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Writing a post after a very long Diwali hiatus….was busy putting up my feet and snoozing away the time 😀

Hope you all had a blast too 🙂

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A few days back I was putting the twins to sleep, making sure that they say their good-night prayers. Lui finished her prayer and then turned to me with a small face.

“Mumma, when we go to US, mujhe dada-dadi ki bahot yaad ayegi. What will I do then?”

I came up with a list of things we could do, starting from getting the in-laws their visa to video-conferencing, etc.  After a few suggestions, Lui became quiet, almost contemplative and then, repeated in a small voice, “Mujhe phir bhi unki yaad ayegi!

Thats when it hit me….the kids have never been away from the in-laws for longer than 2 weeks. This would be the first time when they were going to be so far away and for so long. I didn’t expect the twins to realize this truth but now that they have, it is a little unnerving. Frankly, I had never thought about the side-effects of taking them away from their grand-parents. Every time the topic of our travel comes up, the twins bring up the fact that they will miss their Dada and Dadi 😦

There is a wedding in the family in Feb. The twins are excited that their Chachu will be getting married shortly. The in-laws are pretty busy with preparing the lists for the guests and the gifts and the menu and what not. I’m elated that the BF will be coming back in Jan and that after the wedding, we’ll be together 🙂 (InshaAllah, me and the twins will join him on his return back to Chicago) . There’s much to do right now, renovations at home, shopping, clearing up the unwanted clutter and what not.

But under all the cheer, there is a certain nervousness. The in-laws, mirroring the twin’s sentiments, are also a little perturbed that the twins will be leaving them. The only times they have been without the kids was when I visit Bangalore for a week or so. Even then, they keep calling up everyday to talk to the twins 🙂 . Both the in-laws are deeply attached to the kids and it troubles them deeply to think of the time when we leave and they won’t get to see their darlings everyday 😦 .

The twins, on their part have grown even more close to the grandparents (if that is possible). The more inevitable our trip, the more the children are clinging on to the FIL and MIL. Shobby, who never slept with the in-laws before, now insists that he wants to sleep with his Dada. Lui runs around the house, doing little odd-jobs for her grandparents where earlier she used to shirk all such work.

This puts me in a little difficult situation.

More than anyone else, I’m keen on joining the BF as soon as possible. Though he visited twice in the last one year, it still was a long separation. But now that we have the chance to be together, it means uprooting the kids from the one secure environment they have ever known. There is so much that the in-laws do for the kids, I wonder how I will manage them all by myself (when the BF is at work)! But then, the BF misses the kids like crazy and it is for him that we are making the move. Also, we’ll be back, maybe within 6 months or up to a year. But we’ll be back.

Right now, everything in the house revolves around the twins. Everyone in the house plans their schedules around them. The in-laws, who earlier used to go socializing after work, now rush back home because they need to pick up the twins from day-care. Once the twins are home, they are busy keeping the twins entertained till I get back. If they have to go out anywhere, they take the kids along. So much of their daily routine involves the kids that they are unsure of what to do with their time once we leave.

I know that the in-laws secretly wish that we don’t go. They don’t say it openly, but each time they draw a deep sigh looking at the kids, it is obvious to see what they feel.

For now, the in-laws are spending as much time with their ickle grand-kids as possible. The FIL has even taken to feeding them food, an activity he has never done before 😀

Its cute you know, to see such a loving bond….In a way, I feel guilty of taking the children away from them…. 😦

InshaAllah, we’ll be back soon!

🙂

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Teaching the kids to be unafraid of Diwali 🙂

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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 🙂

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 🙂

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 :-

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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 take… etc. and come across ‘Tatkal Passport’ 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 it’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 ‘NA’.

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 it’s rather confusing.

Documents:
1. Photographs – 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 deaf… Seriously … Do deaf people not have ears?!?)

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

3. Address Proof: Ration Card/Electricity Bill/Nationalized Bank’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 – 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 “I”) 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-servicemen’s Pension Book/Pension Payment order, ex-servicemen’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!

That’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. – 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 it’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 aren’t in any urgent need, avoid the bribe!

Once the police verification is done, it’s waiting period, until your passport arrives at your doorstep which usually shouldn’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 don’t work!

I hope this helps at least someone in getting the passport 🙂

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Warning :

a)  Long post ahead.

b)  Post talks about periods.

c)  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 😀 ) 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 🙂 )

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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 🙂

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 😐 . 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), so  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 😐

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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.  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).  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 a  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 a  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 🙂

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 🙂

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 😀 .

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 🙂

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 cup  cannot handle your PMS and your cramps 🙂

( 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 🙂  )

Hopefully, you’ll become a convert like me 🙂

Have a happy period, people 🙂

Love,

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Compensation

There was a short post on FB by Shail on modern parents compensating their love with gadgets. It was a humorous take on gadgets at least being available now 😀

It did get me thinking though.

What exactly does it mean by compensating love?

Does it mean that you cannot love your child enough and that is why you have to give them expensive stuff to be happy?

Or does it mean that you don’t have the time to love your child and buy them expensive stuff to keep them busy?

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If it’s any of the above two, then gadgets do serve the purpose, don’t they? They keep the children happy as well as busy. And if some parents are okay with it, who am I to judge? I, personally speaking, have very strong views about children and gadgets (it doesn’t help that a very popular cartoon character fishes out amazing gadgets at the drop of a hat! My children think he’ s the epitome of cool-th and want a magic pocket just like him 😐 ).

Since, its none of the above two reasons for me, I desist from making my children gadget friendly. I’d rather they be an ignoramus than be a smart-ass.

But then, this post isn’t about gadgets. It’s about compensation.

I wonder, who started using the word “compensation” in a parent-child relationship anyway? How exactly in this world can we compensate for something that we cannot measure? And by ‘something’, I mean Love, not time! Time is measurable 😀

What got me thinking more on these lines was an incident that happened at home the other day. The twins were jumping up and down on the sofas after being strictly warned not to do so. I raised my voice sharply and scolded the two to stop the jumping right now!

The FIL, who was in the hall with me, immediately cautioned me, “Don’t shout at the kids, remember, you are not at home the whole day“. He didn’t add to it further but the wheels of my mind started churning rapidly. Should I not correct my children when they are doing wrong, just because I go to work?  Should I be always sweet and obliging because I don’t spend the whole day with them?

I did not point out my vehemence to the FIL right then, maybe next time a similar situation comes up, I will voice my opinion.

But I just want to know, how many people believe that because a woman goes out to work, she should be extra kind and generous towards her children?

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Since the kids started school, I’ve kept telling them that I need to go to work just as they need to go to school. Only that my work timings are longer. The twins have learned to accept my absence. Sure, they miss me when I get late but it isn’t a deal-breaker in our relationship. I do everything that a regular mother does. I get them up, make their lunch boxes, prepare their breakfast, brush their teeth, bathe them, get them dressed for school, pack their bags and see them off. The only thing I don’t do is give them lunch (they have it at the day-care). Once I’m back, I take their homework/studies, feed them, prepare their uniform/shoes for the next day, tell them stories, give them milk and lie down with them till they go off to sleep.  Projects, assignments, preparing for assessments, all are done in time. Any extra work of mine is done after the kids are asleep.

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Nowhere in my regular day do I feel that I lack in my responsibilities as a mother. I may be spending less time with my children, but every second that I do, is accounted for. From the minute I come back from office to the time the kids leave for school, we are together. Weekends we either laze about or do some crafts. Sometimes, I even take them out to meet relatives or friends (Shopping with children is still off the list).

Till date, I’ve never let my work come between me and the kids. They are my priority, sure, but my work is important too. The kids understand this. I’ve done nothing to let my children feel that they can boss over me using the guilt train because I’m not at home! They don’t do it. I was just peeved that the FIL felt I should be guilty because I’m a working woman.

Maybe its just a generation thing. At their time a woman’s sole responsibility was to look after the home and hearth. My in-laws are by far one of the most broad-minded couple in my entire relative circle, but there are times, like recently,  when age-old conditioning sets in . I don’t grudge them that.

I’m just worried that someday, their perception of a working woman’s attitude towards her children will rub off on my children. I don’t want my kids to believe that I’m doing something wrong by going out to work and they need to be compensated for my absence ( They will never get anything from me if they take that route 😐  ) . Today they are too small to understand the implication of the FIL’s words, but tomorrow, they will understand it and God forbid, even use it to their advantage!

So, has anyone else faced similar circumstances, arm-twisting by the children, guilt-trips? Please share how you went about handling such situations!

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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.  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.   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.  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.  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.  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’s  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 !

 Thanks 🙂

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Of ALL the months in a year, I guess I’m least inclined towards the month of June! For as far as I can remember, June is the month when –
* Vacations get over and school starts *groan*
* We move to a new classroom (usually a dump after the seniors vacate it), make new friends and start getting used to new teachers.
* It starts raining.
* People normally fall ill.
* There are no occasions to bunk the routine. No festivals, weddings or celebrations.
* There is very little fish 😦

Needless to say, most of my grumbles rise from school perspective. Continuing on the second point – Dad’s transfers ensured we entered a new school every 2-3 years. I was apprehensive about the first day at school even when I joined a new one when in 12th! And we know how that went!!

Earlier, this sinking feeling was mine alone, but lately,I think I harbor the same sentiment for my kids! Right now, the kids aren’t complaining about the new classroom or new teacher or new friends, or the rain or the fish for that matter!!! But they’re my kids! So I expect them to be expert cribbers in a couple of year’s time 😀
They have the liberty to enjoy themselves!! They aren’t the ones who have to cover a zillion books in brown paper and label them 😐 . And just when I send those books to school, their teacher sends a note that the books aren’t covered in transparent plastic !!
For Gosh’s sake!! They’re covered!! Isn’t that enough?? The books will only leave the school when the kids move to the next grade, sometime next year. What on earth do they want the plastics for?!!
*grumble grumble*
Anyhow, back to June.
I’ve never liked this month much. More so lately. It is supposed to rain. I like the rain. What I don’t like is the waiting one has to do for it! Every day, the skies are overcast, the day is gloomy and hot and we have no rain. Each time we look up, it seems as though it would rain, but it doesn’t. The only water-fall that occurs, erupts from a million pores in the form of sweat. Most people become walking water-fountains 😦
In my bike’s dicky (who ever coined this term, pray tell me 😐 ) I carry a jacket (for short rainy spells) and a raincoat for longer rainy spells. But since the sun still blazes in all its glory, I need to carry a scarf, gloves and glares. In short, my dicky (eeks!! I need to find a new name for it ASAP!!) is stuffed to the brim with rain essentials, so my purse now dangles on the bike handles and the helmet rests on the foot-rest (Oops!! Sorry Bro. I do wear it , I swear, right before entering the office gates and just before exiting them 😐 !!! )

The only plus point till now is that there is a constant breeze all around. So even if we have a power cut or the sun is blazing down, there’s a nice cool breeze blowing away to cool those frayed nerves. Now, I like the breeze….but not when it turns into one of those whooshing gusts which whip your clothes off the clotheline to deposit it nicely in the middle of the road (reachable) or at the roof edge of a nearby building (unreachable). “Why not put a clothes-pin, then?”, you wonder to yourself as you read this part. And I would say, “I’d LOVE to, if only the Terrible-Two hadn’t already demolished a few and thrown away the rest 😐 ” !! A clothespin is the LAST thing you would find intact in the MomOfRS household.
*Sigh*
I hate this month. I seriously do.

The reason this rant came up is that we had a team lunch yesterday (So??!!)
Well, we went to this reputed Sea-Food restaurant near my office. It usually has some awesome, fresh sea-food. But yesterday was an unlucky day for me, I guess. The fish we ordered didn’t smell very good 😦 . Clearly, the specimen was either dead before being picked out from the waters or was definitely waaaaaay past its prime. There’s a reason we are advised against eating fish in the months that don’t have an ‘r’ in them :(.
I know, I know! July and August don’t have an ‘r’ in them either!
But they have RAIN!!!!
June, I hate you so much!!!
*Sob*
*Sniff* Sorry folks….I haven’t been myself lately. Its all this stress over the uncovered books (two weeks past their submission dates), the production deployment at work (this weekend) and the cookery competition finals (Today)!!
So wish me luck to get through the day!

BTW, the post on the first round is due. Will do it once we get through today. I’ll club the items and recipes of both the rounds in the same post. Along with the pictures. Of course 🙂
Till then you all, be Good 😉



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Rude Awakening

Imagine this –

You have a cookery competition at work. You’ve done everything you possibly could have and tentatively wait for the judges to arrive. They finally come to your table, which, incidentally is the LAST one in the row. The judges are already stuffed to the gills and you have this sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that far from delivering a just verdict on your dishes, the judges are barely capable of inserting another morsel of food in their mouths.
The judges stand there, peering at your plates and then give you a glare. It is immensely difficult to fathom what goes on behind those beady eyes and flushed cheeks. One of them tentatively picks up one item and brings it to his mouth. You can see the hesitation, the reluctance, the sheer effort to control the surge of nausea as they have to perform their duty. You know, even before they are capable of taking that bite that things are not working in your favour. Your team-mates look just as glum. You stand there with your head bowed, praying for them to just leave, before any one of them indeed throws up! It’s a scary thought, but you really don’t want any projectiles landing on the fruits of your labour 
Somehow, the seconds seems to drag endlessly. Then you see another chubby arm reaching out for another bite. Then another. And another.
Your head whips up in time to see the most satisfied look on the judges face. If souls could preen, yours did exactly that. Though stuffed, the judges cannot seem to get enough of your dishes. You hand them more. They gulp in delight, like little children lost in Candy land. Your team mates shake hands and thump you in the back. They’ve been green with worry throughout the day. It is clear that the judges LOVED your dishes. You patiently wait for them to finish, letting them take their own sweet time to demolish whatever you’ve made. Its an effort well spent.
The others send envious looks your way. You don’t care. It is obvious whom the judges favour . It is no longer a secret. You stand there patiently, waiting for the verdict, which you already know by now. One of the judges extends his hand for a bite, alas, the plate is empty. You look down at it disappointed and then meet eyes with the judge. You send a smile in apology. The judge isn’t buying it. It is a tad late for you to react, but frankly, that punch that landed on your face just wasn’t expected, was it??
You gasp in shock, fear and pain. Your nose hurts a lot more than you ever expected. Unexpected tears trickle down your eyes. You shake your head to clear the haze. The lights have disappeared. It is dark. You wonder if you’ve lost your sight along with your nose. A curtain ruffles in the breeze. The haze clears.
You are in your bed. You daughter has just delivered a well-aimed kick at your nose. Her foot resides just inches from your face, ready to cause pain if she bothers to turn in her sleep. You crawl out of bed, only to find that you landed on the floor even before you could crawl two steps. The haze is definitely clearer now. You stand up to survey the damage. The nose, thankfully, is intact. No bleeding diagnosed.
You turn to the wardrobe mirror and laugh stupidly. Some crazy dream, that.
You make some space on the bed, shift your son and daughter into a better position and then cuddle down with them.
You can’t sleep.
The competition is still on tomorrow and you dread the judges once more 
And that is how, I spent last night and got up this morning!!

Hope you guys had a better start to the day 



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