Category Archives: Family

Best of 2009

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Just read a best of 2009 here, on a blog that actually got me hooked into the blog world. And I was tempted to try it myself.

2009 was in a sense a landmark year for me.

It was a year that made me realise truly that weight is just a number that can fluctuate one way or another and I inherently do not change as  a person. And if I don’t change, I owe it to myself to remain true to myself, no matter how I look.

I also realised that weight may be a just another number but more people noticed and commented and asked me how I was, now that I was thinner than they were used to seeing me. But that’s them. I am still who I was.

I made bread for the first time. And the happiness was unparalleled. So far. Nothing has me this ecstatic to see the sticky dough rise into a gleaming white dough and eventually bake into a dense loaf. Not even my first cake.

I discovered, just like challenges in cooking which I took up even though they scared me, that my ‘let’s try it’ attitude should be transposed on to other areas of my life. And just like cooking experiments, the results there also are mixed. But that’s the fun. I did, after all, make a second and third attempt at bread.

Twitter was another new addition in my life and I seem to have taken to it much more than any other social networking site. Its remarkably private and suitably succinct and the pressure to be popular isn’t that much. On most days. And it gives a new meaning to hyper.

I took once chance opportunity during the year and it exposed me to something I hadn’t considered at all. All of a sudden avenues seem to have opened up and am willing to give sleep and all other faves of mine, to actually work at something. And, for the firs time, whether it will work or not, is not bothering me. I know I need to and can do it. That’s all that matters.

I read more, spoke less, thought more, tried to verbalise without letting emotion get in the way, learnt to replicate the rush of a heady experience on bad days and am learning, to a point, to be positive and not kill my brain thinking.

Happy new year, again.

Being selfish can be a good thing

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“So I have freed myself to put me on the priority list and say, yes, I can make choices that make me happy, and it will ripple and benefit my kids, my husband and my physical health.”

This is a, indeed, a very powerful opinion. Especially because most women I know, my mother included, think they have to ‘dedicate’ their lives to their children, sometimes at the cost of what they want or like or even need.

I completely disagree. Mothers would be more valued in a family if they were happy doing what they were doing, rather than doing everything for the family, but resenting the family as a result.

I know keeping my mother calm and happy ensures we all remain talking and chilled at home. The day she is upset with anyone of us, the others suffer too.

And no, I do not think being a mother is necessary to know that being a mother should be one of roles and not the only role you play.

Deeply entrenched conditioning

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I never thought about how parenting and its roles really affect decisions made by parents.

Read this story on Marie Claire (link courtesy)and then followed a blog link from that story and realised judgmental societies can be on mothers, and even parents. How much we, as society, expect mothers to be and give up.

For the longest time I always assumed when parents separated, the mother would be given custody. I even disagreed with this movie way back in college.  I never stopped to think about the conditioning behind that thought.

I don’t know when quite that mindset changed. I guess seeing friends who went on to become great fathers helped me to change that.

Today I am slowly evolving to think about how being a mother is just another role a woman plays, like a sister or a wife or a daughter. But often it overtakes all other roles. Conditioning today shows me that most women who become mothers feel very guilty about taking time for themselves.

I have cousins and friends who take breaks, leaving their children with their grandparents. It’s fantastic. They don’t resent all the time taking care of their children and even get some TLC, without only having to give. And I love that attitude. It allows children to get to know relatives better, appreciate time with parents better and perhaps become all rounded individuals.

Once long ago, in an old office, a colleague who was a psychologist has a told a mother when she was feeling bad that her son cried while going to school.. ‘The more you feel guilty, the more your child will exploit that. Your child can sense you feel bad when he cries, so he will cry whenever he wants to get his way. But you still have to do what you have to do.’

That is something perhaps a mother may not be able to accept but seeing all those fake tears on little babies (which are admittedly cute and unnerving at the same time), I can completely believe it.

cartoon 2

My mother often remarks, “What will I do once both you and your sister leave home?” Do what you did before we came along, is my answer. She seems stumped at that. I (not always gently) try to remind her of the time she had hobbies and interests and did different things. But her thought process is short term. She only sees emptiness.

I see an opportunity. For her to be able to travel or read or paint or do whatever her mind tells her to. But seems to have stopped listening to it. Do all parents become like this?

I have friends who make  cases for both sides of this argument. I veer more to the side retaining individual space but then am not a mother and am told that influences my opinion. I have the ideal view of parenting and it’s not easy to do, parents say. But since I see people do it around me just the same, I don’t get the fuss.

(Cartoon courtsey)

They say nostalgia is dangerous

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The reason this quote was coined was perhaps because you only remember the good, the rosy and the loved. The pain, anguish, heartache and mistrust — and every other thing negative — is all forgotten. That’s perhaps our way of retaining memories, only the nice, good things.

Does childhood fall under that ambit? Are our memories of childhood also coloured with nostalgia-coloured lenses? Because all I remember are the nasty things. Things I did, experienced, saw…

How I have said strange things to my friends (friends who are thankfully still my friends) — like I didn’t want to give water once because it would mean getting up and going upstairs, so I told her that water from home had finished. Or when Spider-Man came on, I told her I was going home because I wanted to watch it on a colour TV. Was I even thinking?

How, at least twice, I got to two friends to fight by deliberately creating misunderstandings between them. It was the beginning of the summer holidays and I remember thinking I would get each of them entirely to myself.

How I had a tee that said ‘My school only taught me from A to B’ [I still don't know what my mother was thinking when she got me that] and how mercilessly I got teased for it.

How a friend once squished my budding breasts and it hurt and even then I realised that being a friend didn’t entitle him to do that. Today when I tell him, he says sorry. But he  went on to get the dubious distinction of the being my only known molester.

How I never got the spellings of twelve, cycle and Andheri right and how people younger to me then got it right, and yes, the teasing.

How, as little girls, wearing a dupatta meant I had arrived. My friend and I would spend afternoons playing with pieces of cloth.

How, every year, my neighbour went on vacation to her native place and had an exciting train journey and then spend another month playing in open fields and orchards  with big groups of cousins and how I hated the fact that I had such a small extended family and how my parents insisted on taking us to new locations every year. Why couldn’t we have a ‘native place’?

How summer play did not stop because of crushes and chemistry and boy and girl. We just played. But then one day we stopped and now when we cross those same boys with their wives and children, nobody even meets the eye. Me included.

I don’t remember when I exactly grew out of it  but there have been times when I have won the Full House on Housie or even gotten the Best Dancer in the building Garba ( I have to add here the others must have been terribly bad as I have no grace on the any kind of dance floor).

And one fine day I left it all behind.

I’d give all wealth that years have piled,
The slow result of Life’s decay,
To be once more a little child
For one bright summer day.
~Lewis Carroll, “Solitude”