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AtoZ Challenge 2018LifeStyleMotherhoodParenting

The Surrogate Mother – #AtoZChallenge2018

posted by Anupriya April 21, 2018 0 comments

Amrita looked on at the drama unfolding infront of her as she put little Lucky in the high chair and put a bowl of carrot infront of him. She had suffered so much with Niks eating habits that she decided to try out baby led weaning with her younger son. And was she disappointed? Not at all! At 9 months, Lucky ate all the fruits and finger foods on his own. She had to start with use of spoon and bowl with the boy soon. Amrita made a mental note of the same as she looked on at her elder son throwing a tantrum in the lobby.

‘Why do you have to go?’  Nik sobbed as he held on to Sandhya. Sandhya was short enough for little Nik to reach upto her waist and hold her tightly making it difficult for her to move. Sandhya’s toil worn face let out a mild smile as she ruffled 5 year old Nik’s hair,

‘I’ll be back in a day or two, Nik Baba’ she said in an assuring tone in her quaking voice. Her eyes checking out the wall clock repeatedly, fearing she might miss the direct bus to her village.

‘But please don’t go. What if I miss you? And what if Lucky misses you?’ Nik whined his hold still tight across her waist, he looked up pleading at the old lady with smoky grey hair.

Amrita observed Sandhya di’s face and realized that her eyes had become red suddenly. Probably due to the burning of tears that did not come out. Her heart went out for both her son and the old lady. She decided to put the old lady out of her agony lest she might miss her bus. Amrita moved towards her son and pulled him apart from Sandhya and held him tightly in her arms.

‘Nik baby, do you like to go to your Nani’s home in your vacations?’ Amrita continued when Nik nodded in affirmative, ‘Sandhya di also needs to go to her Nani ghar once in awhile. We must let her go.’

‘But I will miss her too much.’ Nik complained.

Amrita hugged her son and patted his back. Pulling him apart she smiled into his eyes, ‘She will miss you too dear.’ She turned towards Sandhya who stood looking at them with a torn expression, ‘Sandhya di, please be back soon. Nik will really miss you too much. Promise him that you will be back soon?’

Sandhya to overwhelmed to say anything, nodded quickly and put her hand on Nik’s head before quickly turning around to pick up her bags and leave the house.

Amrita let out a deep sigh and smiled at her elder son and distracted him with his favorite Cartoon show on the television. She settled back on the couch with a quick glance on the road outside watching Sandhya hurry away with tiny but hastened steps. Her thoughts automatically drifted towards the time she had met her for the first time.

Sandhya had started working in her mother-in-law’s household when she had been a young girl herself and Amrita’s husband Raghav had been as old as Nik. She had since been a permanent member of the same household. Even though Sandhya routed all her earnings for her ailing parents’ treatment, brother’s study and younger sisters’ marriage, she never married herself.

‘If I marry, I may not be able to work and earn as much.’ Sandhya gave a simple reply with a lopsided smile whenever asked the reason for not getting married in her hay days.

When Amrita became pregnant with Nik and was put on bed rest due to certain complications, Sandhya took it upon herself to make sure that she ate the right things at the right time. Amrita almost felt exasperated at the feel of having another mother-in-law hovering over her all the time, and a stricter one at that. When Nik was born, Sandhya volunteered to take care of the boy, while Amrita recovered from her C-section surgery. Even in the midst of the night, when Nik started wailing, Sandhya would pick him up to comfort him even before Amrita got up to check on him.

As Nik began to grow, Sandhya took over the responsibility of his nanny. She would massage him, give him a bath, feed him and play with him whenever she was not busy with other household chores. At that time Amrita had been really relieved, because she planned to join work in a couple of months. The very fact that Nik bonded well with Sandhya and spent a considerable amount of his awake time with her, came in as a major point in her favor, when she put her case to join back work infront of her mother-in-law.

A couple of months back in work, Amrita’s gratitude turned into jealousy when she would come back home and Nik would remain busy with Sandhya completely ignoring her presence. Amrita wished to spend all her time at home with Nik, only if Sandhya would allow that. A tiny squeal from the little one, and Sandhya would rush to sway him into his embrace and comfort him until he was playful again. Amrita today let out a smile of disbelief when she recalled how she had been extremely frustrated at that time. She had even contemplated leaving her job, lest she might lose any significance in her son’s life. She remembered how she had been on the threshold of snapping at Sandhya and asking her to mind her own business while staying away from her child. But better sense had prevailed, and she decided to slowly wean her son away from the old lady.

But during a week long break at home due to an ailment, Amrita observed that the dedication and affection that Sandhya showed towards her son was at a different level.  During those days of forced rest, Amrita realized that the old lady with blood flecked eyes actually did not have a family to call her own. They were her family. She did go back to her brother’s family time and again like this one instance, but that was not because she cared much about them. It was more because she still felt a sense of responsibility towards them and wanted to check on their well-being.

After the leave ended, Amrita felt a new sense of gratitude towards the old lady for loving her son as her own and made it a point to thank god everyday for having Sandhya in her life.  She knew that if for some reason, her mother-in-law or she herself were busy or tied up with an emergency, there was Sandhya di to take care of her son as good as like a mother.  Or maybe even better, Amrita contemplated. These days, when Amrita looks at the aging Sandhya who has slowed down a bit physically, she shudders at the thought when this surrogate mother to her kids, might not be fit anymore to take care of her kids. How then would she manage the household? Or more importantly, how would she ever be able to fill the gap of her absence in her kids’ life? With a little prayer for Sandhya’s long life – her kids’ happiness Amrita gets up and gets on with her work.

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AtoZ Challenge 2018LifeStyle

Religion, Rituals and Marriages – #AtoZChallenge

posted by Anupriya April 20, 2018 0 comments

Amrita considered herself to be fairly religious. That’s because she believed in all religions.

As she adjusted the veil over her head while making an entry into the Golden temple, something inside her stirred. What made the tenth guru declare a separate religion? Was it not further polarization of the society? Who is to be held accountable for the aftermaths of friction between the minor religious group and the parent group? Having grown up in a decade that was recuperating from the consequences of the friction, she had heard enough storied and met several survivors who had hair raising stories to tell. Amrita shook her head and clucked her tongue to wave off the trail of thoughts, lest she be trapped in the vicious circle of Ws and H of circumstances that were and those that are.

The veil kept slipping and she was now getting irritated with the repetitive activity. Just at that moment she saw a boy hardly the age of her elder son, adjust his own handkerchief over his head and tie the ends into a knot to prevent the piece of cloth from flying away. Another thought clouded her mind.

Probably that’s the reason I keep coming back to a Gurudwara. This community has equal rules for all. They do not discriminate between a man and woman by setting different standards. Or that is atleast what I know of. I know for sure that in my religion, so much is imposed as only a woman’s duty that sometimes it feels unfair.

Amrita had often been miffed by the compulsory fasting rules for women in her religion. She observed most of the rituals followed ardently by her mother and mother-in-law, only as a mark of respect for them. But she really did not understand the point of it all. No! She wasn’t an atheist. She firmly believed in THE ONE who worked as the master planner with a blue print of this world. It’s just that she wasn’t sure how religion was connected to god. According to her, religion was the most ancient strategy to divide the mankind for the perpetrators to gain from the division.

“Even if one was to believe that different gods did exist for different religions, I can’t imagine them running a hateful propaganda against each other up in the so called heaven.” Amrita was often spotted thinking out loud her views about God and religion. “More over if all Gods are equals then how does it matter, what practices or rituals I follow or not. Isn’t believing in the fact that a God exists and remaining virtues in my thoughts and actions towards the mankind the most important thing?”, she quipped at anyone who disagreed, which was in plenty.

A lot of Amrita and her sister’s rationale towards religion was unconventional because they came from a town which came into inception only post independence and people from several ethnicities had come together and made the town self sufficient.  Though the natives were the Punjabi community, but she grew up in a convent school where her classmates formed a fair percentage of people from all religions and ethnic backgrounds. While they had school organized visits to the church every Christmas, they went to gurudwars with their friends from the sikh community. By the function of the society they grew up in they could never form any extremist view of religion. It was something they enjoyed, but not be defined by. But as she grew up and read about the world around her, Amrita was bewildered by the impact that religion could have on people’s thoughts and actions.

As a child Amrita had been extremely fascinated by mythological stories. “I know I am still guilty of being fascinated by Lord Krishna who is like an epitome of the practical God.’, she had once admitted to Raghav  while they were dating. But the very idea of practicing religion did not go down well with her. The rebel in her also impacted her role as a mother. She hated to push her kids too much towards religious ceremoines at home. While she did not dissuade them from learning the virtues of praying and paying obedience to God and elders, she was extremely against them being overtly involved in the prolonged religious rituals or be exposed to any religion related discussions.

Amrita along with her sister had often discussed the dichotomy of the so called religious elders. One day while at their mum’s place, they were sitting with their mom while she watched a mythological program based on a king’s life who in the age of bigamy, decided to marry just once. Amrita sighed as she told Smita how her mother-in-law too was hooked on to this serial.

Once the sisters had had a hearty laugh, their attention turned back to the show. The plot was showing how everyone had failed to pick up Lord Shiva’s arc and the subsequent entry of Ram (the incarnation of Lord Vishnu) with his brother Lakshman and his Guru to the venue of Sita’s Swayamwar. Though hope and anxiety were evident among King Janak’s family members, but Sita looked particularly hopeful and i must say desperate for Ram to succeed in picking up the Dhanush, a condition put down by her father for anyone who wished to get married to Sita.

At this Smita quipped, “Swayamwar and all is just an excuse. It is so evident that Site is already infatuated or attracted towards him.” To this Amrita added that having read the Ramayana, it is quite evident that love had already blossomed between them by the time things came to this Swayamwar.

The discussion then drifted to the realization that all the major pillars of Hindu Mythology are guilty of propagating love relationships.

Getting back to her favorite GOD, Amrita added, “Lord Krishna’s name has almost ceased to exist alone and he is worshiped along with Radha. Love tales of Radha and Krishna are have been subject to enough adoration as well as discussion. And here, Lord Krishna did not even marry Radha. Yet their love is the epitome of commitment and passion for all who consider him as their deity.”

“And di, do not forget, Lord Shiva who despite being a ‘Yogi’ living an austere life on Mt. Kailash is not devoid of love and passion. After a lot of persuasion and cajoling he gave in to Sati’s wish and made her his bride. Sati re-incarnated as Parvati in another life and her love for Shiva also took her to Mount Kailash where she was successful in pleasing Lord Shiva enough so he would agree to marry her. The story of their marriage and re-marriage and their ‘Grahastha’ life is a well-known mythological legend.” Smita added with excitement, as their mom chose to ignore their ranting and focused on her serial.

“If these Gods were not devoid of feelings of love, passion and endearment; then why is it so that the very same devotees of these deities refuse to acknowledge and respect the existence of such emotions among their kids. Why is love marriage such a taboo in most communities in our religion driven country?’ Smita was flabbergast by now.

“It is so ironic that most of the parents in my religion start to plan for their kids wedding almost from the moment they are born, how and why do they not take into account a possibility that their Ram/Krishna/Shiva may find a Seeta/Radha/Sati or vice-versa for themselves without their intervention.”, Amrita pondered.

Read my other AtoZ Challenge posts here

AtoZ Challenge 2018LifeStyleParentingWoman Empowerment

The Oppressed Wife – AtoZChallenge

posted by Anupriya April 17, 2018 0 comments

Smita came and took her seat with a thud. Three of her team members who occupied the cubicle with her turned around to look at a hassled Smita who was visibly upset. Gaurav, her junior tried to strike a conversation with her but gave up the idea looking at her furious eyes when she turned to look at him. The air had become so heavy that Yatin, their team lead from the other side of the partition peeped from above to see what the matter was and looked around and raised his eye brows asking if anyone knew any better. Some of the team mates caught him in action and shook their head. Yatin nodded lightly closing his eyes slowly and then opening them again, with an assuring grin. He got back to work with a thought that he’d have to invite Smita for lunch today with him and his wife Anagha. As he watched Smita go about her work in her vulnerable state, he pinged Anagha requesting her to make time to have lunch with Smita and him. He gave her a heads up when his wife agreed to meet them at the food court.

Smita agreed to having lunch with Yatin, quite reluctantly though. Yatin smiled mildly, realizing that one of the perks of being the boss was that your team members could not refuse you when you asked them to have lunch with them. Especially, when the boss had invited his wife too. As Yatin and Smita headed towards the food court, he turned to look at Smita who was still distracted. He had held his patience since morning and refrained from asking the young lady about her troubles. But now it was getting a little too much to contain the issue.

‘So? Had a tiff with Sharman?’ Yatin asked in an undertone. He did not want to be over heard. And also, he did not want to sound like a nose poker.

Smita knew that a probe was impending right from the moment Yatin had asked her out for lunch. She smiled wryly at her Boss’s question. She didn’t know if she could share the real issue with him. She ran a finger across her hair and shook her head while looking up at him.  They saw Anagha waiting for them at the corner table in the food court and as they joined her Anagha stood up to give Smita a light hug.

‘A little birdie came flying to tell me that someone’s ready to blast today.’ She smiled as she led Smita to join her at the table.

Anagha and Smita ran a mutual admiration club never having a mole of complain from each other. Infact they loved each other. Anagha loved Smita for the vibrant young lady that she was. She had seen Smita bloom from a determined fresher into a fierce professional in the last half a decade. And Smita was in awe of Anagha for the balanced Human Resources professional that she was. She delightful to talk to and found reasons to be nice to people. Smita had never met anyone as empathetic as Anagha. She turned to Yatin and silently mouthed a thanks to him realizing that Anagha was exactly what she needed.

‘So am I allowed to stay, or shall I buzz off from this ladies lunch table.’ Yatin asked cheerfully.  Anagha let out a hearty laugh while Smita blushed as she shook her head. A lot of tension from the morning seemed to have already evaporated.

As the trio opened up their lunch boxes and ordered fresh juice, Smita contemplated whether she should let go and talk about what was bothering her. One look at the couple in their late 30s and all her inhibitions went away. She decided to talk.

‘It’s my mother.’ She confessed.

‘What is she upto now? Trying to making you and Sharman go to the doc to get checked-up?’ Anagha knew how Smita’s mom had set them up for an appointment to see a gynecologist when she had come a fortnight back.  She had had a hearty laugh when Yatin had narrated what Smita had told him the next day.

‘No! That matter got settled when dad arrived last week. But ever since she has been sabotaging Dad for everything and anything he says or does.’ Smita exasperated.

‘If he wants a tea in the morning, she quips at him saying why he can’t fix himself up a simple green tea. If he doesn’t she blames him for confusing her by changing his routine everyday.  If he offers to help her in the kitchen, she is sarcastic enough to let him know that he never offered any help when she really needed it when we were young. And if he lets her be deciding not to disturb her, she taunts him for not changing an ounce in all these years.’  Smita threw her hands wide displaying her confusion at her mom’s behavior.

‘There is not a minute of peace at home these days.’ Smita had asked her parents to come and be with her for this month, because it was too cold up in the north and thought that the moderate weather would be good for them. Moreover her dad had enough leaves to expend before he retired later during the year.

‘She is like a live wire 24×7. Earlier Sharman and I thought that she was upset because we refused to concede to her demand to see the doctor. But later dad confirmed that that’s how she has shaped up as a silver haired old lady. Always complaining, nagging and ready to rip you off.’ Smita breathed deeply to calm herself as Anagha and Yatin gave her all their attention.

‘And that’s the reason you decided to become a live wire today at work.’ Yatin stated as a matter of fact as sipped his orange juice.

‘That’s ok you know. Smita, I am sure you have your own touch me not days.’ Anagha created quotes with both her hands in the air. Yatin smiled slyly as he inferred what Anagha meant to say, even as Smita shook her head vigorously.

‘You ladies and your PMS. I think soon I should start a propaganda popularizing CMS – Cranky Man Syndrome. It will give us poor men a reason to be able to behave weirdly for a couple of days every month.’ Yatin said followed by a silent chuckle.

‘No it’s no PMS or menopause. She was over that thing years ago. I don’t know what’s come over her. To come to think of it more rationally, I think she has been drifting in the direction ever since my marriage. Could it be something to do with me?’ she looked at Yatin and Anagha alternately in confusion, as if a realization had just dawned upon her.

Yatin deliberated Smita’s thoughts, as he scratched his French beard. No one could guess from Yatin’s looks that he was approaching his 40s. He was a fitness freak and took keen interest in matters that interested his young team members. It helped him gel in better with them. His team also looked upto him as a manager who really understood their issues and perspective. After moments of deep thought he let out a gurgling sound, ‘Tell me something Smita? Was your mother an oppressed lady throughout her youth? As in, I mean to ask, who was the dominating entity in your parent’s marriage? Your mother? Or your father?’

Smita did not have to think even for a second for the answer, ‘It was definitely my dad. He was a perfectionist in those days. He wanted things, exactly the way he wanted them. He would take nothing but a perfect ten from us in our tests. So yes, he definitely dominated all of us. I must confess that it was quite painful to live in constant pressure of being evaluated all the time.’ There was a couple of seconds of silence as everyone processed Smita’s words. Smita’s shoulders stooped a little as she felt the burden of a stressful childhood.

‘In retrospect, I think it was ok for my dad to be difficult on us, because he wanted to ensure a secure future for us. He was constantly pushing us to be competitive. I am not sure if I would have performed equally well if this pressure was not there. But my mom took a real hit from his all round the clock stern attitude. She was always on her tenterhooks about what might upset her dad.’ Smita was talking softly. Yatin and Anagha had to really pay attention amidst the noisy food court to follow her words.

And then Yatin threw himself back on his chair, propping his crossed hands behind his head, ‘A very dear friend of mine once told me that all those husbands who have subject their wives to decades of oppression must really pull up their belts once they hit their sixties. I did not understand his words then. But I think I now get what he was getting at.’ Yatin was grinning, while the two ladies looked on at him in confusion.

‘Even we havn’t got much of your rambling Yatin. Please explain?’ Anagha tilted her face in annoyance at the web of words that Yatin had built up.

Yatin leaned forward and propped his hands on the table infront of him.

‘As you said, your mother has felt oppressed for years at your dad’s behest. And as a middle class dedicated lady of the house she took in all that attitude from your dad, because she wanted to maintain decorum in the house. A lot of it was due to your sake. I mean you and your sister’s sake. And now that you both are married and doing well for yourself, she feels that she has done her job well and now needs a break from life. And one result of letting herself unwind is this quipping nature. She just does not feel the need to put up with your dad cordially any more. You could say, it’s a kind of revenge she is taking on your dad and the world for making her life difficult all these years.’ Yatin looked on from Smita to Anagha to assess if they got his point. Smita was nodding slightly in contemplation, while Anagha shook her head refusing to comprehend what her husband was saying.

‘And what would you say about wives like me who are always hell bent upon making their husband hen-pecked all the time’ Anagha smirked at her all knowing husband as Smita and Yatin laughed out loud.

Yatin had an answer to this too, ‘Oh! All this gyan I just gave was for the previous generation of our parents. As far as husbands like me are concerned, we need to always remain on an alert. Because if we even try to oppress our tigress wives they may chose to leave any moment. And without any male chauvinistic qualms I admit that I need my wife way more than she needs me.’

And the trio dispersed on this humored but deep-rooted note.

Read my other AtoZ Challenge posts here

AtoZ Challenge 2018LifeStyle

Nanu Nani – The Other Grandparents – AtoZChallenge

posted by Anupriya April 16, 2018 0 comments

Amrita was really worked up. She was to travel across the country to her parents in a week’s time and she didn’t know if she could manage the kids all alone. Actually, managing the kids wasn’t the real problem. The actual problem was what she would do if one of them started whining and pinning for their father. She remembered her last visit to her parents when Nik had started wailing within minutes of setting his foot in his grandparents home.  Amrita had spent the next two days in a constant effort to keep him busy and amused before he became accustomed to the idea of spending time with his Nanu.

But now with two kids, Amrita was getting jitters of her lifetime. So much so that she even considered leaving Nik behind with Raghav. Nik could then travel with Raghav a week later. But wait! How could she even consider such a thing? She could already visualize her mother’s wide eyed in betrayed anger and her father’s misty eyes screaming extremely disappointment. Her mom-in-law once told her about how she was not allowed entry into her parents’ home because she had gone alone without any of the three kids. At that time, Amrita was just a new bride and could not fathom the gravity of the situation. She had found it absurd, ‘How can the grand children be so important that the daughter takes on a second place in the priority list?’ she had squealed amusingly. But now she knew better. Rather she knew more.

Amrita and her sister, Smita had never experienced grand-parents love for their paternal grandparents stayed too far away and given their parents’ limited resources, they could visit them only once in two years. And they had never seen their maternal grandparents. They had passed away in an accident even before Smita was born. Amrita knew that grandparents share a very special bond with heir grand children, but had never experienced it herself. Her first tryst with a gravity of this emotion was when her father had held Nik for the first time after his birth. She knew her father to be an extremely emotional man. Also one who was extremely fond of kids. But that day she had seen him hold 5 day old Nik in his palms, his eyes shining with unshed tears he was murmuring sweet nothings into his ears. Amrita realized that could never have fathomed the depth of this emotion from any stories that she had heard or read till date.

She knew that in her parents’ case the craving to be important to their grandsons was intense for one more reason. In his youth her father had displayed an extremely unconventional attitude in having just two daughters and not trying for a third child expecting a son. But now in his old age, when both his daughters were married and the old couple lived alone miles away from both their kids, Nik’s birth had given them an inexplicable hope. One, they were relieved that their daughter will not have the bear the societal pressures of bearing a son for a secure future. Two, they could now have their fill of having a little boy run around in their home which hey had never experienced till date. Well it will be two boys now, Amrita reflected.

Amrita recalled what her mother had told her when she met her after Nik’s birth. ‘I am glad that God blessed you with a son.’ Amrita had glared at her.

‘Oh, for me anything would have been a blessing. But I was scared for your Dad. He would have stopped believing in God otherwise.’ Mrs. Xxx had muffled.

It disturbed Amrita to hear what a mother said. Despite all their efforts to be responsible daughters who tried to be there for their parents as much as possible, her father still was stuck in the age old gender bias. Hadn’t he taken a stand for his daughters years ago, ‘I have resources to responsibly bring up only two kids. I will not risk their education and right to a bright future for my greed to have a son’ She had been so proud of her dad, when she had eves dropped on him having a discussion with her grandparents. She figured they had actually reprimanded him to give in to their wish to have a boy grandchild.  Then why now had he succumbed to the societal pressures? Why had insecurity gotten the better of him? These questions were deep rooted and Amrita neither had the inclination nor the energy to find answers to them. She was too busy planning her trip to her parents the coming week. Her days began with a prayer to keep her kids in good spirits during their stay at Nanu’s and ended with trivia over how she would manage if the kids decided to go awry with their tantrums to go back home.

And the rest of the family just didn’t help.

‘I guess you should have planned a shorter trip. The kids might not like it there.’ said her mother-in-law nonchalantly. Amrita pondered. May be she is infact right. Here they live in a joint family with their cousins and a full house with 10 adult members. And there, it’s just my mom-dad. Should I shorten my trip? But then mom-dad will be hurt. A week in six months isn’t enough.

‘What will you do if they keep crying and ask to meet dad?’ her sister in law took a dig at her. Her already distressed mind was in panic. Thank god, there’s easy video chatting these days.

With clouds grey with doubt and apprehension, Amrita began her journey to her parents’ city. Her time in the airport went as per plan with nothing much to worry about. The only thing that bothered her was the constant phone calls from both sets of grandparents checking on their whereabouts and if the kids were fine.

Later, when they reached Nanu’s place, Nik was thrilled. Lucky had dozed off in her lap during their drive from the airport to home. Once home, Nik walked through the entire 3 BHK house, as if inspecting the space.

‘Nanu, what happened to the AC in your room?’ his clinking voice brought a wide grin on Mrs. Gunjal’s face. Amrita just sat at the dining table enjoying her favorite fennel sharbat and observed that Nik had remembered things from his last visit almost 8 months ago. Her gaze went to her father. He picked up Nik in his lap and begun a conversation with his eldest grandchild.

‘You do remember that there was an air conditioner in that room.’ Mr Gunjal was smiling ecstatically as Nik nodded in affirmative.

‘I also saw that you have put a new AC in Massi’s room.’ Nik fiddled with his Nanu’s stubble, before adding, ‘Can we take that room? I like the new curtains there.’

Amrita turned to look up at her mom and saw the satisfaction that she drew from Nik’s enthusiasm over the recently renovated room. Her mom had got everything refurbished recently to make the room look like a kid’s room. Amrita had found the entire activity to be a waste of money, ‘So much for just a fortnight of stay throughout the year. You could’ve used the money for yourself instead.’ But Mrs. Xxx had gone ahead with her plan, ‘I am sure they have everything they want and need in their paternal grandparents’ home, but we too want to have a share of pampering our grand children!’ she had exclaimed.

Later that night, post dinner when Amrita had almost let her guards down and was ready to retire for the night with the kids, Nik threw a tantrum. ‘I want to sleep on this new couch with Papa’ he started to wail. Any efforts to explain anything to him only led to a higher pitched cry. Nik was on the floor throwing away his limbs and crying incessantly, ‘I want Papa…. I want Papa…’ Amrita took a deep breadth and was about to move ahead to pick Nik up from the floor, when her dad held her hand. He nodded with a slight movement of his chin and signaled to her to let him handle things.

Mr. Gunjal picked up his grandchild in his embrace and took him out of the house. ‘I see that you are missing your papa. But I want to show you something beautiful.’ Amrita realized that he was taking Nik out to distract him with the fireworks outside. Their home was in a locality surrounded by wedding banquets. During the wedding season, it was normal to be able to view fantastic fireworks that marked the celebrations. As expected Nik loved the glittering sky and got engrossed in enjoying the view. Almost half an hour later, he came in giggling with his grandfather and insisted that he sleep with him that night.

Tired Mr. Gunjal settled on his bed and took Nik in his lap, ‘Beta, Nanu may not be as interesting as your papa, but he really loves you as much. This old man waits for long months for you to come and spend some days here. This is all yours and you must learn to enjoy every little thing in this house.’ The old man sighed, tiredness visible in his wrinkled face. Yet his eyes shone with a strange excitement. Amrita felt as if he were stretching himself to make the best of the limited time he had with his grandchildren. He started telling Nik a story about a jungle, but Nik exhausted with the journey had already slumped off to sleep in his lap. Amrita helped him put Nik to bed and retired to sleep herself. She was relieved that kids had been managed well atleast for the time being. She recalled the intensity of fondness in her parents demeanor while interacting with the kids and realized that she had never seen her parents so passionate even about her or her sister. A mild smile played on her lips as she remembered something that her father had said when Nik was born, ‘Don’t expect me to be the same strict old man any more. This is my grandson. You are my capital investment and he is the interest. From a businessman’s perspective interest is always dearer than the principal. I am going to indulge this little boy to my whims and fancies.’

With this assurance that her parents will find a way to manage the kids throughout the stay, Amrita dozed off for the night.

I am participating in the challenge of April with #Blogchatter

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LifeStyleParenting

Parenthood Was Supposed To Bring Us Closer As A Couple

posted by Anupriya April 12, 2018 1 Comment

I belong to that generation which grew up in the newness of a gamut of cable TV channels offering a further gamut of programs to be watched for all age groups. Though our parents tried to the best of their abilities to monitor our TV viewing habits, there always were enough gaps (and huge ones I must say) which exposed us to a lot that wasn’t appropriate for us to watch (this I realise now only after becoming a parent myself).

Nevertheless, I reminisce about those years now with both fondness and ridicule because exposure to the high family drama and continuous colloquy between the characters led me to shape a good amount of opinions and I started perceiving matters accordingly.
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AtoZ Challenge 2018LifeStylePregnancy

Hormonal Havoc – AtoZ Challenge

posted by Anupriya April 9, 2018 0 comments

Amrita woke up all groggy unable to open her eyes itched due to extreme dryness. Ugghh! I shouldn’t be reading up so late into the night. But she knew that she had no other option. The 6 month old baby in her womb seemed to be hyper active at night and his kicks make it impossible for her to sleep.

‘Gud Morning, sweetheart!’ she heard her husband’s rumbled voice and turned to sit up resting her back against the headrest of the bed. The bump was making it difficult for her to sit without support with every passing day. She smiled lazily at Raghav as he placed the tea tray on the bed and leaned in to give her a quick peck on her cheek.

Amrita, missed the warmth of his proximity almost immediately. Ever since Amrita had conceived and found it difficult to keep up with her routine of morning house chores, Raghav had made it a point to chip in for help. Although there was domestic help, he preferred to bring in tea every morning for his wife and himself.

‘Well! That way I can spend some time with you in the morning, before I rush into the day.’ He often winked whenever Amrita pointed out to him that he needn’t have taken the pains.

But lately Amrita had started feeling that this act that initially felt compassionate had now become very mechanical. Raghav seemed to be distracted most of the time and preoccupied with his mobile phone. Amrita’s heart tugged inside her as she sipped her tea in silence, observing Raghav smiling into his phone. But she pepped herself up, Raghav had promised to take her out for shopping in the evening. She would pick him up from his office and they would proceed for shopping.

———–

That evening Amrita had a tough time getting ready for her outing. She struggled with her cloths, most of which did not fit her any more. She had brought herself a couple of dresses last month, but to her dismay she had already grown out for them. Yet, she managed to fit herself into a maroon A-line knee length dress. Amrita checked herself in the mirror and shrunk her nose in slight disappointment. She looked like a baby elephant. No wonder Raghav found little joy in looking at her these days.  But Amrita slapped her head mentally. He is taking you out for shopping today. Isn’t he? Ask him for dinner later.

————

Amrita called up Raghav once she reached the parking lot of his office building. It had been 15 minutes already and she was expecting Raghav to join her any moment. Another 10 minutes and Amrita got a little irritated. What’s taking him so long? Amrita sighed impatiently as she looked on towards the entry way into the parking lot.

And then she spotted him. Raghav walked in his steps and shoulder matching the shoulder of a tall, lean and fair structure of a lady. Amrita squinted and cocked her head forward to see if the lady was someone she knew. But then she shook her head because she had never met any of Raghav’s colleagues’ as attractive as this lady. Ahhh! She must be Tina. The new team lead that Raghav was talking about the other day. But he didn’t tell me that she was almost a diva. Amrita guessed this lady’s height to be around 5feet 10 inches and she admitted to herself that with a slim figure and sharp features as hers, the girl standing next to her husband was indeed very attractive.

As Raghav and the other lady walked into the parking, Amrita expected Raghav to call her so that he could introduce her to his colleague. That is what he had always done in the past. But not today. As Amrita looked on, she saw that Raghav and the lady took a turn to and headed towards their right. Amrita had to open the window and put her head out to see track them on their path.

She saw that Raghav opened the door of this lady while laughing continuously at something the lady must have said. Amrita’s blood boiled at the intimate way the lady clad in a figure hugging skirt and business suit put her hand on her husband’s shoulder. The view of her husband having such a hearty laugh with some girl other than her sent a chill down her spine. She looked down at herself and thought that her efforts to look good had all gone down the drain. With her baby bump and the subsequent swollen body she looked nothing like the lady her husband was talking to right now.

Amrita was lost in her reverie, when she felt a hand on her shoulder.

‘Hey Mads! Sorry to have kept you waiting dear.’ Raghav said casually as he settled into his seat besides Amrita and signaled to the driver to move.

Amrita let out a forced smile, ‘What took you so long?’ she tried to sound as nonchalant as was possible for an emotionally vulnerable pregnant woman who had just seen another lady sharing a platonically intimate moment with her husband.

Raghav raised his eye-brows at the strange connotation of his wives voice, yet he did not decipher much from it,

‘Oh! I was discussing the details of our quarterly team party with Tina. She seems to have a couple of party places from where we could get a handsome discount.’

‘Oh so it was a very official conversation that you were having?’ Raghav felt strange at the knotty tone of his wife.

‘Hey baby, what happened you look very wound up? All okay? If you aren’t feeling well we can go out some other day.’ Raghav placed a hand on Amrita’s hair and patted her slightly.

‘Yes, ofcourse we must head back home. Why would you want to spend your evening with a cow like me? Ask the driver to turn towards home.’ Raghav was taken aback by Amrita’s gruff voice.

‘Ammu, will you be fine sitting on the front seat?’ Amrita looked up in confusion at Raghav’s query. Raghav then asked his driver to get down the car and go home.

Once Raghav took control of the steering, he looked at Amrita from the corner of his eyes,

‘Ammu, baby do you want to eat ice cream?’ Raghav knew his pregnant wife craved for ice cream 24 hours 7 days since she had conceived. He couldn’t help but chuckle slowly at the dilemma that Amrita’s face expressed.

‘I want to have ice cream. But you wanted to go out with that Tina to check out party places.’ Amrita was a mess in her head. She knew what was happening to her, but was too proud to admit.

Raghav knew he was walking on a double edged sword with his hormonally hyperactive pregnant wife. But he had to make her feel better. He pulled into the parking lot of the Ganges promenade and quickly walked over to the other side and extended his hand for his wife to come out.

As they walked towards the street food stalls, Amrita entwined her fingers tightly between Raghav’s. After they had had paani puri and ice-cream they came to sit on one of the river facing benches, their hands still entwined.

‘Do you feel better?’ Raghav asked with a glint in his eyes.

‘You think I am one mad woman. Isn’t it? But let me tell you I am not. I saw how intimately you had put your hand on her shoulder.’ Amrita gave a hurtful glance towards Raghav, while he alternated his eyes between her face and the serenely flowing waters of the river infront of them.

‘’Hmmm. Tina really is very hot, isn’t she?’ Raghav pursed his lips, his eyes towards the river. Amrita’s heart sunk to her abdomen, her eyes flared wide. She pulled her hand away from Raghav, but he held his grip tightly on her.

‘Raghav. Leave me.’ It was a command, ‘Obviously why would you be interested in a pregnant cow like me? But let me tell you, if you don’t leave my hand, I will strangle your neck with my free hand, right here.’ , tears stung at the back of her eyes.

Raghav was done holding his lips pursed tight to avoid laughing. He couldn’t hold any more and broke into a snide chuckle. He blew a fist lightly into his wife’s cheek and took both her hands in his own.

‘And now that I have both your hands locked with me, what will you do, my sweetheart.’ Raghav was grinning.

Amrita let out a sigh and stooped her shoulders, ‘God, I am a hormonal wreck. You really must consider dating that pretty hag.’ She placed her head on his shoulder. He raised his head to make way for her to settle her head into the hollow of his neck as his one arm went around her shoulder.

‘You know what? I agree, maybe you’re right. But I don’t find her attractive enough.’ Raghav caressed the baby bump with his other hand, ‘I find this jealous lady with a baby bump carrying the key to the biggest joy of my life way more appealing.’ He said placing a peck on Amrita’s forehead.

‘And she happens to be my wife too. Isn’t that a bonus?’ Amrita hugged him tighter and prayed to god, for her hormones to become less havoc wrecking as soon as possible.

 

I am participating in the challenge of April with #Blogchatter

Read my AtoZ Challenge posts here

AtoZ Challenge 2018LifeStyleParenting

Affording Parenthood – AtoZ Challenge

posted by Anupriya April 1, 2018 6 Comments

Smita worked in a multinational company in the IT industry for last 5 years. Even though she was only a drop in the ocean of those who were a part of the Indian IT dream, she was extremely contended with her professional life. She loved her job which was both a reason and result of her long working hours. Even when at home she was constantly expecting a client call or manager status call, thus remained engaged with her job almost every waking moment. During weekends, she set out to achieve her creative goals. In 2 years of her marriage she had decorated her 2 BHK rented flat and re-decorated it with DIY stuff she made herself. Some of these stuff included night lamps, plant stands, bathroom mirror etc.

The responsibility of handling this super restless soul entirely rested on Sharman. Sharman was Smita’s boyfriend of 8 years turned husband of 2 years. Sharman often wondered from where Smita got her energy reserves replenished. He often blamed Smita’s workaholic attitude to the various health issues she faced. These allegations did not deter Smita from working full steam throughout the week. Instead she seemed to add more bullet points to her daily TO Do List all the time. The latest one was Yoga. “This will help in physical as well as mental wellness.” Smita argued, “Why don’t you too join me. It’ll be so much fun!” Sharman raised both in hands in submission and got back to reading his latest fiction pick.

Yes! That’s the modern power couple lifestyle that Smita and Sharman led. They worked hard throughout the week, partied harder on Friday nights through Saturday and relaxed to their hearts content the entire Sunday. But today was a slightly different kind of a Saturday. Sharman gave Smita a pensive look as they waited at the airport lobby to receive Smita’s Mom. Continue Reading

LifeStyle

Life is All About Creating Balances – #GratitudeCircle March, 2018

posted by Anupriya March 31, 2018 1 Comment

Different phases in life bring in different lessons. One such lesson that keeps recurring in my life is ‘Life is all about creating balances’. The month of March, 2018 that just went by was all about this very lesson.

The month began with high pitched preparations for my husband’s first cousin’s wedding. It was the grand Indian wedding with 5 days of preceding celebrations, dance performance practices, majestically set-up venues and ravishingly dressed people. It took some planning to manage home, Nik’s school along with attendance at all the functions. I made myself present at all the do(s) but made sure that I was home in time to give Nik ample sleep to be able to attend school next day. It was one hell of a fun week of meeting the extended family and exchange notes beyond the regular whatsapp updates. Continue Reading

LifeStyle

Life Lessons from Our Travel Diaries – #SayYesToTheWorld

posted by Anupriya March 25, 2018 0 comments

When I shifted to Kolkata by virtue of marriage, I was bombarded with questions about how I was able to cope with the slow life if the City of Joy. Everyone knew that before marriage I had studied and worked in the fast paced city of Mumbai. Thus everyone expected me to have a wry opinion of the laid back lifestyle that people lived in Kolkata and complain about absolute absence of night life as compared to Mumbai.

What they did not know is that in a span of 8 years preceding my marriage I had lived in 6 different cities for work and study. These excluded my native city where I completed my graduation. Of these cities two were fast paced metro cities of Delhi and Mumbai, while others were nice friendly ones (Lucknow, Pune, Mysore) that enabled me to decided my own pace and live a more comfortable life.

So yes, let me come back to the question that every family member seemed to have for me. After the first few instances I was so bored of explaining to them why the cities’ culture did not bother me and that instead I love the city as much as I loved my previous city, I coined a new term as my standard answer. I told them that I was ‘Geography Neutral’. And I really enjoyed the startled look they gave in response.

But I realized the true meaning of being geography neutral last year when I took our first overseas trip with my husband. As a matter of fact, my husband too has had a similar life to that of mine, as far as the concept of being ‘Geography Neutral’ is concerned. Our experiences of living alone in various cities and frequent domestic travelling for work, family and leisure culminated into travelling lessons that I had garnered. These lessons helped us in numerous ways and made our holiday more fun. Here are snippets from our travel experiences that made us realize that traveling and exploring more helps one #SayYesToTheWorld

Finding the Way

Finding ones way to various destinations within cities wasn’t as easy 15 years back because GPS wasn’t as accessible. Yet I have managed to learn by heart the routes to all important destinations, in all the cities that I have lived. To an extent that when we were in Paris for three days, we decided to give our GPS a break and traversed across the city only with the help of maps. It was like two kids playing treasure hunt with the real world. And I must tell you it was real fun.

Using the Local Transport

When we initially moved out of our home cities as students, we were generally on tight budgets and thus could not afford the luxury of private taxies or even 2 tier train tickets. I most preferred to take the fastest moving public transport of the cities i.e. the local passenger trains. Somehow I found these inter-city journeys spiritually exhilarating. The agility to change platforms, hop on to the just about to leave trains and rush to the next destination within limited time are some skills that came accrued. Oh! And whoever has travelled abroad will vouch for the fact that these skills can be vital when in a foreign land.

Using the Bus No. Eleven

While in hostel, when we did not get an auto-rikshaw to reach the station, we took to walk the way and jovially consoled each other for taking the Bus No. Eleven (that’s the two legs on which we stand and walk). Somehow, in India we undermine the importance and need to walk and take offence on being forced to walk. A research says that we Indians are the laziest walkers in the world ( the ones who dwell in the cities that is). I was completely oblivious of this fact until I had to walk during my time in Paris and Nice. We walked an average of 4 km every day. Once back, I have been trying to walk atleast over a kilometer everyday. The prior average was 400-500 mts. It isn’t a news that walking has its benefits!

Food adjustments

Prior to our travel we were advised by friends who had already been to Switzerland about the best restaurants to have ‘Indian Home Style’ food in all the major cities. We politely accepted the recommendations that were forwarded to us, but sighed at each other with a knowing look. What’s the use of travelling so far and pine for Indian home style food? I understand that many people especially vegetarians find it difficult to get any culinary satisfaction when travelling to far off places where the food culture is very different. Yet both of us are adventurous enough to survive on whatever is available on the local platter. We really enjoyed the local street food and desserts throughout our trip.

Open Up to Mankind

As a habit whenever I deal with any shopkeepers or a cab or auto driver, I strike a conversation with him/her to know more about the city or his experiences in the city. If you have never tried talking to a stranger, you may not be able to appreciate the light heartedness it brings to you, even if you are having a tough time in a new place. The habit remained with me and I made the most of my opportunity to talk to my tour driver who took us to Monacco and Monte Carlo. We figured that he was an Italian. He told us about his life in Italy and why he chose to work in France. When I told him that all that I know about Italy is its fame for Pizza and Mafia, he told us his families experiences with the Italian Mafia, which I would say were very intriguing.  Although, entertaining guests with true or made up stories might be his profession, I may never be able to forget the good time we spent in his company.

Restore your Faith in Mankind

At this juncture I recall an incident from our time in Bern, Switzerland. We had hired two bicycles to ride through the city and mindlessly rode downhill (the thrill of speed was just irresistible). Once at the bottom of the city valley, we realized that we had a humungous task now to walk uphill that too along with the bicycles. Just then, a local resident came across and asked us if we were worried about reaching the top. Our solemn faces gave him the answer. He smiled at us and told us that there is a monorail lift that will take us to the top. We sighed in relief and asked for directions. He showed us by pointing his finger, the direction where the lift station was and told us to follow him. Once at the pick-up point he enquired if we had our travel passes. When we answered in affirmative, he went to the ticket vending machine and came back to us with two tickets. We looked up at him in confusion. He told us that we needed two tickets for the bicycles too. I pulled out the ticket change and handed it out to him, which he refused to take. We insisted, but he listened none of it. He wished us luck for the rest of our trip and took leave. Disbelieving, we looked at each other and our faith in mankind was restored.

Well, these are just few of the memorable things that travelling has brought unto my life. If I were to spend some more time thinking, I could easily double up this post with a sequel. Yet, I would like to thank Lufthansa for making our travel to and fro the far off lands comfortable and memorable. I really wish for every person to find joy in travelling and explore the beautiful world that exists.

Kids LearningLifeStyle

Water is a Luxury – Do Not Waste It

posted by Anupriya March 23, 2018 0 comments

Have you ever wondered how much water goes down the drain from a leaking tap in 24 hours?

Let’s do a simple basic mathematics. Let’s say 2 drops are going down every minute from a tap.

1 drop                                                                   = 0.05 ml

Number of drops in a day                             = 2 * 60 * 60 * 24 = 172,800 drops

Amount of water gone down the drain = 8640 ml = 8.64 lt.

8.64 liters of water is more than what families in remote parts of our country get for their total household consumption every day.  

There was a time that a lower middle class household did not receive supply of water 24 x 7. They had to store water as per their requirements until water decided to visit their taps the next time. The frequency was generally twice everyday for an hour in the morning and in evening. People were frugal in making use of this limited resource.  Continue Reading