My dear teen,
You know you are so terribly annoying
That you are dragging me into a phase where I’ve never been.
I am recording, registering and downloading every episode,
In my drive, iCloud and memory with code.
I will take full revenge in this life-time
B’coz, you know Karma will come up sometime.
I will come to your house with a grumpy face
I will not talk or smile and will sit in one place.
I will throw my footwear and clothes everywhere
And mind if you ask me to keep in place
I will scream, roll my eyes, bang the door, and make a disgusting face.
I will leave the bathroom wet and towel on the bed
Dare you question me
Coz I’ll hiss without a miss.
I’ll put all types of demands
And maa Kasam if you deny
I’ll create such a ruckus
That I’ll drive you mad
Once the dinner is cooked
I’ll ask you to order food
Food that I like
Be it pizza or jalebi with malai
You are testing my limits and patience
But god forbid if it crosses my tolerance.
Then it’ll be only Tsunami and earthquake
So behave yourself for heaven’s sake.
No, I don’t want to say,” I love you, darling.”
C’coz currently you are terribly annoying
Karma, my dear boy, Karma
Wait and watch
Wait and watch
For your mom will turn into a witch
I’ll wail and grin as I grow old
And poor boy-your teen will come forth multifold
Revenge…I smell revenge….
Posts tagged ‘#Parenting’
My dear teen,
Whosoever said that having one child makes you a parent and having two you are a referee, was so correct.
Mommy, he is staring at me
Mommy, he is saying bad words to me
Mommy, he has taken my pen
Mommy, he is very selfish
Mommy, he is a dumbhead
Mommy, he thinks he knows everything
And it goes on!
The house is no more a lovely and peaceful place: fistfights, power play, teasing, bullying, nasty words, provoking, and then the blame game.
No matter how hard I try, I am always bad. The comments, “you favor big bro more than me,” or “he is young so no one will say anything to him” come dashing each time.
I am the youngest sibling of two elder brothers, and I’ve been tried and tested of all WWF moves, so it’s fun to watch a bit of my childhood but, it isn’t delightful, especially when heavens break loose at bedtime.
I completely disown them and even their sight is a sore to the eyes.
At times I wonder that I gave birth to two enemies who have come to this world to fight their animosity with each other than two loving siblings.
Sibling rivalry is a natural behavior, and we, as parents, have to bear the brunt of it regularly. One child will always blame for favoring the other one.
Can we say that our right arm is better than the left or vice versa? But children don’t understand this, and at times more than anyone else, people around make us feel guilty.
Every child is different, and every family is different. Parents know the best how to handle their children. We may be wrong at times, but we are also graduating as parents and have our own set of learnings.
Sibling rivalry at one point is healthy, but when not appropriately addressed can lead to extreme results like hatred or jealously.
Sharing a few tactics which I adopt and keep tweaking them constantly, see what suits you the best:
Praise tactfullyHere it is crucial to involve the other sibling in all these conversations and give him/her constant attention.
The child who is doing well, be it in academics or extra curriculum, will surely crave praising be it in the social circle or from the family. It is also advisable to appreciate to build up the confidence and trust in your child. But you have to define your limits here. Like, “darling, your paintings are commendable, and we are very proud of you, but I was also wondering that why don’t we start with our evenings walks regularly?” (or any new habit which you think will benefit your child)
you are also allowed to ignore the accomplishments once in a while.
When the child points out that, “mom, you don’t even appreciate my work.”
You have to reply with a smile and hug, “dear, I definitely do, but if you are seeking appreciation each time, then I am not game. I want you to do stuff for your happiness and not to gain recognition. You are my child; I believe in your capabilities.”
Set boundaries (I fail here -majorly)
My boys get too much into a fist fight, throw, drag, punch mode. Many times it takes a nasty turn. They also get into the teasing-to-a-limit phase, where the other one gets wild and then becomes uncontrollable. Here I have to set boundaries not to use hands and legs to talk, or if the other person is not liking, then the tussle has to stop or total ban on the usage of few words.
Children need to be reminded continuously that one has to respect other persons tolerance limits. They forget it, miss it, do not register it, but they’ll remember it subconsciously(I can only remain hopeful-pun intended)
Do not get involved
When children fight, let them. Like I always tell me, boys, fight until the blood oozes, or if they start any argument in a public place, I suggest to “fight like hooligans, roll on the floor and get into a punch-me-hard game it’s much fun to watch then.”
If they come to you to sort the issue, then you must have a simple answer, “I didn’t ask you to start the fight, then why should I resolve”.
Be ready to hear harsh things after this.
Expectations vs realityrespect your child’s individuality
everyone loves a high performing, well mannered and above all a pleasing child. But each child is different, so if the other child doesn’t fit into what-the-society-demands, then be it. We expect both children to be cordial and work in unison, but the reality is different, accept it, and respect your child’s individuality. It would help if you corrected him/her subtly for the unruly behavior in the best possible way your child will understand.
Involve children into a common activity which they like or as a family. Here I do not mean watching a movie or a seven-star holiday. An activity that involves conversation motivates each other and has lots of laughter. Go for short walks, cycle ride, play a game, go hiking on trails, do wall painting, activities that involve body movement.
There are several sub-tactics as well, which we keep trying and testing. We all want to raise happy children, and if we have to do that, then the base criterion is that we as parents should be happy first and emote that joy and happiness on our children.
लड़ते झगड़ते कब यूँ ही बड़े हो गये
पता ही नहीं कब बड़े हो गये
अब लगता है वो झगड़ना ही अच्छा था
रो लेते ,मार पीट कर लेते
फिर भी कोइ बुरा नहीं मानता था
भाई चिड़ाहकर और माँ प्यार से मना ही लेती थी
बचपन के वो झगड़ते ही अच्छे थे
रूठना मनाना हंसना रोना बस चलता रहता था
Happy parenting and chin up referees .
Boom bang…there is a battle on yet again.
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ―Winston S. Churchill
Giving is a gesture which one should have, and we must ensure to teach the same to our children as well.
Donation, be it in kind or otherwise, should be done generously and with all the positive feelings.
When I was young, I always used to ask my mother why the food which she cooks taste so yummy?
Her reply was simple, “I pour my love into the food.”
Now that I am a mother, I understand what she meant then.
Although I don’t get much opportunity to cook and I not a great cook as well but whenever I do, my boys relish the food.
I can recall another similar thing from my younger days. My brothers and I were always instructed to ask for water for anyone who comes to the house. We never had housemaids to serve then. Several times, it used to get embarrassing for the parents because we used to insist the guest to have water even is they were unwilling.
We were also told always to bend down gracefully rather than a straight back, put a smile, and then serve.
Back then, like a stubborn teenager, I always thought that my parents are overdoing things. Now, when I try to tell the same things to my boys or practice on my own, I can understand the essence of that gesture.
When you give something to someone, you are transferring the energy from one body to the other. It also the transfer of emotions, feelings, and willingness.
Recently, we had a food grain donation drive in our building, and the organizers were seeking volunteers, especially children. Why children? Because I believe that children are the most innocent souls, and they can be molded, taught, or exposed to all good things easily.
Without even asking my boys, I enrolled their names. I explained to them about the drive. The organizers were collecting food grains to distribute in flood-affected areas of Maharashtra. Children were supposed to go and ask for a donation, receive it from open arms, and keep in the trolley. After the drive, the organizers told me that my boys did a fabulous job, and the younger one anyhow being a chirpy chatter did a great pitch too.
When I asked my boys about the experience, they were thrilled too.
I wasn’t aiming for a HUGE transformation but to instill a subtle feeling of humility.
One step at a time. That’s what parenting is all about, and we are continually growing and learning with our children.
At my recent IDBI half marathon on the expo day, there was an option to donate old shoes. I liked the idea and replicated the same at my workplace, and initiated a shoe donation drive. We collected shoes, then refurbished and repaired them. Once done, we packed them neatly in carry bags along with shoe size and donated in the nearby slums with the help of a local NGO.
It was an enthralling experience as children were very excited to get the shoes that too so beautifully packed and like new ones.
I also like the concept of Goonj, where the rules for donation are very well defined. They ask the donors to wash, iron, and fold the clothes adequately and then donate.
Donation is not about discarding the waste from your house and making it clean. It’s about making someone else privileged by what you think is not essential for you anymore now.
Donate a smile
Donate a gift
Donate your love
Donate your time
Donate your skills
And the gratification is immense.
“It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.” ―Albert Einstein
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!
Attending 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.
I 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.
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:
- Never bombard on the child after you hear any complaint from the school (believe me, I have heard so many times)
- Let the child speak as well and give a proper argument towards the complaint
- 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.
- 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
- Give constant encouragement and positive strokes to your child
- 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.
- Never make fun or disrespect the teacher in front of the child
- Narrate your school stories. I have many from my convent and how scared we were of our principal.
- Make the child feel responsible for his/her behaviour. Don’t just let them get away from whatever they’ve done.
- 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.”
- Never let the child get excused under the pretext of “baccha hai” “children do make mistakes” understand the gravity and then react.
- Never fail to show your concern towards your child and keep telling him/her that mistakes 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!
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
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)
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.
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
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
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.
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”
This summer has been quite enlightening for me. I traveled less for work, had minor work engagements, curbed my desire to climb another mountain and dedicated myself entirely to boys. Not complaining at all, I am enjoying my time with two super energy bombs, but now I feel like disowning them. I had an overdose of everything.
Too much love
Too much attention
Too many WWE matches
Too much mess in the kitchen
Too much, “mamma, he is hitting me.”
Too many demands of “good” food
Too much to and fro from swimming classes
Too much of hearing my pet name – mamma
Too much of refereeing
Too much of being an encyclopedia of anything, everything, and nothing
But again, there is always a this and that side of everything. I have cribbed enough of that side now let me talk about this side.
I spend very quality time with my boys. We fought, argued, got miffed with each other but then we had a fantastic silent understanding as well. I was without help for almost a month(it’s a very BIG thing), and these boys were just too good at housework. Right from folding their sheets, to changing towels in the bathroom, they did everything. During this course, I also came to know that my elder son, who will be a teenager soon has a little soft corner for someone. I was delighted as well as surprised. Then we had a great conversation on this subject, and he gladly opened with me, although being an introvert child. I loved our connect as well as the disconnect.
Second amazing thing I would like to mention is our discussion on how much is too much? Yes, you heard it right, let me explain.
With the onset of the holiday season, everyone is going all over the world. Mullas are pouring in, and a foreign destination is no more a luxury. But inevitably few don’t fail to make it further luxurious, with best airlines and aircraft, most luxurious hotels, five-star cruise and not just one but multiple vacations in a year. These days’ children also talk about the number of countries visited. My boys asked me too, “mom where are we going for summer break?” Well, our summer break is always either Dadi or Nani house, so I took them to Nani house.
There came another demand, “mom, can we fly business class please?” .. please was repeated to the power of infinity. I tried to explain that it is a short flight and they won’t enjoy it much. But, my explanation went unheard. Thanks to my extensive travel I had enough miles to redeem hence I got them upgraded to business class. They beamed with joy, and their eyes all lit up. I was more than satisfied. But as I handed them their boarding pass mentioning “business,” I told them, “boys, this has come from the all the pains that I have taken to travel, and it’s earned and not gifted.” They nodded their head silently.
Younger one thanked me several times, and I got many hugs and kisses too.
After they were done with the travel and satiated with their “business class” feeling I asked them about how they felt. Boys answered in sync – ” It was awesome, mamma.”
Then came the motherhood Gyan, “Boys, I was able to do it because I earned the miles don’t expect that I’ll be doing every time. It’s a hard-earned effort.”
Boys replied, “we understand mamma, all this stuff costs a lot of money. We would like you to take us on mountains than in business class.”
Oh wow!!! I have arrived and achieved.
I couldn’t thank my boys enough and hugged them tightly.
I ended my day by wondering, how much is too much when it comes to giving experience, exposure, and life learning lessons to our children. Read what I wrote on this earlier:Experience over gift to your children
Shouldn’t we focus on raising spiritually enlightened children than just providing them everything on the platter?
Shouldn’t we make them realize the value of everything they have in life than just giving them away even when they don’t demand it?
Shouldn’t we make them wait and crave for things thereby silently teaching them how to earn their desires?
Shouldn’t we toughen them mentally as per their level so that they can face hard realities of life later on?
I believe there is no age for spiritual awakening, we might not see instant results, but few life learning experiences stay with them all through their life.
How much is too much, take your call.
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 .
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 .
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 :
“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 .
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!