Sunday, March 29, 2015


He screams ' Focus ... Focus'. The only response he gets is a blank look. 'Attack the ball... come on Attack'. And there is no reaction. Its probably because the 5 year old just doesn't get the meaning of 'focus' and does not understand why he needs to attack the soccer ball.
The situation above is at the soccer game of my 5 year old. Soccer at 5 should be balance of fun and sportsmanship. Yes learning to win is important but its not everything.
We ( DH and I ) have been watching parents around the soccer field like kids go to see animals at a zoo. Apologies for that comparison. But when you scream at a 5 year old because he doesn't score a goal .. I feel no other comparison fit. I wonder when a father screams at his child to 'focus' does it reflect in anyway on his own struggles. I jokingly told my husband that ' Its probably what his manager tells him.' I wonder whether we just push our children to do the things we were not able to do.

Encouragement: Believe me I am not against encouraging some good skills set and it is definitely hard to motivate a 5 year old. My little boy does not seem to interested in soccer. Yet we are there week after week because we believe he needs the the physical activity. But listening to the other parents scream we have begun to wonder whether this is a good place to get any kind of exposure other than unhealthy competition. We are Homeschoolers competition has been long thrown out. We believe that there is only one person you need to compete with and that is yourself. Strive to be better than who you were yesterday. In the case of a 5 year old his goal should read something like this ' You could not tie your shoe lace yesterday ... well lets try again today.'

Weaklings: Another incident that happened simultaneously on the soccer field was a few mothers walk onto the soccer field and demand that their 5 year olds be moved up to a more senior batch. After all who wants to play with 'Kaccha limbus'. The kids were all listening intently as the coach tried reasoning out with two women who probably never played a sport in their life. They had to be told about how there were skills sets that came with development and development came with age. I think the moral the kids learnt was 'Please do not waste your time with those who are any lesser than you'. The end result of this upgrade was the two boys who normally do really well struggled to hit the ball against boys much older than them.
We already live in a  world that lacks compassion. We think the weaker person is to be walked over and thrown away. Why else would 6 years olds be getting raped? We are raising our children to do just about anything to get their way and move ahead. Even if it means asking mom to speak to the coach or pushing over just about any child that cannot make the cut. We need compassion. Not aggression.

Healthy competition: And we do it all in the name of healthy competition. DH and I are very competitive. We have made the best of all that came in our life. But there is something called a sore loser and I feel by pushing our kids and screaming at them when they play games we are telling them that there is no good in losing. The sports field is the best place to teach a child the values of life such as failure is not the end or life! Do not quit! Run like you have never run before! Enjoy the game! We dont raise kids to be successful when we push them - we just make them sore losers. I have even seen the kids do pelvic thrust when they score a goal or lip sync foul language when they dont.

Reaction of the world: With the world cup just over and the amount of jokes on the Indian team and their girlfriends, it seems rather important to realize that we have all stopped enjoying the game for what it is. We enjoy it because we win. When we lose we are sore losers. These jokes come from people who probably never even picked up a cricket bat. On Sunday they only thing my DH said was - 'I hope New Zealand wins - They have sportsmanship.' The sad part is we train our children to be poor sportsman beginning at ages as young as 5 years old.

We talk often about the environment and saving the tiger so our children may enjoy seeing this animal. But are were saving our children and raising them to appreciate the environment and the tiger. Or are we just raising them to be aggressive and competitive adults. The famous saying is 

 'We talk about leaving a better earth for our children. But are we leaving better children for our earth?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Happiness is ... #Iamappy

Sometime we trivialize our day, our week, our month and our life. It seems uninteresting and simple. In a world that strives for exotic and adventurous, it is the simplicity of life that actually puts the smiles on our faces. Here is my little plate and all that makes me smile in my simple everyday life.
What is happiness?
Is it the house I just bought? No! It’s my 5 year old son making perfect ‘8’s’ on a bicycle without training wheels in front of this house.
Is it my perfectly painted walls? No! It’s my 3 year using her finger to write an ‘A’ for the first time by herself.
Is it the new car that drives into my garage? No! It’s the man behind the driving wheel who we are glad to have home after a long day’s work.
Is it watching the world cup on TV? No it watching my 5 year old running to hit a goal as he plays soccer.
Is it watching songs on youtube? No its listening to my 3 year sing ‘Isty bitsy Spider’ … in Hindi … for the 1000th time.
Is it sitting in an elite cafĂ© drinking some exotic coffee? No it’s sitting on the kitchen counter sipping a hot cup of chai with DH and talking about our day.
Is it the perfect vacation to Hawaii that I want to plan? No! It’s the impromptu picnic in the park with sandwiches, bananas, a camera and two happy carefree kids.
Is it the high speed internet that works to perfection? No! It’s ‘DH’ who makes sure that no matter which corner in the house I want to plop down and pull up the internet, its running ‘high’ speed!
Is it the beautiful tomatoes on my plants in the kitchen garden? No! It’s the little hands that grab at them and the little mouths that relish every little piece of the tomato.
Is it the fabulous oven with 11 methods of cooking? No! It’s the eagerness of the faces watching the pizza cooking through the closed oven door.
Is it sipping wine at a fancy restaurant with the perfect ambiance? No! It’s sitting in a ‘Thattukada’ with  many hands being dipped into my plate trying to get a piece of what I ordered.
Is it the perfect job in the perfect office with plenty of privacy? No! It’s being within hands reach of little hands that constantly touch my computer preventing me from getting work done.
Is it peace and quiet and the freedom to enjoy an awesome book? No! It’s reading ‘Goodnight Moon’ and ‘Curious George’ for the hundredth time.

Happiness has several forms and at different phases in our lives different things make us happy. The questions at the beginning of each sentence were things that made me happy a few years ago. The answers are the things that make me happy now. I know these will change. In each of our circumstances if we can find the ‘trivial’ things in life to keep us happy, we reach a place called contentment and knowing that right now in my life I am able to enjoy the things that bring me contentment, well that makes me happy.

This post has been written for #Iamappy  Coca-Cola India  . Check out their ad

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Love in a time of crisis #together

The true test of a marriage is definitely how a couple withstands crisis. While I cannot say that Suresh and I have had great trials and tribulations, we have seen a fair share of up’s and downs. Starting with homesickness, which was before we were married, to the loss of a dear one, we have been broken and still stand together.
A recent crisis that I thought would be interesting to share.  This one was not as emotional as a loss of a dear one but yet drove us up each other nerves in the matter of a few days.
We finally sealed the deal on a house in November. After 3 years of trying to get our finances together and being very picky about staying in the same community we were able to move to a house … right next door. I would not call it a dream home since I really do not have any idea of what my dream home would look like. But I definitely was looking forward to decorating this house and calling it my own. As we started planning changes in the house Suresh said 'Lets just move in! We can slowly make changes.' I , on the other hand, wanted to renovate the bathrooms. Now bathrooms are a pet peeve for me and while the new house had never been used, the tiles were not exactly my 'style'.
Suresh haggled 'One' bathroom. I did not give in. All 'four' bathrooms renovated was my demand. And then began our crisis which lasted 4 months.
As we broke the tiles and choose new one for the floors and walls, we never thought renovating bathrooms would be such a crisis. The contractor we chose was terrible. The workers were lazy and when time came to move into the new house, not a single bathroom was ready. 
I was waiting to hear from the mouth of DH 'I told you not to do this'
But he did not say a word!
One week later we managed to get the contractors out of the house and then, it started to leak. Not a small leak. A big smelly leak. Drip! Drip!
I was waiting to hear from the mouth of DH 'We should not have done this!'
But he did not say a word! 
It took us a whole month and a plumber who came every single day to our house to fix all the goof ups made by the previous contractor. As I complained about the never ending work and the constant drilling noise I was expecting DH to burst in flames and yell back.
I was waiting to hear from the mouth of DH 'You did not listen to me!'
But he did not say a word! 
We finally made it through the craziness together and have started enjoying the peace of our new home. While some women may think love is diamonds and roses, I am definitely one that believes that 'Love' is standing together in the time of crisis. Love is a husband who doesn't point out your mistakes!

This post has been written for #together for

HUM Do .... 'HAMARE' Do

We all know the famous Indian family planning triangle. But we don't always see the story past the triangle. In the middle of getting from HUM do -- TO --- HAMARE do ..... HUM DO gets lost!

While most of the time I dont mind demonizing my DH (dear husband)... in this blog he is the victim! He has endured a lot in my journey to motherhood. Starting with all the fertility tests and the treatment, to a wife who would cry at the sight of a pregnant woman or a baby on TV!
And at the end of those those rough years ... when the little one arrived ... I completely ignored my DH for a long time. (sometimes I still do)
The reason for this blog is all the things I know I want to do differently to ensure the HUM DO will be strong and survive the rough years when 'HUMARE DO' will become troublesome tens ...terrible teens ... and then leave the nest. As a couple we do need the 'US' time. But in this crazy world of meetings, office, church, hobbies and extra-curricular activities, that time is so hard to come by.
And then there is this 'DO' cute factor.  And as cute and cuddly as they might be they will interrupt and definitely be part of every conversation between ME and DH. We now have to tell Ziva to stop talking so Suresh and I can have a conversation. But there is definitely more than just a conversation needed between the HUM DO. In a household where parents show affection and love, children grow up knowing the importance of togetherness and comfort found in the security of their home.
Here are some things I definitely plan on implementing as the next 5-year plan in our household.

Goodbye… Hello…Goodnight: 
Right now it seems like every time DH is leaving for work, I am searching for something. Every time he returns I am either grumpy or getting ready to get grumpy. SMILE! Remember the old movies with the heroine with the flowers on her head waving goodbye to her husband at the door or opening the door with a big smile ... well ... yea ... that's not going to be me. But I definitely will be at the door with a smile! I am going to put down whatever I am going and take those 5 minutes to wave goodbye. I do know that Ziva and Isaac are watching and while I am not doing this for them, if I do not do this simple gesture, years later they will reflect these emotions of indifference some where. 

During our years before the kids were born and before I was moping at the thought of infertility, Suresh and I would dance a lot. We loved learning new styles of dancing. We learned to 'swing' and 'jive'. There is something about dancing that strikes a common cord between us and its time to revive it! The problem is Isaac does not like us dancing! Actually he specifically does not enjoy me dancing. I guess the 5 year old is going to have to deal with the joy that dancing is going to bring to mom and dad!

Getting out and painting the town:
This is the hardest right now because painting the town is usually something you do when you get to go out at night. Date night's are a thing of the past. But we would occasionally go out for lunch dates till I got tired of fighting the traffic to get to any restaurant half decent. But I think I am going to forget about the half decent restaurant and just go to the next A2B in the vicinity. After all its not about getting cozy. Its about getting out and being with each other. I do not think I can sell the A2B idea to Suresh but he may buy the 'lets just go eat some bhel puri togther' idea!

That's what moms are for!
I am not comfortable leaving the kids with friends. Actually my mom is the only person I am comfortable leaving my kids with in the late evenings. I know the next time she is around I am going to ask her for the gigantic favor of watching the kids while Suresh and I head out. I remember about 2 years ago when Ziva was about a two years old, Suresh and I had to leave for a late night party. As we left the kids with my mom and went it was the least guilty I have ever felt about leaving them alone. The best part... Isaac and Ziva had a ball with Ammachi!

Time for change: When we get married we promise that its for better or worse. But sometimes in the midst of the diaper changes and the potty training we forget the the better and worse of the other persons life may come from all directions. Especially since DH goes out for work, I dont connect on that aspect. Before the HUMARE DO ... we would talk about all things work. The papers we were writing ... the protocols we were working on ... the annual review coming up. 
But now it seems like the minute DH walks in my conversation starts like this ' You know who pooped in her pants' or 'You know who threw up in the living room!'. Yes exactly the thing my tired, exhausted DH wants to hear. Its time for a change in the conversation. Its time to ask about the stress at work and not just ask but listen to the story. Its time to listen to the work politics and dynamics. Its time!

I am among those the believe that a child strengthens a marriage. While having a baby may strengthen a marriage, it also comes with its own set of adjustments. So make the time to ‘be’ with your spouse and keep the ‘quality’ of your relationship intact with some ‘quality’ US time. Quality time together does not have to be expensive.
- It could involved just opening the door and stepping into the balcony with a hot cup of tea or chocolate
- It could a meal on the floor in the terrace under the stars
- It could be a game of scrabble (I love this one because Suresh lets me win!) 
- It could dancing to music when the kids go out to play!

The more I can do these simple things, the more I know Isaac and Ziva will realize how important DH is to me and me to him. A good lesson right at home on the importance of marriage and the joy in a lasting relationship.

Monday, March 16, 2015

A whole new world! #startanewlife

A whole new world
A new fantastic point of view
No one to tell us no or where to go
Or say we're only dreaming

The butterflies in the stomach, the excitement that makes you grip the boarding pass tighter. I felt it all. 15 years ago. The moment:  My trip to the US for graduate studies.
And then I was right back there. 12 years later with the boarding pass in my hand. The grip was tighter and this time I had 4 boarding passes in hand.

I had left for the US in August of 2000 and I had somehow in my mind already fixed it to think that I would be back. I had left with two suitcases and the song above was a perfect description of the reason for the butterflies in my stomach. I was going to a completely new place. Most may think that for a twenty-something year old, it was quite a brave thing to do.
But I think the real boldness was the return to India. R2I as its commonly called has been an adventure. Starting this 'new' life in a country that was always HOME, that was the bold step. I have been asked again and again. Why did you come back? or Don't you miss the US? or Do you like it back here?

As I sit back and think about the before and after's of the move to India I think the scariest part was we were uprooting a life we had made for 12 year. I had gone from 'me' to 'us'. We had gone from 4 suitcases (2 of mine and 2 of Suresh's) to 234 boxes. I was no longer a graduate-20-something-year old. I was a wife and a mother. That was why this R2I felt scarier. We could not take chances. We were a family and there were responsibilities and decisions. We were leaving our jobs, the relationships we had created and our perfectly comfortable lives ! The reason: We wanted to be as close to family.
As Suresh made the final claim to the job in India, I finally knew it was happening. After 12 years we were going back HOME. And yet it was all new. It was a new city, we would have to make new friends and we would have to settle down in a new place and make it our own. As we boarded the plane to India, there was no fear, there was just the desire to see this whole new world. And this time I would be seeing it as a wife and a mother. India has been a blessing these past 3 years. It has received us with open arms and has let us create our little nest right here in the big city of Bangalore.

I know one day this cycle will play again. I know that I will not be holding the boarding pass in my hand. I hope this blog will inspire my son and daughter and show them the excitement in starting a new life.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

So much talking - Ziva's world

When she grows up -Ziva is going to kill me for this blog post.
So Ziva is going up and down between Aunty on the 1st floor and me in the basement. Somewhere in between Aunty sits her on the potty to pee. Some half hour later its time to go to the park. Now the problem with Ziva is she needs to pee every 6 seconds usually. So Aunty calls Ziva again and sits her on the potty
Aunty: Ziva make ' Susu' (our code language for pee)
Ziva obediently sit on the potty. But the girl's bladder is empty
Aunty: Ziva make ' Susu'
Ziva : Enge make 'Susu' aunty. Just now I made 'Susu'. If you say make 'Susu' , make 'Susu'  .. how will I make 'Susu'.

Aunty was in the state of shock for sometime.

Sacrifice - Quotes from Isaacland

So we are talking about cave men as part of this years curriculum at homeschool. To give matters a biblical perspective the curriculum asks me to relate the cave men clothing to the one God gave to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden
Me: Isaac do you know which animal God sacrificed in the when Adam and Eve were disobedient in the garden of Eden.
Isaac thinks for a while: Zebra
Me: You think God killed a Zebra
Isaac with a look of shock: No! He didn't kill a Zebra he just sacrificed it.
Aww my baby is going to be such a Tree hugger!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

WAHM - Neither here nor there

There is a famous saying in Hindi 'Dhobi ka kutta na ghar ka na ghat ka' (Translated: The Washermans dog fits neither in the house nor on the road)

Its rather appropriate for my current situation. i.e. My current job situation. I am a WAHM. Work -AT -Home -MOM. There are many in this category and the thing about us is we are neither here nor there. We cannot really complain about the guilt of leaving our children at home. I feel this made for a good guilt trip - mostly self inflicted. We cannot complain about financial independence because usually WAHM make a pretty good cash. We cannot complain about the traffic because our office is usually the comforts of our home. We essentially have a 'sweet deal'! But somewhere in this sweetness there is a little void!

 I have been through 5 stages in the past 6 years of my life. I went from full time working wife TO full time working mom TO part-time working-mom TO stay-at-home mom (SAHM) TO work-at- home mom (WAHM). I have felt the pain and joys of each stage and I salute all women for just being sane with all the choices and all the drama in between!

What a Working-wife goes through?
If you are in this stage, I would say enjoy girl! Enjoy your work ... become a workaholic... enjoy being with your work friends ... enjoy the freedom from guilt. I know it may still be tough for some women to manage home with office - but I would say enjoy these days like good old college days.

What working-mom goes through?
The working mom goes through guilt and some times rejection. But more importantly the working-mom goes through exhaustion. You may have a maid, a cook, a nanny and your parents helping you - but the exhaustion is something that no one can take away. I remember coming home with pneumonia after one blistery week back at work post maternity leave. I dont think it was the blistery cold that caused the pneumonia. I think it was pure exhaustion. I had till that point toyed  with the idea of going part time. But the pneumonia sealed the deal for me. The guilt of walking out of the door leaving my 3 month old baby still occasionally shows up in my heart and I give Isaac an extra hug!
I never really felt any rejection, because Isaac usually ran into my arms when I reached home. However I have heard of moms complain that all they want to do is run home and hug their child. But the child withdraws into the more familiar nanny's/ grandma's arms.


What a part-time working mom goes through?
As a part-time working mom you still have a little of the guilt, a little rejection but the exhaustion is still there. When I went part-time I started with the guilt of well I was not at work all the time which meant I would have more time. I took this as a reason to do more work around the house. I eventually turned women-grocer-launderer-cook-cleaner-dishwasher and everything in between while caring for the 1 year old.
My job was super - flexible and my colleagues were super nice. They let me come in at 6 am so I could leave by 10 am. I started feeling guilty! I started to do more than I really needed to. To get from full-time to part-time status, I had to give up one favorite aspect of my work 'Research'.  So in the end I was exhausted, over-worked and frustrated!

What stay-at-home mom goes through?
When we moved to India, I was very excited about the option to stay at home. I thought I would finally  get a break. A friend of mine once had said 'some butts are meant for sitting on the couch' and 'yours is not the kind that can sit on the couch'. He said this in reference to being a SAHM. If I could go back to that conversation, I would scream out loud that SAHM had no time for sitting on the couch. Truthfully I had hoped to put my foot up more often. But being a SAHM there was always something to be done. Bills had to be paid (paying bills online is also a chore and requires time), food had to be bought, meals had to be planned, clothes had to be cleaned and house had to maintained. Any one of these things out of place and you were a lousy SAHM. Well- not really lousy - but you constantly feel judged. I thought that I had handled an full-time job and a home and a baby. SAHM would be a piece of cake. So totally not true. As a SAHM I tried to do  more of my share of chores at home. Anything and everything associated with the house and around the house I felt was my responsibility. Ordering the solar heater , ordering the water softners, getting service done on all equipment, being around for the carpenter, plumber , electrician to fix whatever was broken. But it felt like whether it was done or not, there was no one to appreciate the efforts.
I also felt very guilty about spending money on myself. The lack of financial independence shows up for most moms who have gone through the previous phases of financial independence i.e. the phases above. I would never buy a coffee or indulge in an ice cream alone. I would think a hundred times before taking up hobbies such as baking, painting or stitching.
And then the rejection. It seemed like there was more joy on Isaac's face when he saw my husband return home than the remaining 24 hours I spent with him. I felt rejected.


What work-at-home -mom goes through?
And then I woke up one day to an email asking me to work for 20-40 hours a week right from the comforts of my couch!
The reason I call my self the 'Dhobi ka kutta' is I have two kinds of guilt at this point. When I am working I feel like I am not spending enough time with my kids and when I am with the kids I think about all the work I need to get done.  Its like double guilt! And to get over the double guilt, I overdo it! I wake up at crazy hours to work. I plan picnics and activities with the kids to make up for the time I spend with my work. Guess what - double exhaustion.
I do not have work friends where I can whine about 'how the server went down' or 'the annual review'. Well there is a positive - I usually don't have an annual review. But that also means I get really no appreciation from work.
I miss getting out and shopping for groceries or household items. I usually try to get things ordered online to save time.
The 24 hours in the day never seems like enough time to get all the things I want to get done!
All hobbies have been currently been put on a hold!!! So its work -kids-work-kids and repeat as needed!

Reading my above whine list I see two things in common
1. We women suffer from exhaustion. No matter which stage we are in WAHM, SAHM, WM ... We suffer from exhaustion
2. We ladies are not nice to each other. We either believe our grass is greener or the grass on the other side is greener. One thought leads to pride and the other leads to envy. Both are terrible when combined with exhaustion! Remember every mom in every stage is exhausted and could use a little lifting up!

One thing the past 5 stages has taught me is to handle the questions such as 'Arent you bored at home ?' or 'Oh my God how can you leave your child at home?'  I normally handle them both based on the tone of the question. If its a mean question it gets a sarcastic answer. If the tone needs encouragement it gets encouragement. If its just a question - it gets an animated response from an over-enthusiastic WAHM.

While the whine list above may be long, as in everything there is Good.
Working moms enjoy financial independence and friends.
SAHM's are able to completely enjoy their kids
WAHM's are able to do a bit of both.
If you look for joy you can find it in whatever you do!