Let me be ME

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Experience over Gift for your children

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How do most people plan their New Year?
Goals: Career, financial, be-a–good-person, slimming, get-married, move-out-of-stinking-relationship, make-a-new-boyfriend and many more goal-a-goals.
How do I plan my year?
Keeping aside, being-a-very-good –woman-goal (which I fail always ), the primary goal is –                                                                        TRAVELa70588cc-4758-4fc1-8bda-ea127e299227
Oh ! How much I crave to be airborne or on my bike or the mountains.
But this year it’ll be different. I’ll attempt to take my boys along to as many offbeat travel destinations that I plan for myself. Although with Arun Jaitley bombarding, bringing them along each time will not be possible I know.
For the first long weekend of the first month of the new year, I came across an event on Facebook, Tour De Chattisgarh. After looking at the itinerary, it seemed perfect for a family vacation.
Why?
1. I was itching to ride and wanted boys to experience the joy of touring on the bike, I have done many, and I know how incredible it is. Check few links here:
a) Passion for cycling
b) Rajasthan Tour on foldie
c) Bhutan trail with Times Passion Trails
3. Exploring another state on bike
4. I got married in Raipur and never visited after that. It was a perfect time to relive the moments.

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We have done five-star holidays, beach vacations, foreign tours, camping, hiking trips with boys but never a cycling trip. An adventure freak mom has passed on some traits to boys too. Hence I thought to attempt this trip with boys.

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Why should you move away from the comfort zone and gift your children experience?

1. Situational obedience (discovered a new word )

Before I booked the tickets, I had to seek permission from the school. Boys were instructed to be on their best behavior and studies until I visit the class teacher. I came out grinning ear to ear from the school gate with a permission letter in my hand. See, that’s why it’s important to obey mom when she asks. Give me a high five here !

2. Being methodical and systematic

Both of them were given a cabin size trolley and instructed regarding the number of clothes, undergarments, footwear, and anything that they feel will be significant during travel to pack. The younger one had not-to-forget-tactics. He kept his watch in the shoes as they arranged the clothes for the next day early morning flight he said, “mamma, I’ll not forget this way.” Nice one!

3. Meeting, making and not “adding” new friends

Mumbai is always on the run and gives less opportunity to socialize. We end up having a handful of people to interact and mostly limited to within the housing complex. While on the trip the boys associated with people not only across India but other countries as well. It was great to know about Giom Tell from Switzerland who is exploring India on a bike. Check his profile you may find something interesting, Giom’s profile

Riding with Alexi Grewal, an Olympic gold medalist was a remarkable opportunity.About Alexi Grewal

Ben’s passion towards creating customised bikes – check his page, Life Behind Bars

The gang of boys from Gujrat riding for the cause “ek bharat,shresth bharat.”

Swati and Tarique ,couple with multi-facet talent and super enthusiasm towards life !

Namrata , Lorraine and myself -mother of two were riding all through this tour. It was great to see that is not just me who makes multiple phone calls back home when on a tour like this 🙂

Observing, understanding, adjusting and knowing people’s habit, the way of living, language and behavior is what we learn hands on .Boys made their own set of friends and were happy  be riding, playing or just chatting with them

4. Discipline without saying “the” word

Every morning we were supposed to report at 5.30 am for the ride (which we never did, that’s another story), but boys were up with my one wake up call. Their dresses ready for the next day and bags packed too. We were riding to different locations each day and bags were supposed to be transported as well. Temperatures dropped at certain places, and Mumbaikars are too lousy when it comes to cold winds. Younger one being asthmatic had sneezing attacks in wee hours but all wrapped up in a blanket they were always ready on time. There was no fuss about early morning rise.

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Sid , all up and ready for the ride

5. Adjusting beyond the comfort zones

We all have to agree that we have a far more comfortable life now than what it used to be in our childhood. I was amazed on how boys adjusted to whatever was available. Although we stayed in Chattisgarh tourism guest houses, they had their limitations. There was no fuss or cribbing about food. Sid, who is such a fussy eater ate whatever was available because I told him to eat adequately to ride well the next day. No hot shower but just a bucket of warm water and they were happy with it wherein Abhi at home loves his hot water shower twice a day. They adjusted to every situation .

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6. Discovering new likings

Sid has always been an outdoor kid. Full of surplus energy and enthusiasm, unable to fix his liking on one thing. So typical ME . While Abhi is a happy go lucky child. Happy and satisfied with himself and his surroundings. This trip gave both of them to do what they wanted to and find their happiness rather than their parents forcing them in some hobby classes in the name of skill building. Children are born with multiple skills, let them explore themselves.

7. Observing relationships

We had solo riders, families with children, couples, father-son duo riders in this trip. It was an excellent opportunity to observe the bond and connect with each relationship. It was amazing to see the confidence senior citizen father had in his young son as they were riding together. I saw Sid from the corner of my eyes nodding his head in approval of this relationship. I also saw him blushing whenever he saw Ben and Stephanie. together,  teenager syndrome is setting in now.

8. Independent decisions

They took small but independent decisions in the entire trip. They chose the clothes they wanted to wear the next morning for the ride, although I guided them on layering up. Picked the food they wanted to eat from the buffet with Sid evidently seeking approval from me on the right quantity(he was riding each day). Deciding the distance and whether to ride or not. Choosing to ride after the fall or not (Sid had two falls).The decisions were small, but they give them immense confidence in being responsible.

I am glad about my decision to take all my three boys on this trip. We were addressed as the tribe called “Charon dishayen” (Char-four, means we family of four and Disha- implies direction, which is also the meaning of my name).

We all learned something or the other from this trip and had an enriching experience. It is important to let children be themselves, take own decisions, get dirty, mess around, get tired, be in the sun, fall, get hurt, above all let them grow the way want to.

I am mighty proud of all my three boys for being together throughout , no tantrums , utterly cooperative and  understanding. I underestimated your hidden trait. Mom is sorry about it but a strong pat on your back Som, Sid, and Abhi.

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I am flying in my jet plane !!

The New Year is here

resolutions ,promises and lots to hear

I am not keen to know yours

Because I have something to share

I am taking a flight too high

Into a world of daisies and bright light

I am flying in my own jet

Wheee … heeeee…. and all set

I am just taking a backpack

Filled with candies , chips and cookies

I am not letting anyone talk behind my back

So, I’ve set maid ,home ,car,hubby and babies

I am going to a land of birds ,hills and snow

I’ll run ,roll,jump or walk too slow

I’ll scream , be messy , not bathe

I’ll not comb my hair or brush my teeth

I’ll get up with NO kitchen menu in mind

I’ll conquer the whole bed of mine

I’ll have chocolate cakes

Puddings ,cookies and choco lava I will bake

I’ll wear all creepy clothes

And not even bother for those “looks”

Imagine the fun and freedom

A world free of bra and boredom

Deadlines , planning , schedules , sports day

Oh !! What are they ?

No more of playing “ideal ” game

Stay cool , wild and untamed

Not answerable ,not responsible

But a pure fluid ,moulding wherever feasible !!

Triiinnggggggg….

Piinnggggg….

Binnggggggg…

Booommmmm…

I landed with a thud and crash

Only to realise that my jet plane did not take off 🙂

LifeCycle of “Like”

I met somebody a few days back, supposedly the one who can look right inside you. It’s scary because the layers that you managed to keep for long are now exposed, you feel naked. But we terminated our conversation with a thought of “What I want .”
Ok, so you are asking a woman what she wants. The most learned people have failed to answer this question what will my tiny brain do? He was triggering the most intricate, unpredictable and complicated thing – a woman’s brain.
Before I could think, “what I want,” my mind wandered and thought hard for “What I like ”
Again, a tricky business. My likes have changed so much since childhood that if I start thinking what I like I’ll need a century to figure that out. I like many things. Yes, materialistic too. Oh! Common I am a woman, and I love dresses, that lovely liner, new matte finish lipstick. I’ll surely try to squeeze myself in a short dress and then blame my trainer for all wrong workout.
I am a woman, and I have full right to blame another person for my folly. I am blessed with this power.
Coming back to what I like.
Let me narrate the lifecycle of my likes.
I have always studied in all-girls school and then all-girls college. Somehow I managed to do my post graduation in a co-ed. Thank god, that’s where I met my boyfriend now my husband else I would have never explored my female sexual side.
In my school, I always liked army girls. I was in a convent school which was in a cantonment area, and we had a lot of girls from the army. I used to find it very royal when they came to school in that truck cum bus. That big huge truck, with stairs at the end, driver, and conductor in army uniform, Wow! I instantly disliked my father. I was always a specy girl and always wore huge, plastic frame glasses which used to cover almost half of my face. I never knew life without glasses. So, I liked the girls with big eyes. They had so much drama around their eye movements.
We had Miss.Braganza type of a teacher named as Mrs. D’Costa, oh man! I was in total awe of that lady. Her short skirts, matching lipstick, hairstyle, speaking English with attitude. Wow!
She used to check us; girls don’t’ walk like this, girls don’t talk like that. Wear your skirts four fingers above the knee. You need a bra ask your mom to get one for you. I liked girls who wore a bra when others were just blossoming.
I liked other girls
As I have grown up in a township and you can’t mess around if you are in this kind of a small setup. One naughty business and parents get to know within no-time. In government townships, everything is rank and caste based. Things might have changed now, but back then an official of a general category was respected more than an official with the much higher rank of a SC ST category. We had our own circle based on the unsaid rules. I chose to like girls who used to wear night suits. Why? Because I used to wear nighty. That long tent, which you keep pulling down even while sleeping because mom said, girls should be all covered. I still wonder how did I obey this?
I also liked girls who used to wear jeans/denim. Why ? because I never did. I got my first pair of jeans in my graduation. I used to love the way legs moved in that pair of my dream dress, the curve of the bottom ( covered mostly). I used to look up to girls who wore tight denim in public gatherings. They were real divas for me, and I used to flutter around them just to have a closer look.
I liked other girls.
Then came college. Well ! what new? Girls again. Ah ! I have seen it all there. Lesbians, girls having a crush on me, someone madly in love with me, flirting with only bald head sir (lucky chap, I must say), girls claiming to my elder sister or mother or some platonic connect or just you, and I types to assure the connect. By this time I was like that child who demanded one ice cream when his /her parents were in a bad mood, and they offered a cup of ice cream with multiple scoops. Same was with me. Just too many scoops in my cup, I inevitably burst. I turned a rebellion. The tomboy in me was now up in full swing. But, what I did? Remember I am still at an all-girls college. With so many girls around a tomboy will stand out, and it did. I didn’t like any girl now and not even the boys. Well ! Poor me, where were the boys?

I didn’t like girls.
Finally, during my post graduation, I had boys in my class. I went to the college with a thought that I’ll see all types of superbikes, macho boys, those punches, boys looking at me and I’ll be like that pond’s girl who would enter the class, and everyone turns their head towards me. I even bought the best smelling Ponds talc and Liril soap. I should not miss any fragrance to allure others .
But , what a crash ! Nothing happened. Just nothing.
Why ? I was still a tomboy. Laughing loudly, riding a geared bike, wearing shoes always even with salwar kameez, very short hair. No upper lip or threading done.
I envied girls who wore terrific dresses, had a long mane, had their lips colored with beautiful pink, had shapely eyebrows, nail paints.
Again, I liked other girls.
After the placement, it was a culture shock for me. From a small town to Mumbai. It happened too fast. I was amazed at the pace of this city. Confident girls, moving out even when it was dark, how they snapped at autowalas, managed their way in the train, wore jeans (my dream pair of legs) with a short top (at times cleavage showing too- cheeky isn’t it ) It was overwhelming. I loved every girl in this city.
I liked other girls.
I finally got married to a guy hence was able to prove my fertility and had two kids. Now, I was overweight, sagged skin, unshaped better to say shapeless body, what was once north found the way southwards.
I loved women who got down of the car in their best looks, smelling good, hair in place, clothes ironed, lovely sandals, designer bag dangling on one arm and a mobile phone in the other.The maid was carrying the child and the baby bag behind. How much I dreamt of walking like that with a high head.
I liked other girls.
God I feel is too smart. He might have heard my mumblings and offered me an all-boys family even my dog. Fooling him is silly. My focus shifted to all-boys stuff. Geared motorbikes to geared cycles, all rough and risk-taking activities. I now focus on my biceps than my lipstick shade. I am cool if I have not waxed myself and I have to wear a short or sleeveless dress. I give a damn to “log kya kahenge” (what will people say ). I aim to get super toned abs for my birthday (my mom doesn’t like this ! )I am comfortable in my skin. Those beautiful girls, wearing stilettoes and walking like stilt walker don’t attract me anymore. I love looking at myself and blow a kiss in the mirror. Too-much-self, if you may call. Then please do, who cares.

What I want will take a while to answer but what I like? I like me.
I like myself. Period.

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Sulu : Just like You and me

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Power to dream and fly

Writing in haste else I take few days to finish a blog. I think and rethink, then try on some excellent reference, but this one is a no-brainer. It comes directly from the movie I watched today.
I took my help at home for Tumhari Sulu this afternoon. She was free and was excited to join me. I canceled one of my meetings, and we went for our movie outing.
I loved the entire storyline, acting, drama and the execution. Vidya Balan as ever stole the show. She is fabulous, but I think she should shed some weight (she inspire many women around and keeping good health can be a way forward as well). Sorry, the fitness freak in me sees the tummy and arms bulge first, others can ignore.
The movie talks about the struggle of a woman when she decides to step out to make her mark .The “mark” is a little not-so-accepted-thing. How her own family, leave aside the society discourages her and holds her responsible for all the chaos in her OWN family.
I could relate every moment . I am sure so many of us around can relate too.
Sulu gets a job in what she was good at.
She excels in her work.
She truly enjoyed her work.
She tries to manage everything back home.
She lures her husband as well (which so important).
But still, what she gets? Backfire… from everywhere.
When her son doesn’t behave well, and the school suspends him, the blame is on her. She is asked to leave her job. She is asked to spend time with her son. Take care of the house. Why? Because she is a mother, wife, daughter, homemaker and it is her responsibility to take care of all the errands of the house. She has just started to work, and her salary raise will take time, but she is asked to quit because she is the one who runs the house and without her ,home is a mess.
I thought that when a woman is held responsible for everything, mostly bad- mark it and mainly when it comes to children it is SHE. Just imagine the immense power she holds in herself. The fantastic capability to manage the show yet she is blamed. Her expertise is at the highest level, yet she backfired for her irresponsible management.
I loved a particular scene where the school suspends her son , and his entire clang was blaming her, yet she lifts her bag and moves out for work.
That is the kind of kick-ass attitude a woman must possess.
I also loved a dialogue where she asks her husband, “you are in which team ? mine or theirs ” (“their” are the relatives who were asking her to stop working)
No matter how much she kept the husband in the loop, lured him, gave herself (willingly or unwillingly), it was the husband who doubted her and questioned her work. But thank god, the husband got enlightenment in time else this woman goddess wouldn’t have let anyone come in between herself and her dreams.
The dedication she had for her family, towards her child, husband and household responsibilities is remarkable.
Trust me it hurts when YOU are held responsible,
for poor house management
poor grades of your child
poor tiffin packed for lunch
misbehavior of your child
for not giving enough time to children
being over ambitious
being passionate
But ,
I loved every bit of Sulu.
She is a dreamer
She is a happy soul
She knows her responsibilities
She knows how to keep her man (that’s a tricky business)
She has immense love for her child
She is a dutiful wife, mother, and caretaker of the house
She is outgoing, yet she knows how to keep unwanted men at bay
She is fierce yet beautiful
She is a woman as YOU and ME.

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Chin up ,Ladies !

P.C. www.pragatisharma.com

Power a woman holds in her/ P.C http://www.pragatisharma.com

High five to all the mothers!
Remember you are THE BEST.

I was in a workshop when all of a sudden my phone beeped; I had a message from my younger son with all sorts of angry emoji and text stating that I hadn’t fixed the bottle holder on his new bike.I smiled a little, but instantly I thought where I had kept the screwdriver so that I can set the holder once I am back home. The complete boredom of the workshop fizzed away. I knew my purpose for the evening.
How inconspicuous this purpose is, isn’t it? Fixing a bottle holder becomes my purpose. How stupid is that? The purpose is always BIG and something which gives you a feeling of accomplishment once you achieve it, isn’t it? Well, I’ll talk to you about it.

Without beating much around the bush let me talk about some pervasive mental state which many mothers, new or old, working women and homemakers have shared with me and are seeking a way out.
Mood: anger, anxiety, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, mood swings, or panic attack
Whole body: fatigue, loss of appetite, or restlessness
Psychological: depression, fear, or repeatedly going over thoughts
Behavioural: crying or irritability
Cognitive: lack concentration or unwanted thoughts
Weight: weight gain or weight loss
Also common: insomnia
(courtesy Wikipedia)
Dear mommies, young /older moms / working mothers/homemakers, trust me, there is nothing wrong with you. It is just the horrible hormones that are playing the game.
For young mothers, these can be the symptoms of post-partum depression –which we don’t talk because it is unknown. I have been through a very traumatic phase hence I can relate (with experience but not clinically). For other women, it is mental flux.
We women are born with a trait – “to worry about everything and nothing too.” accept it 🙂
Dear ladies, let me tell you that if you have come out of your current negative state, then no one on the planet can help you until YOU want to do it.
Mark this in bold and put it in the mirror to see as the first thing in the morning
I AM, ME

You got married and changed your surname which you carried since birth (few change their name too), with due respect to traditions.
You decided to quit work in the name of motherhood
You chose to devote all your time and energy towards your family and then give an excuse for NO TIME for yourself
It is YOU everywhere.
But, don’t worry you still have time to take things under your control. Sharing how I fought and may help you too:

1. Think of a purpose each day: When you get up each morning, don’t forget to thank the almighty for waking you up alive.I had a near death experience hence I know what it feels to see the fresh sunlight. Think what your purpose of getting up. How it will be different from yesterday. Extract fifteen minutes for yourself before you hit the bed? Think about your day, not about work but what value you added to your life today. How have you grown as a better human being? Each day has something to offer, it depends on you on how you see it. Give time to introspect yourself.
Think, because thoughts become action.

2. Be a ruthless planner: I was told this by one of my dear friends, “you are a ruthless planner.” I thought over it and realized, yes actually I am a very strict planner. Plan your day, your week and even your month.Get yourself organized. Maintain a timetable of your daily routine like getting up, breakfast, house cleaning, Television, afternoon siesta, everything. For working and traveling moms like me sync your calendar with your children’s dairy and school routine. For instance, no matter in which time zone I am going I always keep a check on my kids and house routine. My alarm beeps as per their schedule, and we don’t miss out on anything.

3. Homemakers to treat their job as a corporate work: I was a homemaker for a very long time and was extremely annoyed with my time management. How to fix this? Treat yourself as the chairman of your household. Now make things run around it. Most important, get ready for office timing, dress up well and not into same boring household clothes. Have breakfast with your partner (on time) and allocate time for everything. You are running an organization where you are the master, manage it effectively.

4. Delegate work/hire help: Don’t try to be a superwoman, if you can’t handle then hire a help and delegate tasks. Get some free time for yourself. Even while at home I had three maids coming over for help, I was questioned this every time. It pinched me purely because I was not earning that time and I thought I am wasting my husband’s hard earned money. But I gulped it the way it came to me. I needed help and it ends there.

5. Your partner is not Gautam Buddha, talk to him/her: We very often miss out on the significant part, “communication.” Men will not understand until you scream and tell them, it is in their DNA while women will want men to understand everything without saying a word, it is in our DNA. So until you express what you are feeling how will your partner understand you.

6. Lift weights: I always find it amusing when women share pictures of festivals, celebrating in full fervor but the same women will never show up for a morning run, walk or yoga with the excuse of “too tired to get up this early”. When you can get up at 4 am at karwachauth, can be so meticulous in your festival then why can’t you be disciplined for yourself. Remember, female body deteriorates faster than a male, you need to take care of yourself without any excuse.

7. Be independent: Don’t depend on husband or driver for small chores. Learn to fix a tube light, gas cylinder, depositing the cheque at the bank, online banking, car servicing, etc . Why only kitchen work is for women while outside kitchen is all men? Learn to do everything. I am thankful to my dad and two elder brothers here who never treated me like a girl . I knew how to change spark plug of papa’s scooter, how to charge the car battery, change the fused tube light, lift my bags , banking errands. Be a help to your partner than another luggage to carry . Share your responsibilities.

8. Be financially independent and occupied : Most homemakers get an allowance from their partner to run the monthly household chores . Start saving that money and term it as your salary . Keep asking for a hike too(Oh ! common we can do this ). Get yourself busy. If not for money but to keep yourself mentally occupied. A hobby class , volunteering , blogging or anything creative , take your pick .

9. Give a big tight hug : Research shows that hugging (and also laughter) is extremely effective at healing sickness, disease, loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress. Hug your children often . It is an excellent exercise to build trust . get intimate with your partner and share a warm hug. Sex doesn’t mean only penetration but cuddling, hugging, laughing together releases same hormones that can give you pleasure.

10. Never sleep over issues : There will be fights and tiffs with children , partner , maids , boss or neighbour but basic rule is – never ever sleep with negativity . If you want to maintain silence and refrain from talking, do it but then find a way to release your negativity. My approach is, I run or lift weights. When you get up the next morning, you should have an afresh mind and a positive outlook towards the day.

I have tried to cover most of the pointers as asked to me but as I always tell myself and to my boys that, “ only hard work and discipline can change your life .”
Discipline your life with one step at a time, and then there will be no looking back. Imagine the power of universe within you. Only you can nurture a living being in you, to give life to the lost sperm and finally shaping it up who everybody later terms as “our” child.
So, dear mommies lift the chin up, walk tall and high, wear those skimpiest clothes, put the brightest lipstick and don’t’ forget to wear your widest smile because it’s your first step towards making the best of YOU.

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Ghar wali Diwali: A town to B town

“You all have to come home for this Diwali“, ordered mom and you very well know that you can’t mess with mom. So, like very obedient lamb we three brothers and sister adhered to her order.

We generally go for a family holiday during Diwali break and been practicing this for almost three years in a row now. We carry our diya and light it up in the hotel room as a symbolic representation for Diwali.

But this time we made no holiday plans and our flights landed at Bhopal (a city in Madhya Pradesh where my parents live). Just a day after the Diwali break of school, we were ready with our bags and all excited to go home for Diwali.

I was going home for Diwali after thirteen years!

We were the first family to arrive and a day after eldest brother and his family from Delhi were also home.

My boys always get overexcited once they are at their nana’s house, the reason being – “nana, has such a huge house mamma, it’s like a resort.” Space crunched Mumbaikar knows the true value of space and a bungalow seems like a resort. I truly empathize with my boys here.

The resort cum bungalow now had eight adults and six children all in the range from thirteen to five years old, with my niece as the only eldest girl followed by five boys. No brownie points for guessing how noisy, chaotic, WWE favored, football lovers, over energetic and an utter mess it would be for the next couple of days.

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Each day was something different. Dhanteras, choti Diwali and then finally Diwali. We made paper lanterns to decorate the house, Rangoli to decorate the porch in order to impress goddess Lakshmi (most sought-after of all god fraternity). The best part was that my entire gang of hyperactive kids participated in the activity. We sat together, shared our colors, encouraged each other for doing good and it was such a positive environment.

Then came Diwali eve.

We in north India do elaborate Diwali puja and mom looks forward to making it grand. As we all got dressed up for Diwali my boys were quite dazed by all the rituals around. They had almost forgotten the nuances around Diwali puja . Drawbacks of holidaying during Diwali break.

It was a wonderful Diwali eve followed by token phuljhari and sumptuous dinner.

Next day we all went to watch “Golmal Again.” Ok, I agree it was a horrible decision but you see being a parent is not easy and we have to kill our happiness several times for our children and we nicely did it again. Kids loved the movie as well as the popcorns, fighting and quarreling over that last bite as famished, never-seen-food type children. I discounted all this because more than the movie I enjoyed the atmosphere of the movie hall.

It was then I realized the difference between A class and B class city. Sharing my observation.

As we entered the movie although it was INOX it appeared as if it’s a higher version of a small, not so well maintained local theater. Truly, I wasn’t too pleased with the first look. But I was happy to sit next to Som (my husband) all through the movie after a very long time because my boys ganged with their cousins. The movie started and went on without tickling me at all. I wasn’t surprised that all the children of the family were laughing their heart out moreover mimicking each other.

I wasn’t interested in neither to watch nor laugh on the dialogues of the so-called family –blockbuster-rib tickling-movie. Som and I were happy sitting holding hands and talking with each other (which we rarely do otherwise). Moments later, both of us unanimously said, “What a wonderful environment to watch a movie”.

The crowd in the hall was thoroughly enjoying the movie, bursting out in bouts of laughter which I found not even worth smiling. An aged person sitting right behind me seemed paid by Rohit Shetty(Director of the movie) to laugh at each dialogue. The crowd was cheering, getting into loud laughter and eatables were continuously pouring in.

When the movie finished and as we moved out of the hall, I observed that most of the people came in large groups like full family with grandparents and grandchildren as well. They all were happy with the movie and were giggling over the most stupid dialogues I had ever heard.

I came to watch the movie while they came to enjoy.

I came back home and pondered over on why I found the environment of the movie hall so attractive and compared this to movie hall in A grade city.

Movie halls in Mumbai are plush, spacious, best sound effects, best in customer service, a variety of food and very attractive. But I have rarely seen people bursting out in fits of laughter even at funniest dialogues. We are too sophisticated you see. I have not seen big groups coming for a movie. Going solo is very common. I have not even seen or heard people in the hall clapping. (leave aside me because I do this in most of the movies and my husband kind of disowns me for that very moment)

The metros have their own charm to stay but we are largely disconnected with each other giving the reason of hectic work schedule, long distance to commute, busy lives and only a weekend to rest. We run very short on time. Our daily life is mechanical and clocked.

Friends if any rarely talk to each other leave aside meetings. Whatsapp is the only way to communicate that too if one has time will respond. Before a call, we need to ask, “Can I call.” Surprise visits are a total NO. Visiting and exchanging gifts plus savories with neighbors is not a common practice.

Children learn so much with each other which no summer camp can teach. Sharing things, settling their own quarrel, learning to eat on their own, trying new dishes without making a fuss, enjoying their childhood the way they should without being judged or checked, speaking in their comfortable language than being pressurized to speak only in English, wishing Namaste than Hello to guests, pooling in money to get a football for a game than each child getting his/her own football. Listening to all stories from grandparents and the best part to see when their mom is checked and scolded by Nani but she can’t answer back. Finally, they see someone who can do that to their mom!

People are not judged by the kind of clothes they wear or how fluently English is spoken but the manner in which they adjust in a family. Family culture and values are kept at a higher pedestal. Even Som commented that I get fully covered whenever I am in Bhopal. Shorts, sleeveless and hot pants don’t know their existence but it doesn’t bother me as long as I am comfortable in what I am wearing.

Shifting to a B town will be a tough task because of job prospects and various other reasons but celebrating festivals together is a must do. I have silently made a promise to come home for Diwali each year to live and cherish each relation deeply.

 

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The great big family

 

You are responsible for my poor grades , mom !

While I was in Europe for work last month both my sons had their exams. I was tensed and it was easily visible in all my actions. While the younger-one is sincere and sat with me to study before the exams but the elder one, who is in his pre-teens refused to agree on the need to study prior to the exams. I tried to explain but he wouldn’t budge from his argument. His logic being, “mom, you only say that you are not after grades then why are you pestering me to study?” well, it is wiser to stop the argument once you know that you have pre-teen on the other side.

I tried to put things in place like craft work needed at school, any projects  done, doctors list on the fridge, menu well explained to cook for all meals, emergency numbers of stationary –wala, grocery store etc. Mothers who travel can very well relate here.

Two days before the travel my younger son fell sick. Being asthmatic he had terrible wheezing attack. The sight of Abhi struggling to breathe was enough to make me panic . We saw the doctor and tried to put things in place. By this time, he had already missed his three exams. Elder one did not take this too well as to why he was supposed to go the school and appear for exams? There was no logic and explanation  given for this and like a very stern mother I ordered – You have to so you have to. There are times when you have to put your foot down on some absurdly irrational arguments.

My flight was at  10.30 pm and even at 6 pm I hadn’t even removed the suitcase from the loft. My mother-in –law was getting hyper and questioned continuously if I had made up my mind or not.I was in a very indecisive state. I never wanted to leave my –although- now- stable -son behind and I couldn’t say “no” to my team as well. I was too overwhelmed by the entire scene around me .

Finally, I sat with Abhi and asked him if I could go, if he would be fine, if he was ok with mamma not being around?

His reply was, “mamma although I want you around but I am much better now and dadu, dida (grandparents), aunty(maid) will be home so I’ll be taken care of . Also , doctor has asked not to go to the school until I am totally fine so, I think you can go”

I thanked my boy for this but knew the bottom line  – Doctor has asked not to go the school until I am fine.

Finally , the eldest boy ,Som my husband told that I could carry on and things are manageable .That confidence was enough for me .

At 7.45 pm I removed the suitcase from the loft , dumped the things in and I was at the airport at 9.30pm

Travel went on fine with lots of video calls , desperate calls , solve-my-fight calls , big brother-is-hitting me calls .

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Then came the day when the doctor allowed Abhi to go to the school and earth came shattering down because it was Hindi test . I got some 10 calls (irrespective of the time difference) that Hindi exam is the toughest thing on the planet and I am responsible for making it worse . With lot of tears and sobs we somehow managed to revise Hindi over video call . Thankyou Vodafone international roaming for the perfect network which I never get in my domestic travels . Phew !! we managed Hindi, although Abhi wasn’t too happy as he is a very meticulous student and wouldn’t take any shortcuts towards learning .

Now , came another bummer . My elder son called up.He doesn’t talk much , because he only speaks through his WWE moves . Anyway after lot of persuasion he didn’t speak much but tears rolled down . I kept asking him but he refused to tell . Well, we mothers have extraordinary sixth sense and I knew the issue . I didn’t tell him anything but told him to be strong and will talk once back . He has crossed the stage of baby talks but as men never grow up and same applies to my 43 yr. , 12 yr. and 8 yr. old boys .All of them need cajoling and sweet mamma talks at times .

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I was home after 10 days . After a customary hug , boys directly jumped to the bag of gifts, which I discounted because I was home like that student who has not fished the homework of the strictest teacher and wondering how to face the situation .

Due to jet lag I slept almost the day and finally when I met them at dinner I had some very heart breaking disclosures :

Abhi ,

“You went leaving me behind even when I asked you not to go”

Me (silently ) my dear boy , you only asked me go and told me that you are better.

“You left me to study Hindi alone”

My (mouth shut) , Yes , I know . You never studied Hindi with me before the exam.

“You are responsible for my poor marks in Hindi”

Sid as ever , refrained from speaking anything . I then used my motherly magic and sweet talked him only to listen , “it is because of you I flunked in geography ”

I took all this with a pinch of salt and felling terribly guilty.

I was anyway swaying due to jet lag and with all the blame game on my head I thought a wonderful red wine will ease out the stress . As if my children read my mind and there they sputtered , “mom, you are on diet and you are into sports, you can’t have wine”

I just grinned as shutting mouth at this moment was very wise .

I was constantly reminded for next few days that I am ONLY person who did not do the duty of teaching , revising and persuading them to study for exams . I am the ONLY person who was responsible for their poor grades .

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It took me around two to three days to come out of my jet lag and flu state .

I got up that morning with a fresh smile , packed them off to school , went for my strenuous gym session , attended not so important calls and mails , heard my mother over a call on parenting and significance of mother in a child’s life .

Once done , I was ready to welcome my children from school. I felt like a wounded soldier who has to give his last shot before succumbing to his bullets .

Over the lunch “I am the only person responsible” issue again came up .

Now , it was my turn . I was pondering over what all my children said over last few days . Cried silently in the pillow , ran faster in the eve , did more crunches , lifted heavier weights to burn it out . But this should be communicated to them – Clear and stern .

I asked my boys to listen to me attentively without cutting me in between .

Here is my speech ,

My dear boys , first I am sorry as I was unable to fulfil your expectation . I am sorry that because of me you got poor marks . I am sorry that I left when you wanted me .

But , tell me something

Did you listen to me when I said that it is always better to study before the exams and not wait till the last moment ?

Did you revise and complete your lessons on time ?

Did you even think that as you have the job to study and go to school, your mother has a job too?

You had so many people around you to take care when you were unwell , who was with me when I was down with flu during my travel ?

Your ONLY work was to study for your test , while my work was to attend all your desperate calls , mange with the cook , follow up on your WhatsApp group as you would not even know what do in the school next day , revise the lessons with you over video call , mange my work and team .

It is very easy to blame your mother for your failure but did you even try to put in  best effort ?

I would like to make it very clear , that your mother has a job which she loves the way she loves you both . My work will make me travel but that doesn’t mean I am irresponsible . My work and commitments will increase over the coming years and we all have to accept it . Blaming me for your poor performance  is not accepted . I am deeply hurt by your words . I thought I have two very sensible, intelligent and cooperative boys but you proved me wrong . I would expect more understanding when I travel next even during your exams . Let’s work it out together boys .

Phew!!!! I said all this in one go. Perks of being a national rank holder in debates and elocutions you see .

There was a silence for few minutes . we looked into each other’s eyes for a while and with a deep breath my younger one said , “but mamma , you can’t travel when our exams are on”

I smiled slyly because I knew whatever I narrated above will be reaped again.  I’ll keep on giving this speech until they get it crystal clear.

If you are 21th century kid and then I am also 21th century mom, bring it on!

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