Friday Nights

So its Friday night and I am sitting in office, waiting for a deliverable from my team. Well actually I went home, played with my son for a couple of hours; thank God I live a stone’s throw away. Came back to find that the kid is still working on it and did not think it necessary to let me know that making a trip to work to review it would be redundant. Very very annoyed, but thought I could use the waiting time to add to my blog. Seriously, in my time, my seniors made me wait for hours on end and now its the juniors who make me wait for hours on end. Most of the time they end up giving me documents to read on Friday afternoon or evening, especially when there is a Monday deadline. And I so hate working on the weekend nowadays. Since I joined work, I have worked probably 4 or 5 weekends and only in cases of extreme emergencies. I have no qualms telling clients, partners and any one who may ask that weekends are for the baby (husband is in office most weekends so he does not count). In fact, lately I feel more and more that I do not want to read emails, review documents or get onto calls once I get out of work. So I have taken to taking the baby along with me if i need to step out after 9 pm or on weekends. So that means that I have taken him to the rare office party, or the rare weekends and late weeknights, where he entertains my colleagues while I work. Thankfully all of them are most happy to see him (the reverse is not necessarily true) and love to play with him. In fact, I get repeated demands to bring my kid to work, specially during high stress times. He is a stress buster, true.

Speaking of stress busters, over the last year or so, I have discovered that cooking to be mine. I have been trying and testing recipes almost every week and now have  a few things that I can make very well. I try them on my colleagues at work with varying degrees of success. The husband is useless at these kind of things, because I am cooking salads and soups, and using “fancy” vegetables and cheeses, while he wants “patal sabzi” and “aloo gobi” and “kali daal”. Frankly I still havent mastered his version of aloo gobi. Almost every 2-3 days he will come home and rave about a colleague’s dabba and his cook and wonder why I can’t cook like that. Oooof!!!  Anyways, I am trying to reach a compromise, where I cook his favorite dishes once in while too. Although, to be honest, he is a great taster. He can always spot a missing element and gives very precise and to the point critisicm.

Baking is an art that I am trying to master though with very great difficulty. The biggest problem that I face with baking is that I am a vegetarian and will not cook eggs at home (although i eat them in concealed form, like in cakes. If I can see it, I am not eating it). There are vegan recipes, but they also rely on fancy ingredients, like molasses and buttermilk, which are not available here. But I shall persevere. My New Year resolution (which earlier was to not have any resolutions) is to try different recipes from different sources (family, blogs and my good collection of recipe books) and record the experiences on this blog. Nope, I am not doing a food blog, one, because there are far too many good people doing that already and two because I can just replicate an existing recipe very well; I am unable to come up or create a new recipe. The only value addition that I will have is to veganise a non-veg recipe.

Tomorrow, I am going to be making the pahadi paneer wrap from Tarla Dalal’s cookbook. I am not a big fan of her books; for some reason, I feel her recipes cater to an experienced cook. But I love wraps and paneer is healthy (mostly).

Need to go back and find out what happened to my draft. God, this is going to be a long long long night. Not a good start to the weekend


On the run

Its been some time since I have written and I blame it all on sheer laziness. Yes, I could blame it on the workload, the baby, the travelling, my (pretend) social life, my family, but that would be just making excuses.  I was plain lazy and guess what, I can be :-)… I mean this is one thing in my life that is not subject to a deadline/will not bawl if I ignore it/will not fall apart if I dont  attend to it.  I have been doing some serious multi-tasking over the last few months and somewhere it is taking a toll. I feel like I am always falling short in any one area of my life at any given point in time; that area of life switches from baby to husband to family to work at dizzying speed. And it bothers me immensely when I feel that it is the baby that is being shortchanged in this multi tasking.  And he is such a good baby. He lights up when he sees me; he needs to hug me for atleast ten minutes in the morning before he is properly awake. Night time sleep routine involves him lying on top of me till he rolls off fast asleep, and then the husband and I fighting about who holds him at night (I usually win). Lately he is taken to crying when he sees me leave for work. I wave to him determinedly through his crying so that he gets used to the fact that Mama has to go work. And the fact is that I want to go to work. I have realised something about myself. I always thought I had a strong maternal instinct and people always referred to me as a person who was born to be a mother. I love kids, no doubt. But the idea of spending 24 hours with the baby drives me up the wall. I didnt know I would feel like that and it makes me feel a little guilty that I dont mind,  no actually I look forward to spending some time at work and away from him. When I go back home, its mostly about him; I find myself cutting down on the ‘me’ time, the time that I need to unwind and relax after a hard day’s work. I wonder if life is always going to be like this, on the run.

Sometime, I dream about quitting work, focusing on my cooking adventures, having a kitchen garden, reading, taking afternoon naps and spending time with the baby; even in those day dreams, I dont spend all my time with the baby.

But then I come back to real life; those hobbies sound good when I dont have much time for them. If I had all the time in the world, I guess I would simply turn in a vegetable, mostly a couch potato. Dont knock it; I tried it for a month long ago and it was fun while it lasted.  So long.


Sid turned ten months old on the 21st of this month.  Sometime around the last two months, Nishant and I have been making rounds of nursery schools/pre-schools, registering our child for admission. Some of these schools (and i use the term very loosely) have formidable reputations, guaranteeing (well almost) admissions in top schools in the city and are most sought after.

So we have one school which will register him in the year he turns two and that too only during the month of July. Another school who accepts registration, but only on Mondays and Tuesdays between noon and 1 pm. Yet another school who accepts registration only on Wednesdays between 9 am and 10 am, while the most popular of them all accepts registrations only on Wednesdays between 9:45 am and 10:45 am.  The forms ask for education and profession details of both parents, although one went as far as to ask about “Mother’s Talent”. I was stumped. Firstly, why was the school  not interested in Father’s Talent. Secondly, what talent of mine would a bunch of toddlers be interested in? Clearly, ability to negotiate or draft would not be right thing to say. I finally settled on ‘cooking’ thinking the ability to come up with healthy food options on a daily basis for a child with half a dozen (very sharp) teeth has to be a bloody talent.

Each school that we went to had a huge line of parents standing obediently in queue to submit a form to the women (why is it only women at pre-schools. Do men not want to teach toddlers?) at the door of these schools. At the door!!!!! There is no office. No waiting area. Nope. These schools charge annual fees of approx 70k to 1L per child and yet, parents have to mill around at the entrance like cattle. Bah!!!

Anyways, each one of these women, without exception, takes your form (and a token fee), smiles up at you and says ‘Dont call us, we will call you’. Bad date deja vu, anyone??

By the time you have registered in ten such odd schools, you are 5k out of pocket and on tenterhooks with the bad exit line. Most of these places require you to register before your child is one year old. It does not matter whether your child will be joining the school at 1.5, 2 or 2.5 years. You have to register before he/she is a year old.

And this is when the pressure starts. When do I hear from the schools? When will the interviews be scheduled? What if the interviews’ dates and time overlap? What will happen if we dont hear from the schools that we want to admit him in? And, bloody hell, this is just a fricking playschool/nursery. Not even  a real school.

I am glad my parents did not put me through this. And I worry that I have to put my child through this. It is not right. Sure, I can buck the system and say, forget the pressure, I am not fussed about him going to the best school in the city. But do I really want to take that risk? For a middle class family today, a good education is the best investment for their child. My father in law ensured that each of his kids had the best education, even though he was pretty much working two jobs all his life, and I can see today how well it has paid off.

Still, they did not have to go through this struggle of admissions at such a tender age. Its unfortunate but true, that while working towards a child’s future, we forget about his/her present. We tend to live for the future, while forgetting that the child cant see that future. He/she can just see the present, which will not be much fun with the kind of pressure that we are parents tend to put. Its a vicious circle, but I dont have a solution to that yet. Unless of course I open my own school. Which is another pipe dream.

So I guess we will do the rounds, bear the pressure and stress and worry, and hope for the best for our little angel. And hopefully one day he will understand that it was all for his best.


Trust me!!

Its amazing how often and how casually we put our lives/well being in the hands of complete strangers… trusting them to do their job right. Doctors at a hospital, cosmetic surgeons, lawyers, beauticians (laugh all you like.. You clearly never had hot wax spilled on you or a crazy lady attacking your feet with a sharp pointed instrument in the guise of a pedicure), and yes, drivers (of taxis, autos and hired vehicles).

This occured to me rather forcefully as we bumped and bounced in our hired innova on the way to Moradabad from Delhi. Our driver was a Bong fellow with a belligerent attitude. And so a four hour supposedly peaceful journey turned into a seven hour long bad dream. Add to that unpleasant scenario, a hyper active ten month old who wanted to lick every part of the car. And the worst part of it all was that we could not express our displeasure out of worry that he would strand us in the middle of nowhere…hardly a place to pick a fight with the guy in charge of driving you around in a town you have never seen before. But I digress.

 The point here is I, very casually and without giving it much thought, agreed to spend 7 hours in a what is basically is a large enclosed metal can on wheels with a driver whom I didnt know from Adam; I just trusted him to transport me safely to my destination. 

All of us tend to behave that way and I guess there is no other way to be. We have so many trust isses with people we know very well and deal with  almost on a daily basis.  And yet here we are, blindly trusting total strangers (i realise these are mostly services, but some of these can directly affect our wellbeing and our safety). Its as if we dont see these people who provide us services as anything but a means to an end. And the means do not matter.

Finally managed to put the little one to sleep…he had been rubbing his eyes for the last two hours, looking sweetly sleepy. That mood lasted for two hours and then he was looking cranky and sleepy. Thankfully now he is asleeep. All this after a slightly crazy day at work really takes a toll. Why doesn’t motherhood come with its own warning label? Warning: Can cause drowsiness, mood swings, muscle fatigue, tiredness, trouble sleeping, panic attacks, anxiety, irritability and heartache.

When I was pregnant, I encountered some new mothers who went on and on about how motherhood is the most amazing feeling in the world and there was no other feeling that compared with it. What they failed to mention was that this amazing feeling lasts about 15 mins (okay, i exaggerate. 30 mins) a day and then real life intrudes. Think about it. You are holding your baby in your arms trying to put him to sleep, feeling his soft warmth, inhaling his soft baby smell, feeling his soft baby touch and listening to his soft cooing sounds. You feel enveloped in all that softness and it feels like you are walking on clouds. Cut to two hours later, it is 2 am, your baby is wide awake, those cooing sounds have changed to full fledged cries (all the other softness remains, though) and you have hit the ground with a thud. A lot of motherhood is just dealing with routine tasks…feeding, changing (and changing and changing and changing) and caring for an infant who unfortunately (for him mainly) is unable to communicate his needs.. It is all amazing for a while and then the novelty wears off.  And then it is just plain hard work. A lot of hard work. Salute to mommies everywhere, including the ones who are brave enough to go through this more than once!!!

Not to say that it is for nothing. It is all paid off several times over, when you see your child smile, try to crawl and reach for you because that is the only place he can find comfort.  Ahh!! We are back to square one, na.. now I am sounding like one of those new mommies who says there is nothing like motherhood. But I caveat it.. for all people wanting to have children.. try and get some experience. How?? Babysit!! Its like a quick preview of what is involved in rearing a child. Of course, you cant babysit for an hour or so. That does not show for much. Most kids are smart enough to act like perfect angels in front of outsiders.. the minute their backs are turned, the brattiness beneath rears its head.  You need to spend a good 3-4 hours with a child and go through the whole khana-peena-sona routine. Over a period of several months.

Its a win-win situation for all. Think about it.. you will be doing a good deed, getting experience and at the same time, gaining brownie points with the mother who will, one day, babysit for YOU!! Bingo!! So go out there, all you people wanting kids, and do your good deed. oh btw, my preferred time is any time after 9 pm on a weekday..just enough time for a movie and dinner with hubby. Cheeers!!!!

Man and baby

Lots and lots of mother-focused articles (i am a google mom, so sue me) tell me that I need to speak with my child a lot (duh), to enable him to develop an enriched vocabulary. Apparently, when I talk to him, some part of his brain will retain my words and he will eventually puke it out when he starts talking. Based on this, I have started to show him regular household items, teach him to say hello, bye bye etc.

Now here’s the problem, I will be teaching little Sid to say bye-bye and suddenly he will notice HIS fingers and stare at them in wonder..opening and closing his fingers as if that is the most amazing thing in the world that he has ever seen. Granted he has not seen much and his fingers opening and closing may seem like a pretty cool thing to do; but still…he has the attention span of a goldfish as far as I am concerned. I wonder if this is because he is male or maybe an indication that he has his father’s personality. The husband behaves just like that. I will  be talking and talking and talking, and it turns out that he has heard only the last six words of the entire monologue which are “Are you even listening to me?” Of course he isnt…in his case not because he looking at his hands and feet, but his berry (which if you go to see just an extension of his body).   This is not what I signed up for. Now I have TWO males who will ignore everything I say.

That brings me to my next grouse. I dont know if Sid knows I am his mom. Yes, he definitely likes me, he smiles when he sees me and when I open my arms, he lunges towards me. But then, he does the exact same thing with his grandmother, his father, his maid, the cook, the lady in the garden who smiles at him, the stranger on the road. I thought being his primary provider would put me at the top of the line, make me feel special, like I am the centre of his world. But nope..clearly, as far as little Sid is concerned, I am just the night shift bai….Sigh!!!!

Returning to work…

work…. the four letter word that has been haunting my waking (and sleeping) hours alike.. Started work on February 15, 2011 after a six month long hiatus. It was not difficult to ease in actually (almost like riding a bicycle), considering that I was already working from home. But even I am surprised at how easily I have gotten back to the grind, the difference being of course that I have a responsibility back at home. I love my son, really I do and I pray to God everyday that I dont screw up this beautiful gift He has bestowed on me. But at the end of the day, I find myself worrying about him more than anything else and then it becomes  a responsibility. How does a mother really escape that state of mind? I should be enjoying him, his smiles, his giggles, his touch..instead I am worrying whether going to work will affect his growth. Will he be slower than other kids who have stay at home moms, hovering over them and responding immediately to each demand? When I am at home, I am trying to engage him in books or rhymes, hoping to develop his linguistic skills and his motor functions and what not. I am worried that he will learn to speak later than normal, since he is growing up in a bilingual environment.

My parents didnt do that for me, nor did they worry about it really. In fact, my mum takes great pleasure in telling me that I used to be on my own pretty much (or being beaten up by my jealous older sibling) while she was busy taking care of her large family. I turned out ok, i think. I am sure he will, too

My son is my priority, its true. But I also grew up with a mother  who often (no, always) told me that she spent her entire lift taking care of her children and not herself  and my pat response would be, who asked you to? And I still believe that is true. A child does not ask it to be born. It is a human desire to procreate and bring forth a new life. It is not fair then to blame that new life for the choices or the compromises we as parents make to nurture that new life. Bringing a new life into the world comes with an implicit responsibility to protect and nourish it. It is not fair to tell that new life that he/she was the reason for not being able to achieve so and so or what not. That to my mind is more of a sorry excuse than anything else.

That really is one of the reasons I want to work. I want to have my time, my space, work at the career in which I have invested so many years. and of course, primarily, enjoy the financial independence it affords me. It sounds selfish, but then certainly I will not need to turn around and express disappointment to my son that he was the reason for giving up my career and some other stuff. If I reach a point in life when I feel that I am doing injustice to my priority, my son, I will happily give up everything to be with him. That will be my choice and not a compromise. Till then, I will try to do it all. Get my space, love and enjoy my son and maybe somewhere squeeze in a little romance. At the end of the day, I am a woman and I can multitask. What more do I need??