Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Wise or otherwise?

Her mouth wide open. Should she part with it? "It is mine", he said. She decided to let go...It had been gnawing at her every once a while, for dog years now. So well, she thought, might as well.

It was late one evening, a fine weekend at that, when she could have been relaxing at home, with her feet up some wine and some munchies, watching some random movie on TV. But it was an appointment she had to keep. She braced herself for the worst, and walked up to the man who would soon be done with it, showing no mercy or remorse whatsoever.

He was rather nice. Kept them in good humour. Them? Of course, her hubby accompanied her. It was when his wife would lose half her wisdom! The doc gave her a choice between left & right. Oh, both sides have to go eventually, but a few weeks apart, and she could choose which pair first. She chose the left,  bcoz the pain was more severe there.

The doc explained the procedure, displayed his tools (yeah, the hammer, pliers and the works :D), and went on to give her the anaesthesia so she won't feel a thing. And then it started getting heavy, her gums, her lips...slowly working its way to numbness. The AC was chilling her spine by then and she was shuddering quite visibly, almost going stiff when her hubby switched the AC off.

The doc began extracting, starting with the lower one. He pulled and tugged, and crack..."did the tooth break?" she worried. But the jubilant smile on the doc's face said otherwise. It was like a treasure he had dug. He then went on with getting the top one out. Pull, pull, tug, tug...and it was out as well. Another treasure!

She had mixed feelings. Should she have bid a final tearful adieu? Or should she have simply rejoiced, that half her tooth problems were now gone? Or should she have celebrated her "wise" or "otherwise" decision of doing away with half her wisdom, err...you know what?! She simply grinned, feeling the vacuum where once lay a pair of wisdom teeth, that just wouldn't fit in!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

A Confession!

It was an arranged marriage. An ad in the Classifieds column, and 187 kms away someone caught the 182 cms bug, came with family to "see the girl" and the girl's father would later joke that the "boy" was perhaps blind to say "yes". Boy (192 cms) was Roman Catholic; Girl on the other hand was a Marthomite. It's not very common for Catholics marrying Marthomites, you need to get converted and stuff (I know, it's complicated...and you thought Christianity was 'one' world-over!). But considering the girl was ta....ll, her folks were happy just to find a boy taller and nodded away happily. The "girl" was struck off the records as Marthomite and baptized as a Catholic (RCSC) after one month's classes at a Convent near home. She didn't really care whether she was Marthomite or Catholic, she had faith in God Almighty, and that's what mattered. Religious affiliations, diocese, congregations etc were just for convenience, she believed.

Marriage and two kids later, the "girl" and "boy" were quite happy with their lives, together. They were like two sides of a coin, poles apart, but the common space they shared was filled with love, respect and understanding. The "boy" went to a Catholic Church at walking distance from their apartment, the kids went to Mar Thoma Church with their maternal grandparents, and the "girl" was left in no man's land, feeling "out-of-place" in both Churches. Unfamiliar service in Catholic Church and Lo.....ng Service in Marthoma Church, she would say (lame excuses I'm sure). The boy and girl used to frequent an Anglo Church earlier (a service they both enjoyed), but after change of residence, "boy" grew comfortable with nearby Church, and "girl" didn't find place!

The elder kid was getting ready to receive the first Holy Communion, before which, there is a "Confession" mandatory for the kid and her parents. The "girl" or should I say ""mother", didn't have a clue what was coming her way. But she had to "confess", especially since the "boy" i.e., the "father" had a valid excuse - to get his mom discharged from hospital and bring her home. So she picked the older of the priests. Waited in line, patiently for her turn. Then "confessed", or mumbled rather (with her face turning pink with embarrassment). The priest must have been amused. The "girl" sure was, because she was not used to such rambling (confessing, if you please). The priest gave her a solution and a piece of advice too - to come for regular confessions!

The "girl" was akin to the kids, who were making their confessions for the first time. The other "mothers" and "fathers" had lengthy confessions to make, some sobbing inconsolably, some sniffing, some almost whispering and just one or two rambling like the "girl"! It was over, finally. And there was a big sigh of relief. She had "confessed", and it didn't feel as bad, she thought! Will she dare make another "confession"? Only time will tell.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The 2nd child syndrome

Being the 2nd child is always a plus. The 1st child has to invariably take the brunt of all fist fights, punches, pinches, verbal yelling or meaningless arguments. I was the 2nd of 2 girls, so I know what it means or feels like. And I can see the same sort of events replaying before my eyes with my 2 daughters.

My sister and I were just a year apart, and our growing up years had all the sibling rivalry common among siblings (esp. sisters). We were the best of friends obviously, but when it came to fighting with each other, we left no skin un-pinched (I pinched) or un-punched (my sis punched). The scars that remained fetched us our rewards (the goods from our parents, what else!), but I always managed to escape putting on the "sorry" face and the sheepish grin :) My sis on the other hand would not budge and would also put on a challenge, showing no remorse whatsoever, rather expressionless.

Ditto, with my daughters.

My elder daughter is all of 10, but I'm amazed at how she can get angry, stubborn, lazy, disobedient and rebellious. She's more innocent than my li'l one, but her temperamental nature and mood swings (especially when I ask her to keep her room tidy, study, practise keyboard, take responsibility...) get to me. With horns on my head, steam from my ears, and fire coming out my mouth, I go on my lecture-giving spree, which must most probably be going right through her ears, because after that momentary guilt, she's back to being herself!

My younger daughter, just 4 years, but behaves like the elder sis, bossing around and getting her way around home. She's the little baby at home, wanting all the attention and making sure she gets it. She's the typical "naatak company" / "drama queen" or what have you. But totally adorable. She accepts her mistakes, feels guilty and is quick to say "sorry, I won't repeat it again" with that "sorry" face I'm master of. How can you not forgive her! And she's still little, you think.

So there...1st daughter, like it or not, looks like you're the one destined to be at the receiving end, just like my sis was, back then! Don't you worry...this phase too will pass. And then you two will be the best of friends :) And you will grow up to be one responsible sister, no doubt!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Sick of Fever!

The two months of kids' summer vacation flew by, with hectic work schedules amidst managing 2 riotous kids at home, MIL's accident (where she lost her right thumb toe), hospital duties, Sister and BIL's brief one-week holiday with us,  parents-in-law at home, extra duties, first daughter's first holy communion, hospital visits for MIL's dressing, @ Mumbai for a week for presentation and client meetings, back home and last minute rush to buy stuff for kids' school, FIL down with viral fever, nursing duties, school orientation program at little one's school, kids development workshop and get-together at apartment, MIL down with viral fever, nursing duties, school reopening, first daughter comes back home with fever, next day hubby comes back home with fever, maid also complains of fever, cough, backache but manages to do the essential cleaning up and cooking...

FIL is better now but bound to the bedroom, MIL is not very mobile yet having lost one of her toes and the fever has kept her tied to the bedroom as well, 1st daughter's fever is around 99-100 degrees, hubby's fever is hovering around 102-103 deg. I'm just praying that my li'l one doesn't catch the fever and that I have the strength and patience left to manage a home full of patients! I'm quite sick of the 'fever' fever, already :(

Praying for their speedy recovery...

Monday, May 27, 2013

Note: Lost & Found

The alarm rings at 4 am. She jumps off the bed, brushes her teeth, then downloads the remnants of sizzlers had the previous night at Red Box at the bog, has a quick shower, slips into a comfortable pair of jeans & top and is ready with bag, baggage and all. Reaches the airport 5 minutes to 5 am, well in time. After check-in, proceeds to Security Check. Empties laptop, phone & handbag on the tray for the screening, and after security check picks up laptop & handbag from tray, and rolls the suitcase to the lounge.

After a sip of piping hot Latte, turns around to find that passengers headed to COK are already in line to board the bus to the flight parked at the International bay. Gulps down the coffee and scoots to join. After a long & boring bus ride, she boards the plane, exchanging friendly smiles with the crew, and finding her seat - the middle seat! It's just 5.40 am. Flight takes off only at 6.25 am. Plenty of time to kill, she thinks.

She puts her hand in the handbag looking for her phone to send an SMS to her hubby. And ....no phone! She desperately looks for it again, in her handbag, in her suitcase, around her...but no, no phone! It must be at the Security Check counter!! Panic sets in...she thinks of all the valuable info stored in her phone...hoping fervently it hasn't got in the hands of the wrong people. She tells the cabin crew that she's left her phone behind, gives all the details of the model - Samsung Note, white colour, the colour of the case, and writes down her mobile no. on the boarding pass in a shaky hand. The guy agrees to help, comes back in a couple of minutes (what seemed like eternity) to say they've informed the security and also tried to call my number but no answer.

Her co-passenger comes in to occupy his seat. She hurriedly explains the situation and borrows the phone to make a call to her phone. It rings and rings...and finally someone answers.
He: Hello
She: Hello, this is my phone...who is this?
He: This is BOM Airport Security
She: Can you have my phone delivered to me. I'm on "this flight" which is scheduled to take-off in about 15 minutes
He: Please handover phone to cabin crew
Cabin crew & Security guy have a conversation
Cabin crew: We'll try to get your phone for you ma'am
She: (Heart jumping with joy) That will be great!
Cabin crew returns in a short while. Sorry ma'am, looks like it will take some time and since all passengers have boarded the flight, we will have to take-off
She: (Heart sinking) But...but my phone...
Cabin crew: What you can do is, report it at COK airport at the Lost & Found desk
She: (Ready to sob) Can someone pick it up from BOM airport for me
Cabin crew: (clueless) You may report at COK airport and they'll guide you ma'am
She: (Wants to swear, but the feeling of loss was way to overpowering) OK, whatever!

Co-passengers try to console her that she'll get her phone back soon enough. One thing she's relieved about is her phone is "found" and not in the wrong hands as feared. But the hassle of getting it back, still worries her. She tries to pick-up normal conversation with an Aunty-ji sitting on her right (which she normally would never do, if not for the phone incident) just to keep her mind off replaying the security check scene over and over again in her mind.  What perplexes her is how the phone was not on the tray where she had left it, right above the laptop. Was it a deliberate move, by someone? She would never know, but she is almost relieved of her worst fears.

She munches on the awful South Indian breakfast served on the flight, disinterestedly, has some black tea, and tries to take a nap, but the scene keeps replaying itself, she stays awake and waits for touchdown. The flight of stairs and short bus ride after, she gets to the airport, files a complaint with the Flight staff, sees her husband waiting and rambles her sad story. She speaks to the BOM airport terminal manager, and he assures her that the phone is with him and she could send anyone to pick it up, with her authorization letter quoting the Lost and Found number and id proof.

Her boss picks it up from the airport and after tamper-proof packing sends it across by air cargo. It arrives in one shape. Hallelujah! That's when she realizes how inextricably her life is linked with her phone. And to think of it gone, was like losing a lifeline!

Anyway, all is well that ends well. The Note is back in her hands and she's back in business :)

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

The calm before the storm?

After many many days, I'm finding some time to breathe...that is now. A small respite from work, work and all work, that has made me a tad bit dull! I sure have my queue of jobs, but all awaiting "the brief", so I decided to call it a break. The calm before the storm, no doubt. But might as well enjoy the calm while it lasts, rather than cry about the impending storm! PHEW!!!

Well, April-May is perhaps the toughest time for working mothers in India. What with kids at home, doing nothing worthwhile, simply lazying about, watching TV, fighting with each other, messing up the place....and everything to drive you nuts! All attempts to get my elder daughter to focus on something more constructive has failed thus far! Albeit, half a day till tomorrow, she's occupied by a small camp for kids at Church. After that, only God knows how I'll keep my sanity, through the day.

Sadly, my little one all of 4, is down with a strange viral fever with little bumpy rashes on her arms and legs, since the last couple of days, and to make matters worse, she's got 2 blisters in her mouth. Not chicken pox, the doc said...just a viral bout - mild fever with the above symptoms. Must be the heat. The fever's gone (in 2 days), but she's not eating anything because of those blisters. More or less on a liquid diet of juices, milk & soup. Sometimes, she gets so cranky and throws up a tantrum from the time she gets up, that I feel helpless, and soon that helplessness turns to impatience. I hope she gets well soon.

One thing that is keeping my spirits up is, my sister is landing on the 24th...reason enough to celebrate, bcoz that's when we indulge in a vacation to nearby places. And to top it, it's my mom's birthday on the 24th. Last year too, my sis was here around that time, and the dinner celebrations were rollicking fun with the family. We're looking forward to more fun this time :)

Well, as I was writing this, I had to take a couple of breaks. To attend to work, what else! So much for "breathing" time!!! And yes, work beckons...so ciao and don't forget to share your holiday experience ( kids' holiday experience if you are a parent or your own)....

And pray, I don't get caught up in the storm!

Thursday, March 07, 2013


Almost 2 years now, working from home. And for all those who went "wow, you are so lucky!", I have something to confess. It has not been easy. Especially for someone who for over 13 years, had been working 10-12 hours at most times, 6 days a week, sometimes on Sundays too, without missing a day at work unless something really important or serious came in the way, it was hard to imagine that I'd opt for 'work from home'. My sis asked me if I was sure I wanted to do that. At that point of time, I saw better work (as it was more to do with my line of work), better opportunity (considering it was from 'Mumbai' the most happening city for 'advertising'), and above all, the idea of being home when my kids got back from school....Lo and behold, I grabbed the opportunity that came knocking at my door, at a time when I really needed it!

The first day was dreadful, the first week was worse, the first month was maddening.  I had a full time maid then, to take care of the household chores, cooking and taking care of the kids. My little one was in playschool and she would get back home by 12.30 pm. And look who she found at home, her mom who was fiddling away at the computer! She would come straight to my room, jump onto my lap, and tap away on the keyboard, and when I would try desperately to get her off, she would smile, cry, bawl (in that order) but refuse to get off. She wouldn't go to the maid (why would she, when her mom was at home). My maid was having a good time with plenty of time to kill, gossiping with the neighbours and all. Not that I envied her (not the gossiping kind, not me!), but she wasn't making it easy for me. I was stuck with looking after the little one, giving her food to eat, making sure she was engaged, coaxing her for an afternoon nap.......all in the middle of having to finish off jobs within the deadline, which was almost always "yesterday". I had more work coming in with every passing day, and more home duties piling on top of my head. And it only seemed to get worse.

And with the elder one landing home by around 3.30 pm, it was madness at its heights. The kids would be at each others throats, screaming, running and what have you. And then the hubby calling to say "that" person would come to fix "this", keep "this" or "that" ready and what not. Then there would be doorbells to answer...phew! What's worse, just when I would be ready to call it a day, there would be a rush of jobs, with the dreadful fine print  "take your time, send it first thing tomorrow morning". There went my night and my sweet dreams!

While I was used to the late nights and weekend work, I wasn't really ready for managing the home-bit as well. My kids couldn't see I was "working from home", they wanted me to devote my time to them when they were back. I wasn't able to make quality time for them, for I was sitting glued to my desk from dawn to dusk, namesake "at home" mom, who was almost always "at work". It was getting tough for me, and perhaps tougher for the family. What's worse, I had this pent up anger (or frustration) and no vent to let it out. And I could feel my head bloating up into a balloon ready to burst at the slightest prick.

When we moved into our new apartment, I made sure I had "office" space marked out. I got rid of the full time maid who turned into full time "jobless" because of me working from home, and instead hired a part-time maid to cook food and cleanup. I dressed up for work and tried to maintain a time schedule.The kids now understand "mama's home office" a no-hang-around zone, so no entering or fiddling with things during "office hours". Though occasionally (read "everyday"), they do kick up a racket, more so when I'm on an important call with a client or at a briefing session that can so tick me off, they're better behaved now (at least better than when I started out!), letting me finish my work. Just that the 9-5 work is not possible in my kind of work.

Sometimes, work even creeps into the weekends and during vacations, when it gets really annoying, but I oblige because there isn't an option, is there?! The duties are definitely more than the work at office arrangement, where you just had to take care of office work. Now work, home, family, maid, guests.....are all part of my work-at-home arrangement. And at the end of the day, what really gets to me is when the "friendly" neighbours comment "oh, you're so lucky you can work from home, and be there for the kids" or "we thought you're the only one free around here" or "you sit at home all day and you don't even have to cook!", so on and so forth.

Lucky like hell. I would have been better off going to office every day (I know the difference, because I've been there, done that!). At least when I got back home I had some peace and some quality time with family. Now the line between work and home has become so thin that I'm beginning to feel like some super-mom juggling between both roles! Oh no, it's not easy. Especially when you have no one to brainstorm with, talk to or go out with, slogging my buts-off  morning-noon-night with the whatsit glued to the chair, cut off from the rest of the world, and everybody else taking me for granted!

Now, my world has indeed become smaller, I'm afraid if my thinking would become narrower too! I'm thinking of getting a board fixed to the door: BEWARE OF LIVE BOMB...READY TO TICK-OFF ANY MOMENT! (DON'T ANGRY ME!!). The 'once upon a time' cool, patient, composed and ever-smiling gal is no more.

I'm tempted to learn and practise some yoga. Maybe that would help. I don't want my family to bear the brunt. And of course, I hate to see myself losing my cool, and losing my identity. If only I could draw the line between home and work. Make some quality time for myself and my family. Take those well-deserved breaks more frequently...

So take a break guys. Thanks for the patient hearing (reading). I already feel much better now. Just one of those lows, I guess. And I'm glad I'm out of it :)