The Scorpios

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Friday, March 30, 2007


This is a joke that used to run the rounds in my younger days.

7 sardarjis wish to meet Gyani Zail Singh to congratulate him when he became President. They want to buy a car and drive to New Delhi from Punjab. You know, want to look prestigious and not poor farmers or truck drivers from Punjab etc.

The car salesman quotes Rs 28000 for the car. The sardarjis requested the guy to divide the cost of the car into 7 so that each could pay their equal share. The salesperson quotes Rs 13000 per head.
The sardarjis were not convinced but still they paid up as they were in a rush to move on.
After traveling for some distance they met a sardarji friend of theirs. They filled him on the background and asked him to re validate the price division.

Sardarji friend calculates.
- - -
- - -
Calculation done is 7*3= 21 add to it 7*1=7 which gives 28
And assures them that the calculation is correct.

After a few more miles of travel, they meet another sardarji friend. This guy is also called upon to assure the.
He decides to divide.

- - -
- - -
- - -
Calculation done is 7*1 is 7. Subtract 7 from 28 you get 21. Divide 21 by 7 to get 3. Therefore 13 is the correct answer.

Finally they reach Gyani Zail Singh’s residence.
They decided to seek assurance from him too
Zail Singh decides to add up- simplest of all calculations
- - -
calculation done is 3+ 3+3+3+3+3+3+1+1+1+1+1+1+1= 28

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Goofy Me

1.This is my wife- she has a memory problem so don't mind if she does not remember you- says my hubby whenever he introduces me.
And the proof of the pudding-

a) When in college I was walking up to the telephone booth late in the night. I found a man in shorts sneezing into his large hanky and also "how dare he" smiling at me. Somehow I could not remember knowing anyone fitting that description.
I decided not to crow down in fear and asked him boldly- why are you smiling at me.
The guy seemed taken aback and said ok no probs. If you don't remember me, it is not worth reminding you- something to that effect.
I was unable to make the call as the booth was closed.
The next morning again I was walking to the booth and found the same man standing there talking to someone. To my horror, he was the registrar of the Univ and a very close friend of my hubby (then my classmate). To this day he has not forgiven me for that!

b) I went to our Singapore office and met everyone. We then went out for lunch with 2 men and a S'porean lady. Throughout the meal I could not recollect who she was. When we got back and she went to her room I realised who she was. Similarly, I went to meet a lady and asked her -where were you since morning. She answered, I crossed you in the corridor and we spoke just an hour back.

c) I keep getting confused between the IS support executive and confectionery application person in my new office since they look similar. One day I went to the confectionery lab and for atleast 5 minutes stood near the IS support guy who happened to be working on the confectionery guy's computer. I even asked him where the samples were before noticing the confectionery person standing near the kitchenette.

d) Someone came to invite us for his wedding. I racked my brains hard to recall who we was. Somehow he realised that I was totally at a loss. He reminded me, you came for my brothers wedding a few months ago, now I have come to invite you for my wedding.

e) A couple came to see the kids after they were born. I had no clue who they were. After about half and hour I casually asked in which apartment no. they stayed. They mentioned their appartment no and also gave a sketchy intro which helped jog my memory. I said promptly off course I know you work with Ramya's brother's

2. Hubby & me went to a store. Hubby was wearing a black T shirt. When I last looked, he was standing near the T-shirt counter. After a few minutes, I walked in that direction and strongly patted him on the back saying, check this shirt. Horrors, the person turned and he was not hubby. Someone else in a black T-shirt.

3. Me in a shop. Wanted to know the price of an item. I just turned towards the store person looking at my direction and asked for the price. He turned out to be another shopper. To this day I do not ask anything until I have seen the store guy wearing his ID or the uniform.

4. A person met me in a book store and asked me - how are you? I could not recognize him for quite a while even though I was meeting him every morning in the swimming pool. Hint hint, I had never seen him with proper clothes, how do you expect me to recognize him.

Do you have any goofy stories to share?

Cheers to me. Finally managed my 100th Post

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Flashback- Love’s Labour

Credits- Inspired by Mad Momma’s Post
Read Part I, Part III & Part V
This post below is Part II & Part IV

Our plans were clear. Anytime after week 37 the babies could be born. But I was determined that the babies stay in for as long as possible to maximize development and so that they are not at a disadvantage right from birth. Also the longer they stay the bigger they become, perhaps. I would start her leave from 31st October so that I could spend half a month or less than that relaxing before the babies arrive who were due on 18th November.

1st week of October the doctor was already pushing me to stop going to work, but I insisted on continuing. By middle of the month I could walk no longer and I realized that I was scared.

Scared that the babies could be hurt while I traveled the bad roads. Scared that I would get into labour in the office that was 40 minutes away from my hospital. (may be I had filmy notions of me crying in pain embarrassing myself- part III will tell you how I was worried about not displaying pain in front of others and appearing brave). Scared that I would end up going to hospital alone while everyone was at their home and hubby was traveling abroad. Scared that I will embarrass myself in my office if I am unable to reach the toilet on time as I was unable to walk without taking support and without mentally and physically gearing up to battle the cramps and stand up. Scared that if I am once more caught sleeping in office I would be chucked out. Scared that I will never be able to prepare myself for the hospital visit if I don’t take a break now.

So I stopped going to work from October 15th, Saturday. The doctor saw me on 22nd and suggested to set the date of operation any day after 30th. We were open to any date as per her recommendation. Logically, Diwali was on 1st nov, Bhai dooj on 3rd so it would be great if I could celebrate them. She suggested that I get admitted on 4th evening and get operated on the 5th as that is a good day. Added bonus, it was a weekend. My brother was also particular that it happened before 5th as he had his college holidays.

October 28th – the maid had quit. The f&*%G B*@#, inspite of my condition.

October 30th- I had plans of going for buying crackers and investing in some gold for the diwali. Since it was raining we cancelled our plans.

October 31st- I took out the serial lights and decorated the window. We would switch it on in the evening. We planned to go for cracker and gold purchase in the afternoon. My boss called up to find out if I had delivered since he knew it could happen anytime. I smartly mentioned the foolproof plans of celebrating all festivals and then going for delivery. Mom who was staying with me had gone to my sister’s apartment to make gulabjamuns and other stuff for diwali, so that the two lovebirds (hubby & me) could enjoy some private time together before the babies arrive. Afternoon I took a head bath and washed a few of my clothes with great difficulty. I started getting a dull pain in my lower regions and the legs. Infact I was unable to walk without crying out of pain. A visitor (relative) and MIL came to see me. Hubby went to drop them back to their house (&*%*#% leaving me alone- I have never forgiven him for that). During that time I realized that the pain is aggravating and I could not even lie down. I slowly went to my room, left the key on the window sill and lay down on my bed, waiting for the pain to pass. Hubby rang the bell and I phoned him on his cell and asked him to come to the window and pull out the key. (we live in ground floor). He came in and I explained the situation. He called up the doctor and she was neither at home nor in the hospital. As it always happens, the hospital refuse to disclose the mobile number of the doctor. What I did not know was that I could go to the casualty and they would examine me and reach the doctor if required. They kept on insisting that they did not have her mobile number, inspite of us explaining our predicament.
The next door neighbor called us to see their new Swift. Hubby went out with the camera in one hand and the phone on the other, auto redialing the doc’s home. (can you imagine?).

After he came back we tried to get the doctor again. By around 6.00 pm the same neighbors came to call us for lighting crackers. Since I could not go out, Ms neighbour stayed behind to give me company and hubby joined Mr neighbor for cracker and general socializing. (again, can you imagine?)

When he came back we tried reaching the assistant doctor. Somehow we managed to get her mobile number. She asked me if I had any discharge. Negative. So she mentioned that it is false labour and prescribed buscopan. By 7.00 pm my mom , brother and sis had come back (with gulabjamuns). I felt that my condition was improving so I did not even call up the medical shop for the painkiller. All the while we kept on trying to reach the doctor for her opinion.

Around 10 pm I had my dinner and 2 gulabjamuns- my favourite sweet. By that time I was able to walk without wincing at every step. After dinner I started feeling the pain getting worse. MIL & BIL also came in to see me.

Around 11.00 we managed to reach the doctor who had by then come back home. She asked me to come to the casualty immediately.

By 12.00 we were at the hospital. I refused the wheelchair. The nurses kept on checking if I had any discharge. And how come you have no discharge was asked by every nurse who saw me. The doctor examined. The baby’s head had descended. That was causing the pain. I was to be operated immediately. Since I had eaten at 10.00 pm, we had to give a 6 hour gap so she decided 5.00 am would be a good time to wheel me in.

They prepared the room and to my annoyance I had to take the wheelchair. I HATED IT.

The lifecell ladies came to collect the cord blood stuff. I frankly do not remember whether they took my blood that time or later or whether they took it at all.
I was to be given a general anesthesia as I was to huge to bend and take the epidural.
We had not selected a pediatrician and the doctor called the ped on duty. He happened to be the doctor of my doctor’s twins also.

Surprisingly there was no enema or nail polish removing done for me. We waited till it was 4.45 am and to my horror I was taken towards the OT in a STRETCHER.

A small drama was enacted in my head outside the OT.

As I was wheeled into the theatre and the relevant curtains and rubber sheets etc was in place, the anesthesia technician explained the procedure to me. The doctor would wash my tummy and I would feel no discomfort except for it being very cold. He seems to have forgotten that the discomfort was because of the pain and because of being stripped right in front of goodness knows who all. By the way the anesthesia technician was also one of a twin pair.
(infact the pediatrician introduced himself the next day saying that I have met you but you were unconscious that time so you may not remember me. I pictured the state I was in when he would have “met” me and nearly died of embarrassment)

He placed the oxygen mask and asked me to breathe deeply. I felt suffocated breathing into it but breathed deeply all the same out of fear of not enough oxygen being inside me during the surgery. To my relief he removed the mask and placed a tube near my nose that was blowing oxygen and asked me to breathe. Thankfully that was more comfortable. Another mask was passed over my nose and an injection administered.

The next I remember was being woken loudly by the anesthesia technician ‘wake up, the operation is successful, you have two boys’
I remember a semi sinking feeling and lifted my hand with great difficulty and showed my index finger and whispered that I wanted one girl. The anesthesia technician walked out to my husband and said I am going to the market to get a baby girl for your wife.

(In the post op, I remember thinking of gulabjamuns and asked the nurse when I could have food. She mentioned only the following day and it was quite a few days before I could indulge in them truly)

We cannot decide when the baby will be born. The baby will decide when (s)he wants to be born. Mine heard me that I wanted to celebrate the festivals and not stay in hospital on diwali. My Diwali releases decided that they would arrive with a bang. In Tamil Nadu, Diwali is celebrated early morning. At 5.15 am & 5.16am, 1st of November, 2005 Ojas & Tejas came to this world. Ojas was the proactive one who had descended and Tejas was caught up in a double knot. Tejas was screaming at the top of his voice when he was out and Ojas was attempting to cry as if after seeing Tejas cry he realised that he is supposed to cry. Ojas more or less did not open his eyes for a day as he did not like the light and Tejas was turning towards the TV and watching the match.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Story in Pictures

Story of a Naughty Villain
One day one baby was sitting on the throne and the naughty villain was watching.

The naughty villain made a scheme and walked towards the king on the throne.

He went behind the king and pulled him towards himself.

The king fell down and began to do roi roi

While the triumphant naughty villain behaved as if he had done nothing wrong

Will you won't you share the joke with me?

Mama said no...

Ready to go for the evening walk

What crap!!

Bag &... Baggage

Monday, March 19, 2007

World of Books

orchid said it, sm said it, tharini said it and STS said it… And they tempted me into saying it too. About my favourite memory of being read.., rather I take the liberty to modify the favourite memories with books…

As far as I remember, I have liked to read books by myself. I never had the patience to listen to the story being told especially as I was a real fast reader and liked to picture the story and the characters myself as the story went by. I liked and still like to listen to stories being told extempore and my favourites are the “khichdi” and the “king with goat like ears” story that my grandma used to relate to me. Also the stories of Ramayana – which I was not supposed to listen or tell while eating as it was a religious story. I remember a few episodes of my mom reading to us from the book champak. It was a story of a rat and her babies and while my mom was reading it out to us we realized that the last page was torn and therefore we never came to know the proper ending. Of course my mom made her own version which would have been really obvious to her but till late in the night I was worried about the correct ending and was questioning my mom…I still hate it if a story remains unfinished.
As time went on, my love for stories and books deepened. We were regular subscribers to champak and almost every month my parents used to buy Amar Chitra Katha books. Alternately in English & Hindi. If my sister managed to lay her hands on the book first, she used to read the entire book aloud, included the jokes. What a spoil sport! I used to move around with my ears closed until she finished.
My first Enid Blyton was Toyland Tales and in my living memory of it half the pages were torn and all the pictures were smeared with crayons. My mom might have invested in it sooner than required!
I remember completing the Ramayana (Amar Chitra Katha) when I was in class I, and feeling a great sense of pride as that was the thickest Amar Chitra Katha I had ever read
I got introduced to the school library in class V or VI and from then on all the Enid Blytons. Nancy Drews, Hardy Boys, 3- investigators, Asimov were duly read- beg, borrow, exchange, buy at shops or 2nd hand book stalls.
Jeffery Archers, Sidney Sheldons, Danielle Steels happened in plus 2. Rebecca became my favourite after +2, and Mills & Boon happened with addiction in post graduation and Harry Potter from last couple of years. Don’t laugh, the progress was reverse.
Today I try to go for quality stuff like O Henrys, Sherlock Holmes and other literary authors.
I read while eating, while sitting in the loo, while traveling, before sleeping, right after I wake up, in the office during lunch, and mannerlessly when I am on a social visit… you name the occasion and I can be found reading. I drool at the sight of books.
My brother who is much younger to we sisters, too inherited the love of books and I can vividly remember him reading his comics right after he woke up and while eating- exactly like me. He used to temper his conversation with excerpts from the comics like if I do not eat pulses will somewhere some volcano erupt (from chacha chaudhry comics- when sabu gets angry somewhere some volcano erupts). He even had memorised entire comic story- Billu's Cake and could recite it extempore.
I have prayed throughout my pregnancy and still do, that let Ojas & Tejas love books, as much as and much much more than me. To make them read, I picked up a local publication of Alphabets – the hard board variety. Both simply loved it- they liked to sit on it, bite it, pull it, turn the pages, tear it and mangle. In the last 7 months all the pages have separated. Whenever I attempted to read them I could not move beyond D and they used to get bored.
2 months ago my cousins gifted them an Usborne book -the touch and feel kind, Alphabet book and Animal book among a few others. I started with the animal books and since both needed to hold one book each, I also took out the alphabet book. Along with that I also took out the animal sound puzzle in which once the jigsaw piece makes contact with the board, the animal sound is heard. I took them through each animal picture along with interactive sounds. Initially they just observed and rapidly turned the pages away and threw the puzzle pieces. Instead of fitting the puzzle piece on the slot, they discovered that it was sufficient to press the button on the board itself for the sounds to come. Gradually, they began to insist that the puzzle piece should be placed correctly in the slot and everytime they managed to do it correctly I clapped heartily for them. I noticed that Ojas likes to keep the lion page opened on every book he sees- he actually looks for the lion and keeps that open. He likes to sit on it and go on all fours imitating it and even growls like the lion. Tejas likes to see the cat and the dog and both say Titar ghrooooo.. for Tiger. I introduced the Usborne book to them last week and took them through the animals only. Now they can point out correctly at the animals.
I felt that the everyday reading to them with actions and sounds, the sound puzzle and showing them examples of stuffed toys, actual animal wherever possible – dog, cat, fish, cow etc helped in some sort of way in the progress. Last month I was in despair that they don’t seem to progress in the book department and neither do they point put to the body parts. All of a sudden from Friday they have started pointing at the nose and ears and yesterday I caught Tejas putting his fingers into his ears when the cooker was whistling. Goodness knows how he made the connect!
Courtsey- CHBM , Kane Miller

Friday, March 16, 2007

Dedications- Humour in the Family & Office

For those who missed them, You could read the first 2 parts here & here

Humour in the Office

We were at a training session in Rain Tree. We had booked a conference hall and the package included cost of lunch. Since it was 10 am by the time we started some of us ordered for coffee for which the company would pay separately. A few minutes later, the boss walks in. We suggested that he could take coffee if he wished to.

MS to the Boss- you can take but it is not included in the package, we have to pay for it.
Boss (Poor Guy!!)- If everyone is having coffee then why should I miss out! I also want one….

MS-Who is the Father of nation
Me- Gandhi
MS- Who is the Mother of nation
Me- ??Kasturba??….
MS- No – Mother Teresa

We buy hair swatches for our shampoo/ hair oil evaluation process wherein you have to smell the hair and give the feedback
I was queasy about touching that hair and evaluating
MS- why are you worrying, I have washed that hair swatch so well and so many times –I can assure you even that person would have not washed it so well when it was there on her head.

Does it change things?????

MS - my ex-colleague

Humour in the Family
N- Mom has got 6 mangoes. Each of us will eat one.
She takes one and gives another one to P. N finishes her portion and goes off. P continues to eat
After an hour N finds P still eating
N- how dare you eat another mango, followed by one mild slap.
P- crying.. this is the same one I am eating.

Setting- The family is sitting one afternoon and chatting
Ru- Anise is supposed to improve your memory
Everyone- yes our memories are getting really weak nowadays
Then each one relates her experience of failing memory. After about half and hour
N- You know someone told me someday that anise is very good for your memory
Ru- I said! Half an hour ago

N & P – my mom & her sister, Ru- their SIL/ My aunt

Sh to M- Can you get me a summer project in your company
M- Ok, send your CV to my colleague in Delhi branch with a cc to me.
After a few days-M’s colleague to M- Sh’s mobile number is not accessible
M calls up Sh who is sleeping in her hostel at that time- Hey you have given your old mobile no in your CV
Sh- half asleep- how do you know? And how come you have my new number. (Conclusion- when they are half asleep, some people ask silly questions instead of answering the question they have been asked)
M-helpfully- Ok I will ask my colleague to call you on this number and you change your number on your CV
Sh- Ok, ask her to call after 5.00 pm, I am sleeping now.
M- ???? I thought you wanted the project

M- my sister, Sh- my cousin

Uncle to R my brother when he was young- Do you know the meaning of puling- streeling (meaning masculine & feminine gender resp)
R- I know the meaning of puling not streeling- puling means apney taraf kheechna
(one pulling someone else towards one’s direction)

This one makes me sentimental-

My paternal grandma to R my brother when he was young- When you will grow older I will select your bride
R- How come? You would have died by then?

R- my brother

R my cousin leaves a super clean plate on the rack next to the kitchen sink
Maid begins to keep it on the plate rack
R- arree don’t keep it there, wash it first, I had eaten in that plate.

On another similar occasion R’s wife D tells the maid who is watching in obvious disbelief at R’s ultra clean plate- please clear R’s plate. He has in fact finished eating

R’s son A wants to go out of the car while we are driving. His ploy to get him out real fast- Mummy, susu potty jaana hai…meaning I want to pee and poop….

R wanted to take his son to an amusement Park. We went to VGP. After we finished enjoying (?) the meager entertaining facilities of the park, I asked him how he liked it.
R- I was amused

R’s wife D- Kehte hai (It is believed that …)
R- hold on, if she starts a sentence with “it is believed that..” it means she does not know who said it, there is no proof that it is true and she has never experienced it first hand.

R -my cousin

Grandpa to R my brother on his anniversary (within earshot of my Grandma)- If I had seen your grandma before marriage I would have never married her
Grandma- looks at Grandpa with disdain (he had got a boil on his foot a week ago and was somewhat limping)- Huh, who would have married this lame fellow anyway!

Grandpa & Grandma went jewelry shopping for the anniversary gift for Grandma
Grandma likes one ring and asks Grandpa- What is your budget for the gift
Grandpa- Rs 10k
Grandma- I like this one which costs Rs 12 K, you pay Rs 10K & I will pay the rest.
They do exactly that- with neither one willing to let go

K takes Rs 5 from his dad and goes to buy pencils. He spends Rs 3 on pencils, Re 1 on candy and returns Re 1 to his Dad
K’s dad- where is another rupee
K- I spent Rs 4 on pencils
K’s dad gave a tight slap and said next time you must tell the truth. Then I won’t hit you

A few days later K breaks his Dad’s sun glasses while sneaking and playing with it
K boldly walks up to his Dad- I broke it. See I am so truthful
K’s Dad- ???

K- my hubby

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Humble Request

May I please be allowed to comfort my sons when they are crying?
May I please be allowed to feed them a banana if they want it even if it is late evening?
May I please be allowed to smack them if they are extra naughty and not indulge their every illegitimate request?
May I please be allowed to b-feed them at an odd hour if they want it?
May I please not be questioned if I decide to change their diet for that day?
May I please be allowed to let them cry it out and nobody please comfort them?
May I please not pick them up every time they fall and nobody please pick them up?
Request please not use the words “beat mummy” if I am nasty with them when they are being particularly annoying.
May I please not emerge as a villain in such situations?

Tat You (Thank You)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Think twice- make that multifold …

March 1st, we joined hubby’s friends and their wives for dinner at Rain Forest, Adyar (not to be confused with Rain Tree that is an Ecotel in Alwarpet. Now before I get to that, a little background.
We used to eat out at the drop of a hat, but after the kids, if it is a serious dinner, we usually leave them home with Mom/MIL. Or at least we have minimum 2 people per kid for taking care while the rest of us manage to eat in turns. Sometimes it really does not feel worth the trouble with 2 people forever entertaining and monitoring Ojas & Tejas and the remaining people gobbling down their food. And now since they are walking around, the labour is multifold. And then there is always this danger of them knocking down our food or drink. Or some one else feeding them out of their plate.
Given the above and the fact that both of us are supposedly on the road to good health. The gym is the only place where you pay money to lose weight. So having paid a lot of money, sacrificing beauty sleep, refusing all the yummy, could have eaten desserts and other food, eating at the right time so that it does not show up on the scales next morning, slogging away at the machines and losing a few meager calories after more than an hour’s workout, watching the scales tease you with the yo-yoing weight, I was pretty skeptical about going to eat and undo the good work. That too with the kids as hubby dear felt it right to let the kids also participate in our social life.

But since I have complained enough about lack of social life, I agreed like a wife who is “bilkul gau” (as docile as a cow).

The place is located at Adyar signal and is in the basement. The staircase is designed like a cave and as you enter you reach a setting like a forest. There are dummy trees, creepers and thatched tops over the tables. There is a water body in the front section with a few soft toy animals like monkeys, birds with their nest, tiger, lion sitting around it or hanging from the ceiling. There is a coiled snake in a corner and various random cousins of monkeys hanging from the ceiling. The funny parts are that the tiger is huge – life size almost and the lion is of a very small size. The waiters are dressed up in leopard skin print clothes and they play sounds of animals roaring in the background. I am told that the waiters even wear animal masks and generally scare the kids with ferocious looks and acts.

The food was pretty good and Ojas & Tejas had a great time picking noodles from my plate and hugging and kissing the huge tiger. Ojas sincerely believed that the roaring in the background was the tigers and he was amused. Tejas was delighted with the snake and disgusted with the monkey.

We were 4 couples + 2. Despite the numbers, I did not get to socialize as I was busy entertaining my kids in the animal world.

The next morning the diarrhea and vomiting started for Ojas & Tejas. It continued till 8th for Tejas and till 4th for Ojas (including a relapse). We had never restricted them from picking from our plates in restaurants and this had happened for the first time. Everything that went in came out immediately either as thin, watery poop or as puke. Our regular doc was not in town and we had to change 3 doctors as the condition was not showing signs of improving and we were worried because their ailments have a tendency to get chronic.

During this period Tejas lost a lot of weight. He was not playing and not doing any naughtiness. Because of which Ojas was really bored. We could see him trying hard to play by himself and then challenging and teasing Tejas so that he reciprocates.

After our doctor returned on Monday, he prescribed Metrogyl along with the Oflomac we were giving/. That reduced the output and completely worked after more than 2 days. Along with that we were giving them Electrol so that they do not dehydrate, Glucon D to maintain Energy and pro-biotic pills to overpower the disease causing bacteria by sheer numbers. And then there was another medicine starting with the letter O for preventing the puke. Tejas’ bum was red and sore and the doc prescribed a cream to heal.

I normally do not use diapers unless we are going out. It is air conditioned, loose cotton shorts for them full day and a nappy pad stuck on a cloth nappy and covered with a washable plastic & foam diaper. The benefits of not using a diaper are preventing skin infection/ rashes (Tejas is quite prone to it), airing, and non irritant – how would we feel if we were to wear sanitary napkins all day and night, for the entire month? Apart from the discomfort, it costs money and is a total drain on the Eco system. Utility point of view, I am all for diapers. Comfort for me, yes it scores. I can afford it, so money is not a problem. But comfort for the baby and my general concern for the ecology takes me to a guilt trip every time I take the diaper. In fact we feel so guilty about discomforting our babies that hubby and I discuss and mutually agree before using the diaper to bed on rare days. Each wanting the other to suggest that diaper should be allowed for that one night. During the diarrhea, we used a whole large bag of diapers. My maid kept Tejas on her lap on a rubber cloth with a cloth nappy wrapped around him through the day as he was so full of rashes. This was the first time I saw the severity of a diarrhea. The only food they were eating was arrowroot (saboodana powder), rice, idly, curd. They had also developed lactose intolerance.

I noticed Ojas developed a white patch near his eyes. Also saw him rubbing his nose during sleep. 2 days ago he put his finger up his bum during a chaddi change. To digress, the lazy me quickly tried to sniff at his fingers. If it stinks, he gets a hand wash. In a flash Ojas pushes the finger on his other hand up his bum and took it to his nose.
I suspected worms and gave him the homeopathic medicine CINA that same evening. I used 1M potency which can be given at a frequency of once a month. Mid night he passed motion with worms. Till the next day he was passing worms into his shorts. I have de-wormed the entire family and the maids with the same medicine.

After all this we went through, we have decided no restaurant food for the kids. Forget building resistance. Forget making them hardy and tough. It is not worth it.
In perspective, we paid money, for the food we hardly ate and bought back diarrhea and hospital bills in return. We also missed out the Holi celebrations in the building. For the first time we did not wear new clothes on Holi . We work hard on making the kids gain weight and become healthier and the last 10 days have made them lag behind. A lot to make up now.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Working Mom Places Her Case

My two bit on the debate between working moms and stay at home moms

First things first- ever since I remember, I have always wanted to work. Work either on my own or get a job. The prime motivation was that I would be independent and have money of my own. The rest of the frills of working were not given much thought to at that stage. To me, it meant an uninhibited license to shop as and when I wished, buy all the books I wanted to read, fly off to any place I wished, and have a nice, big house of my own.

Well, I leave it at that. Today I realize that working life is not one big celebration or shopping festival. It is one big responsibility to be sitting in that position and playing the role one is hired for. Working would mean jubilation at times and disappointment at others. It could mean getting accolades on one occasion and being brought down ruthlessly from cloud nine at another. And the money does not flow in and out as freely as I thought. The increment may not be always a wow. And one may not spend at the blink of an eye.

Working is not about going to office as you please and coming back long before the cows come home. It is not just jet-setting at company’s cost – the fringe benefits could be as basic as missing a meal when you are in transit or as bad as not being able to adapt to the food that is aplenty all chargeable to expense account. It means getting up at unearthly hours according to your bio clock, in a different country when your home town is still fast asleep. It could mean long hours of sitting in a cramped seat when the rest of the world is stretched out comfortably on the big, fluffy bed. It could be as disappointing as not being able to attend that function where all the relatives had great fun or as heart wrenching as not being with your child when he wants to cuddle up to you and sleep.

There, you know what I am driving at. It is not easy to be a Working Mom. While the benefits are many, the sacrifices are equally so. But do not for a moment think that I am trying to martyr-ify (help me with the apt word) myself- no there is no halo behind my head, period. And neither am I the power hungry, mean money making machine. I am a flesh & blood person who has a right to make a choice.

The desire to work had been ingrained into my system and there was no way that I could change my DNA. And once I was truly into it, it felt like tasting blood. Getting to grassroots level I love the set routine of getting ready to go to work everyday, experimenting with my attire and get-up and running the show at work. At a materialistic level, I am in love with my pay cheque, I love seeing the account summary getting heavier in my favour towards the end of the month and love the extra width it gives us as a family. At an intellectual level, I enjoy the stimulation, the chance to network, and move beyond the domain of self and family. I would have never sailed through my pregnancy without quarreling every minute with my hubby if I didn’t have the distraction of my workplace. Imagine a pregnancy without the laughs at the lunch table with the girls, or without sharing the graphic pregnancy notes with the woman colleagues, or without the royal treatment by all the colleagues and their genuine concern and support. It really made the discomforts worthwhile. What is life without gossip and bitching about boss(es) and others in office or discussing the latest TV programs and borrowing and lending books/ food. Love them, like them, hate them but you can’t do without your colleagues.
I believe that colleagues are equal to your best friend minus that necessity of being nice and friendly always. You can get away with not chatting with them for a few days and then taking off from the next day without the hassle of justifying why you did not bother to even spend 5 minutes with them over coffee. Convenient!

Frankly, I did not give serious thought to whether I will work after kids or not. It was always a given that I will continue after a mandatory 6-month break to coach them into getting used to the world.

While I am committed to my job, yet there are days when I do not want to let go of my kids who are blissfully playing with me. I wish that I did not have to go to office and I wish that I could spend the entire day playing with them and taking them thorough the animal books and getting dazzling smiles in return. Truly, I feel sorry to go to office those days. But one can always play truant and take leave.

After the kids, I have rearranged my priorities and I am not ashamed to do so. I do not doubt that it will impact my marketability in the corporate world. No matter what, I take the responsibility to give my kids the total attention they deserve. A couple of years ago, I would have jumped at a chance to make a tour to Delhi/ Mumbai, combine the weekend and shop/ visit relatives. But today, I come back the same day and take the earliest available flight so that I can come back home to my kids.

I love to soak up in the admiration and awe of other moms/ non-moms who try to fathom how I manage work, home, kids at one go. I love it and I take pride in it. Unabashed, immodest, unladylike pride.

Just because I am a Mom, I do not want to hang up my (running) shoes and stop living. Rather, I want to keep doing everything that I was doing before and more.

It means that I get up at 5 am in the morning and hit the gym so that I am able to be back home at 7 sharp after which hubby gets to go to the gym. I am appalled at myself for being one of the freaks who supposedly wait outside the shutters so that they are the first ones to enter the gym. All so that I lose the ever-pregnant-never-delivery flab and tone into shape.

Since I do not have time to read my books, I take them to – don’t say yuck- the loo. Well, I have to read, no two things about that, and I will not let go of the books.

It is after becoming a mom that I started blogging, became the Secretary to my building and changed jobs. 3 things that I had never done before.

While I do not go to every other exhibition and every sale in the city but I do make it a point to be out with or without the kids every weekend. Even if it is just to buy the grocery. My kids are not sitting at home and watching TV just because their Mom & Dad get just the weekend to relax and stay at home.

While I may not have watched the movies in the theatre in a long time, we do have DVDs to the rescue, albeit watched at god forsaken hours or when the kids are asleep or if we are too desperate, we pause, attend to the kids and keep watching if they are awake.

When I get back home, there is no such thing as a relaxing snack and watching TV or taking a nap. It is getting down to business. If the kids have not had their walk, I take them out in the complex. Otherwise after the mandatory cuddling I sit with their books/ toys and really play with them. Just like the good old days when you get back from school and play! It is not out of compulsion but out of genuine love for them that I do it. I really enjoy it when my kids manage to make a sound like the tiger and manage to stack the rings correctly. And the way they clap after the achievement is a reward good enough for me. Not that I do not feel tired or impatient but then, I love the accolade of being a super mom too!

It is not that I am doing everything myself. I keep 2 maids and I make them work for their salary, to put things bluntly. The rule is simple- if the task keeps me away from the kids, then the maid does it. Even filling the water and making my bed. The ironing has been delegated to the ironing guy so that I am not tied up with it on the weekends when I could be doing fun things with my kids.

The day I do not have the help or a reliable person to supervise them and my kids (in this case the MIL), I place it on record that I will quit. And yes, as all moms have mentioned, the way the kids are brought up is my decision, even though the facilitators are others. And hubby dear stands by his promise of letting it be so.

So far I have managed to catch all the milestones and I am glad I didn’t have to come back from work and hear about them and feel sorry for missing them. The kids have cooperated!! I do feel bad about rushing away in the morning and letting them cry their heart out. I also used to sneak away to the house if I found them out in their pram with grandpa – not to avoid holding them, but the moment they used to see me they used to refuse to have their stroll. It broke my heart to do this to them but I did not want them to miss their share of fresh air.

I hope that my kids will be proud of me and my work and will not resent me for leaving them and going to work.

I end saying that I do not know whether I have made the right decision and I do not know whether I have made the decision for the right or wrong reasons but for the time being, I wish to stand by it. I feel this is the right way to get all round enrichment, and therefore so be it.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Mean Moms

On the week of Women's day, I publish the below piece as I believe to be original and unedited, originally composed by Bobbie Pingaro (1967) . While many of you would have already read it, I would like to place it on record on my blog so that I may remember and easily refer to. Also, I add my own notes to it in orange within []

Someday when my children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates a parent, I will tell them, as my Mean Mom told me: I loved you enough . . . to ask where you were going, with whom, and what time you would be home.
[Infact Mom used to fix what time I need to be back home]

I loved you enough to be silent and let you discover that your new best friend was a creep.

I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your room, a job that should have taken me just 15 minutes.

I loved you enough to let you see anger, disappointment, and tears in my eyes.
(Children must learn that their parents aren't perfect.)
[I am sure mine will have plenty of chances to see my anger & tears!]

I loved you enough to let you assume the responsibility for your actions even when the penalties were so harsh they almost broke my heart.

But most of all, I loved you enough . . . to say "NO" when I knew you would hate me for it.
[It could mean no to too much of ice creams or excess of toys or packed chips, too much of pocket money. Infact we used to crave for packed chips and my mom would slave and make 10kg of potato chips every summer and now how I miss that. Any thing that was bajaar se khareeda hua meaning packaged food was avoided and instead we had home made equivalents- from mithai to sauce to snacks to jam to pickle to our own version of aerated drink- lemon juice/ squash with soda! I don't know if I can ever match in the meanness of my Mom in this respect]

Those were the most difficult battles of all. I'm glad I won them, because in the end you won, too. And someday when your children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates parents, you will tell them.

Was your Mom mean? I know mine was. We had the meanest mother in the whole world!

While other kids ate candy for breakfast, we had to have cereal, eggs, and toast.
When others had a Pepsi and a Twinkie for lunch, we had to eat sandwiches.
And you can guess our mother fixed us a dinner that was different from what other kids had, too.
[A cousin of mine used to comment that he would love to have parathas for lunch box instead of bread and we used to complain that we never get sandwiches like our friends but only parathas everyday. In fact Maggi never gained entry to my home. It was always chowmein that were cooked with a whole lot of vegetables ]

Mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times. You'd think we were convicts in a prison. She had to know who our friends were, and what we were doing with them. She insisted that if we said we would be gone for an hour, we would be gone for an hour or less.
[We were not allowed to skip lunch at our place and have it at our friends place without prior permission rather without prior invitation from our friend's mom. Infact we never even stayed over at a friend's place as my Mom believed that if she allowed once, the requests would continue.]

We had to wear clean clothes and take a bath. The other kids alwayswore their clothes for days. We reached the height of insults because she made our clothes herself, just to save money.
[She still does for me and makes little kurtas for my kids out of the extra bits. Infact I would believe that depending on the cloth required for my kids' kurta she decides whether she should make a sleeveless kurta or even a short kurta for me]

We were ashamed to admit it, but she had the nerve to break the Child Labor Laws by making us work. We had to wash the dishes, make the beds, learn to cook, vacuum the floor, do laundry, empty the trash and all sorts of cruel jobs. I think she would lie awake at night thinking of more things for us to do.
[Apart from the above, making tea was the most hated and dreaded job given whenever a guest came or even if we went to our grandma's place. And worse of all we had to clear the plates after food and even pick up others' plates/ cups and put it in the kitchen. We had to separate and place the raw vegetables in the fridge/ rack in an organised manner. We even had to iron our clothes and clean our cupboards]

She always insisted on us telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. By the time we were teenagers, she could read our minds and had eyes in the back of her head. Then, life was really tough!

Mother wouldn't let our friends just honk the horn when they drove up. They had to come up to the door so she could meet them. While everyone else could date when they were 12 or 13, we had to wait until we were 16.

Because of our mother we missed out on lots of things other kids experienced. None of us have ever been caught shoplifting, vandalizing other's property or ever arrested for any crime. It was all her fault.
[Forget the above, we were not allowed to snatch or even ask toys of our friends but we were expected to share ours. Infact sometimes she even used to give away something to other children]

Now that we have left home, we are all educated, honest adults. We are doing our best to be mean parents just like Mom was.

I think that is what's wrong with the world today.
It just doesn't have enough mean moms!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Computerising Life

Today I decided to pick up my pen, that was threatening early retirement, and write down my thoughts instead of straight away tapping them on the pen's arch rival computer's buttons. When I was 15 minutes into this shubh kaam (auspicious work), boss called me to his room. I stood up, flexing my fingers that were as tired as they felt after I wrote my entire class ten English Literature exam which had generous helpings of Julius Caesar quote unquote doled out for the unfortunate teachers chosen to evaluate them. I stood there foolishly looking at the paper, my mind instinctively searching for something. A few years back I could have been looking for some form of paperweight. But no, I realised I was subconsciously looking for the Conrol-S button to save my work on the sheet of paper.

The other day we were frantically looking for the car keys which my terrible two had misplaced- the likely places toy drawer, puja, their potty, under the bed and even the music system and A/C louvers were duly searched with zero results. I desperately wished we had a search button, hell I was even willing to press 2 keys- Control- F to make my job easier. If I had to search for one more lost key or the silver spoon or my book, I will have to install a security camera in my house.

Some other keys that could make life simpler would be-
1. Change Case - suppose we want to yell at hubby or kids, you could just change case to caps and need not spend the energy on actually screaming
2. Auto complete- you have to spend time with that boring neighbour aunty or the I-am-here-to-teach-you-how-to-run-India-business colleague from overseas office, you need not expend energy talking. You could just say the first few letters of the intended word or sentence (may be I am asking for too much)and bingo, the entire words and sentences start flowing out beautifully in the receiver's ears.
3. Undo/ Delete/ Back- Most useful if you have goofed up or divulged a secret or eaten some tempting high calorie dessert (have the cake and then don't eat it too type of thing)
4. Redo- You have cooked something delicious by randomly mixing ingredients while bitching with your friend on the mobile and simultaneously talking in capitals to your kids/ husband/ maid (remember you don't shout if you have an option of changing case- you simply talk and the shouting is perceived) and now people want a repeat performance of the scrumplicious dish. You just press the redo button and voila.
5. Crop- You want to lose weight/ inches- you get the picture, right!
6. Move Here- You have a number 2- auto complete situation above and you feel too lazy even to exercise the auto complete option- Just move [that damn thing (person)] here ( specified location)
7. Fill Colour- You bought this dress and the colour looks awful on you. You could use the tab that looks like- "bucket pouring colour"
8. Home- save fuel- just press the home button or if you are lost you need not do the elimination round of- who-is-the-most-likely-guy-to-tell-me-the-correct-way-and-who-is-the-least-pervert-looking-one-to-risk-talking-to and ask for directions
9. Control- most useful and all encompassing. Apart from the obvious benefits, one can even use it in situations which demand an obligatory visit to the yucky toilet in the shopping mall/ train