Wednesday, 21 December 2016

5 lies I tell my children

I am a human being and lying is my defense mechanism at times. Just like it is for all you people. Yes I am a Mum too and teach my kids to never lie to me but c'mom- we all lie to our kids. It could be something as simple as Santa Claus exists to as complex as them getting a long nose if they lied.

Following are my lies to  V and N and I am recording them here so when they read this later on, they can say- MOM! You too??

1) That I love them. Like every single minute of the day

No, I do not. There are moments when I cant stand their sight! 'Hate' is a strong word but yes I definitely do not enjoy being a Mum at times. Like when they have created some trouble at school or when they used to get vaccine shots. The truth is that I even forget them sometimes. There have been days when I got so involved in a call or my mails that I forgot its time to rush to their Bus Stop to fetch them (God is great! I have always either made it in time or just in time)

2) That I regret not eating raw onions.

If you don't know me you should know that I have a weird habit- I cannot eat raw onions- like in salads or vegetables. Basically if I can see onion pieces, I wont eat that stuff. As V and N grew up to understand this silly fetish, many conversations around our Dining Table were around this- 'Papa why dont you force Ma to eat onions when you force us to eat beetroot!' Saurabh, while applying the- we will not contradict each other in front of kids- rule stays quiet but I lie to them every single time: "I regret not eating it, kids. Its my biggest regret. It has made my life so tough. Don't want you to have any regrets in life.'
Truth: I am okay not eating them! Like totally okay!

3) That we are poor!

I actually have to tell them this a lot of times. Like they definitely know that Ambani is the richest guy in India and our neighbors, who have three cars, are somewhere between us and Ambani. We have to tell them that there are a lot of things we cannot afford (even when we can) to teach them value of money. But then I myself grew up thinking that my parents were poorer than all my friends' parents!

4) That we sleep right after they sleep!

Of course we don't. At least I DO NOT. So we do switch off the TV and sometimes even the lights in our room (just so they retire) but when they have slept (which is within seconds) I sneak out for some TV time or Saurabh and I eat Ice Cream on the bed!

5) That we never fought with our siblings!

My most used words to my kids are: "STOP Fighting you guys! Why cant you love each other like I loved Mama??" 

Truth:We fought as much, if not more. Rahul (my brother) has given me a lot of choke slams. I have pulled his hair several times. Saurabh too has beaten Surbhi Di (my sister in law) on many occasions and I am sure she has fought back too. Basically, just to pacify them whenever I say this lie, all my fights come flashing to my mind. I also know that the first person who will make V and N read all these lies is- RAHUL- how can a true blue sibling ever let a revenge taking opportunity pass?

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

That ONE thing I am going to teach my kids as a parent

There are lots of articles and opinions on that ONE thing that every parent should teach their child as part of good parenting. But is there that one quality which will make our children the best human beings? Is there a magic potion which can turn everything around them nice and bearable? Is there that one gift or that one lesson which you can hand over to your children so your duty towards their upbringing is complete?

As parents, Saurabh and I are constantly evolving to teach V and N newer and better things which equips them for life. There are times we want them to be honest and at other times we want them to be brave. Some times we teach them not to hate anything and at other, we want them to love themselves. But till a few days back, at least I was clueless if there is one personality trait which could make them the best boys ever and which I could engrave in them so they can get by life as people who others love, only love.

I am glad that I have cracked it and I thought I should share because if some other parents agree with me, we can actually achieve our dream of a nicer world for our children.

So I recently got back from a trip to Vaishno Devi. Due to some strange cosmic conspiracy my every trip to the shrine is laden with a lot of stories. Even though we opted for the chopper service (to cut short the trip and have maximum amount of convenience) there were some developments courtesy IRCTC- because like fools we trusted the current Railway Minister's tall Twitter claims and took a direct train to Katra- that left us troubled. On the onward journey we were left without food and in the inward, the train was delayed by six hours and had no water in washrooms, basins and you can only imagine the kind of filth that was accumulating around us. Why just inside? Train journeys give you the best reality check about the apathetic conditions that your countrymen are living in when you peep outside. Their living conditions assure you that India can never ever become a first world country because some of our own people are living in literal shit holes.

I do not want to get into the 'bads' of the trip because at some point of time you have all experienced this. What truly was the highlight of the trip was that one awakening I got which I think has helped me as a mother of two kids- I finally found that one trait which I should pass on to my children.

There are three incidents which cemented my belief in this trait:

1) A fellow passenger on our Delhi-Katra train who went out of his way to ensure we reached Katra on time (as the train was indefinitely late and we got off at Jammu because he was a local and extended help). He not only got us a cab, he stood there, seeing us off and stayed in touch ensuring we had reached fine and if we needed anything on our way back.
2) My Dad assuring the porters we met at the Helipad, who told him how demonetization was affecting their earnings and took their services (paying them extra) even when we didn't really need them.
3) The appalling state of people who live in slums around Railway tracks and the cringing feeling to do something about them as they need the attention of their fellow citizens because governments have definitely failed them.

What is that one thing that binds the above three incidents? It is Kindness. I have resolved to make V and N kind before they become anything else. They can get low scores in their exams, they can fail in sports, they can be fussy eaters and they can totally make some mistakes but I believe that if they are kind, everything will eventually be fine. When they are around, people should feel comfortable. All their actions should touch lives. They should have a kind heart that is sensitive about wrongs around them and urges them to do something about it. People should trust them for their thoughtfulness and know that they ll make everything alright.

How to do it? Lead by example. We need to, as parents, set examples around them so they value how our kindness changed someone's life. We should share with them how someone else's kind gesture made a difference to our lives. We need to tell them that sometimes they will have to think about others before them. We need to assure them that if everyone becomes kind hearted, the troubles of this world will be lesser. 

I am on it, you should start too :)

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

A letter of empathy for men on Karwa-What?

All you married men,

How are you feeling right now? Guilty, scared, obliged or worried? Why have I mentioned all these seemingly negative words? Because while your woman will cope with hunger, you will be dealing with them as well as their hunger :)

Don't you always get confused as to what is the right thing to say to them at this time, when they are at their volatile best? No matter what you say, the conversation always leads to a point where you look like the guy who FORCED your wives to fast. As if it is not their will but a task! 

Depending on the time of the day, aren't these the typical conversations? 

You could say- What's Karwachauth got to do with our love? No need to fast at all.
She will say- I want to do it. I am going to do it. You just do not understand the meaning of these traditions. That's why men don't ever fast for their wives right?

You could say- Please don't kill yourself babe. Eat fruits or take tea.
She will say- I am fasting here and you don't even want me to do it properly. You just do not care about my feelings for you.

You could say- Good stuff girl. You are doing a good job. You look quite strong.
She will say- See! You cannot even see how weak I am right now without water and you think I am absolutely okay about it.

You could say- Let me make it better for you. We will go for Italian after you see the moon.
She will say- The moon will come late. Very late. And then i will be so hungry that I could eat leaves too. Why do you always want to eat out on those days when I am not up for it!

You could say- You want me to fast with you?
She will say- Oh, No No. Chill. I know you love me. (But in her heart she is envious of all the friends whose husbands are fasting)

You could then say- You are not like other women who blackmail their husbands to stay hungry too.
She will say- Its called love. Not blackmailing!

Basically, tomorrow is YOUR day but not YOUR day!

I feel for you because I am someone's wife too and I am all set to exercise my Nagging Rights in full swing.

Lots of patience to you,

Saurabh's better half (I insist!)

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Making a big deal of parenting. But why?

Michelle Obama won a lot of hearts yesterday. She was all over Facebook and Twitter with her speech which she is quite known for delivering impact-fully. I could hear only a portion of it and what stuck to me was:

When they go low, we go high.

In the context of parenting, there was no better way of putting my thoughts into words- the thoughts that were bothering me for a few days now. As V and N are growing up, the challenges of raising them the way we wish to, are becoming more and more complex. They are obedient boys, attentive listeners, quick learners and so broadly our lives are sorted. Combine this with the fact that I tweak my work schedule around them, hence largely we end up spending a lot of quality time with them, abreast with every big and small thing that may be affecting them. But these times are difficult. These times are those of Whatsapp where even before they come back from school, the mothers of their school friends are discussing the next class test or upcoming special assembly with me on the phone.

As a policy, I keep the class groups on Whatsapp on mute as I trust my sons to tell me what happened in school rather than hearing it from fellow moms. However, unless I start living in a sound proof chamber, there  is no way I can avoid the trickles of competition seep into mine or my kids' lives. Why just them? Aren't we all adults competing mindlessly too? Those of us who have not watched Game Of Thrones are outcasts in the society. If we do not know what is 'Pokemon Go', we are dumb f$%&s who should probably lock ourselves up in our house and hope to rot.

In such a world, what Michelle said had perfect resonance to how I behave with V and N. When I do not watch GOT or play Pokemon just because my peers will judge me, I strictly should keep my sons away from all the myriad things that other kids are doing- just because they ought to! 

Instead of bothering kids with staying at par with others, it is much wiser to let them be. Just let them be. So when the world around them goes low by putting them down because they cannot do A, B or C, be the backbone which makes them say- "I trust myself. I will be fine" :)

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

4 things V and N will do this HOLI

I have been named the 'worst mother of the lane' in a poll conducted by my sons' friends- some 12 boys ( including V and N) who are Cricket/Soccer buddies throughout the year but enemies during Holi time! For the past one week, I am the only one howling on top of my voice to teach these boys how to play a safer and more fun a Holi. My lectures have borne some good fruits as these kids do not target salesmen, vegetable vendors, old people, dogs among other in the 'list' that I have strictly warned them against. 

Every evening when V and N came complaining to me that why was theirs the only Mum who would stand outside and monitor how Holi is being 'enjoyed' in the neighborhood, I would think hard if I was doing anything wrong? Not till I saw the 7 sec clip that came on their school's Whatsapp group- a 13 year old falling off the first floor balcony because he wanted to throw the water balloon as far as he could. Those kids were also indulging in a gang war of sorts- like all kids do I think but every year the gadgets that they can use see an upgrade- thanks to Chinese supplying them tools where they can fill and knot balloons on their own (means they don't need parents like we did) or colors which are called Gulal but just never come off and itch the eyes a great deal.

Anyway, I sat down my boys last evening as they returned home bruised and hurt. While running away from balloons, younger one fell on a parked bicycle and older one got hit in the face with a taller guys pichkaari (you have to see the size of this sprinkler to believe it. Its taller than Burj Khalifa)

I have told them how they can help me have a good festival by doing the following 4 things and I hope all our children understand the true meaning of this fun festival. It sort of worked on mine- hope it does for you too.

This is what my note reads to them:

1) H- Have Fun- Yes. I am not a bad Mum. I have been your age and I have played several Holis with friends. I have some very good memories and I insist that you have them too. Have fun, no doubt but fun will be fun only when everyone is safe. Fun will be fun when you are enjoying with your friends and not having a war with them. Fun is fun when you have not harmed yourself and can still play Cricket after Holi is over.

2) O- Observe- See how your Papa plays Holi. He takes care that he is not aggressive- both in behavior and language. He never forces anyone to play with him. Also observe all the rowdies around you. If they are playing using water from the drain or by throwing eggs inside the houses- That's not Holi. Because its not fun- its stupidity. Being stupid is not fun. Being fun is fun. Observe your elders and observe who is bad. Take care of yourself by doing this.

3) L- Let others have fun- You cannot harm anyone permanently. You cannot stay silent if someone else is running on the road dangerously. You cannot throw a balloon on someone who doesn't want  to play holi with you. Respect everyone. If they ask you to 'please don't dirty me with this color'- show respect boys and just wish them a Happy Holi. If something makes you happy but others unhappy- its not the true spirit of Holi.

4) I- Initiate: After reading all this you will argue- 'Its Holi Ma. We cant have rules'. You can because you must. If no one else agrees to be safe and respectful, both of you take initiative. Be nice boys. People will follow. Even if they don't, you keep being nice. 

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Dear Men, I Demand Reservation too.

I woke up today to my three boys singing in unison: Happy Woman's Day To Youuuuu!!

Understandable. I am the woman that binds them three and if they will not wish me first thing on such an 'important' day, their lunch/dinner may suffer. Also, all four of us knew in our hearts that today was a day after many many days, when neither of us woke up ill.

Thanks to the Reservation agitation by our beloved Jat friends and their ire on the canal that supplies clean water in my tap, the boys got severe stomach infection due to all the impurities we had been consuming. As I was tending to one son and their father, my older son was ensuring my peace of mind is not restored by falling twice and getting bruises all over his body.

So basically, today as I surveyed the heads and injuries of my three dependents, I allowed them school and office- result of which was the Woman's Day singing wish :)

As they all got away to their respective work places, I sat down reading the incessant wishes on my Whatsapp and Facebook timeline. As usual, they meant nothing to me as the concept of celebrating one day in the name of us woman and humiliating us for all the rest- nah, I am not too convinced.

Did you just think that by using 'humiliating' I went a little overboard? No ways. Papers are filled with crap against this gender and I am not wasting any more of your time mulling over it. 
Instead, I am going to be selfish and demand something today. If you really mean all the messages you forwarded to all the women in your life- try and ensure this demand gets fulfilled.

Taking inspiration from my Jat brothers, I demand Reservation too. Reservation for mothers. Mothers who are never anything else once they are, well, mothers. When I became one, this world made me make some very difficult choices. But they were my choices and I want no compensation for them. Though I can do with some Reservation in the minds of all those people who think- My life is easy. 

So give me a 5% reservation in your life. Respect the choices I made. I made them all because of my children and trust me, if a mother doesn't make those choices- it will be tough to run a society. This mother could be your wife, sister, friend or your own mother but look around and find that one woman who doesn't seem like the old one you knew. Consider the changes in her life after her children. Help her with her choices. Make life easier for her by giving her this Reservation. 

Because in our country, all those burning cities for reservation are doing so because they were born a certain way. I was not born a mother. I chose to become one, And it did alter my entire life. I have the supreme power to raise a good or a bad child. I thus have an effect on everyone's collective future! Find the women around you who are going through their lives as mothers. Ask them if they need something to simplify things around them. That will make her day.