Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Paper, The Information, The Conclusion!

My reading mostly entitles anything printed I could lay my eyes on..from any source, as I sit in front of my computer and browse the internet, or cursorily glance through the news paper, magazines (while I wait in the pediatrician’s office or the physical therapist’s office to help me fix my back or neck ). It could be the most pointless of articles or the most touching, intelligent or wittily written blog entry. Basically, any small non-fiction articles.

Fiction and non-fiction BOOKS seem totally off limits for me at this point, for lack of time and focus. Yeah! I have the attention span of a toddler.  I never grew up in that respect. Look at me, I brag about this like I’m so proud of my accomplishment and then, get mad at my kids if they exhibit the behavior. Maybe, I can also add “reason” to my list of “never-grew-up” stuff. No wonder, I feel so much at home with my kids and they with me!

Since mistakes do happen, I do sometimes get carried away by a book or two, like I used to in those bygone days....but then, Richa will not spare a moment to remind me, what else I should be putting my mind into, like, a tiger game where I get to be the crawling tiger and also get to catch her while she runs around, or, the triplets would remember, they needed  help with their homework just when the clock strikes the gong to inform them,

“Lights off, Its Sleepy time”

just enough to get me back into my nagging routine of how irresponsible they had been, to save this for this hour. Or, they would have created a show, ready for us to watch.

Luckily, creativity is not alien to them as it had been to me  So, this situation of mine, where I crib so much about lack of time..seems to be a win win for me.  After, blaming my lack of reading on,

“Why aren’t there 30 or 50 hours in a day?”

and my kids, I do eventually, get to do lots of fun stuff that I like and a little bit of parenting too in the process.

The one newspaper I get a lot to read, (or skim through) thanks to Hubby dear who doesn’t want to subscribe to any other, is the Wall Street Journal, or WSJ. Its one paper that needs some conditioning to get used to, just like one needs to condition your tongue to Thai food. I remember the first time I had it..couldn’t stand that weird taste.

Seemed so close in taste to an Indian curry yet, there seemed to be some flavor that spoiled the whole dish.  While all the others among our group were hoggin on saying..Yum! ( I remember one colleague from work, who used to use all the paper towels at the table to wipe the sweat of  his forehead  and still continue to order cut green chilies' on the side, apart from his extra hot red curry order.), I was unable to appreciate it.

Coming back to this WSJ, it comes like this big fat book and looks so raw and in no sense attractive. There are hardly any pictures..just reams and reams of paper with letters and numbers printed so tiny, that a person with a 20/20 vision would need a magnifying glass to read. There is nothing that hints “Masala” on it. There is no “E!” news anywhere.

Eventually..after a little struggle, one gets to know the spots to find the “Masala” news! Not the “Masala” we Indians know Masala as, but, what WSJ wants you to construe it as.

The way this paper is like this. Its delivered early in the morning even before sunrise, wrapped in sheets of plastic. Most people commuting by train read this ( ignoring the ones that yap on the phone sitting beside you ), like its their indispensible caffeine, only, they need a cup on the side, with that real hot beverage too, to help assimilate the stuff in the paper lest, it puts them to sleep! Once people reach their destinations…there are newspaper bins all around where those papers are disposed off. But, Hubby brings them back for me, most times, like he used to, for my Dad, during the time he visited us when the triplets were born.

My Dad,  was a diabetic, blind in one eye, and could hardly see much from the other too. He was always spotted with this big magnifying glass trying to make out words from those tiny prints of the WSJ. He used to hold on to each letter until he figured out the word and consequently the sentence.  The visual of him bent on that paper with the magnifying glass, still so clear in my head. WSJ had managed to capture his interest too.

You would realize how difficult this process of getting used to reading newspapers like WSJ is,  if you would come across the Indian newspapers like “Indian Express” or “Deccan Chronicle” or “The Hindu” and many others that are circulated, in the city I come from, in India.

Those have big pictures, quite a few tasteless, without any censor when it came to showing crime scenes, of Movie stars and socialites. If there wasn’t a scam to report, or a political scenario where some politician, had not changed parties, or, forming a new one, news bits like, “John Abraham insures his tush for 10 Crores” would be top news. (That’s the bit I read when I was in India last summer).  There is no dearth of such “Masala” and the newspaper is so light almost without any grammage attached to it. Used to be fun reading them.

That I’m stuck with WSJ now, aware of what's happening with the Arab nations right now, I start to turn the pages. I’m not interested that Facebook raised $50 billion with help of Goldman Sach’s or that there is a poll on how people perceive Apple’s Steve Jobs leaving the company for health reasons, or that Goggle’s CEO is very smart but most times very rude too. That he idolizes Steve Jobs or that Jobs has been on medical leave again..or that, walkway rage is as real as road rage or that ICU treatment has been shown to cause some brain damage in the long term due to keeping patients sedated for long durations.

What caught my attention was this tiny article that said that a happy marriage is always about finding the right sized partner. Immediately, my mind raced around sizing up myself with Hubby and many other couples,  and sizing them up against their partners weight wise and height wise! I’ve seen couples where the man is tiny compared to the woman, or couples where the man is as tall as a tower and the wife a tiny midget, ( our classic Big B couple, right! ). Were they happy?! 

I continue to read, research mentions that as the years progressed in ones marriage…men with body mass index greater than his wife’s were found to be happier.  Similarly, in a woman’s case, the happiness index in her marriage stayed put or increased if she was tinier than her man.  So, all happiness in marriage melted down to one thing that I myself, had been struggling all along to achieve, in my marriage too. The woman needs to be tinier than her man. I mean … Thinner than her man! But, how does one achieve that with a Hubby like mine?!

I know Hubby dear loves challenges, but, why does he have to choose mine for me?  He could have made this easier on keeping his BMI higher than mine, right? No! he will go ahead and reduce his BMI further and brag about it too!  Then, he tops it by convincing me over the years..that, it didn’t matter to him, that I’m out of shape, I’m fat, or growing older.  He would love me irrespective of anything, even if my BMI was more than his, reminding me that my BMI was more than his :-(

Somehow, I knew all those sweet words were too good to be true. Now, research has proved it so. It had opened my eyes as to why Hubby dear would insist that I work out, and keep fit.  For my own self, and for our kids, he had said. He had conveniently put all that “To be liked” onus back on me! How do I convince him..I already am in love with myself. I have always been..since the day I came alive into this world. The most selfish kind of love.

So, I decide to take on this challenge of getting my BMI below his disgustingly low 1#% (I’m guessing its around 13-14 maybe, who knows, could be less too!). I increased the pace of my workouts, reduced the amount of food, but, I see no signs that I’m anywhere close to my goal. I struggled ignore all this food around me, as I work out in the kitchen, washing dishes and cooking while he easily looks through all this food it was just thin air. .

With just enough salt to dress my wound, he’ll have a smoothie for lunch like his magic metabolic rate needs it, while I would think of what’s for lunch, after having the smoothie.  Wouldn’t the world have been a better place for me, if I had not caught a glimpse of this article? Ignorance is so blissful. And if it is so..why even bother thinking so much, my lazy mind reminds me?

There’s more to add to my woes. Its never so bad that it can’t get worse, right?! There was another article waiting to catch my attention on another page…on something called the “Gut Brain”. I had always had this Gut feeling that something more was to come.

So, this article tells me, our Gut has nerve cells as many as the brain of a cat and it can tell the bigger brain, the one that resides inside our head..that its not hungry anymore and that, it should turn on the “not hungry” sign now. That, the hand should stop approaching the food. That the eyes shouldn’t find the site of food appealing anymore..and its smell, should feel nauseating!

How come my Gut Brain wasn’t wired like that? My Gut Brain did many more things than what was mentioned. My gut brain had made me feel “Panic” when confronted with a difficult situation. It had made me feel weak in my knees and made it wobbly. My gut brain only gave me “Butterflies” in  my tummy, when I felt nervous, like the time when the results of my exams were to be announced. It had made my tummy feel that “Weird” feeling when Pavan came close to me for the first time. The feeling very well used in this blog and described by Hobbes from “Calvin and Hobbes”.

My gut brain had made my head feel  “Giddy” and my heart “Stop”  when we couldn’t spot one of the triplets in the mall..while they played a prank on us at the mall. ( That was the day we had decided never to go to the mall with the kids.)

I remember, holding on to my tummy for support, squeezing it, like something was jumping inside, during such situations.   But, It never told me that I needed to stop eating because I wasn’t actually hungry during the times, I wasn’t hungry and still hogging away to glory. In fact, I ate more in such situations.

“I had told you this all along, didn’t I?! “, squealed Hubby dear,

to remind me, I didn’t need to eat as much as I do..when I mentioned to him about this Gut Brain.

“I need all that food Dear!!” I screamed,  “How will I be able to do all that work I have in the day? I hardly get to sit down in the day!”

So, I decide, I’m now going wait for those foods that Nestle and others are developing that’s going to be very slow to process by the Gut..and going to makes one feel full very soon. The 2 main signals that the Gut Brain is able to tell the bigger brain that makes us less hungry, and feel full for longer!

Then I come to the disappointing part of the news..

”it’s going to be 5 more years to see them in the market”, I read.

“Oh! what a torture!”

In the end..I give up and realize, there is no way to satisfy Hubby dear.

“My BMI is never going to be lesser than Hubby dear’s” and if our marriage is to continue with its happy days, it’ll have to do that in spite of my BMI compared to my Hubby’s or my Gut Brain refusing to tell me..that I’m not actually hungry.Or how about, I just change to reading another newspaper.

But, then I’ve noticed in the recent past, the articles that were short listed by Hubby dear from the WSJ, later caught on with the other networks and newspapers as well, means, there is no winning in this situation.

Then I remembered the old couple I saw last summer, as they were going about their evening walk talking with each other, engrossed in each other, listening to each other, so preoccupied with each other. Nothing around the world mattered more to them, than each other. The man was tiny and short,  the woman huge compared to the man. They looked so satisfied and happy together.  Did it even matter that the woman’s BMI was more than her man’s? Did it even matter that the woman was not tinier than her man? That’s the picture that brought back the calm in me and I told myself, I need to trust my Gut some more.

I went down to the kitchen and had a sumptuous meal. :D

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Richa, Don’t come!


It had been a summer afternoon. All of us had had a sumptuous lunch of starch!..It had shown itself in so many forms and we had jumped at it hungrily and consumed it greedily. The kids had laden themselves with Idlis, White Rice and Papad, while, we grown ups, the Moms, Dads, Grandmas and Granddads, had not only loaded ourselves with those yummy Idlis..we had also added some Kheer and Upma made of Starch..( Yes! did it remind you of those starch balls called “Sabu Dana”). Right, we had ravenously eaten copious shares of those yummy appetizer and dessert too, apart from the starch and fat ridden main course.

It reminds me of this “Calvin and Hobbes” strip.


So, maybe, it wasn’t a healthy menu but, it was a tasty one. And we had gulped as much as we could of that heavenly food. So what, if it had made my kids get a bountiful load of empty calories. So what, if it had made them so hyper and us so full and sleepy. Remember, Kumbakarna and his six months of sleep pattern. Right! we were ready for that after that meal. The triplets were about 3 years old then. Usually, when driven around in the vehicle, they used to fall asleep. But, not today. Not after this meal.

We had returned home carrying those heavily burdened bellies, first perching them on our lap as we sat in our vehicle and then, letting it hang as we got off the vehicle and managed to get the kids to their rooms. We had even helped the grand parents to their respective nap spots. Then, we had asked each of the triplets to get into their toddler beds and have a nap because, we grown ups needed very badly to have one too.  They looked at us so meekly, giving that innocent “cooochy…pooochy” looks and almost making us feel guilty that the thought of keeping a watch on them, had even crossed our minds. 

Richa was no where in the picture then.  We went and lay in our room. At that time it was just “Mama and Papa’s” room. As we dozed off into sleep we could hear the ruckus happening in the other room through the intercom.

There were excited shreaks and loud noises. The kids were obviously hyper. They were not going to sleep now. So, we let them continue their play, but when the noise got louder, we had to stop it..I went to their room and what did I find..all the walls were colored with crayons…Only K’s spot was clean. N had put layer after layer of crayons on the wall adjoining her bed and P had done the same at her spot.

That was it…I got so mad that, after that day..I loaded the home with so many paper supplies that the kids never looked towards the wall again. They had easels, and boards and art paper and doodlers and drawing books and coloring books that, if they desired to scribble for the whole year non-stop, they could find paper to do so..

It had taken us 2 coats of the strongest primer available in the market to hide those crayon marks. I had done that for their fifth birthday. I had gotten them pink walls.  (They had almost been free to add more crayon marks where they had and I wouldn’t be able to find out). 

All this availability of paper had gotten them into this habit of putting everything in their mind onto paper, either through drawings or writing. Now,  this started a new trend at home..The need to stick these pieces of art and literature on to the walls. When the walls were zoned off from sticking stuff on it, the doors became their next target.

Fast forwarding a few years..Richa was born and is 4 today. Today also, the triplets continue to be the same. RIcha has also joined them in this effort. Actually, she had taken it a step further and let us know she belongs to the current generation. She prefers typing on a word editor!!

Her Didi’s still scribble their thoughts or their art on to paper and put it on their door  for everybody’s display. Sometimes..there are seasons greetings for thanksgiving, Christmas or just paper cuttings of snow flakes itself. Other times, there are instructions for their family and friends telling how to behave once they enter their room..A few weeks back it was this:


That’s the sign that was posted on the triplets door..It had been there for some time now. Suddenly, Richa notices that it was her name indeed on that paper all this time! No wonder, it had looked so beautiful. Her name written so big that it almost felt like a decoration for the door. She felt so proud of it.  She brings that sheet and sticks it on the door that belongs to HER!   Its the room she calls..”Mama, Papa and Richa’s” room.

From the day she was conceived, it had ceased to be “Mama and Papa’s” room. It had become her room. Mama and Papa have no choice but to accept that it was “Mama, Papa and Richa’s” room. If Mama and Papa were cruel enough to omit her name along with the room’s, she would be kind enough to attach it. She would very politely add “and Richa’s room”. Even if a slightest suggestion was on the table that the room just belonged to “Mama and Papa”, there would be an uproar which Mama nor Papa would be able to calm. 

Trying to get her to accept Didi’s room as hers, Mama and Papa, have even put her to sleep in Didi’s bed every night, but, there is a bed bug or a nightmare hidden in that room, that has taken Mama and Papa to task on this. It always wakes up Richa, in the night and lets her know…she is not on her own bed. She sincerely thanks the bug for reminding her every night, before she comes back to the bed she should be sharing with Mama.

She didn’t care that her Didis had put up this sign that says “Richa, Don’t come in” on their door during moments of despair when she wrecks their stuff. Who cares if anything is even written after the word “Richa”. The most important word that ever matters to her is “Richa” and its on that paper. It was written so boldly, almost adding a world of beauty to that paper in a jiffy.

Even if told verbally that she  is not allowed to enter their room, she never recognized nor understood those curfew conditions. All these things hardly mean anything to her. She believes in what she knows.  That she lives in “Mama, Papa and Richa’s” room and she also almost lives in “Didi’s” room. She frequents the room just as she pleases and stop them from clearing the room, when they try to so, she could continue to be at the table where she is coloring or on the bed where she is lying and watching TV or reading a book.

I can imagine if the same was written for P, N or K. There would be clashes between the three, that would take us ages in Mom years, to resolve. Dare if Papa put up such a sign for Mama.. Can you imagine the Battle of Kurukshetra erupting from the flames of that sign? Now that Richa has planted the message herself on the door..How many more Mom Years is it going to take to convince her of the MMMAATTER on the sheet?! Any guesses?  :D :D :D :D :D


P.S. As much as I portray this as a problem..there is nothing more beautiful for me than to give that comfort of protection to my kids while they sleep. If I just kept the privacy, the inconveniences,  and all the other matters the world makes such a big deal of, aside, I love to share my bed with my kids infinitely.

At least, it makes me aware, which kid of mine grinds her teeth or kicks me out of bed, or turns around 180* in bed with her covers everywhere except on herself or, talks in her sleep. I will also be able to know what’s going on in that little head of theirs while they mutter in their sleep.  And when they cry out, scared by a bad dream, or a loud thunder..I would be able to give them a tight hug so they could relax and fall back to sleep.

Keeping this in mind..we had bought this huge king sized bed so all of us could fit into it sometimes but, who knew, kids grew up so fast or beds get smaller by the day, or Mama and Papa also add to their size by the day! :D , or that, we would have Richa to add to the number, one day.

Love you so much my babies!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011



When I see Richa talk to people around other kids in her class,  with her Didi’s friends, in a gathering, I find her talking confidently, without any restraint, whatever comes to her mind, no filter between the brain and mouth. sometimes even to gain attention or impress other parents especially, her teacher. She is not trying to be friends or fit in.  What can one expect of a toddler right?!  Even if some inadvertent talk comes of her mouth..she is easily forgiven or..we just laugh it off. I find the other kids in her class behave the similarly too. No inhibitions, very assertive…they haven’t still found the “shy” monster to hover over them. Modesty not being their virtue. 


She gives me instructions on how I should place her plate of food and water at the I actually, learnt it from her. If I tell her that I’m going to stop feeding her..that she isn’t eating..She answers saying

“Mama..I’m eating, I’m not swallowing!!”

Its cute..the ways of these preschoolers. Playing teacher, maybe you decided to feign ignorance..maybe, you didn’t follow the same sequence of toasting the bread and spreading the butter on it..Then beware! they will give you a mini training course on the right way of toasting the bread and spreading butter.

Another time, when I spoke of the deer who was waiting under the steps outside. She had insisted that it was not a deer but a reindeer and it was waiting for Santa. I walked away convinced that , that might indeed be the case. Why else was that deer so confidently staying put in its spot, in spite of watching us, watch it from the window. It surely had some support ..that invisible Santa, it was!

She also is very particular of how she wants to dress up.  Always interested in dresses that show off more skin!!

“Its so cold, you can see the snow outside”, I try to show her proof!

Crying and bouncing in frustrations is what follows.

She needs to dress her way, not because she wants to impress her peers. I haven’t seen her notice, how her peers dress in class.To her, this is the way she is going to feel good. She is happy with the 2 pony tails she wears everyday. 

She has some dress codes. She needs to wear a “Lehenga” when its time to pray or to meet Aunt D( I wonder why she made this connection of an Indian costume with Aunt D ). The main point being..she talks what comes to mind and dresses as she feels, not influenced by any fashion trends.  Carefree, unaware of any consequences attitude.

It reminds me that my triplets had been like that at one time too.  They used to talk without any reservations, so cutely, many times, putting us in embarrassing situations when they commented about somebody inappropriately, so loudly! But now, they are so self conscious of what they talk. They have become very shy and elementary school wise too!

neha 2 years  (4 pony tailed N)

N used to wear 4 pony tails on her head at one time..Right 4! The 2 normal ones on the tiny band, in the front that held her fringe and one at the back to hold that extra hair coming off.  She loved this style. She felt like it was her signature. It looked different from all of her friends. She wasn’t bothered to fit in, then. She just loved being different.  I had felt that she is one confident kid..

K had been a shy baby so, there isn’t much I can compare of her from then and now. P had been a bully when she was a toddler. The way she demanded a hug when she had done something wrong and she got reprimanded. That was her closure to the incident. Nothing else would matter if this wasn’t completed. The ring of that bass sounding cry is still there in my ears.

“I want a huggy”

Now, 8 years younger, she is the same as far as needing the hug..but doesn’t feel bold enough to ask for it…with the same confidence.

All this reminds me that Richa will soon become different too and I wonder how to make this carefree spirit of hers stay, as she grows.  I think that will be a battle I am never to win because, this is the law of growing up, right?! That, kids start to get aware of their surroundings, aware of the expectations that are set of them, the different types of people around them, their friends, who they want to be associated with, their peers, the need to be liked by their classmates, the need to fit in, to belong to a group, to weigh, how cool their fellow classmates are, with the number of friends they have..and that omnipresent..self-consciousness. What if, somebody will mock them for what they just said or how they dressed? They don’t want to be different or unique anymore!! What if, some classmate at school will say “Eeewww”?!


This morning...Neha was totally confused about how she should wear her hair...She felt,  it was long enough to be tied up but, disagreed on how I had suggested it  to be tied up.
She wanted it tied in a way that wasn't working...She insisted on this, and I wondered why! A very good guess turned out to be true. Her friends at school were having their hair tied like that. 

“Well fine, go ahead and try..but, you don't have long hair on the back of your head!” I reminded her.

“Why don't you hold them together on the will be able to have 2 ponytails..”, I suggested.

That felt very childish to her..She’s all grown up..right?! She’s all 8 years BIG…far from being a kid.  OMG!! just a little knowledge of 3 years in school and they think..they are BIG! The rest of them..are kids. The kindergartners, the first graders, the second graders..They are kids. Not her!

The most important reason:

“What if my friends say Eeewww?”

I tried to explain her the importance of being confident.. Tried to explain her trends start. How some confident person dresses a way and it gets into vogue.  All this talk,  did help her to come to a compromise on how she is going to tie her hair..but, I don’t think she bought any of my talk..or at least..she didn’t feel confident enough to be that person who, will start a new trend. But, when she returned that evening..her hair was still tied the way she left in the morning. Yey!!

K had hurt herself over the weekend. She had fell and, her teeth had cut the skin on the inside of her mouth..Now she had a BIG doubt of her own..

“What if my friends want to see the hurt, Mama? What if they ask me to show the hurt?”, she asked me.

“Show them”, I replied.

“Then, they are going to say “Eeewww” to me”, she said.

“Then don’t show!”, I told her unable to suggest anything that would be right in her perspective.

P was in front of the mirror, trying to decide on her hair style, if she should leave them free or bind them with a band. She had already spent a lot of time deciding that leggings is not something she can wear now…She prefers the boot cuts but, the leggings feel warm..she had thought.

Still, she chose the boot cuts over the warmth of the velour leggings. Style had already taken precedence over comfort. When she returned from her school, she was sad and crying.

“I wasn’t invited to my friends birthday party!” she cried.

I tried explaining must have been inconvenient for her parents to hold a bigger party and they must have had a smaller party in which they called close friends.

She had wanted herself to be among those friends who made it to the party! Some of her classmates lived in the same community as the birthday girl, who made it to the party. It took a while for me to explain her that it was ok for kids to choose close friends and reminded her…

“You have your own circle of friends around your home too, right!”

“But, I want to be V and M’s friend too!”, she wailed.

“Why don’t you get friendly to their moms?!”, she demanded of me.

Not only was I supposed to get her to realize that friendship cannot be forced..but, now I was expected to force my friendship on her classmate’s moms, disregarding their schedules and whatever it is that we moms are busy with.  How do I explain to this child that we grown ups need to feel that “click” in our minds to take friendships to the next level, that is, when we have the time and patience to consider a new social acquaintance.

“Look at the positive..You three are a group yourself, and, you didn’t need to do anything to belong to this group!”, I continued trying to convince them.

All this need to belong to a group..will surely be one of the struggles of  growing up. Its bound to happen, that eventually, they will find that one or two or group of friends who, they will finally feel, they belong with. Until then..they are going to try to follow trends, and promise parties to their friends so they will get accepted among them.

Welcome to growing up my darlings!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011




This year 2011,   is going to go into my memory book as the Year of the Snow..but, I keep hearing this buzz around me..saying “Year of the Rabbit”!!. I would like to defend my stand.

Just into February, and we’ve already had snow more than any year I’ve seen in the past. I haven’t seen the color of the grass. The earth has appeared white since Dec 26th of last year when the first snow storm hit us. Feb and March are supposed to be the peak season, and, we are just stepping into now! It feels like we’ve already been in it for more than a month now.

DSC_3234 DSC_3384

To most people, its very inconvenient..and distressing.  This is perceivable. Its not like they are have a choice of sitting at a window with a cup of coffee and watch the snow, as it falls, so silently, in slow motion, so unlike a hard rain, …making the atmosphere look so beautiful, so picturesque, almost heaven like, like its trying to decorate the earth, the spruces and the cypress, the pines and fir, the houses, the roads, the one would use confetti on a cake, making everything look so clean and white and bright, (although sometimes, the migraines caused by this glare from the unbearable!! ).


Then the plow trucks come and push the snow to the side..along with it, they push the dirt from the ground that makes the snow look dirty. They make sure to push all the snow from the roads into peoples driveways, so that people have something extra to crib about. ( Maybe, the township has taken the burden of making people workout more, during snowy days…lest they put on winter fat! ).

The geese and the deer come along and pour all their dropping, like there was a dearth of poop everywhere, that the earth was being starved of Geese poop. Like that was the only way to color the earth..other than white! It also makes me wonder, now that, all the grass is covered with hard ICE and there isn’t anything much these pesky creatures are able to eat..where do they make all that poop from. Imagine all that bio gas…Go Green!  :-)


Coming back to the people who find these snowy days hassling.  Its really difficult to be in their shoes.  This working/commuting crowd are unsure..that, if they really take this adventurous drive, how the road conditions will greet them, as they get out of their neighborhood.

Its impossible to get traffic updates, covering each road that one commutes. On the other hand, the municipalities sometimes finds it wieldy, if people stay off roads, Its easy to clear roads this way. Suppose these enthusiasts, did reach work..will they be able  to make it back home?


Like hubby dear, who decided that he needed to be at work on the day the ice storm was happening. He dauntlessly drove to the train station. The transit on its part..din’t want to disappoint these fearless hearts. It kept ..showing them hope that, the train would be 10 mins...

After another 20 mins, it assured these cold feet..the train is surely going to be there in the next 20mins. After another half hour, it started blaring the signal horns..letting the waiting crowd know, that the train is approaching. Inspite of the frozen lips, (Have you tried talking outside in cold conditions and how did you find your lips? Do they move normally??) they went to the platform in that freezing ice storm..hoping to see those lights approaching but, couldn’t find any train coming closer, for 10 whole minutes. 

Luckily, Hubby dear decided to set that nearly frozen part..into action. He started to think and came to a decision that it was time to get back home. There was no way that he will be able to make it to work on this day. He came home to a frozen driveway also known as black ice and somehow got his car to traverse the length of the driveway into the garage without bumping the car into any walls! YEY!! we all screamed silently.  We were hiding in our spots, as he opened the door, so he will find us :-)

All this said..its because of dear Hubby..that its possible for me to be able to sit with a cup of coffee and admire the snow fall as it happens. Its because he toils hard,  we can think of making a snow man on such days rather than think about clearing the snow from the driveway.

Coming back to reality..! Coming back to the working/commuting crowd making their way back home to find that huge piles of snow waiting on their driveway to clear up if they do manage to return in the evening, that is!

Another inconvenience, that homes with both parents working face, is, when the schools declare a holiday, or an early dismissal or delayed opening..they have to worry about arranging for child care or arrange for staying back home.

On their part, schools are unsure if they need to declare the day, a holiday or a delayed opening…or just stay open!  The other day, it was the case of heavy sleet (a very dangerous condition) with rain and snow together. This condition creates slippery roads and walkways. They had a delayed start. This morning, it was the case of heavy snow fall. They had a delayed start. Last week’s was an ice storm. The schools were closed.

The schools have a limited number of snow holidays to declare in a year. If they cross that,  they work extra days in June to make up for the lost days during snow time. (That means, summer vacations are delayed and/or spring break is cut short.)


The days of delayed start, is a big bother for the kids, too! (Can’t stop complaining, right?  ) The buses tend to come late due to the road conditions, to play it extra safe..And sometimes, they are on time, so, the kids have to be sent outside, well in advance regardless so, they won’t end up running on the sleet to reach the bus. This makes them stay in the sleet longer, getting them wet and spite of their layers of clothing.  The walkways are narrowed down due to the snow.

As much as we clear the snow from the walkways, the wind, Mr Vayu, puts the snow back so effortlessly, without even needing to turn his pinky.  In the nights, this freezes and cause slippery conditions for the kids, the next morning, who are running to their buses. Salt is of little help because there’s so . much snow that is swept off. Sometimes, the bus doesn’t stop at the spot, that had been dug out from the walkway to the road..then, the kids try to cross the snow to get to the bus..Like, these kids need any extra push to do such things. (As I watch from the window, I see them already digging their hands and legs into the snow piles..trying to see how hard its frozen!)

One day, K’s feet got stuck in the snow, as she tried to cross over to reach the buss, and when she pulled on it..her shoe was left inside the snow and her feet out..she had to tread on it to get her shoe out. She got onto the bus to wear it. A wet feet in snow is not an easy thing to deal with.

All is not bad for everybody, when it snows heavy. There are a few people who thrive in lots of snow. The lawn mowers! This lets them earn extra,  clearing people’s driveways of snow. They usually don’t have work during the winter months.  So, such conditions are good for them, and, for people who hire them..its creates a big hole in the pocket :-( 

Snow is a costly affair! If we don’t clear the walkways on time..we get tickets from the police. People from the community have had to take off days from work, to go to court and fight their case and the penalties are hefty, either they had been on vacation or the mail man who complained had been very unreasonable!!

How about people who clear their walkways and driveways themselves! Through sheer hard manual labour! Trust me, this is real hard labour.  Especially, for your back. Its not for the weak spines or weak hearted.

For such people, its a great workout..that is, if you love to clear snow :-) It easily takes much more than 400 calories on an average for a 150 pound person to shovel for less than an hour. That’s a good number.  The other day at the gym, I had set the elliptical to a resistance of 23 and a stride rate of more than 200+ ( I think!!), and I was able to burn me..about 500 calories in 40 mins and but, it was a grueling workout. So, considering this, I think shoveling is a good option. Most times, when Pavan completes clearing the driveway…he comes in, his T-shirt completely wet with sweat.  It feels great to come inside to a hot cup of coffee after shoveling snow. Can you feel that warmth as I hand the mug of coffee into his hands?!

Can’t forget to mention the skiing trips that we’ve already made this year and some more waiting to happen. The kids were on the slopes for the first time, this year and they did so well. By the time we completed the previous trip, they’ve been crowned “The Bunny slope experts”.  They are so eager to get on to the next level now.

DSC_2824 DSC_2826

Hubby and myself went up to the next level of the slopes to gauge if the kids would be able to do it. After the experience of the previous trip we think they must be ready for this in the next trip.  I cannot forget to mention, that skiing or any winter activity is a very very very costly avocation. Shelling out those dollars for the equipment rentals and the costumes is very expensive but, once on the slopes, feels totally worth it.

Last week, was the ground hogs day. Its told that the ground hog wasn’t able to see its shadow this year!  I’m sure it didn’t even come out of its hole because it was the day of the Ice Storm.  All this just means to say that, spring is going to be here, soon! Approximately, another month and a half, maybe, and we can be singing..

“Spring is here , Spring is here, Its the best time of the year!”

A link to my album on snow!!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ageing Gracefully.

How does one age gracefully? Especially women! I’m sure a large percent of the women population of today, who are in my stage of life are being bogged down with this very question.

Born of an age when industrialization and automation were catching up, when people were realizing the cons of population explosion, especially in third world countries, people had understood the positives of  “Hum Do Hamaare Do” through family planning so they have a better life style and raise better kids,  when women were increasingly becoming part of the Indian work force (my mom being one who made a career in the aeronautical industry), when a girl child was no longer being considered a liability ( although, this still holds true in some areas), I feel nice to be born to parents whose priorities were to raise an independent girl child with self esteem, who would be able to stand on her own feet, and make her own decisions. 

That’s a big percentage of the women population that I’m talking about, and for most of, the biggest question they are dealing today, is, how to age gracefully. Their bodies are already getting there but mentally, they haven’t aged a bit. They have been so busy with making a home that when they paused to take a breath, they realized, they aren’t among the youth anymore! This is something we all women will face eventually,

The days when we felt invincible and immortal in terms of our beauty, seems a thing of the past. The days, we gave a damn about the sun or dust to protect our beauty, a thing of the past. The days, when we could hog on fried stuff and still manage to burn the extra calories thanks to the magical  metabolism we possessed, seem lost. The days, when our bodies would automatically want to bounce around, disappeared. When we could take care of the extra cholesterol and saturated fats in a jiffy, gone! The days when retaining muscle, with just a little effort, evaporated!

Now getting a mammogram has taken priority, not that I’ve got one.  Currently, doctors prescribe that every women past 35 needs to get one done. Which means I need to get it soon. Physicals every year have become essential too. Cannot afford to ignore!  Dental check ups for our tooth, that once helped me effortlessly chew off sugar cane..have become I can preserve my jaw line longer..right!  My worst night mare is to be wearing dentures and they fall off at the oddest moment!

The need to provide my skin with extra moisturizer has become crucial. Creams that promise a skin that is 10 years younger, on the very first application, if I am ready to shell out ugly amounts of dollars…have become compelling to consider. Crows feet,puffy eyes, wrinkles are some vocabulary that’s becoming a part of our lives now. The very looks that made us feel good of ourselves once, has began to taunt us. Words like Botox and Botulism…are getting familiar. Personally, I would prefer to show those fine lines I’ve earned over the years, than to go through this, nevertheless, the knowledge has been gained. Fillers and concealments  would work just as fine!!

Most of us are also battling the after effects of child birth. We are dealing with that ugly waistline which once was beautiful enough to be displayed, now, being concealed so we can share those zebra marks of childbirth just between the mirror and us..Basically, our bodies that used to make us feel good about ourselves once upon a time, has become the very tool to bring us to depression. It have become something that is  “for our eyes only”. Not even the Hubby gets a peek at it. 

How can I forget to mention the graying hair. Once upon a time…I, used to apply henna to condition my hair,  when I felt like.  Today, its become a fundamental part of my grooming, so, I can hide the gray in my hair. How about the part where its getting more difficult to sneak in time to apply it, with the growing needs of family life taking over? Growing old for a women is not as simple as in the case of men.

I see how proudly my husband displays his salt and pepper pass of a look that is considered “distinguished” compared to the look of a “new boy on the street”…To him, its not something he needs to color. And many of us are also dealing with an impending menopause and its symptoms. Growing old is much more complicated and cruel on a woman than a man. 

Even as I deal with all these, I realize that we have now entered an era where the 40’s are being considered as the new 30’s..and the kids, on the other hand, are attaining puberty as early as 7-9 years.  (Puberty..being another issue for me to deal with in another blog).

So, isn’t..age, just a state of mind? Just a number to most of us? A number that doesn’t match up with the mind. ((Yeh..sure, I feel so young in my mind, when my back is taking a break from the pain and my ears go deaf to the sound of my creaking knees!!  Even the  joints in the body come together in this effort, to let me know..WE EXIST and WE HURT and WE GET STIFF  too!!)) 

Physical ageing is just one facet of this whole process..something that we cannot escape but ..accept. This is where the Emotional ageing comes into picture.. This is that ONE saving grace of this whole process. It is this facet of ageing that brings back the beauty that in the physical sense is considered, getting lost.

Its this emotional wisdom, of the women, that makes her accept her age in her mind.  In my GNO blog, I had mentioned that we girls always celebrate sweet 16’s..but, if I were to choose an age that I wouldn’t want to age after...I would prefer to remain 30 all my life. There is a beauty in a women of 30 that one doesn’t achieve at 16 or even the early 20s,..that’s the emotional beauty. 

To me, a women’s beauty peaks when she hits her early 30’s.  Its around this time, that she is concentrating on the beauty of her mind too.  She’s getting emotionally mature and has come a long way from the impulsive behavior she used to exhibit in her younger years.  Now she’s able to understand the wisdom of this !

Calvin: Sometimes when I’m talking, my words can’t keep up with my thoughts. I wonder why we think faster than we can speak.
Hobbes: Probably so we can think twice.

This wisdom along with her physical beauty makes her glow.  She looks much more beautiful than, when she was younger. Even her body slows down, unlike its peppy self of her teens and 20s adding grace to her as she walks.  This dignity accentuates her sex appeal. I’ve seen young girls wearing saris, usually very fidgety with their jewelry and their pallu. Lacking confidence. But see the same on a 30+ year old women, who has maintained herself well..there is a charm on the older women. There is nothing more alluring than an older woman who embraces her sexuality, while still remaining dignified.

Its by this age, that most women are married, some already with kids..They’ve experienced womanhood from all sides,  since, most of our biological clocks are ticking, right?!!! (although I wonder if that statement from “My Cousin Vinny” holds true nowadays as most successful women are having their babies in their late thirties  and even early forties).

They’ve been loved, most have experienced motherhood..some of them have lost one or both their parents. They’ve known hurt, they’ve worked at creating a home..raising children..Most of them are juggling between work and family. All this experience and knowledge shows on her face through their confidence, through her gait, in her stride. All the love from her kids, her husband, her extended family..makes her forget and look away from her despairing physical self. 

She is careful in making frivolous statements..such as I just want to experience love, travel and see the world..then, I can die”. Now, she might be a mother, a wife, she understands her responsibility, so, she doesn’t engage in such flit talk. She’s spent years in adjusting with her hubby’s family and learnt the positives of, and knacks of adjusting and accepting the differences among people.

So sure,  maybe I’ll have to deal with my hair or my bad back, or my stiff joints, much more than I did earlier, much more than my husband needs to, maybe, I’m not the type who is ready for a short hair help me cut years from my face, but my emotional maturity and the love of my family along with good diet and exercise, (which is better said than done),  is going to be my recipe of embracing aging that’s actually going to keep me young forever!!

What do you see as your recipe to embrace aging with dignity and grace?!