Sunday, January 30, 2011

Freakonomics to Parenting

The day I completed Chetan Bhagat’s “2 States”, a decade long ice had been broken.  Hubby dear was so pleased. I saw this twinkle in his eyes. He is a voracious reader.  He is not the type who likes to put his hands in many jars like me..but, he sure likes to spend all the time, he can spare, reading.  So, that weekend when, I had finished the book,  he and the kids had taken this big duffle bag to the library. They returned after 2 hours. He had not bought books for himself, they were all for ME!!!

“I gave you this much hope!!” I exclaimed.

He had thought that at last..I will be able to share his passion with him in spite of the handicap we both know, I have..

“no time!”

He had gotten this huge stack of uninteresting books..on the art of writing, and many other topics he thought I would be interested in. I had immediately put those books for recycling. Nevertheless, I had felt like I needed another book to start reading.  So, of all the books from his library, I picked this one..the one, I had already heard lots about from Hubby dear and the world..”Freakonomics”. He had assured me that I would find it very interesting. 

“There is a lot of analysis in that book that you would find interesting..and you wouldn’t need to have an analytical mind too! “, he mocked.

Analysis of how people react to incentives.  How the 3 flavors of incentives, economic, social and moral, as a whole, drive people towards different goals, and, lot more conclusions on human behavior collected from numbers lying all around us. He explained how it all boils down to knowing what to measure and how to make a complicated world, not so complicated.

For example, How can one decide the price on a pint of blood?! If it were set to $5000 a pint, we could have ended up with blood being stolen at knife point and at the same time, if instead of praise,  the donors, were given a small incentive like  $50/ we would have a steep decline in blood donors. 

I was at this book for more than a month now, trying to get through as many pages I could everyday. It served as my read, during the nights, when I returned from my workout at 10pm..smelling all fresh, with an alert mind, in need of some food for thought, or, any material that could put me to sleep. The whatever worked mantra! Ready to take on the heaviest or dullest subject on earth to mind was up for this challenge, to see, who would triumph..The sleep fairy or my not so thinking mind!!

You see, I don’t have the luxury to claim…

”I think. Therefore, I am!!” 

like that famous 17th century thinker (Rene Descartes) had put it..Unfailingly, night after night, the sleep fairy would win.

Now that I completed it..should I feel a little wiser? Maybe, maybe not, I’m not sure!  I know now, I can ask any silly question and that’ll be considered good. Good for the new field called “Freakonomics”. There’ll be data in the world to support an answer for any weird question.

Well, this rogue economist, Steve Levitt,  had founded a new subject called “Freakonomics” based on his silly

“What’s the relationship between sumo wrestlers and school teacher"?”.

He had even answered it by saying, “Both of them cheat!”.  And there is a pattern to this cheating.  Even when the whole Chicago school system was tested, they could pin point those particular class teachers who had manipulated the test scores of her/his class, who had cheated. They had also found the best teachers. The reason for cheating was because of the incentives the teachers had..for good results of their students just like the sumo wrestlers.

He lets us into the realtors mind, who wouldn’t put that extra effort on the clients home that would fetch maybe another $150 (in net) extra into her pockets vs, the same extra effort that would have gotten her $10000 for her own home.  It was shocking to know that we find more c-sections in areas with lesser child births. Showing that everybody is no less a rogue than a criminal.

One of the most astounding analysis was the reason of the drop in crime rate in the 1990’s being related to the historic Roe Vs Wade case that legalized abortion in the 1970s.  None of the officials in the government (federal or state) could effectively pin point the reason for this to happen, and were busy trying to point it to increased and long sentencing of criminals or increased patrol etc..none of which had any changes to be effective reason. 

These unborn children who were aborted by moms mostly would have belonged to unstable families..without any support from the dad..and most of these babies if born, would have grown up to join the criminals. This case almost wiped out a whole generation of would be criminals…the author says!!

But, the conclusion that surprised me the most was this analysis that…it doesn’t matter how much one reads to their child everyday..or if, the child’s mother didn’t work between birth and kindergarten or that  the child attended head start or that the child watches more TV. All these doesn’t affect the child’s scores.

With TV’s and other media brain storming parents and guardians to read more to the child to have a better tomorrow, to inspire in the child, a life time of learning.  How can this make sense?!

Parents who are well educated, successful, and healthy tend to have children who test well in school. But, it doesn’t seem to much matter whether a child is trotted off to museums or spanked or sent to head start or frequently read to, or plopped in front of the TV. the author says. 

According to him, all these child rearing techniques don’t matter, its what the parents are that matters. So, it doesn’t matter what we do as a parent, but who we are that has a bearing on the success of a child.   Exactly in the authors words

“An overbearing parent is a lot like a political candidate who believes that money wins the elections – whereas in truth all the money in the world can’t get a candidate elected if the voters don’t like him to start with”

So, even before we pick up the parenting book..most of the things that would matter for the child’s success is already decided. Genetics plays a huge role, he says.

Isn’t this totally against the buzz that is going on in the street today after the “Why Chinese Moms are superior” article published in the Wall Street Journal by Amy Chau?  The Chinese and many Asian parents have been known to produce children with top math scores and music prodigies, with their tough parenting styles. The reason, this Tiger mom says, that her kids were able to excel in math, spelling, music, is because of the tenacious  practice they are made to do, seven days a week, vacations included and they had no choice but, to follow this demand of their parents which includes, no play dates, no sleepovers, not being allowed to take part in school plays and any extracurricular activities, if allowed, would be chosen by the parents.

To her, this harsh parenting style, hard work, persistence, and no patience for excuses is the prescription of success of her children, the best way to equip her children for their future!!

If you all remember, this article, an excerpt from her book, “The Battle Hymns of a Tiger Mom”, is supposed to have generated more than 100000 comments on Facebook, the day it was published.  Amy Chau had sent the whole nation of parents wondering, outraged and defensive, with her ruthless parenting strategy.  Wondering, if they are adequately preparing their children for a global economy, or, they should be outraged at her ruthlessness as a parent. 

It has sent the whole nation of journalists trying to size up US and China, be it their economies or the national scores in math and reading. TIME magazine showed statistical data that China has gotten way ahead of where US stands in term of its patents, science and engineering publications, even the scores relating to Math and reading.

Child Psychologists say that ..

  • children who are protected from difficult tasks, grow into emotionally brittle young adults, more vulnerable to anxiety and depression while kids who have earned such mastery..are very optimistic and decisive.
  • Children who are shielded from pain and praised for little or no accomplishments will more likely turn down a challenging task, whereas, kids who are lauded for their hard work, were more eager to take on demanding new exercises.

And neurosciences says..that, “Repetition is how the brain remembers”. This is the key to mastery. Sure the Tiger mom was out to achieve this mastery in her kids..but, at what cost. Should it weigh more than treating your kid like a human first? Isn’t that over parenting, she is doing? Isn’t it also true that

“Smart and happy are inseparable. Pursuing your child’s intellectual success at the expense of his happiness achieves neither”

Shouldn’t this be the goal of parenting? To raise smart kids by fostering them to explore and make them understand the importance of success rather than treating your kids like your performance review or your merit card, as a reflection of your own status. This should not be the goal of parenting!!

If you consider the Finnish Education system…the Finland's school’s scores rank the top most in the world with respect to Reading and Math, yet the kids have the fewest number of class hours compared to the other developed world. Also, their kids are almost 7 years old by the time they start main school. So, should it matter that the harsh parenting styles are necessary to equip our kids for the global economy?!

After reading all these things..and getting myself confused in different ways..I’ve arrived at my conclusion that moderation in parenting is a must too. Over parenting is as bad as under parenting. Even though..I do push my kids to things that I didn’t get access to as a music, dance and is important for me that I don’t tax them such that the beauty of this exercise is lost to them. 

Monday, January 24, 2011


There are always situations everyday, when we end up hurting people around us..either intentionally or unintentionally, by our choice of words, by our actions.  The world agrees, the only plausible thing that should follow such situations, is an apology, an act of genuine remorse.

What is one’s idea of a sincere apology? Should it show compassion and humility? Should it mean “I’m sorry for what I did, I realize I hurt your feelings and I can see, you are suffering”, and take responsibility for the situation? Be it for hurting somebody’s feelings, or betraying somebody’s trust, missing an appointment, or being late, or any other myriad reasons there could be. 

But, how many times have we really apologized to the person we wronged with this intent? Isn’t an earnest apology, so much easier said than done? Many times, one is not able to translate these feelings into words. Could it be due to being callous,  insensitive, that, one doesn’t even realize, somebody is hurt, or, are we just being cautious? Is it due to our inflated ego, or, our own self righteous attitude?!!!  The Wall Street Journal..writes that women apologized more than men!  Mostly, men are so hard boiled to even understand that they have offended somebody.

They are wired that way…it says!

How convenient…I say!

Most of the times…they are apologizing …just to end the drama. They don’t even know what wrong was done!

Look at this clip that was published in Wall Street’s Personal Journal.  What are some of the apologies that we have used from the ones listed below? Other than the only type of apology that matters, which is “a sincere apology”, many of us have done all these types of apologies, isn’t it?…

The most used that I have seen around me, is the Strategic Apology. I didn’t even need to train my toddler at it. She’s already an expert at it. Its the most favorite of mine too! A perfect solution to a difficult situation with Hubby dear.

Lets consider my toddlers apology. If only I could execute a quarter value of her apology to hubby dear, we would be the sweetest couple on the block. Only, I don’t have a sweet tooth :-)

When Richa finds herself cornered, she has no qualms about apologizing to mommy or her siblings. She does it with little resistance.  With her Didi’s, they hug her before she could blurt the words out. With me, she comes to me with those kitty eyes..(the ones that puss shows in Shrek 3) and hugs my legs, pulls my hands around her to hug her..and its done!

To her, its the best way to get out of a hot seat. It not only means that she’s sorry that she got caught doing it..but, also

“Lets stop talking further about this now that I’ve apologized”.

This apology doesn’t guarantee that she’ll not be repeating it again, thanks to her toddler mind, which remembers all the privileges that she is eligible for, but goes easy, on her memory of things, she should not be doing, although, there’s always a promise of not repeating at the table. I guess, parenting has made us smart enough to elicit this out of our kids, however meaningless that might be!

I’ve done a lot of such apologies too, when I’m not interested in continuing an argument with Hubby dear, when I didn’t feel like it was my fault, or that, what I said shouldn’t have been construed the way it was, or, when we are each talking apples and oranges, when each of us feels that our opinion is right…Then, the easiest way I see, is to, apologize my way out of the situation. A strategic apology is what I end up with.  But, with the time that we’ve been together, we are able to gauge this of each other..We’ve each gotten smarter at it. At making such an apology and deciphering one too!

Now the process of demanding a categorical apology starts. He starts to find out..why I’m apologizing because, in the course of our argument we’ve already hurt each other much more than we initially started out with. So, this apology is for the previous faux pas/opinion  (Aren’t we entitled to our opinions, anyways?!) , or, for the deliberate hurting comments that followed later, or both, becomes necessary to know. The categorical apology becomes necessary.  It sometimes, runs the risk of becoming a Too-Late apology! 

“You’ve hurt me further,  Now, there’s no undoing, I feel even terrible. Leave me alone!!!!”,  I would end up saying to Hubby dear.

“ How can you be so cruel?”.  Almost bullying him into rubbing his nose to the ground, for peace between us.

There is another silver line I have! The Kids!  They go to Papa asking him to finish this argument off, between us.  Papa dear cannot refuse this of the kids. After that request..nothing matters.  Still, it would sometimes run the risk of becoming a Defensive Apology, or a Contingent Apology like ...

“I’m sorry, if what I said was hurting..but, you shouldn’t have said….blah blah…”


“I’m sorry, if I hurt you with my opinion..I was just expressing mine…blah blah..”

How would I classify the apology that happens between my triplets?  Most times, the apology they give to each other, does turn into a sincere heart felt one, although, it usually doesn’t start off like that.  To quell a tense situation between one hard thing for me to deal with…

Especially, when they start to bawl and let out boat load of tears, as they are just about to apologize to their siblings. On our instruction, of course!! We, as their parents, had found them guilty..and their punishment, an apology.

Sometimes, P had described the reason for her breaking down, to her feeling of intense regret. Basically, she was very sorry for being such a jerk..for being caught!  Not only is it a pain to play a judge and find out who is wrong and who is not, who should apologize in a battle between them,  we are in for this tearful extravaganza that we need to quell too!!

Once something like that starts, I tell you, its hard to reason out with them, its hard to say if they are listening to us, if they understand us.  How many times haven’t we parents found ourselves in such a situation, and ..wanted the kids to sort out their fights between themselves? 

Not only does it become hard to judge, I get carried away with the kid who is able to put forth their case in the most logical way ( conforming to my contorted sense of logic of course!), even though this kid must be at fault and is very good at covering up her fault. Now what results is an undeserved title for the mom. Unfair Mom! Mean Mom! Partial Mom!

How we try to dodge these titles each day can be a book in itself, right Moms? (Reminds me!  I’m speaking/thinking just like my parents did when they were in our shoes!  Reminds me! of the saying. “Once we start justifying what our parents did, we are old!”)

All this said..I can’t but, have all praise for my children when they do end up apologizing to each other. The intensity and honesty with which they hug and cry holding each other. Its a lesson for me to learn. Instead of me setting an example to them..they make this class on contrition, seem like a breeze to me. I learnt that its just the first move that’s difficult to make. After that…everybody feels good.  We end up with cleansed souls..and hearts, so much lighter.  The world looks like a fair place again, right?!

What about the statistics that mention, we offer more apologies to strangers than loved ones.  How many of you’ll find yourself apologizing to perfect strangers or your friends more often? Either you brushed against them inadvertently in a crowd..or, you just have to ask them..what the time is, or, you just came to know u’r friend had not been well or ,you’re just at a loss of words that “Sorry” seems the right thing to say.

I surely can count myself among this breed who is able to apologize to a stranger/friend at the drop of a hat, to the point that sometimes, the number of times I utter “Sorry” is counted. On the same note,  I find it very difficult to do the same when it comes to my loved ones.  As I grew up…my new found independence had made it very difficult for me to apologize to my parents or my siblings. Now, its my spouse that I find the most difficult to apologize to.

“What if I apologize? Won’t I get vulnerable?..This is going to be in my record for the rest of my life, that I was the one who had erred!”  Many times, truth is a matter of ones opinion so, it gets hard to even convince the hubby,  that it was he who was wrong, not me! It is I, who deserves the apology and not vice versa.

Every time we argue…Won’t I be brought back to this situation? let me know, I had been at fault! 

“You had apologized too!”  I will be reminded by hubby dear!

Forgetfulness and our choice of memories make this an even complicated issue. You can understand how hard this can get. Especially between spouses.

Many times, as parents we err in our judgment of our kids in a situation..maybe due to the kids reputation.  I’ve learnt to apologize to my kids very gracefully in such cases. If I expect my kids to apologize in a situation..I need to learn to be honest myself, right?! Gone are the days when they were toddlers and when everything we said appeared right!

I hope this exercise will let me learn to apologize to Hubby dear with the same grace too! Apologies are very powerful. They end wars. They provide comfort when one is hurting. It helps in alleviating difficult situations when the apologizer takes responsibility of the wrong doing and lets the person suffering understand, “I know the hurt I have caused..I’m so sorry”. 

If I am able to imbibe in me, even a little bit of  that air, with which my kids come to me and hug me and say “I’m sorry Mama, I won’t do that again”, as they are leaving for school,  or, when they come to me and hug me “Good Night Mama”  in spite of the fact that I was just mad at them for some reason, I am going to be pleased with myself.. 

All my frustrations and anguish,  vanishes in that moment they apologize so sincerely to me! I hug them so tight and all the love babbles start to roll out of my mouth.  It makes me feel bad that I even got mad at them.

If apologizing is so comforting to both..Shouldn’t I be able to do it to hubby dear and he to me, too?!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Let it snow!!



Yesterday morning we woke up to a blanket of snow. I exactly knew why that happened. Lets keep the weather patterns, how and why the snow clouds form, and other meteorological, geological, terrestrial and any other data aside for sometime.  Now,repeating what I said. I know why it has been snowing like this every other day, this season.

I came to know this, when, I attended my triplet’s winter concert at their school yesterday. Just look at this video and watch the sincerity with which these kids prayed for the snow to come..saying…”Let it snow” All this, just so they could stay home from school!

If it snows, there'll be no school tomorrow if it snows! Ther'll be no school tomorrow (3) if it snows. Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

As the song was ending…all the kids folded their hands and sang with so much “Bhakti”…that any weather god(dess) had to listen to their prayers..even if the meteorologist predicted a 0% probability of snow! The only request he missed out was the “no school tomorrow” part. Instead, a “delayed start” was granted.  The kids were just as happy, even with this.

They have been praying like this every week at school..since September, which was when their practice of this winter concert commenced.  They’ve been asking the weather gods..”When will it snow?”  It was really hard for him to ignore them.  Their voices, so sweet, so warm that could melt the biggest glacier…what was the weather god after all!

When the snow comes down and melt away..will it be so cold that the snow will stay for a day or two, it would be great to know...When will it snow?!!!! Will the snow come down and cover the trees? Will it be so high to chill my knees? Oh please! gray clouds just open up and snow! I've been listening to the radio and watching TV. Hoping that a snow day will be here for me..Flush the ice cubes, did a snow dance, and put the spoon under my pillow. WHEN WILL IT SNOW?!!!


They most certainly were able to appease him/her finally, with this song  “7 feet of snow!!”( Reminds me, I wonder who the god of snow would be? In Hinduism, We have Indra for Rain and Thunder,  Vayu for the wind..Surya for the sun…but who represents the snow? Is there a name I can give to the god or goddess of snow? Let me know!) 



The principal was kind enough to let us know that they had cut a 3 hour show down to half hour. I sure would have enjoyed some more. The songs were so well created and composed. I wonder how he managed this large a crowd of kids. There were 8 classes of 3rd graders there. Richa had already learnt the songs from her DIdi’s. Her favorite was the “Storm is Passing!”. For days, I heard her sing it..while playing with her toys. She was too excited to see it in action yesterday.

I loved this Jamaican Folk song..soooo muuuch. I’ve been humming and dancing this since I heard it, in the bathroom, in the kitchen, along with the kids..with Richa, who is ever ready to correct me on how I should move my hands.

Moonshine tonight..come make me dance and sing. Me de rockso, You de rockso. Unda the banyan tree. Come take my hand, and wave it round and round..Me de rockso, You de rockso. Unda the banyan tree. Lift up your hand..and wave it side to side..Me de rockso.....tree

Friday, January 21, 2011



As a mom to 4 girls, I have the bigger chunk of parenting to do compared to Hubby dear.  He will always be their support, the trunk that will help them achieve confidence, realize the beauty of being daddy’s little girls. (I  so much believe that girls who experience loving fathers tend to choose loving partners later in life, rather than, abusive partners.)  But, they will always want to turn to the Mom in uncomfortable situations, when they are looking for answers.  I have always,maintained an open conversation with my kids, whatever the topic. I want them to feel free to talk anything with me,..whatever that's going on in their budding minds.  I never judge them when they share something that may be uncomfortable nor, do I conclude anything of their personalities from their confessions. I never let them feel nervous about anything they want to speak with me. 

This is one aspect of our relationship I hope, I can continue to strengthen with my girls as they grow. I hope that they will reach out to me for advice or suggestion on any issue that seems uncomfortable or confusing to them.  The other day, they had discussed “What is Inappropriate touching?” in their school. The school had educated them on this topic. They’ve been educated what an inappropriate touch feels like and in the end, they would need to trust themselves, that if something doesn’t feel right..then, it surely isn’t!!  That night, they let me know of this session. Each of them sounded so horrified and told me, they had not felt nice listening to all this. I felt like almost hugging them so tight..

Currently, they are in a phase in which they are having like a love hate relationship with the boys in their class.  To them, these boys are mostly annoying and have no artistic skills what so ever. That’s their current impression of the boys in their class.

They also find the boys sharing the same feeling of the girls too!!  All these contradictions gets them very confused when, they get any attention from a boy.  So, today…P and N came to me as I was dressing up.

All the three of us were watching ourselves in the mirror for sometime before P spoke

“Mama, Am I the prettiest girl in our family?” she asked, looking at herself admiringly and running her hand in her hair. Even as she admired herself in the mirror, there was so much confusion in her eyes.

“Yes, why do you ask?”, I asked without any hesitation. I had almost wanted to cut into her question, by saying that, even N is very pretty.

“There is a boy in my class who is always following me. He likes me and so he is always following me around”, she said.

“Maybe, because you are very wise P!”, N added very “wisely” from the side.

“What does wise mean, Mama?”, P asks me

“That you are smart, that you make good decisions, that you keep yourself informed, that you make informed choices, that you are thoughtful and careful”, I continued more about this word until I could sense the bulb of comprehension light up in her eyes.

“ I think it must be because you are beautiful  P”, N concluded almost as if all these qualities could never belong to P at all :-)

“Maybe, because you are a very friendly person..maybe, because you don’t have any “proud-ness” in you at all. Everybody likes friendly people, you know”, I added my two cents to this confusion.

“Yes, that may be true! Maybe, because I’m a very friendly person”, she decided and walked away.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Richa is 4 already!

Yesterday, my little one turned 4. Time flies is one lesson I am taught everyday..again and again and I still never learn! At RIcha’s school today, when one of her teacher said..”I remember seeing you pregnant when the triplets were here”.  I once again realized..”Wow! time really flies.”

This tiny tot ( to my eyes she’s always going to remain that, considering that she’ll surely grow up to be taller than I am! ) was so dejected when she got up this morning.  We all shouted out..”Happy Birthday to you Richa” and she didn’t get any excited. In fact, she wanted us to stop wishing her. She asked me to stop, when I had started to sing..”Baar Baar din yeh aaye..” 

When Pavan called her from work..She just replied with an indifferent “Thainks” and walked away from the phone. These words seemed to irk her.  It had got all her elder siblings puzzled.

“Why was she being so grumpy?!” they thought.

Why wasn’t she feeling all the excitement that we were able to feel for her?! They had talked about her turning 4 olds, just last night, and she was so excited about it..She had been jumping around…singing a song about Richa turning “4 olds”.

There was no excitement on her face now,..all we could see was a very sad face:-(  I soon understood that she had expected for a cake to be waiting for her when she got up in the morning. And there was none!  This must have felt so horrible..Her family is wishing her “Happy Birthday”  without the basics that a birthday entails…A CAKE!

As soon as I promised her that we will be getting one and cutting it as soon as Papa is home, I saw the first smile pop out of her face. Soon her Didi’s left for their school. Then, she asked me if we could go and buy the cake then itself.

“We need to take a cake to my class, Mama!” she said..acting out how she was going to carry the cake into her class and have everybody look at her in excitement and shout out “Happy Birthday Richa!!!”

I had actually talked to the teacher about having a class party 2 days later due to some work I had been busy with. But, there was no escaping now. She got ready for school quik-ca-ly. Without any delays, we set off to the super market to pick up a cake for Richa.  I had asked her..what cake she had wanted..princess, balloons..chocolate…vanilla!!!

She had answered ,  “Nevela Flower Cake”, for Vanilla Flower Cake.

As soon as I had parked the vehicle at the super market..she shouted out

“Mama, lets get a Dora cake!  “

“Mama, I want a Flower Cake!”

After picking up all the party basics..we went to the bakery.DSC_2314

She considering a few cakes..and settled for the Flower cake..even if it meant it was not “Nevella”.

She proudly announced to everybody she came across that it was her Birthday. With lots of excitement, she carried  the cake to be scanned.


As we approached her school, she exclaimed

“Mama, we made it to school!!”, just like Dora would say.

Proudly, she walked into her class holding her cake in her hand. This was a very special cake. It was baked specially for her and that’s why it tasted too good, she knew that!

The cake was decorated…and lit!!

DSC_2323 DSC_2325

The Birthday song was sung with such excitement like it was each of the kids own birthday! After she helped her teacher cut and split it, she distributed it!

DSC_2369  DSC_2394

Then, She sat to eat her own……DSC_2403

And ate it like never before!  I’ve always known her to love having a cake but never finish it!  Until yesterday, she has always, broken a cake..and made a mess of it, rather than eat it..But, this cake was a special one. It was meant to be eaten!  It was the tastiest one ever baked..and she did justice eating it like that!

 DSC_2401 DSC_2404 

She just loved it!  When we came back home..she wanted more!

DSC_2425 DSC_2432

and some more when her Didi’s came home from school. In the night, she had another tiny cake to cut when her Papa came back from work, and we all sang her the Happy B’day song again! But, she was way too satiated to taste this one :-(


She finished off her day with her favorite “Polka Dot” Pizza! 


Wishing her many many many more such Happy Happy Birthday’s to come.

“I love you so much my Puchka!” that’s what I call her sometimes.. referring to her soft bottoms :-)

Many times, when we cuddle up..I tell her..

“ are so sweet! So yummy! Can I eat you?”

She always replies so complacently.

“Mama, I am Richa..I am not foods!”

Then, she will offer her cheeks to that I could take a little pretend bite of it :-)  Then she feel so proud that she was able to provide some sweetness in moma’s life.

As time flies so fast, my heart goes:

Why don’t you slow down a bit so mom can enjoy your innocence some more.

Why don’t you slow down some mom, can experience your undivided love for some more.

Why don’t you slow down a little mom, can listen to your creative words..some more.

Why don’t you slow down a tiny bit we can have some more of the afternoon tea parties in your room!

A couple of days back, when I had to go out for some work…she cried saying..

“I want Mama”

Pavan told her…

”Richa, I am here with you (a la Mein hoon naa!)..can you play with me? I love you too!”

He had tried to coax her..and she had replied so softly to him..lest she hurt him

“But Papa!! I need Mama…I don’t need you!”  :-)

That’s my darling Richa.

Monday, January 10, 2011


One thing that still keeps the girl in me alive is the GNO nights that we have every once in a month or two or earlier if anybody’s birthday was up. We have managed to form a group of 8 girls who are lucky enough to have husbands who let us fly away from them and the brood, on some designated nights and let us have some girl fun.  We’ve managed to keep up with this tradition for the last 2 years now.

It all happened one day when, a new girl came into town. She was a people person, she needed to know everybody around her to feel complete. She took up the task of calling everyone in the neighborhood. Some of us responded while some didn’t. We then got together with families to know each other.  It was in one such gathering that, this suggestion of us girls going out every once in a while was born. We all jumped at it. It had been ages since we moms had thought beyond our husbands and kids.  It was time to reclaim our girlhood back. Some, could sure name this as a mid life crisis. Whatever the term, we got lucky to go out sooner than expected, as one of us was turning 16, and it was time to celebrate!

 DSC_7053 We are missing one in this picture!!!

All of us are in the same boat of life, well qualified professionals during the day, and perfect wives and mom’s by night trying hard to make it work for our families, setting up food on the table on time, making sure the kids are growing up into responsible people, that, they are well placed in their school with respect to acquiring knowledge, keeping a decently clean home which I tell you is an impossible task. We’ve also been blessed with husbands who feel that its necessary for us to meet up so we can get some sanity and chulbul fun back in our lives. (Or,  it could be the other way too. The husbands are looking to have a break from each of us :-) so theyyy can get some sanity back in their lives!) Either way, it works out great for us girls.



Last night was one such night  when we went out to have fun. Eating out was just an excuse. Most of our hubbys’ thought it was crazy that we had decided to go out on a night when there was so much snow around. We ventured out nonetheless. Most of the times, its also the logistics that play a role in picking a date. The date, that works for most of us.

These nights are so fun that almost all times we don’t feel like coming back home. I remember one such effort last year. After we had finished our dinner at a restaurant, we didn’t want to leave. We just saved ourselves from literally, being kicked out of the restaurant. We then decided to go to another diner where we could have some late night coffee. We ended up ordering things on the menu we didn’t intend eating or drinking. Even this place couldn’t entertain us much longer, they needed to close too! Dejected, we had gone back to our homes planning that next time we meet, it’ll have to be a PJ night.  We're still struggling to keep up to this plan :-(

During the initial GNO meets, we tried to keep off from talking about our families. But, how could that be possible?!..We were all die hard MOM’s and  WIVES. Our blood oozed out Mommyism and Wiv-fism. So, try as hard as we could, we were unable to resist what our minds wanted to talk. Each of us had a story to tell about our kids and ‘the hubby’ and the words would start to flow. Soon, we realized our folly and gave up on this resolution and let ourselves talk our minds out.  You know, the mind and body should be in sync to get that balance and enjoy what we want to. In the process, we had found a way to let go of our be able to talk nonsense and have girly fun we were out to achieve.

Last night was one such again. The topics rolled out from here and there and came to rest on … our inner selves, our personalities and what runs this?  Take a guess, on what we decided, that made us behave the way we were?!

Our zodiac signs!!

It was one of the girls b’day who again turned 16 for the n’th time. After we made her feel special and embarrassed her enough with some loud announcements in a crowded restaurant,  we let ourselves slip into this talk of zodiac signs and how they rule our beings.

DSC_2250                You see the embarrassment on her face?

One of them tuned out to be a Gemini…who bore the brunt of being one. A software professional by career, a loving mom of 2 and a doting wife to a loving husband, and as much as I know her, she juggles multiple tasks with such ease, making us feel like it was nothing.

She had no clue, the characteristics, her zodiac symbol had bestowed upon her and some of us enlightened her with it.  Instead of letting her know, that the two faced  or dual natured Gemini, is able to see both side of a situation, somebody who could possess opposing thoughts simultaneously…and still have the ability to reconcile with them perfectly, ..we made her realize that she has a split personality, that maybe, it would mean bi-polar too! thanks to her zodiac symbol :-)

Suddenly, she realizes the way she has to be and behave is not ruled by her own personality but, by what somebody, who doesn’t even know her, wrote how she, a Gemini, is supposed to be. 

Turning point of her life..”to ignore all this!”..she made a mental remark.

We did have a lot of fun using her as the target and she took it all as playfully as we did, all in a stride…just like a Gemini would do. We did have one more person we targeted too. She’s flying high nowadays!!! The only problem to this being..there are no road ways or traffic signals for such flights yet. :-)

If I needed to describe each of the 8 girls in our circle, I would do it like this:

Starting with the b’day girl. Her name starts with an “S”.  A career minded professional who cannot imagine herself without it and is hard working enough to be an achiever. Life is tough for this girl but she somehow manages it like a piece of cake. She loves to travel and has other extra curricular activities too. The important among them being, unable to see beyond everybody’s welfare. That’s one of the priorities in her life.

The next one’s name starts with an “L”. She is an epitome of liveliness and cheer. So chirpy, she can bring life into a group of glumly sitting people in a jiffy. She was also crowned, the baby of our group, a title she so adores because,as we keep celebrating sweet 16’s every year, youthfulness is one thing that starts to become extinct. I’m sure, even if she were to celebrate sweet 16 for the 70th time in her life, she would live up to this reputation of being vivacious and chulbuli! She loves to fly in the air..literally!  Give her an event and she can spark it up..with her activities and ideas, of which she has no dearth. She so lives up to the reputation of her zodiac symbol “Aries”.

The next one’s name starts with a “D”. This girl who looks so simple and down to earth, yet, carries this majestic aura on her. She exudes elegance with every movement. She’s the girl one turns too, to get the ball rolling when an event is planned. She has a way with words, and she’s one girl that is difficult to offend, proved from last night’s extravaganza of her traits that all of us unearthed for her:-).   Love her sense of humor, the comical way with which she recounts difficult situations that she has been in. A professional, who is able to balance home and work like a breeze..makes me want to look for a hole to hide my face in shame.

The more I talk of this girl whose name starts with a “R”, the less it would seem. She’s a mom every kid would desire to have and a neighbor everybody would covet. Loving, caring and giving comes so naturally to her. A nephrologist by profession, making friends comes so easy to her. She’s a true personification of an '”Aries” and she does full justice to the zodiac she belongs to. She’s also a doctor that every patient would desire to go to. At ease with accepting her short comings, yet, so confident that she could do anything that she puts her mind to.

This friend of mine, oozes of Libra personality. Her name starts with an “L”. Its difficult to spot her without her ubiquitous smile.  I/We have pulled each other’s leg as friends during arguments and conversations, but, I don’t remember any one of us, actually pulling anything funny on “L” anytime. She’s such a sweet personality. She’s always so tactful in presenting her point..never gives a chance at offending anybody. If I were to describe her, in a few words, they would be: gentle, smiley, reliable, helpful and looks soooo graceful in a saree!!! (Confessions of a secret admirer :-) )

This girl’s name starts with a “V”. She can be a ferocious party animal and can show her reverence to religious activities with a fervor even greater.  The karma points that she earned volunteering at a nearby ashram has earned her blessings from all the pundits who were here, that,  puja’s are being done on the behalf of her family in some big temples in India. She had gone out of the way. last summer, in taking care of the pundits from India, when they were in town, for a Yagna! She always takes me by surprise at what she can be capable of when she puts her mind to it.

Our group would be incomplete without “N”.  Dealing with a tiny tot and a kindergartener, she’s also juggling work and home, reason why, we get to see less of her.  A very pleasant personality to be with.  Love of music and Photography are some of the things that ties me to her. Our taste’s in music is similar! This is something I found very difficult to match with people nowadays because there are so many variations of music available. She’s a very good photographer and loves it.  I’ve seen some of the shots she composed during one of our GNO meet and they were so great. Another thing I loved doing with cycling! Good stamina and a perfect partner who will push you enough to get out your best.

Its not like we girls didn’t have any stressful moments among us. Especially, when events have to be planned out and personal tastes, difference of opinions  and inconsistent schedules kick in, situations can really get ugly and they did! But, we’ve been able to brush off those moments and this act has only gotten us to bond stronger with each other.

I think, another factor that plays a key role in this is the involvement of our families. Our kids are around the same age so we are able to share their antics and achievements with each other. Our hubby’s get along well with each other, being around the same stage in their lives.  I’ve also seen the hubby’s gloat at the fact that we wives are able to enjoy each others company and come up with creative events, when we do, (thanks to “L”)  and they love it.

Its very important I think, to have a group that you can trust.   It also gives the kids a feeling that they belong to a bigger community, especially when we do not have any other close families of our own, around.  I hope this ritual of a Girls Night Out will continue for a long long time and I’m so happy to be part of this.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Photo Story of one Winter Morning.


It was a pleasant morning. I ran up to the kids room..I started with my early morning rooster calls to wake them up..After calling them for a bit..I turned on the lights to see if anything was moving in those beds, if those louds calls had any affect at all!..And, I was shocked to find K on one of them..but the other 2 missing. The lights in the bath were off too!..My heart skipped a beat and then, I realized that this was just a prank..I opened the door of the bath to find P and N with their brushes waiting to shout out “boo” at me.

They got dressed early and were down by 7.30am. An hour for the bus to arrive. I knew, today, I’m not going to have to bug K to finish up her breakfast sooner..I will let her go slower than a snail if that’s what she wishes..I also knew, that’s what she was going to do!

“How long will it take to finish a slice of toasted bread with a glass of milk?” I thought.

Then the triplets came downstairs and we sat at the table with each of them served cereal, a slice of toasted bread with a glass of milk. I assure you, there wasn’t any derivatives of any laughing gas or its by-products hidden in the ingredients..and then,..they started to smile radiating the sweetest feelings from their faces.

As we spoke N, who is a perfect impersonator, of all sorts, started off with the story of Bobby Jr..

One day Bobby Jr went to his Granny’s house and found her making Chaac-late covered lobster poops. 

He wanted to eat these Chaaaac-late covered lobster poops..and so he ate some. Then, he had to run Th-er-irty miles home and he Qui-ca-ly sat on the T-aaawi-let. He sat there for 3 years and when he tried to get up..he was  stuck.

So he needed to get extra extra large pants so him and the T-aaawi-let could fit thru them. He said.. “Now he doesn’t need to use the public T-aaawi-let”.

Bobby Jr..Chronicle 2

Bobby Jr and his friend Poop..went to his granny’s home and ate Chaaac-late covered lobster poops and Krab guts...Then both of them ran Th-er-irty miles and Qui-ca-ly sat on their T-aaawi-let’s. Then his other friend “Poop 2” came and asked..”Where is Poop?”.

Bobby Jr  said..”sitting on the T-aawi-let..”

Poop 2 say’s “Which T-aaawi-let? There are thousands of T-aaawi-let’s in the Warld!”

Then he spends 3 years trying to find “Poop”…..and find’s him snoring on the T-aaawi-let. He asks him..”Where were you?” and Poop says “I was tired!”.

Then Poop tries to get up and finds himself stuck too---to the T-aaawi-let! He also orders extra extra large fit him and the T-aaawi-let, but, this time he isn’t able to fit into the extra extra large pants..because the T-aaawi-let is stuck to the floor!!!!! 

As Neha continues telling us these chronicles…like this..


and like this…when she spoke of a teacher who was trying to preach about cell phones!                   .DSC_1656

and like this…. about a lady who danced along with somebody, she bumped into, in the stair case……..DSC_1663

and like this!!!DSC_1647

P and K were going like this…




and like this…


K, as sweet as she is…could only turn nuts for just that one picture only!  DSC_1613

And then it was already 8.20am!!  They had already got their boat loads of laughter..trying to create such nonsensical stories!!!

That..they suddenly remembered to be the mouse and Ganesha..!!!! ( I don’t know how all this relates to each other..but, this is how they thought! Not the affect of the food?!)

like this, just with a band on her nose..she could make herself look like a mouse…DSC_1672

N realized, that she is missing her trunk!! so, she tried this!!DSC_1673

By, the time they could get it to work!!!, the band fell off the nose and it was time to step out. They stepped this beautiful snowy day.


The school bus came on time and let them know that school wasn’t off due to the snow!..Once, they were packed off,  I turned my attention to  the other brat in the house….Richa, and recorded her antics too!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year resolutions! How Painful?

Usually, with my interest in being up to date with bollywood songs , I’d always have an appropriate list handy to play at any occasion from my iPod! On New Year’s Eve…at the gathering we were in, we wanted to let ourselves go wild and dance to some Bollywood’s knee cracking numbers.

Most of us, not trained to dance to any music under normal circumstances, are equipped with bodies that can move and shake wildly under conditions that can be created artificially. Say, if we had played a rustic bollywood bar song like “Beedi” from Omkara,  that would make us involuntarily get down on one knee and put our hands up in the air like a Cobra and move vigorously forward like it was out to hit anybody who dared to step forward and dance. I know one person who can do good, my brother (although I don’t know which bollywood song would set that condition ON for him)!.  We had had the honor of witnessing this talent of his during our summer visit from last year. This dance form, if we were to do even a milder version of it, scares us to watch ourselves doing it in well lit conditions, that we choose to put the lights off while engaged in it! :-)

In the New Year’s eve party, people did their part. To turn to me..for any bollywood song that I would suggest.  I sucked so bad. I lost all the respect I had created from a while ago for myself…It was an ultimate lose of reputation (petty issue for sure..still, I end up writing about it!!).

Music in any form, wild Bollywood to Classical, is something that comes a little easy to, this was something that I couldn’t accept of myself!   It sent me rolling in a mode, where I felt the need to make some serious resolutions for the new year, which, I’d never done before.

I had played some music from the yester years like “Desi Girl”  or “Uff Teri Ada”  or “Hoth Rasile”.  But, as I said, these were from the yester years and have lost their luster. Nobody cared for it now, even I would not, if I were in their shoes!   And, how do you keep a crowd satisfied with music, in a language, they do not recognize themselves with and how can I blame them for getting frustrated with me and my choice, while they wait patiently to shake a little on the floor under the influence of music that suits their palate, they would tell me (without actually talking the words out!)

“Can you get your iPod out from here and give us a break? We would like to play some of ours!”

I had not kept myself abreast with the recent music of 2010. The first half  of the year, I had whiled away learning and listening to Indian Classical Music and the second half in photography, apart from the rants I kept posting on blogger and being a mom to 4 kids.  I had had no time to keep the playlists in my iPod updated with the recent happenings like “Sheila Ki Jawani” from the movie “Tees maar khan” or  “Munni Badnam” from the movie “Dabbang”, although, the mere mention of these songs only brought to my mind the comments, my music teacher had made about it…

”Yeh, koi gana hai…yeh bhi koi bol hai? Mai Zandu Baam hui..Darling tere liye!, Aise koi bol likhta hai kya?” while she showed me how the dancer rubbed her butt in the video!

(Literal Translation from Hindi to Hinglish would be:

“Is this a song? Do you call these lyrics? “I became a Zandu Balm, Darling for your sake" Does anybody write lyrics like this?”)

But how can I explain this lady who even teaches Kathak (an Indian Classical dance form) to my kids, that, give these songs to people on the dance floor, and they can go crazy, especially, the WILD dancing kind, me, my brother, Pavan’s nephew and other’s not wanting to be named included!  :-)

I had been so unprepared. I was so disappointed in myself, that I  earned myself a new year’s resolution.

There had been only one thing lurking on my mind..One resolution for this to reduce the time I spend on my computer? There had been occasions during the year, when K had casually commented saying “Mama, is a computer addict”.  The message had reached me clear and right, but, now-a-days, how can one do without being at the computer?  Still, if I had set out to achieve this impossible, how was I to achieve it because it totally, doesn’t sound close to my plans for this year.

If you look at some of the things that I had been planning on doing this year, I would be left with nothing to do if I considered the..”reduce computer time!” resolve.

  1. Get better at Mommy-ing and shrewd at wife-ing! Children are growing..they need me more mentally than for physical help. And stop coining atrocious words!
  2. To get back to my workout schedule, to Yoga and swimming that I had been so regular at, once upon a time, that, I still continue to wallow in its glow..shamelessly!
  3. To learn to use this new software I got a couple of weeks ago..Photoshop! Its a tool so huge..I still haven’t figured out the basics of how to start using it.
  4. Get my grip on bollywood music back without losing out on my classical music time. Update my playlists and albums on my iPod!
  5. And still be able to spend time with my Camera..To experiment with different lights and lens and people pictures..candid emotions. Again, I sucked so bad on New Year’s Eve..I forgot to take my camera with me.  I had breathed, eaten and done everything pictures the last few months..that the camera seemed more my dress code now, than, what I wore…and I forgot my costume! How inexcusable! Lost lots of photo ops :-(
  6. Of late, I also lost almost all the vine Jasmine plants from my collection of Jasmines, except, for the Royal Jasmine. Somehow, the setting inside the home isn’t suiting this group of plants, why? I need to figure out.
  7. Value added blogging,...while continuing to improve on my writing and language skills.

The Mommy part is my life..I have no choice..Sincere work there, no escapisms. For the wifey part of the resolution…I have a plan, to rely on wisdom from the movie “My big fat Greek wedding”.  I will most willingly give the title of “The Head” to my hubby.

“You want to be the head of us, the boss of us!…fine, the title is all yours to take!”

I then become the neck and turn the head which ever way I choose too. Everybody can have their cake and choose to eat it the way they want to.

Now for some support on the other resolutions from hubby, not taunting me for having to reheat my coffee because I was doing something on the computer, by not interrupting me when I’m lost in thought, making me feel guilty about the time I spend in all these activities..would be so acceptable but, I doubt I can just get all that without any resistance!

P.S.   Anybody with suggestions of Bollywood songs to dance to?