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Archive for June, 2011

I read this book ‘The Sea’ by John Banville. A very literary book full of allusions. The book gave me multiple signals as I was reading it and to be frank , it was quite an effort to me, comprehending the subtleties too and following the allusions. In fact I am pretty sure I may not have really captured what the author was up to. But hey, I guess that is what allusions are for, the same book would mean different notions to different people based on the mindset.Β  Almost 4-5 sentences in every page were so loaded that I had to pause and understand the depth of the statements. My feelings somewhat mirrored how I felt when I read my first Ayn Rand novel in my 11th std. πŸ™‚

This book is about a man who grieves the loss of his wife and tries to relieve his past, in particular the past where he sheds his innocence, in an attempt to overcome the current misery. He himself wonders why past thrills him so much than current and future, as the past was nothing but “Present” at one time! He says “The past beats inside me like a second heart”.

Of course that is a point to ponder after all. Many a time we do get tied to the past. In the process of glorifying the past, we tend to forget to live the present. I guess sometimes it might even be a blessing to have amnesia of the past. Not as bad as Ghajini though! πŸ™‚ There can only be two possibilities, a Great past or a Bad past. Either way we would end up comparing the present as it is with the past and in the first possibility, think of multitude reasonsΒ  why the present got so screwed up and in the latter possibility, we would still brood over the bad past asking why that had to happen in the first place, forgetting the good fortunate present.Β  So if there is a pill to just wipe off the past after the capturing-lessons-learnt session, it may be good! πŸ™‚ Beware! I am only talking about memories here not people! Of course how can we separate people from memories, I guess then it would have to be a really complicated pill. So the best recourse would just learn to live in the PRESENT! πŸ™‚

Another interesting thought of the author that appealed to me is the “worker” definition! He says he doesn’t work and says work is too serious a term. He says he is only energetic in spasms and is free, unlike workers who are tied to the curse of perpetuation.Β  His kind of people finishes work at the end of the day whereas the real worker only abandons it, to pick up for later! πŸ™‚ How true it is that very few people can actually finish work and get on with their personal lives in the evenings.Β  Many people have work lingering over their self like ghost and can never be “free” from their job.

The story ends almost abruptly, to me but not to the protagonist. He does ‘seem’ to be relieved of his clutching past and is ready to move on with his life. One of his major misguided notions of his alluring past is clarified at the end and I am not sure if that frees him from the tentacles of the past. Let me end this, quoting his words for what he would do next in life,Β  “Well, Life is pregnant with possibilities”.

The very name “The Sea” I think is an allegory to the vast mind that stores waves and waves of past. So pick this book if you are ready for a serious introspection and digressive meditations, and entrance yourself in this literary book! If you are in for a light reading, this one is not for you.

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A few days back, I had penned a Father’s day post for the blog and as my practice is, I had the text typed in a notepad before posting it in the Blog. S happened to see the text and started reading it. She read the entire post, she is a smart cookie at 6! πŸ™‚ Cant pass up a chance of doting on my darling daughter. πŸ™‚
Anyway she came to me and complained that it only talks about her dad and not about how good a daughter she is to him! To placate her I showed her the post “Did it hurt when you fell form heaven” and she sat down in a chair and took the next 15 minutes to completely read the post and guess what she did after that. She came right to me glassy eyed and gave me a tight hug and said “Oh amma, you love me so much! I understand it now and I love you too..” It was so moving and I wish I could just freeze that moment for ever. I am getting teary as I type this.. These kids do get you all mushy mushy right… A also rushed in and joined in the group hug, grinning his best smile.. I love both my kids so much that my heart just bursts at times like this..

And anyway S quickly brought me back to reality as well! She stepped back and told me, “So now I have to grow to be an adult and write about my feelings in my blog so YOU will know how much I REALLY love you.” I am quoting her verbatim.. I was quite stunned at how she could turn around the whole situation. Of late she acts as a sulky daughter prying for attention every stage and thinks the so called fun of having a sibling is highly overrated. πŸ™‚

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This is the first year we are ‘celebrating’ Father’s Day. S, from her summer school exposure, kept talking about the Father’s day and how good she is going to be to her father the whole of that day! It was amusing to watch her prepare for the D day. She even went to the extent of picking the outfit she would wear and as expected, she kind of avoided A in her plans. When I reminded her may be she should include A, she was like Amma, I am his first kid and so this is how it will be and may be next year when A can join!

S gave the following to her dad on Father’s day :

a. A beautiful handmade card in the shape of a tie, and she had written on the card, “Dear Daddy, I know that you love me. Now let me tell you that I love you so much. I love you, You love me We re a happy family. Dear Dad, Happy Father’s day. Lucky love, S”.

b. A ziploc full of Puppy Chow prepared especially for Father’s day meal by her, at the summer school. They were quite delicious I should add.. πŸ™‚

c. Two yummy cookies with cashew toppings, made again at the summer school in a ziploc that had Happy Father’s day written.

d. A card from Target, that again spoke about how much she loves her dad. It was a card for a dad from his daughter! When I suggested she pick up a card “From your kids” including A, she did not give in, but as an after thought got a separate card for a dad from his son for A’s sake. She wrote on both the cards on her own and V was pretty happy with the cards.

e. A special drawing on a plain white sheet – Father and Daughter.

S’s dad knew she was preparing a lot for him, so he tried to treat her to a little surprise the day before. On Saturday Dad and daughter were off to KungFu Panda 2. S was totally excited when she had reached the theater. She thought she was going for grocery shopping with her dad. This is what I love about V. He really knows when to be a fun dad and a serious dad. He is such an exceptional kind of dad!! Of course I still think MY dad is the BEST! πŸ™‚ May be my dad and V are in the same league..

I am grateful to God that my kids have the best kind of father, a man whom they can look upto and learn.

I remember how my hubby used to travel about 10 kms everyday after work, to see my daughter when I was at my mom’s place right after she was born. When he

was there, if by chance she is sleeping, he will just sit by her for the half hour watching/admiring her sleep and then he will be off to our place.He will not tolerate any of us disturbing her at sleep. He does the same for A now too. If the kids are sleeping, he wud rather mute us all! πŸ™‚ He cant stand us waking them up by any chance.

I know how upset he is the whole day, if he gets mad at S in the morning. I am sure he would turn out to be just the kind of dad Steve Martin is in “Father of the Bride”. I am not sure how he will handle her growing up to be a teenager! I am sure going to have lotsa fun watching the duo battle with each other.. πŸ™‚

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I completed reading this book ‘I don’t know how she does it’ by Allison Pearson. It was an awesome read. It was sooo humorous that I couldn’t help laughing out aloud as I kept reading but that was only till about reaching 50 pages. Then I started feeling quite hurt finding how achingly true the life of a working mother is portrayed in the book and how ALL and more of this is true not just in England but throughout the world.

The dilemma of every working mom is “Am I doing the right thing? Am I depriving my kids in anyway a good home?” Well, there is no right answer to this and I am sure every stay-at-home mom has the same dilemma about if she is right staying at home and not contributing financially to the family. Then comes this hybrid breed who throw away their careers and choose to stay at home with kids. I happen to be one of them at least right now. And to be frank, I feel no better than how I felt when I was working. All the multitude of tasks I thought I would have the hang of, when I stay at home, are still out of reach. I thought only when I was a manager I ended up reacting and not planning ahead due to lack of time. But domestic life is no different!! πŸ™‚ Everyday I just react to what happens and not act as I plan the previous night. Kids throw surprises everyday and I end up having absolutely no private time, at least when you work you decide what you do between 9 to 7! Of course most of that would only be work.. πŸ™‚ Still you can chat with your friends while you are at work,and not to mention lunch breaks with adults for a change! πŸ™‚ And to be true, there were times when I waited for Monday to go back to a predictable routine after an especially long weekend!

Anyway coming back to being a hybrid mom kind, have I made a huge difference to my kids, by staying them? Yes of course my daughter loves to have me around when she comes back from school and like having me chat up with her friends mothers and take her out on play dates. But to me personally, all that I thought I would be doing when I stay at home were like spending more quality time with her – opening her up to new avenues of thought, doing some artsy-craftsy things together, teaching her sanskrit prayers; but now I seem to be doing nothing of what I wanted to. Because the simple truth is my daughter has no great expectations from a stay-at-home mother, all she needs is a mom and not a caretaker who would optimize the way she spends her hours. Also being at home, you have to be the kind of person she can look up to, so no more lackadaisical attitude. This of course applies to all mothers, just that when you are at home, you get no time to be a slacker!Β  I remember S telling me one night after the lights were out, “You cannot always ask me to be in the best behavior telling me A will learn everything from me. I have no big sister or brother to learn from, so I will only learn from you, so you both have to be in the best behavior for me to learn from you.”Β  How true is that statement. All our childhood, we were observing our parents and those elder around us and how we intentionally or unintentionally imbibe those observations in our responses to similar stimuli after we are adults.

Apart from the working mom issues, this book also touched the sensitive in-laws relationship too! I found it amusing that even in a successful English working women’s life, she had this duty of fulfilling her in-laws! πŸ™‚ She keeps planning about how to come out unscathed from the watchful eyes of a MIL when it comes to handling her husband and her kids. One would think the wife has the most incentive in maintaining a good household, however it is not to be. The judging eyes of the previous generation keeps lurking to keep the woman in track. The judgement comes from both sets of parents!Β  The man of the family somehow escapes this attention! How unfair this is!!

I guess, my after thoughts are really going out of bounds!! Anyway World, this book will make an excellent read for all mothers, working or non-working alike! Enjoy and devour the perfectly captured moments of a working mom, from the excellent debut novel of Allison Pearson.

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I believe my daughter is a gift from heaven above!! Truly she is.. I just got off the phone from her summer school teacher and heard that she has already made friends at the school and is happily settled! I may seem to be a doting mother who is surprised when her 6 year old settles in summer school on her first day.. What is the big deal eh.. But consider the following facts, then what I feel may seem justified..

a. This is her first day at any setting close to school in the new country.

b.And it is only 50 days since she moved to this place from her cozy home back in Chennai where she lived with her doting grandparents.

c. And she had so many ‘best’ friends back home who miss her and she calls them almost daily to keep them happy!! Big girl eh!!

d. And she has had no exposure to the American kids yet, as her mom has been confining her to the home, as the mom is busy settling down. No park outings et al..

So what do you think? I can sing the glory of my daughter S right! πŸ™‚

My daughter S has always been our strong support whenever we topple our lives in many ways!

Right from her infant stage, she was moved between two grandparent’s homes to suit the life of her working mom and her busy schedules. She would beam at the maternal grand mom after being with paternal grand mom for 7 days as if she has been with her all the time!! she would transition so well to her naughty ways, at this grand parents home – like reaching out to the maid there, responding to the watch man uncle’s playful ways!! Then the very next day she would end up staying with paternal grand mom and she would be JUST fine!! That was the way of my little girl even when she hadn’t turned one.. She was pampered by my three sisters, my sister-in-law and the grandparents sooo much and she enjoyed every moment of her limelight…

And was her mom happy to let her be just like that? No! She had to take her away from all the familiar setting and bring her to the US of A. First S’s dad disappeared one fine day at a huge place(airport) one minute he was there and the next gone!! Somehow the little darling S remembered the place where she lost her dad, so the next time around when her mom took her there, she did not want to move to anyone beyond her mom and started waving Bye frantically to her doting thathas and pattis, chithis and athai! She was so happy to see her dad at the US airport after 45 days and she acted as though he was always there. And not one day she asked for her doting grandparents or aunts. What could the parents have done if she was unhappy and cranky missing the folks back home? She was blissfully happy with just her parents. She made life so much easier for her parents by being the best kid at the daycare as well. Her daycare teacher once said a prayer after the parent-teacher one on one meeting. Her prayer was “Please God, give S’s parents the right attitude to identify the potential of their daughter S. She may even be the President of India.” (I am not mincing words here. The prayer just stunned us then and made us speechlessΒ  :))

Later few years down, the little one’s parents decide to move back to India and again guess who was their mascot? S again.. She was so amazing and helped her parents transition into the old ways again! She not once asked for the luxuries she was exposed to, in the US of A. She loved going around in autos and trains and what not, even on her first day to the school, she went alone and managed to enjoy there still not knowing to utter a word in Tamil though she could follow the language. All it took was 10 days for her to learn the language and settle down in the school. She was the darling to all her teachers the three years she spent at the school and every open day was like all Appreciations for her at the school..

You take her on any pleasure trip/vacation, even at 10.30 in the night when you are ready to call it a day, she wouldnt be ready!! Thatz how much of a sport she is! She toured the Europe non-stop for 10 days with her parents and her parents did not for a moment regret bringing a 3.5 year old with them!

Then after 3 yrs in India and after the addition of a baby brother to the family, S’s parents decide to come back to the US and there again it is S who breezes through the sea change! Her mom worried if she will be able to follow accents and would that put her down, but she was like so cool about the change.Β  Her first question in the cab from the airport to the hotel was about the driving side in the cab. Why is the driver sitting in the wrong side of the car? She was that observant of the little things that had changed and was welcoming the change. Every home we checked out for moving in, she would find in there, a perfect spot for her Disney camp and when we later tell her that home was not the one we would be moving into, she wouldnt complain and ask when we are going to check out a new place.

We also took her to school tours to find the right school for her and in one particular school, after about half of the tour, she removed the Visitor sticker from her dress and said she was already part of the school and no longer a visitor! That zapped us and the Principal of the school and needless to say we got her enrolled into the school into second grade though she is eligible only for first grade per her age! πŸ™‚

I truly believe she is our family’s lucky mascot and a precious darling at that!! S, We love you more that words can express!!

 

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Another guilt trip…

I doubt any relationship can be perfect… Even the bestest of couples have their bad days and one wrong statement can be construed as totally lacking sensitivity and worsen the day. I know I love my hubby more than anyone (not more than my kids though.. πŸ™‚ and he loves me the same.. Still now that I am kind of not contributing financially to my family, (my job contract got over four months ago and am a stay-at-home mom), my hubby knows I find it touchy if we discuss anything to be an excess expenditure… He keeps reassuring me that I have done my best and I am in a well-deserved break, still I am SO used to being financially independent that it at times makes me think once, twice and thrice before I indulge on something..

With this background you can imagine how I would feel if I have 5 overdue items in the public library that charge $1 for each day and I owe the library $20. I feel SO BAD and IRRESPONSIBLE.. 😦 The worst thing is my hubby reminded me this Monday to check online to see if any items are due for return. I dint get around doing it so when today we found out about the overdue items, he just asked me why I had forgotten to renew. That just made me feel very bad and I know he meant nothing, still I was washed with mixed emotions of guilt of not being a good home-maker, guilt at not finding a job sooner, guilt at what-wud-I-teach-my-kids-if-I-am-like-this… I am feeling quite depressed right now and I know all it takes is a smile from my hubby and a reassuring pat to my shoulder from him that it is all OK and that I should stop worrying too much, to get me back to normalcy.. But he is in a longest conference call ever with his company folks, so I am am left brooding alone.. 😦

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I feel guilty today about being away from my parents and in-laws.Β  Of course it is the job that took us away, still when I see my son A’s open smile and his naughty ways that only my hubby and I covet right now, it doesn’t seem right. The grandparents would have LOVED to see him like this. He is such a happy child and it is a joy to watch him all day!!

Love and affection always skips a generation and the kids are more attached to the grand parents and vice-verse… May be because they both have common enemies. πŸ™‚ Also grand parents are not directly accountable in raising the grand kids so they can do all the pampering without worrying about spoiling them, whereas the parents would be questioned even by the very same grandparents if the kids behave unruly or inappropriately! That is quite ironic right!

I remember how I really used to watch how I discipline my own daughter as if I was performing before a reality show. It is because right after the episode, I would get a mouthful of how I should actually discipline and how it may actually backfire to me. It will all be said in good intent and here I am not isolating my in-laws, even my parents used to do just that.. However what they don’t realize is there is no RIGHT way of raising a kid and it is mostly by trial and error that parents achieve the desired results. Also the exposure the kid gets outside the home and his/her friendships all go a long way in shaping the kid. I never thought I would ever be harsh to my kid but it was not to be as she grew up really independent and strong headed. I wasn’t prepared for how soon that change came in her from her earlier innocent self.. Of course both my hubby and I have very strong personalities so what else could I have expected from my daughter! Still it was a surprise to expect pre-teens behavior this early in the childhood..Β  πŸ™‚

Anyways as always am branching out..Β  To get back to my original discussion, I may have some web cam chats scheduled in the next two days to wash off my guilt! πŸ™‚

 

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