Less is more!!🏆-Mumbai Times!!

I got up today. It was a colder day than yesterday. I decided not to visit the sea today. I brewed my coffee and toasted my bread and topped it with my favourite peanut butter. The couch was not far away and nor were my thoughts.

While I saw the bubbles in my coffee fading away, I remembered the Bombay chaiwalas ( men who make tea ). It was 7 years ago that I had a chance to stay in Bombay for a very brief period. The city is an abode to anyone and everyone. My partner was a post graduate student in the med school. We stayed in a hostel then. I had just shifted from my city to Bombay , now called “Mumbai”.

Mumbai was an unforgettable experience in many ways. One such experience was the cutting. The cutting is an experience that every single soul on that land would have tasted. A half cup of tea with loads of gingery flavour , for rupees three then.

Mumbai is known for its sea shores, vada pav, local trains, fast life style, Bollywood, chauls,stardom, and a lot more. But the most important memory for me in those 6 months were the Chaiwalas. 

The hostel was behind a small medical centre. I was studying for my post graduate examinations. My partner was working hard those days and often stayed tied up with his jobs. It was majorly a men hostel and I barely knew anyone. I was just tasting Mumbai then. I would get up in the mornings and seek some fresh air from a small wooden window which had a cracked frame. I was lazy and it did not feel like home. All I knew then was I had to place myself in the national merit exam. Having brushed my teeth and dressing up , I pushed myself down four floors every morning. The birds were more active than me, the sunshine had spun its web by then. I walked through the green passage ways making my way through the streets of what Radio Mirchi called Good morning Mumbai.

 

I carried a white Milton kettle in my hand. Before I could turn to right on the exit, I was tempted to get the ‘Poha ‘ ( rice flakes savoury). A huge iron pot, with multispoons of oil,crackling groundnuts,green chillies, fried onions , Indian spices ,rice flakes, sprinkles of lemon,sugar and coriander.


It was packed in an old newspaper, guess Mumbai matinee!! I always asked for a little extra until my dabbawala came. A U – turn and I was walking back towards the entrance of the hostel building. The traffic was heavy by then and Mumbai was ready to roll.

I would walk past the entrance and hold the poha in my right hand, take out rupees three from my pocket, sometimes it was a crumpled fiver, open the lid of the White Milton jug and tell the chaiwala ,” one cutting please.” There were 15 odd people standing in the queue by then . This was the start of my day which moved on to monotonous dental MCQs.

I overthink. One night I thought thousands of cups , same ingredients, same aroma,same people,same 3 feet by 3 feet square ,same me and same my jug. How did Gorang( the chaiwala) felt about it?  I knew I had to find out this one the very next day .

It was the sunshine, the trees, the poha vendor, my Milton jug ,me and my curiosity the next day. Before I could say one cutting please, I said,” don’t you get bored standing all day , meeting us and brewing the same leaves ?”. He was quiet , the queue was building up, he added ginger, separated the cups and said,” 10 years and 18 hours each day for those ten years , I have been doing the same thing. After standing 18 hours a day and making sure my customers are happy with the flavour and relaxed in their day, I sleep calmly on my rug in this 3 by 3 feet.”

 

I was quiet now. He poured the cutting. I came to the room and looked out at the sun. My brain was not overthinking. But I knew there was a line,a thin line. The hostel appeared to be a better place ,a few hours with my partner were the happiest hours of the day, the poha tasted better and the cutting refreshed me even more. Less was more then and less is more still!! 

 

I still sit with my coffee (60:40 coffee :chicory) thinking about the cutting and missing 3 feet by 3 feet. 

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Right kind of care!!

Today they handed me a monthly survey to get a feedback on how they were doing as a day care. I was excited to fill this piece of paper , although I am generally laid back to answer back surveys , especially when they are from my work units. Every word I wrote came with a ‘thanks’ in my heart. I am so glad we chose this place for Arjun and shifted him from a place where he did not belong.

It is a very difficult task for a first time parent to find a home away from home,especially in a foreign land where the cultures across the globe meet , language is a barrier, food can be varied and not to one’s liking , activities are new and parenting is broadly different from the native. Hence , it was really tough for us to know what would suit our sonnie the best.

Arjun was born with a club foot and he had braces to go for next five years all through the night,which meant a compromised sleep routine for both the parents and the child and also meant infection free days for him to still be able to wear them . So we sought opinion from our dear ones on what kind of care is the best of the three- a nanny, a childminder or a nursery . Most people suggested that childminder is the best bet keeping in mind that the child is getting even attention and individualised care.

Let me go through  the different child care settings. A nanny is a person who comes to your house to take care of your child . A childminder is a person or two who have a few mindees at their home whereas a nursery is a setting where a few trained child carers work together under a manager to take care of several children of different age groups and this one is definitely the most regulated one .

So we thought of a few good points with the childminder like less crowded, less frequent illnesses, home food yet a bit of a social environment and went with the recommendation.

The settling in period was a cake walk and we thought that is it – the big issue is all sorted now. It was not long that we started noting changes in our boy’s behaviour – he was eating great there but sleeping as less as he could , his social skills were playing up- our very sociable chappy was turning clingy, he would refuse to go in there as soon as I dropped him at the next stop, and he complaint that why have you been away when I picked him.

There was something that was missing but figuring out what it is, is nothing less than a challenge. We first thought it was him being fussy, so I started this frantic socialising to let him learn that although it is a foreign land and we don’t have grannie , uncles , aunties and cousins here, we do have friends and places to go out . I would get tired with running errands and encouraging him to mingle yet made it. But the transition never seemed to change , then I started researching on milestones and what is other parents’ experience -that’s where my baby group friends came into help and came the great idea of reconsidering the care type . This time the most recommended care setting was a nursery .

We contemplated the pros and cons to the extent that we thought if nothing suits we both will go part time and look after him at home. Then started a few visits to the mentioned day care facilities in and around the area and we found a place although a bit distanced from where we put, with happy smiling faces, some fresh air and a positive vibe. Thanks to some good stars, we found the suited days as well in there.

The same settling in repeated and our boy got transferred from one place to another. It was his third week that he finished and I had to fill in the survey form and like I said the only honest word that echoed in my heart was a ‘thanks- my wee guy is having fun and he so looks forward to seeing you all.’

So what was missing – we , out of inexperience could not see fewer children meant limited space, lesser carers meant limited activities, home food meant compromise in time with a child,and coming to our first point illnesses -Arjun did pick his longest lasting viral infection from there. This , by no means is a discouragement to the setting , some might experience a better result with a similar type of care  but unfortunately our choice was not appropriate in the first stance.

However , bygones are bygones and the parenting lesson we have learnt is that the little ones are really resilient , rather than trusting what one might have to say about your munchkin it is crucial that you trust your baby and your inner voice first and the results follow.

Choosing an apt  care still remains a challenge for  new parents but waiting too long to switch might not be the key – so trust your gut instinct  as a parent and take a vital step in the best interest of your child.

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Happy us until next time 😘😘

 

 

 

 

From a busy mum…

It has been ages that I peeped into my blog. I have been trying to get in there ,collect my thoughts, phrase a para or two, read them again and feel returned and today I sat down with it ,thinking atleast to jot down a para or two …may be about my boy or my return to work!

The other day, only in my second week of return to work we were discussing do we really need to make babies ? How unsettling it can be from being  a duo to a trio and with that age gap? Like the thought itself sweeps the floor away . Whoa!! Non stop crying , sleepless nights, no night outs, constant whinging and then a flood of issues as that lil being grows up until they know this is papa ,this is mama, we sleep in night , eat three times a day  and most of all eat and sleep by ourselves !!

Well the talk reminded me of the days when I had no maternal instincts what so ever . All I looked forward to was few working days a week, some time to enjoy cooking , a few phone calls, socialising on weekends may be with a drink or two and outings with my guy! The thought of having a LO only shivered me that it will change my set lifestyle and I always strategised how am I gonna defend the monster!

We were fruitfully growing in our relationship and it was almost the tenth year..a long time of being together!! Biological , mental ,social pressure was rising  and the clock was ticking. It was like now or never! May be we were better of with a NoW!

After a few months we learnt that we are not gonna remain a perfect couple anymore- the new entry is here , kicking for his space already! The most talked about nine months passed with loads of hospital visits, imaging , vitamins,some panic attacks and still with the strategy to not let change anything between us two!!

On a very cold morning he cried loud-may be or may be not -I guess I was still half asleep. He latched on to me , he was hungry , exhausted  and was looking for the same warmth.. I could only feel it but could not realise much .. Guess I was exhausted too!!

When I came to senses I saw the lil footer with a left club foot sleeping with his  hands up!! Innocence dawned on his face and he was perhaps the sweetest thing I had ever seen.

However that did not change my other side one bit .. The first three months were upside down! I missed myself , my perfect week , my more than perfect weekend – I was house arrested with no sleep! All I had all day to do was feed , nappy, howling , nappy, feed like the world had come to a stand still and nothing was ever gonna change! What a plight it was….I think we did not understand each other at all then !!

He was a lil thing to look at but a fighter. He had a few casts on his left leg – hip to foot- that lasted for a month and a half but nothing stopped him from smashing them on the floor . His leg would turn blue at spots when the casts were changed but the only thing that ever bothered him was his meal and a dirty nappy ! At the age of 10 weeks he was put to sleep and given a cut in his foot followed by a cast for 3 weeks..I had to keep him hungry three hours prior to surgery and the surgery took two hours!! She handed him to me , he was brutally hungry not ready to take mummy’s milk, he was upset ,angry and crying like I had never seen before. I could not help him , I felt like I was no good  , lil him could only cry and cry more -something just melted in me , may be I was guilty for all those times in the past 3 months when I had blamed him for changing every small thing  in my life !!

Things changed ever since . He had his cast removed this time after 21 days- the surgery was successful but he had more stuff to tie up. Boots and bar they call it and it starts with 23 hours for 3 months first. The first 23 hours were the hardest for me and my lil footer . He cried and I refused to leave him for even one second  for the first time – the mum was born !   We got settled the next day and it was not long when he gave his first heart melting smiles to us . The journey was like any other baby’s but we had our little struggles because my munchkin had to be on those bars for hours together. The number decreased and now it is only night while he is nearly 10 months. 

I haven’t slept for even one night ever since he has been there. I still breast feed him. He still struggles with B&B in nights, cries and needs me to put him back to sleep but that has only increased my love for him and has motivated me to work harder.  Our first family art

I work part time now-3 days a week. The other weekdays we are at baby groups and weekends we three eat at our favourite joints and go to park ! 

I often say to myself and whenever someone is in dilemma about having a LO -” yes, I am busy but we are complete!! ” 

 

A year and new ME!!

Hello all, in a long time I said a hello here. Where have I been? Was I so busy that I forgot my other side? What kept me engaged that I never wrote in the whole of last year? Did I not question myself in this one year or did I never wish to mention how I felt this year? 

I missed it. I missed emptying my brain here. I missed pouring my heart here. I missed reading what my fellow bloggers had to say. I missed the stats. I missed the remarks. May be I missed my other half.

What I was up to, has changed my whole life for good. I was processing  my mind, reforming my body, moulding my niche, rejuvenating my energy, conquering my fears and carving my skills for welcoming my little man to this beautiful world. Yes, I was turning my sides for a whole new role of being a mum!! 

  
It all began on 17th February 2016 in a laboratory , where two cells one wriggly ,one static combined to form the basis of our new and changed lives. I was cold, numb, lost and last I saw was a micro pipette and he was shot in. Few weeks passed and there was a deep magenta line on the strip, he was in me!! Hurray … We didn’t fail!! And the next was a news to family and friends!! 

I decided to live each moment, just in case I don’t get to live it again. And perhaps God decided it the same way. It was a smooth, fun filled ride . I talked to the bud each day and it was not long when he started talking back to me!! He was not shy, he kicked ,danced,rocked and rolled every now and then to let me know he was there and he was all mine!!

 
While I was counting my days to meet him, I was also wanting the cuddles from within me to last forever. How I could carry him with me all the time , be it my dental clinic chair, grocery shop, scanning room ,the cafe or for a tap on my patient’s head!! I had my mate in my belly.

9 beautiful months, 2 travel destinations, 2 lovely baby showers, 10 ultrasound scans, 1 big bump and n number of prayers- it was all about him!! 
   

  

Then began the preparations, what would he need as soon as he is out- a beanie,a blankie, a warm outfit, a snuggle toy, a place to dream, a comforter, or just a warm, forever cuddle from me!! Guess the last one has outlasted all.☺️
And then began the hitches! It is now. NO!! Definitely now . NO !! I bet now .NO!! A few days passed and I thought he was happy inside and I was happy too!! It was cozy and it was only me and him! But they had to push him out after 18 longest hours of my life ,away from me but by me. 4th November ,2016 he stepped into our world with a loud cry and tears of joy in our eyes!! 

My sonnie was with me, right in my arms, close to my heart, beaming into my face!!  

  
And this was just the beginning!!

 

Silence is all that you need!!

My last post was perhaps 5 months ago. 2016 has been running really fast and I was so fastened in the hustle and bustle of life,that I totally forgot that I enjoy writing . Sometimes, chaos is the only word in life and so it has been for me for this long.

 A new job, new set up, new colleagues,new welcomes and new begginings in a row masked the silence in my life. My mind never stood still all these months and peace as if was a state that never existed, not because I was struggling but because my plate was so full.

And today I am writing again sitting in my verandah with a cup of desi chai with the main door open and listening to birds hum their twilight songs!! Why did it dawn on me today? Why was there a sudden urge to mention what have I been up to ? 

It was my off day today, I was home alone, I watched a Bollywood flick called ‘Sabarjit’ for my love of Bollywood . It was a true story of an innocent farmer who spent 23 years of life in jail just because he happened to cross the Indo-Pak border by mistake. The story was appalling and in the name of politics he and his folks suffered for years until he was assaulted in the jail and eventually died. The story was disturbing and more than the film, the real time interviews of the family members on the you tube brought a tear into my eyes!!

I took a long shower to let the emotion flow and straight went to the prayer room to thank God for giving me all I have today. Then went out for a stroll in my garden. The summer appeared so colourful ,the green mesh had daisies,the roses were blossoming, the lavenders were swinging, and the birds were singing. All I could experience was PEACE and SILENCE!!

  PC:http://www.wildomarconnected.com

I have been up to so much all this while, that I almost neglected the best things that surround me. For all my days that have been surrounded by computer screens, laptops,mobile phones,people talking so much, frustrations, complaints, anguish and fake laughters,today I stood in that green patch all by myself breathing deep in silence, gazing at the wild pink and white carnations, humming a tune,watching the snails crawl and the clouds and the sun play hide and seek!

The chaos was gone!! I was with me!! I was me!!

It was like a revelation. A moment which I wanted to last till my last breathe. A moment when nothing mattered and nothing stood mortal. It echoed to me that life is beautiful and I am blessed!

We all look for happiness but we always fail to realise it is always with us and within us!! 

May the silence I felt today be with me forever !! Amen!!

Let go!!

While you wait for the new dawn,

Let go of what’s already gone,

While you find a shadow there,

Don’t baffle, it is just a shadow ,

All you need is the need ,

that you need to let go!!

While you sink in the memories,

Don’t miss that made your heart sore,

This time is the time ,

When you just need to let go!!

While you fill your empty mug ,

And the curtains  curl for the show,

New beginnings are never too late,

But you have to let go!!

While you miss what throbbed you once,

While you make those million returns ,

I would say,” don’t stop.”

I would say ,” that’s not yours.”

I would say,” move on”

I would say ,”let us grow.”

I would say ,”even if you turn back ,just let go ,just let go.”

And While you wait for the new dawn,

Let go of what’s already gone!!

  
Photo credits:https://inspiredeverymoment.wordpress.com/tag/letting-go/

College Diaries-chapter 3-At The Saurabhs’!!

Now that I am a grown up, earnings, savings, bank accounts, extravaganza stresses me out. One evening I logged into my bank statements of 2009-10 and I was shocked to see my prodigal side yet I was not regretting the then lavish times. Memories rolled back in my mind and one of the best times that we as a college gang spent together were at the Saurabhs’.

The two Nair boys of different years had become our great friends. While  the girls of the gang stayed at the hostel under the college regulations, the two chose to spend a li’l extra and stay as flat mates. They were so complimentary to each other. For our simplification, we chose to call them out by their nicknames. Although a few more characteristics could help one separate their identity 😂.

  The flat was in a residential colony called Bhoopsandra.Their den had  two rooms with windows that helped them peep into the neighbours’ home. They were  decorated enough to not let the visitors’ expectations down. One of them also had a TV with a cable connection. There was a skimpy kitchen on one end. And if someone would scan that square, one could say it was a well equipped one. Here, I would like to mention that the girls contributed to the maintenance of the premises. 

Although we never worked really hard during our weekdays but we all waited for the weekend, especially the Saturday!! The college used to get over by 1:00 PM,and soon we all would be swarming out of the hive. A mega group stood outside the college entrance arguing over where to eat the lunch. Often it was our favourite kitchen- the Nandinis and at other times we would split into different restaurants. However ,the most consistent outcome was – that we four always stayed together until our last day in the college. 

After that massive unlimited lunch, we drove on our bikes to our rescue spot. Absolutely, drained after the fun of one whole week and the hogging on Saturday afternoon, the first thing we splurged into was sleep. We slept until the doorbell or the phone rang and  the older Saurabh was abused for not letting the fifth mad man in. He was the charm of the weekends, came from a different college, travelled two hours on the weekend ,sacrificing his relaxation hours in travelling  to spend the weekend with us.

  The evening opened with a ginger tea by junior S and some Parle G. The menu for the dinner was discussed and the three musketeers drove to the nearest grocery shop and shop next to it to get their weekend quotas. Cooking was no major issue because except the senior S, all knew their bits and chased them to perfection. Some music played in the background. We talked, bullied, chased each other but there were no clashes what so ever.

An understanding beyond exception existed and continues to exist.

The nights were often the best times. We often served our home cooked dinner with a reality show, throwing in all sorts of nonsense comments and then moved on to watching a pirated movie on the laptop and finally it was only some of our favourite music pieces. 

It often rained in Bangalore and we were all Ghazal fans. The nights were all about some good lyrics, some cold ,some drizzle, some mad but not heated discussions ( obviously with no conclusions),some disgust over the masters program, some remorse of what would we gain out of these years, some cheers over our good times, some dance in the high spirits, some glasses that were toasted together, some clever comments, some mad moments, and some bizarre memories!!

There was no end to those Saturday nights but the Sunday sun blazed over us. The charmer cooked us breakfast-our favourite poha with a ginger tea. We did our journal clubs after ordering food from the cheapest restaurant nearby. We brimmed our tea glasses many a times throughout the day. There was no routine except for having fun together. The Sunday went off very quickly and we two were dropped to our hostel to start for next mad week and hope for the even madder Saturday night!!

  We laughed, we laughed and we laughed our lungs out. It could only happen when we infamous five met at the Saurabhs’. The memories don’t past me and have been etched forever. The extravaganza looks perfectly normal to me today because it was the best investment ever!!

INTRIGUED !!

Who is a good reader? I don’t know!! What I know is I am not a good reader. A habit that I have tried to inculcate over the years but have never succeeded. When some of my more intellectual pals discussed politics, thrillers, or economies my prime goal was to use my two ears-GIGO(get in get out)-that’s an easy strategy when you know  that you do not know anything. I had never been the first one to miss a discussion on Bollywood. The zone has been limited and I had never bothered to broaden it. 

I often, mentioned to a good friend that I would like to start reading. He was the one who both read and wrote beautiful pieces and had a selection of books to go through. He suggested me a trick to start with simple, less tantalising stories like rom-coms. I almost thought on his idea and glimpsed through the book shelf at WH Smith. The prefaces did not appear to gain my attention. Yet, the fact a good writer needs to first read could not be overlooked by me.

Having finished my training and driving lessons, I was left with ample time to do something more. I tried painting, writing some romantic poetries and cooking but of course, how much of that fancy food could I stock up in my tummy? I needed something more passive yet occupying. My partner is  extensively into reading and I left the responsibility of finding me something that will grip me for hours.

He went to the local library and picked up a thriller for me. The story was woven around a business corporation in Sweden and its lost heir. The author went into extreme detail to let the reader’s imagination tinker. With every page one could imagine how was the set up of a room, the whole village, the characters, the cafe, the kitchen and the coffee brewer, the atrocities, the gamble and the vengeance. Every tiny detail painted a picture. A picture of thousand senses. 

  
Photo credit:dc.wikia.com

Initially I was reluctant , read a chapter a day, trying to build my interest. But before I could realise the story turned into a case of finding of a lost soul and how it had not been discovered for 37 odd years. The author has woven an intricate web and despite all my efforts to imagine I was left clueless. Like I was the journalist, I queried- what may have gone wrong? Who was the killer? What was the motif?

I was on an off  that weekend. After finishing the daily chores, I sat on the couch with the  500 pages  , I was curious beyond surprise. The why , who and how would not let me sleep. So I started again at 9:00 PM on the Saturday night and continued till 5:00 PM on the Sunday evening with barely a four hour sleep,30 mins of freshening up and 30 minutes of meal. 

A sigh of relief cuddled me when I eventually discovered what happened to Harriet Vanger. I closed the blinds for some sleep but my brain never slept and kept revising the events and the investigations. 

It was in ages that I had picked a book with no expected conclusion and a story that intrigued me. My imagination was set on fire. Every little conversation, love making,city travel, decoding the encrypt, and connecting the bits kept me into it.

Finally,  I have discovered  my taste. A good thriller was an adrenaline rush for me. This is passive yet employing. I had enjoyed reading for the first time . The author has written a trilogy and I am yet to dig in the remaining two. 

Perhaps, the moral is try before you deny!!