Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Couch to 5K

Struggling to beat a horrible sore throat, I had to see my doctor twice last week. And get weighed on scientifically correct weighing scales. I am still in denial over my weight - it varied from 141 to 145 pounds. When I was full term pregnant, ready to deliver with baby R, I had weighed 146!! How is it that, 3 years since, I weigh the same !! And no baccha in my tummy at that :(

I kept telling myself its all that muscle I gained from running in the summer, but one look at R's birthday video where I viewed my enormous butt, which my salwar kameez which should generally mask everything and anything failed to hide, I have accepted the truth ! I am fat !! And I will turn into a fat 32 year old auntie if I dont do anything about it...

Then read this post of Broom on time about the Couch to 5K bloggers challenge :) and decided to join !! Yay!! This should give me the motivation required to work out daily!! Plus it helps, that I am taking days off till the end of the year starting Xmas eve....

So I have dutifully bookmarked the program's link and plan to run day one on the 24th :)

In other news, I have a new job - my coasting days are done, now I am flung in this big bad river where I am struggling to keep afloat, I actually think about my job in my dreams and at random moments at home. Thats a long forgotten feeling but its also a good feeling, it makes me want to wake up in the morning and put on my zillion layers of clothing and go to work....

Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, December 7, 2009

New beginnings

I am already beginning to feel positive about this coming year....yesterday on a Sunday I got on my treadmill again and remembered how, many many Sundays ago I had started to run - couldnt even run for more than a minute and had practised my victory sign pose from day one of training for the half marathon. Every time I ran - getting better with every run - improving my speed and stamina, I imagined myself running across the finish line and I did it finally !! I actually ran the half marathon !!

So yesterday as I was running and looked at myself - my stomach hanging out, my ugly love handles, my tired face and I was suddenly filled with hope as I remembered my training days, how you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, if you can believe in yourself.

So this is a new strategy I am going to try out for myself, I am imagining a slimmer fitter me running on the treadmill, doing push ups with ease, having a wonderfully smooth pregnancy and delivery and then our family having a merry Christmas with the twinkling lights and our pretty Christmas tree and the snow outside - our family with a new healthy happy baby.....Yes, I know thats going to happen, for sure.....Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

This Thanksgiving...

I am thankful:

1) For my husband, for not hesitating even a micro second to sign up to give me the shots and for doing it with such finesse that I didnt have to suffer at all.
2) For my mother, to travel within days notice and to take charge of our house here (or rather R and the kitchen/chores)
3) For my daughter, so the pain of a miscarriage wasnt so bad looking at her beautiful face and knowing there will be second chances.
4) For my Aunty, who so patiently told me motivating and uplifting things everyday and reminded me to stay in the present and forget the past and not dwell on the future.
5) For my friends, who fed my ego by constantly telling me how strong I am and how I face things with the right attitude.
6) For my family, who kept up a positive spirit, positive thoughts and didnt bring up faltu doubts to make a situation worse.
7) For my company to offer me a new role and believing in me.
8) For having a good life despite the occasional spurts of bad luck and worries.

May you all have a happy Thanksgiving and lets count the days left for this year to end and a new glorious year to begin. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A miscarriage story

I had a D&C suction procedure done yesterday. What it means is a miscarriage in a controlled environment. Monday ultrasounds had already confirmed no fetal activity, it had passed away sometime during the earlier week. So the doctor was kind enough to schedule the procedure for me asap and not wait for nature to take its course. This way I can move on with less physical pain.

My surgery was scheduled at 11 AM. 11 hour fasting with no food/water, we reached the Day Surgery wing of the hospital by 9.15 AM as instructed. As we sat in the waiting room and watched the nurses go in and out of the ward, I made mental notes of who I dont want, there was one nurse who looked especially strict and the minute I said to myself, I dont want her, she called my name and said "I will be your nurse"!! But she turned out to be really really sweet and I got a lot of pats and Darlings and my poor baby and sweethearts all through my stay there :) Then there was an anesthesiologist - a desi one, about my age and I thought - I dont want him (what if I meet him in the temple or something and he remembers me, I dont want him to see my ....), and a minute later I was shaking hands listening to him explain to me how he was going to deliver the general anesthesia. I remembered this deep philosophy funda told to me by my best friend, "Life is like rowing a boat, sometimes no matter how hard you steer it doesnt go in the direction you want it to, so you just let go of the oars, sit back and let it take its course".

Anyways after tons of forms filling; there was also one on fetal disposition where Nini (my lovable nurse) placed her hand on mine sympathetically and asked me if I had my own funeral arrangements, I was stumped for sometime and then realised she was asking me how to dispose of the remains of my conception. When I was telling this to P later on, he genuinely thought they were asking about "my" arrangements in case I pass away suddenly during surgery hehehe, taking signing the consent forms to a whole new level :))

Stripped down, in the hospital gown, IV started, waiting game for the doctor begun. I saw all the patients around me come and go, wheeled out to the OR - interesting to look at the anxious faces of those who had been bravely chattering away minutes ago. The gall bladder to be removed lady next to me was discussing/planning her entire Thanksgiving dinner with her husband - descriptions of truffles stuffed with caramel, mashed potatoes etc made me want to throw the curtain aside and shout at her to shut it, I was so starving. Though P said it was more a mental thing as I was getting all the nutrients I needed from the IV :)

The doctor finally showed up at 11.40 AM, the nurse injected something in the IV to help me relax, they started wheeling me towards the OR, doors opening and I woke up in the recovery room :) Isnt anesthesia a beautiful thing?? I remember nothing in between :)

The procedure took about half an hour and I had been out for an hour. Then from a bed in the recovery ward to a reclining chair in the discharge ward or whatever its called, nausea from anesthesia so meds for it, dizziness, grogginess, weakness, two hours later I was about to pull the IV from my hand and go home myself so I started hitting P (I am sure I didnt, husbands lie when wives are delirious) that I need to go home right now and tell the nurse/doctor that I have to go. So I lied my way through - Oh yeah, I feel fine, was wheeled out in a wheelchair, put in my car and helped to the sofa where I collapsed in relief :)

Aai had lunch ready as usual so ravenously ate poli bhaaji koshimbir and promptly dozed off.

R was so sweet about being quiet and not disturbing me as I slept. 2 hours later she could no longer take it and came over and I could hear her Mommy Mommy Mommy :) P said that she had also tried fake coughing to wake me up :)

Well apart from the stomach pain which goes away with painkillers and the exhaustion from going through this drama, I am fine. And I think I will get even better as the physical pain heals.

So this was it, we have checked off miscarriage on our list of things we have gone through and came out stronger :) Looking forward to a good rest of the year and an awesome 2010, after all we will be celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary next year!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

End of this chapter

So ultrasound today said no heartbeat etc. Doctor scheduled a D&C for tomorrow morning. Surprisingly I was quite stoic when the technician was performing the ultrasound, the fact that she didnt bother to show us the screen confirmed that there was nothing to see there. I didnt cry at all after that. Sometimes its good to get closure, then the healing process can start. I was exhausted with the ups and downs the past two months anyways.

The doctor said dont try to get pregnant for the next 2-3 months. Its a good thing I ran my half marathon this year, I have something to remember this year by.

Just exhausted............and we just found out that my hubby's uncle has to be admitted to the same hospital for a heart condition. Poor P - making trips back and forth to the hospital today and tomorrow......Maybe our whole family has bad karma this year......P's cousin's engagement broke off so the entire wedding plans were cancelled, then my inlaws arrived and their dis satisfaction and frustrations, my troubled pregnancy, miscarriage and now this......too tired beyond words...

Pregnancy terminated

My HCG levels plunged to square one, my tummy and back hurt all day and night. Bleeding isnt too bad yet but the doctor called to say that the pregnancy is terminated. Still going in for the ultrasound and then we will schedule a D&C.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


R is taking my whole bed rest-Mommy is sick, pretty hard. She has been crying without any reason and insisting that Mommy plays with her/takes her to the park/picks her up/feeds her and on and on. It doesnt help even if Grandma is around the whole time, there is no replacement for Mommy. I am also so tired of the fatigue, the constant sleepiness (side effect of the progesterone shots) and the suspense.

Today I feel like all my pregnancy symptoms (I didnt have many but I had one left - constant hunger) have all vanished. I feel empty inside. I feel like my pregnancy has terminated. Without modern medical inventions to confirm it, I know its gone.

I just want to get back to normal life, I was actually joking about wanting to have a D&C done as early as possible so I will be back on my feet to cook a Thanksgiving meal and shop the sales. I am not being insensitive or not that I dont care about a miscarriage. I think I am trying to condition my mind into being brave and looking at the bright side of things, maybe it was not meant to be for a reason.

I do know I will cry my heart out tomorrow when the ultrasound technician pronounces the final verdict, even though I am mentally preparing myself to listen to the words - No heartbeat, it still sends up a chill everytime I imagine it. I know I will break down when I hear it and its real. I also know that it must have been for the best and I must put my trust in God and believe that I will get pregnant again soon and will have a wonderful healthy child. This is my dukh and I have to go through it.

I am also strongly blocking out the past - thoughts of what could have been and missed opportunities - is there any point of crying over spilt milk? I am also not going to think of the future and freak myself out thinking about - What if I cant get pregnant? What if I never have a baby?. I am only going to live in the present, take it day by day and hope that good things in life will come to me....

Just cant wait for the new year.............

Saturday, November 21, 2009

48 hours

of mystery.....Started bleeding last night, went in to see my doctor today who said there is tissue coming out of the cervix. Doctor still tried to boost my morale by saying she still has a good feeling about this and that I might not be miscarrying. Now need to wait till Monday to find out the verdict.

I am emotionally spent now. No more tears, no more emotion.

One baby to another

As soon as she woke up, R asked me if I had a baby in my tummy. I didnt know what to say to her so I just said "Would you like a baby in my tummy?". She said Yes and upon being asked if she wanted a sister or a brother. She said a baby sister and then kissed my tummy and hugged it.

I dont know where all this came from! One of her daycare friend's mother is pregnant and she knows the concept of babies in tummies. My sister in law is pregnant too and R is already awaiting the birth of her new cousin sister but this love and affection for her own baby sister/brother, and that too out of the blue is so touching.

The moment she kissed my tummy, it was sooooooooooo cute. R is so sweet and reassuring. One time she came upon me talking to my mother on the phone and crying, she went "Oh man, my Mommy is crying" and came over and patted me and kissed me. And she is not even three yet!! Such infinite wisdom and emotional intelligence from a toddler.

I had a rough night yesterday, had some more spotting. I literally sat in bed and told God - If this baby is not meant to be, let me miscarry tonight, Please spare me the continuous suspense. For some reason, I willed myself to believe that if I hadnt bled out by morning, I am going to be fine. And then R woke up and kissed my tummy in the morning.

When I am drowning in a sea of emotions and fears, I feel like I have received a straw to clutch on to and hold on to tightly. I am not letting go, my dearest unborn child, hang on, we will get through this together. I will see your beautiful happy healthy face next summer and you will get along great with your older sister, the sweetest girl in the universe for me :)

I am done with thinking that I might miscarry, thats not an option anymore. This pregnancy is going to sustain and everything will be allright, I believe it from my core and my body, my baby and our countless indicators better fall in line.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pain in the butt!

Literally........I have to take a shot for progesterone daily now till my first trimester gets over. Seems that my body has just stopped creating any progesterone whatsoever and the supplements (shooting cream up the....) doesnt seem to do any good now.

One of my good friends at work who has been through multiple IVF cycles and stillbirths and babies born pre pre pre maturely and then wait for them to pass away; this is one amazing female, she has been through hell, but always had an awesome attitude to dealing with everything and an unwavering spirit. Anyways, when she heard I have to take the shots, she told me - In all the horrible things I have gone through, I thought this was the worst! Then went on to describe how the needle is thick, how the injection solution being oil based is thick and takes a long time entering the body, how the injection site becomes painful, swells and what not, it seems like an ordeal.

So naturally after this discussion, I had a million butterflies in my stomach, I was soooooooo nervous that I drove straight to my neighboring Indian restaurant and got a to-go Indian buffet. Its funny how I turn to food immediately as a coping mechanism. And then off we went to the doctor, my sweetheart husband, me and Mom where the doctor taught P how to give me the shot. The doctor being so experienced and all, I didnt feel it at all. I was bracing myself for a very painful shot and what not but surprisingly I didnt even feel the needle, she is so awesome. I felt immense relief.

Sometimes I reminisce about the days when we were newly wed and how P had eyes only for me etc. Now everytime I have any type of conversation, his eyes are on the TV/laptop/newspaper etc....and how I used to get mad at him sometimes thinking the romance has gone from our lives and it has become routine....Anyways its times like this - standing in the doctor's office seeing P intently listen to the doctor's instructions on how to adminster the shot. He never even once hesitated to say "Of course I will give you the shot" and the emotions overwhelm me. I love this guy so much. I dont care if he doesnt hug and kiss me and say I love you all the time (he never did, he is the strong silent types); his actions speak louder than words. Running that half marathon with me, backing me up in endless baseless complaints by his mother, cooking, chores and playing with R as I lie on the sofa tired from work at the end of the day and holding me as I cried through the night during bleeding episodes, this is the real romance and I am glad to have him. Love you so much my P..

Monday, November 16, 2009

Yeh kya ho raha hain

So its officially a high risk pregnancy now.

Every couple of days I await my blood test results with rokhey huey saans, sometimes HCG is low, sometimes progesterone is low. Ultrasounds are equally nerve wracking too, sometimes baby's heart rate is low, all the times the baby doesnt measure to how many weeks of pregnancy I am at. Its like someone has cursed me. What is this punishment for?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Content in this century

I was thinking yesterday that if this were 500 years ago, I would have surely died in childbirth or never had kids. When I had baby R, I had gestational diabetes, then when it was time to deliver, she was stuck and the doctor had to use forceps and what not to free her. Now my second time around, my progesterone levels and HCG levels are low. She immediately prescribed progesterone supplements which took care of the bleeding and now those levels have gone up. HCG is out of our hands, its the health of the baby and no medicines or supplements or anything will have any effect on it. If this were 500 some years back, I would definitely not been able to carry this baby so far, I would have had many bleeding episodes and lost it.

I am really glad to be born in the 20th century! I also do not wish to be here 500 years from now when robots take over the world and food is reduced to taking vitamin supplements and food pills and what not (my very rudimentary vision of the future from low budget sci fi movies)...

Sigh anyways my doctor's office is not even scheduling wellness check ups for me, they are all kinda waiting, its endless bloodtests and prenatal screens, there is an unsaid message lingering in the air - If this pregnancy sustains, then we can talk about a milestone check up :( Hoping for the best and prepared for the worst is where I am right now :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Man proposes God disposes

Some things are completely out of your control. I am too exhausted even to type this post but I want to do it so that one day when things are fine and I have a healthy happy baby, I can look back and remind myself in future trying situations that there are happy endings.

I am having my blood checked everyday and my HCG levels refuse to double/increase at the expected pace. They are practically creeping by but thankfully they are not falling which is then a sure sign of miscarriage. So right now there is a chance of miscarriage and I can still hope for miracles to happen and the pregnancy to sustain and a happy ending.

I am transitioning to my new job at work, trying to hold down two jobs at this time, the hubby has a hectic schedule at work, I am constantly tired and weepy, my toddler picks up on all this and demands more and more attention, and I literally feel the hangover from the inlaws visit. A ray of sunshine in this is that my Mom is flying in to spend time with me till I feel better. Arent Moms the best? Pray for me all ye anonymous friends....

Monday, November 2, 2009


Red is a color you dont ever want to see when you are pregnant. Last night on a routine trip to the bathroom, thats exactly what I saw - shocking bright red. I havent stopped crying since. My back is killing me and my doctor's office doesnt open till ten so all I can do is sit and wait and hope and pray.

I was about to cancel my India tickets, turned away the swine flu vaccine and now this!! I feel like the Universe is against me! Cancel India, dont take flu vaccine, wait till end of first trimester blah blah and now no pregnancy maybe......

I am exhausted but am just waiting for some confirmation so I can put it behind and move past. Maybe fate dictates something else, maybe I am required to be here with my husband and baby in the US and not go traipsing internationally.

I never track my site traffic but if you are passing through and read this, will you please pray for me?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Life throws a curveball

Tickets to India - check
Friends and family notified and everyone in the world excited - check
Good seats, good airline - check
3 weeks vacation sanctioned - check
Shopping complete, bags half packed, racked brains for surprises to open on plane to entertain R - check, check, check
Daydreaming begun - check
Plans to eat this, shop that, meet so and so - check
Obgyn appointment before leaving - check
And then.................
Ob Gyn absolutely forbids me to travel during first trimester :((((((((((

I met with her yesterday and she is damn serious about travelling, she just put her foot down and said No. I was SO crushed!! I kept telling her, but I was supposed to leave in a week, I have bought gifts, my whole family is excited and what not.......pleading like a little girl for a toy or to go to a sleep over and she firmly said - Are you going for a wedding or becoz some one is sick? Then why do you want to take this big risk and travel! Go after Dec so and so, I wont stop you....It makes logical sense but not emotional sense.

I was already in India mentally - everytime I book India tickets, I reach India mentally 2 weeks before my actual physical departure date. Why cant everything be smooth and perfect :(((

Now I am arguing with my ticket agent to get my tickets refunded without penalty (the doctor has given me a note medically forbidding me to travel). I have to make up some reason to tell my boss for cancelling my much awaited vacation. I am in the process of being offered a full time opportunity within my company and I am not sure I want my new boss to know about my early pregnancy, am not sure if she will change her mind and make excuses about my promotion. She was going to pull strings to get me into her group :((

I was 143 pounds the day before I delivered R; 3 years later, I am 141 pounds right now at 2 months pregnancy!!!!! The skinny fit me got gestational diabetes to the surprise of everyone during my first pregnancy, is there even any doubt that I will not get it now :(

I was so looking forward to going to my parents place from the airport directly and spending the bulk of my time with them (justified becoz we spent many many months with the inlaws this year). My husband keeps saying lets all try to go around the end of this year but then I lose out on that quiet uninhibited stay at my parents :((

One minute you think you have all your ducks in a row and the next they are all floating away in thousand directions :(

I know people are facing much much worse problems than this and at the end of the day, I do have some great things working out for me - I am pregnant and I am being offered a new job and that too being invited to join the group. I should look at the sunny side of things and hope that I do get to go to India soon!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wake up call

So today I had a chat with my boss. Basically she told me that I don’t care about my job anymore and it shows. Even as I type this, I realize my arrogance and ridiculous attitude. I am behaving like a spoilt child who doesn’t get his favorite toy. Because the next step in my career is no longer very clear to me, I have stopped caring about my current step. I realize my immaturity. Hasn’t someone said no job is insignificant? I should take pride in my work not think about where my single colleagues have reached and lament over the difference in responsibilities, titles and grade levels. They have their priorities, I have my own. I have a beautiful child, another on the way, a loving husband and a beautiful home. I am super lucky to have the ability to manage my work life wonderfully. Instead of focusing on what I don’t have, I need to take a reality check of the situation. This is a wake up call for me. I asked her if she would put me in the lowest performance ranking and she said No. That is a close warning for me. I do not want to be laid off and sit at home, that’s not me. I want to be out here working outside the house and getting somewhere with my professional life over the next 5-10-15 years and Oh yes, I would love to spend time with my family and run my house too in the same time. I have that chance now, and I have a new chance to change myself…So I will step it up from right now.
1) Be patient and do a great job in your current role
2) Do not get depressed about the lack of opportunities and where your career is headed
3) Many senior leaders have said that their career wasn’t always planned but opportunities kept coming up and they grabbed them
4) Focus on your current job, go above and beyond and do a great job and recognition and opportunities will follow
5) Time spent with your kids and husband and home is priceless and nothing can compare to the satisfaction and fulfillment you receive through doing a good job there.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Runner's high without running

So yesterday I pried my eyes open (sleep hangover from partying out on Saturday) and boarded the 6 AM train to the city. The train was surprisingly packed, with enthusiastic family members and friends and volunteers on their way to cheer their loved ones running in the marathon. As I walked out of the station, I was astonished to see the crowds lined up by the streets to see the runners! Its an amazing emotion when so many people come together to celebrate a common event. I stood with hundreds as the elite runners zoomed past...For a second I thought I had just imagined them running as they sped by so fast!! I dont know how some one can run 26.2 miles in 2 hours 5 minutes, its ridiculously unbelievable, especially when I wasnt even done running my half marathon in that time.

Before the elite runners the wheel chair athletes went by. I literally choked and couldnt hold back my tears. The awesome men and women, who could so easily have sat around and felt sorry for themselves, but instead they were here, in freezing temperatures, participating in the Chicago marathon. I felt ashamed of standing on my two feet stressing over stupid things in life. Clearly we do not stop and think about what we have as opposed to what we don't.

The volunteering bit was good too, it was my first experience at volunteering for an event and I walked away with 2 thoughts. I have to establish boundaries, if I wanted to help out for X hours and then head back home, then I should stick to it, make it clear from the upfront and not regret later on being sucked into helping out more and more; there is no limit to how much you can do. Also secondly when you are volunteering you do not think about returns on investment, you do not think about appreciation or whether someone will credit you for what you did. You just do it. In a way you do do it for yourself, to give a sense of satisfaction for having done something for someone else completely selflessly. Thats a good feeling to have.

There was also a 69 year old man who successfully finished the marathon!! Amazing people, inspirational stories, I walked away from my day with a high; a runner's high without running...

Monday, October 5, 2009

How How How...

How is it that just minutes after I have given my toddler a lecture on why she shouldn’t be waking up in the wee hours of the morning to drink milk, I am immediately starving and think about going downstairs for a little snack?

How is it that my boss wants every deliverable completed asap always (no matter how many I am working on) and she won’t extend my hours or increase my pay?

How is it that I need to go “above and beyond” both at work and at home with no expectation of anything in return?

How is it that I am reading the Ramaraksha for my baby to sleep calmly and peacefully and all through it, I yell at her at least once or twice to stop monkeying around and lie down and close her eyes?

How is it that it doesn’t feel good when my husband agrees with me on issues with his parents and I end up feeling bad for him and wishing I had never brought up the topic?

How is it that some people wish for a daughter like me while the one who has me wishes I were some one else’s daughter in law?

How is it that people have so many good things in their life and choose to only focus and obsess on the negatives?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Life is precious

My boss's mother always told her that old age exposes your true self. So you need to work on yourself right now to ensure that you are a good person when you are old and senile :)

I so agree. I look at the old people I have been in contact with all my life; my maternal Grandma and her siblings are all proud, independent and strong people. My Grandma has always looked back at her life with happiness and always said that she lived a good and peaceful life. She has always been a rock, a beacon, a lighthouse for our family and till the end she fortunately didnt have to rely on anyone, she lived in her own house till the end and it was a peaceful haven for all of us grandkids and her children to go to.One of my aunt’s husbands was an expert chess player and an author of many books on abolishing superstitions. He should have been one for superstition, his life was fraught with tragedy, losing two wives and two sons in laws; but he contributed so much to the Abolishment of superstitious beliefs mission in Pune.

Even now, I look at my parents – my dad, who is retired and can really sit back and relax but doesn’t want to, because he loves to teach and is a consulting professor. My Baba who is hard of hearing, angioplasty done, an iron rod in his leg supporting an old accident wound, asthmatic and getting old but he still wakes up at the crack of dawn, prepares material, pores over new study material, prepares courses, grades exam papers and goes out and teaches and loves what he does. My mom has kept herself busy with her swimming, throw ball and her circle of friends with travel and cultural activities. They miss us kids but they are happy and satisfied in their lives.

I feel like happiness is within us, the day you start depending on someone else to make you happy constantly, that’s the day you are destined to be unhappy forever. Yes, I understand you need the basic requirement of your family being nice to you, being able to depend on them to some extent, being there for you and all that. But beyond that you need to form your own lives. And it becomes even more blatantly clear as one grows older.

My mother who was a stay at home all her life always always tells me and my sister to maintain our professional career and feels that our kids will be proud of us for what we do. We are proud of what our mother did for us but I think what she is trying to tell us here is that make something of yourself, have your own identity and your kids will love and respect you for that.

Now that I am faced with an unhappy dissatisfied bored person on a daily basis, I swear to myself that I will never be in that position ever. I will learn something new/read something new/ every year and develop hobbies and my own interests and lead my life peacefully happily and gratefully.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Being religious is uncool?

My Uncle and Aunt are long time Swadhyayis. They go on this “Bhavferi” to visit homes of Indian families and to give them information on Swadhyaya and to enlist new people to join this mission. They look like your typical short sweet smiling Indian Aunty Uncle. This time they visited couples in the 30-40 age group, Mami said that she saw one thing common everywhere, huge houses, both the husband-wife pair with professional qualifications and stressful jobs and an impatience towards everything. At a few houses, they weren’t even invited inside and were standing out on the doorstep on the cold dreary day. Mami thinks that the nicer people are in apartments and smaller homes. The bigger the home; the snobbier the attitude, and intolerance towards other people. I had written a similar blog post on this long back. I would like to think that if four older desis had turned up on my doorstep, I would at least have done the courtesy of inviting them inside; especially when you can very well tell that they are decent people.

Anyways that brings me to my next question – we have a huge group of friends and while most of them do the occasional Satyanarayan pooja and what not, no one does anything related to religion on a regular basis. Culture is limited to the Diwali parties and the Ganapati parties and dressing up and potluck dinners. Cultural events are tweaked for convenience and pampering of oneself. I am sure this is not the universal truth and it so happens that all my friends (and me) are like that. I don’t claim to be an expert on our Indian religious verses and scriptures but of late I have developed a healthy curiosity to know more about everything that has been written – I like reciting prayers for my baby at bedtime and she loves it too and demands prayers every night. I do think that we all try to do the best we can given our job pressures and family demands so it’s just an indication of changing times I guess. As my Aai tells me, even in India, with nuclear families on the rise, very few families actually make all the sweets and chatpata snacks for Diwali and mostly everyone buys it from the various stores who provide authentic snacks and mithais.

While attending a U2 concert is extremely cool, going to a Gnyaneshwari discussion is considered very boring. Why is that, I ask? Can you not do both? Do we have to fit into one kind of an image or the other? I would love for my baby to grow up with her belly button pierced and a fit body and wear the most awesomest coolest clothes and then sit down and recite the entire Ramraksha in one go and to be able to talk about India’s history, culture and religion with ease. I would like to be that too!! Yes Yes I want to have my belly button pierced one day – post babies and when my tummy is flat like an iron board :) Anyways I am rambling and rambling…………what I feel at the end of the day is – this life is so precious, there are so many things in life of which we are completely ignorant of, instead of wasting this valuable time that we have, why don’t we all try to learn something new, read something new, help someone new and when we look back at our life ten, twenty, fifty, seventy years from now, be insanely proud of how we have lived it?

Now I need to practice what I preach so I will stop here and work :)

Monday, September 21, 2009


1) Snobby girl who ignored me during volleyball is at it again. Unfortunately we got paired up for a volunteering event and before I could walk over and request a different partner, she had switched me before me. War is on babe!
2) I am going to India!!!! Tickets are booked, daydreaming and actual dreaming at night (Yes, I have India dreams every night now!!) has commenced.....am counting down the days!!
3) Renewed relationship with mother in law. Distant yet respectful and (gasp) affectionate one.
4) Blog is making me anti social, feel like posting updates on blog than sending emails to family.
5) Looking forward to meeting in person my gay best friend who came out to me over phone.
6)............will stop here and write a nice email to family.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I like to move it, move it.....

My mother was a housewife and I remember running up the stairs home after school to find out the entire house in a state of motion, a huge project unraveling, it used to be such a rush! Such excitement! My sister and I would immediately jump in and help our Aai move cupboards, beds around the room. She would be on this deep spring cleaning initiative and it would also involve reconfiguring the set up of the room. I would just love it. We would change the sheets and everything would sparkle and gleam and look brand new! That simple act of dusting, cleaning, reaching previously inaccessible surfaces and most important of all, the rearranging of the furniture felt like a fresh breath of air. We would all be smiling by the end of the exercise. I remember one of my mother’s friends visiting with her daughter and she happened to stay in both the before and after states and was so enthralled – she had asked me, does your Mom move furniture around all the time, its so cool, I am going to go home and do it too :)

When life gets too routine now and when I am stuck in this never ending cycle of alarms, get R ready, drop offs and picks up from daycare, work, cooking, cleaning, laundry, weekend clean up the mess lying around the house mandatory exercises, there is little time and energy left to take on a new project. But its when life is too routine that I miss those days, the days of coming home and opening the door to a new room; not exactly new, but newly arranged, you get it, don’t you :)

I have tried to do it here but its so difficult now, Godrej cupboards could be pushed from one end of the room to the other but what can you do with built in closets here! TV cable and power outlets are fixed and predetermined and the whole room kinda revolves around the TV. I scratch my head and try and think of which room can I move furniture around in and come up with nothing :(

So my ambitious plans over the next couple of weeks are to first finish filing the towering piles of bills/receipts accumulating and taking over the study. Then paint the room :) Then on to R’s room and get curtains and pretty rugs and what not and then move around the paintings and other knickknacks in my house and take out all those new bed sheets which have been languishing in their original plastic covers in my closets. I am keeping a goal of having a gleaming, organized house by the end of the year and starting the New Year with a new outlook and new house :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Scary story born out of my nightmare yesterday

She soared through the skies pulled by the distant chanting of the shlokas. It had been ages since she had heard Sanskrit words uttered. The rhythm and the vibrations from the chanting washed over her like the warm comforting waters of her childhood Alibaug. She looked through this house and that trying to locate the origin of the recitation. Finally she saw her – a mother holding her baby in her lap and reciting the Ramaraksha. She swooped in and settled in a corner of the ceiling captivated by the scene. The baby was clutching her mother’s fingers while her eyes drooped sleepily. The mother was patting the baby and was engrossed in reading and pronouncing the shloka in the accurate manner. She had an idea; this was a good host body to stay in for a while. For a second the mother’s screams pierced the calm environment then she pushed the thoughts away. That would be for tomorrow, for today she was just going to soak in this calm and peace which she had yearned for so long…..

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Being laid back in an aggressive world

I started my career in a leadership development department, got promoted to a project lead soon after and led many projects. Yes there was cutthroat competition, Yes there was backstabbing and sweet talkers, Yes there was gossip and kiss ass giri but I did all that in my own way and still stayed true to who I was. I can still look back on those years and am not embarrassed of anything I see there.

Then I got pregnant, went on my maternity leave and when I came back, I was a changed person. Those four months of caring for that mewing little infant completely changed my priorities. No longer did I yearn for a demanding challenging glamorous job, but I just wanted something with a steady workflow and where I could take days off and go home early. And I did get such a job; thanks to my earlier reputation and success. I was offered a flex time job with Fridays off, leave at three in the afternoons’ kind of deal on a platter and I took it and coasted my days away. If you ask me what I can liken last year to, in terms of my career, it’s like floating on an inflatable tube in the warm waters of the Caribbean. I had a boss with an “It’s my way or the highway” kind of philosophy and I was content to go along with what she proposed. I was a worker bee. I came, I worked and I left to go home and chill out with my baby and friends and family.

So now fast forward 2 years, I wake up and realize where I am, where I have reached, coasting away on the gentle waters and it’s an awakening. I sit up and brush off the mental cobwebs and am determined to find my way back into the action of things. And it’s hard because everywhere I turn to, I have to face questions on: Give me instances of where you displayed leadership, Give me examples of where you resolved conflicts, and give me instances of where you thought outside the box and implemented some ground breaking concept! Well meaning managers and peers dole out advice by the gallonfulls – You should go network, go take so and so out to lunch, go to the bar after work and chat up that group there, go dance for those folks…I exaggerate but you get the gist….Sigh…I realize that I turn back to my earlier job positions for any questions on career and proving myself and when I have made a difference. Honestly the last two years have been all “My baby is my number one priority, my number one job and the rest is all collateral”. And now I am planning another baby while looking for another job at the same time. And am terrified of how its all going to work out and wrong timings and what if I get a new job and find out I am pregnant at the same time…But I don’t know what I want more (Okay I clearly want another baby more but I also want the money and the responsibilities and the career growth)…Keep your fingers crossed for me! I have my second round of interviews this week and hopefully all goes well I will have my second shot at my career!

I really admire people who balance both – work and home and equally admire women who have given up their careers to take care of their house. It takes courage to choose either direction. How do you do it?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Volleyball and networking

Ever since my sole half marathon accomplishment, people view me differently. A Director I used to work with introduced me to his team as a "runner" though I wouldnt really call myself one! Anyways there was a volleyball tournament between various Finance teams and our external auditors and in light of my newfound fitness, I signed up in enthusiasm. There were 4 guys and 1 girl on my team; all from the same Accounting group, I was kinda like the outsider in that overall group. Well the volleyball was fun, I played it for the first time in my life and had a good time. Our team actually won the tournament, thanks to the 4 competitive guys on our team who played fantabulously. Did I have fun? I guess I did....What spoiled it was this girl on the team who completely ignored me the whole time! We must have played about 8 matches with different teams and she chatted with everyone else but me! So was another guy on the team but atleast he wasnt even being friendly with anyone else so I didnt feel special in receiving his indifference. But this skinny stick of a girl! Condescending cow! And what has hurt me more is my reaction to it. Instead of being all - Geli khadyat (Go fall in a ditch) types, I hovered around her trying to make conversation and being friendly and just got hurt everytime she replied for the sake of replying and then coolly turned her back on me.

Now I look back on the whole episode and mentally smack myself; why the hell did I even bother trying to be friendly to that girl! My life - both personal and professional is blissfully complete, I have wonderful friends - why was I so upset with that rejection and that too from a female who I dont know or dont care about?

Currently as I am trying to switch jobs internally, the mantra put forth by all my managers/mentors/peers/janitor is to network, network, network! And I suck at it! I hate to set up stupid informational interviews with people just to kiss ass and make fake smiley conversation just so they might think of me when they are hiring someone in their group. Whatever happened to just talent?

Many times when you just feel like you have fitted in well, incidents like this happen when you are painfully aware of how sorely you really stick out. Its the same like driving, you get comfortable and think - Oh, I drive really well, I have been driving for x no of years etc and you just need one near miss of an accident to humble you and remind you that you are a constant learner.

So whats my mature solution to the stuck up idiot female, pretend that I am a woman with magical powers and stick a super bad luck curse on her.

Monday, August 17, 2009


*This post was languishing in my draft folder, need to publish it to keep reminding myself of it*


1. Do not think of the past
Do not think of the painful episodes in which they have not been understanding and have been demanding and hurtful. Start each day afresh.

2. Do not think of the future
Do not think about the 25-30 years of your prime life to be spent adjusting to their company. Put your trust in God.

3. Be clear about your priorities in life
Baby, your married relationship, planning another baby, advancement in career, your careers, taking vacations together, spending time with family and friends, going out with P.

4. Take time for yourself
Read religious books, read good books, watch favorite shows, exercise, quality time with hubby and baby

5. Set boundaries
Be clear about expectations and how far you will go

6. Start with a clean slate, remove pain from your mind, remove angry thoughts and be peaceful

7. Make time for meditation and exercise – a healthy body and healthy mind assures peace and happiness

8. Make trips to India and stay with parents

9. Do not do anything which comes unnaturally to you or don’t do anything in expectation of appreciation or praise

10. Trust hubby and do not fight with him

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I did it !!! My first ever half marathon :)

On the day before the marathon, we ate a lot of pasta – spaghetti with arrabiata sauce, shells with pesto sauce, toasted bread etc and then packed our stuff and went over to Uncle Aunty's. I kept waking up every couple of hours all through the night. Once or twice R made her way to the bottom of the bed and sat up and started shouting “Mommy Mommy where are you?” :) So by the time, it was 5:15 and time for us to wake up, I was more nervous at the lack of sleep. It must have been stress because I have slept peacefully in the same bed in the same room many times in the past. We got all ready and left at 5:45 am. As P had done this before, it was a piece of cake. He put my bib on my Tshirt for me, put my tracker on my shoes for me hehee so I didn’t have to apply my brain anywhere and could simply focus on running and enjoying the experience. We reached downtown around 6.00 am. Already streets were closed off and you could see all the parking lots filling up close to the race destination. We found a parking lot and walked a couple of blocks to the race. Once again as I had experienced P with me, we did our warm up stretches/exercises leisurely, went to the porta potty (bathroom) multiple times and finally stood with our pace group to start the marathon. 18,000 people ran this half marathon! Everyone was divided into various corrals according to their pace. The atmosphere was almost festive, anticipation, anxiety and impatience to start the race filled the air. The announcer was a funny guy, he was making lots of jokes and cheering on each group as they started off. They sent the groups off one by one – the marathon started at 6.30 am sharp. Our pace group started at 7.00 a.m. When we started walking towards the start point, I could feel the restlessness in everyone around me. I had severe butterflies in my stomach. The announcer kept announcing – Off in five seconds, 4-3-2-1 and off you go……

In the beginning there were so many people, it didn’t feel like we were running, more walking fast in a fair. But then as the roads widened and people dispersed a bit, we actually began to run. It felt so awesome to run downtown along the high funda shops and seeing the buildings which form the magnificent skyline of the city, many people had already gathered to cheer their family and friends. It was an amazing feeling, very exciting. I remember when I had gone to see P finish the full marathon last year, the whole audience was kinda in awe of the runners, it feels so cool and you want to be a part of it. And now I was one of them, I was running and people were cheering me on…A dream come true!

The water stations were about 1-2 miles apart; volunteers had lined up holding out cups of cytomax (gaterode) and water. About a few miles after the water stops were stages set up on the streets, where a different rock and roll band was playing live. That was just amazing, the beats, the music just gave a new burst of energy and every time we passed the rock and roll bands, we automatically increased our pace and ran faster and happier.

The runners were all joyous and in high spirits. We cheered to the audience, cheered to the band, smiled for the cameras. All this lasted till about ten miles. Miles 11-13 were deathly silence, you could only hear the noise of the shoes hitting the road beneath :) and of course then around 12-13 miles, a lot of people started walking and then you could hear the self congratulatory conversations “I have never run this far before, I am so happy”, “I made good time so far, I am so happy”, “At least we have gotten so far, who cares about time” etc etc..I started walking all the uphill portions around the end of the race. We saw a girl fall down and hurt her knee and had to be taken away by medical services, she burst into tears and kept crying as they drove her away. After that everyone around me tread a bit carefully on the gravel. We passed/ran with so many amazing groups! The most amazing person I saw was this old man running slowly – his Tshirt said “1935 Original parts Still running” !!!! So this guy must have been some 70+ years and he is running a half marathon !!!! And we passed him at nine miles or so, so he had already run 9 miles !!! We told him “Tusi great ho” (In English of course) hehe….

Along the 11-12-13 mile somewhere, the toes of my right leg started burning. I got nervous at the thought of it getting worse and my not being able to finish or something but I pushed back the negative thoughts and daydreamed about crossing the finish line. P kept asking me how I was doing as I was unnaturally quiet ;) That’s another thing, I had thought I would chat chat all the way to the finish line (so P had also recommended me not talking a few days before the race just so I could save up topics for discussion on the actual day, Yes, that brilliant idea didn’t work, I didn’t shut up hehee). When we were actually running the race, I couldn’t talk!!!! I had to conserve my energy and shut up!! So it was just us quietly running, with P offering encouraging words and I am proud of yous to boost my spirits :)))

So many people had gathered towards the 12-13 miles, they all kept cheering and assuring us how good we looked, how close we were to the finish line etc. It felt amazing!! Then somewhere around mile 13 marker, N, one of my mentors met us. He gave me a couple of M&Ms to give me a shot of energy in order for me to smile :)) for the camera at the finish line. It felt really good to see him, at that point of time, I was exhausted, I didn’t want to admit to myself or to anyone that I was tired because I thought if I said it aloud, I wouldn’t be able to finish but I was. I was yearning for the finish line and it just seemed to be farther and farther away, around the next bend and the next…..just like our sole Himalayan trekking experience; “Oh yes, our base camp is right after that mountain out there, and the mountains kept shifting”….

But that momentous moment had arrived. P and N pointed to the finish line in the distance and My God it was like a burst of energy surged through my body. I had actually planned to finish holding P’s hands, all romantic and smiling, but when I saw that finish line, my body just shot ahead, without a mind of its own. I raced towards the finish line, I couldn’t believe I was running so fast when I didn’t feel like I had any energy left in me. I kept asking “P, is that it? Is that it?” A highly amused P followed me, gone were my plans of holding hands with him, all I saw was the finish and I ran with all my energy towards it !! I tried to smile for the three photographers perched at different angles and then abruptly the race was over! Just like that! Those last few seconds of adrenaline still left my heart pumping and I felt like I could really run a few more miles on it.

I had thought I would cry when I finish but in reality I was more emotional when I started than when I finished! I was choking back tears when the announcer had said “And off you go, Welcome to the XYZ Rock and Roll”!

I do plan to keep running and aspire to run the full marathon one day. Running the half marathon has refreshed my confidence in myself. I remember when I announced it to different people that I was going to try to run the half marathon, there were different reactions – My boss had said “Maybe you should try a 5K first”, others had laughed as if I was joking, some had nodded in disbelief. It always feels good to prove something to yourself that you can still do what you put your heart to and this gives me the confidence to believe in myself and apply this optimism to overcoming other obstacles in my life. Also in ending, all of this was possible because of the unwavering support of my dearest husband! He was the one who patiently babysat a cranky R on weekdays and entertained her on Sunday mornings, always told me that “Of course you can do it”, and babysat (ran) me through the entire first half marathon experience. Maybe one day we can run the full marathon together and Yes, this time, I will hold hands with him at the finish.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Running and life....

Advice given to a novice runner (me)

You should be able to talk when running, that’s your correct pace
Being able to talk while running is a load of crap, I never can and I have run 17 marathons
You need to train properly, stick to your routine during the week, do core strengthening exercises
I wake up Sundays and run; I didn’t do any training and finished in xyz time
Why do you need shot blocks for such a small distance?
Eat shot blocks in the middle of your run
Wear shorts
Wear skirts
Wear a jacket, it might be cold
Don’t wear a jacket, it gets hot
Sprint frequently and get your heart rate going
Run at a steady pace; distance is more important than time
Run the full marathon
Don’t run the full marathon this year, be smart and take it slow…………What is the purpose of this post?

As in all things in life, I have realized that at the end of the day, you just do what feels right for you. So to all new runners out there, just like me, keep going, do whatever suits you, and just have fun !!!

Disclaimer: The suggestions depicted in this post are fictitious. Any similarity to any conversation that you might have had with me is merely coincidental ;)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Summer brings visitors

So the inlaws will be here soon !! This time I am surprisingly calm and peaceful! What has changed? Maybe its the weeks spent in freaking out/getting stressed/fighting with my husband and finally putting it to rest; they want to be sponsored for green card and apply for citizenship, when eligible, so we are talking long term committment here dearies. Maybe its my father constantly reminding me that there is more to life and I have a management degree and should put it to use inside the house too and that I should rise above petty ego issues on who is the better home maker here and focus on my child, my husband, my career and my health and other goals. Maybe its my mother who keeps reminding me to let go of my ego and see how happy one's life can be. Maybe its my determination to not waste the healthy and happy years of my life being bitter and stressed over people who have lived their own life to the fullest and with no responsibilities whatsoever, apart from raising their own children. Maybe its because I have signed up to run for not one but two half marathons and will be busy training; a healthy body does host a healthy mind. Maybe its the beautiful weather outside and my happy smiling baby (Touch wood!) and my husband with restricted ability to display emotions but is deeply in love with me.....Whatever the reason, I am determined not to live my life in unnecessary sorrow..

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What do I do?

So what’s my story……..parents divorced when I was born, my birth father hasn’t seen me ever, has never been in touch. I was adopted into a wonderful family, had a wonderful normal life and have no regrets. Then why, some 30 some years later, am I sad?. I couldn’t have asked for a better father, my adopted father is one of the best people in the world. There was/is no lacking of love and support. But ever since the birth of my baby, the first time I held her, the loving journey of my pregnancy, I cant stop thinking of my birth father and how he could bear to lose out on the opportunity of holding his newborn and how after all these years he still doesn’t seem to care to inquire. I know who he is, makes it worse. It feels like he is within reach, I can contact him but shouldn’t and can’t. I keep asking myself – Would I feel bad if he dies and I have never met him ever in my life? The answer keeps coming back – Yes.

I am a very open person; all through my life I cannot stand unresolved disputes, misunderstandings, unfinished conversations. I need closure from everything. I have never asked my family about why they divorced in the first place. Apart from my birth mother’s constant “You don’t know what I suffered” over the years, (which frankly irritated me so much that I refused to ask her – Please tell me, what is it that you suffered), I have never asked. Maybe that is the starting point – to ask my adopted mother about the divorce. Maybe that might change my need for closure.

Logically I agree that I should let sleeping dogs lie. Its been 30 some years, he is married, has his own family, my birth mother has her family, I have mine, everything is well and good then why stir trouble? Should I just file this thought away and accept the regret of never knowing a part of me? I think everyone has some regrets in life, but aren’t they generally things you wish you could change. And I have advance notice of my regret, maybe that’s why I struggle and think of taking a chance, taking the hard way, wanting to kmow if he would want to know me. What are the cons? I would definitely hurt my birth mother, do I want to do that? Or is it finally what gives me peace, For one thing I am sure that when I am old and tired, I will always regret not asking, not knowing, not meeting. What should I do?

P.S.: Saying things aloud in the virtual world is therapeutic for sure. I feel a bit better already :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

We have one life to live....

This past weekend, we had a young newly married couple over for dinner. Both husband and wife kept referring to me as "Tumhi" (Marathi word to show respect for age). They even referred to my sister in law as Kaku !!! Now my sis in law is just a year younger to me and not a whole lot older to them!! Sigh....side topic on how the hell do they get away with calling someone who might be 7-8 years older to you Aunty but many posts in different blogs have been written on this so I will not ramble on it....

I suddenly realised that one day I was that newly married bride and I had met all these family friends who had been married for 10-12 years and now its reversed. Suddenly I felt like where did time fly!! Its already 10 years since I married P! Its already 2.5 years since I gave birth to R....Its just a reminder to fully enjoy all the quality time you get with your family. I am sure I will get this moment again 10 years since when R will be a teenager and think again - Where did time go?? I love living, I love my life, I love it with all its ups and downs and I am excited to see what the future holds for me.

That brings me to my childhood friend who is struggling with clinical depression; she cannot wait to get old and die. She is already tired of life!! It just reminds me to count my blessings, be grateful and happy that I still have my spirit intact and have the courage and attitude to face life and embrace all its challenges and rewards. I wish it were the same for my friend too. It breaks my heart to see her let life go by like this. One day, she might snap out of this and it will be too late, all the beautiful years of her life might have gone by, sad and boring thanks to herself! :(

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Key to happiness

When I started my blog, it was really to have a place where I could be anonymous and record my thoughts, my experiences and my feelings. I am not by nature a reserved person, I share everything with my parents, my husband, my siblings, my best friends; at the slightest hint of trouble or difficulties, I call upon my support group to vent. Then why this blog? I think I still needed a place to write – without having to explain anything to anyone. Anyways it started off with a simple purpose, slowly I discovered new things like setting stat counters so you could track traffic, different online clubs and groups….For some reason the purpose of having my blog started shifting, I started seeing how many people visit my blog and would be disappointed when few did, started thinking about how do I increase visibility, wanted to join the various online groups, wanted to be a part of this huge population of bloggers……and suddenly the simple purpose started creating stress…..

This reminds me of a parallel situation in my running group; the first few weekends, I was being competitive and tried to run faster and keep up with the group…this led to more injury, disillusionment and stress, running was no longer fun. Last weekend I shed all inhibitions – didn’t care about what the runners would think about me, didn’t care about if the 14-marathon runner mentor who ran at my pace would be bored accompanying me, didn’t care if I was trailing the group and I had fun! and I ran, ran 6 miles at that !

Have decided that this should be the mantra of my life; no matter if it is blogging or running or anything else, once you stop thinking about what others are thinking about you or stop expecting anything from anyone, life becomes much more stress free and enjoyable.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Moving away from society

Man is said to be a social animal, that’s why since ancient times, supposedly men and women have formed tribes and stayed together, hunted together, cooked together and grown together. Fast forward to our modern day where we are so busy, so preoccupied with our own lives, our careers, our kids, our mortgage payments, our vacations; that we barely have time to make new acquaintances, forge new friendships or make time to even smile at that well meaning Aunty from India (who misses India) visiting her son/daughter.

I have found that one’s capacity to make new friends and spend time with friends directly reduces in proportion to the number of years you have stayed away from home (which is always India for me).When one is a blushing new bride from India, staying in an apartment with hubby dearest, having nothing to do but to watch terrible day time soaps and cook wonderful things for hubby and wait for the husband to return from work, that girl looks out of the apartment window and sees another desi playing with her kid in the garden, their eyes meet, they smile and a friendship begins. It would be that simple. Soon they would be watching movies together, swapping recipes, sending over extra portions of special dishes they cook, planning weekend driving trips together…Soon that girl goes to school, gets her Masters degree, begins to comfortably move around in a circle of mixed nationalities, starts going to that expensive hair salon, gets the latest hairstyles, highlights done, manicures, pedicures, buys trendy clothes, gets a job at a Fortune XXX company, they move into a house of their own, have kids – eventually the whole world revolves around self. They live the perfect American dream…while losing touch with their Indian warmth.

Every time I go to India, I admit I do get flustered with the amount of privacy invasion questions asked – How much do you earn? How much does he earn? How much do you spend on your house? When will you have a kid? Etc but as a package deal, with those curious inquisitive questions also come a team of loving friends, family and neighbors who adore your kid as their own, spoil him with gifts and food items, spoil you with offers of entertaining your kid while you go shopping or take a long afternoon nap, come over with your favorite food items, are always ready for long chats on “the days that were”; those happy days of the past.

Every time I board a plane to come back to my adopted home, I am partly relieved to be going back to my routine, going back to a lesser polluted zone, more disciplined way of life but at the same time loneliness already begins to creep in my heart. My parents, my childhood friends, those countless Uncles, Aunts, cousins, friends of friends, neighbors, the neighborhood shopkeeper, the bhaaji wali bai, the maids………I miss every single one of them, I miss their happiness at seeing me, I miss their questions about how I am doing, I miss their concern at me being away from home and managing things on my own, even my bai feels so bad for me that I work all day and then go home and cook and clean on my own without any help ! Each one in their own way provides so much love and affection and a concrete support structure which no matter how many years you stay here cannot provide. The weekend friendships do graduate into stronger bonds as the years go past but because of being so busy with our own lives, we cannot meet/inquire/help more often even though we might wish to. There were those days of the past when there would be one color TV in the building and 25 people would crowd into a small living room to watch a Bollywood blockbuster and now there are these days when there is a huge 64 inch plasma TV with comfortable sofas and easy rest chairs in a huge room and only 2 people to watch it.

I should ask my friends and cousins if they share similar experiences there in India; is the India from my childhood and memories of the past changed now, do they too like me have no time to make friends or entertain or make time to share their life with others? Or is it just my attitude of “Grass is greener on the other side”; no matter what side I am on.

From the eyes of my child

My eyes open, its semi dark in the room but I can make out a sunny day outside the closed blinds. Where is she? I roll next to her and cling to her; "Wake up", I say softly. There is no response…"Wake up wake up, Jojo all done", I say. This amuses my sleeping parents and they both smile in their sleep. I hand my Mommy her glasses as an ultimatum; "Wake up! Lets go downstairs!"

My Mommy wakes up and hugs me tight, then kisses me over and over; not the Purrrr disgustingly wet kisses I blow on her cheeks but soft Muaaah kisses. She says “Good Morning sweetipie”. I love mornings. Daddy tickles me and hugs me. I love lying between them; its quiet and peaceful and fun. Soon the morning routine picks up. Mommy Daddy run around getting ready while I demand Dora. I repeat to make sure Mommy has heard and understood me “Mommy, I wanna watch Dora right here, on this TV”. Mommy switches on the DVD player…..I love to watch Dora….Swiper and Boots are soo cool. I don’t realize when Mommy has changed my clothes. She switches off Dora and carries me into the bathroom and brushes my teeth, combs my unruly hair and sticks a hair pin, matching my outfit, in it. I happily follow her down stairs she puts on my shoes and straps me into the car seat. We drive and drive and then she stops the car and I follow her inside. Suddenly there is chaos, all the girls and boys are shouting, crying, laughing, screaming, crying………I clutch Mommy’s hand. Mommy, don’t leave me here. The girl next to me is crying out for her Mommy….Mommy, she says and wails again. I clutch my Mommy’s hand again. My Mommy is right here with me. Mommy feeds me breakfast. A boy comes in with Mommy, his Mommy leaves, boy cries and cries, Ms J shows pictures to boy. Another girl comes in with Daddy, Daddy leaves, girl cries and cries. My Mommy is right here, I clutch her hand. Mommy and I go into my room, Mommy likes my room, I think I like it too, when my Mommy is here. Ms.J is coming….uh oh why are you picking me up? Mommy is saying “See you soon” Nooo Mommy don’t go, don’t leave me. R cries and cries……….

Have shoes, will run......

I underestimated the power of good running shoes; I had been running in my Nike running shoes which I had bought with my own amateurish logic and had severe aches and pains in my legs after running just 4 miles.

So off I went to an athletic store where they very seriously observed how I walked and then told me how my feet were flat, how they had absolutely no fat on them (now thats something which I wish someone would say about the other parts of my body!), how I needed more padding beneath my foot to make it more comfortable, how when I ran, my legs turned inward (Eww, and I thought I was as graceful as a gazelle :( My feet had never warranted so much attention from an outsider ever in my entire life. (I had felt the same way about my boobs when I had my baby, the time I spent fussing, agonizing, worrying about everything related to my hurty milk spurty boobies.....you dont think much of a body part and then suddenly one day its all about that...anyways I digress so back to my feet..)

So now I have beautiful comfortable socks and shoes (Yes, there are special socks and bras and running wear, forget pulling on an old T shirt and running...) I ran 6 miles this weekend !!! Am still in disbelief over myself and am insanely proud of myself too....Somewhere deeep within, I am beginning to think that I might actually be able to pull off my half marathon !!!

So calling all women, over 30, over 20 pounds overweight and no stamina and no inclination to workout in the past couple of years, if I can do this, you can totally do it too. Get off your computers, go buy some good shoes and start running !!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Self realisation

For all of you out there who think they are in hit and fit condition, please humor me and jog naked for 5 seconds in front of your bathroom mirror, then note the ripples and jiggles and tell me if you dont feel like someone just burst your happy bubble!

I tried it today, the resulting image was like my aunt shooting with a camcorder, everything shaking, my whole body was just this sheet of ripples - EVERY thing jiggled !!!! It was cellulite gone crazy !! Sigh......I need to recruit the lilliputs from Gulliver's travels to stretch and tie back all of my sagging, flabby, jiggling fat and create a smooth lean look :)

(Ok will stop here as my mind wanders into - but what should be done of the extra fat hanging at the back etc etc.....)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Thought for the day

Someone somewhere said that "If pain is inevitable, suffering is optional". This saying stuck in my mind, its just awesome.....Goes right in line with my other favorite prayer from Alnon
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference". I try to live my life by this prayer, cuts out a lot of unnecessary stress and pain.....

Now I just need to remind myself of these two sayings all through October

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

What do I remember of my Mother??

When I try to remember my Mother, memories which are a mixture of fragrances, the feel of her sarees, the enormous quantities and variety of delicious food she prepared and force fed, and her constant state of unhappiness comes flooding back. She separated from her husband a few months into their marriage and moved in with her widow mother; she was pregnant with me then. This was in traditional Pune in the seventies. My grandmother was a pillar of strength. I think when one strong woman takes another under her wing, does it make the weaker one more disabled? Over the years my mother remarried to a brilliant engineer against the wishes of his family who wanted their oldest foreign educated academically brilliant son to marry an undivorcee (is there such a word?) from their own community. All through my childhood I remember being told over and over about how the world is a cruel place, how you cannot really trust anyone in this big bad world, how every one is out to take advantage of you, how there are really no true friends in this world, how I had no one in the world but for God, my grandmother and her. Every evening after returning from work, would be a post mortem of the day with Aaji (my mother’s mother) where it seemed like my mother worked with the vilest of people and it was everyone’s goal in life to make her miserable.

All through my childhood my fate was intertwined with hers; reminders of how she has bad luck and me too were abundant. Finally one day I woke up and our relationship transformed from a protective mother-daughter one to a “My daughter doesn’t care for me"one. Every time I tried to negate and separate my life from hers would result in misunderstandings and accusations of “You don’t understand what its like”. Every attempt at trusting people, making friends, keeping an optimistic spirit and believing in myself would be controversial. I fought to break out of this suffocating smothering relationship while at the same time trying not to hurt my mother. She does love me, her love is just binding and tries to limit me. Love should free you, not cage you.

Is my nature at fault too that I remember all the unpleasant things and have conveniently forgotten the happy moments of my childhood? My mother’s saree chest was like a treasure chest to me. She would unfold her carefully wrapped silk sarees, her kanjeevarams, her paithanis, the smell of moth balls and her perfume would waft up through the beautiful sarees. I still remember and miss that – the touch and smell of her and her sarees. I remember her pure happiness when I would visit during school vacations and her struggle to cook different special items of food for me while she tried to run two households (hers and my grandmothers) and make it to work on time. I remember her delight in my new clothes and milestones. What I miss is her open appreciation and moral support for every achievement and every obstacle that I face in life. If she would have had her way, I would be a stay at home commerce graduate married right after graduation to a guy staying in a bungalow in Pune with his parents kinda girl; maybe I might have been happy then too. But I wanted to finish my higher education, stand on my own feet and be in a position where if ever the need arises for me to support myself, I could do it.

Now I have a daughter and I know what not to do. Hopefully I will not repeat the same mistakes that my mother has done, even though I do not blame her for anything. All’s well that ends well!

This Mothers day I would like to urge all of you Moms out there:
1) Be a mother do not smother your child.
2) Sometimes situations arise when you can’t really do anything to solve the problem, then, just be there. Your child will remember that silent support.
3) If your child is falling down and trying to stand up again, do not encourage him/her to give up, extend your hand and help them stand up again even though you might believe that he/she will just fall down right away.
4) Believe in your child
5) Your child’s destiny is his/hers alone; your destiny has nothing to do with it

Things have changed for my mother now; she is in a much happier place. She has a renewed relationship with her husband, she has his support, he dotes on her, their daughter is grown up and married to a great guy, my grandma has passed away, my mother has a group of good friends she plans frequent sightseeing trips with, she is close to retirement, I am married to a good guy, have a daughter and seemingly all is well with my mother’s world. So is a much awaited change in her attitude though I know her old self is lurking somewhere below and will resurface and will arise at the first hint of disruption in her perfect world. She thinks I am a perfect human being, thinks everything I do is right, everything I touch turns to gold, has extreme praise and appreciation for every mundane task I complete, has put me on a pedestal of Ms. Perfection. Too much, too late, Mother but I still do love you anyways. I hope there is never a ripple in your perfectly calm happy life now and the coming years bring more happiness and peace and you can finally put down that huge load of baggage you have been carrying around all these years, all the hurt and the pain that you had to face will be replaced by happy peaceful memories in your golden years. Happy Mothers Day!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Trial and Error parenting

R started going to daycare when she was 7 months old. The first time I visited her daycare was when I was 4 months pregnant, I nearly passed out, I think I had an anxiety attack when all the babies looked up at me. I had gone with 2 of my preggy colleagues and while they gushed and cooed over the babies, I had to run out of the building for a breath of fresh air (not just once but a couple of times) :( It literally felt like I was drowning and had to resurface for air :)

Well, fast forward almost a year later, and it was time to drop my precious bundle of joy there. It was an established professional acclaimed daycare, very convenient, sat right on my company campus and promised to be a right fit for my baby. The next two months were painful to both of us. The teachers were two young college going girls who didn’t have the patience nor the maternal warmth of handling babies (and I don’t believe that you need to be older or physically give birth to inculcate the maternal warmth, you either have it or you don’t). R cried her little eyes out everyday I dropped her off, both the heroines wouldn’t attempt to say Good Morning or pick her up and hold her and comfort her while I left. I would have to remind them to do their job. Most of the babies in Stephanie’s (her teacher) care would sit around and cry, runny noses which would never be wiped away and generally miserable. One day I left work early and went to pick her up, R (at seven months old) was strapped in to a small chair and was sitting at a small table, by herself, staring at her hands and cookie pieces which lay scattered around. When I walked up, she looked so tired and refused to look at me as if to convey her frustration and anger. She wouldn’t look in my eyes, she looked away every time I tried to talk to her. It was one of the most heartbreaking moments ever for me! A mere baby shouldn’t be put in such a situation :(

Anyways I held strong to this daycare telling myself that I am too weak, or paranoid or this is what everyone goes through….2 months and many many sick days later came Halloween. R was dressed up a bumble bee and when I went to drop her off, I expected some response from the teachers and there was none. I stood there and literally cried. Some other white kid had just walked in wearing a fire fighter’s costume and Stephanie was busy gushing over him. I think I had done all the right things – tried to forge a bond with the caregivers, tried to sit with R to get her adjusted, tried to adjust my schedule so she could be home for 2 days, told myself that all kids get sick repeatedly and will develop their immunity but this was like the last straw; I stood there with my baby and everything moved in slow motion. It was so clear to me – nobody cares about R here. No wonder its been 2 months and she cries everyday. I should have just listened to my instincts and pulled her out of this place at the first chance.

In 2 days she was out of there, I called a dozen friends, found a highly recommended home daycare for her. She must have cried for 2 minutes on the first day and since has gotten tremendously attached to her teacher there. Somedays I think she almost must love her as much as she loves me. But I am fine with it, no insecurities there. I am just glad R spends her days with people who adore her and it shows. So lesson #1 – pay attention to your kid, no matter what age he/she is, they will tell you if they are happy or not.

That brings to my current dilemma. Due to change of management at the home daycare and her favorite nanny leaving etc, we had to switch her to a commercial daycare. I really like the teachers here a lot, but the kid to teacher ratio being 1:8 means that they don’t really have the time to devote individual attention all the time. They still do a pretty good job of it though. They have many activities and teach kids through structured play. They have a nice playground and as the weather improves, it will be nice for R to run around with kids her age. So it seems like a good place to me. But Ms R cries and cries, she really gets visibly upset at the thought of going to daycare and now that she can talk up a storm – its even more emotionally blackmailing things said to me on the way like “R cries all day, I meech (miss) you Mommy, I no like daycare, Please I be good girl, I no want to go” :( I have again adjusted my work schedule so I can leave at three to pick her up earlier. But I am so tired of this….I don’t know what to do anymore. Is it just a 2 year old whining and complaining and wants to be the center of attraction all the time and is slowly getting to used to a different environment and schedule or is she genuinely unhappy and needs a quieter setting and more one on one attention. Sigh….should I give up and get an in house nanny or suck it up and put on a strong front and keep sending her to the daycare till she adjusts. What is the right thing to do?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Training for the half marathon

So I am going on my first weekend training session, I have signed up to run a half marathon (2 at that)....I have never run in my life apart from the one time stray dogs chased me and my sister down the streets in Mumbai.....I missed our first training session so I am already the weakest link trying to catch up....and our trainer says we will do around 3 miles this weekend. 3 Miles!!!!! Thats like halfway around the world to me :( But I am determined to be fit and to keep up with the rigor of the training and the diet and be all fit and slim and sexy right in time for summer...Yaay....

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Inappropriate things to say during meetings

So I was in this looong long boring meeting with a bunch of our external auditors and my colleagues….this large woman sat next to me blocking my view of the lady who did most of the talking during this meeting. Plus she was busy scratching her hair extensions, poking with a pencil, scratching, scratching…..ewww it distracted me, then grossed me out then led me to observing her as a respite from the necessary boredom of the debate going on. That’s when I noticed, she was wearing a silk white blouse (not transparent) but which clung to her body; she had humongous boobs and still there was no hint of a bra strap. This was far more intriguing and interesting than the discussion going on and at the end when the auditors opened it up to us and asked if we had any further questions; the only burning question in my mind was “Are you wearing a bra? What bra size do you wear? What is this miraculous underwear which seems to hold everything in place and is unseen?” I almost imagined myself saying it out loud. Sigh…One day when I am old and senile, I will definitely be saying things aloud as I think them…But maybe I wont even care by then…Ahh the pleasures of growing old…

Monday, April 6, 2009

Down memory lane....

You know you are old when your mind is left clutching on to memories of things which do not exist anymore and the world has moved on and this generation – i.e. my baby’s cannot even fathom a life with those things.

Remember the song “Mere saamney waali khidki mein”…..my beautiful building is now going to be torn down to be rebuilt into a towering skyscraper. My parents will move from the 4th floor to the 14th floor – elevators, parking spaces, intercom systems between apartments; everything has been thought of and planned….my parents will move from the brand new one bedroom kitchen living room flat that they moved into, newly married (almost), 33 years ago, to a brand new three bedroom three bathroom kitchen living room apartment in their golden age. We were a family of six – us three siblings, Aai Baba and Aaji sharing about 900 sq feet of area. Now it’s just 2 and more space than they know what to do of it.

I will sorely sorely miss standing in my gallery or my bedroom and chatting nonstop with my friends; friends whose houses/galleries/bedrooms overlooked ours. Everything from going to the movies, going out to dinner, morning jogging plans to evening walks/games would be discussed/debated/planned through those windows. I miss my friends calling me from downstairs – all my neighbors could identify which friend was yelling my name, so familiar were their shouts. I miss staying up late at night and studying for a final and seeing my friends sit at their desks in their respective homes too. We used to make a pact to stretch and say Hi (through signs and signals of course so as not to disturb the sleeping residents) every hour so we could keep focused. It was a team effort – studying for exams.

I miss sitting on the compound wall overlooking our local post office and hassling the post officers to give us our report cards over the wall instead of delivering it to our mailboxes. I miss hanging out with my friends and loitering through our building campus, lush with green trees and flowering shrubs, fruit bearing trees; climbing trees, picking fruit, picking those cherished ananta flowers (without waking up the irate owner of the tree who zealously guarded her flowers), miss making zhopdis out of the coconut tree branches which fell down without any warning, miss making tea over an open fire, miss hassling the building residents; our neighbors to contribute a different ingredient for the tea, miss the outdoors, miss the soil and the grass and the flowers. Today’s generation has many wonderful opportunities and a different lifestyle than we had when we were growing up; all of this is vintage now, they get a glimpse of it in carefully planned vacations to native villages and beach side towns, I wonder if there is anyplace in India where the kids still gather in the evenings and play chhor police or host cricket matches late into the night or gather together to tell ghost stories in a power outage. I miss my past.