Let me be ME

Archive for the ‘familylife’ Category

A Podium Mother- Smithaa Kajale

Smitha Kajale

A civil engineer by profession, winner of several cycling races, 3rd rank holder at Kolhapur triathlon 2019, 2nd rank holder at Nagpur Triathlon 2020, National qualifier at Nashik association championship 2020, a struggler in all the races due to her menopause stage, yet a winner at many, married at 18 and first child at 19 years of age, here is 45 years old Smitha Kajale from Thane.

Air force background and marriage at 18

I was born in Kolkata, and my father was in the Indian Air Force. My father had his last posting at Nashik, and he took a retirement there and joined HAL. I got into Chemical Engineering when my parents decided to get me married as they did not want to let go a suitable and desirable match. 

I got married at 18 and had my first child at 19. 

I continued with my education and completed my bachelor’s in civil engineering.

My second child was born when I was 26 years old. I never walked leave aside, exercising. Being young and occupied with children and work, I never felt the need for any physical workout. 

After my second child, I started with short walks. Even walking a kilometer was a colossal task. My husband and I decided to start with regular morning brisk walks. It was refreshing to walk and talk amidst all the duties and busy schedules.

The casual fitness journey

Going fast forward, when my elder son turned 19, he started going to a nearby gym, and I followed his footsteps. I got into a habit of regular workout and weight training. 

My younger son winning a Gold at time-trial, Guwahati

When my younger son turned 17, he started outdoor cycling and gradually cycling became his passion. His passion did not remain confined to casual cycling, but he started participating in the races. He did MTB Nashik, thane cycling championship, and in December 2017, he won the gold medal at the national time trial.

He then suggested me to start riding. He was sure that I would enjoy riding. 

I was getting bored with the gym. I get bored by the mundane routine; hence I bought a basic cycle and started cycling in December 2018.

In February 2019, I won the First Prize at Navi Mumbai maha cyclothon and a 10k cash prize

In March 2019, I won the 3rd Prize in the open category at Pedal cyclothon

In April 2019, I won the 3rd Prize in the open category at Borivili Cycling association Time Trial

I started loving my finishes and the joy of winning.

It is said that a child gives birth to a mother, and truly my children gave birth to a new me.

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.”

-Anonymous

How Triathlon?

Someone in the cycling group suggested about Triathlon. Triathlon was attractive, and the excitement to do three sports was gripping, but the issue was- I had never run until now!

I then thought and considered the upcoming episodes when my elder was already working in the U.S., and the younger one would leave soon, I would be free from their day to day responsibility.

Our life revolves around our children in motherhood, and they become our first and topmost priority. I was no different. The empty nest syndrome was daunting, and I needed to distract myself.

I decided to take the plunge and try out this new breed of excitement in my life-Triathlon.

3rd Position at Kolhapur Tri

Under the guidance of Viv Menon for triathlon plans and Nimesh for swimming, I participated in the Kolhapur triathlon (Olympic distance) and stood 3rd.

My first experience of open water swim at Kolhapur, and I was kicked, smashed, punched all over due to the massive number of participants.

After Kolhapur, I thought enough of Triathlon, let me now go back to cycling.

Meanwhile, someone mentioned about Tigerman Tri, Nagpur in Feb 2020. My previous doubts vanished, and I registered for the event.

“Sometimes we have one chance, to ride that wave, one opportunity to jump on, take a deep breath and feel the rush of adrenaline. . . don’t miss your chance.”

― Heidi Reagan

A week before the Tigerman event, I came across the Nashik Tri association championship. The championship was attractive, and with a discussion with my coach Viv, I registered for the event.

In February, I knew that Nashik would be cold, and I didn’t have the wetsuit for the race. Hence I started going for early morning swims and bathing in cold water to acclimatize my body.

The race mentioned that the swim would be in the pool, and I took a sigh of relief.

When I collected my bib, I was informed that the swim would take place in a dam(water reservoir). I couldn’t sleep for the entire night.

The race morning was horrifying than the revelation of the previous eve.

To my amazement, there were no ropes, buoys, or any emergency evacuation.

4th position in Nashik district triathlon

Upon questioning, the officials made it clear that the race was a time trial for the national qualifier and is a self-supported race.

I took a while to register this fact. My throat went dry. In already cold weather, I stood there, shivering in a swimsuit.

I prayed and chanted what I could remember and asked my husband to wait for me until I completed my swim and jumped in the water.

2nd position in Tigerman Triathlon

I finished 1500 meters of swim course in 35 mins. After completing the bike course, which was an undulating path and run that happened in scoring heat, I stood 4th

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

–Dale Carnegie

A week after I participated in Tigerman Triathlon, Nagpur and stood  2nd.

Menopause and training

For the event in November, I started training in June 2019. At the same time, I had to travel to Pennysylvania to my elder son. There the issue of menopause started. I was continuously bleeding heavily for week-10 days and changing menstrual cups every hour. Without a country-specific prescription, I could not take any medications in the U.S. hence. I continued in the same state until I returned to India.

I felt weak and lacked stamina. I consulted my physician as the race was nearing, and I had to get into vigorous training.

My blood test reports were not at all satisfying. My hemoglobin was at 8. My physician strictly advised me not to attempt any race, which was just two months away.

“Do not attempt doesn’t fit in my psyche” hence I asked for a solution. He advised for an Intravenous blood transfusion. I readily agreed and went to his clinic after work and got the I.V.

Races during my menopause phase

It is common to get a fever after the I.V., and I got it too.

My husband was concerned for me; he was always intrigued by this training idea and kept asking me,” Kyun Kar Rahi ho?”(why are you doing?)

I recovered the hemoglobin level, but my bleeding didn’t stop.

Thankfully just ten days before the race day, God showed mercy on me, and I wasn’t bleeding any more.

I could say one thing,”der aae durust aae”

Nashik and Tigerman, two consecutive races

On the eve of the Kolahour tri, I went for the bike route recce with my husband, exhausted in just 2-3 kms. I was anxious about the race the next day.

I believe that the mind conspires what you start thinking, I had made up my mind to finish the race, and I did.

From my menopause episode I can only conclude that,

“Leaders bleed, period.”

― Silvia Young, My FemTruth: Scandalous Survival Stories

The family bond

My boys are my pillars of strength. There has been no race when my husband has not been there to cheer, support, and encourage me. My two boys were my initial coach, guides, and mentor. I followed their footsteps in my workout/fitness journey as well as cycling.

What’s next?

I enrolled for Ironman 70.3 in Boulder, USA, but due to COVID, all the races got canceled. I will attempt the race whenever the racing season opens.

I aim to continue on my fitness journey and emerge as a more vital human being mentally and physically.

“A woman’s health is her capital.”

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Don’t let your children dream

Yes, you read it correctly.

Why?

Please don’t let your children dream success, name, fame, followers, money, luxury, or anything that gives them instant gratification. Dreams that foster ego give them a false identity, short term fame, and acquired credit does more damage than good to their personality.

Each child is born with lots of imagination and creativity; don’t tame their childhood.

“The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children, and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.”

Think about it.

Name and fame

The high- achiever feeling

The short term fame that children are aiming these days is not just dangerous but extremely hampering their growth too.

Youtube subscribers, Instagram followers, pinned at Pinterest, are just a few examples of a false ego boost. They feel the burnout very soon.

Each parent wants to see their child succeed, and if he/she brings them fame, then it boosts the parent’s ego as well, isn’t it? ‘ 

Recognition at school, medals dangling, certificates in hand, scholars badge on the blazer, wow! It looks amazing. There is no argument that the child has worked hard for all the accolades, but I am very sorry to counter-argue this statement.

Ask yourself. After so much of recognition, are you or your child prepared to face any failures?

Do they hang out with friends regularly?

Do they go out and sweat and play?

Do they have bruised knees to understand how it feels?

Are you raising them as dainty girls and rough boys only?

Aren’t you silently happy about the fame they bring to you?

If more answers are yes, then your child is in serious trouble.

Life is not flowery as you’ve made for them.

Young children are writing books /novels and sitting in closed rooms, in front of their tabs and typing for hours and days while they should be getting burned in the sun and playing outside.

Young girls are posting videos with suggestive poses while they should be exhibiting innocence.

Boys are learning abusive languages from online games.

And there are any more examples.

Who is at fault?

Our children are not at fault.

We parents make a mistake here. Our children are watching us every moment. If they see power, money, luxury with no discomfort, they’ll start aiming for such life because they are far from reality. 

How to enable them to make wiser decisions?

Let them fight their own battle. Please enable them to earn respect and followers from their sincere effort. Make them participate in an online essay or story writing competitions and win accolades, rather than you helping in vanity pub.  

Push them to chase the finish line in sweat and dirt. Let them fall, roll in the mud, and come back home with soiled clothes than perfectly clean uniforms.

What’s a good dream?

Yes, they do!

Children should be encouraged to dream of happiness, love, and empathy.

Make then chase butterflies, run in the wild, take those untrodden trails, play in the sun, lets their knees get bruised, let them sweat, play with strays, laugh loud, be as free a bird in the sky.

Make them share their knowledge, allow them to volunteer, and let them gain recognition by their humility. Involve them in gardening. Let them see the beauty of a growing plant from a seed. Read autobiographies. Watch cartoons and roll on the floor laughing with them.

Go out, go out, I beg of you.

And taste the beauty of the wild.

Behold the miracle of the earth

With all the wonder of a child.

 ~ Unknown

Run and chase in the wild

Children will see what we show them. Our dreams considerably influence them.

We have to show them magic and then believe in theirs.

Sharing some links for reference read,

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-the-trenches/201106/the-child-performer
  2. https://www.insider.com/youtuber-top-career-choice-for-us-kids-teens-2019-8
  3. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/food-thought/201310/the-ugly-side-child-fame-jonbenet-corey-feldman
This beautiful childhood

Children’s Day: for you, my boys

I started running in 2014
I started running when I had given up on myself, was hopelessly hopeless, overweight, in inferior health form, when my legs used to wobble even at the shortest distance.
I got into proper and systematic training along with a monitored diet from 2017. A disciplined life without a single day of excuse come what may change my entire form for both body and mind.
Today in 2019, when I see my medal hanger, I cheer for myself,” Disha, you didn’t give up- not at all.”


As I write this piece on children’s day, I feel overwhelmed as deep within, and I know that my children are my strength. At every finish line, I virtually see loved ones. I hug them and always raise my arms to be grateful for surrounding me with so much innocent love.


My boys have seen me in my pain,
they have seen me crying,
they have seen me drained out after an event,
seen me sweating,
they have seen me eating sensibly,
they have seen my ice packs on swollen muscles,
they have seen my bruised knees,
they have seen my operated arm,
they have seen my fear of OWS(Open Water Swim) and Sid giving me tips as, “mom, just jump.”

The last push during the labor or the feel of that prick in a C-sec has no match to the smile I waited to see.
All that pain, discomfort, and the agony of that deformed body vanishes as soon as that tiny little thing is handed over, saying “your” baby.
As you both are growing up and I see a little bit of him and me in you, but I want you to grow up as only YOU.
You make me learn and grow each day.
You teach me how to love unconditionally. No matter we fight, scream and have a difference of opinion but you get up to hug me the same way each morning.


I strive to be a better human being each time because I know you are silently watching me.


I strongly believe in human relations, and you are tiny messengers of god himself. Someone who listens to me provides me strength in need and loves me beyond without being judgemental.
I fail several times in your expectations, but still, you never demean me. I have cried so many times in front of you, I have shared my failures with you and you boys stand with me like my most significant pillar of strength.
You boys make me push my boundaries because I know I need to match with your pace and energy; after all, the mother of boys cannot be at rest.


Thank you for calling me mom.
Thank you for coming to me as my babies
Thank you for giving me immense mental strength
Thank you for all fights, bouts, back answering yet ending with cuddles and warm hugs


Thank you, Sid ,Abhi and Tango


Happy children’s day to all of you and hug your kids a bit tighter today as many don’t have this privilege

Second family: cracking the code

Relationships,
isn’t this is the “only” connect which is making the human race survive? Or I should say letting everything and everyone survive?
Humans need bond so does the universe and anything which is into existence.
We all live, work hard, strive, struggle to be in relation either with a partner or self.
We hug, cuddle and express love to our children, at times they respond in a very affectionate way and sometimes they don’t and at times they just don’t like to be touched (like my teenage boy) but do we stop our expression and leave them on their own?
No!
Why?
Because we can’t stay without them, they are our breath, our energy, part of us (you read  the exaggerated versions at FB )
But, do we follow the same for our second family too?
My day one of this new year started with my trip to Kolkata to my in-law’s place. I wanted to visit my father-in-law as he wasn’t keeping well for a while and with boys having their winter break on, it turned out to be family trip.
My father-in-law also had his 74th birthday during our stay period and I wanted to celebrate his day (I just need a reason to celebrate anyhow). So, I invited both my father-in-law’s and mother-in-law side of the family. It’s a nice big clang (which I miss at my side). It was a wonderful gathering. We ordered cake, food, decorated the house with balloons. With everyone around the house was filled with lots of chatter and laughter.

3aaaac03-8dfc-49dd-aebd-917b692cfbcd

Baba’s 74th birthday

I loved every bit of this gathering where all of us were together.
It was amazing to see my father-in-law’s expression. He was elated by the celebration and said, “I never had such a wonderful birthday ever”. I felt equally wonderful.
The very distinguishing feature of my visit to Kolkata is, there are times when I am unable to speak their language fluently and they are unable to speak mine. I can’t eat their choice of food and they don’t eat mine but that doesn’t deter us from having a good time together.

b5d4a081-f036-40ae-adec-c5f3b846fc55

Baba and yours truly

A beautiful bond is much ahead than all this.
At times I wonder how did I pull through all this? Getting married into a totally different culture where we could not even communicate properly was not an easy journey.
Language, food preferences, culture, habits, way of living, thought process, expectations were totally opposite to my upbringing.
But I decided on two things;
First, stay the way I am and,
Second, don’t give up

I believe I observed relationships very closely right from my childhood. How?
I come from a very basic family. My father retired as a government servant and mother was always a housewife. I haven’t seen big money ever, never experienced it as well. But what I saw was my mother ’s sincerity in taking care of my grandparents (although I was very young then and have a very faded memory of this). I have also seen my mother’s selfless dedication towards the family. I have seen my father’s anger, discipline, meticulous working, love, and care towards his family, OUR family.
As a child, I never understood the relationship between my mother and her in-laws but now I can understand and feel for her. I never heard her complaining about anything but what I saw was her effort to take utmost care and give them respect. It wasn’t easy for her at all. I now know it so well.
Today, when I see my equation with my second family, I thank my mother for it.
I am an atheist so religion, temple, idol worshiping doesn’t attract me but I am very emotional and sensitive when it comes to relationships. Relations are my religion.
After fifteen years of my association with my second family I am glad that my mother-in-law waits for my call, the first phone ring on their special occasions and they know it’s me, they also listen to my complaints towards their son (ok, sometimes but they do), they understand my point of view as well, they understand my love and respect towards them. We still have the difference of opinions but we don’t take it to the heart.
Why?
Because I didn’t give up and I never will.
“Relationships happen and shape up well, only and only if you are willing to make them happen. “

The Big Bangla family

The Big Bangla family

 

Video

Letter to my teenage boy-Sid

Dear son,

You are now into the most difficult phase of your life where you are neither a lad nor a kid. Your voice is cracking, you have hair here and there everywhere, your taste buds have changed, you have no control over your voice tone, you show mood fluctuations, you are easily stressed and have very short-temper, your liking towards one thinIMG_1300g is not constant, one day you’ll be home from school with all smiles and the other day you won’t even like to look at me ,you can live in one tee and shorts for days, you refuse to obey anything, you don’t even allow me to hug, cuddle or kiss you anymore, your body smell has changed too. I know sweetheart it is a very difficult phase.
But, do you know your mom is facing all these issues since her puberty? Even more after two childbirths where hormones go berserk. Anyhow, you know this happening every month when I am loud enough to say, “just bear with me for a few days, I have my periods!!”
I miss my mom, right here!!!
I truly understand your condition my dear boy and your dilemma in managing this situation. But, you know what darling? It isn’t easy for me too to accept this change.
I am also a human being after all!
I have a level of patience in dealing with all the tantrums.
I have my share of tolerance to bear your high voice pitch and aggression.
I have my threshold to just take all these changes with gritted teeth.
I swear, I am showing my best behavior right now but the hidden emotion is – seethe!
I am also trying and will keep on trying my dear boy to help you pass through this phase but if at some point you find your mother out of place please understand that I am shutting down for a while to regain all the energy, after all, I am now a mother and I don’t have my mom with me to throw all tantrums.
As the saying goes, ” you can’t choose your family” but here I say, THIS IS ALL WE HAVE AND WE HAVE TO FIGHT IT OUT TOGETHER. I had no control in choosing a well-behaved, soft-spoken, very good at studies, medal dangling around the neck, high achiever son(Phew! Glad you are not this type) similarly you had no control in choosing a hyper, over-systematic, time-table-type, organized, disciplined,at-times-short-tempered, over-sensitive mom.
d01cd5d7-01de-430d-94b9-8e8db5ad661dI am trying to be a parent every single day and I know I am doing my level best. I have never put in so much hard work in reading, understanding, and learning during my academic years which I am doing now towards my new subject-phycology!
All this is new for you and it’s new for me too, let’s figure it out together my boy.
And if at any point you think that you can outsmart me then darling let me tell you- I am one hell of a mom who is consciously letting you spread your wings with one flight at a time, I am holding the rope tied to your now-not-so-tiny toes very firmly and letting you flutter to feel around and once you are ready I’ll be ready to cut that rope and let you soar high.
This new year let both of us grow together. Now that you’ve crossed my height, wear my shoes and tees. I promise to stand by you as your strongest pillar without even letting you know, whatta badass mom I am (evil laugh).
Your mood will sway like a pendulum and so will mine(tit-for-tat… yay!!)
I will say just one thing, I love you my sunny boy and I promise to make a man out of you!!!

Stay-at-home-moms: take a bow

With the onset of exams there comes a subtle hint of strict discipline in the family, which is only one-sided. Mom orders and boys never understand.

My entire routine revolves around the number of chapters. I do a quick calculation on how much time to devote per chapter and the revision as well. There is a timetable put up on the soft board much before the exam; it looks so systematic and amazing that I silently pat my back.

But as the exam dates come near, I realize that the timetable has lost its existence. The pinned timetable teases me on my super organized but utterly failed skills. I am no more an organized, patient and systematic mom but yelling over the top, infuriated entirely, palpating and on-my-toes mom.

I am at complete off from work until the exams. No urgent mailers, no meetings, no travel, no long phone calls, no conference calls – well, the liberty of working on my terms. My passport has gone deep under the shelf, and I am not even keen to look at it. Why?

Because I am entirely stay-at-home-mom right now.

I have been a homemaker for a very long time, but I have no idea what I did then because I was mostly nursing the younger one and struggling with a hyperactive elder one. I had no time even to realize how tired or exhausted I was. And one beautiful day, I had my resurrection, and I came to life again. Work, travel, stuck in traffic, frantic calls from schools, always too busy calendar but happy to work became a routine. I loved it and still do.

But right now it’s opposite.

I see cupboards screaming – clean me

I can see all the dirt in the house

Mismanagement by my army of maids who manage my arena when I am away

Incomplete school work

I can see everything, crystal clear. I have become a stay-at-home-mom with a magnifying glass. I love this too as well (fine print- as of now)

I am surprised how I managed all this while?

Well, I am always connected with the boys wherever I am. I put up the menu for long and short lunch break tiffin box on the refrigerator for my cook. My dinner and lunch menu sorted, stationary, home delivery, medicine guy is informed to respond to any request on an immediate basis. I have a world clock app on my phone which helps me keep a check on the time in the home country hence not missing out of anything. Phew! Sorted yes…sorted. I agree it gets hectic and brain churning but then everything falls into place, and then I also get the appreciation at times “how do you manage. ”

Now that I am home for almost half a month. I am managing the maid chaos. The cook moves out all of a sudden without notice, the full-time maid has fallen sick, one child is sick, and another one refuses to study for the final exams. His evening football is of high priority and exams are secondary. There are frantic calls, messages in search of “reliable” maid, Tango’s doctor visit, the sudden urge of having pizza after school, “mom pick me from school, please” requests, impromptu change in lunch menu because elder one wants to have “something” tasty. Right now, I dislike all my friends who have maids from their “gaon” or reference.

st1

Well, talk about the husband. Oh yes ! this financial year end has ended his excellent time with the family too. Boys don’t get to see him for days, and I have no clue when he enters home. Now that I am home he doesn’t have to call and check on boys, no morning drop to the bus stop, no emergency project requirements to be handled, no doctor appointment to seek, not addressing to school grievances, he has no idea about the turbulent households right now. I am sure he can focus on driving and work. No domestic pressure.

I was at the doctor’s clinic when a mother of a toddler in the total battered state was telling a fellow patient that his son is down with fever and why no one asks how was she doing.

I realized that stay at home moms are not praised, appreciated or even acknowledged for the tasks they do. Correct.

I met a friend recently (again a privilege when I am off work), she very clearly stated that ”my husband can work for long hours without worrying about home is because of me. I play an equally important role in running the house, and I should be paid accordingly “ I agree with it entirely.

I have always heard my father saying that running a house is like a factory (he retired from BHEL, and hence we siblings knew how a factory works). There is a purchasing department, logistics, tenders to be sought (buying the best deal even for grocery), HR for grievances, appraisals, and recruitment, safety, PR and your mom runs all this single-handedly.

Stay at home moms take bow hands down for running the factory so efficiently, and at times you don’t even get a pat from your partner for making all so smooth and convenient for him. I had a choice to switch roles, but I know many who have taken up this job not out of choice, but compulsion and are doing it so well! Kudos!!

I like this job profile as of now where me and boys have so much time together to listen to each other, tell stories, sort out issues, talk about growing up, revising lessons together, cuddling, just chatting , impromptu hugs, pillow conversations, checking recipes at Hebbar’s kitchen, baking cake, debating on gender equality with my elder one .. oh ! I am so loving all this but for how long that’s a big question .

Stay-at-home-moms, pat yourself today and cheers to you girls and men reading this give a big hug to your partner.

st2

 

Tag Cloud