The Scorpios

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ojas Tejas Update

A day before their birthday- Checklist
1. Can sing "Happy ...To You"- my attempt to get them used to the birthday idea for the entire month succeeded
2. Can point correctly at all the objects in their many bookch and even the corresponding physical object. Doesn't matter if clock is pointed as watch or clock both.
3. They still use their bottle because they fell ill mid way during the weaning process.
4. New words part of their vocab - even wothout looking at their bookch- cucumber, peacoch, goosie (goose), paapio (buffalo)...
5. They know which book carries what pictures - they judge by the cover!
6. They mention duggi in their sleep. Infact they do not antagonise him so much.
7. They expect that thy would be taken out if they wear their chappas.
8. They know where the chocolate (chockache) is stored in the fridge.
9. They ask for Thanda Pani (cold water from the fridge)
10. They can demand for bikku (biscuit) and eat peanut - jaggery balls in many numbers.
11. They love chickich (chicken) and I guess they can smell it. I opened a box of fish curry and Ojas immediately asked for chickich
12. They can dance to Goochy (goosie goosie gander) and are you sleeping rhymes.
13. They can get fooled by Duggi who distracts them and when they follow him to a corner, he runs back and occupies their rocking chair.
14. They are still not toilet trained to my distress. They can ask for eveything they want but cannot say that they want to do potty.
15. They use a pencil or a pen as the stylus for mobile phones.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Going to Travel

This December, I would be going to Patna for a break. Will be flying to Calcutta and take the train to Patna.
I am pretty excited about taking the kids via train. This would be their first train journey. Very nervous about how they will take to the confinement.
Blog Pals! Could you please give me some ideas on what food should I take for the kids?
This will be overnight travel and I need to be equipped with filling food for one dinner and evening snacks.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

We Are Famous

We Mom Bloggers Share space in The Telegraph on Sunday.
While you can read the article here, I am copying it down below for posteriety.
The invite read: “You must be able to tolerate discussions on poop, breasts and other unmentionables that mommies talk about. And it would be nice if you told us that our kids are super-smart and that we look sexy.”
The event was a Sunday afternoon get-together. The venue: a hip Bangalore café. Though none of the invitees had ever met before, they were no strangers — for they were all mothers with a passion for blogging. After months of exchanging notes on potty training and teething woes online, some of the Bangalore moms decided to meet each other. Plans are now afoot for similar meetings in other cities.
Step into the world of mommy blogs where the Internet-savvy Indian mum is bonding with other mothers. The moms may be a bit cagey about revealing their full identities but are eager to bombard the world with every little detail about their little ones’ lives.
Clearly, the Internet has turned into a networking and creative forum. Bangalore-based software engineer Sangeeta admits that she started blogging on with the intention of meeting like-minded moms. For Shobana, a stay-at-home-mother based in the US, blogging is a way to unwind. “When I write and read posts, it is like I am at a café with my girlfriends and I am discussing their children with a mug of coffee in my hands.”
Most mommies who blog like to catch up with one another to get suggestions on parenting. So when Sangeeta was in a dilemma about whether to cut her two-year-old daughter Poppin’s little ponytail, she asked for ideas on her blog. And when DDmom’s elder daughter was to start school she urged experienced mothers to come up with lunch box suggestions on her blog (
“Mommy blogs are catching on because the Internet is a close part of our lives today,” explains Samir Parikh, consultant psychiatrist, Max Healthcare, Delhi. “Moreover, with the changing social milieu and with the emergence of a nuclear family system, mothers have little time to communicate with other mums. Blogging helps them to express their thoughts and connect with like-minded people,” he says.

Blogging moms are also taking over a role once played by their mothers and grandmothers. They turn to each other for advice on parenting, and, unlike many of the older female family members, they understand the pressures and problems of the present generation. “Earlier, if your grandmother asked you to do something, you followed the practice without questioning. But today moms want convenient and less time-consuming answers,” says Riti, a Chennai-based marketing executive. “State a problem on your blog and you will be bombarded with experiences. Pick and choose your solution,” says Riti, who has been sharing her experiences about raising her one-year-old twins on
Besides bonding with one another, the mums find blogging a great way to record the milestones in their child’s life — from the first haircut to a trip to the playschool. On moppettales., Nikita, a young mom, writes about the daily adventures of her 18-month-old daughter, Moppet.
Though most mommy bloggers want to remain anonymous, they have no qualms about revealing their kid’s identity. Almost all blogs are peppered with cute pictures of their cherubs. Subha, a Switzerland-based mom who writes, was pleasantly surprised when on a visit to Chennai a young mother with two children in tow asked her, “Aren’t you Boo from Boosbabytalk?” Says Subha, “I was completely taken aback. Apparently, she recognised my daughter who was with me from the photos I post on my blog.”
The enormity of the mommy blog world urged Subha to start a separate blog called indianmommies. to document all mommy blogs. Besides Subha’s blog directory, there is also desimomzclub. and www., an online kiddie book club that brings Indian moms together online.
Though no precise estimates about the number of Indian mommy blogs exist, Amit Aggarwal of labnol., which has an online directory of the best Indian blogs in different categories, maintains that there are easily a few hundred such blogspots.
That’s not surprising, for mommy blogs are being read for sheer entertainment value by people other than moms as well. Neha, a Singapore-based researcher, is not a mom, but loves reading winkiesways. for its style of writing and karmickids. for the humorous posts. For most mothers, the blogs are a creative outlet. Since quite a few stay at home, and many have left their jobs to bring up their children, the blogs are an enjoyable way to stay occupied. Take Moppet’s mom Nikita. An MBA, Nikita used to work at a multinational company in India. She is currently a full-time mom and blogs on an average for an hour every day. “I’m not working at the moment, so I really do have plenty of time. Also, I enjoy writing,” she says.
For many of them the blog is an easy way to share their babies’ growing up days with close family and friends who might be living far away. Many moms also secretly cherish the desire that their children will grow up and read their blogs one day.
With little children around and several daily chores to finish, the moms have to take out time to blog when their children are either napping or are at playschool. The mothers don’t mind, and some point out that blogging is also addictive. And, after all, they are storing memories.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Stick In Time

I was told to keep a stick handy, to be used by hubby & me only to discipline the kids.
While I really do not appreciate the use of stick, the faulty logic surprised me. The entire day we are not at home so the kids get disciplined only when we are present. Rest of the time, can they cross the boundries?
Physical punishment will leave its mark on the impressionable minds. I don't want their memories be marred with episodes of punishment involving the stick and their parents.
To me discipline is a round-the clock thing. I can't be discilpined in the morning and indisciplined by nightfall. It is something that is inbuilt and instilled as a part of the system. Needs patience and anyone in contact with the child should ensure that the interaction is within the limits of acceptable disciplined behavior.
When I think of those times when I lose control and scream on the kids or give them a smack, I feel it is done more out of frustration than anger at the kids. Frustration at being unable to control and reason out with them. It is my failure than the kids' failure that causes me to attack by words or hand.
The stick does not matter as much as the association and the accompanied expectation of instilling fear in the child. Why should a child be taught to be scared of his parents. If he cannot open up to his own parents, he will find a confidante outside the home and the advice may not be really inline with the family's sentiments and rules. I have nothing against external confidantes but i would like it if my kids are close to atleast my husband or me when they want to discuss their problems. I would like my kids to be fearless and be able to expect a fair hearing on every interaction from us rather than use external props to force us to go by their line of thought.

Weekend Fodder
1. So what do the parents say? Spare the rod? Or otherwise? Why?
2. Can one just keep a cane and use it on rare occassions even if it is not a regular feature? Old school of thought was to use it- both at home and school but today authorities view it very strongly. By just keeping a disciplinary tool handy are we insulting the kids and affecting them wrongly?
3. If there is any expert out there reading my post- Does beating/ caning cause psychological damage, insecurity, low confidence levels/ self esteem in the adult?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Photo Feature

Way to Subway, Spencer's hope they buy the potato chips too...
Ooh the Luxury of Sleep, that to no parent to disturb- having the whole bed to myself

Duggi, No, Chappa is what Ojas says when he does this and promptly stores his chappa away in the proper place. This is one way I get him to do this job.
Tata, Bye
Camera Shy
Chocoholic This Visitor Stopped Coming
When He Took Residence

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I am Flattered. Whenever the ad of RmKv is flashed, Ojas & Tejas point at the lovely lady in blue and say- Mummy

Anticlimax- Hubby says, I didn't do anything!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Engagement Tag

Dotmom tagged me with the engagement tag- I had been dreading it and since it is rude to refuse, here goes the official version...
We had been in MBA together. The genesis of the friendship started with a few forced ganging ups like-
  • The Leo birthday Treat for the class
  • Fashion Show participation in JIPMER fest where MBA's are separate invitees and participate separately from the University
  • Dbase classes where Hubby was the mentor for our group and we had to do a team project.

We girls used to do everything in a group atleast for the 1st year- you know how it is when you are few in number in a class. Luckily, all 8 girls liked to talk to him and therefore we soon formed a gang comprising most of the girls and some of the guys of the class.

Through the 2nd year, there came a series of functions and industry interfaces where we worked together, being a part of the management cell. While we liked to talk to each other we were not officially going around. In our senior batch(es), most of the students were together with somebody or the other may be out of sheer peer pressure! For exactly the same reason we were not together. Every interaction was in a group because of this strange inter class bonding that existed in our batch.

Neither of us took the first step perhaps because we felt it was too early to commit and wanted to check whether it would be a case of "out of sight, out of mind/ heart".

Once out of college, secure in our jobs, we realized we still wanted to see each other, and it was possible due to proximity.

Officially, he maintains that I proposed and I maintain that he proposed. And there is no way anyone can verify. While I have the advantage of having a blog where I can speak out the truth, I choose not to make use of it and let the same version remain on the post.

We took our time to get actually married, due to a myriad of reasons. But once the families were confortable with the idea and we comfortable with the position our career was we actually got engaged 2 days before the wedding.

I still bemoan the fact that I did not have a long enough courtship period. Quite an understatement since we married 4 years after being out of college.

But the courtship period after publicly wearing the ring has a different flavour to it.

No more looking behind your shoulders, no more making excuses for absence, no more being caught by colleagues/ friends at movies/ restaurants/ beaches.

Infact my CEO's son used to regularly report to my CEO on my weekend beach visits. Most Mondays my CEO used to greet me with words- Saturday, beach, boyfriend, my son saw.

No more people asking annoyingly when the marriage is.

No more advices on get married soon

No more suggestions of eligible bachelors in our community

Infact the habit of scanning the surroundings so that we could avoid some troublesome known faces became so ingrained that I found myself doing that even after marriage for a while.

I tag ArtNavy, Twisted DNA, STS, Hiphopgrandmaom

Monday, October 22, 2007

Another of my Faux Paus

My colleauge (Sardarji) asked me to come to the restaurant. I walked in confidently waving at him siting on one of the tables. I come closer and realize that he is not the one I am waiting for. I just said sorry and sat at the next table. Thankfully the correct sardarji walked in and I assume the wrong guy realized why I made the mistake.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Photo Feature

Duggi is facing torture at the hands of Ojas & Tejas. They literally maul him with their love and he has to use all his ingenuity to find a new hiding place each day. Yesterday he hid himself in the bathroom under a stool and I mistook him as a pair of black shorts and overlooked his presence.
The kids were off to the hospital for a while and Duggi had a good time prancing around the entire house, sitting on the bed, licking my brother' s face etc.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Featured at Last

I do not know what it means but it means a lot to me. Got featured as updated on 7th October on Best Indian Bloggers List

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Gifts Galore

The birthday is fast approaching and my one big worry is how to handle the gift issue that comes with every guest you invite. I dread the quantity of gifts that will come in and I have no space to keep them.
I cannot control the number of guests because irrespective of the guest list, all kids of the complex will walk in for any party. More than that, all kids are friendly with Ojas & Tejas and I do not have the heart or will to restrict the guests to thir age group.

Weekend Fodder (4 days holiday can be considered as an extended weekend!)
  • Is it rude to say "no gifts" on the invitation?
  • Is it ok to foster the idea of gifts being part of any celebration and therefore condition the kids to expect gifts during birthdays
  • As my friend AD rightly says- what is a birthday without gifts- is it not ok to teach them that gifts are one way of showing care and it is ok to expect and give gifts and nothing greedy about waiting eagerly to get them during birthdays.
  • Infact the "iski kya zaroorat thee" (there was no need to bring gift) mentality is a no-no - one must gracefully accept and express delight because there is a joy in giving too and a thought behind that really matters.
  • In light of global warming, is it ok to pass on gifts that you don't need - repack and gift it to someone else? Let it not waste away in storage. Lot of people do mention that it is something I got and cannot make use of it so I am passing it on to you. But they top it up with another gift they have bought so as to not look mean not having bought something for a gift.
  • Or charity would be the better option? come to think of it, is it not a kind of forced charity- because you can neither gift, nor use nor store so the last option is giving away?
  • What is the yardstick to measure the amount spent on a gift? Lot of people note down what gifts they received- record keeping is one reason but another reason often cited is so that you return in kind. Should I gift to match up with what someone gave us or should it depend upon my capacity? Is there a market rate for each occasion?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Another Offence Made (Maid)

Scenario- Sunday afternoon, kids finally taking their afternoon nap. Nobody home. I inform maid that I am going to have a bath.
I locked the kid's clothes cupboard and placed the key in one of the lamp of Ganesh idol well above the reach of the kids.
By the time I finished, the kid had woken up and was creating a racket. I called for the maid and realised that instead of following the kids to the bathroom, her voice came from the other part of the house, possibly the next room, the bathroom window of which faces my bathroom window. I found it odd but paid no attention.
We immediately went out to give Duggi a walk near the back garden. By the time hubby returned and I came in to open the door. The maid came in and told me she is going home. I watched her leave as usual.
Then I went to pick up the cupboard key to get the kids changed for an outing. Key missing. I searched a few places and could not find it.
Conclusion- the maid has taken it.
I looked in another cupboard and found the till then missing duplicate right in front under their powder box- by luck or design I don't know.
I opened the cupboard and found one of their red T-shirts which I had kept inside on Friday missing. Luckily I found it stuffed inside the baby bag. My guess is she wanted to wait for a few days and if we forget about it, she could flick it. And moreover she did not have a bag that day to stuff it in.
The next day I looked her straight in the eye and said- give me the key. If you give it to me I will not speak a word of it. If you have taken it home, send your husband (who is an employee of the security agency on contract in our complex and is staitioned on our gate) and get the key from your house. Or else I will tell your husband's office that his family is not to be trusted. Infact as a representative of the association, I had signed the contract for security so they would definitely entertain my words. As expected she denied even knowing that I had locked it. I gave her avenues to redeem herself saying go to the bathroom and check of you have dropped it so that if she has hidden it in her sari, she can take it out and give it. I left her alone in the kids' room so that she gets a chance to pretend she found it under the bed. She never complied. Infact the first place where she looked was the place I had by chance found the duplicate. I wrote the riot act and gave her lots of pieces of my mind explicitly telling her that my house is not a free for all- whoever wants anything- just take it- whether it is edible, valuable or not been used for long. Atleast once a month I go through the pain of searching something that is missing or misplaced. She has the habit storing up my kids' good clothes in the cupboard which is accessible to her, hoping that once it is out of sight, it is out of mind and then she can conveniently take it away. She never denied the fact that she nicks stuff. The whole day she pretended that she is looking for the key in various places. She promised that she would find the key for me. I told her, I never asked anyone about my bracelet because I am not sure where it is. But the key- I know you have taken it so you will have to give it to me.
The status on Tuesday- She found the key next to the microwave under the extra garbage bags/milk bag etc that I keep there. She doesn't know that I had done a thorough search the previous day over there. But keeping my bit of the bargain, I did not mention the key again to her.

The Third Child Comes Home

We have become parents all over again. This is a one month old baby born on 9th September 2007. He arrived home on Friday, 12th Oct. His pet name is 'Duggi' as lovingly christened by Ojas & Tejas. While Ojas & Tejas have welcomed him with open arms, Ojas is a shade bit jealous or possesive. Jealous not because we hold Duggi, but if he touches him and we tell him to be soft with the baby. He feels affronted, runs off to the kitchen crying. When I ask him what happened, he says- Paani (water) to cover up for his angst.
They welcomed him by offering their toy, shorts, pillow case and all their mini board books.
But the question is, am I ready for it, yet? Am I ready to share my love (read time, care) with another baby? I feel a little concerned when hubby walks into the house asking for Duggi and carrying him first without carrying Ojas & Tejas who deserve his first and rightful attention. And they are still kids and I don't want to deny them their exclusive though shared rights. Perhaps Ojas & Tejas will also notice the difference, or perhaps not, I worry in vain. But in the words of hubby, "he has trusted me and come home. I owe it to him to be nice to him and care for him like my own baby". Well, give me a few years more and then I may be ready for it, for the sake of my kids especially, teaching them to care for and love another who is not part of their own system of 2 brothers. Making them responsible. It is not just enough to enjoy Duggi but be responsible for him and induct him into the family. Love comes with a lot of responsibilty and sometimes, one may not be ready for it.
Now I have 3 to toilet train, feed and spend time with and I am unsure of how to divide my time between the three of them. Each of them have different needs and my capacity is not limitless.
The weekend was spent having a mad time with the 3 of them.
Ojas & Tejas were on the road to sickness- cold, cough and fever and Duggi trying to come to terms with the new atmosphere, life, parents, home. More than that, me trying to come to terms with having another member to take care of.
2 days, and I am already attached to him.
Ojas gave him a ride on his potty inside the house and then tried to toilet train him saying - Chucchi...chucchi, pointing at the potty. Infact Ojas practically dominates him,pulling his ears and other appendages. Tejas tries to pull the vessel away when he is taking his food.
What I like though is that inspite of having him around, Ojas & Tejas have their own me time with their bookch and they carry on without being distracted about Duggi while studying. Ojas tried to sit in Duggi's crib.
Duggi is black (forgive me for using color as the first point of description, but for Duggi, being black must be the biggest asset), gentle, has slightly sad eyes and gives in to some playfulness between meals and sleep. Take a look.

Our Midnight Black Labrador Duggi (Doggie) at 35 days

PS- do you believe? Hubby and his brother were checking names that numerologically fitted, for Duggi.

Duggi is a birthday gift for Ojas & Tejas from BIL

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Goddess in Us

The nation is worshipping Shakti- Goddess Durga this month. We worship women, regard them as Shakti, Laxmi, Saraswati.
Does the sentiment towards women end there or is that a beginning for something else?
We are talking of Gender bias, Gender Equality, Gender Empowerment, Equal opportunity irrespective of Gender. In true sense, what is the kind of equality are women looking at? Is it just equal opportunity and other corporate-ish terms but is there more it?
Is woman-friendly the word we are looking at, without giving extra advantage to women over men?
If I am asked in an interview whether I will quit after marriage or baby or whether I will move city if my husband moves, would I be pissed off at the interview stage itself with the company? Is it such a big deal? Why ask such obvious questions? Would they ask a man- if you get a better opportunity would you move on? As a woman, getting married and moving on to a different city with a scope of a better job might be a better opportunity in totality. Or once I have a baby, a work from home option or a company with flexi timing may be as good as a better opprtunity. Where as, to a man a better opportunity may be function of money, position, career growth only rather than all of the above. I have known women to reject grooms on grounds of they being stationed in locations where they cannot continue with their careers- miniscule numbers, but such women do exist.
Let's face it. Today nobody is looking at retiring from the same company where they started their careers. Having a man as a potential candidate for a position does not ensure that the vacancy will not crop again within a short period since the man will not quit due to marriage or childbirth. Moreover, if you as an organisation have decided to interview a candidate for the position, you better be prepared for the so called pitfalls of hiring a woman.

Weekend Fodder-
If you were the HR or even otherwise- what would you like to change in terms of your organisation to make it more woman friendly without giving women an unfair advantage over men? What is it that will be a selling point for the company in terms of women friendliness- policy, facility, infrastructure, anything, so that you will feel like accepting that job? What puts you off most in a woman unfriendly organisation?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Dizzy Heights

Height of Protective Instinct- Ojas walked out of the room, slamming the door shut. He realized belatedly that Tejas is inside the room. He began to cry, "Chuttu" and started trying to open the door. I quickly relieved him of his misery. Inside Tejas was grinning and waiting for the door to open.

Height of Royalty (Laatsahibi)- Tejas asks Ojas for a Maachaaj (Massage)

Height of Studiousness- Ojas picks up his book which he took to bed at 3.00am and reads it by the light streaming in from the window

Height of Intolerence- They wrinkle their face and pinch their nose as they cannot withstand the smell of their own shit.

Height of Worry- Ojas gets worried when his skin gets wrinkled after staying too long in the water.

Height of Dadagiri- Ojas scolding the kid who was watching them when they were playing in their pool. Also scolding the older kid who tried to play on the slide at the play area in the store.

Height of Fear- They getting scared of a large butterfly.

Height of Correlation- Ojas passed gas. Tejas pointed at his butt and said kakka- (potty)

Height of Gourmet- They insist on getting chicken pieces from our plate, irrespective of what we are eating - "Chikky, chikky"

Height of Cheekiness- If they tear/ break something, they love to show it to me everyday saying - tutti (broken)

Height of Pretence- Ojas falls asleep while eating lunch. The moment you try to put him to bed he wakes up. To make him sleep again, you need to say, "shall I bring lunch". Promptly he closes his eyes and pretends to sleep.

Height of Tech Savviness- The remote does not work, so we punch 3 buttons- power, channel, video switches to get the TV/ Set top box running- they have figured that out. They have worked out that the A/C gets switched on using mains, stabilizer and the A/C panel buttons in tandem.

Height of Preference- They prefer cold water and point at the fridge when they want water.

Height of Aspiring High- Mamma teaching them Sa Re Ga Ma Pa every night before going to bed, and they repeating after her. And this is their preferred lullaby- "saa, saa" said when I try to switch to a different lullaby

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Tag Homeworks

awarded me with the brag badge and I am proud to display it on my blog.
I am given to understand that it means having the power to network. Well, I am touched. The comments have been coming slow and I have been slow on responding to posts on other blogs and moderating the comments on my post, yet she finds it a potentially networking hub. She empowers me to pass the badge and I do it to-
MM's Cheeky Tag

My one liner to encourage those who are worried about life after babies-

"It is easy to feign innocence (even) when there is a houseful of people and you both are locked inside your room on the pretext of making the babies sleep- the tell tale signs whatsoever could be attributed to the babies anyday."

Can't pass on this tag as MM has already done it to most of you. But whoever has not, please do it.

Middle Name Tag

Hip Hop Grandmom & ArtNavy tagged me with this. I would modify it and use the letters of my blog ID and mention some words that come to my mind as suiting my description, disposition, likes and dislikes by that letter.

I- Initiative, love to Invite people home, India Proud (using the variation of the word House proud to force fit)
T- Talkative, Treehugger, Tempermental
W- Witty Wisecracks, Workshops rather than conferences or lectures, Wordgames, Believe in Willpower
B- Bookworm, Braingames

I tag anyone who wishes to take it up. Specifically,
Visitor... cheeky look on my face, let's see you reveal yourself

Support System Please Support

1. I have embarked on the endeavour to deprive Ojas & Tejas of their bottle. Let me not come back home and see used and washed feeding bottles. The evening bottle is the easiest to give up as it is easily substituteable by a milk based food. And no, they will not get weaker. Don't force me to give them their bottle early morning if they are not awake. Feed their cereal right after they wake up rather than stuffing them with their bottle.
2. Keep their potty right in front of them the entire day so that they remove their shorts and sit on it whenever needed. Tejas does that and he needs to be encouraged. Since you were soft on Ojas who protested every time he was made to sit on the potty, today he has managed to psychologically constipate himself on the weekends when I make him sit on his potty.
3. When they try to tear off their books or stand on them, stop them rather than watch them lovingly. Also remove slippers from the scene as they manage to step on the toys or the books - even though you don't use them inside the bathroom or outside the house. I want to send good signals to the kids.
4. I would greatly appreciate if food was not cooked in excess. I do hate wastage of food. I could come back home and cook fresh rather than give the afternoon food at night.
5. I am sure they would like it better if they are not made to wear tight clothes with doubtful blend of fibre since you bought them- I love to see them not sweating out while playing.
6. A baby cologne does not help when they hit their head. No extra chemicals on their skin please.
7. Food need not be cooked the same way everyday. If I make a variation, please don't re modify it to make it like everyday's recipe. May I please give them rotis just this once rather than rice based stuff? I could be allowed to decide sometimes.
8. It is not absolutely compulsory to give non veg everyday along with their food. I think vegetarians are also healthy and brainy.
9. I am not present when they wake up. I would really be at peace if their teeth are brushed atleast when they are having their bath.
Some people may read this and say-how churlish, how ungrateful. Why don't she sit at home and bring her kids up if she has so much of a problem.
It breaks my heart to be strict with the kids but it is for their good I am doing it.
It hurts when I have to argue my case out for every little thing. The cologne thing took 1 year and 11 months to settle. Ultimately I comply in most cases because I am indebted. I am not there to see what is going on in my absence so it doesn't help making rules that would be broken. It's tough, I know, to bring up 2 handfuls and I can't blame anyone for taking the easy way or emotional way out. Ideally they are my kids and my responsibility but the entire arrangement of me going back to work is part of the larger picture. Afterall, if I were not working, the kitchen fire would not be burning today with hubby and his brother both quitting jobs to start the business. The home would not have been bought and the EMIs would not be getting paid off. Shallow it may seem, talking of brick and mortar rather than people but that is our decision and don't make me regret it by asserting yourself or lauding the help I am getting because I want to keep my job.
Grateful & Regretful
ps- remove post when things get better

Monday, October 08, 2007

Is there a Maid Made for me?? This one is to Support you Rohini

Rohini posted on her pillars of strenghts- her multitude of maids that help her get along with life.
There were comments and there were comments- the terms maid, the question on employing maids and the (un)fair treatment.
My many bits on the same to those who do not understand the intricacies of maid management.
1. Skill Check- If I were to not employ maids/ servant/ help/ cleaner /any other politically correctly termed personnel- I do the cleaning, washing, housework and become a maid in Itchyland with little or no time to spare for the men in my life- kids, hubby and myself. Hell, the rest of the men in my life would have never come into the picture if I had housework sitting on my head. And with my limited skills of jhaadoo pochaa, my home would have been a perennial mess. Going by pure management skills- outsource if you are not competent- I outsource that and employ employees for their skill set in home care and pay them as per the prevailing market/ neighbourhood rate.
2. Keeping a maid is economically viable- Given that if I were to do my own housework, I would have been kicked out of office for late coming and early leaving- my potential to earn in my current job is multiple times more than what I would have earned as a maid in my own house or what I spend on hiring an employee to work for me. Pure economic sense to hire a help.
3. Pros & Cons of a full time maid-
a) your cooking menu and recipe should match their likes and dislikes rather than the converse.
b) if you feel like skipping a meal/ cooking and doing with left overs/ bread/ nothing/ fruits- the maid does not allow it or rather you don't allow yourself because of the maid
c) If you live in a 2-bedroom/ bathroom house - it becomes a 1-bedroom/ bathroom house- automatically no one uses the other one because of the mess she makes and does not bother to clean up. Try and ask her to sleep in the hall if there are visitors- goodbye to late night/ gossip sessions with your guests
d) the refrigerator no longer belongs to you- all chocolates/ juice/ fruits/ milk/ eggs/ snacks vanish / disapparate - infact the foreign-chocolates are stashed in your cupboard or in the locked drawer in the living room for safe keeping. And you never get cold water for yourself.
e) You can't have a late night- she might complain to the agency that it disturbs her- since you are treating her as another family member, if there are visitors and your dinner gets delayed she ought to bear with the delayed dinner and not crib.
f) No more Privacy- cannot fight in peace with your spouse, cannot talk for fear of eavesdropping, can't have a quickie on the sofa (the price we pay for keeping fulltimers!!)
g) perennial worry of she letting someone inside your house while you are sleeping and therefore you are forever locking doors and walking with all the keys
g)The good part is there is no morning uncertainity, help on hand 24 by 7.
4. Pros & Cons of a Part time one- uncertainity- most of her relatives fall sick/ die/ marry very often. The refrigerator part holds true for part timers also. Atleast they are out of your hair by evening. Sometimes it is a pain locking all over and watching your back.
5. Even your cupboard is not yours anymore- 6 months ago- my sisters gold bangle, moms Rs 5K, MIL's Rs 2K vanished. 2 weeks ago I have noticed that a platinum bracelet worth sing $ 600 that Hubby got for my birthday is missing from my cupboard- I really don't know what to comment on this. Few minutes ago I was contemplating using hypnosis to find out where it is. You can't outright blame anyone because you have no proof.
6. The baby maid's duty is to boil the milk morning and evening- 1 evening I come back and happen to notice that the milk is way above the normal level, there is no cream and once emptied there was no cream settled at the bottom of the vessel- the milk boiling duty is summarily handed over to me and MIL and the refrigerator locked from access to the maid.
7. Refined oil- 1 litre over in 1 week without anyone using- every few days 1/4th used to go missing and cunningly done on the days MIL used to do some cooking. Later she said she uses gingelly oil only for her cooking.
8. Ojas is very clever in pointing out at people who hurt him. I strongly suspect one of the maids twisted his arm slightly because he suddenly started screaming and pointing at his arm and looking at the maid. She was the only one in the vicinity and he was coming on the way when she was cleaning the floor. But i had no proof to pull her up for that.
9. When the maids turn up late, we reach office late and have to manufacture new excuses everytime because you cannot always say maid did not come to your colleauges- sounds unprofessional and a blot on your managerial skills- one day they will start wishing that they had hired a man who will just not bother if maid does not turn up and will go along with their work.
10. You fix a maid as per time of arrival at work, work hours, job description, amneties- food/ tea etc. In my case for the house cum baby maid (until I could find and hire a baby maid) it was supposed to be 6 am to 8 am, return visit at 11 am to 2 pm so that the housework is done in the morning and she goes on to do the other houses and come back to help with the babies. I increased her salary proportionately and offered lunch. The lunch happened, salary happened, timing moved on to 7 then 7.30, then 8 and now 9 without consulting me. The baby maid was hired from 8.00 to 7.00 pm - It has become arrival anywhere between 9 and 10 am and going back sharp at 7. Earlier if I come home earlier and half day on weekends - all this without negotiating with me.
11. Only tea was agreed to because my MIL cannot be servicing their requirements all day. She gets her own food. Now they emotionally blackmail my MIL into doing dosas for them. If I happen to give them some food over the weekend they start bullying MIL during the week days to continue as I did- what the hell!
12. Advance happens every week inspite of agreeing on a monthly settlement.
13. They love to talk against me to MIL and against MIL to me- subtly offcourse-"don't you want to apply oil to the baby"- I say no. "Oh, Amma does it". I say- good, so I need not do it.
"Why is the bathroom dirty". "Amma used it". Expecting me to go and fight with MIL for leaving the bathroom floor dirty with foot marks. "I hired you to clean up the bathroom also, so why didn't you do it?" is what I say. Tyrannical it may sound but as it is my MIL is old and sick and taking care of 2 doubly troublesome is not an easy cake. So I can't expect her to do a non-messy job of everything.
14. They love to take weekends off- the only day when I can supervise the housekeeping, do some re-training and relax from my weekdays.
15. Inspite of 2 maids my home is dirty because they don't bother with the nitty grittys on the week days - dusting, cleaning the table...the works. They stand to attention on the weekends they manage to make an appearance and (re)lax on other days.
16. The baby maid sleeps when the babies sleep- Can I even begin to think about sleeping because I was awake the entire night feeding/ changing nappies / taking them to toilet/ getting them the bottle?
17. Method of hiring- word of mouth is by far the best- and better if they live close by and not depend on public transport. The agency took 1 month's salary and each one- 3 in succession worked for 1 month each- that was 2 agencies and 3 maids- because when 1 left, they never replaced and I had to go for another one. The last one lasted for 2 days and left along with the bangle and cash.
Infact each one takes a share - 1 set of new clothes of the kids are missing, dosa batter was missing apart from the big ones.
Inspite of all, I have never sacked a maid- the cost of looking for one is more- emotional costs included- stress, can't pay attention to work etc. Each time I vaguely think of changing a maid, they throw a googly upon me and quit and the good one dies (yes 1 did).
While the sympathies are with the maids (if car and cycle get hit, the car fellow is blamed even though it was the cyclist's fault), the maids take full advantage of the working women- and they don't fear anything- If they come late do you punish them by giving them a demotion or not paying bonus or giving them the pink slip? Will their career come to an end? Will you give them a pay cut? Come month end and you will pay full salary and give empty threats of cutting pay the next month for absence. We can have a leave policy for them if they manage to come for more than 20 days a month. They know they are indispensible and while they have multiple jobs on hand we do not have multiple maids on hand. And they get to work for many employers so lot of job security.

***The above may sound angsty, but I am angsty after the bracelet incident and will continue to be so until I magically find it because I have been talking of security camera, astrologer who can find out the thief, going to police, finger print checking etc very loudly...(hypnotism is the secret thought)

Another Chicken Surprise- post no 201

Something to file away like the other chicken experience
Venue- Prime Roaster - yes the same guy who splashed teaser hoardings all over the city punning on various portions of roast chicken without telling that it is chicken they are talking about and not some woman.
With great care, giving due respect to gym and all, ordered 'Bar b q chicken"
Only roast chicken is supposed to be roasted. Fried chicken is fried
So when I ordered Bar b q- I expected that it would be barbecued.
No, It was deep fried
deep fried chicken served to this gym conscious lady and gent.
Can you think of any crime of matching wickedness?
Lesson learnt- never order without checking the preparation method/ ingredients
Just remembered this-
10 years ago in Pondicherry
Seen on a roadside chalk written menu- Off Oil Egg
meaning- half boiled egg

Friday, October 05, 2007

Another Milestone Finally

Finally the Toothbrush & paste got introduced to Ojas & Tejas yesterday after much trepidation and self preparation for disappointments.
I have finally come to terms with the fact that they are truly double trouble- anything new or different is met with a wail and complete rejection.
Examples- sippy cup, milk in glass rather than bottle ( took all care to choose a good day to make a new beginning- Rakshabandhan day yet it failed), hair cut, slip ons with elastic band to be worn at home entire day and not for a few minutes, thin quilt while sleeping in A/C, toilet on adult seat (my cousin's son always uses that and had never used the child seat even at 1 year 8 months age.
Steps I followed to introduce the toothbrush
1. a month ago gave them toothbrushes to play with.
2. brushed in front of them with exaggerated play acting on few occassions
3. showed them flash cards with toothbrush and brushing action
4. yesterday got 4 toothbrushes- 2 of the same color and same design since there was only blue colored ones with fish design and they love the phiss anywhere and 1 each with football and bus. So that if they happen to agree to select different colours or designs it would be simpler to keep their stuff separate
5. allowed them to select and play with th ebrush entire evening
6. Made them brush Teddy, mummy & themselves in turns.
7. Tried and failed to brush their teeth without paste
8. finally at night, put a drop of paste on the brush and while MIL held Ojas he got a good brush, Accepted after little struggle and managed to take some water and spit out some paste and ingest some.
9. Tejas proved to be impossible. He was literally pinned down in the lap and brushed quickly. He did manage to spit out more efficiently (the water not the paste)

Also had the 1st milk- bottleless night. I gave the water in their bottle so that it is not too sudden and gave them identical teddy bears to get over bottle fixation/ possesiveness if any.

Only by morning I gave them their milk bottle to prevent them from waking up after their restless bottleless night and thwarting all my plans of getting ready for office.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Baby Size Baby Books

2nd October was an eventful day.
We bought the Mini books of concepts for Ojas & tejas- Hardly 5 inch size boards put together in the form of a booklet. navneet Publishers- priced just Rs 30/-
They have been an instant hit with them. Bought fruits, vegetables, numbers and animals. Coincidentally we went to a fruit- veggie shop and it so happened that they took 2 of their booklets to the shop. Ojas happened to be holding the fruits book and Tejas the vegetables. I took the opportunity to keep them occupied showing them the picture and giving them each a fruit in their hand to compare, while Hubby shopped peacefully. For a while I did the fruits. tejas wtached on for a while and each time I showed a fruit he used to look at his book and see whether the photograph for there. Suddenly he threw his book away- I could almost hear him saying "Faaltu or Bekaar hai or Useless thing- nothing from my book is available in the shop". I remedied the situation by alternating with a few veggies and then he was fine. Fellow shoppers were discussing with each other- see they have brought the book here to show to the kids- some of them even followed our class with their kid. One commented whether they had exams the next day and that is why they were seriously revising. We came across a certain fruit called "paani phal/ singhada" in Bihar- it grows in ponds and heart shaped is purple/ green with a hard non edible cover and white & crisp inside. Almost no taste- if I were to describe it in flavour language but it is all about mouthfeel and crisp, crunchy experience- like a tender coconut cream has almost no taste or a pomegranate again cannot be replicated completely in flavour terms- it is the seediness and sweet juicy notes that combine to deliver the taste experience. It can even be boiled and salted but I don't like it that way. It is called water chestnut in english.
So the kids pointed at the water chestnut and I tried to check if the picture was there in the book. The guy nearby commented- that is out of syllabus- don't bother.
So we spent a longer time than necessary at the shop- hubby patiently waiting for me to finish the entire books and me trying to keep them occupied until hubby finished his shopping. Finally I told him I can't forever be teaching - finish your shopping- and he was like- I am done, I am waiting for you guys to finish the lessons.
Back home Ojas generously and craftily handed over the fruits & veggies book to Tejas and took the numbers and animals for himself. When Tejas slept off Ojas felt bad and tried waking him up saying "bookch, bookch".
Ojas slept with the books and 3.45 am he happened to wake up. By the little light that was streaming in, he was reading- phiss (fish), butterpie etc.
I am glad they like books. Infact every evening they ask me for their bookch which I keep in my cupboard as my cousins' wifes have given some expensive books that I dont' want mauled prematurely. These tiny books are more convenient to carry round and not easily destructable. While I was picking the books for them, the 2 and Daddy were playing on the slide at odyssey bookstore. They can climb the step ladder at home expertly but not the slide ladder. After a few rounds of hubby placing them on the top of the slide, he said i am not doing it anymore. The two of them discovered that they could climb the ladder and slide down the other side. What followed was half and hour of pure fun while Mom shopped in peace. Ojas even threatened a bigger boy as he tried to play on the slide. They were led up to the ground level for billing with the books acting as bait otherwise they refused to leave.
They even had their hair cut at Green Trends. They have a theme kid's hair dressing area- a jungle with a wicker gate and animal photos painted on the walls. Tejas' hair grows real fast and he doen't like being messed up for the hair cut. He screamed during the entire hair cutting session - we were attempting the mushroom cut. We gave him hell- 2 pairs of hands holding him and 1 pair doing the cutting. And to his credit he gave us back- hell with interest. How that tiny piece can manage to overpower 3 grown ups is a marvel. we had a tough time keeping an eye on Ojas who was deeply interested in the hair care products on display rack and hair cutting instruments. Thankfully Ojas gave no trouble during his hair cut, not that getting a hair cut makes much of a difference to him even though quantity wise it has improved from what it was when he was born.

Teaching Methods

In the beginning, the teacher answers the questions, later (s)he questions the answers. My ex-Dean in MBA School used to say that.
My question, why shouldn't the teacher question the answers in the beginning itself?

Yesterday a friend's daughter was having trouble with a Profit & Loss Problem.
"A shopkeeper buys 200 shirts for Rs 180 each and sells 100 at a 10% profit. at what price should he sell the balance to make an overall of 15% profit"
She knew the answer but not the steps. I gave her the steps without actually solving it for her.
It is a question from arithmetic point of view. While I could solve it faster using algebra- (10% + x%)/ 2 = 15%.
But would the teacher award her marks if she solved it that way?
I explained alternate methods- algebraic and ratio-proportion but she decided to stick to the longer one.
At school level, we are taught the method and therefore if you get the steps right but not the answer you may still get 80% marks for the question because you have understood the concept.
While if I were to attempt this question in my MBA entrance examination where the emphasis is on selecting the right answer out of the multiple choice given, I would have got a zero if I would have selected the wrong answer. And I could have used any method, algebraic, arithmetic or trial and error or pure guess work.
And if I were to be given this problem while I was doing an MBA, I could have used several methods and arrived at several possible solutions and still scored marks. The emphasis here is appreciation of the problem from various angles.
And at work, I could have even suggested ways to invest the profit in his next consignment and ways to negotiate for credit terms or advance payment terms. The emphasis in business situation is to make as much money possible out of a single transaction, via actual profit, profit after tax, credit, stock clearance etc.
Any problem in Physics can be solved using simple arithmetic or using formula or even calculus - I understand it is fastest to use calculus but somehow I have never been coached well enough in calculus to appreciate that or even solve via calculus. So it is still an enigma to me.
After yesterday's incident I am having a mental debate with myself.
Why don't teachers emphasise that appreciaton of the problem is more important than the method?
My answer- at school level, it is important to get the basics right. Each teacher teaches as per a pre set syllabus and their goal is to finish the syllabus on time. Discussing exhaustive methods to solve a particular question will never enable them to complete the syllabus. At that level, Mathematics is all about practice till you are perfect and till you have mastered formulae. History is dates and they really don't take them as people who existed albeit a very long time ago. Physics is what Newton invented after sitting under the apple tree or what other great men did long time gao and left behind series of theories, laws and formulae for us to mug up. Chemistry is also rote learning of equations and the observations that are supposed to happen in the practicals if you do all the steps correctly. No self discovery. Civics/ Economics is a set of acts and bills without really understanding where the tax money is going or how the government has made use of the education cess or why prices fall or rise and why dollar rate is important from business point of view. If a teacher were to explain all this the syllabus would never be completed and then there are exams where the answers are pre set along with the questions and the marks will be awarded according to the number of points one has covered.
Once you move to corporate life, one has no ready made answers, every thing is put down to experience. If one has spent "x" years in the industry, (s)he is supposed to be capable of working at "y" level in the organisation and expectations on the ability to sort issues are formed based on industry experience. The Dean whom I mentioned in the beginning used to take 'Strategic Management" classes for us. It happened 9 years ago but I don't remember what was the syllabus or what syllabus he used to cover during that 1 hour but I definitely remember the other real world issues he used to blend into his lecture.
As students we are taught to attend a class from the point of view of "the taught" rather than the 'teacher or knowledge worker". We like classes where we can shut up, take notes, assimilate information for our answers for test questions. We don't like to be quizzed and put in the hot spot. Test is a necessery evil and class participation is for bonus marks not for ourselves. Does it ultimately boil down to teaching methods or UGC syllabus?
What did olden day Gurukul or today's Montessory style do? Practical, all round, application based syllabus.
Ultimately everything boils down to what i am going to do for Ojas & Tejas?
Will I have the time to make them appreciate the problem and solve it using all possible methods rather than just as per the chapter title? Or more important, will they appreciate my interference and will they have the courage to tell the teacher that my method is also right?

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Couple Massage

2 pairs of delectable feet massaged our back, walking all over us as we lay side by side. As bonus, we also got hugs and kisses from time to time. The 2 masseurs chatted in Chinese, Japanese or Gibberish, who knows and we marvelled at the fact that we have such a cute pair of masseurs available free at home. And once the masseur was selected or rather once the masseur selected the client, exchange was not allowed.
I begged and cajoled Eshan "Mamma massage" when Ojas went for a break, and he answered "Maachaaj aw wau wau wau" raising his hands up and hitting hubby on the back of his head and then shouted "Aamaan" "keeck keeck" (goodness knows what it meant) and pointed at me.