Monday, March 28, 2011


Going down the memory lane can be good and bad at the same time. I will tell you how. It is not every day that you are reminded of your life half a decade ago. 

Every night I try and reserve some space for “ME” after everybody in the house is asleep. I read, write, call my friends or family in India or just sit and aimlessly surf channels on the TV.  It would be called unwinding except that, on one particular night it wasn’t. On an impulse, I picked up the phone and called an ex-colleague and a close friend. Came to know there might be a chance of meeting him and his lovely family in a couple of months. 

We chatted away about our kids and routines and so on. Funny how conversations always steer in the direction of kids and “their” routine once you have them!

Anyways, the real trouble started after I hung up the phone. Sleep evaded me most of the night and memories of my life in Mumbai came flooding in. The move to a new city after getting married, bus rides to Juhu Beach, hunt for a job, roadside dinners and a terrible throat infection every two months. The thoughts came coming in and I couldn’t stop them. 

I can honestly say the fun began once I started working. The humid weather and the killer commute. I used to make a wild dash for a seat in a running local train, my god how did I ever do it, I whisper to myself. It was a hard life, I feel relaxed now. 

But it was also a life of freedom, a step towards a career and definitely a life I had more control over. Control, I smiled at the thought. When we are younger things seem to be so much more in control. You feel you can achieve, change, delete whatever you want to in your small little world. I was defiant too and rather enjoyed being like that. 

As the mind went back farther, the heart felt heavier. I began to miss the very things which I once sought to escape. But the strange thing was I couldn’t pinpoint the exact loss I was brooding over. Was I missing my home? Was I sad for the abrupt end to a budding career and the financial freedom that came with it? Or was I unhappy about the fact that those carefree days were a thing of the past?

In that half asleep-half dreamy state, I searched for answers. Didn’t find any. 

Surprisingly, the next day I woke up with a clear head. It was the sadness that came with passing a certain age and the realization that one can never take a step back in time. What my conscious mind had struggled to find out, the unconscious mind had devised on its own. The feeling is also not a rare phenomenon, I had concluded, everybody has it sometime or the other (see a doctor if you have it too often, you could be depressed!).

And when the morning ruckus started with the kids screaming for attention, there was no doubt in my mind that to gain something you surely have to give up something. Do I regret where I am and what I do today? No. Do I need to have the same things today to be happy?  Not at all, but what I do have is the right to reminisce once in a while without being apologetic.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tired !

In a good sort of way. Kids had been down with cough and cold last couple of days and it is definitely an added stress. Why added? Because having 2 small kids itself is a stress. Now don’t get me wrong, I love them and I adore them and I can give my life for them, but let’s face it, kids are a LOT of work.

So today, baby no. 1 is feeling fine and baby no. 2 is recovering. And the thing with kids is they do not know of pessimism. As soon as they feel better, they pick up from where you left them. Baby no. 1 is complainy (!!) this morning. “MOM, it is the third day of my spring break and we haven’t done anything.”(Never mind that “we” were coughing till our sides ached the last 2 days). As calmly as I could at that time of the day when I hadn’t even had my morning tea, I explained it to her that baby sister was not 100% well and we needed to take that into consideration. It did not sink in nether had I expected it to so no disappointment there. We left the discussion at “ We’ ll see” which usually means I am defeated and too proud to admit it and guess who knows that very well, Baby no. 1! She returns to her room with a winning smile.

A neighbor called just in time to inform that the plan for the day was to take the kids to a  park. Hmm, a park, I wasn’t sure, the kids still had a runny nose. Before I could contemplate, another call, a change of plan, we were now meeting at somebody’s place for a potluck lunch cum play date. Suited me just fine.

All in all a lovely afternoon with a variety of food, lots of chatting with half a dozen other moms like me and no trouble from the kids. Baby no. 1 was so busy with her friends, she was nowhere to be seen till it was time to go home. Baby no. 2 finally had it after a row of sleepless nights and succumbed to a long afternoon nap. Now I know what they mean when they say “sleeping babies are a delight to watch”, of course they are, they can’t trouble you that way!

The fun didn’t end there for me. As soon as hubby came home, handed him a cup of tea and the kids and rushed out with my wallet and umbrella yelling “grocery” before he had a chance to react. And believe me it felt so good to walk in the rain; I almost forgot to open my umbrella. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Guilty !

Guilt. Some feel it every day, others now and then. There is not a Mom on this earth who hasn’t gone through this feeling of having failed her child in some way. The intensity varies, but the guilt, always there. It may be about feeding a cookie for lunch (how unhealthy it is for my baby), or stopping to chat with a co-worker for a minute after office (I shouldn’t be wasting even a second, my baby is waiting). The list is endless, the conclusion – it comes with being a MOM.

The day started late, as is usually the case with Sundays. I had an appointment at 11 a.m. for getting my eyebrows done and the afternoon booked for a writer’s club meeting. A monthly event, I had RSVPed and then backed out last minute the last 2 times. Something always seemed more important. This time, if I had any intention of joining the club, I had to go. Hubby had agreed to babysit the kids. For the evening, we had planned to take the kids to the temple on the occasion of HOLI.

Coming back from the beauty parlor, I switched on my multi-tasking horns and frantically started cooking, cleaning and giving instructions to the rest of the household simultaneously. One hour and twenty minutes didn’t seem enough to accomplish all that I had in mind.

Just then the phone rings. It is my friend who is participating in a HOLI celebration with other families and is being kind enough to invite my kids too. I am so caught between the festival and my personal goal, for a minute I am about to say yes out of sheer habit. (When was the last time I told them “no, can’t take you to the library, my favorite show is on?”). So I say, let me check with my husband, if he can bring the kids. Of course I know the answer even before checking with him. A hyper active 5 year old and a curious 10 month old, not an easy pair to deal with outside home. I still make a half hearted attempt and fail. Back to the phone, I thank her for thinking of us and apologize for not being able to make it, fully realizing that it is indeed our loss.

A hasty lunch and I leave for the writers’ club, kissing my babies goodbye. And as my car leaves the garage, the guilt creeps in. I asked myself a thousand times during the 10 minute drive “was it fair to my kids?” We stay abroad, far away from our extended families, our food, our festivals. HOLI for us is bonfire, special delicacies, water, colors, fun. My daughters knew nothing about it, for them it was an ordinary Sunday. There was this one chance to let them experience the festival in its true meaning. And yet, I chose to deprive them. The person in me kept telling me, what they don’t know can’t hurt them, they have never played HOLI before, so actually speaking they aren’t missing out on anything and how could I cancel out the THIRD time on something I had committed to, didn’t my word mean anything at all? But the mother in me repeated over and over “they would have had a lot of fun, you didn’t take them”.

The afternoon passed, so did the meeting as I returned with mixed feelings. The discussions were good but the guilt remained. Even the trip to the temple didn’t make me feel any better.

The day taught me an important lesson. Some choices are hard to make and in the end you are not pleased even if you choose yourself.