School Tales

I think the easiest part of parenting is the delivery. After that every step is a challenge. Did I do right? Did I react properly? Should I have done anything else? Darn! Why my child? etc etc…such questions keep plaguing my mind all the time!

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Brat is having dictation. MIL made her say all the spellings, since I was late to reach home. I didnt do anything after that, thinking she will write okay.

Next evening, I ask her how the dictation went.

R: I got all right

RM: Oh good

R: Except 1

RM: Oh okay

R: Aap gussa nahi ho na?

RM: No its okay na..wrong toh wrong, now you will remember the spelling all your life right?

R: hmmm

After 2 minutes

R: Amma, I got stones ka spelling wrong

RM: Its okay da

R: I wrote it as ‘stonse’, instead of ‘stones’..

RM: Okay..but when you say stones, ‘s’ sound comes last na

R: yaa..but I like ‘e’ after ‘s’

RM: !!!!

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I have had the brat on homeopathy meds since she was about 1 to combat her asthma, and its working pretty well. However, she had a bad cold last week and we got meds from the doctor. She needs to take 3 pills, three times a day. Since she is in school all day, I give her the bottle to school and ask her to eat after her lunch.

Yesterday she came and said ‘Amma, I shared three pills with my friend S as well’

I almost dropped the books in my hand and said ‘Oh My God’

R: Kya hua..sharing kiya na!

RM: No no..you cant share meds..what if she gets any reaction

At this R got very upset. She did mean well, but then…

I told her how risky it was and if something happens to S, we would end up in jail (okay that was exaggeration, but still needed to put my point across!) yaada yaada

She was very upset.

In the night, suddenly she woke up and asked ‘Amma, S will be okay na?’

Darn,I did feel guilty but realised its better to keep her scared than let her share meds eh?

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R tells me about her friend K who doesnt like it if R talks to other girls.

R: Amma, I told her so many times, she is my friend and others are my friends, but she says I can only be her friend. ab kya karu?

RM: Do you like talking to the other girls

R: Thats why I talk na (yaa right!)

RM: Then tell K, I will talk to them and you both

R: But K will stop talking to me

RM: Well her loss na..she will stop talking to you for 2 days, after that she will come to you dont worry.

Yesterday, the brat tells me

R:Amma, you are right. K stopped talking to me, but then started talking after two periods. I did like you told me to. you are nice Amma!

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Those Weekend Mornings

Dear R

When you are 13 and get really bugged at me for waking you up at 10 in the morning, saying ‘Wake up, its already 10 and when do you plan to get up and have a hair bath’ please do remember these mornings of ours.

For the past 3 or 4 months, we have been having really nice and memorable weekend mornings. Our weekday mornings are crazy, I am screaming at you to hurry up and you are telling me to cool it and that I wont miss the bus, or whatever.

But for the past few Saturdays and Sundays, we actually have had amazing mornings today. You and me. I wake up at about 7ish to find you awake and staring at my face. You touch your earlier-chubby-but-now-getting-longer fingers to my eyelids to check if I am awake. If I am, then you look at me with your amazing brown eyes and ask me ‘Amma, aap sleeping ho kya?’

Hmmmm I reply trying to let you know that I hate opening my mouth without brushing.

But you care two hoots. You start asking me questions. Dozens of them. I try to answer them without opening my mouth, but you ensure that you ask me at least one complicated question which means I HAVE to open my mouth and answer you. We talk about a lot of things.

Your school, your friends, the bus, the daycare, the weather, the sun, the directions, the heat, the cold, food, chocolates, my office, my friends, my bus experiences, your van experiences, Appa, grandparents, mamas, mamis, cousins, chittis, chitappas, perimas, peripas, dance, songs, studies, exams, tensions and what not.

Every weekend morning brings a topic we both have a lot to tell each other. You snuggle in the curve of my shoulder and I put my arms around you. We put the bedsheet over us, sharing the warmth and talking about everything and anything. We try to solve each other’s problems and you tell me so many things about yourself. I must admit, I have learnt a lot about you in the past few months. You are very headstrong, but you fear losing your friends.

You love going to school, but seem to miss all the activities which you had in your Sr. Kg. You love learning new things, but find it tough to keep writing all the time. You are worried about your homework but love the fact that we finish it at one go in the evenings. You think you are going to become a chef, but also like the idea of being a doctor.
You told me that you want to become a doctor in space. When I asked you to elaborate, you said, ‘Main space mein jaungi aur Mars mein jaake dekhungi’ I ask you if you want to be come an astronaut? You say no ‘I will be astronauts ka doctor!’
Sometimes you blow me away with your vivid imagination and your positive outlook in life. I love to hear you talk about your life in general. I used to feel that as a working mom, I am missing out on a major chunk of your life, but these mornings make me feel that there is nothing am missing out.

Sometimes, we just lie down enjoying each other’s warmth and close our eyes being in our own world, until you think of the next topic to talk about. We talk, we argue, we fight, we make up and we have fun.

I love the 30 to 45 minutes we spend together. Every weekend. Its such fun. And then we make plans on how we are going to wake up Appa. Whether you will tickle him or will you jump on him and scare him. Will you scream in his ears or just tap him and call him lovingly.

I try to get up and you keep pulling me down saying ‘Amma, 5 minutes Amma, we will brush our teeth in 5 minutes’

thank you..thank you..and more thank you, R, for these precious moments together.

This is what memories are made of, I think.

love
Amma

PS – No, I still dont like talking without brushing my teeth :)

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If You Wont, Who Will?

 The case of the 6 year old raped in a prestigious school in Bangalore, left me shaken. Very badly. I have a 6 year old at home, and I cant imagine anyone doing anything to her. It just gives me goosebumps, the very thought.
I can imagine what the parents of the child will be undergoing.
Surprisingly, there are news reports that the school doesn’t claim any responsibility for safety. How on earth can a school say that? I send my child to school for 6 to 7 hours. School is called our second home. That’s what we learnt when we were kids. I remember writing essays on school, when I was a kid, saying the school is our second home and teachers are like our parents.
I have always been taught to bow down to my teachers, that they are the final authority in everything they teach us.
And then this?
I am so shattered as I read it, that I feel numb. How can a school say its not responsible for the safety of the child. I can understand the school saying its not responsible for the property/things which the child brings to school – you know – pencil, eraser, scale, and in some higher classes, perhaps mobile phones or something. (Which actually shouldn’t even be allowed in school, but that’s a different post in itself)
But, not responsible for safety?? What sort of a logic is that?
Again, I can understand if the school says that once the child leaves the school premises or the school bus, they are not responsible for the safety. You know, once you get down the school bus, its your parents who are responsible for your safety. But inside the school isn’t it the school’s responsibility. If they are not responsible, who is?
Whom will you trust your 5 years and 6 year olds? Who will take care of them? Who will be careful about them, when they go for picnics or field trips or just stay inside the school and attend gym period?
I don’t know if there is any logic in the school not claiming responsibility at all?
I honestly tried thinking about this safety thing from a school administrator’s point of view. But I still cant think of a single argument on why schools can say they are NOT responsible for a child’s safety!
For parents, on what basis do you send your child to school? Whom do you believe? How do you know that your child is safe?
For a mother who is not in touch with her child for nearly 10-12 hours a day, I am shuddering this moment, wondering how safe is my child? Whom shall I trust? Its really sad that at this moment, I trust no one. The nice bus conductor who puts her on the bus whenever she falters, or the driver of the bus who waits for her to climb before starting the bus. The Sanskrit sir of hers who gave a wonderful speech on the birth of language, or her gym sir who taught her how to do ‘gulantis’ in an easy way? Can I trust her class teacher to keep an eye on her and figure out where she is all the time, or can I trust the computer teacher to ensure that every child is back to the class after coming from the computer class? Can I believe the aunty who makes her sit in the bus or can I believe the aunty who sits near the toilets to ensure that the kids don’t fumble and fall?
I don’t know whom to trust and who not to!
If schools don’t accept responsibility for the safety of the child, who will? Can we really send our children to school at all?
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The Train Ride Yesterday

Yesterday, when I boarded the train, I saw a mother and child sitting in the seat, with the mother giving a chocolate to the child. The child must be about 4 years old, he had an instrument attached from his the back of his t shirt to the lower part of his head.

I realised the child was differently abled, by the way the mother was talking to the child. The child was insistent on removing the cover the of the chocolate by himself. She gave in but he couldnt remove it completely and started using his teeth. She then took it from him and he hit her on the face. She didnt react but told him very very politely that he didnt do the right thing. He caught his ears immediately as if to say sorry and handed over the chocolate to her and asked her in sign language to remove it. She told him again ‘Say Mama, remove’ He didnt, he pointed in sign language. Again she told him. This went on for about 6 times, before he said ‘Mama, open’

And the lady’s face broke into a smile, which I wish I could have captured and bottled up to look whenever I am upset.

Eventually the boy got bored of sitting and came near me. He looked at me.

I said ‘hello’

He smiled shyly.

I asked him did you like your chocolate

He nodded.

I said ‘no tell me yes or no’

He nodded and smiled.

I said ‘tell me, did you like it, yes or no’

He mumbled something.

I said ‘Can I have a tiny bite of your chocolate?’

He pointed to his tummy and said in sign language that it was already in his tummy.

I said ‘give me from your tummy.’

He pretended to ignore me.

The mother said ‘see what aunty is saying V, will you give to aunty from your tummy’

The boy started laughing loudly. A gay loud laughter which comes from the tummy which makes you realise what happiness is all about. The kind of laughter which only a child is capable of bringing out, from the depths of his stomach.

And then he started picking his nose. I told him, please dont do that, its not a good habit.

He smiled and continued.

A lady next to me asked (very insensitively infact) whats that device on his head.

I looked at her aghast and just mumbled ‘he is not my child’

The mother looked into her eyes very matter of factly and said ‘Thats an hearing aid. He has speech issues and I am just getting him back from his speech therapy classes’

The woman I think realised she was being a bit insensitive.

I asked the boy ‘Where are your classes?’

He pointed to his mother, and instructed her to tell me where his classes were.

She named a suburb which was very very far away from where we were going. Do you go there everyday I asked. No, twice a week, but it seems pretty effective, as long as we continue to talk to him in one language and insist he replies back however he can.

I said ‘thats great’

Meantime the boy showed me his umbrella. A black one with white polka dots. It was pouring outside the train. He pointed out and then indicated that he uses the umbrella in the rain. And asked me where was mine (all in sign language)

I said mine was in the bag. He asked to see it. I looked at his mother. She nodded. I said ‘ask me what you want’

He smiled and pointed his umbrella.

I said ‘I dont understand, tell me what you want to see’

This again happened 5 times before he pointed to his umbrella and mumbled ‘ella’

I took out mine. He laughed again. And I told him his was much prettier than mine.

HE immediately said yes. The look on his mother’s face was priceless. She smiled at me.

When their usual station came, he pointed to his mother that he wanted to get down. I was astonished that a kid so young remembered where they had to get down. But they were coming a bit further, since his mother had some work.

HE got angry and started picking his nose again. I said dont do it beta. His mother tried to remove his hand and he hit her again. My first reaction was no, dont hit your mother. He looked at me angrily, and then his mother. His face changed. He again held his ears as if to say sorry.

Then I got up and said bye to him. He looked at me, smiled and screamed ‘Bubyeeeeee’ and I think it was the happiest moment of the day for me. He then pointed to my umbrella and said ‘up’ as if to tell me to use the umbrella when it was raining. I think that was the point I choked up a bit.

I wanted to write this incident down because the next time I crib about life, I know there are so many parents who undergo so much for their children. His mother was the epitome of patience I think!

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22 Answers!!

And Someone give me another award for answering these :):)

Shweta and Rubberpal both have been kind enough to bestow the Leibster Award to me :)

liebster-award (1)

I have already followed the rules to this award earlier, which includes thanks to blogger who awarded it to me. So THANK YOU Shweta and Rubberpal. Thank you very very much :)

Answer the 11 questions they pose to you.

So first, Shweta’s 11.

1. Are you addicted to something? If yes, What? (other than alcohol, cigars and drugs)

I am addicted to reading, eating as much as possible, sleeping at every possible moment I am awake, .
2. What does money mean to you? Why? (No one liners please)

Boss, what question is that. No Money means a lot of problems na. If I were planning to go on Sanyas to Himalayas (even then I would need money to buy warm clothes!) I would say money is the root cause to all evil, yaada yaada, but lets face it boss, money is important. As long as I dont get addicted to it, I am fine eh?
3. What is your passion? What do you like to do the most apart from eating and sleeping?

Errr…passionate about reading food blogs, but never cooking..is that passion enough?
4. What quality of your best friend/friends do you admire?

Their ability to listen to my never ending chatter…btw, do I even have a best friend? *wonders*

5. Have you ever felt guilty for doing something in life, that keeps troubling you even now?

Aiyo, the major occupational hazard of being a mother is that you feel guilty about one thing or the other. But I have learnt to overcome that kind of guilt now. Make mistake, cry about it, rant about it on blog, feel better and guilty gayab.
6. What is that one good thing that you can proudly say to anyone about yourself, I mean a lesson from your life that people can learn?

Errr…errrr…errrr…
7. Have you ever been in a relationship with someone? If yes What did you learn/admire / hate about being in a relationship?

Nahi unless you count the fact that I am married to the same guy for 8 years…thats something nice no?
8. Whom do you admire the most in your family? (Doesn’t need to be your parents or siblings, can be cousins or anyone in the family)

Baap rey, all my relatives read my blog, you want me to be clobbered in the next family meet or what!
9.What kind of person are you? (Funny/humorous/serious/shy…….)

Lazy
10. If you were given a chance to go out on a dinner with, Who would that lucky one be?

hahaha, whoever feeds me street chaat food…you coming along?
11. Which is your favorite post from your blog? If I would insist that you pick one out of the lot, Which one would that be?

Aiyo, I dont have the enthusiasm to go through the 1000+ stupid posts that I have written, so I would say PAASSSS!!
Gee what fun I had writing these answers..

 

now to RubberPal
1. The one best moment that made you feel that writing down can make you happy and relaxed

Errrr…errrr….errrr…

2. Which blog or who was your inspiration in starting this site in WordPress

Aparna of womensweb
3. What is your relationship with a Personal Diary

Best kept in a drawer under lock and key

4. Have you ever thought about writing a book

Oh number of times..but its always a thought and never went beyond the brain nerves

5. One best lesson your friends have taught you until now

Stop being judgemental in life

6. What makes you depressed and what makes you smile?

Errr…everything makes me depressed because I am a pessimist at heart…and everything makes me smile because behind every dark cloud there is a silver lining no?

7. Do you have a friend whom you can rely on anything and everything? Do you agree on “Opposite sex makes good friends?”

No to the first one, and to the second one, I guess a yes, because I have loads of guys I am friends with including my spouse
8. Your first crush :-)

Kalakhatta slush at 7-11 in King’s circle which my cousin Preethi made me taste when I was 10…
9. How do you define LIFE

If I knew the definition, I would be a famous baba on the TV no?

10. The best thing that you learnt from your closest friend

Errr…well..who exactly is my closest friend needs to be answered first!

11. One thing you yearn to do in life

Travel. Honest to God, I am trying, but never succeeding. But I will. Because I have miles to go before I sleep and miles to go before I sleep. *gives cheesy smile*

 

Thanks folks I had fun answering these :)

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Dear BMC/MMRDA/Mumbai Railways Authorities

Written in anguish on a wet morning in 2013, published after being stuck in traffic for the SAME amount of time, on a wet morning in 2014!!!!

I am addressing this letter to all of you concerned with Mumbai and its infrastructure so that you dont give me the usual finger pointing and say that ‘yeh mera kaam nahi hai’ (This is not my work). Unfortunately, I have realised, yeh aap sab ka kaam hai (Each one of you is responsible for this work)

Honestly, I give up. I give up, as a citizen of Mumbai, who pays taxes regularly, who ensures she follows every rule in the book, and who feels that doing her bit to Mumbai, will come back to her.

No, it doesnt.

What are you doing? Will you see this city doing down the drains, gasping for breath and dying out , before you pull your act up? I am fed, truly fed up with the kind of infrastructure you are providing us.

It takes 1.5 hours in the morning for me to cover a distance of about 18 kilometres and in the evenings it takes me 2 hours. Why Why Why? Because of the condition of the roads, the utter lack of traffic sense because there is no space and the even more horrid lack of public transport. And everytime I board a train, I play with my destiny. Its surprising that I am a mother, and yet I take this risk with my life everyday…every time I board or alight a train. One day, my luck may run out!

What exactly are you doing for us? We are the citizens of Mumbai. If we pay such high taxes, we do expect a little returns. I have reached a stage that even if I reach home in 40 minutes, I feel as if its one of the miracles on earth. In my hometown, I would cover 15 kilometres in a maximum of 25 minutes. But here, its like a dream. If I tell anyone that I could do it back them at home, they laugh at me. Beta, tu mumbai mein hai they tell me!

I am so frustrated, that I feel like running away. Yes, running away from a city which is known as the city of dreams, the magical city. Honestly, there is absolutely nothing dream like left here. Every day is a struggle and every damn Mumbaikar is a struggler. We struggle to get into trains, struggle to get vegetables within Rs.400 which can last us for a week, struggle to get water which seem to arrive in unearthly hours, struggle to reach a place on time, struggle to find an honest government person, struggle to weave through traffic! Everyday, I live in Mumbai, I feel I am fighting a war. Every day I go back home so exhausted, that all I can think about is sleeping. I snarl at my child and snap at my husband. No fault of theirs.They understand my struggle.(Thats why they are still living with me!). and this is honestly only because I am so tired travelling.

Well if not anything, I should applaud you for contributing in the upbringing of my daughter. The brat knows that Amma is tired and goes out of the way to help me, whether its setting the dinner table, putting her clothes to wash in the machine, setting the vessels in the shelves, or just sitting by me and telling me ‘Amma aaj tired ho kya’ (amma, are you tired today!)

That metro which you promised in 2010, came up in 2014! The phase 2 hasnt even finished geotechnical study (or is it already cancelled???) and the phase three plans are on. Honestly you guys have no sense of planning AT ALL!

What should have been given to us 20 years ago, you are trying to give us now. How will it work? How do you expect the damn city to survive at this rate? and lets not even get started on the conditions of the roads, or the water pipelines or the trains.

I challenge any official to get into a crowded train at Andheri in peak hours without struggling…I swear you will fail miserably. and then try doing it day in and day out for years together…you wont live long for that, with all the stress you take. And yet, that’s what millions of Mumbaikars have been doing all their lives…

Why? Why should we suffer like this? Why cant you use that whatever crores of Rupees you get to upgrade our lives. We are what makes Mumbai and what make you. I assure you that if this continues for any longer, We have the power in us to break Mumbai and break you.

Don’t push your luck too far because if the public gets bugged, expect nothing short of a revolution then! We will be in the streets, while you will be cowering in your plush bungalows fearing your lives.
OF course, you can always tell me to go back to my home town, why stay here and crib about it eh? you are right…I think I will retreat, but I am venting out my frustrations only to warn you, that dont ever underestimate the power of people…you dont know where it will take you.
A totally disillusioned citizen!

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Meeting Them!

We tried and tried for an year to meet up. Something or the other came up. Until she came up with an ultimatum for me..and I was like yes yes yes..lets just meet up.

ScribbleHappy is someone I have admired for long. Her blog is a treasure house of super posts. She writes selectively but writes so well, that her writings make you think. Her knowledge on stuff is very profound. And she writes in such a wonderful narrative style that you cant but keep wanting to read her posts and wait for when she will put up her post next!

Anyways so she was kind enough to come to my side of the world, and we met finally!

R was a bit worried that how aunty is going to come with TWO children…you have only one na Amma, we could have gone there, she said, but ScribbleHappy was sweet enough to say she would come my side!

I must admit, I am in love with her daughters. Her elder one is like the perfect child who takes such good care of her younger sister. Infact, she even agreed to take the brat around the mall along with her sister, so that SH and I could get some time to talk to each other.

I hadnt met her earlier, and we were constantly on the phone trying to figure out how each of us looked. I saw a lady on the phone, looking around, but dismissed it as someone who was talking generally on the phone, because she looked too young to be the mother of two kids. But guess what, she turned out to be SH!. I must admit, I was pretty taken aback by her looks..and like R said ‘SH aunty looks so pretty..ekdum booootiful :):)
Over calorie laden french fries, aloo patty burgers, cokes and choco chip ice creams, we spent nearly 2 hours with each other, having fun, and talking about everything under the sun. From kids, to parenting, to schools, to studies, to our backgrounds to of course blogs :) It was a super fun meet..and I must admit, R got along super nicely with SH’s younger one..same age helps I guess. When SH had taken R and her younger one, to select their choice of ice cream..I spent some time speaking to her elder daughter.

She is wise beyond words really. Aunty, we just need to learn to make friends she said. Go and introduce yourself, tell them about yourself, ask them about them, in a couple of days, you just become friends, get closer and finally become really good friends..its so simple. I must admit, I was blown over by this super simple logic of friendship!

and then we discussed facebook. This kid has her head just at the right place..we discussed the dangers of the online world and we discussed school and boys too ;) She is so so cool..really!

We clicked pictures, ate up all the food, and if it wasnt getting late, we would have spent more hours with each other..

Thank you SH, like R put it when we were climbing the stairs on the way home

It was a lovely day na, Amma…I loved meeting SH aunty and her daughters..

yes we did :)

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