Wednesday, December 31, 2014

This is what you are resolving to do in 2015: Happy New Year

Well last Sunday of 2014 has got me more active than any of the other days this year. Even before I wrap up my year, I am sorting things that I want to do in 2015. And while Im jotting my list, I think this is what most people are also thinking of doing:

1.       Getting in shape – Most people want to slim down, a handful lucky folks want to gain weight. Moral f the story, no body is happy with their body type and want to alter it. Ironically, very few will actually work towards it.

2.       More of ‘me’ time – Be it office folks, kids or nudgy in laws – everybody resolves to spend more time with themselves. The circle of life is such that very few actually achieve it.

3.        Eating healthy – Thanks to our lifestyles, most want to eat healthy. But the moment we think of having “kuch achcha” it falls in the non-veg genre or the fried fare. You can resolve to eat more greens, but thanks to the great Indian taste buds most will fail doing this.

4.        Getting up early – For most of getting up at 6 am is a daily challenge. Most of us will get up early for the first few days and will generally slouch to old routine.  Reason: Overbearing routine and lifestyle where office and nuclear family demands drains us frequently.

5.       Take up a habit – Everyone wants to take up a habit and nurture it with time. Some succeed other wither away but there’s no harm trying.

With this list, Im good to go in 2015. I hope I stick to these routines, otherwise you know what stopped me.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Parenting now is not a kid’s play

Yesterday a huge newspaper advertisement about a baby show at neighborhood school glared at me. I looked at it and then ignored it and then gave it a sly look. I knew for sure that my Mr Right doesn’t get excited about such shows. His reason: “my baby is not to be upheld for advertising of any sorts, whatever he is… he is good enough for me”.

Right then a neighbor – who is also a close friend and has a son about the same age as my son – popped a Whatapp message, “hey lets go to this baby show tomm…. It will be a good exposure for kids ”.

The school in question is located in the next corner, so all sorts of excuses ran futile. On the pretext of inquiring about school fee and curriculum I dished out a proposal for attending the baby show to Mr Right. Surprisingly he agreed (may be because I mentioned the school curriculum and admission inquiry instead of the baby show).

Today, it was icy cold but I was surprised to see harried parents running towards school along with their kids. And kids, my my, were dressed in attires cut straight from Bollywood. A little girl had put on fairy dress, a boy was dressed as krishna, another one was dressed as politician, and my kid was in the rockstar avatar. I had done the basic minimum – put him rugged jeans and jacket and a spiked hair. Every kid beamed with smile, chased balloons at the school campus, got busy drinking cola and munching chips.

Of course there were the regular rounds to judge a kids’ activities, parents’ awareness and other things. What struck me was that there were so many parents even from very humble backgrounds. This whole glitz wasn’t just about middle class people. Also the awareness rounds proved that every parent had decent knowledge about hygine, good eating habits and even about inculcating good habits in kids.

A decade ago the numbers for such parents could have been less. Almost all parents were curious about admissions, curriculum, schedules etc. Given the fact that most kids there were below 3 years and the concern that parents had for these kids and learning processes was really noteworthy.  I cant really say if so much concern is a good thing or not but then in a society where good schools = good marks = good future equation holds prominence what else can you expect from a parent?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Travel tales: When I have new found respect for few politicians

When you think of travelling alone that too ferrying your one year old prankster, the only thing that comes to mind is worries and discomfort. Of course all these things are a part of any mommy's life in varying degrees, but you occasionally come across strangers who knowingly or unknowingly make your travel easier, rather fun filled at times. Same happed to me this time around.

I was scheduled for a 2hour long flight to Dharamshala with sonny dearest and knowing his tantrums, I was secretly praying for him to sleep through this haul. However as it happens always, he got in the hyperactive mode right from the moment he stepped in the airport. His routine of  running around, shrieking and befriending strangers started. We got in the line to board the flight and I spotted a familiar looking elderly gentleman standing quietly in the line. I looked closely and realized that he was Mr Shanta kumar, the senior BJP leader from the region. He was minister in central govt earlier and has held many helm positions throughout his glorious career as a politician.

He was standing there quietly waiting for his turn and this behaviour is a miracle of sorts among Indian politicos who are known to throw their weight around in public places. I stooped ahead to introduce myself and he polietly replied with many queries about my life, work, family etc. Suddenly Parth started giggling and Mr Kumar noticed the youngster, and very calmy he started talking to Parth. Now how many times have you seen a seasoned politician doing that? Parth too smiled at all his queries and for a moment these two seemed best friends around. Then i took leave of him and got in the sky bus. He got a seat while me and parth were standing. Mr Kumar immediately got up and offered his seat to us. Another glimpse of the man and his values.

Later we boarded the plane and headed to our seats. This incident left me shell shocked and i have new found respect for Indian politicians. Whatever stuff the others are made of, but Mr Kumar and his breed of politicians are keeping the mill going in India.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Here’s why you should not marry your daughters early

I had earlier written about my household help’s youngest daughter taking to school and computer classes eagerly despite all odds @ this post

This girl came to visit me yesterday. She drops in occasionally at my place to pick old magazines. I have a one year old running around the house and keeping magazines on table is like inviting him to tear off the magazine and reading leisurely is the last thing on my agenda these days. Just to get rid of the guilt of not reading magazines, I feel happy in lending them to the maid’s daughter who will learn some new things from that stash.

This girl is barely 17, tall, lanky and decently dressed always. She smiles very rarely but has an intelligent gleam in her eyes. Besides the magazine, she doesn’t talk much. This time however she had a polite request.

Initially, I didn’t hear it properly. I turned around and inquired about the request. She had spotted my son’s walker kept alongside rags under the staircase. He has grown from that phase of taking initial steps and doesn’t need the walker anymore. She inquired about its usage with my kid. I replied negative, “he doesn’t need it now. Its just occupying space here”. She replied, “If you don’t mind, can you please lend this for my sister’s son. He is 6 months old and has started taking his first steps, we cant’s afford to buy this for him, and its required just for few months”.

I knew for sure that the elder two sisters work along with the mother to make a living. The one in question – is the second daughter – is barely 19, was married around 2012 in a haste. Then, the mother, had come asking for gifts. And this year she has a 6 months old kid!

What is with Indians and marrying girls early? Here was one daughter who was married very young, had a kid and was fighting daily battles to earn two square meals for her family. She was looking for a walker for her kid, while the other one was more fortunate, had little education and was looking for magazines to gain education and move up in life.

Girls who are married off early become mothers soon and things like education, freedom of thought, decent lifestyle, food, health, nutrition and making it big in life comes to a halt. Girls who study further have a chance to take up jobs, earn salary, support their families, gain self-confidence, have a decent lifestyle and make happy and healthy mothers later.

Of course I gave away the walker but this is just the beginning of a dark road for this mother. What starts with borrowing a walker, becomes a struggle for decent schooling and living later. And the only person who suffers in this situation is the woman of the house.

Time to think guys, lets talk about it among our own circle. If we can change the fate of one such would be young mother then it’s a job well done. What say?


Monday, August 18, 2014

When vacations become 'I want no vacations'

What's with Delhi and vacations? Or if I may be little more precise, what's with everybody and 4 day long vacation. A sudden 4 day long vacation comes up and everybody get packing to the nearest hill station. And the first question that everybody asks is: "aren't you going anywhere?"

I honestly replied to a neighbour, "no, with 1 year old prank machine I can’t think of going on a trip as such. I have plans for some shopping spree where I can regale him in day time and be back so as to not interrupt his food-potty-pee-nap schedule. And to my dismay she glared at me and replied "ya that happens". And this comes from a 40 year old woman who has raised 3 kids.

- Is it mandatory that everybody should be going 'somewhere' to spend vacations?
- Is staying at home and having fun your way not vacationing?
- Is it bad on my part of think of my little boy and not go on vacation?

As it turns out that she had plans to go to Shimla - my home town and wanted me to help with her boarding and lodging. I did give her some references but she wasn't as organized as I had expected her to be. She left everything for the  last minute and as luck to have it almost all boarding options - hotels, lodges, guest houses, PGs etc have been more than full this season there. Shimla is close to Delhi hence is an obvious choice for holiday goers.

With her 3 kids, husband and an aged MIL she stepped out of Delhi in her swanky SUV in a hope to book hotel on the spot. And after finding no option she has been buzzing me to help her. I want to have a hearty laugh now but thinking of her plight I feel sorry. Its like vacation become harrowing and that can happen to anyone. No offenses taken but yes, I don’t want to go on this kind of a vacation. 

Lesson for me - plan things in great detail, especially when you have family along. You can sleep on a log of wood but your kids can't.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Will life be any better with this mindset?

A friend posted proudly 'got my husband to cook after 10 years' on her FB page. Plethora of likes, and comments as mushy as 'awwwww', 'so cute' followed and it got me thinking - does any man post about his wife cooking for him daily 3 times at least, and on Sundays it can go up to 4-5 times as well since the heavy ass snacks are too much in demand that day.

Sample this, when a man cooks - he is a great husband, and when woman is cooking then its usual part of the day. I'm not saying that men should cook food every day, I'm also not saying that women shouldn't cook all days. All I’m saying is that running a house is a joint responsibility. If a woman cooks it should be appreciated - not taken like a job she was supposed to do without any hangups - similarly when a man cooks it should be respected that's all, not glorified like winning a warfront.

Am I thinking too much about this cooking session? What say guys? 

Friday, May 23, 2014

If you think you are a super woman, then read on

When we were growing up in the 90s, we thought:
- We were the coolest generation around
- What we were doing was really different, rather revolutionary 
- How we lived was the only way to live
- Our parents and especially their parents lived in dark ages

Years later I have realized how mistaken we were.

Life with a ten month old son, a communication consultant job and thousands of household chores isn’t easy. It’s literally like getting up as soon as you can, rolling a healthy bite for the kid while checking on work related  mails, simultaneously talking to mom on phone and discussing everything on the earth. I thought I was a super mum, a power puff girl and a superwoman garbed as a mortal.

Everything went smooth till I stepped out to meet my granny. The 85 year old woman with numerous health issues was more radiant than me. She immediately hugged the kiddo and somehow he also loved her company. There were no prank, no tantrums, no shrieks. She cajoled him with poems in Pahari, Hindi and half baked Punjabi and he played to her tunes. She gave me more ten more kid recipes to try out.

Later mom told me granny took care of me right from when I was 3 months old till I was three years old. She took care of me singlehandedly , even  when she was running a household of 20 people including unmarried daughters  and newly married daughter-in-laws. And of course, she had her own mother-in-law to look after. And not to talk of scores of guest who would come unannounced and stay for days altogether.

Despite being a class five pass out she ran the house with such an elan that nobody left home without having food,  without carrying meal for next time, wearing old, tattered clothes, no guests were left unattended and her house was sparkling clean all the time.

I thought: “what was she made of? Had I been I her place I would have died of sheer depression of having to manage so many things.”

May be they were the generation of superwomen, super mums and power puff girls. Hats off to those women and that generation! In the meanwhile, I’ll try to take tips from her on how to manage things PATIENTLY.