The Guilty Mother ~ Part 1


Like seasons, a mother’s personality undergoes myriad shades of change at every development milestone of her child. She plays the good mommy, bad mommy, sulking mommy, happily cooking mommy, moody mommy and what not! Not every day is her day. And, when it is, it is that time when the moon turns into a sky blue and, Mommy turns into a Cinderella with the yellow pumpkins becoming her carriages and, lizards becoming her footmen! I love fantasies, I always have! And, sleeping for me is an excuse to get into that unreal world and, play my fiddle as long as I want! Anyways, I am digressing by habit. Where was I? Yes, on regular days I am the regular mom who tries to do everything but fails to catch up on everything. I am sure, many homemakers who detest housekeeping business would relate with me. And today, hubby is out of town and, son and I have fallen back on a lazy Saturday routine.

So, after hours of making trains with the peg tables, my son has rehashed the look of my drawing room. Currently, it looks as though it has been ransacked by burglars. The cushions are strewn in some abstract fashion, the sofa covers are half in, half out. The center table is diagonally placed near the door opening into the porch! The wooden mesh turtle carrying a lampshade looks lost as it has already been rotated umpteen times! And, the wooden flower vase is seen hiding behind the tissue curtains in a fashion that someone like me who is prone to slip even while wearing slippers will have a Humpty-Dumpty fall! On regular days, this is not the scene though.  Because, on regular days I am the GUILTY mother who constantly pleads to the energetic creative world of mine – my five year old son to adhere to discipline. Yes, yours truly is Guilty As Charged.

A few weeks back, when I sat with the son before his exams, making a few test papers and some questions, I suddenly stopped midway for some unexplained reason and, started doodling on the last page of the notebook. It was some abstract design, one of the many that I make and that, either have no meaning or, have too many! I, of all can make no sense of what I doodle! However, that day I did not notice that the son was observing me doodle. He did not say anything and, I was oblivious to him being aware of my act. And, the regular mother in me resumed with the advising, pleading, coaxing, shouting, yelling etc……. My regular days with my son be like —–

“Study! Study!”

“Read aloud what you write! (A little nudge on the shoulder) How many times should I tell you?”

“WhAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? HOW ON EARTH CAN ‘EE KI MATRA’ (Hindi) BECOME ‘uuu KI MATRA’? DON’T YOU LISTEN TO YOURSELF WHEN YOU WRITE?”

“+ MeAnS ADDITION! – mEaNs SUBSTRACTION! PLEASE……PLEASE…..Read, Understand and then DO!”

“What. Are. You. Doing!  What pleasure do you get in digging that pencil into a brand new eraser? Does Money grow on trees? WHY DO YOU HAVE TO DO IT?”

“Arjun! Where is your small water bottle?” (Which I find is now, a cave for all the crawlies and creepies that coexist with us peacefully…As per Arjun it is the snake Agasura and, all the creepies and crawlies are Krishna’s friends! If I say I am at my wit’s end, it is an understatement!)

“Arjun! Where is my kitchen scissors?” (I found the kitchen scissors in various stages of dying as I collected its mortal remains – the blades and the hold….from the garden…Well, the scissors was forced to cut down some strong branches which were later to be used for making a bow and arrow – as per the son! I got a new one which is now used for origami work thankfully!)

“Arjun, please keep the shoes on the rack! Please put that tiffin box in the sink! And, why have you not drunk all the water? You must drink a lot of water!” (On some days, I can hear an echo of whatever I speak. Trust me, he repeats my statements with emotions and expressions that make me go – “OMG! Do I really look like that when I speak? WOW!”)

“Arjun..read aloud! Focus! Concentrate!”

…………………………………..And, the list of my reprimands is endless!……………………………………………

So, after his exams got over, I felt as though I had won a gold medal! That feeling had more to do with – Pre kg! You are done! (Son is going to first grade this year) And no, I have not gone near any books since his exams have got over. Neither has he. But, something caught my eye some time back, a few days after his exams got over. That image made me swell with pride and, well with tears! Remember, I just spoke about some abstract design I had doodled while I was preparing his question papers. The son had drawn out his variations of the same on the same page with the same pen I had used. (The doodle on extreme top left is mine, the other two are his)

Arjun and me

This image was a revelation in parenting to me in many ways that can barely be expressed in mere words.

Today, I took a pause from my daily routine while the son is enjoying his holidays. And, I thought – I have to make the best use of this pause. And what better way than to introspect? Now the above piece of paper with the three intangible doodles made me realize why being an adult actually sucks and, no wonder it feels like being chained by archaic rules and protocols of which, many don’t make sense to me yet. The little Narayani within me smirked at me and, questioned – “Are you even practising what you preach? Why do you ask him not to doodle during study time when you yourself are not able to hold it back! He has your genes, woman! Believe me, let the chemistry in those magical genes work and, you will see a rising genius!”

Ever since the exams have got over, I have allowed the son to do what ever he wants. Though some of his recent shenanigans in the park have already diluted my resolve and I am secretly wishing for his school to begin again, I am also as a matter of fact, proud of his profound questions, thoughtful trances before the simple answers and, his endless trunk of tricks that he saves for priceless moments!

The other day, hubby had asked him –“What do you want to become in life?”

Pat comes the reply – “I want to be a community helper” (He had a chapter on community helpers in his UKG)

So, I asked him – “Which community helper you want to become?”

D….O…..C…..T…..(E)….R”….DOCTOR! The ‘e’ was later replaced with an ‘o’!

Hubby was clearly enjoying the conversation and, further asked – “OK. Which doctor would you like to become? Like, do you want to become an Army Doctor?”

The son thinks for a while and says – “hmmm…..ok….Yes….”

I was folding clothes then and, added my opinion – You better be a good one then!”

Son was lost in deep thought…..and hubby patted him on his cheek and asked – “What happened, son? Planning to change goals?”

To which, he replies candidly “No pa! I want to be a doctor. But, I also want to become other community helpers like tailor, carpenter, gardener, cobbler, milkman, postman, soldier, policeman…..” (and, he named every community helper in the world!)

Smiles, giggles and perspectives come from such conversations. I added – “Well son, in that case, you better become an actor! You can take on all the roles you mentioned!”

Well, I said it! I realized, I said it in the spur of the moment! On a lighter note, it sounds funny now. However, did I really mean it, given my contempt for the kind of films, our Cinema is giving us??

The question itself was a Eureka moment for the guilty mother in me. Rather, I found the answer in my own question and, I have the faith in his destiny that he will be the mad bull for his goal and, will achieve what he wants in life!

Recently when we were visiting a few friends, I met a boy who was appearing for his boards. While the conversation hopped from one topic to another seamlessly, I asked him what was his stream of interest. The answers came, crisp and clear but not from the son. Every answer that came for every question was from the mother, who began the sentence as – “His interests are so and so….So, he wants to pursue this and this….” The boy has been raised excellent and yet, he was silent every time his mother answered for him. As a parent, I feel a child must always answer from the bottom of his heart and, no person must fetch those answers for him. Anyways, to each, his own.

Thoughts of a child, they say are the treasure troves where even a mother cannot enter and take a peek into. I am learning that now. When the son doesn’t want to share something with me, he doesn’t. And, I don’t prod. I am glad that he has a space where he can be himself with absolutely zero inhibitions. I also have my world of thoughts where, I reign supreme. I am the queen in my world of thoughts and, I revel in the power those thoughts

That said, I cannot remove the guilty mother from my personality. I am going to be the fussy mother, the confused mother and the nagging mother who wants to know everything about the son as he grows up, about his friends, about his girlfriends, about his heartbreaks, about his crushes, about his games, about the million secrets he intends to keep from me. He will get annoyed with me. He will also learn to dodge his CID mother! There will be times when he will also call me up less. But then, he is my son and, I remind myself each day of my life that he carries the many traits of hubby and mine and that, the fiercely creative combination of the fire and water that we are, he will learn the tricks and trade of growing up beautifully.

Besides, hubby and I constantly remind ourselves from time to time – “Allow him to make mistakes. Let him take the fall and rise! If his heart breaks, let him heal by himself. If he faces failure, let him fight it himself. You brought him into this world. Now, let him evolve by self, just like your creators let you!.”

In that absolute faith, I am sure that there will come a time when hubby and I will share the same kind of friendship with our son that, we share with our own parents today 😀

On a lighter note, my parents at the moment have every reason to grin ear to ear and, sit back and enjoy the many CID episodes this guilty mother will be sharing on this blog!

Shhhhhh………………………………………………………………………………………………………

shsh

 

This is how home work gets done from a five year old’s perspective….


You feel like the exhilarated Usain Bolt when your child finally finishes his homework! And, you know how hard the test of patience gets when a work that could get over in a matter of minutes drags on for hours with major chunks of time fillers that comprise of story telling, Nat Geo tit bits and, on seeking answers to why the king is not as powerful as the queen in the game of Chess!

This is one of the regular days from my life where I learn to master in the subjects of patience and perseverance.


mm1

Me: Arjun….today you have to write series 251 to 300.

Arjun: Mmmm….I know…..

He gets ready for his homework and I am already in a cloud thinking mode – “He finishes the work. I get the grocery stuff. Then, there is the laundry. What will I make for dinner? Dalia should be good!” And, quips my son in the middle – Make maggi no! Oh yeah, I realized my cloud thinking was actually loud thinking! I sternly look at him and ask him to start writing.

Time 3 PM

Arjun: Mum! Is the pencil sharpened well?

Me: Yes dear…now start writing….say aloud two hundred and fifty one……and write….

Arjun: ok mum….

The marathon has begun.

The series marches up to 255 and, the first speed breaker arrives….

Arjun: Mum, I was thinking…….why is our tulsi plant not growing straight?

Me: (Wondering how ‘in the name of Lord’ did Holy Basil jump into the marathon) It needs sunlight no….plants tend to seek sunlight for their growth…..(Knowing where the conversation would lead to, I tell him)…ok! now where were you? 255….”

Arjun: oh yes! (the series continues)

The Math train is moving smoothly until the train decided to halt unexpectedly at 259…..because his highness, suddenly recalled a NatGeo moment!

Arjun: Mum…I have a question….why does the mother lion hold the cub with her teeth? Won’t the teeth hurt the cub?

Me (remembering my mum’s advice on patience and perseverance have started saying to self – keep calm…keep calm….) – Hmm…see…the mother lion i.e the lioness holds the cub in a way that the teeth doesn’t hurt her cubs….just like when I squeeze you sometimes out of affection, does it hurt?”

Arjun: No… (comes and hugs me!)

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Me: Same way, lionesses cuddle their cubs like that….now where were we? 260……

Arjun: oh yeah….260…..

45 minutes had passed………. in the series 251-260……

And, I pray to all the Gods I know – “Please! Please! I will narrate all the stories about you on weekends…just don’t let him get distracted now!”

Perhaps, God smiled and appeared to have listened to me….

The Math train caught pace….the series continued with zero hiccups until 269 arrived!

Arjun: Mum! Do you know Arnav, my friend?”

Me: Yes darling, the one who eats chalks and chews pencils!

Arjun: Yes! You know what he did today…..

Me: Arjun….why don’t we finish the series and then, we will have ample time to talk…..

Arjun: (looks at his notebook…counts the pages to be done…..) Mum, so much is there yet….if I start writing now…it will go on till night…when will I sleep?”

Me (me dreading..if the home work session was really going to drag that long…shuddering at that thought): You just keep writing….it will get over…just like how time flies when you play badminton or watch motu patlu……

Arjun: ok….. (just begins to write….270)

And then….

Arjun: Mum….dont interrupt me when I say something….I was telling about Arnav……

Me: Ok….what did Arnav do today?

Arjun: Mum, Arnav got punishment today….he was made to stand outside….

Me: That is bad. What did he do?

Arjun: He was spoiling the desk….drawing on it…..and then, he also keeps running around in the class while the teacher teaches.. and, he spills food….and…..

Me: hmmm…

Arjun: ….and mum, today he got punishment….he went out and started playing on slide and swings..then the teacher pulled him back and made him stand inside the class facing the wall…

Me: ok…… so, do you want to get punishment too, so that you also go and play around? (with a stern look)

Arjun: No! No! I am a good boy in school..I don’t even get up from my seat unless I am asked to.

Me: hmm…..so can we now go beyond 270?

Arjun: yes..yes….

30 minutes have passed since the last 45 minute lapse……

And, with some respite from distractions…the series continue…..271…..272……………….279…….

Maids are blessings! But not when she rings the bell at such an important time!

Arjun scoots off to open the door….and candidly calls out – “Mum! Geeta Aunty has come!”

Me: “I know, Arjun. I could have opened the door. Now, please sit and finish your work.”

Arjun: “Ok! 280….281….282…283…..284….285….”

Some sounds from outside….Arjun runs to the door….and calls out to me – “Mum! Monkeys on our porch!”

Me: “Even better the reason for you to come back and finish your work!”

Arjun: “Shhhh….Mum! see, there are monkey babies too!”

Me (trying to look through the thin tissue curtains.. and find a couple of monkey mommies taking a siesta on our porch with one of them on the chair)

Arjun: “Mum! Take a photo!”

The maid smiled. I obliged….

Arjun: “Mum! Share it with tatha…paati…NOW!”

I relent!

Another 30 minutes had passed by…….

Me: “Now, can we proceed?”

Arjun: “Ok! Ok!”

The series pace up….286….287…………290….291……………295….

Arjun: “Mum! You know what happened while we are coming back in the bus?…..”

Me: “ARJUN! Only 5 numbers left. Finish them and, I am all ears! PLEASE!”

Arjun (sad face): “But, what if forget what I want to tell you after completing my home work?”

Me (now, in a consoling mode): “Don’t worry! I will remind you!”

Arjun: “But, what if you forget to remind me?” (now the sobbing mode commences)

Me: “I promise, I won’t forget!”

Arjun: “No….you will forget……” (the crying continues……)

This is followed by rolling on the ground, facing the wall, walking in circles and, finally in a prostrate posture under the bed and, all included crying his lungs out…..and shedding buckets of tears! (if only tears could have solved water issues in the states out there)

The crying goes on for another 30 minutes and, I have no clue whatever happened….

Finally, I ask him calmly – “why are you crying? I did not scold you. I did not spank you. What just happened?”

Arjun: “I FORGOT WHAT I WANTED TO TELL YOU!” (and the sobbing goes a notch higher!)

I get up. Walk towards the fridge. Open the refrigerator. Pull out the vanilla block ice cream, put three scoops in a bowl and place it in front of him.

The crying stops. The tears dry up quickly. He wriggles out from under the bed. Sits on the chair and has his ice cream.

After he is done, I ask him“Now, do you remember what you wanted to tell me?”

Arjun: “Mum! You keep on distracting me when I am doing homework. I want to finish my work. Please don’t disturb!”

296…297….298….299….300…..

I put my hands in the air! I am at the finish line! Only, I felt like the damn tortoise after more than 2 hours!

After he went off to play, I grabbed a couple of cushions and, lay on the floor allowing its coolness seep in and, looking at the rotation of the ceiling fan….. Just as I was beginning to revel in my ‘alone time’, Hubby enters with a bang, looks at my frazzled look, raises a brow and asks – What happened? All well? Why are you on the floor? I need a cup of tea!”

I look at him in the eye and, he comes near and smiles – “Can I have a cup of tea, Narayani? I like it when you make it.” Then, he makes me sit with him and he continues… “I guess, Arjun’s home work sessions have taken a toll, no….You see…don’t get angry..He is a kid….speak to him calmly….Have you seen how I deal with him…” This advising session goes on until the moment I realized that I was fast transforming into a huffing and puffing five foot three inch grizzly bear! Run! Run for your life!

But, my human form filtered the animal instincts – “Karthik! Don’t. Even. Begin! If you ask me anything now – even a glass of tea, you will be taking responsibility for Arjun’s homework from now on! I want to be alone for five minutes!”

Hubby disappears from the scene the moment Arjun’s homework came into picture!

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Dinner was vegetable Maggi prepared by hubby darling. Such dinners make life so beautiful……When I look at the men in my life, I feel blessed, notwithstanding how they drive me insane. And yet, I love them insanely…with all my heart, might and life…to the moon and, back!

mda

GOD BLESS!!

P.S: When I narrated this to my parents over phone, I for a second thought they had clutched their stomachs and rolled on the floor laughing!

Mum – “Welcome darling to the test you put me to in your childhood!” and,

Dad – “That boy is a rockstar! And, tell both the boys that they have my full support!”

A chronicle from the 1960s.


Kindness is God’s way of telling you – “Hang on there! Hold on to that flame of hope and, trust me with all your faith. You are just a wee bit away from crossing that burning bridge!”

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Circa 2002

That year although was the beginning of my dream to fly, it did have more important reasons to be remembered for. Because that year was not just about finding my wings, but it was also more about the empty nest syndrome that hit my mother for the first of all times.

empty nest syn

My parents have in a very amazing manner, balanced walking the tight rope of parenting. At any point of time, one of them would be as cool as a cucumber. However among the two, I remember my father having predominantly played the cool parent as compared to my anxious mum. But it all changed once my twelfth grade ended. Mum wanted me to go out of the state and study. Whereas, my dad who had helped me give countless entrance exams wanted me to stay within the known realms of the state. Finally, I joined a college in a place that was three hours from home and, it made all three of us happy, for different reasons though. Talking about Mum, she was prepared for the part, that I was leaving for college. However, she wasn’t prepared for the part that came later,“A home that was deafeningly silent”. In months that followed, I could sense her leaning towards depression. We couldn’t talk much during the first week as I was yet to have my first mobile. Standing in a queue to speak through the payphone was the only option and, given the fact that there were many like me, it was impossible to have a decent conversation. Yet, I managed to visit home once or twice a week. She was vocal about my absence and, I for one did not know what could ease her pain.

A few months passed. And one day, I got a call from her – “Hey! You know our neighbour’s daughter – Chutki. I am planning to teach her Maths.” Oh yes! I remembered my lovely neighbor Pinki Aunty’s beautiful daughter Aashka who is fondly called – Chutki,  who was in class 7 then. The enthusiasm in my mum’s voice was the answer to her own pain. In that moment, I felt it was God’s way of showing the way.  A couple of years later, she was teaching 5 – 6 children, a variety of subjects like Math, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and sometimes, History and Civics too. Having handled and mentored a difficult child like me, she was so much at ease handling and teaching the other kids in the neighborhood. She had found her happy place. But what made me more proud of her is the fact, she taught purely for fun and, not for money. When I asked her what made her take tuition for free, she narrated a beautiful incident from her childhood and, it has stayed with me forever.

This is as narrated to me by my mum:

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Circa 1969:

“There are times when you are lost, when you are blinded, when you are overwhelmed by the feeling of having been left in a jungle blindfolded. And then, all of a sudden a stranger takes your hand and leads you the way from darkness to light. That stranger at that time, is God to you.”

“I studied in Muncipal school till class Seven. And you know how those schools are. Not much was taught. All play and no work was the deal. And then, when I reached class VIII, my father put me in Avinash Lingam School of Coimbatore. I was enthralled and at the same time scared when I saw the sprawling campus of my school that also had colleges pertaining to various disciplines. While I was still mesmerized by the ambiance of the new school, my father led me to the principal – Hema Prabha Maam. She looked at me in the eye, wished me and then said to my father, “She has to pass an entrance test. Only then I can confirm her admission.” The entrance exam contained questions of all subjects in English and, I came from Tamil medium with very little knowledge of the language. It felt as though I had landed in a foreign country. No, I did not know English well. And, I did not attend any question in any of the subjects. However, I did write a poem that I was taught in the earlier school. Later when I was inducted, I asked my father – “How did they take me in such a school when I did not even know a single answer to a question?” And he said, “Seems you did not leave the entire paper blank. You wrote some poem in your paper. What has impressed them is the fact that there wasn’t one grammatical error in that whole poem and that, your hand writing was beautiful. Anyways, you are in a good school now. Time to shine and make us proud!”

I adored my father and I missed him a lot. Mostly because he was in a job that demanded transfers once in two years. Hence, we (my mum and my three siblings) were stationed in Coimbatore whereas, he was moving around making tough adjustments in life to provide us with a good comfortable life. And so, I was determined that no matter what, I would not fail his expectations from me.

However, the first day at Avinash Lingam had already decided to challenge my verve. I reached my class and, I saw myself surrounded by girls who were taller and far stout than me. Yes, they were clearly intimidating as their body language said it aloud – “What is a girl from a Municipal school doing in our school?” And just as I thought about the way I was to get ragged, our class teacher Rajathi Maam appeared. She was the first kind soul I met in that school. She introduced me to the class and, vice Versa. There were occasional mumbles and jumbles that were laced with giggles. That day felt like being choked! I did not understand a thing! And, I felt like a misfit! Besides, the feeling of not being accepted in a place where you have just landed as a newbie is not a good feeling. A few days passed.

Since, I had joined a month late in the school, I was advised by Rajathi Maam to take down the missed notes from someone in the class. As I went about asking, I noticed that there were cliques in the class – the toppers, the sports players, the fashionistas and, the average ones. I did not fit in any of them as, I was as blank as a clean slate. As for the notes, I did not get much help as none that I asked was ready to lend. Many wouldn’t even speak. So, just as I felt that the new school is a big mistake and that, I was letting my father down, a long hand with some notebooks came forward. I looked up and saw a girl smiling at me. She said, “Hey! Take my notes. You can return them once you have copied them down.”

Her name was DP Usha Rani, the second kind soul in that class. I remember her vividly and, I remember the name. My happiness knew no bounds as I thanked her profusely and, promised her that I would return the notes ASAP. That whole night, I sat and copied the notes down. I returned the notes next day as I had promised. Later I learned, she was one of the few secluded toppers who was unaffected by cliques. And, she was my inspiration to learn. I wanted to become like her.

It took me three months of sheer hard work and determination to come within the top fifteen ranks in the first quarterly exam. And that determination sprung from the one and only fact that, someone in that class was kind enough to help me in the first week. I could not let that kindness down! When the results came, everyone including the teacher was surprised pleasantly. As for me, I was thankful to God for helping me in that hour of need through that kind soul – DP Usha Rani. Needless to say, not only did I earn respect, but a few good friends later.

Coming to Present……

Do you know why I am narrating this incident to you? When Chutki arrived for her tuition on the first day, I saw myself in her, a girl who needed help but was not getting it. She clearly felt lost just like I had, in the year 1969. And, it was like lending a ear and hand to a version of myself. And within a year, when she eased herself in tuitions, I discovered a very intelligent girl within, who preferred to reach the depth of a concept than, simply reading it for a test. With her, I felt more connected with myself when we went through the brainstorming sessions of understanding subjects like Math and Physics. And even though she is stark opposite to you, she reminded me of your school days too! It gives a great inner peace in helping someone especially when you realize you have been through a similar phase in life.”

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As I look back, I realize how times have changed. Yes, in the schooling years, mum and I have had countless differences and arguments, given the fact that, I was a rebellious child. Today, we chat as siblings, shop together giggling over our idiosyncrasies and, watch every cookery show together. And, when she narrates about her childhood, I feel ecstatic about chronicling them. It is like taking a peek into the 1960s and, wondering how life was both easy and difficult in different ways as compared to the present. And yet, we have a lot to learn from the yester generation. And the one thing that I learned and, importantly  what propelled me to write this post was – “Kindness is rewarding. Always.”

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GUEST POST ~ Kindness is rewarding. Always.


This is the second guest post on my blog. And I couldn’t be happier! Because, the second person to grace my blog with a beautiful write up is my dearest friend Swapna. We met as room mates in 2007, while we were working with an IT firm in Pune. And, with time blossomed a beautiful honest and the most comforting friendship between us. Oh yes! We have had the craziest times together – Let’s say – Been there, done that! Isn’t it Swapna?

Today, she is a mommy to a beautiful doll and, she has written about how working from home is a blessing to her. Her write up shall inspire many mommies to avail the work from home option. And, so am sharing her post here, with her permission 🙂

————————————————————————  There are ample reasons to thank my stars for this beautiful destiny. However, I have more reason to thank EnHao and John Ybera for giving me the support I needed during my pregnancy.

When it dawned on me that I was going to bring a life on Earth, I was ecstatic. Words cannot fill in for the beautiful emotions that overwhelmed me when the news came. However, I was working full time then and, there was this teeny weeny bit of nagging in the back of my head – “Would it be possible to work full time at this juncture? Will I be able to pace up professionally post the birth of my child? What might be the challenges ahead?” And, I love my job. I knew I couldn’t quit even if I wanted to. Because, each day at work spell bounds me with the new things I get to learn. And then when the pregnancy happened, it struck me about how I was going to cope up in the office and, on the home front too? Living in Singapore is amazing and yet, not a cakewalk as the never ending household chores like cooking, working, traveling, cleaning, ironing etc..consume the time at home too. And this, supposedly was difficult at a time when I wasn’t exactly in the pink of my health during my pregnancy. Meanwhile questions about working nagged me in a tiny corner of my head. Apparently, I had stopped thinking about how my career was going to shape up at a later stage. And, the health woes continued. So did some worries about the working schedules……..

And then, Samaira came. When I saw her for the first time, I was blown away by God’s miracle. All worries had left me. And it was in that moment of epiphany when I went under the knife for my child and had a C-section,  all the jitters were done and dusted away. Samaira has made my life so much worth living. A child is like the precious little gift from God and, there has not been a moment when I had not prayed for my baby’s well being during the pregnancy. Be it while traveling, while cooking and even while having some alone time, my focus went back on how I could bring my baby healthily in this world. And, I did!

She is few months away from her first milestone of turning one and, I look at her and feel like singing –

Ten little fingers and ten little toes,

2 little ears and one little nose.

2 little eyes that shine so bright

And, one little mouth to kiss mother all the time!

One look at her drives away all my worries and anxieties. I have not completely recovered health wise and yet, my baby gives me the most comforting sensation. I am aware of the fact that my office leaves have got over. So, now what? Should I take up a full time job by leaving my baby with a nanny? If I hired a help, my mind wouldn’t be at peace while I worked in the office. What if she searches for me with her doll like eyes? What if she wants me to nurse her? What if she needs my warmth to be put to sleep? Or, should I quit? But wait, aren’t there the work from home options? And that is when, I called up John and placed my humble request………………………………………………………………………………………….

And, I am still working. I am working from home. I cannot even begin to imagine what it would have been like if I were to face the painful dilemma of working full time or, quitting the job completely. But then, I am fortunate to have met people like EnHao and John Ybera who empathized with my condition and, allowed me to work from home. And, with a family that appreciates the fact that I chose to work albeit the health challenges and, with an adorably supportive spouse, what more could I ask for?

As for EnHao and John Ybera, I am giving you my word – I shall never let you down. May your kind increase. God bless…

By: Swapna Gokhe Arya

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P.S: This is the gorgeous angel for whom so many people came together, worked out conducive options of work from home options for the adoring mother and, succeeded in working it all out! 

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My Mini human and I ~ Tales from Motherhood


There is a saying in Tamizh – Tan kayiye tannaku udavi! Meaning – You are the best person to help yourself. Given that hubby is out for work, the task of washing the car fell on the soft supple shoulders of yours truly! In fact, the look of the car had not caught my attention until one of the drivers around casually commented – “Memsaab, aapko gaadi pe cover chada dena chaiye!” And then, the neighbor rubbed the salt on the wound – “You need to do something about the car.” It was as though I was receiving telepathic waves of caution from hubby dearest who had entrusted his beloved four wheeler in the care of a chess addicted compulsive blogger wifey darling!

 

And, I turned around and looked at our silver dust colored Ford Figo! For a second there, I almost believed that the colour was grey! I instantly called up hubby about a quick run through on the simple car washing instructions. After a barrage of advice on how cleaning the car is as important as driving it, he shared the quick guide to car cleaning.

No soap for the time being.

No cloth to be used.

Splash water from the bucket with force (No pipes as water had to be saved).

Use newspapers to wipe the glass clean.

That should be good for you to go!

And, I began my work. While I had just splashed the first mug of water, I heard a small splash beside me. Arjun, my preschooler son was standing right next to me, with his small mug and with a mischievous grin that shone through his eyes. It was as though he had been waiting for this moment. I happily allowed him to do his bit. And, I wondered how much he drives me insane with his antics through the day.

For instance, sample the conversation below:

Me (after his school): How was your day?

Arjun: Look there, it is a gypsy!

Me: Yeah, I see that. Nice! So, what did you do in school today?

Arjun: Please don’t give me so many bread slices. I couldn’t finish my tiffin!

Me: Hmm…..ok……

————–A momentary pause—————

Arjun: Good!

Me: What??

Arjun: I said my day was good!

So, you get the drift! It is comical and magical at the same time, how as a mother, I have become not just his mentor, but his friend too. For instance, when he plays with his toy cars, he gives me the smallest one and asks me to race it with his. Mind well, I am not supposed to win! Right! How can I?  These are the moments that swoon me over and, all my irritation disappears in a jiffy. However, that balance doesn’t last for long! The next moment, he would be his usual self turning the home upside down! Then, days like today happen. I was super proud of him as, our partnership in the car cleaning project worked great. I was just beginning to revel in the happiness and almost,  pinched myself hard for having being harsh towards him lately for not doing his work properly and, for the ruckus he triggers at home. Well, my son caught my sense of pride! So, he looked at me, slid back through the door and emptied the bucket of water in the hallway, wet his shoes, washed them and, left everything wet and scattered. Sigh!

A part of me fails to understand how ladies manage to keep their homes so spic and span with two kids. And I with one, struggle to keep my sanity levels from collapsing when it comes to maintaining a flawless housekeeping schedule. Hubby frowns when the order of the home is disturbed whereas, I have come to believe that homes with children are not meant to be museums! Anyways, this perspective totally deserves a separate post!

And after a long day, my son sleeps soundly. Perhaps, he is dreaming about how the great goatherd king Krishna defeated Agasura and how, Hanuman put Lanka on fire! I look at his fingers that are curled into a paw. All that mischief, all that getting clothes dirty, all that jumping on the bean bags until the beans pop out, all that spraying of water all around in the bathroom, all that playing around with the cutlery, all that cluttering of folded clothes and much more, becomes trivial when I plant a kiss on his forehead only to be answered by a ‘mmmm’ with a hug.

If I have ever come close to feeling God’s marvelous creation of the human mind, I can recount countless instances when I have felt in the constant questionnaire my son throws at me. Like –

“Why wild animals need to hunt down deers and beavers? “

“Why snakes like Cobras eat their own kind?” (Courtesy – NatGeo)

“What do ants eat?”

” Why do people get old?” (This question popped up when my mum was explaining to him that she and granddad have grey hair because they are getting old.

“Why is the moon white in colour?”….et al………..

Innocence of a child and his questions indeed bring you closest to God’s presence.

As for the housekeeping thing, I need to chill out, keep the housekeeping business aside and enjoy the questionnaire while it lasts. After all, my sonny boy is growing fast. Can’t miss out on the fun, right?

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“Dear son, wishing you all the happiness and success in life. May you get the best teachers, good and trustworthy friends and, mentors who shall teach you to lead! Mum and Dad love you to the moon and back! Stay blessed always, son! 🙂

The small world of space and freedom.


“Children are NOT robots!”. I could sense a disappointment in my father’s voice as he explained to me the flaws in my parenting approach to make my son listen to me. Well, my son is one of his kind. As much as he is compulsively disobedient to me, he is impulsively obedient to my hubby. Be it, eating or sleeping or taking bath or any task for that matter, my son leaves no leaf un-turned in making the daily rigmarole superlatively exhausting and demanding. Well, my mom remarks, “Boys will be boys! They trouble moms because they love moms like none other! So enjoy!” It is easy for her to remark and move on, as she raised a daughter (no easy I was but difficult in a different way). Also, she is a granny and she made it very clear from the beginning that her sole purpose in life now on is to pamper her grandson silly! And so, here I am learning, unlearning and relearning the art of parenting, my own way.

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There are endless moments of sternness, yelling, cajoling, coaxing and all the unimaginably funny methods to bring the toddler on the same page as the parent. But there are definitely a few lessons I have learned until now.

“If your child is taking a fall, don’t stop him. The most important lesson you can impart to your child is, learning to take a fall. A child knows how to rise again only if he falls and then lands on his feet and that too, by himself. Independence and self confidence at an early age helps a child interpret success the way he or she should……”

To read the complete post, click here.

Parenting with the strictness quotient


Raising a child is the most precious experience, albeit the most challenging one too. There are worries, there are never-ceasing-to- grow whites on the head, there are sleepless nights about the planning of child’s education and then, there is also the seamless joy in watching your child blossom and evolve with time. However, there are times when not everything your child does, make you happy. As a mother of a three plus year old, I have realized that, some amount of austerity is crucial in aiding with the right kind of growth. And, I am a strong believer in the adage: Spare the rod and spoil the child.

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These days, Internet is rife about how children should be raised. Forums on every social networking site are flood with parental guidelines. A lot of mothers discuss parenting issues, where instances of children under performing in school but performing well at home, or children being too disobedient or following an erratic routine or even, unhealthy food habits and irregular sleep patterns. My mother thanks God that there was no Internet in her time. She chuckles, “Who had the golly time to discuss all these issues? We had no choice but to be self-educate ourselves”. I feel , she definitely parented in a different time and not to mention, a better time too!

So, here is my take on how strict we need to be with our children.