Tag Archives: daughter

Conversations in my loola family!

Currently we’re operating on houseful mode. There are eight of us in 1200 sq ft of space and its an effort to not tread on each others’ toes. Conversely, there’s never a dull moment. Conversations are like telephone cross talks. Remember phone cross talks that used to happen about a decade ago? The hilarious telecom service malfunction where you’d be talking to someone and suddenly you’d both hear two other individuals talking to each other. Then in between you’d try to speak to the person you were speaking to originally and discuss the cross talk that is going on while the cross talk is still going on. It’s a pity that that such entertainment does not happen any more because you know, the telecom service has obviously pulled its sock up and spruced up their services. Digitised it or whatever horrid things they do to put an end to genuine entertainment.

However, if you want to hear such cross talks happen you can always pop in to our place, especially in the late evenings when the family is present in full strength. Let me introduce you to all the members first:

  1. Television – this box forms the central character in our home. Everyone wants to spend time with this box.
  2. 99 year old great grandmother (my father-in-law’s mother) – who is mentally agile, but physically rather weak – as is understandable given her age. Her constant and only worry in life is that we may neglect to feed her and she may starve to death. Henceforth referred to as GGM.
  3. The caretaker nurse who looks after the above mentioned grandma.
  4. My father-in-law a dedicated chemical engineer lost in his world of formulas
  5. My mother in law – whose only weakness is the telephone. Once she begins talking into it – she forgets the real people around her
  6. My husband R– who feels the perpetual urge to stare at a screen. If its not the television, it has to be his computer monitor.
  7. Me – Oh, several eccentric characteristics, the biggest trait being that I dislike loud noises. Loud conversations and loud television get my blood boiling like nothing else does!
  8. My 8-year old daughter M – Well, as the only child around, she practically rules the house and twiddles us all around her teeny finger. When demands don’t work she resorts to tears. That’s one thing which makes the family stop whatever they are up to and rush to her rescue! M’s favourite pastime, is to quarrel with her father over the TV remote.

So you have the classic setting. And conversations at our home usually go like this:

MIL (on phone) – giggle giggle and she said…blah blah blah,

TV: blaring blaring blaring and R staring staring staring

M: C’mon you’ve been watching TV forever, when do I get a chance to see?

FIL (also on phone) – you know I think the water is too saline…

Me: M come and do your homework

GGM: I only want rice and curd for dinner

Nurse: It’s only 6 o clock. Your dinner time is 8 o clock.

GGM: Oh…ok. But I still want only rice and curd and maybe pickle

MIL: giggle giggle…how can she behave this way…

FIL: I have told them to set up a desalination plant…

R: You do your homework then come watch TV

M: Nooooooo. I don’t have homework

Me: Nevermind about homework, you’ve got to study a bit

GGN: You can even give me rice and curd and rasam as a side dish. This morning’s rasam was nice.

Nurse: Yes yes they will give you everything don’t worry. There’s still time.

MIL: Ok…I’ve got to go. Oh my god. I’m late!

FIL: I gave them a cost estimate for the desalination plant also

R: There see mom is calling. Study time

TV: blaring blaring blaring

M: But ma please, I did not watch TV at all today

Me: Oh that’s good because neither did I. Come here, we’ll sit down and study.

GGM: (looking at my MIL who has finished her phone call and is all set to go out) – Where is she going?

MIL: I’m going for a music concert.

GGM: Concert?

MIL: Yes there is a Sudha Raghunathan concert at the Sabha. I’m going for that.

FIL: (has finished his phone call) I will also just go for a walk

M: Appa let me just see what’s coming in the kids channel, then I will go away.

R: Ok. But that’s it. Don’t continue watching.

GGM: If you all go away who will feed me?

MIL: (pointing to me) – she is there at home.

FIL: I will also be back, I’m just going for a walk

GGM: I just need rice and curd

MIL: Yes I know, you don’t need a cooking expert to give you rice and curd. Even M can give you. Don’t worry.

M: Ah! My favourite cartoon. Oh and I’ve been wanting watch this episode. Appa pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease let me see just this one.

R: That’s cheating

Me: M I said NO TV. Come here and study.

M: But ma all my friends have seen this episode and they keep talking about it.

MIL: Ok so I’m going. Bye

FIL: Bye. Call me if you remember some groceries needed for home

R: Buy me some bananas

M: Amma please can I watch this episode?

TV: Blaring blaring blaring

GGM: Why is everyone going out? Who will feed me? I don’t want bananas. I want rice and curd.

Nurse (pointing to me): She is there.

Me: M are you planning to listen to me or not?

R: She is so smart, she has managed to snatch the remote from me.

M: Amma please…

Me: NO

GGN: (talking to me): I just want rice and curd

Me: I know, don’t worry I will give you

GGN: I don’t need anything else, just rice and curd

R (now on skype with a Russian pal): kak dila!

M: See even appa is not watching. Can I?

TV: Blaring blaring blaring

GGN: M come on say some slokas. Sing Lambodara

M: Amma! Not now!

Me: Why not now? You need to practice what you are learning.

TV: blaring blaring

R: Dai meynia pajalusta blah blah blah

GGN: After you sing. I will eat. Just rice and curd with rasam.

Nurse: Yes, yes they will feed you. Don’t they give you food on time everyday?

M: Amma! Look Chota Bheem has gone to Egypt. He is going inside pyramids.

TV:  blaring blaring

R: Ah can you get me a glass of water please

Me: CAN YOU LOWER THE TV VOLUME! I CANNOT EVEN HEAR MYSELF THINK!

M: (jerks into action, lowers volume): But amma, Bheem is explaining about pyramids and I can’t hear.

GGN:  Just make sure the rice is well cooked. If it’s hard I can’t eat.

R: Hey just give me water know?

M: See now I can’t hear anything

Nurse: Yes she knows

Me: It’s ok if you can’t hear. You’ve seen this episode a million times, you know the dialogues.

GGN: But she is standing here. Not cooking. Who will make my rice?

Nurse: Oh my God! Why do you worry so much!

R: It’s ok. It got my own water. What’s for dinner?

M: Amma! Look Bheem has found a Mummy inside the pyramid.

GGN: See everyone is worrying about dinner

Me: Ah! This episode is over. That’s it. Off with the TV and its study time

R: Shall I make pasta for dinner?

M: Yayyyy I will make pasta with appa.

Me: No. You will study.

GGN: I want rice and curd

And so it goes on. Everyday. Can life be more interesting?

 

Is there a ready formula for parenting?

It didn’t hit me at all while I was in the hospital. There was me. There was the baby in her crib. And there were these zillion people – nurses, friends, aunts, uncles, strangers – walking in and out of the room. It all seemed surreal. If I was expected to feel a rush of emotions brought on by motherhood, well, I did not. I felt sort of removed from the experience. And all I wanted to do was sleep away my fatigue.

After 5 days in the hospital, we were asked to go home. So we bid goodbye to the horde of helpful nurses. My mother insisting on thanking them all personally while I waited with the baby in my arms and my husband looked just as lost as me. Then we marched out of this surreal world. After days of being stuck in a dark room, it was good to see sunlight. I looked down at the baby in my arms. I saw her crinkle her face as the powerful sunlight hit her. Instinctively I hugged the baby.

And it was at that moment that it hit me.

I was a MOTHER. This baby was now MY responsibility. I had to protect her. I had to teach her to decipher right from wrong. I had to bring her up as a morally and physically strong individual. It was a mind boggling thought. Suddenly I felt frail, incapable and so so so scared. I cried.

My alarmed mother and baffled husband had no clue as to why I was crying. I don’t think even I could articulate why.

I think I know now why it was so frightening. It’s because there really is no set formula for successful parenting. It’s not like you follow a time tested recipe and viola! – it comes out right. I’ve seen remarkably wonderful people go wrong with parenting. And I’ve seen the most disorganized people raise amazing children. So what works?

Also, what works for my child may not work for someone elses’. I know that stern voice and yelling at my daughter will fetch no results. It will only get her to be more stubborn. So I have to keep calm and explain things to her. Always explain, explain, explain. Pros and cons. We have managed to lay one clear ground rule – if there are things you don’t want other people to do to you (like messing your bed, or throwing your lovely ironed clothes on the floor, or teasing you, or laughing at you when you fall down…) then you cannot do the same to other people. This seems to work for us – by and large. But I know that some kids need discipline drilled into them. They will not listen until you scream at them. There really is no one-size-fits-all formula.

A friend of mine has twins. A girl and a boy. Sure enough they are poles apart by nature. The girl is calm and mature and needs to be handled differently. The boy is simply hyper all the time. So she has to talk sweetly to the girl and slap the boy when yelling does not work. She goes crazy trying to balance this yin and yang in her life. There are people who are quick to judge and scorn at her ways of raising children. She loves the girl more than the boy they say – because she is always yelling at the boy. But I know for a fact that she loves them both dearly and it’s just that they both need to be handled very differently.

If I’ve learnt anything at all after becoming a parent – it’s to not judge anyone’s parenting methods.

I know only one formula that works when it comes to raising children. It’s called instinct.

 Instinct – is a mother’s magic wand.

Don’t let it get clouded by well-meaning advice that pours in, hearsay, parenting articles, real life incidents in other people’s homes and a zillion other frightening distractions. And you’ll do just fine.

When you are confused, wave that magic wand. Search within yourself. Your very own, unique, parenting formula will present itself to you.

Where all that glitters IS gold.

Jaisalmer in Rajasthan is called the golden city. All the buildings in the city (yes most of the new ones too) are made with locally available golden yellow sandstone. When you view the city at sunrise or sunset, it simply takes your breath away. The entire city takes on the hues of the sun and just glows. Golden. I was there for 2 nights and 3 days and felt like I could live there for a lifetime and not get tired of this sight.

Well, that’s about the buildings.

What really amazed me was the people of this city. In a world where people are getting more selfish, self-centered and extremely busy, the people of Jaisalmer come like a breath of fresh air. They smile readily and seem to have all the time in the world to talk to you. No shopkeeper tries to push his wares on to you. They are happy to just talk – even if you don’t want to buy anything. They gladly offer you ‘chai’ and ‘nasta’ two seconds after you meet and greet them with a smile. You stop to ask someone for directions and within minutes you’ve exchanged your ancestry with them! If a shopkeeper does not have what you need, he will happily give you his competitors’ location where you can get exactly what you seek. I found this the most endearing trait. Live and let live.

We stopped to have breakfast at a restaurant called 8 July and formed bonds of a lifetime with the incredible couple who run the place. Jag Bhatia with his cowboy hat, Cary Grant smile and constant chanting of Jai Shri Krishna heartily welcomes anyone who walks in and is full of stories about his travels and life experiences. Rama Bhatia – his wife, is a personification of all maternal impulses. She loves to feed and fuss over people. She personally made Rajasthani special ‘Dal Bhati and Churma’ for us and literally fed my daughter. I can’t imagine any restaurant owner anywhere in the world ever doing that! The next day Rama and my daughter disappeared into the restaurant kitchen where they made waffles together – much to my daughter’s great joy!

The taxi driver who drove us to our camp in Thar desert was just as endearing. He kept us entertained with stories and local folklores. There is a little government authorized ‘Bhang Lassi’ store in the market and this became my husband’s favourite spot. The guy has a range of lassi’s – baby lassi, medium, strong and super power (he says after you drink that no toilet no shower – only sleep!). The store owner too became a good friend and we watched with fascination as he interacted with tourists switching with ease from English to Spanish to French to Hindi – depending on the nationality and region of the tourist. The guys who hang around this store also became our friends. One of them directed us to a local puppet show and we had such a lovely time watching this quaint show.

Jaisalmer will always hold a special place in my heart, not just for its majestic fort and ancient havelis but also for its burst of colour, its music and above all its golden hearted people. If you’re visiting, be warned that most places here do not take credit cards – we spent almost an entire morning bouncing around in a rickety auto, navigating between cows, going from ATM to ATM – trying to find one that spews money!

Let me sign off by saying, if you’re looking to reinforce your faith in humanity – do visit the place.

 

A tra la la outing

When little girls don’t need taking care of, and before they become teenagers – when it gets too embarrassing to be seen with parents – there is this lovely phase when you become pals. I mean like real giggly pals who do girly things together.

It so happened that on Saturday hubby was not in town, so M and I had to find ways to entertain ourselves. Having nothing better to do my 7-year old and I set off to for the most happening mall in town – Express Avenue, rather the EA.

Kala Khatta Ice GolaSince M was hungry, and I had promised her a surprise treat, we headed straight for the food court. My objective was to get a special chocolatey doughnut from a little doughnut store that I’d read about in the paper. But when we got there she spotted the ice lolly kiosk. We watched gleefully as the man pulled out a disc of ice from his ice box and put it in a machine that shaved it into little flakes. With a gloved hand he picked up the flakes, give it a little shape and poked a stick into it. Then he put it into a glass and spluttered orange syrup (for M) and kala khatta (for me) into our respective ice golas. We found a cozy nook to sit and “mmmmmed”our way through the lollies. M’s lips turned a shade of bright orange and mine turned dark maroon. We grinned and showed our coloured teeth to each other. We were mighty thrilled that we had not chosen the green flavour, whatever that was, because then we’d look like monsters. A lady seated next to us ordered just that and we watched with unabashed interest to see if her lips would turn ugly green. Much to our disappointment it did not, but then we noted happily that her tongue and teeth has indeed turned monster green. Ha! Silly choice! Not smart like ours. We just looked like we had lipstick on. This done, we packed a chocolate doughnut with vanilla ice cream filling and another one with strawberry filling. These were to be shared with the family.

Then we were off to our favourite store – the Body Shop. M loves the store, not just because I’ve told here that all the products in there are not tested on animals, but also because there are quaint bottles in every shelf with the label ‘Try Me’. So M feels obliged to try it. I mean when its sort of pleading with you – why not try it? We obliged and tried most of it. By the end of it our cheeks shimmered pink, our eyes shone blue and our eyelids were emphasized by a subtle shade of pink. The backs of our palm were lined with little streaks of various lipsticks and lip liners. From our wrists arose the fragrance of myriad perfumes ranging from flowery to chocolatey. In the end we picked up a bottle of organic, forest friendly shampoo and walked out totally pleased with ourselves. I’m sure the mirror in there must have sighed with relief – since we had spent a good part of an hour giggling into it and admiring ourselves! Not to forget the patient sales lady who had given up hopes of us buying anything and jumped like a startled rabbit when we told her to bill the shampoo.

Ah! An evening well spent, giggling and doing girly things together. We went home with wide grins on our face. Smelling, I’m sure, like nothing on earth. But absolutely at peace with ourselves.

These are moments I will cherish and treasure in a secret chamber in my heart. I’m not sure how many more such outings we will have. But I know these sweet memories will keep me going, long after such innocent days are no more…

Mommy to a 7-year old granny.

I can never stop feeling guilty about this. My only child growing up amidst boring adults (like yours truly) and transforming into a child mature beyond her age. Not only does she spew words of wisdom that I feel certain are beyond her understanding, but also does things that make my heart take a tumble and say ‘isn’t she too small to do this?’

Just yesterday, I was down in the dumps at the thought of starting yet another freakishly hectic week where I’d have to juggle work, irate clients, meeting deadlines, solving inter office issues, picking and up dropping her from school and to sundry classes on various days of the week, folding clothes, managing meals and other issues at home and somehow keeping calm through it all. She rolled her eyes at me and said well its not too bad being an adult. At least you get to do your own thing, she admonished. Just try sitting in a class room during a free period listening to PT sir yelling NO TALKING, FINGER ON YOUR LIPS, or having to ask permission to pee when you just have to go so very urgently, or to drink water when you are so thirsty.  Or trudging up 2 floors for art class, and then 3 floors for computer class and so on.

Yeah well, when she put it this way, my life did not seem so bad!

Last week, when I stayed late at work for the third consecutive day, I was filled with guilt and dreading her call asking when I would be home. She did call to ask and I honestly answered that I really had no idea. She complained that I always did this to her – making me wallow some more in guilt. Then she called back after a bit saying she’d had her dinner and also done her home work – had I finished my work yet? A little later she called again and sternly advised me against ordering and eating some junk for dinner. “I have a surprise for you. Come home and eat my surprise!” she ordered.

I did as I was bid and somehow staved off hunger till I got home at 10 pm. By then the little princess was tucked in bed. Her adult worries buried under her pillow, her face peaceful in her sleep as only a baby’s can be.  My guilt rose up as tears, as I kissed my sleeping baby. Then I freshened up and went to have my dinner.

There, on the table, waiting for me were two smiley rava idlis. With green peas for eyes, carrot for a nose and a cashew for smiley mouth. And a little strip of paper on which she had scribbled ‘I love you amma’.

I did not know whether to laugh or to cry.

So I just ate. And cuddled up next to my little adult.

It’s not another holday. It’s Republic Day!

I remember a time when all cinema halls used to play the National Anthem at the beginning of a movie. There is something about listening to the National Anthem in that atmosphere. It does something that’s hard to explain. You never get the same feeling when you listen to it blaring on the television at home. But when you listen to it in a hall filled with a hundred odd, chattering strangers, the effect is magical. For a moment the audience is collectively startled. Then everybody quickly dispenses with their boxes of popcorn or whatever and stands up. Eventually everyone in the hall is standing. And suddenly there is a certain vibration in that place. A sense of togetherness. We are really not strangers. We belong. We are an entity. We are Indians. That surge of pride sweeps through the hall as the National Anthem plays its inspiring notes. And then we all sit, somehow humbled by the experience. It really is an amazing feeling.

Tomorrow is Republic Day. Sadly, all it means for kids today is one day off school. Forget cinema halls, it appalls me that even schools no longer hoist the Indian flag on this day. This morning I was explaining to my daughter as to why this day is so important for India. It’s incredible how hard it is to explain this to a child who has grown up in complete freedom. So what is there, she asks, to feel proud about being the largest democratic country in the world? Hmmmmmmm…!

But, as I got her ready for school this morning, I told her that our hope lies in her generation of children. We hope we can create leaders that our country desperately needs. This video keeps my hopes alive. And for a dose of patriotism our country desperately needs, watch this too. Jai Hind.

Shopping at Linking Road and suchalike pandemonium

I went Bombay. Alone. I mean – ME. The one who is capable of losing her way walking from the living room to the bedroom. Me. I went alone. Much to the chagrin of my family. They were pretty sure I would not be able to find my way out of the aircraft – let alone anything else. So a dutiful friend was assigned to pick me up from the airport and handhold me until it was time for my meeting. That part went off well enough. He picked me up. We stopped by at his work place – Tao Art Gallery – which apparently is India’s largest private art gallery. It was dark and silent and I drooled at the paintings without worrying about displaying my complete ignorance of art. That done, we took a cab down to Mahalaxmi where we met another friend for breakfast. After chit chatting for about an hour, it was time to catch a cab and head for the Bandra-Kurla road where my meeting was. I was to drop my friend back at his gallery on my way so he got in and explained the way to the cabby who nodded his head intelligently. When he got off at his designated stop and I instantly felt alone in a big, strange city. Anyways I settled in with my google map in hand and my friends’ instructions in my head. All the landmarks that google and my friend had said – passed by. So I was reassured that I was on the right track. Just then the cabby turned to ask me ‘so how do I get to BKC?’ I was of course flabbergasted! Why on earth did he nod so vigorously if he did not know? I told him to ask someone – since I had no clue. But he was one stubborn mule. He refused to stop and ask! He just kept going and the landmarks faded away. Unfamiliar road names zoomed past. I started to panic. Ask someone I yelled every two minutes. Finally he paused near a mechanic shop and stared. He expected me to ask – it seemed. But if I had no clue of the roads how was I to understand directions? I did ask – and the man assured us that we were totally in the wrong direction. He gave long winded directions to my driver, who set off – getting grumpier by the minute – in the said direction. About 15 minutes later, we were back where we started.  We had gone a full circle! This time we asked an auto driver. This man also proceeded to assure us that we were hopelessly lost. He in turn gave his directions. My man nodded intelligently – yet again. And we were off once more. In the meanwhile the friend called to check on me. “Not lost na?” he hoped. My pride would not let me admit it. In fact, almost there – I told him. Another 20 minutes later I saw a Citibank Building that was marked in my google map. But it was on my right while the map said it should be on my left. So right road, wrong direction. We went around the road, trying to turn and somehow the chap managed to lose his way again! God knows how we found ourselves on a national highway. Another ask-for-directions halt followed and another knowledgeable auto driver guided us. By now my driver was almost in tears and very upset with me for taking him all around the city! (Sure blame me buddy – but just get me there.). Finally yet another auto guy guided us right and I reached my meeting venue – just 5 minutes late. I rushed into the building and called my client. She asked me to come up to the 3rd floor lobby and wait. I did that. And waited. And waited. Then I messaged her. She called me asking which 3rd floor I was in. We discovered that I was in the wrong building! I had to go across to the high rise next door to the one I was in. How embarrassing!

Anyways for all the chaos it took to reach the place, my meeting went off rather well. Post the meeting and lunch – I had plenty of time to kill before catching my late evening flight back to Chennai. So I decided to go to Linking Road for shopping – again as advised by my friend. I asked my client for directions and she drew me a fool-proof map (no pun intended here). Armed with that I took an auto to Linking Road. Fortunately this driver seemed to know where he was going. Unfortunately he was in a hurry to get there! He swerved and twisted and turned and weaned his way through heavy traffic at breakneck speed. At one point I think the auto turned so fast it went up on two tires. My entreaties to slow down fell on deaf ears. It was a good 15 minutes of gut wrenching ride! The minute I spotted the footwear shops lining the pavement I yelled for him to stop. What a relief it was to get there in one piece! I walked down the crowded street and had a look at all the wares. A second and third round followed before I ventured into a shop to buy anything. The first purchase were two lovely flowery sandals for my princess. Next stop – footwear for myself. Just then the husband called to check on me. When I told him where I was, he was appalled. Be careful, he begged. Don’t get lost and head for the airport quickly – he ordered. This was followed by a call from my client – to check if I had reached my destination safely. What a reputation I had managed to create! Anyways despite all their fears I spent another hour walking the streets. Then I took an auto to the airport.

There I settled into a corner with a book and a sandwich. Before I knew it, it was time to board my aircraft. As I buckled myself into my seat I congratulated myself. Not bad. It was chaotic and hectic, but I did manage on my own. Bravo!

When I landed in Chennai husband and my little princess were waiting for me. I got a big hug from my baby and this and this.

Perfect end to an adventurous day?  Definitely.

Momma is off for a day

Amma don’t leave me and go said my daughter for the 100th time. This while we were in the middle of studying for her EVS test. Right after we agreed that India is a peninsula not an island. Pearly tears formed in her eyes all of a sudden and threatened to flow down the soft cheeks.

My heart gave a little tug. Cancel the damn trip to Mumbai, wipe those tears, give the child a big hug and just stay at home – it screamed.

But the mind did not relent. She is old enough and will handle your absence better than you think – advised the mind. Anyways it’s not like you have a choice. It’s an official trip not a joy ride. It chided me.

I sat there torn between wanting to give in to the child and taking a tough stance. After all, how many more years will she say that to me? Probably in another year or so if I tell her I’m going for a day – she might grin with relief. Or she might not even react, just shrug as if she couldn’t care less. Or worse, I might come back after a day and ask her if she missed me and she might say ‘oh you were not at home yesterday?’ I shudder to think how much pain that will cause. I hope such a day never comes.

For now, I’m important in her life. And I’m basking in that feeling.

I hug her and say, what if you were going on a school trip and I start crying ‘Baby don’t go! I’ll miss you.’ She paused in her whimpering. Even the flow of tears down her cheeks seemed to pause. You mean you’ll cry if I go on a school trip? She wondered incredulously. “Are you a baby?!” she chided me. No, I reasoned, but then you are not a baby either and you are not allowing me to go.

Silence. As she pondered over this for a few moments.

Ok! She relented angrily. Go if you have to. But… I’ll miss you amma. She said and those tears sprang up again. My heart went all gooey again. With an effort I diverted her and we delved back into the world of peninsulas and straits. Soon we were giggling over something and all was well again with our world.

As I prepare to leave my six year old and go away for a day, I wonder who is more affected by it. She or me? And if, as I’m sure it will, a day comes when she has to leave me and go on to build her own life, how oh Lord how will I ever handle it?

To be or not to be?

I have a good life. Great in fact. Nothing to complain about. Really. Except the usual minor grouches here and there. So then is this all I want out of life? Or is there a higher purpose to my existence. When I start thinking this way it bothers me terribly. For me higher existence is that Booker Prize winning novel that’s locked up in my subconscious and will one day gush out of my being for the world to go gaga over.

Until then, I shall just – Be. Or not?

Every now and then something jolts me. And I say – what am I really here for?  I’ve been given so many blessings – am I using them well? I watched this talk by Sheena Iyengar yesterday. A scholar. A scientist. Who despite her disability (or because of it?) seems to have achieved so much more in life. So am I under-utilizing the resources gifted to me?

Alter ego: You feel that way because it’s always about you. Your book. Your happiness.

Me: Well, it’s my life. It has to be about me.

Alter ego: That is where the problem is.

Me: What’s wrong with that? If I don’t think about my happiness, who will.

Alter ego: Happiness is in giving. To others I mean. Not to yourself. That’s like giving yourself a Christmas gift – and feeling happy about it.

Me: So what do you want me to do? Go to that beggar on the street and say…hey buddy I want to help you! Where shall I begin?

Alter ego: Don’t get all sarci on me. You know what I mean.

Me: No I don’t. You want me to give happiness to others. I don’t know how to do that.

Alter ego: You’ll figure out a way if you stop thinking of your clothes, your hair, your nails, your meals, your footwear…all the time.

Me: So you want me to be a saint? Give up all the lovely things I have…for what?

Alter ego: No. But everyday in some small way you can make someone’s life better. Just by smiling at a street kid. Or buying someone a meal.

Me: Easier said that done buddy. No can do.

Alter ego: Ok tell me why do you enjoy doing things for your daughter so much?

Me: She’s my baby! You fool…

Alter ego: Because the love you feel for her is pure and selfless. You simply want to give and expect nothing in return. Except of course that she love you back.

Me: Hmmmm…yeah maybe. So what are you saying?

Alter ego: If you can feel that kind of selfless love for others…you’ll get there.

Me: Where?

Alter ego: On the path to finding the higher purpose of your existence.

Me: Oh…ah….hmmm…hey look! There’s a sale on at Metro Shoes!! I need to go see that. We’ll think about this later.

Alter ego: Sigh!

(pooof)

Seeking – girlfriends!

Woman in mid-30’s seeks girlfriends. Preferably with young kids. Fair, dark, dusky…any complexion. Any caste or religion.

If you thought finding the right man was tough, well, try finding a girlfriend that you get along with. Or is it just me? Am I too weird to find friends?

It’s not like I don’t get along with people. I do. Or at least I try hard to.

At one time I decided I would join the group of mothers whose kids go for dance class with my daughter. So I went up to them and introduced myself. After pleasantries were exchanged they delved into the subject of school. Studies. Marks. Homework. Assignment. Test. Exams. Writing skills. Teachers. School politics. Extra curricular activities. And on and on. Until my mind boggled. By the end of it I felt mighty stressed! I felt inadequate – like I was not doing enough for the daughters’ academics. The fear of what-if-I-fail gripped me. It honestly took me a while to get that feeling out of my system. I do not believe in stressing myself or the child over her studies. And I do not believe that her marks define who she is. Apparently this group thought it did.  Now I stay away from the bunch. After a polite hello I slink away for a lonesome walk.

Then there was this group of mothers I met at a birthday party. It went well enough until the topic steered towards the child’s lunch box. We exchanged ‘what do you give them for lunch’ questions. I innocently mentioned my list – pasta, sandwiches, rotis, pulav…I noticed a silence in conversation while I rattled off and paused. They were all gawking at me like I was from outer space. ‘Why don’t you give sambar rice etc?’ asked one mom. I told her my daughter would never eat it because she did not like rice very much. ‘But what nutrition is there in all this.’ Asked another. I assured her that I buy only wheat pasta and organic at that. Then suddenly one of them was most interested. Presto! She pulled out a notepad and pen from her bag. ‘Give me the recipe ya.’ She urged, her pen ready to fly. The others soon followed suit – as the collective opinion was that my weird lunch items can be given on special days. Soon they were all in position to write and looking at me expectantly. It was my turn to gawk. Really! Imagine being ready with notepad and all that. I never do that – this writing down recipes from other mothers I mean. I believe that every child has his or her own taste. You cannot impose one’s likes and dislikes on the other. So why try? But apparently they did not think so. Was I wrong? Yet again I felt inadequate.

Then there are those incredibly charming kinds. They are so wonderfully sweet and innocent that I find it too stressful to make conversation. I mean I think I’m a normal woman. I swear. I joke. I bitch. I giggle. I guffaw. But the oh-so-sweet kinds would never do that. They will ask you over for tea and say such nice things about you. Compliment you on your drab outfit, your frizzed hair and what not. And you find it hard not just to accept those compliments but to graciously pass on some in return. But then you feel obliged to. So then you mutter some nice things. And then you start to feel suffocated. Just the strain of having to make that conversation is tiring. Oh yeah I have such friends. I hate myself for saying this, because they really are sweet– but I avoid them like the plague!

Then there are the whiners, the husband and mother-in-law bashers. They look like they carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. Oh what would the world be without them? They cook, clean, wash, get their kids ready for school, make them study and do their homework. (Excuse me but don’t we all do that – some more, some less – but we all do it!) And the mother-in-law is most unappreciative. The husband is always supporting his mother. And on and on and on. Until I get most depressed. My point is no one’s life is perfect. We all have our issues. It’s the attitude with which we face them that matter. If I’m out with friends, I’d like to forget my troubles – not keep brooding and whining over it. I’m not saying these women are wrong…but I guess our chemistry just does not work.

Are there no women out there who don’t take their role as mothers, or wives, or home makers or daughters in law or themselves soooo seriously that they forget to enjoy it? Who can accept their flaws and laugh at them. Who can discuss their problems without whining? Who can move on in life and not dwell in the past? Who can have a good laugh and giggle over silly things. Who can drool over handsome men just for the heck of it! Who love window shopping more than shopping itself. Who love to laze around over a cup of tea…

Sigh. Woman where are you? If you are SHE, please get in touch with me please. I seek you. Desperately.