AtoZ Challenge April 2018

AtoZ Challenge 2018Kids & Women LifeStyleParenting

A Zen Life – #AtoZChallenge 2018

posted by Anupriya April 30, 2018 0 comments

Mr. Gunjal was busy getting the house in place. He also made his wife chalk out the food menu for whole of next week, and stocked up the kitchen with every single item that would make his grandchildren happy. Candies, lollipops, all kinds of berries available in the local market and kids favorite fruits – he had it all sorted. Mrs. Gunjal though, was more excited to have her girls to herself for an entire week. Their husbands were to join only a week later for the celebrations. Continue Reading

AtoZ Challenge 2018MotherhoodParenting

Trying to be a Yes Mom – #AtoZChallenge

posted by Anupriya April 28, 2018 0 comments

Amrita woke up with a resolute gleam in her eyes. Raghav immediately sensed that his wife was upto something and asked as he picked up Nik in his arms to wake him up.

“What’s up wifey? You look like you are prepping yourself up for something today.” Amrita grinned and nodded with appreciation at her superbly observant husband. Yes I am on a very important mission today, she thought.

“I’m going to be a YES MOM today.”, announced  Amrita inviting a confused frown from Raghav, who was still struggling with a sleepy Nik. “I’ve been reading a lot about negative impacts of saying no to kids. They are all talking a lot about being a YES MOM and how it can be a booster for your kids’ growth and development. So I decided that I too must give this YES MOM thing a shot.”  Amrita further explained.

Raghav smirked and whispered something into his son’s ears. Nik immediately jumped up and gave out a loud shout of joy. Continue Reading

AtoZ Challenge 2018Kids & Women LifeStyle

Xerox Habits – #AtoZChallenge

posted by Anupriya April 27, 2018 1 Comment

Amrita wasn’t really feeling like socializing at the party today. It was short call from her mother-in-law to get ready for a family get-together in the honor of …. ahh forget it! With a family gathering almost every week, it had stopped mattering to Amrita what the occasion was. She had set a code with her mother in law, Radhaji to figure how pompously or soberly she should get dressed for the occasion.

“Get ready for a normal gathering dear. Raghav will pick you up by eight and I’ll stay back home to be with the kids.” a brief call by Radhaji was enough.

On another occasion, she would say, “We need to go to a large family gathering dear.” an indication enough for Amrita to up her dressing quotient a little for the occasion. She would gather the details of the gathering on her way in the car.

It’s not that Amrita did not enjoy going out. Infact she really liked meeting most of her husband’s cousins and had come to be friends with quite a few of them over the years. It’s just that the frequency sometimes got on to her. Nevertheless, Amrita did look forward to meet people especially after she had left her job.  These gatherings gave her the necessary oxygen to keep going through the motions of her otherwise monotonous life.

As Amrita entered the banquet hall at a newly inaugurated restaurant, she saw that around 50 people had already graced the occasion of annotation of one of her husband’s cousins as a Doctor.

Amrita shared warm pleasantries with most of the people present already. And then got into a her comfort zone with some of her husband’s first cousins and their spouses.

“So Amrita, what are you upto these days.”

“Nothing much. Just waiting for Nik’s vacations to begin and start packing for our trip to my sister’s place.”  Amrita said with a glint in her eyes.

“Oh! I happened to see your sister’s wedding picks on the social media. You two look so similar. Almost like twins.” exclaimed a cousin, as Raghav joined them at the table offering a mocktail made to order for his wife.

“Yeah! They are twins. Didn’t you know.” Raghav took a dig at his cousin as well as his wife, who he knew was tired of people calling her and her 5 years younger sister as twins.

“Yes! We do look similar. But twins? Please give me a break. They mean to say that either my girl looks beyond her age or I do not look my age. I chose to take offence on both.” Amrita often quipped whenever someone compared her and Smita as twins.

“But you two do look like ditto!” Raghav would then reply as a matter of fact and Amrita would sigh admittedly.

“I know. God it must be some very strong DNAs at work.” she grinned as she gave her husband a sharp look.

“Yeah in our case DNAs havn’t done their job too well.”, an eves dropping aunt pitched in.

“Hi there, Massi! How have you been?” Raghav turned towards his aunt and gave her a side hug. The short and stout lady ruffled Raghav’s hair fondly and asked him about her sister’s where abouts.

“Oh! Somebody had to stay back to look on the sleeping kids. Ma insisted that we go and she stay.”

“Oh! But talking about the DNA thing, you know what the similarities are not just about the looks.” Everyone looked on amusingly at the 50 something lady. They knew she would have something interesting to share with the group.

“Oh Mom! Please, we do not need your woven stories today. Just not in the mood.” said Mohan, the elder son, whom she dismissed with a slap on his arm.

“So when we were young we four sisters shared the room and our two brothers shared one room and the parents and grandparents shared one bedroom each. So that left no separate room for the guests whenever there were any.” Radhaji’s elder sister had everyone hooked with her stupefying story telling skills.

“So once my maternal cousin came stay with us and decided to take turns to sleep in each bedroom so as not to cause too much continuous discomfort to anyone in particular. After four days of his stay, he walked upto to my mother and asked her, Bua are you trying to save money? Is there a problem?. My Ma was almost bewildered at this question, so she asked her nephew the reason as to why he thought so.” It was evident to everyone that the older lady was going to come up with some thing really funny, because she was already grinning thinking about what was to follow.

“So what had happened?”

“Ahh! My cousin had spent four nights sleeping in four different rooms of the house with different occupants and he had not been able to have a sound sleep because even during the month of June, our fans were running at low speed. When he mentioned this to my mom, she said that in her room they preferred slow speed of fan because that’s how  her husband liked it and she had gotten used to it. Later that evening, when she mentioned the same to my Dadi, she got a similar reply. Betaji, your Dadaji likes the fan slow and so I too got used to it. In our times who would object to the husband’s will. It was revealed at dinner that all six of the siblings also like the fan to be slow. I find the loud noise of a fast running fan to be very distracting, said the younger one of your uncles.” Listening to this everyone in the group broke into laughter. That is, except for Amrita and Raghav. Amrita was startled, while Raghav was grinning.

“Maasiji, you mean to say, it’s a DNA thing. Your habit of liking the fan slow!” exclaimed Amrita. To this she got a long faced nod from Raghav’s aunt. And she herself slapped her forehead in response as everyone looked on in confusion. So Amrita decided to explain,

“So every since we’ve been married, I have had this basic difference with Raghav where he would want the fan slow even when I would be sweating. He just wouldn’t give in. And his explanation always is, I find the loud noise of a fast running fan to be very distracting. Thank god we have air conditioners, otherwise I would never be able to sleep in the same room with your nephew.” Amrita blushed at her last sentence and everyone in the group broke into a loud roar.

Well that’s some complex percolation of DNA across generations creating Xerox habits.

Read my other AtoZ Challenge posts here

AtoZ Challenge 2018Kid IssuesMotherhood

A Worried Single Mom – #AtoZChallenge

posted by Anupriya April 26, 2018 0 comments

Amrita picked up some pastries and muffins from their favorite bakery and proceeded to her friend’s place. Sakshi had been a sole friend in the town ever since she came to live here post her marriage. They had met as client and vendor in her first job at a web designing company and hit it off almost immediately.  What Amrita appreciated most about Sakshi was that despite being a single mother of a 14 year old boy, she never played the sympathy card in any of her commitments. Instead Sakshi was a bad-ass woman, who knew what she wanted from life.

“The father of my child, my then boyfriend doesn’t know that I gave birth to this child. I decided to bring my child into this world and raise him all alone. And I have no regrets about my decision”, Sakshi was often quoted saying to her friends. Continue Reading

AtoZ Challenge 2018Kids & Women LifeStyleMotherhoodParenting

Has the Real Village Burnt ? #AtoZ Challenge

posted by Anupriya April 25, 2018 0 comments

Amrita was exhausted. She couldn’t manage the pick-up and drops for Nik’s activity classes all alone anymore.  With a little baby to nurse to, Nik’s hectic routine was taking a toll on her. At moments, she wondered if she should discontinue with some of his classes. This she contemplated would give some breathing space to him and to her. But then I would have two kids in the house all the time to take care of, she argued mentally. That would be even more hectic, she reasoned shuddering at the thought of near future when the little Lucky would no more be constricted to the cot. As she envisioned herself running after her two kids all over the home, she had creeps about how she would manage life with two boys in the house.

Amrita really wished she had some neighbor who would have kids her boy’s age and would be willing to pool and take the kids to the activity class. Things would be so much more manageable then. The thought made her brood at the fact that they were living in an independent house and not in a residential complex where most of the activity classes happened within the premises and the kids could be left on their own within the safe confines of the complex.  While her husband had grown up in the same house, where they currently resided and boasted of having a fun time growing up while playing with friends on the streets, she hardly ever saw any kids playing the roads these days. Continue Reading

AtoZ Challenge 2018ParentingWoman Empowerment

Unwarranted Extravagance on Wedding Ceremonies – #AtoZChallenge

posted by Anupriya April 24, 2018 0 comments

“Everything about last night’s wedding ceremony emanated opulence. Isn’t it?” Smita remarked as she propped her back on Sharman’s shoulder.  Last night they had attended the wedding of the sister of Sharman’s colleague and thereafter had a Saturday night out at the night flea market, shopping for decoration pieces for their home.  They were now enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon post a late brunch. Sharman was watching his favorite sports series on the television while Smita picked up a latest release by a popular mythological fiction author. But Smita’s mind kept running to the wedding function she had attended last night.

The venue was like straight out of a Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie. Decorations were abundant with colors and the choicest of accessories complemented by artistic lightwork. The garland exchange ceremony of the bride and the groom was set-up on an elevated revolving stage fitted with torch lights and flower pumps. It had felt like the Gods themselves had descended to bless the couple. It was not just the decoration, the food was galore. Continue Reading

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.

Read my other AtoZ Challenge posts here

AtoZ Challenge 2018Parenting

The Quest for Perfect Parenting

posted by Anupriya April 19, 2018 0 comments

Amrita was slightly nervous for her son Nik’s first parent teacher’s meeting at school. It wouldn’t have been too much of a worry if she had not known that her son was a hyperactive and aggressive child. She often wondered why her 4 year old son was so restless. Yet, nothing had prepared her for the feedback she received at the school from Nik’s class teacher.

‘We don’t know what comes over your son. He is extremely aggressive with other kids. Although we do understand that some kids are physical more active than the others, yet it is not appreciated. We try and talk to him, but he is extremely unyielding’, said Nik’s class supervisor.

Amrita felt her world spinning around her. She did have a difficult time managing Nik at home too. He would jump around on the sofa, throw things and physically charge at other kids if they disturbed him in any manner. Although she had been concerned earlier, but she had not taken Nik’s behavior too seriously, attributing his behavior to young age and an innate quality of a physically hyper energised kid. But such a feedback from school made the ground beneath her ground slip.

She was trying to do her best while juggling her various roles as a working mom. She spent most of her time, once back home with Nik and tried to facilitate his learning as much as possible. There were days when she felt overwhelmed with the fast pace of her life with no time for herself. Yet she was trying that Nik not suffer from the aftermaths of her hassled state of mind. But now after the meeting with his Class supervisor she realized that she had failed miserably. Nik was turning out to be the naughty tantrum throwing boy that she had had always despised and feared.

Where have I gone wrong with his upbringing?, thought Amrita. As a mother who was constantly suffering from the guilt of leaving his child back to go to work, her demons began to dig at her conscience once again. Shall I give up my job and spend more time with Nik? May be then things will change for better. Amrita went around her day at work with numerous thoughts about why and how of Nik’s feedback from school.

When she shared the reason for her distraction with her a colleague mother during lunch, the mother of two girls approaching their teens told her that everything will be ok and that Amrita must counsel his son and continue to support him while he deals his ever changing environment during his growing years. Amrita smiled back at the encouragement, but did not really feel any kind of relief from within. She reached home in the same volatile state of mind and spent her time with Nik. She was contemplating if she should try talking to her 4 year old, but wasn’t sure how much could she drive home the point she wished to make with him. So she decided against it and thought that she must wait to have a conversation with her husband before proceeding on a course of action.

Throughout the evening, her mother-in-law Radhaji observed Amrita’s distraction. She knew something from Nik’s parent teacher’s meeting was bothering her, but did not ask her anything about it in Nik’s presence. She made a mental note to brace up the topic once Nik was off to bed. Unfortunately for her, she had to leave to meet an ailing neighbor while Amrita retired to put Nik to sleep.

Once Nik was fast asleep, Amrita settled on the sofa to have her daily dose of screen time. While surfing through the channels, she came across a new program on a news channel that was meant to be a helpline for parents. The host was accompanied by a child psychologist and they were in a conversation when Amrita stumbled upon the channel. The words ‘parenting philosophies’ caught her attention and she decided to watch the show.

TV Anchor: So Dr. Tripathi, how do you think that parenting is a larger challenge for the new generation parents?

Dr. Tripathi: Before I answer your question, I must give you some background to how like everything, parenting too has evolved over decades and generations.

TV Anchor: Oh! You mean to say that parenting methods are also evolving like technology?

Dr. Tripathi: Absolutely! The Genration Y parents are of the view that parenting in 21st century is much more complicated than that when they were kids themselves. The simple reason for this is the coming together of the world due to technology. Yet, that’s besides the point. I am talking from the different perspective about how parent attitude on issues other than parenting too is making a huge impact on the upbringing of the kids.

TV Anchor: I must request you to elaborate. I am curious due to your choice of words.

Dr. Tripathi: Ok let me pose a simple question to you. Did your father discuss things concerning your life while you were growing up?

TV Anchor: Uhmm! Sorry mom-dad, but I have to answer this honestly. Not really doctor, I had extremely authoritative parents, who believed in one way communication.

Dr. Tripathi (smiling): Yes! We call it the Instructional Ideology of parenting. This was a very common method of parenting a couple of decades back. Parents passed out instructions to their kids, and the kids followed them without questioning too much. Ofcourse I am removing the outliers, but this was a prevalent trend. But tell me, did you feel good about it?

TV Anchor: Not really! I would see my friends’ parents, who were so friendly with their kids. They would freely talk and discuss issues of mutual interest and even have a reasonable discussion on topics of conflict to arrive at an amiable solution. Looking at the display of rationality from these parents, I often felt that my parents were from stone age.

Dr. Tripathi: I would say that your parents’ friends were practicing the interactional approach of parenting, where they encouraged their kids to talk about their life and gave enough space to the kids to have a difference of opinion and try and find an amicable solution. They even shared their fears and shortcomings in their thought process with their kids. This made the kids slightly more understanding and considerate of their family circumstances and made the parent child bond stronger. You would agree with me if I said that this interactional approach of parenting had its own shortcomings in terms of bringing some embarrassing and awkward discussions to the dinner table.

TV Anchor (smirking): I remember, once my younger brother broached up the subject of menstruation among girls infront of my father. I remember that he was quite uncomfortable, yet he tried to take forward the discussion in the most rational way possible.

Dr. Tripathi: Now coming to the current generation parents and the evolution of parenting that I mentioned earlier. The present day kids are more evolved than you or I ever were. Also they have exposure to so much media that their minds are much more sensitive. They pick up by intuition what is going around them and assimilate it within them.

TV Anchor: You mean to say that there are things beyond the words said out loud or prominent actions performed infront of them that impact their personalities?

Dr. Tripathi: Yes. You’ve got me right. The present generation kids absorb every little display of emotion you make in their presence and form their opinion of the environment around them. It strongly impacts their sub-conscious mind and shapes their attitude and behavior. For example: In our times it was a well know adage that what goes around comes around. Thus, people tried to keep their actions clean. But with today’s generation, its not just the actions that need to be clean, but the thoughts too need to be in sync with the actions. Today’s kids are smart enough to pick up contradicting vibrations. So, I like to say that today’s parenting involves parenting by intuition.

Something snapped inside Amrita as she heard what the child psychologist on the television just said. The conversation on the show blurred as she went on an introspection trip. She realized that with too much on her plate with the job, kid and a large family to cater to, she was herself always over-whelmed and on the verge of break-down for no specific reason. A curt reply to her husband, a sarcastic response to her mother-in-law, a snapping comment to her brother-in-laws joke or over reaction to the domestic help for smallest of mistake. These were all indicative of how she was always walking on the thin rope. After listening to what the doctor on the tv show had to say about this ‘Intuitional’ parenting, that even if she was careful about not having Nik witness to her quipping, he probably was picking all her vibrations and was slowly transforming into the overwhelmed kid her class supervisor was talking about ealier during the day. When she resumed the chat show on TV she inferred that the solution was to transcend to a more peaceful state of mind. And the simplest way to do it was to go the spiritual way. As individuals we might not be religious, but spirituality was different from religion. And probably meditation was the simplest way to raise one’s vibration and simplify one’s life. Further testimonials by various parents who had gone the spiriatual way reinstated what the doc had just said.

Amrita sighed as she realized that the program was a promotional chat by a specific spiritual organization trying to promote their meditation technique for parents to improve the relationship between their kids. She waved her hand at the realization she was almost taken for a ride by some doctor who had been paid to say what he said. But later that night when she went to bed, the talk by the child psychologist and her own reaction to what he had proposed reverberated in her mind and she wondered if she really needed to clear her mind and soul of the complicated thought forms for her and Nik’s mental well-being.

AtoZ Challenge 2018Babycare

The Potty Training Saga

posted by Anupriya April 18, 2018 1 Comment

Amrita was first advised about potty training when Nik was 1 month old. Surprisingly, the advise did not come from her mother or mother in law. It was her DAD who very diligently advised her on the benefits of starting early. Amrita, who was just recuperating from the aftermaths of a c-section and getting used to the routine of feed-sleep-clean was almost like “Gaffawk”. Her face read like “is it even possible for a 1 month old to understand any signals for potty training?”

‘Oh! Absolutely. Look’ Mr. Gunjal held little Nik in his lap, holding out his legs outwards raising them a little, ‘This is how you do it.’ And he began to blow out whistles. Amrita was amazed when after a minute of whistle blowing Nik actually did give out.

‘I told you.’ Mr. Gunjal said triumphantly, ‘If you are a little vigilant and do this at regular time intervals, in no time your boy will be completely toilet trained.’ Amrita looked on in awe and amusement.

After spending a month at her parents, Amrita came back to her house. She tried following to some extent, what her Dad had trained her on regarding Potty training for Nik. Surprisingly, her Mom-in-law, quite approved of her practices on this matter.

‘We did not have diapers in our times. Had we not been vigilant, we would have two dozens of cloth nappies to wash everyday, for which we did not have nannies.’ Radhaji had said as a matter of fact.

By the time Nik turned 3 months old, Amrita’s Dad called up to ask if she had bought the potty seat for Nik yet. To Amrita’s irritation, the first-time Grandfather did not check on this update just once. He called her almost every other day to check how his grandson was doing.

Amrita would be like, “Papa, Potty seat? He can’t even sit yet.” But her expert Dad replied, “Arre! But the seat has a back support. You don’t know, we had trained you and your sister in the similar manner. And we never had to struggle with your potty habits.” Amrita continued to remain amused and startled, both at the same time.

Tired of his following up, Amrita decided to go shopping and buy a seat. Now a potty seat was something that her mother-in-law had not used with her kids. So obviously, she was very skeptical about the utility of buying it at all. Amrita sympathized with her to some extent because her logic too said, ‘How will this three month old sit on this thing? What’s the hurry for a potty seat? By the time he learns to sit, we can put him on the actual WC.’

Nevertheless, Amrita followed her Dad’s instructions to the T and started using the little seat thingy by putting Nik on it everytime he showed signals of going red in the face which was a signal of sorts. By the time Nik turned 6 months, Amrita’s hardwork paid off and she declared with a lot of pride that her LO was completely potty trained. A feat that left her amazed and relieved both. She sighed thinking how proud her dad would be of her. She giggled mentally thinking how it felt equivalent to running upto her dad for telling him her academic achievements in a different age.

Nevertheless, with a Potty Trained Nik, Amrita had a ball of a time for the next 4 months.

And then one day Nik decided to unlearn everything!

But Amrita did not pay much attention to this reversal of habit by Nik because she had joined back work and thought that when she wasn’t spending enough time with Nik to be able to closely monitor his habits(all included), she must not fret over how her mother-in-law or the maid were taking care of Nik. While at home, none of the other family members fretted about any inconvenience making life only easier for her.

But one day Amrita started biting her nails, when she planned a vacation to her my parents. Nik was going to be 16 months and she was like, oh fish!

‘This boy is going to be a mess in my Dad’s house and my Dad is going to make me feel miserable for not doing my job properly.’ Amrita panicked.

Anyway, she reached her parents place, and by the end of 2 days, she realised it was not only her Dad who was obsessed with potty training. All her mother’s friends, including her sister who visited to meet them widened their eyes in disbelief on seeing Nik in a Diaper. “Yeh abhi tak bhi batata nahi hai?” would be the invariable question. Amrita had no words to express how embarrassed she felt. Every time any visitor shook their head in discontentment, she felt like she had committed a cardinal crime. At the end of exactly two days of feeling miserable, she decided to research on Potty training on the internet. To her relief Amrita figured that the optimum age when the kids can be expected to retain their potty habits is 2 years. Before that kids might react to some signals, but not all kids may be able to keep their call of nature in control. With this new knowledge backed by scientific research, Amrita took a deep breath and patted her shoulder in self condolence.

In the midst of a busy schedule completing house chores, managing a loaded office job and spending time with Nik, Amrita managed to continue her potty training efforts. She was determined that the next time she visited her parents, she was not going to give them a chance to question her dedication as a mother. 8 months later, when at her maiden home, Amrita very diligently made Nik take trips to the toilet at regular intervals. She still had to struggle to justify to her parents why she had to use a diaper for him whenever she went out. After a couple of instances of their objection, she simply thre out her hands and shrugged saying, “Aap logon ke time pe Diapers utne accessible nahi the na. Right now if we have this facility / utility (whatever) why not use it?” Her displeased parents sighed and withdrew. Never again did they say anything about diapers to their daughter.

By the time Nik turned three, Amrita could happily claim that Nik is almost completely potty trained. Almost because there still was this risk of an ‘accident’, in the most unexpected places and circumstances.

Amrita often wonders what’s been on Nik’s mind regarding this little potty training saga of his early life!!!

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AtoZ Challenge 2018Kids & Women LifeStyle

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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