Monday, December 12, 2016

Mommy Diaries - 6 (Of Death and after ) !!

Death can have a really profound impact on you , always. I don't know why this has been happening to me , but I have been reading too many books these days where somebody is terminally ill or dies. Durjoy Dutta , my goodness you have a really impactful way of churning things out. I am sure you saw death very closely.

Anyways , coming back to the main thing , I have been discussing about death recently with my little one. Over the weekend , there was an unfortunate sudden demise of a very young person whom we knew ( not very very closely but yes , we knew her and my daughter met that person once ). While the husband was away tending to it and helping people in the situation , we knew a common friend who was very close to that person. And that common friend is a very good friend of my daughter.

I wasn't planning on having this conversation with Mahati but eventually I had to. I wanted to be honest with her on what was happening and the stress daddy and her common friend have been going through.

I told her , "Chinnu , do you remember the other friend who played with you ? you remember that person was very close to your common friend ? "
She said "Yes mamma , I remember her".
I said , "That person died chinnu , there was an accident and she died and that's why daddy has been out the whole day trying to help the people and that's why your common friend , who will come to our house in an hour is going to be very sad. So , I want you to understand that and not disturb that person , okay chinnu.".
She said , "Okay mamma , really did that person die , ohhhh" and then the voice trailed off.

I didn't understand what went on in her mind but it was a discussion for later. I was happy that I was actually treating Mahati as a whole responsible person , respected her and told her the truth in possibly the most simple way. She has the right to know.

Later , during bed , we talked a lot. About death!!
She asked , "Mamma , what happens to people when they die? ".
I told her , "They go to God Chinnu and they don't wake up anymore."
She asked , "Mamma , do people who die go to poo and pee ?".
I told her , "No Chinnu , they don't. They don't move anymore and they don't wake up."
She said , "Ohh!! okay. What will happen to that person in the night mamma , like tonight ? now ?".
I said , "Nothing Chinnu , that person is with God now and remember , they don't wake up anymore."
She asked , "Will God make her again ? During Day and Night ?".
I said , "Yes Chinnu , God will make her again in some other form."
She said , "Caithlin is my best friend mamma. So when I die , she is going to be very sad".
I said , "Yes Chinnu. All your loved ones will be sad. Just like how our common friend is sad".

With that trails off our conversation. I am still not sure if Mahati fully understands. But we are getting there. I really believe that children should know what death means very early in life , so that they can appreciate life better.

Chinnu , if you are reading this years later , I would like to know your thoughts ra pandu....

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sunday Afternoon Musings

After a really really long time , I made this for my kiddo. Well , it wasn't out of choice that I actually started it. The husband and the kiddo were struggling for a while trying to make sense of the beads and make a necklace out of it and completely gave up after a while. Then the onus was on the poor mamma to come and help out. So after I had my lunch , I sat down to make a small bracelet for her. And whoa , the rest is history. There was no stopping me for the next one one hour. I was completely engrossed in my own world , counting the beads , making permutations and combinations in my head and creating it all the way. The best one hour that I completely enjoyed.

And the best part was the kiddo exclaiming at my performance with a "mamma , you are so good at this :)". Well yes , I am :). At that moment , I was like a super woman for my daughter who just accomplished the impossible. Its amazing how much inspiration we are to our own kids , overwhelming sometimes and scary at times.

Well the bottom line is , I should be doing this more often.Now with the kiddo being all grown up , I really hope I rediscover my childhood hobbies and relive them.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Mommy Dairies - 5

Dear Daughter,

I want you to remember the date yesterday. Because I really want you to remember how brave you have been yesterday. Really and quite literally. Several years from now on , when you read this , I want you to remember this.

You are one of the bravest people I have ever seen in my life. Quick to move on from any situation and not let it bother you much. Well , that's how you make it look. Don't really know what goes on in your deeper mind. Yesterday you had an appointment with the dentist because one of you upfront teeth in the lower jaw was infected and you were complaining of pain the whole weekend. We tried to look for a dentist who works on the weekend everywhere , but this country , pheww , we found no one. So there you were at the dentist office along with your daddy. Mommy was at work , blindly believing that all will be well and the teeth wouldn't need to come out. But mommy got a call from daddy at around 10 a.m and his voice was worried. Both the front teeth were rotten and they needed to be taken out as soon as possible , because your permanent teeth were already ready deep down in the gum and we couldn't risk infecting those. You cant imagine my panic my baby girl , I literally dropped everything and ran to come and be with you.I was so worried about how you would take the pain. I know what it feels as I also had to get a tooth out when I was a child and still keep battling with that "filled n" permanent tooth. By the time I reached , you were sitting on the couch and drinking water. I instantly hugged you and I was really praying that I take that pain instead of you. They tried giving you some laughter gas to create a illusion but you resisted a lot. So , they gave an oral syrup to calm you down and probably get you to sleep. But you resisted and didnt want to sleep for a long , long time. You knew that the moment you slept , something was going to be done to your teeth. So you didn't sleep. Clever  you , really. Such a fighter you are. After almost 2 hours , you finally gave up and slept. But the moment we took you to the chair where the doctor was supposed to see you , you woke up and resisted with eyes closed. Every part of you was aware of the stress and they just couldn't give you the injection to numb your gum. The other doctor was talking to us that the only other option is to give you anesthesia and was talking us into booking an appointment later in the week , but the actual doctor came in and asked me this. Should we just take e chance ? Its only going to take about 20 seconds to pull both the teeth out , so should we just go ahead and hold you down and just get it done and save you all the trouble of that intravenous sedative and all that.

We couldn't see you struggling my baby girl and we knew that it would be a lot more trauma to come back again later. So we just went by and held you down and go the teeth out. I am so sorry dear baby girl that you had to go through that. The procedure affected me and your daddy more than you can imagine. We were visibly shaken and I couldn't sleep that night.

But YOU were so brave. yes , you went through it without any sedation, but within an hour , you were calm and wanted to move on. You just wanted to go out and play , even though you haven't eaten a morsel of food in the last 4 hours. So we let you be and sent you to zoo lake with Maggie with a flavored yogurt. By the time you came back , you had a smile on your face , my baby girl. That's the first smile in the whole day and my heart was really relieved. You were so brave my baby and mommy is so so proud of you. Remember to have the same fighting spirit always. There you go , a pic of the teeth that came out. That night you put it under your pillow and went to sleep. And the next morning , the tooth fairy had replaced them with small presents :-). And today , you are just fine and all set to go to school. When Maggie came in , you were so excited and showed her what the tooth fairy gave you and you kept blushing that taking off the teeth was such a good thing to happen !

Dear Amma,
I really understand what you truly meant in every sense , bit by bit with the experiences I have with Mahati. The constant concern , the constant nagging and the constant rules , I never understood them before. But now I understand them , all of them and the feelings behind them. It is so true that the respect for your mother becomes only better after you have a child of your own. I really never understood the dramatic movie scene dialogues that you used to throw at me( us in fact ) , asking me to come home early , asking me to be careful and looking at me whenever I dress up. You are never open enough to show how much you loved me and always love me , but now I understand the thousands of feelings hidden in your looks and behind each of your constant bragging :P ;-). I am only able to understand it because I have a child of my own.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Karn of MahaBharatha

From my childhood  , I have always known and talked about the story of Ramayana. But somehow Mahabharatha was not quite clear. I mean , as a child I probably couldn't exactly understood the numerous plots and enmity etc etc portrayed in Mahabharatha and too many characters you know !! Very difficult to remember.

But when Star Plus was showcasing Mahabharatha and then eventually the story of Karn , I and Ravi thought it is a good idea to watch. Well , at least I don't need to read the whole  fat book :). We starting watching and it was quite interesting. You know , its like , in Ramayana you see the positive side of relationships , so you feel like having siblings and a close knit family. But in Mahabharatha , you see the exact opposite. Such hatred between cousins and siblings and countless plotting against each other. God , it can be exhausting but it is more close to today's reality.

I was particularly fascinated with the story of Karn. If you know me , I have extreme sympathy towards people who are in need and there you go , Kunti leaving Karn in the river was enough for my focus to drift to Karn. Such a sad start and an unfortunte thing to happen , no ? So much of talent !! In my eyes, Karn is greater than even "Dharma Raju" for all that he endured and had to face. Talent wise as well , Karn was higher and stronger. He also believed in "Dharma" and especially equality because he hates the way he and his foster family get differentiated from his childhood. Talent doesn't matter , it is the caste that you are born that matters. If you are not born in the right caste , so many opportunities are denied and you are already judged no matter what you have to portray. I was very surprised to see Bheeshma Pitamaha and Dronacharya being so biased. Of course these are just my observations. The fact was that he was always an odd man out and always a victim of these inequalities. So , the urge to fight back was immense and it makes him look like a "Rebel". I feel that there is no other person who was as talented and as kind-hearted as Karn but because he questions everything bad that happens in his community , he is termed a rebel. Keeping mum when things are not going according to the plan can be easy but fighting back is so difficult. It takes away our lifetime to swim backwards to the current of the river.

I always wondered why Karn had to die at the end. Lord Krishna helps Arjuna and saves him from Karn so many times. Why ? The only answer that he gives Karn before Karn dies is that he was on the wrong side. He had been a very loyal friend to Duryodhana , to the extent that he could not see atrocities of Duryodhana and was blinded by his pure friendship towards him. But I still feel that it is injustice towards Karn and he did not deserve this bias or what he endured in his life. Kunti knowing that he is his eldest son doesn't budge and express her love towards him. He never ever gets pampered. he always had to fight the whole of his life and in return gets nothing. Just because he was on the wrong side , he had to answer for his Karma. This was so depressing to watch.

I feel so much for only this particular character probably because I strike a chord with him. Some people have to keep fighting always even to get the minutest of things in life and for some people , everything falls into their lap as a blessing. Why is it like this ? Its like , in this world , fighting for the right thing is always wrong. People just don't appreciate it. Sigh!!

Ganesh Chaturthi 2016

This time , we welcomed a family of Ganesha's to our home as per Mahati's request :). Fortunate enough to have continued this tradition of making eco-friendly Ganeshas from the last 4 years.  There is something so therapeutic in creating things with your own hands. It can get you to such a high that even alcohol cannot. Excuse me , I don't even know what it is to get high on alcohol , it was just a casual comparison okay ? First I made one and left it for drying. And then from inside of her cupboard Mahati brought out a small Ganesh which I made last year in one of her pottery classes , which she painted after it was baked. And this was our baby Ganesha. So now , she had a Daddy Ganesha and a Baby Ganesha and only the mommy was missing. So she persuaded me to make the mommy. So , I,  like an obedient child listened to her and made exactly a mommy , keeping in mind not to be make it bigger than the daddy and slightly bigger than the baby.

When we look at it now , it was such a novel concept. Welcoming a family of Ganeshas :). I am amazed at the way children can think and create things. If not for her , I would have never understood that a family of Ganeshas should contain only Ganeshas , because from our childhood we are conditioned that Shiva and Parvati are the family of Ganesha :). Well said , no :).

This day is also special for another reason. Mahati started going to school on the very same day 3 years back :). So grown up , she has become. Only one thing , she just doesn't stop talking ;-).

So , here goes the pics this year.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Meaning of God !

I have always had this agnostic relationship with Idol Worship. Since we are brought up traditionally and culturally , it becomes a habit to sit in front of that idol god or gods or goddesses and pray , but otherwise God has always remained an unknown super natural power in my mind. For me , the super natural external power that controls us is GOD. I don't know if he is inside us or everywhere , but for me, whatever that we cannot do or control even if we want to, resembles GOD. You know , the power that controls a ball to only move downwards when thrown up  , people who understand Science might say , it is gravitational energy. Well for me ,that gravitational force is GOD. Why do things happen only in a certain way even though we want it to happen otherwise. That is GOD.

There have been many instances in my life where I wanted something , but I got something else and eventually I realized that the latter was better and how foolish was I to have wished for the former. Yes , this has happened and a lot. And the only way to explain this is the external force/power that governs us.

For me , the "Pancha Bhootalu" or the 5 elements of nature ( the wind , fire , water, sky and earth ) is GOD. We went to the beach in Durban for Easter and had a very nice time playing in the water. The whole time that I was in  the water , I couldn't help but be very aware of the force of the ocean and the power of the waves. How can anybody challenge this force. WE as human beings are nothing in front of this force. Its a very similar analogy to when someone gets caught in fire or in a tornado. WE have no control over these forces that govern the earth right. As Human beings , the only thing that we can see and touch is this earth and probably the only thing we can see is the Sun and Moon. Do we have control over them ? No. Then how can anybody not believe in GOD ? Did we come on to this earth just like that ? If you have actually seen a mother give birth , I am sure you will agree that it is no less than a miracle. A baby who has lived in the water for 9 months suddenly comes out and starts breathing air.  This for me is GOD.

Its okay to give this force or power a form and workshop it in the form of a Shiva or a Allah or a Jesus. But again , blind faith and extremely conservative behavior is something that I don't strike a chord with. I will get this only if I break 100 coconuts in front of Shiva , I will attain salvation only I go to Mecca. I don't believe in these kind of things.

For me , GOD is the everyday air that I breath , the everyday energy that we can never control.
When you leave something out in the universe , it comes back to you. I believe in this. I believe in surrendering to this power and nothing else.

Monday, August 29, 2016

This and That

You are liked by everyone until you become competition.

I can't agree more. In fact , this is so fu**ing true. Oops , sorry couldn't hold back from saying it. I think that I have a serious issue with being social. My sun sign says that I love interacting with people and people are my strength. But why is it so difficult to find somebody who matches your interests and can be a little honest with you. Why is this world filled with opportunists and what is with the faking everywhere. In the past few years , I have never found anybody who strikes a chord with me , its not that I haven't tried. Sad , isn't it. In fact I have gone above and beyond in making friends. May be that was my mistake. Husband says that you can only make friends if you choose to ignore some of their qualities. How can I compromise on the core moral values of a human being ? I am better off being single than make friends that way.

Whenever the husband watches TV , I get really cross with him and ask him , don't you have anything better to do ? For that , the only answer he gives me is that he is an average individual and a commoner and likes what most people in the world like and not like me with the rarest kind of interests that I have. Really ? Sometimes I wonder , is trying to sleep on time , respecting other people's time and in turn expecting them to respect mine , doing some introspection , staring out of the window for hours, art , music , a little bit of spirituality, speaking the truth and wanting to do something really worthwhile so wrong ? And dont for a second think that I am praising myself. These are the same qualities that are becoming my "cons".

I sometimes ask my parents why am I like this. Why cant I be okay with imperfect things and mediocre stuff. Its like God has created me with an intention of making me fail , in this big bad , imperfect world. Wherever I go , I face the same challenges. People don't like it when you are better than them. And then of course the "gender-bias". How can this "woman" achieve more than me or rather shall I say , "How can I let this woman achieve more than me". This is more on the work front.

I really love this ad from Titan on Gender Bias.
Change the way you look at a woman's success.

I really miss those college days when I had a few ( but very good ) friends with whom we used to share everything and laugh our asses out and forget the world. The older you become , the more necessary it becomes to have good and trust worthy people around you. Otherwise it feels so lonely. And for a person who relies so much on peer acceptance , I am not really sure it is such a good idea.

May be you really need a very big heart to accept people as they are. But what about reciprocation and stuff ?

I almost sounded like I am suffering from a "Mid-Life Crisis". Sigh!

Rakhi 2016

This time Mahati is much more aware of what Rakhi is all about. Initially she insisted that she will tie a Rakhi to all her female friends as well. We had to slow her down and explain to her that this is not something that you tie to everybody ( made a mental note to celebrate friendship's day next year and make her tie the friendship band to all her friends ) and that it is special and needs to be tied only to her brothers and pray for their safety. She eventually understood ( though she did buy 2 rakhis for herself ;-) ). Just after Mahati was born , on her behalf , I used to send Rakhi's to all her cousin brothers around the word. A tradition that I continue even today. You see what motherhood does to you , I can forget my own brother but I will not forget to send it to Mahati's brothers :). Hope my brother is not reading this ;-).

Anyway coming back to the tradition. So this time , she chose all the Rakhi for all her brothers and I showed it to her before placing them into envelopes with their addresses. The only tragedy was that , I posted them a month ago , but they didn't reach until today :(. Some broken hearts out there. So, I am asking my mom to buy and give it to them on our behalf. Screw the postal system of South Africa :(.

Here , she did tie the Rakhi to JJ and Ethan ( actual brothers of Caithlin and Isabella ) who now officially or traditionally have become Mahati's brothers :). Look at these cute pics. I ensured that she followed the Haarathi before tying the Rakhis. Cute little fellows :). Spiderman Rakhis and chocolate coins.

Gearing up for Mahati's first Ballet Concert

We are gearing up for Mahati's first Ballet Concert. It is such an amazing experience.The youngest group in the school. I am actually quite impressed with the way things are done in this Dance School. The kids and the parents are given ample amount of time and notice to practice and prepare for the final day. It all started 3 months back where parents were given enough notice of the show dates , rehearsal dates which included rehearsals at the school and the rehearsals on stage which were open for us to go and watch.  It's not about how best the kids will perform on the stage , but it all about this whole experience of going through each bit of it. First of all , following the instructions and learning how to move and perform. And then , its about facing an audience and remembering what was taught and trying to do exactly the same. And then its about watching the older kids perform and learn from them. And then , its also about their new cute little outfits , make up and lipstick. I can just keep going on and on. I learnt so much from all this. Remembering all the dates and making time to go and watch them practice , and then compiling her costume , hairdo , makeup etc etc.  I don't have any experience in doing make up at all , can you imagine. And it was for the first time that I bought a red lipstick , especially for Mahati.

I am really blessed that she is able to continue her classes and we have a Nanny who can drive her to the practice class and then back home. I and Ravi did make an effort to take permission and go watch her practice sessions. And yesterday was her full dress rehearsal at the Theater just one week before the actual performance. It was such a overwhelming experience for me , to firstly see so many cute kids around , all dressed up in their own costumes. And then , we had to leave them there for the duration of around 3 hours all by themselves. Again , I am blessed , because Mahati and her best friend Caithlin are in this together and we at least had the comfort that they are together and can lookout for each other. We went to pick her up at around 5:30 PM which was the time given to us and the show had overrun for a while and we got to watch some of the performances. At the very end , there was a session where all the kids would run to the stage in groups , one by one with their names on a big banner , bow down for the audience and form a line. Mahati's group was the youngest of all and that means that they were the last to arrive and the first ones in the entire crowd right in the front. And that mean we could watch them all along. Finally the whole group would perform a small tribute kind of a dance called "My name is Prince....".

Seeing Mahati on stage was such a happy experience. The fact that she was just standing there , (whether she danced well or not was immaterial ) was enough and I really felt that this feeling is so worth all the hard work we had put in, in the last month getting everything ready and in order and taking her for practice sessions ( even on a public holiday ).

I really started admiring the whole culture of these dance schools and the way they prepare for these annual performances. I really wish I had this kind of childhood and I feel that Mahati is so blessed that she is able to experience all of this. God Bless !!

Eagerly waiting for the actual show day. More pics to follow then :).

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Old Habits Die Hard !!

I sometimes really don't understand how people change or adapt so easily. Well , 'adapting' is in a positive context. But the word 'change' can have so many meanings. So let me explain what I meant.
How can you change into something that you have not been so used to from your childhood ? I have always felt that , no matter how much we try to change at a later stage in life , we really tend to go back to way of doing it when we were children.

For example , from my childhood , I have been brought up wearing Indian wear and most of the teenage life has gone past wearing the most common dress in India which is the salwar kameez or the kurtis. Even after 8 years of relocating from India , though I wear formal wear to office , I really crave to wear a kurti now and then.If I am in my formal trousers for 2 days , I certainly choose a kurti on the 3rd day and boy the comfort that I get. It is almost like the feeling of comfort that you get when you land in India after may be a year long of staying outside. The feeling is irreplaceable. And no matter who thinks what , my comfort clothes still remain a salwar kameez and a kurti and proudly so.

But I see so many people who were actually raised in India very similar to wearing what I wore. And then , when they go abroad ( whatever be the reason , study , work etc ) , I see people changing completely. The poor kurti doesn't even have a place in their wadrobe. They do a 360 degree turn in the way they look and behave and act differently. How ? While I agree that people can be different and might want to try out new things , this is not about trying new things. This is about adapting to something very different and actually making it their skin. I really cant understand how people (who have worn salwar all their lives until a point of time ) can suddenly start wearing only shorts and skirts and be completely okay with it and behave as if this is what they were waiting for. Its mostly about the attitude that I am talking about. I am not against trying new things and liking them. No that's not what I am saying.

The same goes with having a bindi on my forehead. I just cant imagine myself without it and I have a certain amount of pride when I wear it , especially to office because it represents that I am from India. But then , I see that so many people are just waiting to get rid of it. Why ? If you have been fighting all your childhood to get rid of it and your parents didn't listen to it , then I understand , that the minute you had the independence , you did what you always wanted to do.

The more I interact with people from outside India here , the more I get a feeling that they do definitely agree with me. Some people really ask me why people from India don't follow their traditions and are not proud of them. Why don't we flaunt the saree or the kurti in front of others here and be proud of it ? The white and the black people here have their own traditions and are so proud of them. They have been brought up in a certain way and they have absolutely no problem continuing the same.

As a matter of fact , one of my friend asked me if I would like to join Mahati for a Ballet class. She has done Ballet all of her school and college life and spoke so passionately about that art and why she wanted her daughter to continue. Why don't we show the same amount of passion or seriousness in continuing our traditions.

I had one of Mahati's friend's mom come over last week and she was amazed with out India masala chai and said we must really make sure that Mahati also drinks this tea because otherwise this tradition is lost here and there is no one to take it forward. She is from China and she really regrets that they don't drink their chinese herbal teas anymore and how they are losing this tradition more and more. Something as small as drinking Indian tea is like a tradition for her. I was so amazed with her observations. I wish , we took our stuff seriously too.

I really admire Rujuta Diwakar in this aspect of "Think Global Eat Global" concept that she has. She really stresses on our grandma's recipes and how we should preserve their way of cooking and eating and continue it and why. Because it has so many benefits to it.

I am not really against trying new things , but I am talking about becoming a completely different person and behave as if you were born and brought up with it. Just my point of view !!