Friday, August 30, 2013

The Need of the Hour

The issue about which I want to write today has less to do with Parenting and more to do with the Society at large. But you cannot deny that it is closely related.

In the wake of the recent rape cases in Mumbai, Delhi, everywhere; I strongly believe that apart from strict laws, there are 2 things we must focus on.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Roots & Wings

"There are two things we should give our children: one is roots and the other is wings." Hodding Carter

Sounds so beautiful, doesn’t it? But what exactly does it mean? I found this beautiful interpretation by Dr Laura Markham that says as parents we must provide a strong foundation or anchor to our kids so that they feel emotionally secure, and therefore feel confident enough to spread their wings [be independent].

Now ‘independence’ in kids is often misconstrued.   

Friday, August 16, 2013

Letting Go

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Letting go is not easy, especially of the things which have been part of your personality for long. But sometimes in life, you have to let go to make room for something new, something more important, sometimes more fulfilling. 

There are a few things I am extremely passionate about. I have been very rigid about those things. Till now. But I have been thinking lately about them and thought it is time to let go of them - fully / partially / for now whatever!

1. Books
Yes, I am planning to let go of a few of my books, to make room for so many wonderful books which are finding way to my home. With the pace at which I buy books and receive them for reviews, I am in desperate need of more space. Moreover, I hardly ever re-read my books, not even the best of them. So, why hoard? Today, I even found time to go through them and take about 50 of those out [also because I have bought the most number of books this week, easily above 20]. Not surprisingly, 98% of the books which are going away are from Fiction. 

2. Keeping things in Order
I have been extremely fixated about it, for as long as I can remember. Hubby would be waiting at the lift, to go to office together, and I would be quickly putting the last few cushions on their places. My husband would ask me why I cribbed all the time about not having enough time to read, and I would be embarrassed to tell him that I used most of that 'free' time in putting all things on their places, even if it was only till the toddler woke up. I was also getting worked up in the process because at the end of the day, the fact remains that in a home with a toddler things are not going to be at their places. So, I decided, instead of wasting too much of my energy on this, I would rather focus on basic cleanliness and order; and ditch the need to keep things in absolute order for a few years. I should rather use that energy in keeping up with my toddler son who is in a very exciting age right now. And absolute orderliness can make way for precious memories that we will build together!

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3. That no matter how much I try, my son may not eventually become a book lover
I thought I should stop obsessing about making my son a book lover. Of course, I am doing everything that is possible but I should stop believing that if I did not raise a reader, I would fail as a parent [ok, that is taking it too far]. The only thing I should care about is that he should have passion in life, whatever it may be for. Reading is a wonderful habit but only one of many.

When you let go, you feel empowered. I am ready to embrace the new things life brings. And of course, letting go makes you free :-)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Crafty Dad

So, far I have blown my own trumpet for sometime now, about how crafty and creative I am [without showing anything to support my claim]. But let me tell you, the dad in the house is super hands-on. He is the kind of guy who loves his tool boxes, in all shapes and sizes. He also loves building / making things. 

Sample this: a paper cutter and some thermocol pieces from the packaging of our washing machine...and voila he made this neat little plane. 

I am so much in love with this cute plane. This picture does only partial justice to how good this looks in real life. No amount of cajoling and persuasion could make my husband click this for me. He sometimes get really bugged about my near-obsession of clicking everything. But can you blame me? Once this goes into the hands of the toddler, I don't think it is going to look like this ever again :-)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Is Woman a Property?

It was a simple incident but a sort-of an eye-opener. My neighbour called me up to sign as a witness in her passport application papers. The police men who had come for verification asked my name. I told them my name. Then one of them asked me to tell him my full name. I repeated my name. He wrote my first name and then asked my husband's name. Then it dawned on me that he was going to write my husband's name as the middle name. I have noticed my father's name in my mobile bill earlier as my middle name.

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Although it was obvious, I still initiated this discussion with my Bai [help] since she is from this State. She said this is the norm here, and it has always been like this. You have your father's name with your name before marriage and your husband's name after your marriage. I said "wow! as in the case of property transfer?" She was bewildered. But tell me, isn't it so? First you are the property of your father and then your husband! In fact, more importantly, among Bais, several are married to good-for-nothing guys. So, they run the household with their money, and yet are essentially properties of their husbands!

I told her 'isn't it wrong?'. She said 'but it has been so forever now, and this is something which will never go'. Frankly speaking her thoughts are amusing to someone like me. She comes up with gems like 'a woman is always responsible when a guy has affairs outside of marriage, either the wife or the other woman. But always the woman'. I will dwell into this some other time. 

She was most surprised to know that I mostly used my maiden name. She said she has never heard this before. But frankly, this is the norm these days for several working women. There are too many hassles in getting the name changed on all the places. Some part of retaining our maiden names is convenience. 

I have also heard of certain castes where the girl is given a different name after marriage [in a way new identity]. When are we going to stop being someone's properties, I often wonder?

Friday, August 09, 2013

Why I Decide To Quit?

… my job, that is. It is a question I often get asked, explicitly or implicitly. I have addressed it many times in different places in different ways.

Let us just begin with the fact that it is easy to get stereotyped in this world. No offence. I have also been guilty of judging other people on perceptions.

So, here’s the story of a Stay-at-home-Mom [a.k.a me] who did not quit her job because she was about to have a baby; but one way or the other that’s what eventually happened.

Social Media and Parenting woes

Facebook Parenting is destroying our child's privacy - I read this article few days back, and it almost echoes my own concerns about rampant use of social media in general, and Facebook in particular, for sharing personal information. I have written about it in my post titled 'How Much Should We Share' earlier. 

I wouldn't say I haven't done it myself before. In the beginning I was extremely cautious of what I share on internet but later on, after I got used to the social media platforms and more importantly, when I saw others sharing their personal photographs and details, I considered it OK too. 

But being a parent is a different ball game altogether. You start looking at things differently. You start questioning your every move, about its implications on your child. 
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When I see so many mommy bloggers around, sharing such beautiful moments with pictures on their blogs; I feel like doing it too. But I resist. I have a physical diary, to similar effect. When I discussed with my husband, if I should write a mommy blog too; he convinced me that a physical diary in my own handwriting will be much more precious for my child to have later on. 

Here are a few reasons why I don't support putting up excessive information or photographs of our children on the internet [or any platforms for that matter]:
  • I don't want to put my child's life out there in public domain. Sharing embarrassing situations are definitely a no-no, but I am much more cautious beyond that, in the amount of information I am posting on the internet. Because as the article also says, once you have put some information online, it stays forever. It is not so simple as deleting a post. If you need a proof, go and Google your images. You will find a lot images which you have deleted from your profiles.
  • I don't know how my child is going to turn out. He may become an introvert. In that case, will he like me sharing every piece of his life to public? I want to protect that right of my child to decide what kind of information he wants to share with the public. Who am I to decide?
  • And most importantly, what I find most disturbing is: "Children grow up learning that posting pictures of one's self and sharing personal information is typical. We've created a sense of normality about a world where what's private is public. The sense of being entitled to privacy has been devalued." [text in inverted commas quoted from the article]
Having said that, I am not going to keep my child away from internet. In fact, I plan to introduce him to blogging as soon as possible. If used wisely, it is an excellent medium to express without being judged. What more can a child ask for!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

A Few Good Friends

Friendship Day, unexpectedly, turned out good this year. I have 4 close friends, who have been part of my life, one time or the other. I have some very special memories of them, with them. When I think about special friends, it is them who I remember.

Keeping Memories
A & S: They are my childhood buddies. A has really been one [our dads are also best friends] while S has been a buddy who I have known since childhood. I got close to S after we went separate ways after Class 10th. With them, I am in a space, where I can pick up my phone and call them up even if I haven’t called them in a while.

S messaged me on Friendship Day, and that really set me into action. I could not talk to her but I let her know that she remains one of my favorite friends.  I always enjoy our easy banter whenever we talk, and god willing, I might meet her this month.

I did manage to call up A before the day ended. I had been guilty of ignoring her calls for a while [not really ignoring but not getting time to call her back]. I admire her a lot. She has literally picked up the pieces of her life and turned things around. She works in a Public Sector Bank now and doing well professionally. Though I often pull her leg about being the khadoos aunty types of Public sector bank, but in my heart I respect her to take up the challenges life threw at her and come out with flying colours.

L & E: They were my room-mates during Graduation. L was my batch mate while E was a year senior. Both are married now and have a daughter each. Both of them are around the place where we studied but not at the same place. 

I messaged E remembering the old times [she had recently spoken to me]. I hadn't spoken to L for about 1.5 years. I don’t know why! I had her number which I wasn't sure was working. I asked E for her number. Luckily she sent me 2 numbers. The first number was switched off but the second number was picked up by the lady herself. It is called destiny. If you are meant to do something, you would. Anyways, we did a quick catch-up on what was happening in our respective lives. It was good to hear her voice.

Although all of them are my close friends, Friendship Day specifically reminds me of L. When we were in hostel together, Friendship Day used to be special. We would always get something for each other – small things but memorable and special. Every year, I would write something for her, which she would get emotional reading. We always made it a point to talk to each other on Friendship Day, after we passed out of college. But life took its course. Things happened in my life and things happened in her life. And we lost touch. But I know, on Friendship Day, she waits for my call as I wait for hers. She has called me up when I was hoping but wasn't expecting; and this year I made it even.

I have written about L here and here.  

I have written about all 4 of them here also.

You may wonder, why I don't have any close guy friends. I don't have any logical explanation. I had only one guy best friend ever, which was during my post graduation. I was wise enough to marry him ;-)

I have written about him here.

So, how was your Friendship Day?

Friday, August 02, 2013

Now TV serials inspired by Books

I am a big fan of Bollywood gossip, but I avoid reading about TV stars. I don't recognize most of them. So, yesterday I almost didn't read this article [see pictures on the right and below] about how 'the Twentieth Wife' by Indu Sundaresan is being adapted for small screen. The serial is called 'Malikaa'. All I could find on the net was these pictures from the launch of the serial.

I am a huge fan of the book 'The Twentieth Wife', and Indu Sundaresan's writing in general. 'The Twentieth Wife' is the first book in a trilogy based on Mughal era [predominantly the story of Noorjahan]. The second and third books are called 'The Feast of Roses' and 'Shadow Princess' respectively. I have reviewed 'The Twentieth Wife' and 'The Feast of Roses' on my Book blog

I am ok with a movie based on a book. It is interesting to see how a book is adapted for celluloid but I am extremely wary about such wonderful books getting adapted for TV serials. Many serials are started with a basic idea. Usually the idea is novel and exciting but you cannot dole out a daily serial out of one novel idea for a couple of years, which is the usual duration favoured by production houses. It loses steam after sometime, and since it has good TRP, the makers would want to make the best out of a winning serial on hand. Unnecessary, unreasonable and illogical twists and turns eventually spoils the essence of serial. I would hate that to happen to my favourite book :-( 

Ammaji [Meghna Malik]
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Of what I have read, Noorjahan or Mehrunissa was a powerful and intelligent woman, but this is not how I have ever pictured her. That posture is too masculine [see picture above on the left]. Why must a woman need to behave like a man to claim power? Is that the assumption with which we are starting this serial? I am already depressed. I know, I know, I am sounding too cynical without having seen anything of it, but still. Moreover, if you look at the book cover images, they show a beautifully decked up, very feminine woman. So, I find a disconnect. And that posture reminds me of Ammaji of 'Na Aana Is Des Meri Laado' [see picture on the left].
The Twentieth Wife
by Indu Sundaresan
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I don't watch TV so I am not going to watch it anyways but I will be looking out for the reviews and friends' opinions. I have written only about 'Malikaa' but the newspaper article says quite a lot of serials are taking inspiration from books due to the dearth in new ideas. For example, Saraswatichandra is an Indian soap opera currently airing on Star Plus & DD National. The series is based upon the Gujarati novel Saraswatichandra by Govardhanram Tripathi [source: Wikipedia]. To me, it looks like a cross between Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Devdas. 

So, what do you think about this new trend?