Sunday, 8 March 2015

Of dimpled knuckles and watery eyes

Those watery eyes stare, between those suckles,
I notice your dainty, dimpled knuckles;
Those puffed cheeks, that folded knee,
Did I create those? Did I nourish those within me?

That silky hair atop your head, moves to and fro as you feed;
Held in close embrace; I realise, it is me who has the greater need.

The need to feel secure, to slow down,
The need to cheer up, to ease that frown.
To anchor, to unwind,
To breathe... And rewind.

What was life like before you? Was it wholesome, purposeful, refreshing and new?
Ah, non! I laugh, it wasn't, couldn't be!
Not without you, to complete me!

It's me who's vulnerable, not you
It's me who is insecure, not you
It's me who needs you to grow;

It's you, you've turned me inside out,
Brought out, the mother in me!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Good job mommy, or so I thought!- the great Mommy guilt rant

I just patted myself on my back for a passing thought that I could manage everything well- just like those happy mothers in ad films who have spic and span homes, clean clothes on kids and great hair days.

But it was just that. A passing thought. There is an unwritten rule in this world that when you feel you've got everything sorted out, life punches you on the face!

The past month has been somewhat draining for us.

After all the hullabaloo surrounding the fishy babies, we lost them. All of them with the parents. The parents(who I suspect were old) went first and then, slowly the babies, as some other dastardly fish in the tank decided to turn carnivorous. I knew I should have put them in a separate tank, but it's impossible having a curious toddler around. Ouch!

Kavin isn't affected much. He understands food chainism better than me. Guilt descends on a mommy so easily.

The husband comes home from all long travel trip with a sprained wrist- ouch! I should've sent that sprain ointment.

The great viral flu is in the air and its attacking anyone who opens the window for a fresh breath of air. Kavin brings it from school: one sick child-Ouch! manageable. Passes on to me- Ouch!Manageable.

Passes it to Naitik- Ouch! Ouch! When your few months old baby looks at you with red watery eyes, barks like a seal and smiles a little less, your heart bleeds. Did I not dress them warmly? Oh, I should've not taken him to the mall!

And then your paediatrician decides to take a long holiday. Then you think you've been a good mommy taking good care as you've been sponging him instead of bathing, he catches a skin infection. Pow! And another doctor calls you a bad mother. The final straw.

School open day- the teacher usually who raves about your child being bright and sprightly, clucks and shakes her head while remarking that your boy is not himself lately and is showing signs of being a bully. Guilt again. Is he being ignored? Am I not giving him the bigger slice of attention? I thought I was.

Who grades motherhood? How is it measured?Why is she allowed to feel so guilty so often? Who is allowed to label her?

Is it that doctor, who judges you by your child's skin infection? Or that Playschool teacher who says that your kid may be on the way to bullydom?

Why do we feel so guilty when we learn a little late that the chutney we put in the sons lunch box was a little rancid? Why isn't all we do never feel enough?

Is there any breastfeed friendly vodka shot to drive these mommy rants away? Coz I need one right now!

Motherhood pressures still sinking in-that's what's happening. Oh, leave it- I'm just in the middle of a big mommy rant.

Now, that felt better!

But we mommies also learn, forget and heal ourselves with our kids don't we?

Hmmm... The platy fish has a newborn which we've managed to save.


Sunday, 23 November 2014

We have nine fish! No, make that 29!

Last Sunday, the husband, Kavin and my parents went to the market to buy basic supplies like veggies and fruits.
I had the whole house to myself, so I was basking in the quiet( with occasional squeals from Naitik) and enjoying some 'me' time with recorded episodes of Masterchef Australia. Little did I know what was in store for me in the next hour.

An excited family returned, armed with all the items for assembling a fish tank!

All I could do was open and close my mouth like a gold fish! Clearly,I felt ambushed. I stared at my parents, who shrugged the 'don't-ask-us-we-had-nothing-to-do-with-it' shrug.
But when you have a charged toddler bobbing up and down and a grinning husband setting up the tank, all you can do is accept that you have been beaten and join them.

So the swimming inhabitants were four tangerine fish, a couple of black mollies, a pair of dollar fish and a sucker fish.
"All peaceful and relatively clean fish", said my better half, clearly very excited.
The non swimming entities- two plastic plants, a pump, gravel and a bubble blowing toy crocodile( named Crockea) And the tank was ready!

After calming down a very wound up toddler, we settled down for the night and I had fishy dreams (not of the marinated ones on a plate!)

The next morning, as I went to say hello to the fish, I noticed some tiny black specks swimming around in the tank- dirt? I wondered.

Turned out, the female Black Molly was preggers and she chose our tank to deliver. Knew there was a nanny around, I suppose. So we had twenty tiny little baby black mollies swimming away, with their little tails and fins beating with fervency! The new mother that I am myself, I immediately felt like nurturing the fry. Given a choice, I would've probably distributed mithai- but I knew I would be called mental, so I contained myself.

Feeling protective towards the new babies, I googled all I could about baby mollies. Found out that their parents eat them! Immediately considered buying a breeding net, but realised the Molly couple were sweet, caring parents and preferred fish food to cannibalism. The other fish don't bother them as well.

So all you people who suddenly find Molly babies in your fish tank, feed then powdered fish food often, see if they're getting troubled, if they are, buy a breeding tank and let them be there for a week or so before you change the water.

I now feed my baby mollies thrice a day and keep counting them to ensure none are being eaten. My kids are feeling a bit ignored.They're growing at a phenomenal rate and the week is almost up. What next? More growth. I can feel it in my gills.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Naitik's first holiday!

We're back from a lovely holiday! And yes, I have been away from the blog for quite a while. Tch, tch- I know, not a great sign for a newbie blogger. I should've have been keyboard happy, churning out two posts a day, but oh well I'll put in my excuse as- "was caught up with a lot".
I hope you're done with rolling your eyes.

Anyways, belated Happy Diwali!!! I hope all your string lights worked well and all your lovely clothes still fit you post stuffing yourself with the Diwali eats!
We just celebrated Junior's first Diwali and his first holiday! Taking advantage of the husband's three day holiday, we headed out for a beach vacation to Guhagar.

A quaint census city along the Konkan in Ratnagiri district, Guhagar boasts of one of the cleanest beaches in Maharashtra state. That's not it's only offering. Fresh, local delicacies(seafood), age old temples(Durga Devi and Vyadeshwar temple), coconuts and a scenic lake also form a part of the Guhagar holiday experience.
From Mumbai, Guhagar is a good six hours drive. Add a couple more if you include loo breaks, munch breaks and throw up stops( we had a couple) in the journey. The route from Mumbai to Guhagar is from Panvel via Khed to Chiplun and finally, Guhagar. Alternatively you could reach Dabhol and take the ferry across to Guhagar. (Kids would love this but the drive afterward is bumpy)

While I wouldn't have dared to take the six hour plus car drive back when Kavin was an infant (he'll be car sick,too much  sea breeze isn't good and some such new mommy fears) we were much more confident with Naitik. That's what experience does to you.

So Naitik, us and half the house were packed into the car to Guhagar.  We left at the break of dawn, so that we could beat the traffic and ignore any gastric rumblings arising out of boredom.

I love my sleep. I love travelling, but I love my sleep more. So I prefer travelling during the day because trying to nap when your insides are rattling is not my idea of sleep(I completely rely on entertainment during my travel). But I make a few exceptions and getting to Guhagar beach pronto is one of them.

Take my word for it- you could have only the beach on your itinerary for three whole days and not have enough of it. It is so consuming that it makes you forget that dusty, rumbler lined, nauseating journey.

Every day, or you can say every phase of the day at the beach is a canvas of surprise.

You'll find a crowd of shells washed ashore one time, a galaxy of starfish on your next visit. To make the most of it, one should wake up before the sun, walk along the waves to catch a glimpse of seagulls having their breakfast to a splash show of dolphins!

Kavin went berserk with his beach set on the sand and worked up an appetite running after the crabs. Why, even the little three month old of mine enjoyed the beach under a large umbrella on his rocker! 

So, after three days of soaking up the lovely sun and sand, we returned to Mumbai, with a monstrous load of sandy laundry, feeling content.

Take this offbeat trip with your family. Make the most of the sea and the sand. Explore the beach till you know its very core. We have some more exploring left to do, we may return, Guhagar.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Pass me the salt, Mama!

My elder son Kavin(there I've revealed his name) has high chances of becoming a chef. Or a food critic. Or both.

My family and I have always encouraged him to soak in the sights and sounds of the kitchen since he was a baby. He would crawl into the kitchen to the aroma of frying and demand to be picked up and shown the wok. He would also, as a baby, watch any cookery show on TV with a look of steely resolve. Why, one of his first words was, "pizza!"

 My mother attributes it to the hours I spent watching Masterchef Australia through my pregnancy. Whether or not that has played with his culinary gene is unknown.

 So well, as Kavin grew, so did his interest with food and the kitchen. He took to spicy Indian cuisine like a fish to water. As an eight month old, he accidentally ate Rasam rice(a spicy, tomato and lentil broth mixed with rice)from my plate much to my dismay.He loved it so much, that he gave me a look which seemed to say, 'what have you been depriving me of, evil woman!?' Kavin refused to eat his bland baby food ever since. Rasam is still one of his favourites.
By the time he was eighteen months old, Kavin's chapati rolling skills were better than mine.(Oh, the shame!)
I'm proud to say that his palate wasn't limited to Indian cuisine. He loves his fried rice, pasta and nachos. On our travels, Kavin attacked the local delicacies of London and Sri Lanka with equal gusto. It wasn't long before he declared himself the official sous chef of the kitchen.(Stirring, mixing and garnishing were his departments)

 I know what you're thinking. "Oh, you're so lucky- my kid lives only on air and ONE cookie!" or "Wow!Good for you, my child is sooo fussy!!" Hold on. Did I mention that my kid is a food critic? I did, didn't I?
Yes, he eats his veggies. But, they have to be cooked and seasoned to perfection. If they're a tad off balance, he scrunches his face in disgust. The puff pastry from an expensive bakery will be wolfed down in minutes, that from a slightly cheaper bakery, will be refused. 

Kavin is also that know-it-all sous chef (he's become more like the head chef) who tells me that my cake batter is all wrong. And then I have to rectify it till his Highness approves. He also has weird suggestions. "Can we add garlic to the cake, Mama? Can we try at least?"

Sigh! I have to improvise my cookery skills to satisfy this culinary monster. Some day, he'll be in his chef whites and pose in front of his Michelin Star restaurant and say, "my mom is the reason for my success." And I'll wipe off that tear behind my glasses. Hahahha!!

The other day husband and I decided to gift him a toy kitchen set. "Could you show us a sturdy kitchen set for our son, please?" we asked the shopkeeper. "A kitchen set for a BOY??"the shopkeeper frowned. "Yeah, why not?" retorted husbie. An uncertain guffaw.

Haven't we progressed? Do we Indian parents still limit our kids to gender specific toys? Is the sight of the Invincible Indian Male (cough!cough!) in the kitchen still a hard to digest sight in our mindsets? I hope not. Because the kids of today are going places. Let's let them.

By the way, I watched House, M.D. when pregnant with No. 2. Hmmmm....

Thursday, 25 September 2014


"Having one child makes you a parent. Having two, makes you a referee."

24 July 2014- the day Junior was born. The day I got promoted to mum of two kids.                   

Also known as the day I became referee.

Senior was born on 2 November 2011. We had officially stepped into parenthood.
It was tough, but after a few rough initial months following his birth, we learnt the ropes. Husbie and me eventually settled down with parenthood and began to enjoy it.

 Soon we considered ourselves pros. (ha!) We proudly exhibited our diaper changing skills, toddler recipe ideas and advice on potty training(taming tantrums were still tough) to our newbie parent friends.
 So after senior turned two and our arms ached to hold a toothless infant, we decided to have no. 2. "He'll have a companion and they'll grow up together", we agreed.

  I am only child and wanted to experience camaraderie between my own kids, something I couldn't-    my reason for wanting baby no. 2. My husband has a sister and they share a wonderful relationship- his reason. We also saw some of our more experienced peers' kids playing happily with their siblings and looked longingly at them. Senior also got bored at home easily and longed for his friends to come over to play most of the time.

So that was it. We got pregnant soon after senior cut his second birthday cake.

And then there came the first nudge.(I would prefer to call these experiences nudges rather than kicks as they were not all that unpleasant now when I think back)

My first pregnancy was a smooth ride. My second, a drive on Mumbai roads in the rains. Morning sickness, shortness of breath, heartburn and severe varicose veins dotted those nine months. To top it, managing a turbo toddler with my growing tummy was a new experience for me(Thankfully, I had immense support from my family, but every mum has her personal experience). That was my first brush with being a referee. What would happen once the baby was out??

 Then there were the doubts. Ok, will I be able to give the elder one enough attention? Will I be able to monitor his daily activities closely? Will he feel upset with me breast feeding the new baby? Will jealousy make him harm his sibling? Could I, as a referee; be fair to either child? How can I handle their fights? These doubts deepened when in my eighth month, senior broke his elbow after a fall when I wasn't fast enough to catch him.
  But as they say, only after you jump into the water, do you learn to swim. So now that I've jumped in, I shall learn. I now look forward to managing my boys and live and love the experience, day by day. I know there will be days when I'll cry and doubt my ability to sustain, but I shall hold on. There will also be days when I'll wonder why I ever had kids in the first place; but I'll bounce back the next day.

 So, at last in the boxing ring of parenthood. With a salute to all those mums who are managing multiple kids with such ease, I begin my duties as referee(with husbie, of course). The whistle is around my neck. Tttweeeeettt!!!

P.S.- I just felt comfortable calling the boys Sr. and Jr., their names will be introduced as and when suited.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

My first Post, finally!

 So, after years of toying with the idea of starting a blog, I have finally kicked myself in the rear and done it.  Finally decided that mollycoddling the procrastinator in me wasn't going to work. Also finally decided that getting a variety of thoughts in my head, doing nothing about it and smiling to myself in self praise wasn't fun. That those thoughts need to be unleashed on a blog. They look uh, better. I have also promised myself to accept constructive criticism well. And to accept that it's MY blog,so not everything I write here may be acceptable to everyone. But I finally have resolved to break free.

 A full-time mum of two now, I know I will mostly be writing about my sons and activities around them. Because it's motherhood that's liberated me. I pledge to myself to be a flowing writer mum and do justice to motherhood. I also hope to share wonderful experiences through words and gain insights into writing from other mums. Good, I like this! :)

 And happy birthday to me! Finally, a sensible thing to gift myself.