Saturday, June 15, 2013

Another year..Another year older!


Yesterday...My triplet children, PNK, turned 11. It was yesterday evening, 11 years ago, I was going through this huge huge pain, this great life threatening discomfort, I’m really not sure what to call it...of which, I just have a 10 sec video clip, where,  I’m just tossing this way and that to get comfortable. My face was an epitome of PAIN! Well..that’s the best hubby dear could do!

In all that pain, I was still hoping to hold on some more so the babies could grow some more.  Little did I know that, eleven years later, I would realize, it was the easiest part of motherhood that I could have endured. The EASIEST BREEZIEST PART.  Little did I realize what we are setting ourselves up to.

When your children are babies, toddlers and as they grow into little feel that life will only get easier as your children grow. They will get independent, that they will begin to dress themselves and feed themselves, and you as a parent will be able to relax more.

LIttle do you realize, that the responsibilities of parenthood just gets exponentially bigger as the child grows, and to just say that feels “tiny”!  They start to become individuals who surely can feed themselves and take care of their physical selves but, now education comes into the picture, they start to think, growing mentally,

You need to start focusing on helping your child to make good choices for their future, starting with sharing in the kindergarten years to choosing friends in the teenage years, develop the personality, feeling content with their physical looks, developing confidence of self, learning extra curricular activities, understanding your children’s talents and providing guidance, financial stability, mentoring them., so so so so much more starts to come into the picture, that motherhood/parenthood suddenly becomes this monstrous complex job…that you’re not sure how to handle.

Now, my triplet children, step into another phase of their lives..They are no more those Kiddos on the block...they are eagerly looking forward to their teen years unaware of the challenges all such things bring on, with respect to education, love and everything else that's going to shape their future hence forward...
Me on the other hand, I'm so nervous, really nervous of dealing with the challenges of tweenage and teenage parenthood, and that's an understatement.  Hope we, mom and daughters,  we’ll be able to find balance in all the imbalances we are up for together.

I've heard a lot of people tell me "You are lucky" when they hear me answer their question..

“How many children do you have?”

“How many boys and girls?”


There are some who just simply smile and some others who have warned me about the uphevels all those raging hormones are going to bring on, in our lives...

Some have suggested that Daddy, stand by the door with a long ward off the boys who will try to woo these pretty girls.  Some wondered about all the hearts that these pretty girls would break. There was one doctor...who had playfully suggested that we should consider owning a Smith and Wesson.

“What is that?”, I had asked him innocently.

That was the first time I came to know of a brand of gun!!  So, people had a lot of ideas for me..I am just hoping I can get through years of teenage motherhood without the use of any such. 

I'm going to rely on the phrase.."It takes a village to raise a child".  I'm going to bank on all the parents and the children of the neighborhood and community, my village,  to form that balance we as parents need for our children and hope to provide the same to other parents and their children.

Now as a mom of my children, with the wisdom I now have, I understand my parents better than ever before.  I respect them more that I realize, they endured a kid like myself!!

I now love them, for forcing some of those decisions they took for me. Those decisions that I didn’t agree with or I didn’t like, then.  I understand how much I had depended on my Dad to be my pillar of strength.

Now as a mom to my children, I know..that some of the decisions my children may make may not be right and, I will not hold myself back and let my child make such a mistake.

In the coming years..I know, I’m going to be finding myself in those shoes quite frequently..what with 4 girls in my life. I'm going to have to prepare myself mentally to hear my child tell me, that they think I’m mean, they hate me.. (although I doubt if my girls would say something like that..) and hope that later in their life .. they will understand our perspective, as I did. 

This has been the cycle of life until now.     Its only when one becomes a parent can one understand their own parent and the anxiety they went through, as they had raised you.

My letter to God today is….

Dear God, I would like to let you know that I am so grateful for the family you have given to me..I do love each of them to pieces..and I would like to, to the best of my ability, take on this responsibility bestowed on me .

GIve me the courage to face all the emotional upheavals that is part of mothering my 4 wonderful girls and wisdom to my children, to make better choices. One of them includes, helping my children find a friend in me and help me in my quest to achieve that. 

I would like to listen in on her thoughts..about everything in her life, things that matter to her, things she dislikes and things she doesn’t care about. Help me build a relationship with her to make this possible and help me be wise enough to not judge her when she does in fact confide in me, be trustful of her that she would make the right decision.

Help me be her always be able to have and give her options and nudge her in the right direction. Help me help her appreciate the small things in her life, the power of spoken words, and the consequences of her actions.

Help me help her find kindness and patience. I can tell you, the patience level they show right at the lowest..Help me raise that. for their own sake and mine too!

I understand that my daughters may have emotional outbursts, at times (although it already feels like its “always” now)..Help me face all that with the coolth of a cucumber.

Right now..I’m grappling with the decision if my children are ready to own phones..They have promised that they wouldn’t be occupied with games on it..they wouldn’t misuse it. Their dad is all for getting them the phones. Please give wisdom to the Dad and the children to hold back some more because you and me know what such promises mean and what peer pressure does.

Give me the physical strength and time to continue to create all the wonderful memories in the form of pictures and videos that I make for they will be able to cherish their childhood days.

The last but the greatest thing I would like to ask of you..Give me the strength to be able to love my child UNCONDITIONALLY!! To protect her and yet let her fly free..That’s going to be the most difficult for me, I know.

I close this letter to you god reminding myself..the last few lines of this poem I came across…..

Remember too as she grows to
Be a woman
She's a reflection of yourself
A reflection of the joy, kindness,
And dignity
A reflection of a woman set free
To pass down her teachings
From no other than thee.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Raga Hamir - Vocal recital

My children PNK and Richa, had their yearly Classical Vocal and Kathak recital the past weekend. The video posted above is a composition of their Guru, Ms. Swagata Chakraborthy, of Raag Hamir (Raag Hameer). PNK, my triplets are part of this group. So, I can claim that almost one third of the voice in this video is my KID'S :-)

A very difficult and challenging composition for children of this age (10-12 years) and they sang it so so so effortlessly.. I was so elated with joy. My My My..I'm so totally proud of my children. Especially, when I hear the finale Tarana and the "Madhuban Mein Radhika" part...I just can't help but clap clap. There were some very difficult tongue twisters in the end..the children loved that part. They were so exited to learn that part.

Starting with Aaroh and Aavroh and then the Swarmalika, followed by the lakshangeet. The Lakshangeet, shows one the form of the Raag. Every Raag has this form. It makes a kind of figure in your mind. The Lakshangeet gives that to the listener. This was followed by the Bandish. Then the tempo picks up and they sing the famous "Madhuban mein radhika naache re" based on this raag so beautifully, followed by that amazin amazing TARANA recital.

A highlight this year, some gem of instrumentalists played this year...all little kids..You can see the flutist in this video. The tabla was rendered by a 7 year old boy... The boy who is fifth from the left is a very good sitarist!! He accompanied the Men's group in their Raag Recital. Amazing amazing talent here..people. Especially makes it awesome coz, these are small children.

A milestone for me this year was, with this video I stepped into the world of Video editing and Sound editing. There was a lot of noise and static in the sound of this video. Since the stage was very wide and if I went to the end of the hall to make the recording...I would have caught a lot of talk from people, I set up the camera a little closer to the stage...that meant a wider angle lens 24-70mm, so was worried of the distortion. The stage was very very poorly lit.

The curtain in the back was a shocking blue colored vinyl tarp...It was such a horrible color. I edited the video first in photoshop.. to mellow down that color. There were gaps in the curtain showing the backstage..I cleaned that up .. then fixed some more color. Then I rendered the video and brought it to Adobe Premiere Pro for further editing.

My first experience with Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Audition. These are 2 beasts...When I came back that night..I immediately tried opening the clip on Adobe Premiere Pro to edit the Video and the sound..but, was totally lost. Took me a day to understand the settings and the way we start a project. I thought it would be easy to understand that I'm comfortable with Photoshop. Totally frustrating too..The sound editing or sound cleaning doesn't work so good in Adobe Premiere pro. One needs to go to Adobe Audition to really do a better job of cleaning the sound..but, as I opened the clip in Audition..I realized that's another beast!!!!

A whole new world of technology, subject and information. Its a long road of learning ahead.

So, in between the struggles of learning a new software..I've managed to clean up the sound a little bit and make a decent color correction and lighting of this video...luckily the characters are standing in one, not much action going on here.

If Photoshop-ing is technical enough, Video editing is painfully more. And, It takes forever to render videos. Say, after exporting the document, you realize, you need to make another change, there goes few more hours, just to render that change. I'm sure there must be settings that will make it faster...( of hand I can think of one, rendering the video of lesser quality will surely make it faster.), but, don't know them as of now. Totally new vocabulary, new elements to edit. A virgin territory for me. Will keep me occupied the next few weeks to learn some of it.

And that also for 5 programs during the 4 hour long event, Recording the event in video and stills too.. OMG!! One tiring..knee shaking task. I have to confess I was nervous, very nervous and instantly TIRED! Then, to realize that I will have to edit these videos because the lighting on the stage was not right. The sound system also was very noisy. So, I do feel like I want to take off this week.. :-)

My children dressed in Bengali Style Sarees in this video..(I learned that also now!!) for a folk song rendered after the vocal. Changing costumes for 4 children..making sure there will be no costume malfunction on the stage...The amount of safety pins and hair pins to hold stuff..WOW!!!

Can't wait to edit the Kathak and other Dance videos showing the triplets and Richa too :-).

Monday, June 3, 2013



When we lost Hobbes, our Yorkshire Terrier in July of 2010..It had been really heart breaking for PNK, my triplet daughters. Richa was hardly 3 years of age then. She didn’t know what she had lost, or maybe she just plain didn’t know how to express it. P, N, and K, my triplet children, had set up a memorial for him  and conducted prayers..They were visiting their grandparents in India when it happened and we hadn’t informed them until they returned...



DSC_0066 as Smart Object-1

Today, she very badly misses having a pet. She realizes that owning a pet would be the greatest thing that could happen to her. She had even mentioned that to Santa last winter but had left the marketing to her sisters which they obviously failed at.

For the last few weeks, she’d been bugging me about the Puppy.  I tried convincing her that owning one would ground us. We wouldn’t be able to go to her favorite places. She had replied back saying she hated going on vacations..anyways.

“Why do we have to go on a vacation Mama?!”, she had questioned me.

“I love being home..I like to be home always..I do not like going on any vacation.”, she added emphatically.

So, the other day,  I tried explaining to her what it meant to have a pet.  It needed to be potty trained. It needed to be bathed, groomed, fed. It may scare some of her friends away. It would be like having another baby at home..and that meant sleepless nights because a Puppy would need its mommy and we would have to stay awake to entertain it..see that it doesn’t chew off her shoes or hurt itself. it would be peeing everywhere in the house as it wouldn’t be potty trained yet. That she wouldn’t be able to go anywhere during her summer break.That, it would be a very difficult commitment to take on. 

Ofcourse…you can imagine how many promises she must have made to do the job all by herself. She didn’t even need her Didis to help her on that.

I reminded her that she would have to take it outside, to do its business.

“Who will walk it out..when you are at school..or at night?”, I asked her.

“WOn’t you be scared of walking it out at night?!”, I asked her.

“I could put on the lights and take him out to do his potty”, she insisted. This coming from a kid..who will not enter a room alone..who wants me with her even to pee in her own bathroom!! She is ready to get down the stairs at the door and take her pet out to do his nature call?!

Realizing there was no way I could get her to think practically..I conceded.

“Ok Richa…”, I said. “I will get you a Puppy!”

“WOOOOWWWWW MAMA…did you just agree to that!”, she screamed in delight..unable to believe she had just heard me say that.

“Yeah..but, there is a condition”, I said.

“What is it..I can do anything”, … she said, jumping.

“You will have to behave real responsibly for 60 days”, I said..just changing the 30 I had in mind to 60..on that spur.

Her enthusiasm had gotten me nervous, you see! I was too scared to utter…”30 days”

“I will watch you for 60 days to see how responsible you can be..that you have it in you to do all you claim, you will”

“And that need to clean up after yourself, complete your homework..without me having to remind you, no tantrums on taking a bath, you have to keep my space clean..all your stuff belongs to your room, you’ll have to eat by yourself……….”, I continued with a list trying to sneak in every little bit I could to take advantage of the situation.

She jumped with delight…

“Yes!..Yes!..I can do all that”, she exclaimed.

For almost a week, from was a sight to watch Richa at work. I felt guilty reminding her of the things she forgot to attend to.  She made my bed..finished her homework without a sigh, made sure that she didn’t annoy her sisters, ate her food without a tantrum. She was an epitome of what an easy kid would be like.

Slowly..I had to start reminding her of the many things … she was not doing..reminding her that she is in the 60 day evaluative period. Threatening her..that she may have to forgo her puppy if she refused.

Soon, she realized that she had agreed to more than she could handle. She stopped talking about the puppy.

One day sitting at the breakfast table, she mentioned having a rabbit for a pet…N saved the day for me…that morning.

“ you know how bad that smells. Do you know how much it poops and it does it in its own place. Mrs G has a Gerbel and she changes its bedding everyday, still the room stinks like crazy!”, she said.

This left Richa speechless…her sisters, who themselves are craving to have a pet…had spoken against the idea. There went her idea of having a Rabbit or a Gerbil for a pet, into the drain.

Today, she came to me and said..

“Mama…you know Caterpillars make great pets. You don’t need to do just need to place it in a pile of leaves and watch it feed on them…and turn into a butterfly”.

That moment I just wanted to HUG her tight. She was ready to settle for a caterpillar for a pet.  I could totally totally understand her.  I was in her shoes as a child. We would pick up any orphaned baby animal from the street and bring them home, to rescue it.  We had a  baby goat once, a rabbit, a street puppy dog, a baby squirrel rescued from a crow…We had brought home a lot of them…and had our hearts broken every time the pet died.  The baby goat got killed by a pack of street dogs and the rabbit killed by a cat…the puppy didn’t survive its own condition.

Eventually, I did grow up with a Doberman for my pet and what…2 generations of it. So, I can totally understand this desire of my children to have a pet. I know it is great. That unconditional love, getting licked on the face, that happy welcome you get when you come home, playing fetch with them, training them to do tricks. In fact, we had gotten Hobbes, our Yorkshire Terrier and a Rabbit within a couple of years of getting married. I had trained Hobbes to do tricks with a Clicker. and was thrilled it had worked. I had a library of books at home..on their care and training.  That was until my kids came..Well…who knew I’d have 3 of them at once!!, right?!  After that..Hobbes was on his own. I evaluate my situation.. I am not in a position to commit to mothering another living creature....So, my children..I don’t know for how long…I am going resist, but resist I must.

“Where can you find these caterpillars, Richa?”, I asked her

“You will find them in Caterpillar shops Mama..Thousands of them. Why don’t you search for them on the internet?”, she suggests.

And I showed the results of the search to her..

They were pictures of people wearing shirts and caps named “CAT”…Images of huge yellow machinery too, with the same letters…..leaving her to these words..

“Google is so wrong Mama!..How can these be caterpillars?!!”