Monday, November 30, 2015

Phew! It's over.

And I'm really happy to still be here at the other side. This is the last post for the NaBloPoMo.

At one point, I thought I wouldn't make it. If the April challenge taught me that I could always make some time for myself everyday if I wanted to, the November challenge taught me a totally different lesson. It taught me that if you try hard to cram everything into your day, you'll get super exhausted and end up not enjoying anything. Well, long story short, I enjoyed some parts of it but I'm also exhausted.

This month was when the in-laws were visiting and I thought this meant more time for 'me-time' but I was wrong. I discounted the fact that we would have to spend family-time too. Work was more intense, challenging in a good way but also tiring. And yes, there was also the house hunting which I mentioned every now and then. And the worst thing was that sometimes, at 11:30 pm, I would have no clue what to blog about and I would be too tired to care. So, I'd end up writing a lot of half-assed posts. The April challenge was easier because there was at least a letter to lead the way. The next time if I do this, I'll pick a theme and go with it.

 So yes, I'm relieved that it's over. How did you fare?

Sunday, November 29, 2015

As a kid..

'What was the one toy that a friend had that you wished you had when you were little?'

I remember this quite well. And it wasn't a toy. It was books.

As a kid, we weren't really allowed to go to friend's houses. My mum had given us strict instructions to play at the playground and head straight home. We were forbidden to go to other kids' houses or to invite them home unless mum was with us or there was some other important reason that she knew about. I had this friend when I was I think 8 or 9 years old. She wasn't such a special friend and I didn't like her all that much too. Until one day she turned up at the playground with a wonderful storybook (I don't remember what exactly it was). She wasn't really interested in it and left it on a bench and ran to play. I discovered it and I spent the rest of the evening on that bench with the book. When it was time to go, I returned her book and sheepishly asked her if she had more. She said yes and I requested her to bring another one, the next day.

And this became a norm and I would sit and read at the playground everyday. One day she brought back a book I'd already read and when I was disappointed, she invited me to her place. I thought about it and then quickly accepted. Then I went to her house and discovered that she had so many books that it was almost like a library. It was like paradise for me and I squealed in delight. Her dad, it turned out was an avid reader and kept buying books for her. She, on the other hand wasn't so interested in them. Many a book just lay there unopened. I asked my friend if I could borrow a book. She wasn't too keen on that once she discovered that I was so excited. She said I could only read when she was with me in the park. That was when her dad intervened. The friend in particular wasn't so nice but her dad, most certainly was. He found out that I had been reading everyday in the playground and immediately scolded his daughter for not sharing her books with me. He asked me about what books I had read and liked and immediately picked out a couple for me and said that he'd be very happy if I read them. After this, I was a regular at their home. I was devouring books at a pace that the friend's library was exhausted soon. Ma eventually found out that I was doing this and accompanied me one day and had a chat with my friend's dad. She was happy to hear what he had to say. I know my friend was not too happy that her dad was encouraging me to read. Eventually I stopped going to her home and I discovered and with Ma's help, became a regular member at the neighbourhood library and thence began my lifelong love with books.

I continue to read, to this day but not as much as I'd like. Pickles also loves to read and he loves to read with me. I'm hoping this is something I can pass to him. He already has a little book collection of his own and loves visiting the library every few days with me. I've stopped buying books at the moment (I read on my kindle or borrow from the library) but I have started hoarding books for Pickles instead. I guess I just don't want him to discover his love for books the way I did.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


I spent a quiet evening at the beach with my little man. It was eye-opening to see the little kid in me, that even I didn’t know existed come out and play. We started to play in the sand, making little mountains at first  and then we made castles, with Pickles helping me dig the sand and fetch as much sand as I needed. And I realized I haven’t had so much fun in a very long time. We worked in silence, Pickles and I, no longer just mother and son. For that moment, we were playmates, as equal as we'd ever be. We laughed and clapped our hands in glee, together once we were done. Not because of what we had created but because of what we had shared. And the joy that I saw on his face was only perfectly reflected in the broad grin on mine. 

I came back feeling more relaxed than I have been in a long time and wondering why we don’t do this more often!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Hello, Andy!

I had told myself that I would finish the runaway series during this blogathon but I just haven’t been able to get to it. But, now’s a good time as any to start, no?

If you haven’t read the earlier posts, you can see them here.

The next morning, the girls woke up only by 11am. Aunty V had decided that they’d had too much excitement and had been kind enough to let them sleep late.  When they woke up, they saw that there was a visitor in the house. The girls quickly freshened up and went outside to meet the visitor, fearing for the worst.  Vee shrieked in delight as she saw the tall young man who was sitting on the couch and ran up to him and gave him a bearhug as he stood up and smiled. Seeing this, the others relaxed and assumed that this was not somebody to worry about. Vee introduced the visitor, Andy to her friends. He was one of her elder brother’s friends whom she had known for the longest time. He considered Vee as his kid sister and loved her like one.

After tucking into a hearty breakfast, the girls filled Andy in on all the details of the last couple of days.

“Wow!, you girls are having some fun, aren’t you?! You should write a book with all these stories”, he said.

Although he chided the girls for running away from home, he quietly acknowledged to Vee that he could see where all this was coming from. He knew Vee was a wild child right from childhood and was only mildly surprised that she had managed to find friends who were like her and were loyal enough to follow her on a mission like this. Aunty V asked Andy about what they should do next.

The girls cheered when Andy said, “I think the girls have been through a lot in the last couple of days. How about I take them out for a fun day? We can worry about what to do next later.”

Aunty V refused to let the girls out of the house. She told Andy that she didn’t trust them enough to let them go. But Andy assured her that he would take care of them and would take the responsibility. He promised to bring them back safely. The girls were super excited at the prospect of having a fun day with Andy and gently coaxed Aunty V to let them go. They promised her that there would be no more runaway episodes. After a lot of coaxing, aunty V finally relented and even returned some of their money (which she had confiscated, when they arrived) to have some fun. Vee gave her aunt a hug and then they set off with Andy.

Andy was a tall, dark and handsome young man who was funny and charming. He was one of those people who had dimples when they smiled. Although all the girls were fond of him, Shee had the biggest crush on him. Although she will deny it to this day, she was mesmerised by him. The girls had a lot of fun on that day. Andy took the girls out to watch a nice movie and they all went and had paranthas at a nice place. They enjoyed themselves and laughed so much that they forgot why they had actually come to Bangalore and the bigger problem that they were in. Later, when Andy dropped them off, a teary eyed Vee gave Andy a hug and he told her not to worry and that things would be ok. Today had been a good day. For now, all was good.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

To judge or not to judge

“Your perception of me is a refection of you”-

I read this quote sometime ago and it struck a chord. It is true that our worst fears in fact stem from our own insecurities. The more I think about it, the more I can relate to it. I used to be a very judgemental person, looking at people with my own skewed sense of the world. That was hence my worst fear, of being judged by other people. But I like to believe that I am no longer ‘that’ person.

Being a parent has changed me in a lot of ways and this is definitely one of them.  I realise that the more I experience, the lesser I judge. Before I became a parent, I was quick to criticise people whose kids were not well behaved. Now I know better and I can empathise. I know that everyone has bad days and even especially kids. Earlier I judged people who were late to every single occassion and blamed their kids, every single time. Now, although I still think it’s the parent’s and not the kids’ fault if they are late but I give them more levy that I would have. I was so foolish to judge people so quickly, just because their choice was different from mine. It has been true for many many such parenting decisions, to breastfeed or go the formula way, to homeschool or to send your kid to school, to be a SAHM or continue to work. Now I know that there is no right and wrong for these decisions and I’m sure, so many others. It is all about what is right for you, given your circumstances.

And I realise the lesser I judge other people, the lesser I judge myself too. When I stopped looking at people and placing them on scales of right and wrong, I was fairer to myself and much happier with the choices I made.  Although I still catch myself looking at somebody in disdain at what I think is a poor choice, I stop myself more often than not. I am a lot better than what I used to be but I guess there is always more room for improvement.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

And we found it!

A sweet little place to call home. It's not rich, it's not new but it feels like home. And with a little balcony overlooking a busy road.

We looked and we looked. We saw so many apartments in the last few days. Some were a straight no-no to both of us,  some places appealed more to him and others to me. Some places promised quiet resort-like stay but we thought we'd never wake up in the morning without any bustle. Some places were too posh and too plasticky, I'd never be able to call it home. Some were too full of furniture and some were devoid of any. Some just didn't have any balcony and I'd turn it down outright. Some kitchens didn't have place enough for two people to stand in. We thought we'd have to keep looking forever at this rate, but then one easy thought solved the day. Any place we'd go to see we'd picture ourselves living there. And so we found this place. I could totally picture Pickles running around in the ample space, watching outside the window from him crib looking at the vehicles on the road. I could picture myself cooking and baking in the modern yet quaint kitchen with ample space. We pictured sharing a drink in the balcony too but I'd told you about this before. R saw that there was good parking space (we all have different priorities.) and ways to get in and out of the place. It has good facilities, a pool, a gym, a garden and a playground. We ticked all our checkboxes and then gasped! This was the place.

And so, we've just signed the contracts. We'll move come end of the year. But whether all the things we pictured will come true, time will only tell.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Prank calls

This is in the days when mobile phones were not common. Hell, even landlines were not present in all homes. I remember we didn’t still have a phone at home. My neighbour Mr. Joshi had one though and he was generally kind enough to pass a message if a friend  called. It was called a PP number. To this day, I don’t know what a PP number means. It was one of those terms that are loosely coined and no one really knows or cares about what it stands for.  And we’d have secret codes when we called each other. For eg., we’d let the phone ring once , hang up and then call again just to signal that it was one of us who was calling and the called party would quickly pick up the phone so that the parents wouldn’t know who was calling. But coming back to my story, my home didn't have a phone but Shee’s house did. In fact she had one line in her room.

There are some things that we do as kids that we think are fun but we realize much later that maybe it wasn’t so much fun for the other party.  This is one such thing I’m guilty of. When the Jackdaws got together for a night of fun together, this was one such "fun" thing we did. We’d call someone’s number (stranger or someone we didn’t like) in the middle of the night and make ridiculous jokes. We thought it was funny. The calls weren’t malicious, they were just meant to be a prank. But, I’d like to apologise to you if we ever called you in the middle of the night and your baby woke up or if the calls tormented you for many nights afterward. We’re really sorry!

But the one joke we had, I think it was funny. I don't think we came up with it. We must have heard it from somewhere. We’d call some number and after many rings, when someone would pick up in a sleepy voice, we’d ask:

“Kya aapka fridge chal raha hai? “(Is your refrigerator working?)

And the confused person would say yes. And then we’d say

“Pakad leejiye, varna bhag jaayega!” (Catch it now, or it might run away.)

And then we’d quickly hang up.

Monday, November 23, 2015

How to have a fun evening?

This is an episode of the Jackdaws but not continuing with the earlier series. But I'll continue the series soon. Really!

Shee: So, are we going to do this or what? Come on, you guys!

Vee : It’s easy for you to say! You don’t have anybody at home for a couple of days. You don’t have to lie.

Shee: But that’s precisely the point. There’s nobody at home! Which is why you should all come and stay over and we can all have so much fun!

Mee: But we can make french fries?

Shee: Are you kidding me? Absolutely! What’s a party without some food!

Vee: And can we have some beer too?

Shee: C’mon Vee, don’t push it!

Mee: Hmmmmm… I can tell my parents that we have some test tomorrow and I’ll study with you.

Vee: I’m gonna tell my aunt the same thing. Actually Mee, you should call my aunt. She likes you and she’ll believe you! Just tell her that I need your help.

Mee: Ok. Will do. But will you go home with me and ask my mum for permission. Just tell her that you need my help to study for tomorrow’s test.

Soo: Fine. We’ll all go.

Mee: No, no. Not everyone. Maybe only Shee. If mum sees all of us together, she’ll know in a second that we aren't gonna be doing any studying tonight.

Vee: Soo, how about you?

Soo: Oh, I’m covered for tonight. I’ll just say that Shee’s parents are  not home and she’s scared to stay home alone.

Vee: Wow! Just that? And your mom will say yes? She’s such a softie.

Soo: Yeah, that’s one good thing that comes out of being childhood friends.

Shee: Ok. So lets get to work then. We’ll call Vee’s aunt first and then Shee and Mee can go home and ask Mee’s mom for permission.

And that’s how the Jackdaws had a great fun evening together. They had some drinks (beer diluted with water, no less!) and french fries too. It’s a different matter that they got into trouble because they forgot to turn off the stove after they made french fries.

Fun days!