New playmate for sonny!!

The morning was super hectic. I was thanking my stars that it was a holiday for my school. We had to attend the orientation programme in A’s school, then buy his books, stationery, school shoes for both A and N…in simple words, spend a lot of money on their education. Then there were some errands which had been pending for over two weeks, and today had to be the day when I wanted to tick off points off the the To-Do list on the white board kept in my kitchen. You have to see it on a Monday morning. The white board looks like a war zone. There will be things written in red marker, and then a few in blue marker and ofcourse a few in both red and blue markers…after all they are the most important of all, you see.

Anyway, the point is that we were all haggard looking by the time we reached home. A, especially was super tired or B-O-R-E-D in his words. N, obviously slept like a queen on her dad’s shoulders and then mine, while we were ransacking the shops for just the right bag, books, stationery and shoes.

He was walking here and there looking for something interesting to do. Now this is a very edgy situation for me. The moment he starts getting bored, I bear the brunt. “Amma, can you find something for me to do?” “Amma, what activity can I do now?” “Amma, are you even listening to me!!”

I ran for cover into the kitchen trying to keep my aching feet at bay and finding respite in cleaning a decently big cauliflower I bought today. And God bless! What I found was truly a blessing. Let me share a picture.

Yup! It’s a worm I found inside the cauliflower. Sonny was super excited to see it, and asked whether he cold play around with it. I said okay in a jiffy. Only one rule: Please don’t squash it!
See his face….:D

I have to say playing with slimy creatures like this one definitely is one way I think children can connect with other living things, or nature. It also puts away fear. This is coming from a person who really cannot put up with the sight of any reptile. Moi, the great gets all shaky and freaky.

The worm seems to be pretty content being ‘not’ mis-handled by a 7 year old.

And this is a shot taken by husband-ji. Yeah, even he got fascinated and came up with his super camera. 
And this is N. She was screaming every one minute, out of a mix emotion of over-drama + fear + excitement . She finally got tired of herself and sat in the corner of my kitchen while her brother was venturing out with nature. 

So this has been my Saturday like. So, next time when you find a worm inside a cauliflower, please invite your child to have a word with it. It will surely not be uninteresting. Whats-say? 🙂

Ring the Safety Bell before the cat gets you.

Since the time the young girl in Delhi fought for her life, soul and self respect, many women (and men) have cried with her and for her. I also cried, but more than that I also wondered, did our political and justice system really require such a nauseating, gruesome and inhuman act to wake up? I felt a blow on this very system when yesterday I read in the newspapers that the case file papers on this particular rape incident is missing! Am I even supposed to have faith in the judiciary? And why are we just talking about this issue only? There are rapes which are more or less of this intensity happening all over our country. Delhi case got reported and thus came into limelight. Many rapes go unreported and are they thus not happening? Laughable! What a pity!

As a woman, my peace of mind, safety and self respect has been threatened million times over in the past 33 years I have lived. Eve teasing, filthy remarks, bad touches, dirty looks, sickening smirks, I have faced it all during my growing up years, sometimes even today, when I am married and a mother of two. The thin, fading line between all the above and rape gives me jitters.

All said and done, what now? What is it that I can do for myself and for my daughter? What can you do? Or rather, what should we all do to combat the fear, the insecurity, the inability to wear what we want to, the fear of going out at 10 pm at night to buy an ice cream or pack of bread, just because some insane guy is out there?

Change and charity starts at home. What I believe that can bring upon changes on a micro level is pretty much do-able and practical. It all starts at home, within our families and society. Let me share two of my experiences to put my thoughts under perspective.

I come from sadda Dilli, where eve teasing is as easily available as gol-gappas (sadly). During my college days, I have across many creeps in the form of lecherous men.

Once, while travelling by a DTC bus, a guy had been lurking behind me for a long time. No, I was not wearing any skimpy clothes or skin tight jeans, (for all the decency police who are reading this post). When one of this particularly pathetic move made my self esteem jolt out of the blue, I started searching my bag for anything which I can use against him. There it was! A safety pin. True to its name, it came to my safety. I poked him with all my might. I didn’t know or care where the pin went in and what it did to him. But the bugger moved away in a jiffy. I did not even bother to see where he went or who he was, because I was shaking because of a mix of fear, thrill and the feel of tears welling up in my eyes. I came back home and after narrating my experience, was welcomed by my father’s words: “Serves him right. You did the right thing.” The shaky feeling inside me finally stopped.

The second incident happened when I visited my hometown: Kerala. Now, being God’s own country is all fine, and being the highest literate state is also an awesome thing, but this is one place where men are considered the mother of all.
My family and I were entering a newly opened mall near our ancestral home. The place was extremely crowded and I was wearing jeans and a T-Shirt. Yes, I guess I was one the extremely rare ones to wear a jeans and a T-Shirt about 17 years back, in a mall in Kerala. A guy came in from my back and did the unthinkable to me. Unthinkable and unexpected, because I was with my father, mother and cousins. Imagine his guts, in this case stupidity! Humiliation, sickening feeling, and a yuck-ness all over me, I spun around and slapped him hard. It was meant to hit him on his face, but I still remember feeling his neck on my palm. The guy, instead of reacting, simply walked away. I did see his back, but not his face. The shaky feeling came back to me. My face was red and hot. All this was witnessed by my mother only, as my father and cousins were well ahead of us. Amma was shocked and asked me what on the earth had I done! Finally we were back home, and when I recounted what had happened to my family, yet again I heard my aunt, uncle, cousins saying: “Serves the bugger right. You did the right thing!” The shaky feeling left me.

More incidents followed, but not as impacting. But I have learnt my lesson. What I have learnt, truly works.

1. Forget about the system, the judiciary, the helplines, the police and the third parties. Let them work or not work. But do your thing. Think about your own safety. Carry a pepper spray, a safety pin, a small foldable knife or anything sharp and don’t hesitate to use it.

The next two points are to parents:

2. Teach or don’t teach your kids dance, music, Vedic maths, swimming. That’s your choice. But teach them self defense. Any form, any self defense art. This holds true for boys and girls. For one, it gives self confidence.

3. Don’t tell your daughter to wear loose clothing, or not wear her favourite top or jeans. Tell her that it is okay if she does something to protect herself. When she comes back home and shares a bad experience and what she did to the creep, tell her that she did the right thing. She DOES NOT have to get used to molesters and eve teasers.

4. Listen and act upon when your child is telling you that the ‘uncle’ touched her there.   It does not matter that the ‘uncle’ is your best friend or your brother or a father to two kids. In this case, there is no second chance. Your child will never ever trust you again if you ignore the first time. And that is bad news for you.

Next point is for the schools and other educational institutions.

4. Sex education, self defense, strict action against bullying, ragging and eve teasing. I have studied in a hostel, away from home. People who say ragging helps you to know your seniors and peers. Go take a reality check. There are coffee shops and basket ball courts for making friends. Any complaint has to be taken seriously.

5. Lastly, get real, get practical. Is the walk alone on a deserted road or park really necessary at 10 pm? Do you really have to take that drink from the hot new guy at the party?  Can you ask your friend or a family member to pick you up after the late night movie or party? Ask yourself these questions before actually doing the thing.

Each of these points are do-able and must-dos. None of these require permissions from authorities or the Government. It can start at a micro level and can reach volumes and make our homes, schools, colleges, public transport, parties a better and safer place to be in.


Was it Mother’s Day yesterday?

Yesterday was Mother’s day. I saw everyone wishing their mothers, sending messages and status updates on FB, Twitter and the likes. I did not do any of this. It was intentional yet unintentional at the same time, if you know what I mean.

This post is about how my day went yesterday and the highlights of a day spent beautifully, in not a knowing way. Yeah, that’s the best part. The day just took its own sweet course and by the 11pm, I realised what a meaningful and lovely day it finally turned out to be.

The day started with my maid coming pretty late. We were supposed to leave home at 10:30 and my maid turned up at…yes, you are right…10:30. I was a disaster. The last thing I wanted when I got up was leaving a mismanaged and messy home before going for shopping and lunch. Thankfully, my other guardian maid (Yes, like guardian angels, there are guardian maids too in my life.) turned up at the same time. She happily offered to take care of the home, finish the work and lock my home, while I could spend some money and gorge on some yummm food.

After shopping which BTW went pretty well, I got whatever I had in mind and Amma happily paid for that. Now see that is one of the advantages when you have your Momma stay with you. She surprises you by saying, “Leave it, I will pay for that.” at the cash counter.

The lunch was at Fisherman’s Wharf. This is one of our favourite restaurants. It is the one the best places in Bangalore where kids can have fun by themselves while we can chat and eat away to glory. And the food is a definitely a super hit. Till this point of time, I honestly had not thought that it was Mother’s Day and it was supposed to be special. Did I miss telling you that the other day, M and I were discussing what a marketing gimmick is to have special days and make people spend more and more.

The moment we settled ourselves, the restaurant guys came and told us that there are tattoos, face painting, drawing competition and free buffet for kids, and apart from all this, kids could make mocktails for their mothers. When I asked them the reason for the specialties  they gave me ‘the’ look and said, “It is for Mother’s day, Madam.” I was like, “Oh ya, sure it is.”

Ab to photo banta hain:

Sonny is always super excited to do anything with cooking, and he grabbed the opportunity to rush to the counter to make the mocktail for him…oops for me. Needless to say, the tail a.k.a N also followed her big bro.

The kids received shell necklaces which they happily wore around their necks while they ate and played thereafter.

The food was delicious and we laughed crazily seeing how much we ate!

We came back home and we all did what we strictly follow as a ritual in our home. A nap to digest all the food we ate.
But this time, while M snored in flat five minutes, I was left wondering do I really need a day to show or project my love and meaning to my own mother?

The last one and a half years, if there was one person who had been constantly in my mind, was my mother. Our constant endevours to make her feel protected, safe and never ever alone, after my dad passed away, has been relentless and continuous.

Today, all that has been fruitful. She now stays with us. The kids are beyond happy. I am relieved as they off my back and my neck…and my hands…my legs….everything. She is teaching my son to read and write Malayalam, a task I have allotted to her. After 9 years, I finally don’t have to cook and eat the same food. She has very clearly told me that she needs exercise and daily chore assignments, which roughly translates to the fact that she could be cooking evening curries for rotis. And I also get to eat hot, crispy dosas made by Amma. HOWZZAT!!! I get to have longer evening walks coz I know the kids will not be alone at home with the maid.  I get to massage her neck and head, and M gets her to massage his head. I still get my head massages ‘outsourced’. I am wondering why…Hmmm. The pros are many.

Ofcourse, there are hiccups at times. As much as staying with us is new to her, it is new to me too. M keeps putting sane thoughts into my head when I mess up. Thank you M for being the husband you are.

Mother’s day, Daughter’s day, Father’s day….I have lost count. What is important is just one thing, amidst all this sham. RELATIONSHIPS. Life is all about relationships. Nurture them the right way, and you will reap the yummm fruits all life long. Keep weeding them regularly. And you will get the right people around you in a way you want and will work out the best for you.