Friday, December 12, 2008


Almost every time I am greeted with her dour expression and it always takes me by surprise, sadness and a strange helplessness. Almost every day it spoils my mood too. The voice inside me screams out to yell and react but I manage to curb myself. Let me tell you this, counting up to 10 or wringing a wet towel doesn’t help in alleviating the anger. It shifts focus, true but the emotions linger on.

On ‘bad’ days (read that as PMS time, imbalanced moments), I am at my meanest best, sarcasm laden voice et al.On those rare ‘good’ days I actually ignore it all and carry on with whatever I am doing. And I manage to put that dour look away into one of the many compartments of my mind hoping it will resolve on its own.

And it actually does.

I see the dour expression shift into a total sour mood. This is followed by a silent phase and what seems to me like total withdrawal. You know the ‘leave me alone’ phase or ‘I have lots to do’.Through this transition of moods I hear snatches of conversations with friends and laughter. I wonder if the mood has dissipated or if it’s just reserved for me.
Motherhood and its privileges!

It’s the end of the day; ‘things’ (read moods) seem to have settled down a bit.
There is a smile perhaps which makes me venture forth with some inane question (the timing and choice of the question has to be right)...and soon I am greeted with some tidbits of sharing.

Bed time or nighttime, I feel is the best time to bond with ones children. Older children don’t need stories, they need ears to listen. I have learnt not to lecture or sermon. I have learnt not to immediately spark up and say, “in our times things were different” (they were different, everyone knows).I have learnt to listen yet not ask too much because it is then that all the outpourings happen...spontaneous,heartfelt,tears,litany of complaints..all of it.

I have heard the maximum amount of sharing and pouring out of angst from my teen at night just when I am about to log onto to check my mail or settle down with a book. The questions are many and to me so simple but when one is a teen I think everything to do with friends seems complex and irresolvable.

This is a wonderful yet challenging phase for me as a parent, raising a teen who needs me around more and a 7 year old who has special needs of her own.Well, by the time the 7 year old is a teen I would be an expert in moods...

I wish for more 'happy mood’ days

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Random thoughts again

I am waiting to see how I am going to handle D's surgical procedure this time..her 5th in the last 4 years.I know what it entails but each time I feel different.This time round I feel more relaxed and flowing although the underlying stress remains.Blame it on the maternal quirks.This time round D is also fearless about it.She told me she fears the anaesthesia more than the actual procedure and its discomfort.

D isn't here with me now.She decided to travel with her Nana-Nani in advance to Bombay and this is the 1st time she is away from me for 3 days.I get calls from her interspersed with a 'I love you Momma' but I sense she is enjoying her space away from me as much as I am.

Our home feels different without her.It suddenly seems quieter,tidier but too calm and serene for my liking.I am used to her laughter and squeals,the sound of her sandals as she comes stomping down the stairs loudly.I am used to my daily good night kisses and hugs from her.
I am also not used to having so much time on my hands.I had plenty of time to even indulge in some retail therapy and spending time on the computer today. Has motherhood absorbed me totally,in such an overwhelming way ?

But yes I got to spend great time with my precious older one A.I felt a sense of well being and contentment yesterday because A and I spent time just talking-about school,friends,books and a lot of stuff we hadn't spoken about in ages.I didn't cook,we ate from out and chatted and I actually played games on mini clip with her.She had to help me out many a time :).She finally told me, "Ma you are more relaxed without D around"! Definitely some truth there.She is wise for her age,my older one.It is like she is a double persona-the child in her and the growing woman in her , a beautiful blend.

I have redone the guest room to accommodate D with her cast and the therapies that will follow soon after.She will have a lot of school work to catch up on while recovering but that is something she and I are both looking forward to...playing games,watching TV,listening to music and reading books and going for walks-she in her wheelchair (will be a new experience for her and for me too ).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Joy of playing

Children can be unknowingly cruel.It took me a while to understand that especially after D's birth.When anything deviates from the norm,they can be cruel in their ignorance.Do we need lessons on how to accept something or someone who is different from ourselves?Do children need to understand that from their parents?
Skating classes have commenced recently in the place we live.D hasn't joined the class due to her limitations although it is a sore point with her.The teacher however insists she come and watch the kids skate and play the games post skating.Yesterday was one such day when D joined in the games.She was happy and excited about it as she is on most Monday's and Wednesday's.It was a running relay race and D was leading one line and a small boy the other line.The instructor asked the kids to join the lines but no one wanted to join D's line.The reason was obvious.No one wanted to lose the race .I saw the kids crying and even stomping their feet on the ground adamant about not joining the line.All because they would not win.
A part of me went out for D,not because she was my daughter or that she had limitations.She remained blissfully unaware that the children were throwing tantrums because of her being there.She never understood that her limitations were being perceived as a disadvantage by the other children.And there was a sadness in me seeing the children so focused on winning ,so totally focused 'only' on winning that they had forgotten the simple joys of just playing a game for fun.
For me D was way ahead of the rest.Not only was she delighted about the whole game and taking part in a relay,she did it with total joy despite stumbling and falling.She reached the finish line with a loud 'yeeeaahhh'.. while the rest of the kids sulked and ran.
There are times when I wonder if I will ever stop getting emotional about her and her experiences as she grows.But then A always tells me-'Toughen up"!!.I haven't yet.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


I baked today....finally! After some 11 months,I actually felt the urge to bake.So 2 batches of brownies it was.And what a wonderful way to unwind.I have had a rough 3 weeks with A not around and have been caught up in the routine of daily life and constant rush.No maid,bleary eyed morning 5 am wake up and frayed nerves almost everyday.

I had my dinner and then decided to bake.The kitchen was clean and quiet.The girls were up in their room with their books and music and I loved this me-time ..alone,humming and enjoying every bit of the baking process from mixing the ingredients to tasting them as well :).No noise,no bells-just peace.
Soon enough the aroma filled our entire home and the girls were most curious as to why their constantly harried mom had decided to bake late at night.They usually don't worry where I am or what I am doing as long as I am at home.But today was different.Two puzzled and yes,hungry faces looking up at me very sweetly.They not only devoured half of the first batch ,they were longingly looking at the second batch as well.

I now know how the fragrance of freshly baked warm brownies can soften the hardest of hearts and cause instant mood changes from sad t0 happy.
Excellent form of therapy it can be!
Now am left wondering why do I feel so full-perhaps all that tasting...

Saturday, September 20, 2008


I attended a workshop on Animal Assisted Therapy(AAT) for children with special needs at D's school today.I had heard about it and how it can help not only children who are challenged but also normal children and adults who are lonely or depressed.However this was the first time I actually saw a brilliant presentation on it and how it can positively impact children who need non conventional therapies such as these.It was moving to see the 'before' and 'after' videos of a small boy who was silent and non communicative in the before stage and after 15 weeks of AAT he was transformed-a totally different child-smiling and conversing with the dog,cuddling him and responding to questions.What struck me were his eyes,lifeless and dead in the 'before' stage and in the post therapy 'after' stage they were filled with life,curiosity and wonder.Animals heal I know because they do not judge ,criticize or label you.They are aware and alert and love unconditionally.The animals used were ordinary dogs who had been trained for this purpose.Even cats and rabbits are used to help children who are fearful of large dogs.I am keen for D to start this and to expose her to ATT .I know the power of animals in healing those wounds one cannot heal oneself .

Sunday, August 10, 2008


How does it feel to kiss through a veil?
Where we can’t see each other,
and nothing is revealed.

Like a shroud we wear it, hidden
from the rest of our world

Yet a closeness I can sense
as our kiss unfolds.

How I would love to see your eyes
and caress your skin.

Yet the passion of your kiss
I can feel within.

I don’t know who you are
or what is it that you do?

But you will always remain
my ‘veiled’ kissing stranger,
Till we bid each other adieu.

Written for a fortnightly theme on 'Star crossed lovers' for Shakespeare & Co writers network on Ryze

Monday, August 04, 2008


She took over our lives by storm. She arrived as a baby on June 7th when I rescued her, injured and wet from under a palm shrub. All I could see was a small black furry ball like creature with its mouth wide open. She didn’t win over my heart immedietly, just that my silly maternal instincts overpowered me. And I decided to get her home. A newspaper lined shoe box was quickly arranged for and the little fledgling had its first home and family with us. I was clueless as to what to feed her and I was certainly not going to start searching for worms. Two kind friends gave me some great suggestions so she had her hourly feeds of mashed rice with milk. I stayed awake the night for her just as I had done for my two kids. It was like going down memory lane. I suddenly felt very responsible for her and maternal love flowed unashamedly.
She is now almost 8 weeks old and has a name Chirpy. She is still small but has a beautiful crest and plume (the red shades are now visible) like all robins do. She responds to her name and converses with me whenever she finds me sitting idle on the verandah cane chair. She is like a typical child, sulks when scolded and hides when she poops on my shoulder(my poor sodden t -shirt).She knows how to express her love beautifully and makes up with me by hopping onto my shoulder and quickly scurrying towards my neck and pecking my ear lobe ever so gently. Talk about knowing how to express love!

Wonderful lessons she has taught me. Thanks to her I just sit back,relax and enjoy my garden. When she was a baby I would take her for long walks under the fruit trees and shake the rain drenched leaves. She would twitter away happily and I would squeal with the shower of rain. I would let her be on the freshly mowed grass and I would sit with her on the grass in my best clothes regardless of the mud, slush and worms.
She would patiently sit through my yoga class watching over me without disturbing me and would fall asleep with the Om chanting.My time spent with her is the most carefree time I have had in ages.

August 4th.
I just returned from a trip to Bombay where Diti and I had attended a workshop. I took Chirpy along and what a well behaved sweetheart she was. Throughout the car journey she perched on my shoulder. And she is trained enough to get off my shoulder and poop on the paper napkin I had kept at a safe distance.
We got back yesterday and after the narrow confines of the Bombay apartment she flew into our garden twittering. She had chocolate milkshake with me and some vegetables and flew out to play again. She never came back. She usually does return by sunset after playing close by but this time she just disappeared.
I hope she is flying somewhere-the free soul that she was but then that is a reassurance I cant have faith in. She was just too small to fly high yet. Perhaps she died. What a heartbreaking feeling it is and I miss her terribly, her birdsong and her gentle presence on my shoulder through the day. Thanks for touching my life Chirpy and giving me two months of your unconditional love.
I love you

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Impromptu venting

Why does poor customer service always get on my nerves? Not just my nerves, it just gets to me totally like very few things do. I actually see RED.I have to stop myself there and then from giving a long speech on the importance of a customer and what good quality service can achieve. Sadly I never stop myself.

I am no perfectionist but I hate being served a lukewarm hot chocolate when the menu reads “Hot Chocolate”. The chap at Coffee Day served me just that –a luke warm hot chocolate and I was having one after ages. Something I wanted to savor and relish right from the first sip. I took a sip and there it began—this feeling of being cheated. I returned it with a request to serve it hot but then when it arrived the charm was lost.Aaargh !!

I opt for a large branded store which I assume would stock a variety of lingerie since the shop is so huge. When I arrive, the store is filled with numerous attendants but none in the lingerie section. I look around for help and it seems to me the staff refuses to catch my eye. Perhaps they veer away from the lingerie section. I cannot think of any other plausible reason. Finally some help arrives after 10 minutes, albeit with a reluctant blanked out look. And I eagerly tell her my size and requirements that are simple and no frills(I mean for my lingerie).She sizes me up and shows me hideous padded ones in midnight blue and shocking reds and believe it or not leopard prints. I didn’t ask for them, I tell her. She tells me that these are all they have. Damn! I see red again, hold myself in check and politely walk away. I ask for the head of customer service (if there is one), she isn’t available. I tell the staff who is looking most uncomfortable, “The service here is pathetic. You need to streamline your operations” and I say it all straight-faced with not a hint of the anger I am feeling. And before I can complete what I need to say (I do have lots to say by then), the lady starts apologizing profusely. (How does that help I wonder? I still haven’t got the bra I needed. Fruitless trip! Except that the anger has not only hit my nerves but my poor brain as well).I am left wondering who wears bras like those. I guess there must be takers since that is all they stock.

At a restaurant where the children and I are having lunch, I chose a Tandoori Roti and the girls ‘Naans” along with their side dishes. The food arrives after a good 45 minutes though we are the only patrons. No worries. I am willing to wait over an animated conversation with the kids. The food Tandoori Roti looks exactly like the Naans that the girls are eating! There I go again. I call the chap who has taken the order and ask him whether he got the order right about the Rotis. He happily and nonchalantly says, “Yes Madam, yours is the Tandoori Roti and theirs is the ‘Naan’.I ask him what the difference is...“they look the same”. To my horror he tells me ‘Madam, There is no difference between a Naan and a Tandoori Roti.The Naan is a little bigger that’s all”! Huh!!Now if anyone has ever eaten aa aan and a Tandoori Roti, they would know that there IS a difference. But he is firm. And I chew down the thick bread wondering why if the darn Naan and Tandoori Roti are the same; the restaurant has it listed separately in their menu.
When the chap arrives again to ask me if I wish to order more Rotis, I look at him with a raised eyebrow (I actually managed that) and tell him,” You were right earlier. Not only do they look the same, they taste the same-like leather’ (ha ha ha...He slinks away so sheepishly that I don’t catch a glimpse of him until we leave).

And all of this leaves me wondering. Am I demanding or expecting too much? I have been told my previous job has made me set high standards for service and that I am too sensitive to small trivia like this. But I feel like screaming that this isn’t trivial or small. It means a lot. Maybe it is to do with me. Or is it Pune? Or is that Bombay has spoilt me for other cities? Well I know as I spend more time in this city that now feels like home, the answers are bound to unravel.
Here's to a more chilled out laidback ‘Me’ and no more ‘poor service’ experiences(fingers crossed) :)