Thursday, June 14, 2012

My parenting crisis! Can the Yoga Barbie help?

 Photo credit: Flickr user Q-tee16

Oh my my there is a Yoga Instructor Barbie! Can you freaking believe that (of course you can, that was just a rhetoric). I have been shielding (yea, literally...at the shops you know) Kid 1 from the Barbies (I never had one as a kid and was never interested either - but that's besides the point, yes?) but time has been clever. It has enticed her with this slimy (oops, slim-y), booti-ful doll (is it even a doll?) thanks to the time away from Maama Hippo and time with other equally enticed little ones at school and elsewhere. Now, she is demanding a Barbie for her birthday. Barbie for Birthday. Repeat. Barbie as a gift for her birthday. Barbie! Birthday! Same sentence. Comprehendo?

Since when has this doll (toy? no-ways? yes-ways?) become so coveted for her that she wants it as a 'Gift' (something given as a reward, hmm?). Oh dear god, is this the big parenting crisis you warned me about in my dreams? I wish I had listened more keenly. I wish I had made an effort to journal the dream more importantly. What do I do now? Where did I go wrong? Didn't I show her Dora? Chutki? (Now, don't get me started on the Chutki nonsense and feminist rage boiling around that - that's for another post, okay?). Didn't I show her the easily legless, any-body-part-less actually local reproductions of wannabe (what else?) barbies! Meaning see how fleeting a pleasure you get playing with these China imports, sweetheart? Isn't it much better buying and sharing a chocolate with Mommy for the same bucks? I thought my baby listened. I thought my baby appreciated the miniscule savings we derived from not investing in this momentary apparitions. The many sacrifices of chocolates I made sharing it with her (Of course if she had insisted on her Barbie earlier, I would have insisted on the no share policy! But that would have set a totally wrong parenting example - thank god, it did not happen!). And now she wants her Barbie. Barbie for Birthday. Repeat. Barbie as a gift for her birthday. Barbie! Birthday!

No, this is not a Ad words-targetted  post on the B thing - I mean Barbie thing (alright, I have to type the cheee name, folks -  isn't cheee better than damn? Cheee in Tamil - Go Google now and find out why Cheee is better than damn, and all the F words). This is a desperate mommy's plea for reassurance. That it is okay to have Barbie and Birthday in the same sentence. Huh! Same sentence!

I am of course trying to entice her with other enticements at the store when we go shopping for this wonder-b..(now, now, don't let your mind wander!). But let's see what we end up with. She is insisting on the Kitchen set or the Home set. I quiet like the Costume Set. You? Yoga Set? Nah, those are not in India yet me thinks.

Friday, October 21, 2011

What is my baby doing?

Alert: This is a 'Rant' post though I wouldn't really call it that. Make it a 'shout-out' to the universe to make things right. Yep, that seems just about right. 'Shouting out to the universe to make things Right' post this is. And please do not ask me about this or refer to this happenstance you meet or talk to me anytime. For you, this is one of those posts you just read and forget in the big wild jungle of blogs while for me this is one of the posts that I will wish sometime in the future that I had not posted but hey today I don't feel that so here goes.

So I've returned to work now. It's easy but its also getting tougher as the hours passby and I don't get an update on how my baby is doing. I feel so cheated by the entire thing. What's wrong in me checking up every hour? What's wrong in me asking for every small detail? After all this is just the second day I am leaving her in 15 months and it feels like I 'forgot' something essential at home. Everytime I look at the clock, I wonder what she is doing? Has she had her morning milk? Has she been bathed? Is she taking her first nap of the day? Is she still coughing as she was when she woke up when I left home? To a mom who has watched her child EVERY waking minute in the past five and odd months, isn't it but normal to worry about how her baby is doing in someone else' care? Admiteddly that someone might care for her just as much as me but hey this is my second day away from her and I am sorry but I just can't trust another person to care for her like I have/would have done so. Yes, things might be happening differently, she might take a longer nap, refuse to be put down, take half an hour to finish a bottle vis-a-vis the five minute gulp down she does with me BUT I want to know it. AND I want to wonder aloud, YES ALOUD, IN YOUR FACE ALOUD, and ask the caretaker WHY. It doesn't mean I am doubting the caretaker's ability to take care but simply I have the need to ask WHY. Withholding this information from me and not allowing me to know what my baby is doing at any given point in time when I am away from her feels so wrong to me.


My chest gets heavy and my head starts to ache as every minute passes without a sign of a message, call or email about her. And I can't call or do any of it myself lest I anger the caretaker and that affects how my baby is taken care. Tears roll down my cheeks without worrying that I am surrounded by a hundred or so people in the open office. I want to be home taking care of my baby. Going for hours together without food under a hot roof soothing a fussy child or controlling the urge to pee for endless mintues to just have one more 'minute' with the baby and successfully have her take a nap is far more preferable to me than sitting in a perfectly airconditioned room with endless 'me' time ahead. This is all so so wrong. And all because I need to work. All because I need to provide for the future comforts 'we' have planned. All freaking because I made some decisions in life that I shouldn't have. But it all doesn't matter now. Right now. I just wish one thing. I just wish someone would tell me what my baby is doing now.

Edited to add: So I overreacted but I am not going to delete it :)) Blame it on the hormones!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Neighbor, neighbor stop yapping at the door!

Neighbor, neighbor stop yapping at the door!
I have two hungry mouths to feed
Two dirty (not really!) bodies to clean
One of which is stranded in the middle of the bath
When I came to answer your call!
Yes, your Tupperware looks good not cos I love costly plastic
But I have a thing for red!
And um no I don’t do Oriflame…or Amway much either
Unless of course the one selling is my sister!
Oh, I know your hubby is in the LIC
But I have too many policies already while the SO has none
And no, you can’t sell to him no!
What, did I hear you right? MLM? Mega losers of the month, is it?
No, thank you no LMM for me…I mean MLM…whatever!
And thank you now, very much indeed, but I HAVE to go
What? Yes, I will let you know when I change my mind
Yes, LIC, MLM, A$$ I shall remember them all
Oh, isn’t that your cooker blowing? No?
It must be mine then though the house remains ominously quiet
Except of course for your babbling mouth…and mine!
Now please yes I just MUST go and attend to that kid
Oh, sure I will let you know when ever I change my mind
Didn’t I just tell you that?
No? You must be ‘I-need-hear-ten-times-before-I-really-hear-it’ kinda person
So okay I will knock on your door if I change my mind
BTW, hear that thunderous noise from the bath? Must be my kid
I SHOULD go now you know….What? New offers? Sure, sure
Yes, YES I will let you know if I ever change my mind though that’s now unlikely
Now scoot loudmouth before I knock your head!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Help me fight for my cause?

As you may know, I volunteer to coordinate Twestival India in my free time and help raise funds for charities. Before you let that put you off, no it’s not just for folks on Twitter. Twestival is an offline event organized to fundraise for chosen charities on a single day synchronously across the globe.  And I am really happy and proud to be associated with it as it gives my life a little purpose (I  always did fancy the image of that centaur riding into the sun fighting for a cause :P ). To know more about Twestival, click to read my other blog here.


Donate here

Now, I seek your support to help me fight for my cause :) I’ve set myself a goal of raising Rs. 5 lakhs through Twestival India this year before the 27th of March – both through online donations as well as our offline events across Indian cities on 24th March.

Can you help me achieve this mission?

Multiple ways to contribute:

1.   Simply donate online through GiveIndia. All our charities are legal, registered and authentic. Please click here to donate. You can give as little as Rs.110 but I do hope you will be generous and give a bit more :)

2.   Buy a Ticket and attend our event. 100% of your ticket money will go as donations to the charity. If you happen to be in Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune, or Pilani, you can take part in the festivities and have fun while giving. Check http://india.twestival.com for ticket details.

3.   Like city logos on Facebook and help win $1000 additional grant for our NGOs. Click here to donate a Facebook minute (Last day for contest is 17th March)

4.   Spread the word – Forward this post to friends, family and colleagues

Be generous and be happy! Reaching 5 lakhs is not too difficult if I have your support, right?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The empty spaces

In the last three or four odd months when I sat at home dwindling my thumbs after quitting a great job (great because of the people, the team, and the culture) on a mere whim (just because one fine day I thought I had to), I’ve become quite familiar with the empty space. I started with liking it in the first few days because it gave me time to just be, then slowly disliking it (because of the boredom that crept in), then outright resenting it (because it drained me of all the energy and motivation I thought I had had to create things), then opposing it (by looking for another job!) and then slowly, ever so slowly accepting it and finally just surrendering to it.

This cycle took me almost two months to pass and by the time November rolled in, I was ready to do nothing. I mean literally nothing in life. All the lofty ideas and thoughts I had just a few months back, of making a difference by joining a nonprofit, of becoming an entrepreneur, of freelancing full time, just vanished into thin air. However much I tried to force myself to think, to think back to those highly motivated times, I came back to the empty space. I just didn’t have the enthusiasm anymore….for anything. One could call it depression but I beg to differ. I am not capable of being depressed. I was not unhappy at all the last two months. Quite the opposite. I was in this sublime state of existence that is neither sadness nor joy. I let each day pass and did all the things routine life demanded of me. I ignored the computer and the Internet. I ignored the phone when friends and family rang at times. I sat staring into nothing for minutes together and sometimes hours. I didn’t want to write, I didn’t want to craft, I didn’t want to read. I ignored it all. I just ceased to care.

Then I got into thinking.

Just because I went into non-existence in the constant chatter that is this universe, it doesn’t mean life won’t go on, right? I mean other than the few mails, tweets, and messages here and there, people went on with their lives and so did I. Least importance be to the brand of me that I had built up. Let it crumble. I don’t have an ego to care.

And I wondered. Why all the busyness then? Why all the pretext of a purpose then? Is purpose all that important as I used to think? Why the stress, why the hurry, why the rush, and why the timetable? Why oh why the to-do lists? If you drop them all one day, perhaps the effect will haunt you for a week but post that? The universe is going to realign and put something else, somebody else in your place to continue the game. So why play the game?

Why can’t I just let the empty space consume me?

For the sake of the lofty thoughts, dreams, and wishes I had once cultivated, maybe I will be born again. But this lifetime? No, this is just for being me. No self-expectation, no goals, no wanting to go places. And the best thing of all? I didn’t feel bad at all thinking all this. When I examined my armor, there was not a single dent or scratch that is my self-esteem. I was as confident as ever. As confident as ever of being me. I didn’t need to be ‘some one’ to feel good about myself.

On an aside, for each of us who are doing something – whether you are employed with a great company, whether you are working for something or somebody’s welfare, or whether you are just proud being self-employed to satisfy whatever motivates you – take that role away for a minute. Take away the title, take away the role, take away that identity. Meet a stranger in your head and see how you will introduce yourself. Remember you are no more that employee, employer or do-gooder. You are…..just you with no prefix or suffix or taglines. Describe then what you do to that stranger. See how you feel.

Now coming back where we left off before the aside…

I’m not saying I became enlightened. I am saying I decided that enlightenment is not as great as I thought it to be. And I realized the one thing, the one single reason that I think I am here in this life. It is to discover myself. It is to be in this empty space, devoid of definitions and still being happy enough not to affect other’s happiness around you. It is being in a state of nothingness yet carrying on as usual as if there’s nothing going on inside you (which is true!) so that the others around you are free to slip in and out of their own empty space without having to worry about you.

Perhaps I sound confused. Perhaps I am self-contradicting. Perhaps it’s all a temporary phase of madness (considering that I got back to that ‘busy life’ that gives you the purpose of catching a cab every morning lest you miss it and all the troubles that follows assails you).

Whatever.

But the one thing I do want to leave you with – “Take the time to step back from life once in a while, the empty space can do you a great deal of good.” :)

And of course this post by Ollin which inspired me to write about the empty space I befriended in my own life.

"Surrender” by Ollin, Courage to create

You know what empty space I’m talking about, right? The empty space that comes between the end of one phase, and the beginning of another? That empty space...

If we are not busy talking to someone, we’re texting. If we’re not texting, we’re twittering. If we’re not twittering, we’re facebooking. If we’re not facebooking we’re watching TV, or listening to music, or surfing the web, or watching YouTube, or working, or exercising, or reading and if we’re not doing any of those, we try to frantically search for the next thing to do that will fill in the empty space in between one thing and the next.

We are desperate to fill in every silence, every piece of stillness, with something–something we deem more desirable, more worthy than that stillness. Something we think is more important and urgent than that damning quiet underneath everything–that damning quiet that always exists. That quiet that starts to drives us crazy when we first notice it, in those brief moments when we accidentally drop our guard, and all the clamor we worked so hard to create dies down
. ....”
Just be!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Oh, those giant stars!



When your daughter hums jingle bells everyday for over a week, you know Christmas and the holiday cheer is here. Her school is celebrating Christmas today and she is totally excited about the Jingle (The tree as she calls it!) and the small gift boxes they have placed underneath it. Seeing her so worked up over this festival that invariably seems to bring a smile to everyone’s face (either because they believe in it or they are just plain happy with the holidays), I can’t help but feel all happy myself. Thinking about it in the fuzzy state between sleep and wakefulness this morning, I suddenly remembered a time when I used to be equally if not more excited over Christmas.

It must be almost two decades back. I was this quiet kid who always observed the things outside and then lived them inside her head. And my sanctuary was the beautiful, if a little unkempt, garden full of Gooseberry, Lemon and Badam trees behind my house. It used to be my very own ‘secret garden’ though I didn’t read that until much later. I also loved visiting my granny’s place that was really far away (meaning you have to take a bus!) because she used to always listen to all our demands. We all liked her a lot because she never hesitated to sacrifice half of her one litre milk to make sweets for us kids. And of course, I associate the holiday season with this subconscious memory of happy times because that’s when we used to visit her more often.

Amongst all these nice memories are ones of Asha aunty. She was my granny’s exotic Anglo Indian neighbor who wore gowns and made cakes at home. And she used to put up these giant Stars outside her door and light them up every evening. Oh, did they look utterly pretty to my eyes or what? When I became a little older, I decided to drudge my courage and ask my mom for my very own giant star to hang outside our house when I learnt “that’s for Christmas” (and unsaid in that “which is not for us”). I was greatly disappointed. How can anyone not celebrate this beautiful festival where you get to hang stars in your house? And those yummy cakes that Asha aunty used to spare us kids sometimes….how can my mom not know how to make them? I was crestfallen!

So when I became a wee bit older and the next Christmas season came along (when people started hanging stars), I knew what I had to do. Just because my parents don’t celebrate the star festival doesn’t mean I can’t. And just because they can’t buy me those stars, it’s no reason to not make one (or many) of my own, right?

So off I went to my garden one day with my homework notebook to make quick use of its till then useless papers. I cut out over 10 small stars and hung them on the low branches of the Badam tree with my thatha’s binding thread. I then ran back to my mom and begged her to buy me some cake from the nearby bakery. After a few hours, armed with a delicious smelling plum cake and accompanied by a small hoard of friends I had invited to ‘celebrate’ with me, I went to the garden looking for my mini giant stars. Ha! there they were ….so pretty even if I say so myself. I puzzled over the fact that I won’t be able to light them up but quickly forgot the worry when one of the other kids nudged and pointed towards the cake.

So what next? I had the cake and I had the stars. But how does one celebrate Christmas? Growing up in an orthodox Hindu family, the only common way I knew to ‘celebrate’ festivals is to make sweets (in this case buy), and then by way of a pooja offer it to the gods after which the prasad (the offerings) is distributed to all the family gathered around. So I took my cake, cut it into little bitable pieces, took some water in a tumbler and after closing my eyes for a few moments to mutter some ‘mantras’, I ‘offered’ it to my stars! (Water is usually sprinkled over the Prasad before offering to God to ‘cleanse’ them symbolically in Hindu households) And within a few moments of that, the cake vanished into the hungry mouths of all the kids sitting under the watchful eyes of the stars. My Christmas wish was complete. I didn’t need a santa!

Thinking back now, I marvel at the industriousness of that quiet kid who made her own Christmas stars and shared her plum cake. Grow up to today! If there’s no one around, there won’t be a crumble of the plum cake left for anyone! The giant lighted stars don’t look so great anymore too but am happy I thought of them so once.

Ha! This is indeed a special time of the year, isn’t it?