everyone else enjoyed it immensely except the two it was meant for !)

As I went through the party snaps, I realized with a pang that you two have indeed grown up. YouΒ  Lui at 3’8″ and Shobby at 3’5″ are not nearly as tall as other children your age, but when I see the confident gaze as Lui looks at the camera, or the casual stance that Shobby takes as he poses for his snap, I realize just how much has changed. You have become aware, if I may use the term here….aware of your surroundings, things, people and each other. You understand your effect on your family. You know the reactions you can get out of us with your one statement or action. The difference now is that you aren’t as naive as before πŸ˜€ ….and I haven’t been able to figure out if that is a good thing ! πŸ™„

This year, you added to your vocabulary by leaps and bounds. It is futile to have secret conversations around you two 😦 . Which reminds me of your new-found love for secrets! Though you both confide in me, it is a little surprising that you both want to keep secrets from each other! Maybe, just maybe, you are making an attempt to wean yourself off from each other! Yet again, am not sure if that is a good thing 😐

This year I saw you both going through your own set of hurdles Β …..friendly Lui had trouble keeping friends , got bullied ,was nick-named a cry-baby (even at home) but came back with excellent grades in school. Shobby, you turned into a popular guy in class, had to struggle with memorizing sentences, excelled in maths and drove everyone nuts with your constant volley of questions! None of the hurdles were bad enough to stop you two. And we are trying to make sure that you continue to do good in the things that interest you.

This last one year has been a little sad, with you both missing your “favorite Abbu” (your words, not mine πŸ˜€ ) like anything and insisting on talking to him every morning and night πŸ™‚ . Somewhere along the way, I realized that you two had taken control over the situation much better than we had anticipated (Alhamdulillah). Though Lui cried buckets when your father was leaving last time, she was back to normal the next day, even philosophical about why he had to be away πŸ™‚ .

This year, I saw an immense improvement in your manners and your public behavior….more than once, I have swelled with pride when people have congratulated me on you. I shouldn’t be taking credit, I’m not responsible for your good behavior alone.Β  Your grandparents and Chachu have done pretty much from their side in bringing out the best in you πŸ™‚

Dear babies (and I’ll continue to call you that even when I’m halfway to my grave), you are the light of my life and your father’s life itself! We both love you so much, it is difficult to describe in words how we really feel. Many a times, when your father is here and we see you sleeping peacefully, your lashes fanning your soft cheeks, Shobby curled into a little ball like a hedgehog and Lui’s arms and legs flung across the bed, we can’t help but marvel at the wonder of having two gorgeous babies like you two and wonder, for the umpteenth time, what we did right in life to deserve you two πŸ™‚

Happy Birthday Sweethearts…may you have all the best in life in all the coming years. Ameen.

I know I should have done this post yesterday but I was too busy spending the day with you to notice when time flew by! Its a day late, but I know you wouldn’t mind πŸ˜€

20131116_200327

Pretty in Pink

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Dapper Shobby

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Pleased as punch πŸ™‚

Love you both! A thousand times over πŸ™‚

Yours,

 

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*Giggle*

Okay, so I’m being rather nasty here and maybe one day, when my kids read this, they will never forgive me, but I seriously MUST post this πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

Yesterday, while I was ironing the twin’s school uniform, Shobby came up to me and muttered, “Mumma, Little Z has not come to school for so many days”. I looked down at Shobby, he looked truly worried and heart-broken.

Now, for the un-informed, Shobby and Little Z are BFF.  I guess she adores Shobby as much he does her. Make what you can of it πŸ˜€

Anyway, even I was concerned why the little girl didn’t show up for so many days. So I fished out the phone and gave her mother a call. In fact, if I had given the phone to Shobby, he could have dialed the number himself. He remembers it so well πŸ˜‰ .

When the mother picked the call, I asked her about Little Z. Turns out, the poor girl was bitten by some insect which made her skin break out in an awful rash. But all was fine now and the girl would come to school the next day, her mother reassured.

Since Lui was hanging on to my shoulder, begging me to let her talk to Little Z, I asked her mom if Z was around. She was, and I spoke to her for a minute before handing over the phone to Lui. As with all pesky moms, I turned the phone on speaker mode before giving it to Lui !

Lui, with all the sincereity of her gentle heart, asked Little Z about her health and why she didn’t come and all the usual talk. Z replied to a couple of questions and then, ignoring Lui’s further queries, said this, ” Lui, please give phone to Shobby”. Lui initially ignored the command and kept on talking, discussing all that they did in class that day. Z repeated her request one more time , a little too firmly, I think, ” Lui, give the phone to Shobby. I want to talk to him”.

Shobby all but burst with pride when Z said this. He immediately grabbed the phone from Lui and with what I think was a distinct blush, started asking her about her health πŸ™‚ . They spoke for a few minutes in which Little Z’s voice became much melloewr and sweeter than when she was talking with Lui. Once done, Shobby came up to me and handed over the phone.

I have no words to describe the distinct glow on his face as his face beamed like a thousand flashlights. No words were necessary. He just grinned and walked off.

Lui, poor girl was offended big time. She just couldn’t understand why she was sidelined by Z in favour of Shobbs. “She is my friend too”, said Lui, her brow furrowed with worry.

“Its okay dear”, I consoled her, “it happens”.

Lui went off to look for Shobby while I sat there pondering once again…..why now? Why not after another decade?!!

😐

πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

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