Let me be ME

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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!!!

I don’t want to grow up to be a man, mamma!

While I was engrossed in my work my younger son comes to me with a sad as well as confused expression and announces, “mamma, I don’t want to grow up to be a man.”
Confused, I asked him, “why?”
He replies, “mamma, in all the books, advertisements, songs, movies and even the people talk so much about mother. Like, she is the best, she sacrifices, she loves more, she cares more and all that. I cannot be a mother, and no one will love me. I don’t want to be a man. I am good as a child, at least I am cute!”
I just heard him with open mouth, utterly shocked, speechless and tried to understand what he said.
My nine year old can feel and understand the gender bias in the society how come we adults miss it?
I then thought on how are we creating gender bias right from the day a child is born. We express our happiness of having a girl or a boy. If a boy then “Ghar Ka Chirag” if a girl then “maa baap ka dhyan rakhegi budape mein,” making her sit on an elevated platform.
I remember a few conversations just some days back.
I was at the bus stop to drop my boys to school, and we mothers were discussing our routine, school, maid, etc. Work from home moms had a different set of grievances, and we were talking about time management. I told them that now my elder son goes for his cricket and swimming coaching on his own. I also give him a list for grocery, and he gets it from the supermart. The following question was, “you don’t have a driver then how does he go?” I replied, “for smaller distances, he takes his cycle, and for others, he goes by auto” There was a silence for few minutes, and I wondered if I have said anything wrong. Then came a single reply, “ladka hai na you can, we have a daughter, can never think of sending her alone.”
I didn’t comment anything.
Another conversation was with a father who is worried about the safety of his daughters because they stay in Delhi.
I had nothing to comment there too.
As per my observation, whenever there is a girl in the family, we love seeing them grow into an elegant young woman.IMG_2286

A lady, who sits well rather than rough, talks with all manners than the way she feels; we are happy when she can prepare tea than playing a rough football match, dresses well than shabby, shows small gestures of taking care of you than not understand your mood(which is a boy’s trait)
Then promptly comes the comment, “ladki hone ke apne sukh hain”
I still wonder how many are raising their daughters without using “we are blessed to have a girl” in their conversation?
How many have career goals for their girls? Why is it only a boy’s job to be a breadwinner?
How many worry about their girl’s future financial security?
I am not talking about the money you’ve accumulated or properties created, and I am talking about do you worry what will happen if my daughter is not earning well in the future? How will she run her household? Will she have her own house before she decides to settle down? Why are these things the only responsibility of boys?
Wealthy people might have a reason not to worry for such things as they have enough to support their daughters even if she is not capable enough, but aren’t you turning them into a vegetable?
Why are we over-protective for girls like not sending them to local shops, market, public transport while for boys it’s okay?
We unknowingly make our girls grow into precious darlings, and when they grow up, we seek equal rights as boys.
Here the life comes in full circle

9f43238a-eb5b-4d9f-9a38-10ae8a5e7cd1I have no idea if I am bringing up my boys correctly or not, but I am very sure that they are seeing a woman who has the tenacity of rock and who does everything and even more than what any male can do. I am assuming that they will see girls as equal partners and not just a decorative piece.
I am so glad that my son at this age is sensitive and feels that the society is biased towards the female gender and both should be treated at par.
Upbringing, mentality and thought process is changing, but there is still much to do knowingly to create a just and even society.

PTM: handle it well!

Yesterday was my younger son’s PTM (Parent Teacher Meeting). I had to plan my swim session accordingly to be on time at the school and, voila I made it before time!

funny-parenting-comics-3Attending his PTM are always a cake walk. I get to hear all good things like a very obedient child, very soft-spoken, very well mannered, very disciplined and many more. In one academic session I was also complimented on my luck to have a child like him (as if I offered some special prayer to have him)

Last week I had my elder son’s PTM, and it is me who has to be at the war-front. I scurried through his diary and was surprised not to find a single remark. Wondering what happened as in all the previous academic sessions our diary was full by mid-term and then it was phone calls that demanded me to be in the school at any working day. This was one of the primary reason to leave full-time work. I could not manage half day leave every alternate day.

0a2da93cea5419889cf1bb3ce1228e44--changing-tables-drawing-cartoonsI got up much before time on the D day with a significant churning in the tummy. Took a shower, dressed well, prayed a little, armoured myself to accept whatever comes, took a deep breath, practised fake smile and nod, and I was ready to be at the front. I was not scared of bomb shelling. I was ready, entirely.

As I waited in the classroom for my turn, I was breathing heavily, twitching my fingers and trying not to make any eye contact with any other parent.

Then came my turn.

“he is a lovely child.”

“studies are also good.”

“very good at sports.”

“high on energy.”

“a delightful child.”

Oh my! What did I hear? I couldn’t believe what I heard. I was looking at the teacher with eyes and mouth wide open. I kept looking at her. All of a sudden there were violin tunes around me, the Bollywood lover in me awakened, and I was already running in the mustard fields. Like a melodramatic actress I was on the verge of crying, but instantly as the teacher broke my Simran feeling, I realized I am a mother who is listening to these compliments for the first time in the entire academic history. I couldn’t thank her enough and moved out of the class triumphantly. Mostly in the earlier PTMs I never dare to meet any other subject teacher. But this time, I held my head high as I have faced all bomb shelling, and I am the bravest soldier. I have nothing to fear. I visited a few other subject teachers only to hear those sugar-coated words yet again and again. I felt I am standing at the gold podium of Olympics and the entire world is looking at me. I felt like waving my hand fervently and claim what I have just heard.IMG_8608

I then headed to my favourite Theobroma and got our favourite chocolate cake.

As soon as I reached home, I threw away the mark-sheet but hugged Sid instead, we then cut the cake and shared the happy stories told by the teacher.

After I was done with my violins and mustard fields, to the Olympic podium to waving to the crowd, I kept wondering what happened. How come such a change? He is a teenager now and is way too bugging, nagging and difficult to handle at times. We often get into unwanted arguments, unreasonable demands and what not but how did this change happen.

I think it was more of self-realization than taking the credit of good parenting.

But I was very clear on one thing right from the day one when I used to get complaints about him that I will never argue, reason or defend him in front of the teacher. I always listened to the teacher like a lamb and never took him along for the PTM or in-between-the-week-any-day-complaint-hearing.

Sharing my views as I see in this transformation, see if you can relate to a few:

  1. Never bombard on the child after you hear any complaint from the school (believe me, I have heard so many times)
  2. Let the child speak as well and give a proper argument towards the complaint
  3. No one knows your child better than you do and you’ll be able to judge the authenticity of the claim and if your child is at fault or not.
  4. Ask your child to say sorry to the teacher or the child who has been troubled by his/her behaviour. Ensure the etiquette of saying sorry
  5. Give constant encouragement and positive strokes to your child
  6. If you are an influential person entirely avoid taking your child along for the PTM. Do not visit the principal, because the child observes the influence of power over education. You have already made your child eligible to behave in whichever way he /she wants as the child now knows that even the head of the school stands up before his/her parents.
  7. Never make fun or disrespect the teacher in front of the child
  8. Narrate your school stories. I have many from my convent and how scared we were of our principal.
  9. Make the child feel responsible for his/her behaviour. Don’t just let them get away from whatever they’ve done.
  10. If it is a punishment then it should be followed strictly. For, eg, there is a complaint from the school on a weekday, I punish the child refraining from the screen time, but as the weekend approaches I forget about the complaint, and I am already having pizza, roaming in malls and having a gala time. The child takes it as “I can get away with any complaint after a little hiccup.”
  11. Never let the child get excused under the pretext of “baccha hai” “children do make mistakes” understand the gravity and then react.
  12. Never fail to show your concern towards your child and keep telling him/her that mistakIMG_8677es or complaints don’t make who you are. Always give a big tight hug.

Parenting is a very tough task especially in today’s scenario we are continually learning as well. But we can balance our reaction and let the children bloom in their conducive environment then we will be able to raise loving, compassionate, responsible and well-mannered human beings.

Good luck to all!

Quote

Chin up ,Ladies !

via Chin up ,Ladies !

Breed of Robots

Past few months have been a whirlwind. Traveling, work, new projects, children, household chores, exams, assignments, new decisions, maid change (count this as significant) and what not. At one point when I was about to reach my final destination, I stood for a while before I moved out of the craft to sensibly understand where I have landed. Dazed.
But, as I travel and meet people from all over the world, being a parent, I tend to look at the parenting pattern very carefully.
I understand that none of us were born with the parenting skills, it’s a gradual learning process and we also fail at times miserably.
All said and done we Indians are way too much overwhelmed by parenting and proving ourselves to be the most doting, careful, cautious, over the top, set-an-example, my-child-the-best kind of parents.
It’s suffocating at times to see how much overboard parents can go.
We are creating a breed of robots. Let me explain how,
How much time does a child need to devote for studies? – The mother decides(we are the villains always)
Which hobby class a child should go? Mother decides
Vacation destination- Father, decides
Vacation budget/ class/ luxury – Father decides
Which color clothes suit the child better – Mother decides
Food quantity in the plate or appetite – Cook/ maid/ mother decides
Even to go to a shortest distance – driver, right on the doorstep
Assignments/ projects – Father or mother depending upon the creativity skills
How much free time ?- Mother decides
Which food to eat or not? Mother decides with the help of google search

Phew! Where is the child using his or her brain?

Every small decision is verified, cross-checked and then finally passed by the higher authority.

Where have you given your child a chance to make a mistake?

First, we as parents show them and indulge them in all the luxuries of life and then we expect them to learn the value of money, understand hardships and learn about life. Who is at fault?
Someone recently told me about an affluent female having all the necessities, luxuries at the tip of her fingertip, the husband involved in business did not bother about giving the real life (to make his life more comfortable). Their children also grew the same way. These wonderfully traveled, globetrotters, internationally exposed family don’t even know how to get petty things done like filling forms for school etc, doing basic banking stuff, buying groceries and many more to say(excuse being- what is the need?)
Sadly, they have turned into vegetables. What a waste of human life.
Who is at fault?
Well, everyone has a different outlook towards parenting and bringing up children, but I genuinely believe that each child should be brought up like a human being and not as an over-protective girl or a carefree boy.
Children need to learn the basics of life.
They must understand discipline and hard work
They must value time.
They should have an opinion of their own.
They must learn to wait for gifts, things or goodness in life.
Keep it only in your mind that children are the centre of your universe, if you put this in action, they grow up in a fairy tale world and disaster happen when they face the real world.

We must aim to raise spiritually awakened children than materialistic followers.
I read somewhere, and I have adopted this majorly whenever I deal with my boys:

“A father(read parent) is a true father only when he has raised his children to survive without him.”

IMG_7540

ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT (5TH-19TH MARCH 2018) HIKING WITH SID TO THORONG-LA PASS(5417MTS)

4TH MARCH 2018(DAY BEFORE THE HIKE)

GOOD-BYES AND PARTING

I had this hike in mind for a very long time. After a lot of surveys and input from mountaineering friends, I booked the trek with Himalayan Glaciers ( a hiking company in Nepal) in August 2017 to hike in November 2017. But, I fractured my foot in September 2017 and then it was a definite “NO” my orthopedic doctor. I waited for my foot to heal (which took too long). I could not wait for any further and decided to hike in March 2018 along with my elder son Siddhanth aka Sid. We dedicated this trek to raise funds towards library creation in a municipal school in Faridabad, in association with Sledgehammer Foundation and Pratham Books,
We managed to get 15 days off from school for the trek. Well, this hurdle was very minimal as compared to leaving my younger one behind. We hugged and cried, and then hugged and cried more the night before we left for the trek.

5TH MARCH 2018- DAY ONE, MUMBAI TO KATHMANDU,4264FT

TAKE OFF

We were all set for our travel and Sid was excited about his new adventure.
We took the flight to Kathmandu, and the hotel staff welcomed us by holding a placard with Sid’s name ( little perks to make him feel important)

IMG_8069

Welcome with Sid’s name at Kathmandu Airport

We had a great day where we roamed the streets, had a meeting with our tour operator, checking local stuff.
It was a half-past at night when Sid woke up to use the washroom, but I sensed something not so good and followed him. He then complained of giddiness and vomiting. As I stepped to help him, he fainted in the washroom. I lifted and brought him to the bed in haste. After few seconds he was okay.
I knew the reason ( I am a mom after all !)
Me: Sid ,you’re worried about the hike?
Sid: Yes mom
Me: Don’t listen to people, they talk nonsense (everyone I met scared him about the elevation ). If you have trust in your mom then we’ll go ahead tomorrow else no worries
Sid: I do trust you mom
Me: then sleep well, and we’ll have a great time.
Sid slept off, but I didn’t.
Day one of a sleepless night.

9A72B48E-0681-4105-8349-3F2D12856DF8

Some good meal

IMG_8067

Landing in Kathmandu

6TH MARCH 2018- DAY TWO, KATHMANDU TO SYANGE,3608 FT

FIRST SIGHT OF MOUNTAINS

We started our day early to get to the bus stop from the hotel.
I withdrew money from the ATM (Nepal has a limit of withdrawing 45k per day, so it is advisable to withdraw the maximum in a day ). Also, the ATM charges 4% on the withdrawal amount.
We took a cab from our hotel to the bus stop accompanied by our Sherpa to reach Besi shehar. After wasting a lot of time in the traffic jam on the ghat, we reached Besi Shehar at lunchtime.
From there we took a jeep to Syange, which was nothing more than a spine and neck jerking drive 😬
We reached Syange by 3 pm and had the first view of snow clad mountains which we were supposed to climb.
Sid, being a dog lover instantly had friends all over, and he was happily feeding them biscuits 🍪
At night he again asked me, “mamma, I’ll be able to do it ?”
My one answer to this was, “Sid, क़दम बढ़े हैं तो रूकेंगे नहीं ” ( Sid, if you’ve taken a step forward then there is no looking back )
And this became our mantra on the entire Trek.
He slept well, and I didn’t.
Regularly checking on him, Being mother 🙂
Day two of the sleepless night.

7TH MARCH 2018- DAY THREE, SYANGE TO DHARAPNI,6430 FT

A LONG WALK

We started our walk with all zeal after a customary breakfast of boiled eggs, hot chocolate for Sid and a black coffee for myself
During the hike, Sid asked me about what I wanted to be when I grow up because everyone grows up to be something?
It was kind of funny, but I replied that I would like to be good human being and rest I will figure out.
Then we had a great, excellent discussion on “growing up.”
It’s important to let the kids have a brain of their own and let them ask as many questions as they wish to, no matter how stupid they sound.
Having a conversation with your child is essential.
It was a long walk of around 24kms, and we gained some great elevation as well as insight too 🙂
We walked from Syange to Dharapni with a halt for lunch at Taal. Sid walked much ahead and faster, and at one point I lost him from my view. When I met him at Taal, the mother in me gave him a good scolding and the son in him obeyed the instructions.
It was cold and rained as well at night. Sid was wearing his day hike shoes till now which we use for our hikes in Sahyadri ranges. During the hike, I realized that he needs better shoes. The tea stall where we were resting had a shop nearby, and I saw some hiking boots there.
Without wasting any time, I got a brand new pair for Sid.
I was little skeptical on the fit and shoe bite, but it turned out to be the best decision. Sid slept off after slight anxiousness. I didn’t.
Day three of the sleepless night.

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/1440562757/embed/bdb0667d13ab5bce6e6f6512ce67a497c33be761” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Syange to Dharapani on Strava

8TH MARCH 2018- DAY FOUR,DHARAPANI TO CHAME,8891 FT

ANXIOUS YET AGAIN

We started our walk to Chame which is a lovely small village.
It was again an enjoyable walk. Fantastic scenery, snow-clad mountains, good climb and most beautiful mountains to watch
Sid was anxious still at night but with a good cuddle and comforting he slept fine.
It rained and snowed at night.
He woke up with a start around midnight, screaming “mamma …mamma”. I knew the reason.
Just a little assurance and he slept back; I didn’t.
Fourth sleepless night 🙂

Strava:https://www.strava.com/activities/1442138433/embed/a22961abe0b94758bdfa8b030dad54374ffbb92a” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Dharapani to Chame Part 1   https://www.strava.com/activities/1442138770/embed/47cebf1ca769ee0a945e67f38321811053479c96” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Dharapani to Chame Part 2

9TH MARCH 2018- DAY FIVE, CHAME TO PISANG,10,824FT

FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH SNOW

As we headed towards Lower Pisang, it started getting colder, with a stiff breeze and also snow on the way.
Sid was mighty excited about seeing, feeling and playing in the snow – what more can a Mumbaikar do 😜 (Mumbai sees summer season all through the year)
It was a lovely long walk, and we stopped in between for our snickers, honey ginger lemon, and just casual breaks.
We decided to stay in Lower Pisang than Upper to save time for the next day hike.
We stayed in a beautiful tea house with comfy bed and warm quilt
I took a hot shower (charged at 100 Nepali rupees)here which runs on gas, and even Sid was happy to be under the shower after five long days
We also had a heater in the dining area where we spent our maximum time until bedtime.
Although it snowed in the eve, it was a very comfortable stay. Food was good here but surely getting expensive. We even paid for charging our phones.
I could connect home as we had mild mobile connectivity in Pisang.
I slept for a while this time 🙂

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/1443601459/embed/e084affed8e1221f38947ca755b0012f864194d3” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Chame to Pisang

10TH MARCH 2018- DAY SIX,PISANG TO MANANG,11,482FT

RIGHT ON THE FOOTHILL OF SNOWCLAD MOUNTAINS

It was a long but beautiful walk to Manang
We were reaching a higher altitude, and there was snow on and off the trails.
The weather was now getting colder and windy.
Hot honey ginger lemon tea and garlic soup were an integral part of our diet now.
Manang is a small village with beautiful tea houses.
Our tea house had a massive bunch of bag packers from Israel. The dining hall was bustling with all the chatter. We had electricity on the day we arrived, so I charged my power banks and phone here. We were now in the zone of no mobile connectivity. Although TV had some signal and Sid managed to watch a football match there. He was happy.
It was freezing by night and all the occupants of the tea stall bundled up in the hall next to the room heater, chatting, reading, playing cards or just sitting casually.
Everyone in the room was amazed to see Sid attempting the Pass and wondered on his capability. Touchwood.
As people said so, Sid was again in the same mood, ” mamma, will I be able to make it ?”
And my reply was same,” क़दम बढ़े हैं तो रूकेंगे नहीं,” (“once you’ve taken a step ahead, then there is no looking back “)
He slept very well and so did I
First, ever full night sleep!

Strava:https://www.strava.com/activities/1454173125/embed/0d8a309e370e5de9695ac24c0e0e59cea009d68c” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Pisang to Manag

11TH MARCH 2018- DAY SEVEN, ACCLIMATIZATION DAY IN MANANG

“OH! I AM THIS CLOSE,MAMMA"

After a great sleep, we intentionally woke up late the next day because it was our acclimatization day. The mommy in me came into action, and I rinsed almost all the dirty clothes in icy cold water. It was a bright day but extremely windy. We had an elaborate and lazy breakfast. We then headed for a small hike to reach a higher level. It was a steep but beautiful walk up the mountain. Once we were at the top Sid looked around and saw all snow clad mountains right next to where he was standing. He had the brightest eyes at this moment, and he couldn’t stop beaming with joy on his accomplishment. We jumped in joy, clicked pictures, played with snow and descended after a while to our base. Sid had a question for me here again, “ mamma, why don’t I feel confident? why do I feel anxious?”
I replied, “Sid, pray and firm up your mind “
Sid was clueless on what and how to pray.
Although back home we perform an essential prayer before we go to bed. Me being an atheist I chant and mutter a small prayer with boys, “Thank you god for the world so sweet, Thank you god for the food we eat. Thank you God for birds that sing, thank you God for everything.”
But this time the prayer had to be intense. I carry a beaded mala to count my chant; I gave sid that mala and asked him to chant and pray for strength. Sid wore the mala around his wrist as if it was a source of some extra energy. I let it happen because he was calmer after chanting.
We slept well.

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/1454173417/embed/bffd929cab19000fa6fea17b086b5864d03fedc7” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Acclimatisation climb in Manang

12TH MARCH 2018- DAY EIGHT – MANANG TO YAK KHARKA,13,484FT

Rest did wonders to our body, and we started our day fully charged up. It was a short and beautiful walk. We were excited as we were just a day short to our summit. We walked slow, spotting mountain goats, climbing small hills, playing snow throw ball, chatting, munching our snickers and sipping hot honey ginger lemon tea. As we reached closer, the winds started picking up, and it was now getting freezing. We hurriedly reached the destination and pampered ourselves with hot chocolate and French fries. It was a cold night. I tucked along with sid, and he slept off within no time.
Sid misplaced his mala before sleeping and was restless because he was unable to locate it, he desperately said: “mamma, now will I be able to complete my trek?”
I was bewildered.
I held his hands, looked eye to eye and said sternly, “it is not the mala but your courage and strength that will make you complete the trek. Have faith in yourself and climb”. I don’t know if he understood what I meant, but he slept off. Next morning he found the mala.
I had a very uneasy night. I had a blocked nose and kept breathing from my mouth. As a result, My mouth was drying up, and I had to sip water from the flask now and then. I started feeling dizzy and waited for dawn. Midnight I thought of calling out to my Sherpa, but then I realized that sid would be scared. So kept my cool, continued chanting and deep breathing (as much as I could).
It was a difficult night.

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/1454173675/embed/a71f41fab6285f532bdc4a5a69baf1ac12618201” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Manang to Yak Kharka

13TH MARCH 2018- DAY NINE- YAK KHARKA TO THORANG PHEDI,14,501FT

ORDEAL BEGINS

I got up uneasy and was contemplating my decision to climb further. I did not give out any gesture of my discomfort as I knew sid would be disturbed. I told my Sherpa, but he had no inputs to give instead he said to us that rather than staying at Thorang Phedi we’d go to high camp which will save our time for the climb to the summit the next day.
I was expecting sometime of assistance from my Sherpa towards my breathlessness but had just two options for me – to go down or climb up. I chose the latter one. I walked exceptionally slow and kept sipping water. Within an hour I was much better, and we then continued with our climb.
By the time we reached Thorang Phedi both myself and sid were exhausted as the winds had caught up and we wanted to rest. As our porter was told to stop at high camp hence, he didn’t block our tea house, and we had to climb up to go to another tea house. I was annoyed with my Sherpa’s ignorance. As hike gains elevation, it is advisable as well as instructed that both the porter and guide should walk together because if the client faces any issue, all can descend together. I expressed my annoyance. My Sherpa didn’t take my complaint too well and ignored us entirely; his behavior was very indifferent. I sensed further ordeal.
Before we retired for the night, we decided to start the climb at 5 am, although most trekkers start the hike as early as 3 am. I was bothered only about Sid and wanted him to take proper rest.
We giggled and talked a lot at night, only to ease out Sid and slept cuddled up.
The night went off well.

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/1454174027/embed/525f217628aa734182e641ad6c1ee3359112914b” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi

14TH MARCH – DAY TEN-SUMMIT DAY- THORONG PHEDI TO THORONG LA PASS,17,764FT

SID –MY HERO

At 3 am my door banged, it was my Sherpa. I recalled the last night discussion on timing, but he was adamant to leave early. I didn’t argue and woke up sid to get ready for the day. It was the final day of the climb, and we were expecting lots of snow, steep, and extreme winds. We had to reach the pass anyhow before noon as afterward, the weather gets unpredictable.
We quickly ate boiled eggs, packed bread jam, filled two water bottles with the assurance that we will get water at a tea house at high camp.
We had to climb a straight mountain to reach the high camp. After crossing the hill we faced knee deep, and sid’s feet were cold. With the previous discussions, he was always worried that he might get frostbite. I assured him he wouldn’t. I was carrying toe warmers and asked my Sherpa to get hold of my porter just in case I need more clothing for sid. Although I had all necessary stuff in my backpack.
But to my dismay, he stood there unwary of my demand and informed that the porter would meet us at the tea stall much ahead.
I put toe warmers on sid’s toe, and he felt comfortable to walk. I then asked my Sherpa to get water, and he again said that we would get it at the tea stall. I told him about my requirement to have a lot of water (in one of my previous high altitude adventure I had acute dehydration which resulted in a stroke. Since then I am advised to drink a lot of water in higher altitude)
It was our first experience of walking in such deep snow. We enjoyed it. I was walking slowly even now. As we reached the tea stall, to my utter shock it was shut. It was here that I lost my cool and blasted my Sherpa on his irresponsible behavior. I was shocked further when he said, “water is your requirement you should have kept why are you blaming me ?” P.S. I paid for a porter and guide, and it was not a self-supported trek.
I took a quick glance at the remaining water and did a fast calculation on how much to consume till the summit. We still had around 4-5 hours to the summit.
We started walking again. After a while, my Sherpa was out of our sight. It was just myself and Sid walking across the snow-clad mountains. Sid was tensed, anxious and worried. I realized I shouldn’t have shown my despair in front of him. I assured him that we would make it to the top. He was worried about almost no water left. I told him miracles happen and we will get water. And miracle did happen. We saw a guy walking towards us from nowhere with a water bottle dangling around his waist. On requesting he gladly transferred the water into our container.
I was still walking very slow. It was now sid’s tun to boost me. As our Sherpa wasn’t available to guide us, hence we took help of the poles as landmarks and keep walking from one pole to another. Sid kept on saying – “mamma common it’s almost done. We have to finish it. We have to reach the top”.
And yes we did reach the top. Yes, we were at the summit! Sid, this 12-year-old, fragile boy of mine, was at the summit !!
We met our Sherpa here.
Extreme cold wind at the pass welcomed us.
We had to start our descend soon as the weather was now worsening . after few mandatory pictures, we started our descend.
Both of us were starving by now. Our Sherpa informed that Muktinath (final destination of the day) was an hours walk from the summit. We were delighted.
We kept walking for almost 3 hours but couldn’t gather sight of any habitation.
Sid was utterly exhausted, famished, tired and dizzy. He was unable to walk any further. Finally at around 4 pm after walking for almost 11 hours, I asked my Sherpa for emergency evacuation and ordered him to rush down where he could get mobile network to inform the trekking company. Meanwhile, I fed some dry fruits to sid and sat by the side of the trail. I made him lie down in my lap and asked him to sleep. After an hour my Sherpa informed that evacuation process is initiated and helicopter might come soon.
I wondered if Sid was fit to walk a little and he confirmed that he could. We started our descend again because it was getting cloudy. All calls to trekking and insurance company went in vain, and I decided to rest as soon as I saw any habitation. It was almost 5 pm, and helicopters don’t ply in Nepal then.
We finally saw few tea houses and rested for the night there.
I was mentally exhausted and had a tromping headache. I wanted to move back home immediately.
I decided to terminate the trek.

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/1454174318/embed/90c26eeaaa3eade725e4ce368bacd29782ee99f5” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Thorong Phedi to Thorong La pass, Garmin conked off in between

15TH MARCH- DAY ELEVEN- OVER AND DONE, MUKTINATH TO JOMSOM

HAPPY SOULS

Next morning was bright and beautiful. Both I and sid were very happy souls. We had achieved what we aimed. We walked down to Muktinath and took a jeep to Jomsom. By the time we reached Jomsom, we were informed that because of bad weather all further flights were canceled and we can only fly the next day which I readily agreed.
We ate very well, had mobile connectivity, talked to family and shared our pictures.
At the tea house, we met various groups who were resting there after completion of the summit. All of them were surprised at sid’s feat. One of them said, “you are the coolest mom. At 12 I had no clue what mountain were. Had I known then I would have been a different person altogether” ahaannn… time to pat my back (on my own although)

16TH MARCH- DAY TWELVE- HOME BOUND IN A JIFFY, JOMSOM TO POKHRA TO KAHTHMANDU TO MUMBAI

Next morning we were at Jomsom airport to fly to Pokhara. The airport and the craft was a replica of Legoland. It was exciting.
As I landed in Pokhara, I checked for the flight availability to Kathmandu. I was now desperate to be home, to be with my other set of boys. I was surprised when I got the tickets to Kathmandu. I then modified my flight from Kathmandu to Mumbai, and once I landed at Kathmandu, I was all set to fly back home.
Three flights in a day, from 15,000 ft to sea level in a day. Back home to the hugs and cuddles, I couldn’t have been a happier momma.

TAKEAWAYS

WHEN HIKING WITH CHILDREN

WHEN YOU ARE HIKING WITH CHILDREN

  • Inform them about the altitude, AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness), what to expect and what not to during the hike
  • Build up the excitement
  • Constant encouragement
  • Choose the travel company wisely and talk with your guide in absolute clarity
  • Keep children entertained either by carrying a book, a game or even a mobile phone with their favorite games. Afterwall they are city kids.
  • Feed them well. don’t focus on healthy food but let them eat whatever they want
  • Carry ready to eat foodstuff and water purifying tablets as much as possible because as you go higher food and water prices soar extensively
  • Get the layering done adequately
  • Invest in good hiking shoes. don’t think for it’s a waste of money as they outgrow very soon . good hiking shoes is very important
  • Buy good wind chaffing cream, sunscreen, and polarized sunglasses
  • Keep an eye on your behavior and eating pattern, you might miss a sign of AMS otherwise
  • If hiking alone then follow the map as well as fellow trekkers accurate directions
  • Sherpas demand good tip after the hike, plan your budget accordingly.
  • Give them good rest, don’t hurry up.
  • enjoy and look around as you hike. mountains have so much to offer, teach and learn
  • Choose your time and duration of the hike. Alter the itinerary as per your child’s energy level.

“The hardest choices require the strongest will – Thanos”