Thursday, 31 January 2013

9 months

painting 1
One thing which is common among all the mothers is that each have their unique pregnancy stories and they are always willing it to share. Through this post I want to share mine. My quirky friend is also in the process of penning hers which we will be posting soon.

The story actually starts when already one month has pass by and you have only 8 months remaining to do all your research and preparations to welcome a new you (life). Those two magical lines on the home pregnancy test kit are like your tickets for the journey ahead. Tears rolled down at the same time my face beamed with excitement. I have been waiting it to be positive on the very first test. I share this news with my better half. He was equally overjoyed, completely in loss of words.

I called my gyno to ask what's to be done now, wondering how babies were born without any medical assistance. He read the excitement in my voice and suggested I can visit him whenever I am free so that he can run some more tests to confirm. I was the first patient that day at his clinic.

It took a day for all the results to come and confirm what we knew. And with that confirmation the world around us changed in a fraction of second. We got a new perspective towards life. I would be soon called "mommy". The thought was super thrilling. My husband from that day on literally watched each step I took in front of him. Our side of families got the 'good news' and we were handed a complete lists of do’s and don'ts. Their excitement levels almost touched the sky. We also shared this news with our very close friends. All made us feel very special.

At the start of my pregnancy I was working but some complications led me to leave my work and be at home all the time. I anyways had planned to leave all my professional work before the birth of my child so I was not saddened. I gathered so much of material and read every possible piece of writing on pregnancy. My gynaecologist would joke that am I planning a career in this.

Just around when I was into the third month, I had to be hospitalized for some serious complication. In just this short period the attachment with the little baby inside me had grown so much that just a mere thought of losing was life shattering. Fortunately my gynaec could handle the situation and in a month’s time all of it got sorted.

On our friend's suggestion we attended a day's workshop at an ashram near Lonavala on communicating with the baby and imparting good values before birth. This workshop was the best thing I did during my pregnancy. It helped me to stand and survive through the hard times.

All through my pregnancy, I voraciously read almost anything which came in my hand. I made my own playlist of favourite songs which I would listen day in and day out. My objective through all this was to stay calm and expose my child to these things before his birth. May be that's the reason that my son who is now 3 years old is so fond of reading and still sleeps with the music on. For him these things became his pacifiers. Also the whole time I was aware that now apart from God, it’s my baby inside who is feeling and watching over me with all his senses working at their best.

Then came the toughest time. On one of my regular visits to my gynaec, he found some major irregularities. I was shattered. Nothing could have been done then. We just had to wait and watch. My husband insisted that I practice my meditation which I had learned at the workshop. He helped me to believe strongly that everything is perfect. And I know once you believe in something strongly, and then nothing can change it. Many times I would breakdown completely but he became my pillar of strength. And miracles do happen. After 2 months of turmoil suddenly one fine day. It got all ok. My gynaec was shocked too.

As I was home bound most of the time, I decided to make some paintings. This was my first stint with colours but I felt this will channelize my energies. So we got 2-3 big canvasses and some assortment of colours. My husband also joined with me. We made 3 paintings, one of which still adorns my gynec's consulting room and one our living room.

painting 2
Towards the end my mom in law came to be with us at the time of birth. Her presence gave us lots of moral support and helped in calming down our increasing anxieties.
The amount of pampering done during pregnancy by all around me was overwhelming. The warm smiles of strangers when we were out, the care and concerns of your friends are unforgettable.

And finally just a week before the expected day, my son was born all set to see the world with his own eyes now.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Pet Pourri

Have you ever been in a situation where you are faced with a dilemma of 'giving up' a pet for having your expected child? Well, I have.
And I bet you have too if you have had a furry companion in your home especially a snappy one. It’s not easy though to be in such a place when you have wide-eyed, ear drooping and a tail wagging dog of yours staring back at you. Awww.. 

Quickie our first pet.. or (baby u can say) came into our lives almost eight years ago. She was the apple of everyone’s eye. She grabbed all the attention wherever we went for her beautiful black sheen of a German Shepherd and mini looks of a Pomeranian (a combination that I now know is a lethal one). She traveled with us. She demanded her own couch. Our cook was specially called in early to give her company in case we were held up at work. She was the reason then to come back early and go for long walks.

So we did practically everything that we should have avoided in bringing her up. But then came a day she got her first victim.. when she was almost 2, her very first trainer who never returned after the first session of training. We wondered why… and only much later we got to know quickie had bitten him when he tried to discipline her. Not that she wasn’t disciplined in her ways, only she didn’t like being bossed around (apart from me of course, coz she was well aware to listen to her mother). But our absence from home for being at work, didn’t work well with her.

She became territorial as all other dogs are, but she demanded more and her “don’t mess with me” messages were conveyed quite efficiently rather arm twistingly to us. She got a bit out of hand just like any teenager would (in her dog years she was a teenager). And that was the time I was expecting and everyone around tried to convince me to give her up for the sake of my young one arriving. But how can a mother give up one of her babies for another? least I couldn’t. I defied everyone… dialed a hundred trainers who would accept this challenge of training my then 4 year old monster. And out of 10 who showed up only one returned and accepted her. She was tamed she was docile she made a perfect dapper pet! Though she still maintained her ‘no-nonsense’ and ‘touch-me-not’ attitude.

I loved her then I love her now… I have fought my way to keep her and care for her. Having pets around a kid is always looked upon with a raised eyebrow, but in spite of her snappy ways.. Quickie has always been gentle with kids. Even after my son was born she accepted him the most surprising way.. she stayed by his crib in the same room, she woke me every time he would wake up, she scrutinized everyone who entered our home. Her ears pricked up in alertness if she would see my son being held by anyone other than the family.

My son is 3 now and she is almost 8, and to add to our clan we adopted one more a year ago, and aptly named her Cocoa, after her cocoa colored coat. They are poles apart, Cocoa likes to be cuddled, hugged which Quickie sometimes find it disgusting. She took a while to accept Cocoa especially after my son coz there was more space sharing.. but finally she came around and now she has found a companion-cum- fitness trainer in Cocoa who makes sure she gets her daily quota of running by chasing her around the entire house.

It’s a lot of hard work to keep your sanity with all 3 around especially given Quickie’s temperament. But all seems worthwhile when we see them playing around, and waiting anxiously for each other when either of them are out. And it feels straight out of a dream sequence.

And dream it is, for Quickie is back to her old ways. Despite her temper and snappy jaws, she is a strong personality and very loving but she is still a baby at heart when she insists for more attention than my toddler. She looks at me and her glassy eyes reflect my emotions for her and I say to her, “it’s not time yet old girl."


Thursday, 10 January 2013

Home Coming

Phew!! What a relief it is to be back at last after all the Christmas and New Years celebrations spent at home away from home. Hometown is all I mean here. The sight of the sweets and cakes gives the heejeebeejeetees...all the sand and surf and the tan makes you tired just at the thought of it. And the chores before and after Christmas celebrations sounds back breaking. All the midnight dancing in those killer stilettoes makes your knees weak now.. And you feel you have survived through it all. 
Wow.. So much for holidays!  
No sooner did we step in our own home than we were all drenched in our pet's saliva who for sure missed us the most than anyone else. All the wagging and whining and licking makes you say... 'Yes we are back'... It was even more amusing to see how much my little tot missed home. The first thing he did he grabbed his scooter and scurried along the whole house and drank in the whole atmosphere of the place. All he mustered was  'yay'. How the little minds make their worlds and feel alienated if taken away even if for a bit. Its the predictability that is the comfort area. They know the routine they know what follows next that settles them. At the dinner table he ate as if he hadn't had his fill in months. And I knew where it came from. Its the sense of belonging. His room, his toys, his pets... his little cocoon he has created that is this place. Absorbing as much as his tiny eyes could (which were drooping by now) he lay on his bed and with a little yawn asked me to read "The Gruffalo's Child", I heard him snoring only as I finished reading the first page. 
Home is where heart is... Fitted just perfectly at the end of the holidays.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Religion is the Reason - A Short Story by Rajeev Gang

Religion is at times the reason, both for our happiness and miseries. Don't know if someone said that before or not, but in my view it looks appropriate for the situation, which someone I knew a bit came across. His life would have been better at least for a while had not religion intervened in his life through his wife's conscience. Not to say he wasn't religious, in fact he was very religious and honest as well but was very needy too.

After all he was just a chauffeur and he was certain that in this life of his he wouldn't accomplish anything beyond that. Life was going at a snail’s pace for him till that unsolicited morning when he chanced upon a gold bracelet that was lying idle under the front seat of my car. He noticed it when he was cleaning the car, a part of his daily responsibility. The gold sparkled in his eyes and reminded him of his immediate need; he needed money to repair the leaking roof of his house. Soon it would be rainy season and he wasn't yet able to save enough this year to be able to mend the roof.

The bracelet looked Godsend. His eyes twinkled with happiness; his prayers seemed to have paid off. But it wasn't his. It couldn't be mine either he thought because he was sure that he had never seen me wearing a gold bracelet. He was right it wasn't mine. Thus he thought might be God himself placed it under the car seat to help him, to reward his prayers. He thought for a while and then decided that he will wait for a few days, if it belonged to me or my family members and if I make inquires about it, he would return it.
But wait... If he returns it when I ask about it, it would be clear that the bracelet was in his possession already and he thought that I might fire him for not bringing it up on his own. Anyways, he thought that the bracelet didn't belong to my family and there wasn't any need to dwell upon such thoughts any further. That day he went home and showed it to his wife, thinking that it would make her very happy. But to his surprise his wife reprimanded him and accused him of stealing the bracelet from his employer. 

He tried to explain to her again and again that the bracelet didn't belong to his employer or his family and he actually found it under the car seat and that it was really Godsend. But his wife wasn't convinced and asked him to return the bracelet to his employer as his act tantamount to stealing and was forbidden by their religion. He was furious as his wife accused him of stealing, he could not understand it. He thought and argued that he didn't steal it. He explained repeatedly but failed to understand why his wife couldn't. Also, he was very sure that his act couldn't be termed as theft. There were heated arguments between him and his wife, and at the end she gave him an ultimatum that if he didn't return the bracelet to his employer within 5 days she would inform them that he stole the bracelet and deserved to be punished.

Despite this, he said that he will not return it on his own, but proposed to wait for few days to see if his employer inquires about it. If that happens he will return the bracelet after making some story. Anyways, on the other hand, my wife and I were totally unaware of all this. Also neither of us owned any such bracelet. So our lives were proceeding in normal manner until one day when my wife received a call from a woman, she said that she was the chauffeurs’ wife and narrated the entire episode over the phone and requested my intervention as she thought that her husband was committing a grave sin and she wanted to correct the situation as their religion didn't permit them to have such an unjust enrichment.

My wife was stumped and did not know what to say, she said that she would talk to me and get back to her. The woman also mentioned that because of this both she and her husband are not having peace in their lives as they are regularly arguing and fighting on this issue without reaching anywhere and that she wanted to get rid of this unhappy state. Also that her husband is a very honest and God fearing man, but the immediate need had blinded him otherwise he could never do something like this. My wife assured her that she would get back to her as soon as possible. When I came back from work that day my wife recalled the whole story in front of me. On prodding further she confirmed that the bracelet belonged to my father-in-law and he had lost it when he had visited us two weeks back. Since, he wasn’t sure where did he lose it he kept it to himself as we would have unnecessarily been tensed. He also thought that it wasn’t a good idea to bring such a thing to the notice of one’s son-in-law. I protested to my wife that I am not a fan of such an orthodox thinking and that he should have shared this with us on his own. My wife suggested that there is not point brooding over it and we should rather focus on resolving the situation at hand.

On the other hand, my wife didn’t tell her father that the bracelet is in my chauffer’s possession. She had just gathered this information from her mother, without telling her that the chauffer found it in the car and hasn’t brought it to our attention. My wife and I deliberated how to handle this, as we had no proof as such that the chauffer is still in possession of the bracelet. Also we weren’t very sure that if I confront him and tell him I am aware that he found the bracelet and took it, he is going to return it. He might simply refuse to admit the whole thing and on to top it all he might accuse us of putting the blame on him. Though this was conclusive enough for us to be sure that the bracelet was with him when linked it with the fact that my father-in-law lost his during the same period when he came to meet us. But we weren’t sure if that was enough to get the bracelet back. However, now having known that the bracelet belonged to her father, my wife was also desperate to get it back and give it to him as she was sure that he would be very pleased seeing it.

I was even worried that my driver might stop turning up for work now that his wife had given him the ultimatum. So few more days passed in deliberation and discussion between me and my wife on finding the best method or way of getting it back without causing any damage whatsoever to anyone.

Next day when I got down from my apartment to leave for work and my chauffer opened the door of the car to let me in, he asked me in a very low voice taking a bracelet out of his pocket if it belonged to me, as he had found it lying under the car seat this morning while cleaning. I told him that in fact it belonged to my father-in-law and thanked him for spotting it and returning it to us. Further, I tried to offer him some reward for his honesty, which he blankly refused. I kept the fact that he had found it around two weeks back and it was in his possession to myself.

Religion is at times the reason for the end of our miseries, I heard it somewhere. Do not remember now where?

PS: Thanks Rajeev for your contribution to our blog.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Teacher Teacher Of Them All!!

Vivaan and Palaash.. ready for school

When my son started with his school last year, he took quite some days to adjust and would cry daily. He would insist on me to be there with him. His main fear was an absence of someone who would stand for him and protect him. I then assured him that at school, teachers are just like his parents and they will always be there to help and protect him. And soon his fears got settled and his trust in school got established.

What happened in the US at Sandy Hook Elementary School, is shocking. I still can’t envisage that such calamities are even possible. It’s a fact that the most dangerous predator on this earth is human being. What was his childhood like? What triggered him to do something like this? Analyzing these abnormal behaviors are not easy and even I don’t intend to do the same. After this incident one more fact has become absolutely clear that the strongest protector in this world is also a human being.

To give our life for own family comes naturally to us, but to become a human shield for someone else is nothing less than a Godly act. The teachers didn’t think about their own families for a moment and it’s their presence of mind, which saved many young lives.

Teachers were given the status equal to God in our ancient literature but over time this has got diluted. The relationship between teacher and student I feel is not only limited to the knowledge imparted in form of a fixed syllabus. Teachers are the role models for the kids and frame their mindset for future.

I have come across many parents who talk unkindly about their teachers or school in front of the kids. How will our kids ever respect someone if we don’t? The time might have changed and the world has really developed but let these not hamper our respect for the teachers. If you have any issues with the school, then sort it on your own, don’t let it impact your kid’s trust towards his teachers.

Also there is no denying to having bad instances as well about teachers but lets not generalize. Let our young ones start this new bond with complete trust in both teachers and parents because this may help in completely eradicating juvenile crimes from the society.

Would just conclude this post by quoting Kabir, one of the greatest poets of his time.
In the classroom :)

“Guru Govind dou khade, kake laagu paay! Balihaari guru aapano, Govind diyo bataay!!”
(Means: That in case both God and Teacher are standing, who’s feet will you touch first? Its has to be Teacher, because without the Teacher I would have never been able to recognize God)

Sunday, 23 December 2012

To Believe or Not to Believe!!

Christmas is just a day away. All the people, irrespective of which pocket of the world they belong to would be gearing for the most awaited holiday season. Arcades and malls and even street shopping goes to crazy levels as the days grow near.

In certain parts of the world the Christmas lights are switched on as early as November and if you are shopping for Christmas decorations anytime in December you are bound to attract a few stares of horror. Advertising and marketing people are the most over worked people this time of the year coz whether or not the product is related to the festival they have to wreck their brains over how “Santa” would be selling them. Poor Santa is made to endorse anything and everything under the sun in a hope to cash in on his popularity before the season ends. No sooner it does end than he is packed off with a one way ticket to the North Pole for the next eleven months. What a sigh of relief!… don’t have to worry about building a high anticipation level to the kids for being good and getting gifts from Santa.

Santa-mania in India is though a little less over whelming. Except for some commercialization of the season it doesn’t really hold a grand meaning. Are our kids prepared to meet santa? Let us picture this… the pictures shown of him are of an extremely cute chubby and “pleasantly” plump man with rosy cheeks and snowflake beard. But my memory of Christmas father / santa is rather a disturbing one for we had to endure a rather hideous representation of the same with fake masks on the rather skinny under nourished Santa with a cushion for his belly…to an extent where some of us would start howling just at the very sight of him, forget about enjoying a great story sitting on his laps.

So how does one keep a child’s belief in Santa intact irrespective of his image? Some may even argue if one should believe in Santa at all… I have a very strong opinion about making your child believe in Santa not just for gifts “he” would bring… but the goodness and joy he is supposed to spread. The idea behind the big guy and not just the guy himself. Children know no bias. They believe only what they see. So a face to the whole concept is essential (or so also must have been thought by a certain cola company who introduced santa to the world eons ago)

Santa is believed to get millions of letters each year with number of requests for toys, books, candies, baby brother/ sister (u bet, he does :)). It’s because he is believed in so much by children around the world. Lets encourage our little ones to develop that belief too maybe right now for a selfish reason of getting their goodies but in return of being a kind and caring kid.. which I think is a fair deal. As the kids grow they will develop faith in different people and things but we can get the ball rolling with Santa.

Though the whole idea of Christmas was celebrating birth of the Son of God… but in today’s world Santa seems to have taken precedence over HIM. 

Monday, 17 December 2012

11 Things We Will Probably Never Tell Our Sons

We came across an interesting blog also written by a mother. The subject that she treaded was very appealing. It was on the common dialogue we have with our kids on a daily basis. That prodded us into thinking what we would like to tell or not tell our kids.

Vivaan and Palaash
Here we come with our own list covering the things, which probably we will never tell our sons (Very commonly used in a typical Indian Parenting scenario):
  1. Pink is for girls and Blue is for boys! – Even though this statement seems ages old, a color is a color. Why cloud a child’s mind with bias with a color. I say, Atta boy… if you like pink.. go ahead wear one if u want, it’s not going to make him a boy any less. And a girl likes blue her girlie instincts won’t diminish. It’s not the color but mind-set we are creating.
  2. Oh you are a boy, boys don’t cry- Here we go again! Boys are strong, boys don’t cry, boys don’t get scared… Why? A boy is also as much as a human as a girl and of course have equal amount of emotions (if not anymore) pent up within him. So he cries big deal… why wouldn’t he cry if he is hurt or he is sentimental or simply sad. He has every right to express himself the best way he knows. Let him know it’s OKAY to Cry out.. hand out all the tissues you can.. It’s better to let the steam off in a way u know wouldn’t harm anyone. Ditto for scared, he is no super human, don’t expect him to be… getting scared is a reflex to any action.
  3. GIVE UP! Because he/she is younger than you - All right so on a play date your tot has to suddenly grow up and doll up into all sacrificing youngster. And why exactly should he do that? His playmate maybe a little younger but so is your tot. He is a child himself why expect something so unnatural. If he doesn’t want to share his favorite toy so be it.. he’ll definitely share something less favorite and the playmate doesn’t have to know. It’s not just the toy, but also his stance he doesn’t wish to change at the behest of others. Let’s respect that.
  4. It’s a SPORTS thing, you have to do it - This may not go down too well with dads who were brought up with the same notions of BOYS = SPORTS. So your boy doesn’t like to wear the Ronaldo jersey u got him or the tennis racket that is gathering dust. The world isn’t going to end there. His interest may lie in music (either singing or playing any instrument) or literature or dance. A sport is not the only benchmark at learning teamwork, co-ordination, and sportsmanship. There are various electives today which teaches all of the mentioned above. So let’s not be hung up on such ideas that may make our children unhappy.
  5. Oh! Is that your GIRLFRIEND? Ok people hold your horses. So how old is your child to understand the “girlfriend” concept an adult mind has? And most importantly just because he is a "boy" the subsequent partner has to be a girl is written no where.. let him have his own orientation instead of inducing his mind with pre conceived notions. Why take things for granted.. an open mindedness from now will save us from any coronary at the later stage of our lives.. so it does work mutual. :)
  6. Show this aunty & uncle how u dance/sing/blah blah blah..  Ok so your kid is brilliant at tapping some feet or singing his rhyme. If he is willing to show his talent off to your guests he will oblige whether you like it or not. He is not an entertainment channel you put on anytime someone visits you. Do not take a false pride in pushing your tot beyond his guard and embarrass him.
  7. Lets hit the table harder, for hurting you: Or for that matter hitting back even some other kid for defending himself. First and foremost we don’t believe in hitting back as a defending mechanism. Be it a friend, living being or a non-living object. When a child hits the table, how is that poor table to be blamed? And is that what we want to teach our kids, that if by mistake some object or person hurts him, he should retaliate by hurting back. We teach our kids that even if a friend hurts him, the best way is to communicate verbally and move away. He will not become a coward if he doesn’t hit back.
  8. If you do this, the cop will take you/doctor will give you an injection: Lets get it straight, cops and doctors are their to help us and protect us. They are not the villains. Why to portray them as the one who is after our little angels life and watchdogs for all their innocent errors. Instead we prefer to tell our kids that cops help us in so many ways and injections if ever given by doctor are essential and good for us. In the same manner why to scare our little ones with harmless animals like cockroach, cat, dog or a monkey. If we don’t want our kids to do something, its simple, we tell them clearly why we feel it should not be done and they shouldn’t do that.
  9. Don’t go near the dog, it will bite you: Grrr.. a dog is an animal, not a Monster. They don’t go about biting everyone on the street. We know its important to teach our kids to be careful with strange dogs but not because they will bite us to scare us away. Dog bites because it gets scared of a strange human being around. And if it is a pet dog the owner knows his dog the best, u can ask for his permission before getting friendly with the dog. The world is already very strange for our kids, why to add to their fears. Little facts and carefulness is the key not ‘fear’.
  10. Let your grand-mom go now, I promise she will come back tomorrow: Why we think that we can make any promise to our kids and they will forget about it. Are we telling its ok to make false promises in life? Our kids are not fools nor they suffer from any kind of memory loss. They remember what we tell them and expect us to be true to our words. We might sometimes forget or break a promise, but never make a promise knowingly you won’t keep it. It’s ok if he feels hurt knowing the truth but at least he will have no false expectations.
  11. We are vegetarians, so you have to be a vegetarian as well - In growing up years we tend to defy our parents and try out things, which they have prohibited, often behind their backs. Why not just tell them the pros and cons, which we are aware of. Its just FOOD for heavens sake! Its perfectly alright if he wants to try something, let him make a choice.

A tail of a mouse and a lion... at school
What ever we tell our kids repeatedly now, plays a very important role in modeling their perception of the world around them. They grow with these notions and start believing them as a way of life. They suppress their own opinions/emotions fearing the norms of the people. But we moms are not the ones to let them fall prey to this. We want them to build their own individuality without any bias or social pressure.