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AtoZ Challenge 2018Motherhood

Tears of a Childless Mother – #AtoZChallenge

posted by Anupriya April 23, 2018 0 comments

Amrita woke up at her regular time and realized that no one had unlocked the main gate of the house. She frowned as she cocked her head to look out as it was very unusual for her mother-in-law to be late. By this time everyday she would usual leave for the cow shed to collect milk.

Amrita hurried towards her mother-in-laws room to check on her and got her fears confirmed. The old lady was down with fever.

‘Please ask the domestic help to go and get the milk from the shed’ said the old lady in a semi asleep state. Amrita nodded to her and instead of telling her maid to go and get the milk she decided to go herself instead. Morning air would do her some good to awaken her mind.

At the cow shed she saw that the milkman was still milking the cows to give her the daily assured amount of milk for their family. Amrita often thought very irritatingly of her in-laws insistence on getting the milk from the cow shed. ‘This is the only cowshed left in the area. This too shall be shut very soon. Why can’t we switch over to packaged milk’ she had often argued. But to no avail. Nevertheless, as she sat in the waiting area overlooking the cows being milk in the traditional manual way, she kind of cherished the moment. Such antics, our kids will never be able to appreciate. Lost in her thoughts, she was brought back to the moment by a loud mow of a cow.

And there she saw her.

Mrs. Kedia looked nothing like her age. Her supple and clear skin and stiff and lean structure, made it impossible for anyone to believe that she was nearing 50 years of age. Everyday, around the same time in the morning she would come to the cowshed and feed hay to the cows with her own hands. Amrita saw that while she patted the cows one by one to feed on the fodder, she whispered in small sentences in the ears of the cows. It was as if she was having a meaningful conversation with them. If the neighborhood was to be believed, she had been following this routine like a ritual each day since last 15 years.

Amrita had heard Mrs. Kedia ‘s story from her mother-in-law and had wanted to throw up at the grossness of her situation.

Mrs. Kedia’s first born saw the day of light for just a month when he succumbed to chronic fever. The family grieved the demise for a couple of months, but rejoiced the news of her pregnancy only six months later. And this time there was double reason to celebrate, when months later she gave birth to twin boys. The household was bright with lamps and colorful bulb lights to celebrate the arrival of the twins.

Life was bliss for young Mrs. Kedia as she reveled in her fast growing twins. Time flew away in an eye’s blink and when the twins were 5 years old, she realized that she was expecting once again. Mrs. Kedia prayed to god that she be blessed with a girl child this time. Her family would be complete then. She spent her days, praying, working on the home chores and taking care of her twins, who were now going to school.

A couple of months later, Mrs. Kedia frowned for a couple of seconds, but did not really complain when the mid-wife brought a little boy-bundle of joy in her lap. But her heart went out for her husband’s younger brother’s wife, who had three girls and had medical lost all hopes of conceiving again. She looked at the tiny bundle of joy in her hands and then looked up to her sister in law. She tenderly signaled her to come near her and passed on the little boy wrapped in white cloth in sister-in-law’s hands. The mother of three girls looked on in disbelief. Her wide eyes questioned the implication of her elder sister-in-law’s action.

Mrs. Kedia smiled and nodded assuringly, telling her sister-in-law without words that she knew what she was doing. She understood how difficult life was for her younger sister-in-law. In those days society considered a woman incomplete if she failed to bear a boy child for the family. She was only insuring that life would be easy for her sister-in-law. Everyone else looked on appreciatively at her benignity, and the younger Mrs. Kedia fell down at the feet of the woman who had blessed her with a boy child.

The kids began to grow in a joint household, but the young Mrs. Kedia could not keep up her promise of gratitude over the years. She became more and more possessive of ‘HER’ son and did not like it when he addressed his taiji as ‘Badi Ma’. She snapped at him whenever he threw a tantrum that he wanted to eat with the elder boys what his ‘Badi Ma’ had cooked. One day the insecure mother declared  that they wanted to move out of the joint household and live separately.

Mrs. Kedia though hurt did not object and thought it only logical that the boy stayed with her mother without causing her any agony. She smiled sadly at her sister-in-law’s decision and got on with life.

Life seemed to be taking a smooth course untill tragedy struck Kedia household once again. And this time it came with a double blow. Mrs. Kedia had gone to the neighborhood to attend a ceremony while the boys decided to stay back and spend the evening playing. They went to the terrace to fly a kite. Some time later, a kite got stuck on the branch of the tree that was seemingly just at a hands distance from the concrete fence of the terrace. One of the twins, decide to go bold and smiled daringly at his brother telling him that he was going to get the kite back.As he climbed up on the concrete fencing wall of the terrace to reach out for the kite, he lost balance and fell down. The other twin looked down in shock. After moments of remaining numb, it occurred to him that he must run out to call his mother. Back then mobile phones were not common enough. Their father did have one, but he carried it with him for work purposes. He ran urgently towards the neighbor’s home across the road where he knew their mother had gone.

As he thought of his brother lying in a pool of blood, he ran mindlessly ignoring the speeding bike that was approaching from the end of the street.

The entire neighborhood looked tearfully at the double tragedy at the Kedia household in the form of bodies of two young boys that lay covered with white cloth. Those who heard the news, rushed the Kedia house expecting to hear heart rending wailing of a mother who had lost both her kids in a blink. But no! everyone was disturbed by the composed demeanor with which Mrs. Kedia sat at the corner. Tears refused to give away from her eyes that were set on the lifeless bodies of her sons. Relatives tried to bring her to realize the catastrophe that had hit her life by shaking her vigorously. But to no avail.

Mr. Kedia agonized by the possibility of losing his wife to the tragedy tearfully walked upto her and cried inconsolably while holding her hands. People who had witnessed this felt their blood freeze as they watched the couple who had suddenly turned childless. But Mrs. Kedia did not yield. Instead she held her husband’s hands and rubbed them trying to comfort him. What she said next has become a folklore for everyone present in the house at that time.

‘If this is what God has planned for us, we are nobody to question his will. And if he had planned to inflict pain in my life in this manner, I refuse to give in and shed even a single tear to impart him any satisfaction. Our 15 year old sons will remain alive in my memory forever. You too must not fear anything. We have a life together. Let’s not pain our sons’ souls by crying over them. Their onward journey will only become more difficult.’ She hugged her husband who was crying breathlessly.

Life continued for the Kedia household thereafter. Mrs. Kedia kept herself busy with more religious engagements like the one she practiced by spending time with the cows at the cowshed.  The gwala at the cowshed had once told her mother in law about a dialogue he had had with Mrs. Kedia.

‘Sister, why don’t you ask back for the son you had given to your sister-in-law? She still has her three daughters. You will not remain childless once you have him back.’

With a determined expression, Mrs. Kedia had replied, ‘If it was for me to bring up that kid, impulse would not have caused me to give him to my sister-in-law. He isn’t a property or a donation, that I can ask back for. And who knows, the reason why he is alive today is because he is being brought up by a different mother. I don’t even want to think about his destiny, if he were to grow up with me.’ She looked on at the cows with affection. Her eyes glistened with unshed tears that had become a part of her.

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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.

Read my other AtoZ Challenge posts here

AtoZ Challenge 2018MotherhoodWoman Empowerment

Let Go of a Toxic Relationship – AtoZ Challenge

posted by Anupriya April 13, 2018 0 comments

Amrita first saw it on social media. Various groups of students from various batches from her MBA college were talking about it. Within minutes, she received a message, ‘Do you know anything about it? How did it happen? You were close to her.’

Damn, I was close to her. She was my roommate and a cool one. Amrita thought to herself. She checked her contact list for her co-ordinates. I hope this is her active number. Amrita dialed the number and waited pensively.

‘Hi Amu’, came Ishita’s voice from the other end. There was a calm in her voice, as if she were expecting this call.

‘I just read. What happened?’ Amrita chucked off the formalities and got to the point. Anxiety was getting the better of her. Also, she knew that Ishita won’t mind. They had not been the best friends at college, but they were the coolest roommates that anyone could dream of. They had Maggie together at midnight, enjoyed the mushiest of bollywood movies umpteen times on their laptop together. Their late night tet-a-tete(s) were about everything under the sun. Amrita found it hard to believe that the lean girl who was known as the ‘Chota Bomb Bada Dhamaka’ in the batch had been through hell in her marriage. What forced her to file an FIR against her spouse and seek protection? Her head swarmed with questions as she waited for Ishita to reply.

‘He turned out to be a wife-beating puppet in the hands of her mother and sister. He…..’ as Ishita recounted her story, Amrita’s heart went out to her. With a heavy heart she said a few words of support to Ishita and disconnected the call.

Later that night, Amrita mused over what Ishita had told her.

————————————————-

That morning Ishita had left from home in a jiffy because of an important client visit and it was safe to have some time in hand when your office was 30 kms away from your home. She was excited about the meeting because the clients sounded very optimistic and the deal if finalized would mean 120% target met for Ishita. She had only been half way through, when her phone rang and Ishita froze. ‘What could it be? God let everything be fine!’ Ishita’s vision almost blurred with anxiety. She immediately took the call else her husband would think that she was trying to ignore him, which would not go down well with him.

“I have some friends coming over in the evening. So come home early and prepare some good food along with starters.” said the voice on the other end.

Ishita sighed, “That’s no problem. If the meeting goes well, then I will be able to leave early today.”

“I am not concerned about your meeting or clients. You should be home in time enough to have starters and a sumptuous dinner ready for 6 people”, he growled on the phone, “By the way did you clean the toilets today?”

Ishita felt a lump of air choke her and she whispered, “No. I had cleaned them just yesterday, so just washed them over with plain water.” Something told Ishita that this was going to get ugly.

“You are such a good for nothing bitch. I need you to go back home right now and do the cleaning. I do not wish to be embarrassed in front of my colleagues”, he was shouting now.

“But I could do that in the evening. I have an important …” Ishita tried to reason.

“Listen to me girl, I have had enough from you. So if you want to spare yourself the consequences tonight just drive back and clean the entire house” A tear rolled down her eyes as Ishita turned around her car to go back home.

Having done the cleaning, on her drive back to the office, Ishita pulled her car on the service road of the highway and reclined the driver’s seat so that she could lay back and relax for some time. That was the first day when the thought of not carrying on with this toxic relationship occurred to Ishita. A honking truck passing by woke Ishita up from her nap. She straightened her car seat switched on ignition and started for her office where on her request her boss had managed to postpone the meeting for 2 hours. She twitched with a sad grin. ‘Even my boss understands my condition. I did not have to give him any explanation when I requested a late arrival to office.’ She thought, “Then why is it that my own husband cannot see what he is doing to his seven month pregnant wife!”

Ishita’s thoughts ran in an endless loop everyday trying to figure out, how her life had come to be such a mess. She had completed her MBA three years back and was earning a handsome 6 digit salary per month when Harjeet’s family approached her parents for alliance through a common friend. Everything was nice and rosy until the wedding. But there on things had worsened beyond imagination. Her in-laws had not been discrete at all in letting her know that they had not liked the gifts conferred upon them by her parents. Very diplomatically they had led Ishita into feeling guilty about the whole thing and manipulated her into agreeing to spend her money on expensive gifts for Harjeet’s parents’ and extended family.

Things did not end there. Harjeet himself was a Management Post graduate and had ventured into a small business of his own. A couple of days into the wedding, Ishita realized that contrary to what had been presented to her family, Harjeet had not been doing well in his business. As a result Ishita was asked to take care of all the household expenses. She was also expected to perform all the daily chores of the house all by herself because they could not afford domestic help.

Initially, Ishita did not suspect any foul play because she being in a sales profession was enterprising enough to understand that life with a start up owner could be difficult and challenging. She was somehow hopeful that things would work out eventually, and thus did not mind supporting her husband financially or in any other way. Though she felt extremely exhausted running around the house as well as fulfilling her commitments towards her highly demanding job, she continued to work 20 hours a day for those few words of appreciation from her husband.

Why despite being educated and financially independent, did Ishita put one with this nonsense of a relationship? That’s because she did not want to give up so soon. Ishita feared that if she failed as a home-maker, people would get back at her parents for giving her a free hand to pursue a high flying career. She did not want anyone to tell her parents that, “See! This is what happens when you let your girls have their own way. They cease to be good wives!”

Six months down their wedding, Ishita declared her pregnancy anticipating that her in-laws would warm up to her now. That her husband would now take care of her and not abuse her any more. But things worsened. The conversations around her pregnancy were full of hopes of having a boy child. Whatever love and care was showered upon her came with a superscript, “We hope there’s a boy in there.” Harjeet’s unreasonable demands at home and consequent abuse became frequent and violent. Ishita’s only hope to have a peaceful and happy marriage now rested upon the child inside her womb. She prayed to God day and night for a boy.

Days passed by and Ishita went to her parent’s home in a different town for her delivery. She was admitted to the nursing home with an alarming pain in her abdomen. Her husband and his family were informed about the emergency. Harjeet traveled 2 hours to the hospital, met her parents, said some curt words about how he and his family should not be bothered again for such trivial matters and left without meeting her. It was for the first time that her parents came to realize about the problems Ishita had been facing in her marriage. They were astounded, but did not say much because they knew that Ishita needed all their support and care at this crucial juncture in her life.

All hell broke loose for Ishita when she was told that God had showered his blessings in the form of Goddess Lakshmi. A month later Ishita along with her daughter and parents travelled back to her husband’s house. She was terrified at the thought of the treatment her parents might be met with. Nevertheless, what could she do? A married girl could not stay at her parent’s place forever.

So what if she was qualified and financially independent! Her success quotient in life would only come from her ability to keep up a marriage that had only bitterness in its foundation.

Upon reaching her husband’s house, Ishita found a drunk disheveled man who seemed prepared to leash out at anyone who dared to confront him. Her parents while maintaining a composed demeanor tried to reason out with Harjeet. They said that this was their first child; they would definitely have a boy for a second child. Harjeet in his rage became violent and attacked her father with the glass in his hands. When her mother tried to intervene, he pulled her back with her hair and threatened her with her life if she interfered. As Ishita watched the series of events unfold infront of her she went numb and felt as if her feet were struck to the ground. She felt incapable of moving and taking any action. But suddenly she realized that Harjeet was moving towards the cradle in which her daughter was lying. It took her a couple of seconds to comprehend that her daughter was in danger. With the force of lightening she ran to pick up her daughter, shouted out at her parents to gather themselves up and run out of the house. Before a drunk Harjeet could understand what she was upto, she shot out of the house and locked the door with the keys that lay in her trouser pockets.

Ishita is running pillar to post for a battle (legal and emotional) that is hers to fight and win, so that her daughter can live a life with her head held high. As Ishita looks over her sleeping angel, she understands now that God did not confer his blessings upon her in the form of Goddess Lakshmi. Instead he sent Ma Shakti in the form of her daughter so that she would give her the strength to let go of a toxic relationship and fight back the injustice she had been tolerating for so long. Becoming a mother changed everything for her.

I am participating in the challenge of April with #Blogchatter

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AtoZ Challenge 2018MotherhoodWork and Life

Killing Time – #AtoZChallenge

posted by Anupriya April 12, 2018 2 Comments

Varsha went about her home chores in a mechanical manner. Since the birth of her younger daughter, she had left her job to be a stay at home mom. Every day she packed off her elder son to school and then prepared breakfast and lunch for her husband. Once he left, she turned her attention towards her 20 month old daughter, Labdhi.

Varsha had managed to continue with her job after her first child, Niru was born. Varsha and Prateek had agree to have a nanny for Niru so that she could pursue her career. Life seemed to be going smooth for the small family. But arrival of Labdhi, changed the ball game altogether. The couple was unanimously of the view that it wasn’t possible to raise two kids by depending solely on a nanny. Niru too was growing up to be an extremely aggressive child. As a natural course of action, Varsha decided to leave her job. When she started being at home, she realized that raising kids was an extremely exhaustive and a full time job. She had never spent such undivided time with her elder son, and now as she did it, she realized why and where they were going wrong with Niru’s upbringing. As a child he needed an emotional anchor, which the nanny failed to be.

Also a lot of her time went in taking care of the house. Even though Varsha hardly got any time from her duties as a home-maker and a mother, she missed her work. On most days when she had no time to even sit back and enjoy a cup of tea. It was a task relay throughout the day. Even on those days, Varsha wondered if she was doing justice to all the hard work that she had put in to become a Chartered Accountant. For 28 years of her life, she had held her education and her work as of utmost importance to her. And now all of a sudden, her life seemed to have taken a summersault and her priorities had changed. What amazed her was that even her parents, who had always pushed her to perform well professionally, now thought that her prime responsibility was the upbringing of her kids. Continue Reading

AtoZ Challenge 2018MotherhoodParentingWoman Empowerment

Jealous Mother-in-Law

posted by Anupriya April 11, 2018 4 Comments

Smita was at the end of her wits as she took a cab from the airport to her in-laws place. She was visiting her in-laws for a family wedding sans Sharman and was slightly uncomfortable at the idea of staying with her mother-in-law without her husband being around to play the medium. But on second thoughts she was also curious to know how her mom-in-law would treat her in her son’s absence.

In the past, Sharman’s mom had not been very welcoming of her son marrying a girl from outside their community. But she conceded to Sharman’s will and to the fact that Smita was in every way suitable for her son. Smita was equally qualified as her son, earned almost an equal salary in the same organization and not to forget, they made a presentable couple. Smita knew, that the old lady though was not so shallow, so as to give so much importance to looks, but she couldn’t help observing how her son and his lady love complemented each other in every aspect. She guessed that it irked her even more that her son was find such a nice girl on his own.

But Smita had found it very strange how a mother was always clinging to her son in her daughter-in-law’s presence as if to mark her territory or claim what was hers.  Smita often found it very outlandish how her mother-in-law had become so insecure once another lady became a part of her son’s life. She just could not get the logic behind the insecurity when they played two exclusive roles in a man’s life. With all these thoughts swarming her mind, Smita whooshed out a blow of air and got down the cab, bracing herself for what lay ahead of her.

‘Smita, mera bachcha how are you?’ Mrs. Patil held her daughter-in-laws head and laid a peck on her forehead, while Smita bowed down in respect, before entering the house.

Over the next two days the lady duo spent a lot of time in frenzy preparing for the oncoming wedding. They sat amidst a pool of shopping bags as they opened each and every package, unfolded the dress and placed it on their shoulder to admire the beauty of it on their bodice. Shortly Mrs. Patil became busy with re-packing their shopping and giving out instructions to the cook to prepare dishes that Smita liked. Smita observed her mother-in-law, intrigued by an absolutely different facet of her personality. In the last two days Mrs. Patil had been extremely sweet to her and gone out of her way to please Smita. She was also confused by her behavior.

Last time when Smita was at her in-laws with Sharman, she had found herself continuously on the edge. Sharman’s mom was continuously summoning her son to lend her a hand for some house chore or be all ears as she went around ranting about what other members in the family were upto. Smita was exasperated at the way her privacy was being intruded. There was absolutely no space for the couple in the house. It was always about ‘Sharman, your father wants you to do this’, or ‘Sharman, please help me putting this in the store’, or ‘Sharman, let’s go out to your favorite dinner place today’.

When Mrs. Patil was not calling out on her son, she would be busy talking to Smita,

‘You know what Smita? Sharman never went anywhere without me.’

Or

‘Smita, you must know that everyone in the family considers Sharman to be the ideal son that every mother dreams of’

Or

‘Smita, Sharman knows my taste and preferences like the back of his hand.’

At the last one, Smita had not missed the dichotomy in her tone which implied that ‘he has always had my preferences in mind, except for in your case’

Smita had felt stifled at how Mrs. Patil’s tried to absorb her son’s each and every waking minute and lay her claim on it. At one point of time, Smita had been so pissed that she had considered discussing this with Sharman, but given how much he was actually attached to his mother, she thought it better to keep mum. But the lady with whom Smita had spent the last two days was in a different avatar altogether. She was nothing like the ever fumbling, badly in need of her son mommy. Smita figured that though she definitely was a control freak, but a considerate one. She did not even once try to dominate Smita during their shopping together and instead asked for her opinion in everything. She infact was even a pleasant company. Smita was glad that she had deferred her judgment and not mentioned her reservations about Sharman’s mom to him. That night she went to bed a happy person. Also because Sharman was to arrive next day.

Little did she know that Sharman will bring along with him, the same abrasion that Smita had initially feared from her mother in law.

Next afternoon when Sharman arrived, Smita was about to run upto him to the door to receive him. Mrs. Patil, instead hurried her way past her to open the door and pull her son into her embrace. She did not leave Sharman for the next 30 minutes, as she brought him his favorite kokam sharbat, his favorite sweets and continued to talk to him about the family, the impending wedding and everything else under the roof and sun. Smita took a deep sigh and turned to retire to her room and wait for her husband inside. It was atleast another hour before Sharman showed up and called out on Smita.

Smita by then was a live wire due to pent up anger and for fear of spewing any venomous words at her husband, she just shut her eyes close and acted as if she were fast asleep. When she woke up they had no time to catch-up as Mrs. Patil  was hyperventilating on how they were going to be late for the ceremony and kept banging the door to their room, urging them to get ready quickly.

Smita had lost all enthusiasm to participate in ceremony and wanted to be left alone. She was upset about the turn around in her mother-in-laws attitude and also by her husband’s nonchalance.

Smita’s agony continued at the ceremony too. Mrs. Patil kept pulling on Sharman for every little thing, leaving Smita to the mercy of being entertained by Sharman’s cousins.

A little later into the party, when the music started playing, everyone called out for Sharman and Smita to join the dance floor. There already were many members of the family, young and old dancing to the latest bollywood hits. As Sharman took Smita’s hand and took her to the dance floor, as if on impulse Smita’s head turned to search for Mrs. Patil. Mrs. Patil’s sad yet smiling eyes, her pursed lips and a straight face tugged at Smita’s heart. She felt the weight of her piercing eyes, and she almost flinched and pulled herself out of the dance floor. She went in her mother-in-laws direction and held her by her shoulders.

‘Mom, why don’t you join us?’

Mrs. Patil turned to look at Smita in disbelief and gave way to a smile whose warmth touched Smita’s heart. The mother and couple trio held hands together and had the best dance of their life.

That night they returned home very late and retired to their rooms almost immediately. But Smita lay awake for a long time, thinking about her mother-in-law. She had a monologue with herself –

She surely loves her son way too much. But then she has single handedly brought Sharman since was 15 years. Dad, was always traveling due to his job until 3 years back when he retired. It is only logical that she is very close to her son.

But what is the need for her to be so intrusive all the time. Because she really wants to spend time with her son? May be. He has been her sole purpose to life for the longest time.

Is she jealous of me?I don’t know. But how do I figure?

Smita did not have to wait too much for the answers. Next morning, Smita woke up early and climbed up to the terrace to breathe some fresh morning air. As she ascended to the wide corner of the roof top, she saw her mother-in-law standing along the support wall with a cup of tea in her hand. As if on intuition, she turned around to see Smita who was contemplating to stay or go back to her room. Once spotted she dropped the idea of going back and with a slight smile, she went to stand by her mom-in-law’s side watching over the playground where young boys were playing cricket before going to school.

‘I can see that Sharman is very happy with you.’ These words from Mrs. Patil stunned Smita. She turned to look at her mom-in-law and tried to gauge her emotions.

‘You know what, there were times when I felt very lonely and helpless due to your dad’s absence from the household. At that time, even at the tender age of 10 years Sharman was my pillar of support. I know teenagers can be so difficult to handle, but not Sharman. Not even once in so many years, he has complained about things that I could not do for him, because I was a pseudo single mother with a chronicle ailment.’

Smita knew that Mrs. Patil suffered from asthama and bronchitis. Sharman had told her how he could never leave his mom and go for any college trips because he needed to be with his mom.

‘I had always thought that I will get Sharman married to someone of my choice, to whom I will be able to dictate how important my son was for me.’ Mrs. Patil continued, ‘Also I wanted to mold the girl to be dancing to my tunes since the beginning.’ Smita looked on without blinking at the old lady who was on the verge of tears.

‘When Sharman chose you out of his will, I was dumbfounded and spent countless nights worrying about the fact that I may get distanced from my son.’ Mrs. Patil sobbed, ‘Every time I saw Sharman walk past me to meet you or talk to you, I felt a knot in my heart.’ Her emotions gave way to her long withheld tears.

‘But last night when you held my hand and took me to the dance floor, I realized I was so wrong about you.’ Mrs. Patil took a deep breath and turned to look at Smita. Smita saw a glint of happiness in the old lady’s eyes.

‘I am glad that I raised my son well enough to desire you, deserve you and claim you to be his.’ She placed a palm on her cheek, ‘Still I must warn you that at times my menopausal hormones may lead me to act weirdly and do funny things to stake my claim on my son. But you must know that I love you like I love Sharman. Only that you do not have the years behind you.’ Smita let out a glad sigh as Mrs. PAtil giggled at what she had just said.

Smita felt alleviated of a burden off her chest.

‘I promise you I will catch up on the years very soon. And then you will love me more.’, she engulfed her mother-in-law in a bear hug before adding.

 

I am participating in the challenge of April with #Blogchatter

Read my AtoZ Challenge posts here

AtoZ Challenge 2018Kid HumorMotherhood

Free – Will of a Toddler – AtoZ Challenge

posted by Anupriya April 6, 2018 0 comments

Amrita had put Nik into a Montessori when he was 20 months. She personally thought that it was a little early, but everyone around seemed to be fussing over the fact that everyone starts going to playschool at 18 months. So she conceded. Nik was extremely enthusiastic about going to school. Amrita had deliberately chosen to put him in a play school that was closer to home and did not believe in hoarding kids for commercial gains. What she liked best about the place was that is was spacious, airy and had an ope play area with a grass lawn and swings in it. Nik absolutely loved his school. He was popular with his classmates and his teachers loved him. Everything was going well for the first six months. But one fine day Nik started throwing tantrums that he didn’t want to go the school. Amrita thought that Nik may be finding going to school very taxing after the 3-day break that he had to take due to his viral fever. But she to her plight even after a fortnight Nik continued with his reluctance to go to school and began to cry the moment she started getting him ready for school.

His behavior got Amrita worrying. Ever since the time Nik had started going to school, he had been be extremely excited at the prospect of meeting his friends and the outdoor play time at school. This turn of attitude was something that Amrita had not pre-empted and took her by surprise giving her enough reason to ponder upon what could have possibly gone wrong.

Toddlers are and extremely unpredictable species. One could be caught off-guard with toddler logic and not be able recuperate from it for a very long time. Amrita went through another week of turmoil while she tried to figure what was going on.

One of the days after Nick started throwing tantrums while getting dropped to school she tried to reason with him, “My child, one has to go to school to grow into a big boy. You will become a strong boy like papa if you go to school.” She continued with her pep talk with no real response from her son.

But it didn’t seemed to be working. Another morning she decided to change her approach. Amrita pulled him close to her and put Nik on her lap to make his comfortable and assured him that she wouldn’t force him to go to school. The following conversation followed–

  • Amrita: So we won’t go to school today. Are you ok with the idea?
  • Nik: Yes.
  • Amrita: Will you not miss your friends like Amreek, Tejas, Anushka (named a few more of his playmates) and playing with them?
  • Nik: I want to play with them.
  • Amrita: In that case you have to go to school dear.
  • Nik: Nooooo…
  • Amrita: Why? Does your Miss (the instructor) scold you?
  • Nik: (looked up into my eyes, very teary eyed himself) hmmm..

Now this came as a little surprise to Amrita. She was completely convinced that the instructors could be insistent but not rude with the kids. The Montessori was after all run by an extremely experienced lady who had been running it for more than 16 years and did not believe in hoarding in large number of kids to make profits. She was very clear with her belief in inducing only as many kids in her system, as many she could tend to personally.

  • Amrita: Why? Why did the Miss scold you?
  • Nik: No reply.

Amrita braced herself for some probing action.

  • Amrita: Did you bully another kid?
  • Nik: (shook his head in negative)
  • Amrita: Does she scold you when you play in the garden?
  • Nik: Nope.
  • Amrita: Do you not speak your rhymes when she asks you to? (getting a little impatient now)
  • Nik: Naah. I speak my rhymes nicely (still extremely grim faced)

Amrita held on for a minute. She thought about the other reasons that could instigate a stern behavior from an instructor? As Amrita thought over and over again, she recalled that Nik had not been having his lunch at the school. For the last one month the tiffin she packed for Nik had returned with signs of little or no consumption.

  • Amrita: Does Miss force you to finish your lunch box?
  • Nik: (still looking down) I will not have any lunch at school.

Bingo!

  • Amrita: You don’t want to have tiffin in school?
  • Nik: No.

Ok! This was a significant breakthrough in the enquiry.

  • Amrita: Okay then! That’s no big deal. Today you may tell your Miss that you told mamma that you won’t have your tiffin. Alright?

There was a relieved or even a winning smile on Nik’s face ! And that was it. Amrita concluded that Nik didn’t want to go to school because he didn’t like being coaxed into having his lunch. And all this drama for a little man’s free will !

One can’t beat the spirit of a 3 year old with logic. Amrita realized that she had to somehow work around Nik’s convictions without forcing anything onto Nik and make him feel heard and empowered.

P.S. : Amrita packed vanilla cake with coconut truffles for lunch that day. The box came back empty and clean !

 

I am participating in the challenge of April with #Blogchatter

Read my AtoZ Challenge posts here

AtoZ Challenge 2018MotherhoodParenting

An Embarrassed Parent ? AtoZ Challenge

posted by Anupriya April 5, 2018 0 comments

Amrita shoved Nik into the back seat of the car and herself got into the passenger seat in the front. She reclined the seat some more to make space for her bump that was still a good 6 weeks from the due date. Sensing the hassle that Amrita was in, Raghav turned the AC regulator to increase the cooling and pulled out a bottle of water from his door-side pocket holding it in Amrita’s direction. As he turned on the ignition, he caught a glimpse of his son who was sitting all glum and tight lipped.

‘Thanks for this lift. Though I was about to book a cab.’ Amrita said with a sense of relieve after gulping down some water.

‘Oh! I was out for a meeting with a client and thought of just checking with you. It so happened that the timing matched and I reached here just in time to pick you up for a ride. But where are your shopping bags? You said you were out at the food mart to buy stuff for the home?’ Raghav enquired as he drove cautiously through the evening traffic that was bustling in an urgency of the masses to return to their home.

‘I booked for their home delivery service. It’ll reach home by tomorrow.’ As Amrita said this she turned in her seat to glare at her son and looked ahead again, resting her head on the head-rest of the seat.

Sensing some tension between the mother-son duo, Raghav tried to remain cheerful through the remaining of the journey back home. On the way, he stopped over at the new food joint that claimed to serve the best waffles in town. This break seemed to lighten Amrita’s mood and helped turn Nik a bit more cheerful, though everytime he looked at Amrita he was visibly grudging.  Raghav took note of this and decided to take it up later with Amrita.

Later that night, once Nik had been put to sleep and the couple were preparing to retire to bed themselves, Raghav broached up the topic,

‘So happened at the food mart today? You looked completely hassled and Nik too was out of his elements. I could clearly make out that something had transpired between you two.’ Raghav said, raising his hand and resting his head on it.

Amrita tried to find her extra cushions to support her bulging tummy and lied down facing Raghav.

‘Tell me one thing! Why do these people at the retail marts place all kinds of chocolates and mints and candies, just near their payment counters?’ Amrita was exasperated.

Raghav raised his chin in contemplation, ‘That’s because they want to cash in on that one trait of their visitors which will make them pick up things on impulsive while they wait for their turn at the cash counters.’ With a big nod of his head he turned to look at Amrita, ‘You get it, right?’

Amrita landed a blow with her fist on Raghav’s shoulder, ‘Thanks for reminding. But no thanks. Remember, I too passed out from the same MBA batch along with you. I know all this marketing strategy shit. But my problem is, it’s just so unfair to the parents.’ Amrita was so agitated that she wanted to sit upright, but it had taken her so much effort to adjust herself in a comfortable lying position that she dropped the idea,

‘Today Nik created such a scene at the mart. He wanted that useless candy pack that contains a peanut size chocolate and a mini toy. I refused to buy him that over priced thing and he threw a tantrum. Oh God! Everyone was looking at us.’ Raghav saw the horror that Amrita had felt at the mart, in her tone and her wide eyes.

‘Some were looking at Nik, thinking what a brat he was. And there were others who gave him a sympathetic look and saw me with contempt. As if telling me ‘why don’t to buy it for him? It’s just 40 bucks’. I mean it was a terror to pay the bill and walk out in a haste, pulling on a howling 5 year old’s hands.’

Raghav wore a smug expression as he adjusted his pillow to turn sideways.

‘Amrita, do you remember the KYC seminar we attended at Nik’s school around 3-4 months back?’

‘KYC? Oh yes, the Know Your Child workshop. But what’s that got to do with all that happened at….’ Amrita bit her tongue before she could complete her sentence and looked apologetically at Raghav.

Raghav shrugged and rolled his eyes, ‘So much for attending a 2 hour workshop with one of the best child psychologists in the country. No cheer up and go to sleep.’  Raghav straightened his back and turned the other way signaling that he was switching off his battery.

Amrita lay wide awake thinking about what Raghav had just reminded her.

Mr. Ramanath Murthy, the chief secy of the SSI group of schools. It was in one of the city branch of the same group where Nik studied. Mr. Murthy was a renowned child psychologist, counselor and educator. Every year he conducted a workshop by the name ‘Know Your Child’ where he helped the parents identify issues they faced at home while dealing with their kids and discussed the same in detail. He had a unique style of analyzing the problems raised by parents and provided unbeatable anecdotes that brought out an unfathomable perspective to the entire thing.

In the last workshop that Amrita and Raghav had attended together, this very issue about kids throwing tantrums in malls and shopping marts was broached up by a parent. Amrita still remembered the entire conversation verbatim

Parent: I really get embarrassed when my son throws a tantrum in the middle of a shopping complex. I do not want to give in to his demands and neither do I want to create a scene on the spot.

Mr. Murthy: How many parents face the same problem?

Almost 80% of the parents present raised their hands.

Mr. Murthy: That means it really is not the child’s problem. It is a behavioral characteristic.

Loud murmurs

Another Parent: But it really is very embarrassing!

Mr. Murthy: Let me tell you a story. As a young professional I had to travel a lot. In those days most travelling happened by train. Invariably there would be toddlers in one of the compartments in the boogie and they created immense raucous to keep light sleepers like me awake all night. I have to confess that I would swear under my breadth to those parents who could not manage their kids.

Around 10 years later when I was taking my first flight with my 2 year old daughter, I had the worst nightmare of my life. My toddler was a restless bag of springs, and just would not stop running around and wail if we tried to constrict her. I still remember the “embarrassment” I felt for having to travel with such uncontrollable child. There was this old gentleman who had been watching me getting hassled over my daughter. He walked upto me and gave me a benign smile. What he said next with a wink, has stuck with me till date. He said that,

‘You have an adorable daughter. She will give you enough memories to recall when you will be an old man like me. Do not fret over the mess that she seems to be creating. People who have had kids, completely empathize with you. And the younger lot will understand, when the time comes for them to travel with their tods, like you are today. It just doesn’t matter. Look at her and savor her valor.’

With a pat on my shoulder he went back to join his family.

With all the worry creases eliminated, Amrita took a deep breath and went off to sleep.

 

I am participating in the challenge of April with #Blogchatter

Read my AtoZ Challenge posts here

AtoZ Challenge 2018MotherhoodParenting

Death – AtoZ Challenge

posted by Anupriya April 4, 2018 6 Comments

Amrita put Nik in the car and took the driver seat herself.

‘Don’t fidget with the seat belt Nik. If you don’t put it on, Police uncle will come and take us to the jail.’ Amrita screeched at her son and then sighed at the futility of her own words. At 4 years, Nik really did not understand the gravity of ‘Police uncle’ and ‘Jail’. She turned the car keys to ignite the engine and raced off across the street to drop Nik to his skating classes.

Amrita was 8 months pregnant now and was struggling while driving. Her bump did not allow her to sit upright to have a clear view of the front bonnet of the car. She had to recline in her seat a little more than she was comfortable with as a driver. It was just that years of driving on the road had refined her traffic judgment and she was able to ply safely on the road. Besides, she loved driving.

She was disturbed by Nik’s squeal and abruptly applied the break, cautious enough to not ram her bump into the steering.

‘What happened baby?’Amrita plied the car on the left before coming to halt.

‘Mamma! There was a cat infront of the car. I feared it might get hurt.’ Nik’s innocent concern left Amrita smiling.

‘Oh! I am sure it’s ok. These street cats and dogs have a way of remaining safe on the road. They are experts at that.’ Amrita turned on the car to resume her drive.

And then a fear engulfed her. Had the cat died, what would she tell Nik? Nik did not yet know what words like ‘dead’ and ‘death’ meant, or atlest she thought so.

As Amrita dropped Nik to his activity class, more lines of worry appeared on her forehead. How was she going to manage the situation in her house next week?

Raghav’s first cousin Mita had passed away of lung cancer at a rather young age of 40 years, leaving behind her husband and two sons aged 12 years and 3 years. The entire family had been devastated. They all found it difficult to cope with their favorite cousin. Though Amrita empathized with the loss that Mita’s husband Deven had suffered her heart went out more for the kids. Especially for young Vansh. He had hardly spent any time with his mom since his birth. Mita’s cancer had been detected right after his birth and had since been struggling with the harsh treatment that the disease called for. Little Vansh was only aware of a person called mom in the house who was mostly ill and hardly had any opportunity to experience the joys of childhood with his mother. And now Mita was gone, forever.

Amrita tried to keep stress at bay by avoiding thinking too much about Deven and the boys. But her worries ran deeper. An element of this tragedy was about to touch her own life. They had invited Deven and the boys to visit them so as to ebb out the awkwardness that Deven felt since Mita’s demise.  Next week Deven would be here with the boys and stay with them for 2 days. Amrita’s fear was what or how would Nik react to Mita’s absence.

No! Nik obviously was too young to be attached to Mita, but he was very likely to be curious by absence of Vansh’s mom.

How was she ever going to explain to her 4 year old that Vansh’s mother wasn’t with us for good! Her fears got confirmed later that week when Nik came up hopping to her,

‘Mom! Grandmother says that my cousin Vansh is coming to our home next week. Is it true?’ Amrita nodded kindly.

‘Will Vansh come with his mom and dad? Because I hear that he is even younger than I am.’ Something tugged at Amrita’s heart as she pondered for an appropriate reply.

‘Tell me mom! Which room will Vansh stay in with his mom and dad?’ Nik nudged further.

Amrita held Nik by his shoulders and engulfed him into a bear hug. She then made him sit by her side, her arms still around him,

‘Baby! It’s true that Vansh is coming to stay with us next week. But he is coming with his father and elder brother. Remember Gora bhaiya? You met him on our last visit to Jaipur? Vansh’s mamaa was not well, she is in the hospital for treatment. So she is not coming with them.’ Nik heard Amrita’s words with a lot of concentration and nodded as if on cue.

With a heavy heart, Amrita continued, ‘Baby! Vansh might miss his mother. So you must not ask him anything about her.’ Her hold tightened a bit around Nik’s shoulder. She was very skeptical about the effect of her words on a tender 4 year old mind. By now Nik was really distracted by the noises of kids playing right outside their home and nodded absent mindedly before running out to see big boys play gully cricket.

Next week when Deven arrived with the boys, Amrita and family welcome them with warm hearts. They tried to make their stay as normal as it could be for everyone. It was quite evident that everyone was missing that one person who had bound them in the past and now the common grief of her absence put them together. Amrita kept her fingers crossed for Nik to not make true her worst fears. He was extremely friendly towards Vansh, but never once did he check with anyone on where Vansh’s Mamma was.

Two days later when the guests left, Amrita took a sigh of relief. She dreaded the moment when she would have to tell her little boy about what death or dying meant. For now she had managed to keep the question from surfacing,  but she wondered for how long would it be before she would have to face the demons of parenting.  And as she feared, the moment came very soon.

‘Mamma! Vedansh bhaiya was very upset in the car pool today’ around a fortnight later, Nik spoke out as he returned from school and out his shoes back in the rack.

‘Why so?’ Amrita knew Vedansh was a companion in the car pool that Nik used to ply to and fro from the school. He was around 3 years elder to Nik.

‘He said that his pet dog had died.’ Nik said concern lurking in his eyes.

Amrita stopped short in her tracks, as she heard Nik’s words. She turned to look at Nik who was busy pulling out his tiffin box to keep it in the kitchen for washing.

‘Mamma! Vedansh Bhaiya said that his dog was very ill and could not eat or drink anything. He became so week that he had no energy to walk around. Last evening he did not wake up. They had to put him to permanent sleep in some other place, where he would not be disturbed.’ A tear rolled down Amrita’s eye as she heard a child account of what death meant. She felt all blood drain out from her system as Nik came to her and hugged her legs. In an impulse her hands went around her son’s head.

Such was life. That day Amrita realized for the first time that this world was warm and harsh both. Parents fear for their kids’ getting exposure to the harsh realities of life. We protect them as much as we can, yet there is no running away. Life finds its way towards kids. They come to understand everything, as and when the right time comes.

 

I am participating in the challenge of April with #Blogchatter

Read my AtoZ Challenge posts here

AtoZ Challenge 2018Kids LearningMotherhoodParenting

Competition – AtoZ Challenge

posted by Anupriya April 3, 2018 5 Comments

Amrita finished with her daily house chores and sat down with her liquor tea to have some time to herself before her elder son Nik, returned from school. She checked upon the time once again, worried why her mother-in-law wasn’t home yet. She had gone out grocery shopping 2 hours back and should have returned by now.

The bell rang, and Amrita cautiously rushed to open the door for her panting mom-in-law.

‘It took you a little longer than usual. Isn’t it?’ Amrita asked as Radhaji handed over the plastic bags to the domestic help. Amrita signaled to the help to bring her a glass of water and ushered Radhaji in the living room to relax.

‘I met Shilpa on my way and spent some time chit chatting.’ Radhaji told Smita as she gulped down the cold plain liquid that the domestic help had just brought her.

‘Oh! Shilpa. How is she? And how’s Somansh. He is going to school now, isn’t it? He’s just 6 months younger than our Nik.’ Amrita inquired. Mention of Shilpa piqued her interest as a long standing family friend. Her husband Raghav and Shilpa’s brother had been classmates at school and Shilpa had come to live in their neighborhood after her wedding.

Radhaji widened her eyes as she let her hair lose to detangle it and tie it back into a bun. ‘Somansh is now going to the good old school where his father went. She was all praises about the school. Somansh seems to be doing very well there.’

Amrita narrowed her eyes into a slit and grinned with her lips towards one side, ‘Doing good? How do you measure the performance of a 3 year old who has just started school.’

Radhaji clucked her tongue, ‘It’s not that. She was telling me that Somansh nows how to write all his alphabets and number up till 70. I mean, I was like already, our Nik knows nothing in comparison. Do you think it was a mistake to send him to this new age school. I sometimes wonder what they teach the children their.’

Amrita listened to Radhaji, all amused about the way she was making it sound all dramatic. She nodded her head unalarmingly, ‘Mom! There’s nothing to worry. Nik is just 4 years and they have started with numbers and alphabets in his school just a month back. And what’s the rush, eventually every child is expected to read and write only when they reach the age of 6 years.’

‘No! But I did not like it when I had to admit to Shilpa that our Nik was lagging behind in his skills and abilities. It was almost mortifying. You must make a visit to the school and talk this out with the teachers as to why are our kids not at par with kids in other schools.’

Amrita arched her brows and bit her lower lip. She couldn’t believe her ears. ‘What was it with their parents’ generation? They  seemed to be so tied down to my-kid-is-better-than-yours way of life.’ Amrita thought not daring to speak her mind, lest it may offend the old lady.

‘Mom! It’s OK. Seriously I am not too worried about Nik’s capabilities. I know for sure that we are raising him well and that the school he is going to is doing their job. He is developing all the required skills for his age. Please don’t get into such rat race kind of discussion on ‘my child knows this, how about yours’. It will do nobody any good.’ Smita folded the newspaper and got up to stack it on the shelf.

Radhaji puffed out a mouth full of air, ‘Leave aside this discussion. Go and have some rest. Once Nik comes home you will have no time to even breathe.’

Amrita nodded unenthusiastically, ‘I don’t know what’s up with this boy. I have to force him to his skating and dance classes every day. If I don’t drive him down to his classes, he just won’t go. How will I manage him once the baby arrives?’

Radhaji smiled empathetically. Raising the elder child with a younger one on the way always came with a mixed bag of emotions. There was joy of having a child and giving your elder child a sibling. But there were more anxieties about how to cope up with the elder child who seems to get into a war for attention from the parents. Smita sure had some difficult months ahead of her.

‘It’s OK. Nik is very young. He can re-join the skating classed once you are back in action after your delivery. Let him enjoy at home only till then.’

‘No Mom! It’s not done. There’s so much competition these days. Every child knows everything. And if we don’t start young, he will get caught in the rut of school and academics. He will never be able to develop any interests or passions. He ought to go for his extra-cirricular classes.’ Amrita sounded very determined.

Radhaji smiled at her daughter-in-law who stood with her hands on the small of her back. She observed that it was now just a matter of time. They may have to rush to the hospital anyday now. But she did not like the creases of worry on Amrita’s forehead. And for what reason? Because Nik hassled over going to his skating and dance classes!

‘Amrita! Aren’t you contradicting yourself here? Sometime back when I was fretting over what Nik was studying at school, it was you only who assured me that everything will fall in place with time. Then why are you now fussing in a similar about his willingness to go for his extra-curricular classes? You should be unfazed by competition and focus on the unique requirements of your kid.’

Radhaji’s words hit at Amrita. She realized that while she had internalized the fact that her son will come around academically, she was worried that he may lose the race of over-all development by not being very keen on his extra-curricular activities. Amrita then reminisced her childhood, where her parents had always been focused on the studies and often mulled that their middle-class roots did not allow them to think beyond academics. Extra-curricula’s and extra classes were for the affluent.

She was probably fighting her own demons when she pushed Nik to participate in activities other than academics. She was scared that her son may lose out on this very important avenue of learning and enjoying his life. Nik really was very young. She must give him time and nurture him to an age where he may be able to decide his own passions and have the courage to follow them. Her role was that of a facilitator, ad that she could do later too.

I am participating in the challenge of April with #Blogchatter

Read my AtoZ Challenge posts here

AtoZ Challenge 2018MotherhoodParenting

Baby Blues – AtoZChallenge

posted by Anupriya April 2, 2018 0 comments

Smita reached office and hustled to the lobby in order to make a personal call. Initially she had planned to work from home for the entire week that her mother was scheduled to be in Hyderabad, but things had not gone as per plan. Neither Smita’s plan nor Mrs. Gunjal’s. After she and Sharman refused to go to the gynecologist with her, Mrs. Gunjal had taken to giving them both royal a cold shoulder. In the last two days, she only joined them for meals and then left to spend her time in the recreation centre of their residential complex.

‘It’s boring in your flat and there are other women my age with no grandchildren who also come there to spend some time.’, she had explained mournfully . Sharman had suppressed laughter at this statement of hers, while Smita had groaned in irritation. She decided that working from her office was a better option than to become a witness to her annoyed and unreasonable mom.

Amrita picked up the call almost instantly,

‘How are you babes? Hope the weather at your place is fine.’ Smita did not miss the sarcasm in her big sister’s voice. Obviously, Mrs. Gunjal had shared the reason for her visit to Hyderabad to her. Amrita had messaged Smita on the day of their mother’s arrival. The message read, ‘Tell me how it goes!’ followed by 5 winking emoticons.

‘Mom went ballistic.’ Smita declared, ‘She has decided to remain stoic while she is here and make us feel miserable for deciding to not have a child yet’ Irritation rising high in her voice. Amrita replied with a little giggling sound.

‘Take her out today evening for a nice dinner. She’ll come around.’ Amrita knew the way to her mom’s heart.

‘Hmm! I’ll ask Sharman to check out for a North Indian restaurant and be home early today.’ Smita said as she leaned on the railing, ‘How about you? How’s your health? You really were glowing the last time we spoke on the video call.’ Smita set aside all her worries and turned her attention to her sister.

‘Uffo! Silly girl, just don’t imagine things. The pregnancy glow does not show until the last trimester. And considering that…’ Amrita stopped abruptly, not sure if she should continue. Smita was quick to sense something amiss.

‘What happened di? Considering what?’

Amrita bit her tongue between the side of her jaws and contemplated if she should speak her heart out.

‘Di! Are you there? What is it? Please tell me…’ Smita was almost panicking.

‘Ugghhh! Nothing yaar. You know this child was not planned. Even though Raghav is quite enthusiastic about this kid, I am not. This child will mean the end of my career. I cannot continue to work with two kids towing my life.’

‘But Di! Think about Nik. Wouldn’t it do him good if he had a sibling? I mean, look at us, even if we have lived miles apart for almost a decade now, you and I know who to fall back on whenever there’s a crisis.’ Smita restrained from sounding paranoid, but she was really scared for her sister.

‘Common Smita, both of us have friends who are only kids. And their life is good enough. It’s not that they are not happy being. And about Nik. He will have his cousins for sure.’

‘Di, you are the only one in my life right now who feels it’s ok if I and Sharman do not if to have a kid. And I can’t even tell you what a relief it is. Incase you do not wish to have this child, it’s your choice. I’ll stand by you no matter what.’ Smita was structuring her thought’s simultaneously as she spoke, ‘But I am all in favor of Nik having a sibling. I can’t even how my life would be without you.’

Amrita did not respond, but Smita knew from the noise of her flaring nostrils that she was still listening, ‘Di! When life is all hunky dory, it doesn’t matter if you are an only child. But it I during personal challenges and testing times especially those that involve the parents, that an individual becomes lonely in the absence of siblings. I only want to say that just because you fear that your career will get de-railed, do not decide on an abortion. You and Raghav jiju are financially sound even if you do not work and life is much more than a career.’ Smita was now walking back towards her cubicle.

‘Hmm! Maybe you are right. But I am still not sure.’ Amrita was in a rocking state of mid and did not wish to speak much. But Smita’s work’s had set her thinking, once again. She wished her sister better luck with their mom and disconnected the call.

That night, when Amrita retired to her room she was in a disheveled state of mind. Her conversation with her sister had rendered her vulnerable for the entire day and she had left Nik to his grandmother’s care after feeding him and excused herself to get some rest. As soon as Amrita hit the pillow, she snoozed with doubt still looming large in her mind.

When Raghav’s mobile went live at 4 am in the morning, Amrita instantly knew what the news was. Raghav’s best friend Sameer’s father had been in the intensive care unit for last 4 days and the doctors had given up on his multiple organ disorders. They had visited him at the hospital only last evening. Smita had been heart broken at how lonely Sameer had been. His wife was at home to take care of their 2 year old and other than a couple of friends, there was no one that Sameer could fall back on. All his relatives live far away in his native city. His parents also stayed in the same city untill last year when on his insistence they had shifted to live with their only son.

His call at this hour meant only one thing. His father had passed away. Raghav and Smita rushed to the hospital after leaving Nik to sleep in his grandparents room. As they walked into the corridor where they expected to meet Sameer, Smita was shaken by the silence in the hospital. Smita’s eyes widened and her heart went out to Sameer as they saw him sitting on the bench at the end of the corridor. He was sitting with his head lowered and covered by his palms.

Amrita suddenly woke up with a start. She felt sweat beads on her temples and it her a couple of seconds to start breathing normally. The sight of Sameer, all lonely and putting up a strong front to get through the formalities at the hospital after his father’s demise had haunted Amrita for days. Raghav had told her that Sameer was really shattered yet was not allowing himself to stand weak lest there would be no one would look after mother. She had often thought that if he had had a sibling, who would have stood by his side during these testing times, Sameer would have a shoulder to cry on and join hands while dealing with the loss. The sight of Sameer sitting alone in a dark corridor still haunted her.

As Amrita kept back the glass of water on the side stand, her conversation with her little sister came back to her in its full meaning. There were numerous people she had known who were only kids, yet she herself had never felt a pang of jealousy with them ever. While she knew for sure that the vice-versa wasn’t true. Her friends who were only kids, often regretted the fact that they had never enjoyed the bickering from a sibling, or had never known the feeling of having their back covered whenever they were up against their parent’s will.

In that moment, Amrita looked own and rubbed her hand on her belly. She realized that the life in her womb, was going to bring only joy and love in their lives and in Nik’s life. As her baby blues faded away, Amrita slumped back into her sleep. This time a peaceful one.

 

I am participating in the challenge of April with #Blogchatter

Read my AtoZ Challenge posts here