Let me be ME

I understood the charm of cycling and also saddle sore during my first trip to Bhutan.
A Mumbaikar who had never done any climbs and a casual bike-to-work person was on her MTB managing on those massive climbs. This mountain biking experience made me realize first my potential and second the love for biking.
I then got a foldie and started regularly biking to work. I even did a Rajasthan tour on the bike and boy! I and my bike attracted quite a lot of eyeballs.https://www.idiva.com/news-entertainment/this-mom-cycled-across-rural-rajasthan-and-her-experience-will-give-you-major-travelgoals/15122153?fbclid=IwAR0QhmZFcGOLxjrLTrsHyxhQrpg0dCOVKuLGKkY0dds-4D4KF3e9cU4kUX4

I dreamt to explore Europe on the bike and this dream shaped into reality in August 2018.

How did we/I decide on the tour?

We asked like-minded people for the tour and formed a group. We had discussions over discussions, meetings over meetings, searching the web for the best possible route. The first tour in a foreign land, I had to keep lots of factors into consideration, especially the cost.
This time again I was the only female in the group, and the planning part automatically came to me.
We searched lots of sites for the best route but could not find any. Sapinderji, one of our riding partner suggested riding around Austria and Italy as his close family lived there. I liked the suggestion because I was still unsure about the dynamics of riding in a foreign country. Hence we decided to ride from Innsbruck to Verona with total traveling days from 9th -19th August 2018(kids’ exams were scheduled from 20th August, and anyhow I had to be back then)

Final call

Out of all the people discussing only three of us were left for the trip, and they were also unsure. Here I took a stand as I was very clear that even if no one comes, I’ll go ahead for the trip.
It takes hell lot of planning, effort, pleading, managing to move out of the house and somehow for men it gets straightforward.
But then Bansal uncle and SapinderJi agreed, and we were set to go.

Day 1 (09th August 2018)
Take off to Milan

Myself and Bansal uncle boarded the flight from Mumbai to Milan. We took a taxi to Verona which was pre-booked for us by Dimpy Singh (cousin of Sapinder Ji). It took us 2.2 hours to reach Verona.
I had already booked the apartment at Verona, and we directly reached there.
Check the link for the apartment, https://www.airbnb.co.in/rooms/21501982?s=51
The condo was strategically located, and it was a beautiful place to stay as well.
We finalized the bikes in the evening with Haider (owner at a local bike shop). We chose basic touring bikes where we could arrange our panniers as well.
We skipped the support vehicle to save the cost.

Selecting the bike in Verona

Day 2(11th August 2018)
Drive to Innsbruck

We loaded our bikes in the car and drove to Innsbruck which is approx. 3.4 hours drive from Verona.
Innsbruck(Austria) is Europe’s one of the most beautiful city.
It was cold here at night, and our apartment was very cozy. Our host was wonderful, and we had no problem in either locating or staying in the apartment.
Check the link, https://www.airbnb.co.in/rooms/19621713?s=51
The morning view was splendid.

On the way to Innsbruck

Day 3 (12th August 2018)
Innsbruck to Bressanone- 84.2 km

Day one of our ride and we were pretty excited. We got up early, packed our panniers and layered ourselves a little as it was cold. We had an excellent breakfast of freshly brewed coffee and croissants before the ride.
Oh! What a splendid morning it was, crisp sun, slight cold breeze, beautiful mountains, mesmerising scenery. I was already excited for the ride.
As soon as we started the ride, we found ourselves climbing the Brenner pass. We were not aware of the route hence were not expecting any climb. But the treacherous climb refused to end, and we climbed up for 40 km with basic bikes and panniers mounted.
We finally terminated the ride one station before Brixen, loaded our bikes in the train and headed for our halt.
Check our stay, https://www.airbnb.co.in/users/show/174956600

Here we were again hosted by Sapinder ji’s cousin and treated ourselves with rajma chawal and superb scotch.
Brixen is a laid back, quiet and a breathtakingly beautiful city.

Strava 1 <a href="http://”>http://

Strava 2<a href="http://”>http://

Day 4(13th August 2018)
Brixen to Bolzano- 44.44 km

We started at ease in the morning. It was a crisp, beautiful day and after manoeuvring for a while, we found ourselves on an exclusive cycling highway running parallel to the main road meant for other vehicles.
Oh ! what a delight to ride on a narrow lane meant only for cyclists. No rush or worry about any vehicles is honking or speeding. We had an incredible, delightful, hassle free and a fabulous ride. Each one of us was enjoying the route, and at one point we three were riding at our own pace and zooming freely.
The vineyards and apple orchards ran parallel to the highway, and Bansal uncle decided to be a naughty boy to pluck few and keep them in the panniers.
I was on guard and raised the alarm if I saw anyone approaching us. What fun, turning into mischievous little kids !! I was singing, clicking pics, taking videos and couldn’t stop my grin ear to ear.
We went through the local villages soaking into the vibrancies of colors and breathtaking architecture.
Sapinder ji’s young nephew also joined us on this ride, and it was great to learn a few Italian words for him. He also helped ask for directions.
We met many cyclists on the way, and we waved and greeted each other.
Here we had to change our stay option as the young chap with us was tired and our stay was a little far from the city.
But, everything happens for good and the place we decided to stay is beyond any description in words.
It was a wooden cottage owned by a couple who had apple orchards in the backyard and a beautiful extensive spread garden with amazing flowers.
We were served freshly baked bread with homemade butter and jam, fresh apricots from the garden and surely an excellent coffee for breakfast.
I felt like Alice in Wonderland!

Somewhere on the way to Bolzano

Strava <a href="http://”>http://

Day 5(14th August 2018)
Bolzano to Terento(route changed to Verona)-69.96 km

After a sumptuous breakfast, we were back on the cycling highway.
We met a family from London with three kids, and they were on a cycling holiday as well. We also met two friends somewhat over 50 years old and loved the way they were chatting and riding, also stealing apples and keeping them in the bag.
The whole experience of riding on the highway was stress-free. We were not chasing starva ratings, speed or QOM but we were pursuing happiness in riding across this beautiful country.
We stopped more than we cycled.
Each one of us was displaying a very happy hormone in the body language.
There was a particular midway café meant only for cyclists. It had cycle trainers, cycle stands and necessary servicing too.
At this café, our young champ gave up, and then our trip itinerary changed.
We decided to go to Terento and board the train to Verona and drop him home.
At night we were back to Verona where Dimpy ji’s famous restaurant called Maharaja welcomed us with best food and drinks.

Bicycle cafe

Strava <a href="http://”>http://

Day 6(15th August 2018)

Verona to Desenzano- 52.35 kms

We started from Verona to Desenzano aka Lake Garda early morning.
It was also Independence Day of India, so I hanged the Indian flag on my bike and proudly took it wherever I went.
It was a holiday season in Italy at that time, and everyone was in a holiday mood. We lost our way as usual and landed in a roadside café. There was a group of men over 70years I guess sitting and sipping their wine. Laughter, chatting and sparkling wine filled the restaurant at 9 am. Even without knowing the language we talked a lot and finally started our way ahead. We cycled through deserted, decorated and as well as villages full of life and colors. It was sweltering, and the sun was piercing the skin, but every pedal was worth taking. We finally reached Lake, and again this place stunned us with its beauty and charm. Colorful flowers, beautiful streets, all people in the holiday mood and the spectacular lake.oh ! it was stunning.
Our apartment was clean, strategically located and comfortable.
After a quick shower, we headed out for evening walk, followed by dinner and wine. It was a beautiful eve with live bands playing at every nook and corner, children dancing all over, young and the old shaking their booties too.
I heard a band playing “Happy” from Despicable 2. I rushed and requested to sing again because boys and I love singing this song together.

Enroute Desenzano

Strava <a href="http://”>http://

Day 7(16th August 2018)

Desenzano to Verona 46.46km

We got up easy the next day, had our coffee at leisure and cycled way back to Verona. We took a different route this time (as if we knew the way back, Ha!) and within no time we were in Verona.
It was scorching hot, and Dimpy Ji hosted us again with best of lemonades and salads.http://www.maharajah1.com/
We quickly took a shower and then walked all over Verona for site-seeing. Right from Gelatos, to wishing at Juliet, sipping wine, visiting an internationally famed pub, we did all until we were dead to retire for the day.
We stayed at the same apartment the next day as well.

Desenzano

Strava <a href="http://”>http://

Day 8 (17th August 2018 )

Our changed itinerary gave us two rest days, and we headed towards Florence to set the leaning tower of Pisa upright.
At Florence, Mr. Jyoti Singh owns a restaurant called Havelihttps://florenceindianrestaurant.it/ which is again a must visit. He served us with the best possible Indian food both veg and non-veg, and his hospitality floored us. After convincing him that we could not eat anymore, we headed for Pisa and also the town. Florence architecture is worth admiring and leaves one in complete awe.
We had a beautiful day roaming and driving around Florence and headed back to Verona by evening.
We packed our bags at night as our trip was now taking a different route.

Leaning Tower of Pisa- Florence

Day 9(18th August 2018)

We bid adieu to Verona and thanked our host. Myself and Bansal uncle boarded the train to Venice. Yes, we were now heading to the city of Gandolas.
Our Air BnB apartment here was nothing less than an excellent, super clean and beautiful five-star hotel https://cadegliantichigiardini-venezia.com/
With the sun in its full fury, we decided to stay indoors. I soaked myself in the bathtub for the longest possible time and took a great nap.
We headed out to explore the city on foot in the eve.
It is indeed a beautiful city with Gondolas ferrying from one part to another. We walked to almost one corner of the town to another finally had our dinner and came back to our comfortable room.

Bidding adieu to Dimpy Ji and his highly recommended restaurant Maharaja in Verona

Day 10(19th August 2018)

It was time to do the final packing as we were heading back home. With most beautiful experiences, memories, routes, food, missing the way, finding a new one, meeting new people, we boarded the flight back to Mumbai.

Flying off from MarcoPolo

Budgeting

I had set a budget of maximum 1L for the trip.We tweaked our flight destinations to match our budgets. We also chose Air BnB for our stay with kitchen. Sharing our expense,

Flights(economy)StayMiscellaneous
Mum-Milan(Emirates)
MarcoPolo-Mum
INR 48120INR 32000 INR 26000
Total-INR 106120

Some pointers for a smooth yet enriching experience

  • Form a group of like minded people- gives a lot of comfort
  • Be strict on the budget
  • Book tickets in advance and do a comparative analysis as well
  • Do an excellent survey for stay options preferably take one with a kitchen; it saves a lot of costs
  • Travel light
  • Be mobile and carry walking shoes to cover a lot of distance walking
  • Be open to immediate change in plans
  • When traveling with men, be very clear- they never grow up, ever! (you’ll have to play mommy role time and again)
  • Keep all the things sorted back home. Emergency doctor contact, inform friends about your travel, drop a message at school group for the last minute project submission help, maids should not take off. Trust me as long as things run well behind you; you’ll be at peace.

Trailthon: Why and How?

Out there, there ain’t no black and white. There’s only fast and slow. Nothing matters, not color, not money, not even hate. For those ten seconds you are completely free- Race

First Trialthon,Kolhapur,Nov’2018

Why a Triathlon?
Because I can. Isn’t it?
It started over coffee when I met Mehul one fine evening in May 2018. He suggested that I should enroll in Kolhapur triathlon. I looked at him aghast wondering- REALLY !!!
He discussed the race casually. Of course, he will be casual as he is avid is all the sports and also an Ironman.
But what about me? Good at none.
I thought to give it a shot. I surfed the website and realized that sprint distance registration was over. Hence, I enrolled for Olympic distance and again asked Mehul, “do you think I can?” and his reply was as usual, “oh yes! It’s not tough.”

Preparation; aka “maar jaega tu”(you’ll be dead)

I had to streamline my work out and get into further strict discipline, so I needed a coach, and unanimously I landed to Viv. His weekly training plans left me breathless, exhausted, muscle sore but extremely satisfied.
I followed sensible eating, adhered to the training routine,my gym instructor Sagar framed my sessions as per my training plan; I tweaked and adjusted the plan with my travel and kids schedule. Trust me it’s sturdy and tough to burn the ass on the cycle trainer and also teach geography for the test.
It was equally tough to deny all weekend late nights, skipping social dinners or even casual chit chat. I had to time my training along with home, kids, work, travel and all of them equally demanding. The wine and single malt connoisseur in me also took a back seat.
Uffff!!! Sipping nimbu-paani on Friday eve because I had to train from 4 am on a Saturday, who would ever make such a sacrifice other than a crazy head.

Here I faced two vital challenges,

First, to keep myself motivated every single day
Second, to follow a hard training schedule along with other significant responsibilities

Tackling the first one, to keep myself motivated every single day
Setting a goal with a motive to raise the bar higher and higher kept me motivated. I also believed that I am doing this for myself and not for anyone else. Training left my mind numb, and I focussed my entire energy in one direction. It was my meditation.
Also, getting into a circle of energy of like-minded people and seeing their achievements, struggles, hard work was motivating too.

Home trainer to manage kids studies as well

Managing the second one, Time- management
I started getting up early before waking up boys for school. At times I trained after I dropped them to school and was at the work desk by 10 am. I also managed cycle training while I was checking their homework or revising for the exams. During my travel, I never missed the gym and running.

Toughest-part ; aka Phatt jaegi

Me with Sheetal and Nimesh

November 2018, I was all set for my first triathlon and excited, anxious, nervous, running cold, parched throat, dizzy, etc.
On the day of the practice swim in the open lake, it took me several minutes to plunge or not. Finally, I managed but swam along the support rope for a very short distance. Tried several times but could not achieve the full length.
I suffer from Acrophobia(fear of heights) and during this process realized that I also suffer from Thalassophobia(fear of water, dark, uncertainty).
I studied a lot about it, talked to therapists, read several self-help books, and nothing helped, just nothing.
I had a DNF (did not finish) in Kolhapur triathlon. I could not swim even 100 meters on the race day.
I had to take this phobia in my stride, and I always believe that nothing is more powerful than the human mind.
Sheetal came to me as a guiding angel and introduced me to Nimesh, swimming coach who took groups for sea swims. I had an anchor now.

Open Water Swim group

I distinctly remember when I went for the first time for the open water swim — the night before I was crying, praying, meditating endlessly.
I got up at 4 am, took a deep breath and drove to Uran which is a two hours drive from my place. The sea was low that day, and I swam only until where my feet touched the ground. Nimesh was very cooperative here and encouraged me to swim further but I couldn’t.
The second attempt was better than the first one. The third attempt was very confident where I jumped into the middle of the sea from the boat and swam till the shore. That day the sea was very high with waves pushing me here and there, but I managed the swim.

I was now somewhat sure of swimming in the sea for my next race.

Second attempt, Abu Dhabi Triathlon March 2019

Last minute decision to get the wetsuit

Just a few days before the race Deep asked me to check with my coach about the wet suit and Viv gave a thumbs up. Now the issue was on how and where to get the wetsuit? Here Parul came as a savior; she not only helped in selecting but also guided on handling and renting. It gave me lots of confidence in the open water swim.Check the link herehttps://www.buttersport.com/

Challenges during the race

Trail Swim in wetsuit

I landed in Abu Dhabi feeling drained. Next day I had my trial swim. I took a while to jump in the water, but then I finally tried the sprint distance of 750 meters and was now happy and confident to swim through the whole length the next day.
I was back to the hotel with a terrible throat ache, and by evening I was down with a fever. I rinsed and gargled with betadine. Salt, disprin and a combination of all too. Could not eat anything or even sip water. I was terrified about the race now.

Bib collection day
Biking in swimming goggles

Got up much before time moreover who slept that night, popped two paracetamol and off I went to the venue. I was trembling by now.
Running nose, fever, body ache, and cold wind, nothing was in my favor.
At the holding area for the swim, we were starting in waves of four, and I had no waiting time at all, no time to ponder, regret, mull but to jump and I did.
I had a very poor swim, but I was determined to finish the full distance and not give up.
Once out the sea, I ran to T1 to get the bike and realized that I had not kept my glasses (I use high power glasses for the swim and run), I had no other choice but to wear my swimming goggles and bike.

I chanted my mantra which I also tell my boys, “Kadam bade hain toh rukenge nahin”

Finished the bike lap and hushed for the run. By now it was hot, and I dragged myself for the first 2kms. It was the last lap, and I was not ready to give up come what may. So I held my chin up and jogged –run-jogged and finally sprinted in the last km cheering to myself the way I do for Sid for his runs. I remember cheering loudly,“Sid, ho Gaya beta. Almost done, darling. Just 500 meters left, we will not give up. Run darling run. Mamma is right here with you.”


Once I touched the finish line, I sat down and cried my heart out(har baat pe hi rona aa jata hai), definitely for I finished but also that I did not give up.

I never will.

Popped two paracetamol pills, packed my bike(thanks to mastermindhttp://www.mastermindbikes.in/welcome.html and team here) and flew back home with a determination that next race will be better than this.

Trialthon doesn’t build character, it reveals it

People close to me are very well aware of my continuous ranting, 
“I don’t have time to complete what all I desire to perform.”
“even twenty-four hours seem less to me”, 
I need to work on my schedule better”, etc.
Time management is an invariable issue with me. Not that I am a terrible planner, in fact, I am described as a ruthless planner and also termed as a time table even a clock!
The other day a friend told me, “why are you organized? Just allow it to lose, detach yourself”
I nothing but looked at him, expressionless, although felt like gripping his shoulders, shake him hard and screamI-AM-A-WORK-FROM-HOME-MOM-MOTHER-OF-TWO-BOYS-AND-A-DOG-I-HAVE-TO-LOOK-AT-EVERY-MINUTE-DETAIL-IF-I-MISS-ANY-THEN-WILL-YOU-COME-AND-TAKE-OVER?
Nevertheless, while I was juggling with all these thoughts this morning while on my training run, I made up my mind to give a considerable thought on my time management.
I primarily don’t get the luxury to sip my tea and glance at the newspaper but today I did. After turning a few pages I came across an article and my eyes popped out, it read- Mother, Runner, Champ”.
(check this link;https://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/opinion/columnists/supriya-nair/mother-runner-champ/articleshow/67761882.cms)
No brownie points for guessing why? 🙂
read through the whole article and sat stunned and dismayed.
35 year old, Jasmin Paris won the Spine race of 432 km ultra running challenge. What makes it special is that she, in addition, is a mother of a 14-month-old baby. In her three days of running challenge, she slept for five hours and stopped barely to eat and express milk. Less was written about her routine but it did mention that she is a professional runner and gets up at 5 am to train hard before she gets on her professional and personal duties.
Stunned?
I was, and I am still tremendously inspired. My current expression is –Wow!!
I next looked at myself and thought what I am complaining of?
I have help at home, and my children are big enough to manage stuffI am not a breastfeeding mother, I enjoy the liberty to manage my work and travel hours and daysmy entire ecosystem is in place, yet I am complaining that I can’t manage my time?
Utter shame on me.
Well, after giving birth to children our routine changes dramatically. 
For me, my days are always arduous. Right from the morning, each activity has to be timed. I have to schedule my training in such a way that I don’t miss out on the planuse of the productive hours until the boys are in the school, finish major calls and work until then, once they are back the dynamics of the house changes. Fight, argue, discuss, shout, school work, classes, meals, stroll for Tango, cooking instructions, menu decision and the list is endless. It does get exhausting but then there is no way out.
Each one of us receives twenty-four hours in a day but how we manage and plan generates the difference.
I am in total awe of this mother who did not give up on her training even while she is breastfeeding.
Our prioritieslifestyle, the way of living, thought process, body strength changes drastically after having children, it is therefore easy to produce excuses and not follow a routine because it is doesn’t take much to be lazy. It takes an effort and a whole lot of will to stand up, plan and execute. We as a mother also get into the guilt zone very quickly, at times on our own and sometimes forced by society and family. I give constant reminders to myself that, I am trying to do my best, I do commit mistakes but under any given conditionI am not deterring from my parental duty.
I follow some strategies to generate  the maximum from a day
* Plan the day in advance
* Write down meals menu of the week and lunch boxes every Sunday eve(I fret over this.)
*Write down every single thing to be done the night before
*Swap the training routines if need be but ensure you don’t miss out any (refers to who are into endurance sports)
*Prioritise the to-do list
*Gracefully quit the social circle that doesn’t add value to your life
*Instruct children to arrange bags etc. the night before
*Get children into the habit of setting the alarm and getting up on their own
*Set children‘s routine as well
*Get some time for yourself before you retire for the day
*Finish major tasks like shopping, grocery during the week so that you have enough family time during the weekend
*If you miss out on some tasks then just take a deep breath and relax(this is for me.)
We all have situations to tackle and our own set of worries too but if this mother of a toddler can do then we all can do it too.
Grit, disciplineconsistency; that’s all we require to move any mountain!
Right now, I want to scream the loudest.
How’s the Josh,?
Very high!!

That’s all is needed!

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.

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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.

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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

 

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!!!

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!

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