Posted in m@dness

Celebrating Marriages

These days, when relatives and random people pass comments on my 4 year old daughter’s marriage which is anticipated to happen 25- 30 years from now, I smile and pray that someday it really does. Until a few years ago, I was a critic of this institution called marriage. However, over the years I have realized the significance and have begun to appreciate it. Nope, this is not a fan post dedicated to Ro, my husband.  Nope, I am not getting old either! I sneered at it and made fun of all the people who were married but this infuriating and irrational togetherness of 2 people is truly intriguing and baffling in every way possible. So, this post is for the Gen whatever who is thinking of whether or not to get married. I genuinely hope this helps you decide.

Until a couple of months before I got married, fully knowing the implications of long standing relationships and the hardships, the pain and the cost involved, I was hovering dangerously close to writing off this whole concept of marriage. Although, I must agree that I am  a wedding aficionado. Not to mention, the number of married people I came across who were married for all the wrong reasons and were now debating on whether or not to get a divorce. Some, who decided against a divorce just because of the paperwork involved! Then there were these married couples who had made an absolute mockery of their legal relationship by indulging in everything illegal! To be honest, I was almost prepared to give up. I did. Almost.

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When you grow up in a single parent household, you are privy to this inside view of an independent human being becoming super dad and super mom all at the same time. For me, all the growing up years were masterclasses in being independent. I grew up seeing my dad raise me single handed. There was no confusion and absolutely no chaos as every decision was for most parts independent! I mean, why would I even think of getting married when I was taught to do it all alone. I was raised that way! Like one of those Tshirt quotes- Born to be alone! Except that, eventually I realized that we cant really live alone for all our life right?

That jolt came when my father battled cancer a couple of years back and I spend a considerable amount of time in the hospital corridors, it really used to get quite lonely. I had friends and I did have some dear ones who made sure I felt less alone. However, on more than one occasion, I saw him fight it out alone, unwilling to concede defeat and I really wished that he had someone to hold his hand all the time. You see, even if I was a hundred years old, to him, I was still a kid and he would dare not vent or show his irritation, lest I get scared! It slowly dawned on me that it is indeed reassuring  to have someone to call your own when the body breaks down or when you really need some encouragement to do something spectacularly extraordinary. But hey, you certainly don’t get married to get yourself an unpaid caretaker in the twilight years. Nope, that is not really what marriage is all about. Although you cannot deny that, as nagging and cranky as each one of us can be, there could exist at least one person in the universe who, by a weird stroke of luck, adores you enough to commit to tolerating your personal brand of obnoxious and crazy personality. Someone who is still in your life, even when you’ve given them a million and one reasons to walk away and take their love with them.

Today if you talk to me I would tell you that in 6 years of being married, I think it is all  about putting your patience to test every single day and still coming out of it, unscathed! There are so many things Ro and I hate about each other and really we ought to. We were raised in different manners and lived different lives before we started this life together. Ro cribs about my fetish for chinese food, but will make sure he takes me out to eat chinese at least once in a week! I hate Ro wearing boxers and stepping out to the neighbourhood shop , but will accompany him for shopping and pick out that pair of boxers, even if he forgets. His laid back attitude, my short temper. His love for boxers and socks, my affair with books and photos. His impulsive behavior, my deeply thought over plans. His spy movie and action genre craze, my inclination towards all things romantic. Good days; bad days; happy days; frustrated days; we are done days; I cannot live without you days; Up day; Down day, but, that is okay. It really is fine.

No photo description available.You see, it is a dance! It is about balancing and really, it is all about pretending not to notice the monotony of the awkward things we all tend to do or repeat. Every argument against marriage is rock-solid. Especially in the era we are living in. Some say it is boring, some thing of it as an obligation and that we’d all probably live a whole lot longer and more peacefully if we didn’t have someone breathing down our backs, feeling entitled to our time, attention, and energy. With the passive-aggressive wife jokes that almost always portrays the woman of the house as the nagging shrew making the rounds and researches making a compelling argument for women to stay single, by suggesting that unmarried and child-free women live longer and report being more happy than their married counterparts, people begin to wonder, why, when so many inmates of the institution are so desperately miserable, the institution of marriage continues to be the benchmark and platinum standard for romantic relationships.

Image result for MarriageOn the contrary, perhaps the very idea that we’re meant to spend our whole lives with one person is what makes it appealing. It is more or less like a lifelong undertaking and  its adventure lies not in its beginning, but in its ability to look at all of each other’s ugly in the eye without turning away.  It is about having enough love left over to hold on, in the darkest hours, despite knowing that everything that is bad has the potential to get exponentially worse. SO, go find that person, now! And, if you did not find all these reasons compelling enough, try renting a house as a singleton and you will get convinced and how!

Meanwhile, Happy Anniversary to us, RO! I simply LOVE you!

 

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Posted in m@dness

Small Little Life Changers

“Maturity is all about losing your innocence”

I have always maintained that children; be it Kalyani, the first child I spent a lot of time with; Lil, the special one; or 2 of my own, can actually teach you very valuable life lessons if  you really just listen to them. And I mean listen, not you talk and they must listen scenario or not the time they are forced to talk to you scenario. That time when they are in the mood for some harmless banter, they are better than the best life coaches! They are little philosophers with an uncomplicated life view and the truths they utter are often profound, refreshing and very applicable to our lives as adults. If you have your own children, then I am sure you’ll agree with what I am talking about. If not, then closely observe them, next time you are around them and you’ll see I’m right.

Related imageHere are some thoughts I have had after those little banters or rather, here is what my girls are teaching me…

Everyday is a fresh, new beginning!

Ami wakes up everyday with absolutely no baggage from yesterday! In terms of food, activities or even fights that I have with her, the girl doesn’t carry over anything from yesterday. One night I asked her if she wants Rava Idli as dinner and she said yuck! The next morning, assuming she would not eat them anyway, I was munching on one when she asked me why I didn’t give her one! When I reminded her what she said last night about it being yuck, she amazed me when she replied with a “but that was yesterday, amma!”. This is true for everything! Everyday is a new beginning. How many of can start afresh each morning, forgetting all the bad stuff of yesterday?

Show some courage

Say the word dance and my younger one who is turning 2, would get on the floor and shake every inch! Kids can sing out loud and dance when they feel like it without any inhibitions because they are not confined by fears of failure or humiliation. They march forward with hope and determination because they don’t know any better and even if they have been beaten down, they do not know to give up! They embrace life and all it has to offer with open arms. What an attitude to keep!

Laugh, silly

Kids, they don’t need a joke to laugh out loud. The girls have taught me to see laughter in the most silliest of things. I am slowly learning to find joy in the most negative of places and sunshine on the darkest days. It is a work in progress, but this one trait I will hold on tight and make sure they never shed when they grow up.

Be thy Hero

Have you noticed that when children narrate the events of the school every day, they tend to be the center around which the story will revolve? And also, the fact that they love saying their name a lot? Like, a lot! As children, they really do feel that they are the best and they are just not ready  be put down. As we mature, we don’t want to be conceited or egotistic, so we downplay our accomplishments and achievements. We don’t want to brag. But in doing so, we often slip to the side of self-deprecation. We put ourselves down to make others feel better or to be more social! Modesty becomes an admirable quality and we start to convince ourselves of our own mediocrity. Sad, but true.

Beauty is in everything

Tango, our 2 year old Labrador is a constant source of delight and is the joker of the family. He can make us happy just by lying down with all 4 legs up in the air. The sound of our shoes when we approach the door, after our day in the office, makes him happy. Ami loves it when we give her surprises and Cookie loves being tickled. Something simple that we take for granted brings them such immense joy and profound inspiration. When did we stop noticing the tiny miracles that surround us daily? How much more beautiful would life be if we could see these miracles again?

Above all, something everyone must also remember is that as an adult around a child,  it is a behemoth, immense and a terrifying responsibility—the fact that you are being watched and that everything you say does matter and makes a big difference. However, imagine what a lovely world it would be if we could just hold on to all that innocence a tad bit longer.

So, whether you have kids or don’t, whether you like them or don’t; whether you want to make a difference to a child’s life or don’t, remember this poem every time you spend time with a child;

Children Learn What They Live

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

-Dorothy Law Nolte

 

And each day, I feel terrible that the girls are growing up and slowly on a day not so far away, they will become one of us…adults.

Posted in close to heart, RoMa Chronicles

As you begin school!

My little one, suddenly you aren’t so little anymore! Today is one of those days when I silently cried on my way to work. It is an overwhelming feeling to send your kid to school. Accomplishment and heartbreak, all at once. Both Ro and I can still picture the day we first held Ami in our hands. With her, it really was the first of many things! So many things. Image result for mom sending kids to school illustration

4 years later, as she is off to school; dressed in a uniform and swinging her bag, I can only pray that she gives it the best shot and realises that learning is a continuous process. In the next decade, as they progress from school to college and transform into independent, bold and strong beautiful women, I hope they learn;

To accept failure with grace, compete in a healthy manner and win without bragging.

To realise that disappointments are fleeting, just like triumphs. “This too shall pass” can get you out of just about anything. Nobody really keeps track of these things, although it may seem that everyone is interested in your life, it isn’t so. (Hoping that FB conks out by then!)

To never underestimate the power of “Thank You”, “Please” and “Sorry”. Whether it is the security, waiter or a maid, thank you is you way of acknowledging the effort they have made to make a moment of your life, simpler. When you say please, you are asking for help and people will remember you for your humility. Sorry is a way of telling people that you apologise for an act or behaviour and you want to be forgiven because you consider that relationship important.

To be kind to people. Young or old; rich or poor; tall or short; just be kind.

To accept that life is mostly unfair! Some people are born lucky, some have to work hard for everything they want. However, hardwork will pay off eventually and when it does, there will be nothing like that sense of achievement. Believe me dear, I have been there done that and proud of everything I have achieved, till date.

To know what you want in life, be it a toy, food or clothes. Have enough to keep you grounded and going , but not spoilt for choice.

To stick to a decision once it is taken. Be responsible for your thoughts, words and action. Once you have decided and made a choice, don’t waver.

To appreciate even the little, most insignificant things in life- be it a small, pretty flower; a fine tune; unexpected rain; hot tea or a good night’s sleep!

To be mildly curious about the world and to be wise enough to understand the thin line between being curious and being inquisitive!

To read. What a world that is!

To be courageous when sick, work towards being healthy every day and be grateful for the healthy life!

To treat all living beings with respect.

To spot superficiality and artifice from miles away and spend time with people and things are truly authentic and genuine.

After all this, I hope I have the sense to discern that their success is not my ego’s accessory, and I am not Super Mom. I will try my best to raise them the way I can, irrespective of what they will turn out to be, I hope that they will be remembered as good human beings!

First Day of School

I wonder what you’re doing right now
and if everyone is treating you kind.
I hope there is a special person,
a nice friend that you can find.

I wonder if the teacher know just
how special you are to me.
And if the brightness of your heart
is something she can see.

I wonder if you are thinking about
me and if you need a hug.
I already miss the sound of your voice
and how you give my leg a tug.

I wonder if you could possibly understand
how hard it is for me to let you grow.
On this day know that my heart breaks,
for this is the first step in letting my baby go.

-Wendy Silva

P.S– Ami did not cry or have any teary eyed puppy face when I dropped her at school. I was the one trying hard to show her that I was made of steel! She did squeeze my hand tightly when I let her go…..

Posted in close to heart, The Chronicles of A

Gender Inequality Is In Our Head!

My elder one, Ami is turning 4 in a few months and she is one of those Curious George types.  She has to ask at least 50 questions a day and since she is learning to talk in English, it is mostly why, what and how questions. This morning I was teaching her about Gender- Well, Boys and Girls, Male and Female to be precise. Here is a gist of the conversation and then I’ll get to my point:

Me: Ami, Amma(Mother), Ammuma (Grandmother), Suma(Aunt) are all girls or females.

Ami: Okay.

Me: And Acha(Father), Appoopa(Grandfather) and Kochacha are boys, males.

Ami: Ok Amma. So all boys are males and girls are females.

Me: Yes. Yay! High Five!

Ami: But Amma who is a girl? And who is a boy?

Me: Huh. Hmmm Girls have long hair and all that and boys are rough and have short hair.

Ami: Oh! But I am rough and have short hair. SO I am a boy eh?

Me: <Gupling> No Ami. You are a girl and so is Cookie. Let me think and give you an answer to who is a girl and who is a boy ok?

Ami: Ok Amma

Phew!

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She turned back to playing and I was left thinking about the idea we have in our heads about males and females. Why did I say that girls have long hair when I am thinking of chopping away my mane? How can I say boys are rough and tough with short hair when our Babita Kumari and Kiran Bedi are proving us all wrong. That’s when I realised that gender differences and indifference are within us, in our head. It is on us parents to teach our future generation the actual difference instead of just passing on the adage of what has been drilled into our head. Pink for girls, blue for boys. Boys play with cars and trucks, girls play with dolls and brush!And all this blah blah about women representation and reservations need to be shut down!

I was bought up by my dad who donned the role of a mother, just like that. He learnt to cook, tie my hair, listen to girl talk, answer teen queries and every other thing that a mother is “supposed” to do. And me? I used to run around in shorts and tshirts and play with boys, climb trees, ride cycles and do everything except pee on the road! Then why did I reply in that manner to Ami?

It must be the stereotypes that are drilled into our brain from the time we are born. No matter what we do, or where we go or how we are raised, these stereotypes will tag along. And it is not just the information passed on from one generation the other, it’s not just one movie, it’s not just one TV show, it’s constant exposure to the same outdated concepts in the media over and over, starting before preschool and lasting a lifetime! Unfortunately,  gender stereotypes in movies and on TV shows are more than persistent; they’re incredibly effective at teaching kids what the culture expects of boys and girls. What makes these messages stick ,and harder for parents to counteract is that they’re timed for the precise moment in kids’ development when they’re most receptive to their influence. Think of preschoolers who are just beginning to identify as boys or girls. The characters they see on TV and in movies often have an obvious masculine or feminine appearance, such as a superhero’s big muscles(Little Singham, Johny Bravo) or a princess’ (Rapunzel, Anna, Elsa)long hair. These characteristics also are often associated with specific traits.For young audiences who absorb ideas from the media on how to behave and what to become, these characterizations can lead to false assumptions and harmful conclusions.

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Now, kids have this amazing, natural ability to see the world as limitless, but when adults signal that certain things or behaviors are off limits for kids based on their gender, their worlds get smaller and smaller—and that’s not just sad, it can be damaging as well. Obviously, every parent has the best intentions, but sometimes it’s possible to unknowingly promote stereotypes that can fence our children in. Its not just in India, but around the world as well. What is disheartening is to know that. although we have stepped into the 21st century and there are heated discussions about feminism and glass ceilings, there are still very consistent forms of patriarchy all around the world.

So what can I do or what can I say to my girls so that they don’t get caved in and caught up in this ever rolling ball?

Well, at least for the sake of my girls, I’m going to look at it as a window of opportunity to really address these attitudes and beliefs before they become cemented later on. How?

  • There is NO boy toy and girl toy. Girls want to play with a car, so be it!
  • Football and hockey isn’t just played by boys. Go, play!
  • Pink is not just for girls and blue isn’t just for boys.
  • Show my girls the people who have broken stereotypes and marched ahead.
  • Choose books wisely.
  • Chores of the house are divided equally. There is no such thing as a job that acha does or amma does.

We just seem to think of gender as a binary function when we are all non-binary. The age old saying of let boys be boys and girls be girls must really be questioned. And so, off I go to tell little Ami that if you pee on the road, then you are a boy!

Wink Wink.

Someday soon… Hopefully

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Posted in close to heart, The Chronicles of A

Going from One to Two

One of my closest friends is pregnant with her third and another one I know is pregnant with her first. The former can’t remember what month she is on and the latter knows the week and date to the t. And me? Well, I am going from one to two and boy the difference is night and day. I know many articles and blogs have been written about the difference between first and second pregnancies and I will not talk about whats there. This one is for what it has been for me.

Before I start, Ami, my girl, you will always be special. It is not just because you are my first born but because you were my teacher, the reason for me having so many of my “first” and “aha” moments. For teaching me that unconditional love is the purest form of love.

There is something about the first time that is just sort of magical. With us, it was just Ami and me. When Ami was born, I didn’t shed a tear because I was happy to see my friend of nine months finally in my hands! I was filled with an anticipation that will likely remain unmatched for the rest of my life. At every step of those nine months, I knew what week I was at, what fruit size the baby was in my tummy, what were those measurements on the scan report, what to eat, what to avoid, what made the baby uncomfortable, when was the baby most active etc. I would write down the changes each month, make a number of checklists, list of baby names from month 2, had a hospital bag ready by 7th month, thought about what dresses to buy, what to wear and my the list can go on! To cut the long story short, I was too occupied and happy and excited to think about anything else but my baby.

This time, its different. I wouldnt say it is a bad thing but things are very different. From announcing my pregnancy to getting that hospital ready, everything has changed. I have become paranoid! No, I’m certainly not worried about what fruit size my baby is or what week I am on or what my baby is feeling or doing. I am on 33 weeks and I haven’t done any shopping. I haven’t decided a name, I havent thought about anything at all! Checklist you ask? The only checklist I have are all work related! At this pointI’d like to say to you Baby 2, that its not because I dont love you already, it is because I am too worried about your well being! Now, because I know what its like and have been there done that, I know the risks, I know the signs, I know its not a cakewalk. Remember though, that I am like this because I love you to bits already.

Last evening, I spoke with my mommy-of-2 friend because I had to speak to someone who had the experience. I wanted to ensure that I was normal! I have been thinking about what would happen to my family if something was to happen to me? What if something went wrong with me? What is the husband going to do with a 3 year old and a new born and a dog! I mean, he cannot even take care of himself for a day without goofing up! I had never really thought of dying and have never been afraid except for now. The thought had began to affect my sleep, my work and my whole life. I would on some days look at AMi playing and silently shed a tear. My friend said its okay. It happens and its perfectly fine!

This morning, as I woke up and made tea, I realised that even if I didn’t consider myself of any value, those few human beings certainly needed me around. I suddenly felt very wanted. My fears seem to slowly fade away. Today, I live.

So, my advice to the moms going from one to two, take it slow. One day at a time. To feel scared is normal. It just shows you care too much for those human beings that need you. To the first time moms, enjoy while it lasts! Savor every moment, cherish every kick and nibble. This one is special.

See you after I go from one to two 🙂

To my Two,

I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my babies you’ll be.

Amma

 

Posted in The Chronicles of A

You are One!

The year 2014 was when we celebrated our 1st Anniversary and it was a real roller-coaster year. In the midst of all that chaos, we had you. You were our sunshine. The reason we held on to our sanity and the reason we had a smile. You see, your father and I celebrated you. Over and over again, we celebrated your arrival. We spent months planning, talking about the type of parents we wanted to be, the things we would do with you as you grew up, the things we wanted to teach you.
Becoming a mother has been life changing for me. The minute they pulled you out of me, a part of me started living outside of my body. You came into this world and you made me want to be better. So much of my attitude and quite a lot of my character has changed and I can’t think of anyone else in this entire world that has that sort of power over me. I have made mistakes and I know I am not the perfect mother. But you my dear has been the perfect little daughter. I have gathered my strength from you and you have given me the courage whenever I have felt that I am not doing a good job.
My dear Ami, I look at you sometimes and see how innocent you are. In such a short span you have managed to teach me some of life’s biggest lessons. You fall and get up a zillion times but manage to keep trying until you are up on your own. You smile at everyone and everything and force me to believe that there is goodness in the world after all. This world isn’t always a pretty place and I look at how you’re untouched by the negativity in the world and I wonder how or if this world will change you. I pray it doesn’t.  I pray you always know how beautiful you are inside and out, and how amazing you are. I pray that God keeps you safe always. There will be people that don’t believe in you, but I believe in you.  There will be people that say things about you that you may not like, things that hurt your feelings or make you feel a certain way, but I believe you’re strong enough to ignore them and continue down the path that is destined for you.  You’re destined for amazing things and I truly believe that whatever you set your heart and your mind to, you will succeed.  You are our daughter and we will make sure you are equipped with the things you need in this life to be a good person with a huge heart. I want you to be good to others. I hope you always lend a helping hand to someone in need. I hope someone will lend a helping hand to you when you’re in need.  I pray that no matter where this life takes you, you always know your mom and dad are here for you, and that you always have a place to call home. No matter what happens, we will stand by you. I want you to count your blessings everyday and say thank you for all that life has given you.
Its been a tough year Ami. The only nice thing that has happened, is you. However, I am grateful that your dad and I were around to see your first smile, to see your first set of tooth, hear you say “acha”, watch you roll over and stand up.
Oh Ami, I pray so hard for you to one day find someone to love you the way your dad and I love each other. I want you to know that unconditional love does exist. I want you to see that inspite of all the hardships, turmoils, fights and arguments that your father and I have, we love each other and stand by each other at all times.
I’m still so very uncertain of whatever I have done to deserve such a beautiful and amazing baby girl. You are the center of our universe and that will never change.We love you more than anything in the whole world.
Happy first birthday my dearest. We love you forever and a day. May you always smile and may you always be blessed.
Love always,
Acha and Amma
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Posted in close to heart

Always daddy’s little girl

I was going to post this on December 15th , when my Das turned 70. Ahem, mind you, he is just 70 by age. He is as fit as 40 and as young as 30 in his mind. Daddy dearest, this one is for you. I want you to know that, you are my number one and will always be my number one.

Humble and soft-spoken.With the mannerisms of a gentleman, jet black eyes, thinning hair, grey beard and moustache and a smiling face, he’s a statuesque man exuberating charm, grace and humility. A man of principles, a man who walks with his head held high and walks in a manner that commands respect. A man with a big warm heart and an open mind, who isn’t bound by shackles of tradition or social norms. A man who’d miss a cricket tournament to sith and watch a re re re run of F.R.I.E.N.D.S with his daughter. A man who compromised his whole life to make hers better and brighter.A man who made sure there would be no fingers raised to question his daughter’s upbringing. A man who made sure she attended every singing competetion in the state and a man who during her innumerable performances clapped the loudest. A man who made silly faces when presented  cards with  scrawny handwriting that said “To the bestest, daddy dearest”. A man who’d see the child wrap presents for Father’s Day and still act surprised when she gives him the gift next day.The man who’d carry the school bag till the busstop and wait till she gets on the bus. A man adamant on not buying a new shoe however obsolete and frayed the old one became. A man who never said no to a new dress or accessory no matter how extravagant and unnecessary. A man who’d ignore his urge to buy new clothes or shoes so that his princess can get that gadget she was craving for. A man who’ll perform random deeds of kindness and laugh his way through bad times. Who’ll smother her with a bear hug after she has confessed to a petty crime. The dad who will keep the door to his room open after they’ve watched a horror movie so that she can walk in anytime.

The dad, my dad, my brother’s first super hero and my first love.  He’s the life of every group. The man in the center of a crowd. Entertaining everyone with witty jokes. Loved by kids and adults alike. Agony Uncle to God father to Secret Santa to Amazing human being to cool granduncle to doting dad to sincerest husband.

I’m truly and utterly thankful for every time that he forgave me, for every word of advice, for every smile that touched my eyes,for every sacrifice. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for making me believe without a doubt that unconditional love does exist. My Das is the Bestest Dad in the whole world!

I LOVE YOU THIIIIIIISS MUCH DAS !