Sunday, February 21, 2016
It was a stubborn Wednesday and I was dragging the week somehow. Amit had been working till late, so I was looking after the kids and home for a long time at a stretch. It was exhausting to say the least. Especially when the kids are down with cold and cough. We had not even gone out for two days due to the same. I wanted to breathe some fresh air, wear neatly ironed clothes and look better if not nice. I was done being sweaty and sad looking. But I did not have an option so I kept reminding myself of how lucky I was to be able to spend every moment with my precious ones. They will not be this small forever. That story though true wasn't working well in my head. My mind kept insisting that I could do with a tiny break. Amit finally came home and thus followed happy screams from Evan. Glad to see baba home his face lit up. We had dinner and I suddenly realized that I had completely forgotten a thing to be bought to send with my friend who was traveling to India the next day. That thing was a loving demand from my adorable pregnant sis in law Neha. I told Amit that I would have to go and get it from the store though it was already 9.30pm. I quickly added that I would take Evan along with me to save Amit from the riot. But instead Amit suggested that I take my time off. Those words were golden in every way. Without much discussion I agreed. I rapidly got ready before I got the time to change my mind. Finally after blowing kisses to Evan and promising to come soon I stepped out of our house. My face had a constant grin. I walked to the bus stop. While I waited for the bus I took long breaths. The air felt cool. It had just rained so the roads were damp. The moon was peeping out from the sky. It was a perfect night to go to the grocery store! I shopped all the things on the list. While returning home and listening to my favorite playlist simultaneously I was consumed by the thoughts such as 'how lucky I was to have a husband like Amit!', ' how I should remember this when we gave an argument next time!' , or ' how did I manage to be so sure to find the perfect groom for myself at the age of nineteen!' By the time I reached home it was 11.15 pm and our house was still wide awake. Evan ran towards me in excitement as I entered. Amit had made Arin sleep. I thanked him dearly for taking care of the kids even after a tiring day at office. But I had to be thankful to something else too. Singapore was such a safe haven that a woman could without thinking twice travel by public transport at 11 pm. This is definitely rare to happen any where else in the world. The Aamir khan statement being still fresh in my head, this experience made more sense to me than ever before. I retired to bed with all these thoughts making rounds in my head. As I lied down and closed my eyes I heard Arin's soft cry. Well who knew, my day was not over just yet! :)
Right from the time I was pregnant the second time to this day I am either asked why I dared to take the step again or I am praised and patted to have taken it up! That got me thinking. Why is it so hard for people to digest that a second baby does not always happen by mistake and can be a dream come true. I think having two kids is the best decision of my life. For that I don't need to wait for them to grow up. There are pretty solid reasons for believing this. One. Since the baby has arrived Evan has suddenly acquired a sense of responsibility. He is on the run when it comes to the little tasks like bringing the diaper or calling me out when the baby cries. He doesn't need to be told to share. He insists that baby use all his toys and clothes. I have to assure him that ones Arin grows up he will definitely share. He is a huge help when I massage and bathe Arin. Doesn't mind even if Arin pees on him. He has learnt to care and love more than he did before. Two. Both of them will have a friend in each other for a lifetime. That's a mighty good reason. Three. A family always has its own fun stories, moments of joy and sorrow, that incident when one of them had fallen off the stairs or how one of them has had a terrible haircut. Such and many more such little things are part of a happy closenit family. When together these memories are often recurringly talked about and laughed or cried at. My kids will always have each other to travel down the memory lane even when we wont be around. They will always have family around in each other's presence. Four. They will always have someone to talk about stuff they might not be able to talk to us. Including complaints about us. Five. The best gift that my parents ever gave me is my brother. That sums it up. Definitely a square!
After we brought Arin to Singapore one of our friends passed on their baby cot to us. It is big enough for Evan to sleep in easily. Arin is too young to be sleeping in it so we kept nudging Evan to begin sleeping all by himself. We encouraged him to try it and find out for himself how much fun it would be to share his own little bed with his favourite soft toys Woody , Buzz and the rest of the gang. Tonight he finally agreed. So Amit in-spite of being awfully tired moved the cot near our double bed so that Evan could sleep beside us yet be independent. Evan excitedly brought all his favourties to his new bed. Arin was on my lap. I was humming a lullaby to him. And in no time my eyes filled with tears and my heart felt extremely heavy. A flash of the last four years I have spent with Evan zoomed by. I could not contain my feelings and I began to cry. My eyes were acting like a stubborn child not willing to stop. Evan sensed it immediately and peeped in to look at me. He worriedly asked me what had happened and I couldn't bring myself to speak. I hugged him and cried some more. While arin watched with his big black eyes in wonderment. I finally expressed to Evan how emotional it made me to let him sleep away. Every single night he has been beside me. Right from when he was just a little baby like Arin is now. I realized that I need him more than he has ever needed me. Tucking him in my quilt and singing to him did not seem like a routine any more. I realized that it is something I need to do, without that sweet ritual I might not be able to sleep or even breathe. The love in a mothers heart is as vast as the sky and as deep as the ocean. I was living that exact same feeling. The imagination of separating myself from my son itself seemed difficult forget acting upon it. There will be so many such moments when I will have to remain strong enough and let him live his moment of independence. There will be so many instances when I will want a little more of him while he outgrows it all. He will need me less and less. I will have to prepare myself for it. Every transition is inevitable. It will make my heart sink but will also make me proud. Tonight was just a slight start to all that is in store. The thoughts took me away to my mother. And I texted her saying that I miss her so much and that I could only discern how she must have felt while Sanket and I were growing up. Arin was asleep and as I placed him down I could hear Evan whispering to Amit that because Aai had cried he had decided to sleep beside me tonight. I was so overwhelmed. My baby is growing up. Real fast.
A friend sent me an audio recording of Vapu Kale today. After listening to it I was tempted to listen more of him. So I searched on YouTube and found more audio recordings. While listening to it I was travelled back to his times. My grandparents times. Times when world was much simpler than it is today. In one of his narrations he says that a man and a woman should always have defined chores. He attempts to boldly say that a wife should take care of the house and the husband should work outside to earn. If he would have said it today to someone itcwoukd surely have been a controversy implying that he is a womaniser. But what he means is far more deep than you and I can apprehend. He further says that there should never be a competition between a couple. Their worlds should be different. When a wife starts working her respect for her husband reduces and she might just say, " What's the big deal in what you do? I can do it too!" And vice versa. There at that very moment competition enters the relationship. The proportions of respect and love change. The equation loses its charm. Does he say anything wrong? I do not feel so. In today's times where we are marching out and shouting out loud about how men and women are equals and how there shouldn't be discrimination, are we turning into rebels too? I agree both deserve equal amount of respect and rights. But this whole scenario is making the basic relationship of a man and woman much more complicated than it actually is. What he puts forth is aa simple and forgotten fact of today. A man and a woman are different. They have different hormones to create different feelings. They are two different poles of the earth. They have different thinking mechanism. What makes them stand equal beside each other is the very fact that they need each other. Equal can also mean differently similar. Today in relationships we have more of a competition than compassion. More of words and less of understanding the silence. More of acting together than thinking together. "Even I am capable to do it" has ruined the delicate nuances of a man woman relationship. A woman might be a CEO of a company but she still is afraid of a lizard on the wall. A man might be strong and physically more able but he still needs a woman to move her fingers through his hair and ask if things are okay. No matter how much we fight about equality we also need to remember that we are different and that the beauty lies in being so. Just for a moment forget the equality fight and think. Appreciate more. Compete less.
Today was Arin's weekly check up at the pediatrician. So we hurriedly got ready. My mom and I packed all the things we might need along with some we knew we wouldn't need but carried anyway (you know how mommies think! Fine. Over think!) Evan tagged along with his water bottle and a couple of toys. We boarded the car. Evan settled at the back seat along with my mom. Arin was peacefully sleeping on her lap. I loaded all the stuff on the seat beside me and switched on my GPS. As I drove with the American lady guiding me through the chaotic roads of Ahemdabad I started enjoying , to my surprise. It was an half an hour drive amidst the indisciplined and honking city. Not very enjoyable for a regular commuter. But for me it was. I realised that today, only when I was behind the wheels after a long time. I was about to turn 18 when I kept pestering my dad to teach me to drive. He did. And since then I have been overjoyed to drive. I love it. Because my dad was out of the country for many years after I turned eighteen I got the car solely for myself. My brother was still young and my mother was never fond of it.I remember how I had convinced my mom to let me go alone once and how she had been scared to let me. But once she was confident of my driving skills she always praised me. If I ever got the golden chance of dropping someone to their home or picking someone up I would be thrilled. After Amit and I started seeing each other I would pick him up and we would switch places. That was the time I enjoyed being a lady and let him drive. But the secret was and still is that I love to drive alone. I love myself the most when I am driving. I feel a sense of confidence and pleasure. I love to check myself in the mirror once in a while...play songs and sing along in a loud voice....smile at myself if someone is staring at me in wonderment. I enjoy it More because there is no anxiety at all. I feel totally in control of myself. All these feelings surfaced again today while I was taking my little one to the doctor. What a rare co - incidence! Though I had so much in my mind when I began my drive in no time it made me forget all of it and focus on the road and on myself. I was a different person. I was a girl long forgotten by me. If a drive to the doc can give me so much solace then what would a drive without any purpose do? That idea has kicked in now and am sure going to find time to do it before I travel back to Singapore.
Before falling asleep it’s a ritual my mind follows without being told. It brings in some thoughts for me to chew upon till I finally slip into my deep sleep. I always remember Chetan Bhagats statement in his novel Two States that some people have to shut down fifty windows of thoughts in mind before falling asleep. I am one of them most obviously. Last night my mind chose to think about my parents, not only my parents but also about being a parent. What does it actually mean? What it should mean? Since having Evan I have wanted to do the best I can do so that he is happy, cheerful and healthy. But I keep asking myself, is this enough? Am I doing enough? Am I overdoing it? At such moments I immediately think about what my parents are for me. That helps me realize the answers for my questions. Time has changed. It always does. That’s like the ground rule, isn’t it? But the emotions, the affection, the respect, the warmth, the principles, the friendship and most importantly the love in this most unique and natural relationship will remain unchanged. What determines the success of this relationship is the proportions of all the above in right measure. Not all parent – children relationships are a success. By success I mean whether there is love and respect or only fear, whether there is care and warmth or only duty, whether there is fun and laughter or only rules. These aspects decide whether the relationship is a success or not. For me my parents are my pillar of strength, by that I mean when my mind is emotionally imbalanced, one phone callto them makes it alright. When I am worried about something, one message from them can make my attitude positive. When I am extremely happy I realize that they are happier than me for me. I cannot beat them at that. Whenever I have asked for anything, I have always received hundred times more. But the most magical fact about my relationship with them is that no matter how much they give they do not spoil me. They never preach what they don’t practice. That’s speaks volumes. I had read a quote somewhere that – Children don’t listen, they observe. I guess my parents never had to be told this. They already knew. When you strive to be a good parent, you become one. But it is most definitely a conscious effort you have to make every day. No one can replace a parent. No one can love as much. No one can care as much, except your own children. But only if, you succeed at making them feel all that you felt about your parents. At times when I lie down with Evan to make him sleep he gently cuddles me, rolls his palm on my back as if he is taking care of me too and that is when I taste the success in my relationship as a mother. As the night darkens, the chaos in my mind is replaced with a soothing humming sound and I fall asleep.
Memories strike you more when you realise how much your life has changed. But no matter how many tilts, turns and tornados your life goes through one part of your life seems almost unmoved and unbiased. That part of your life is called friends! It doesn't matter what you do in life, how much you achieve, how bald you get, how many hair on your head has turned white, how much flab you have put on your stomach and even if you are miles apart from each other. Nothing deters friendship. True friends are real treasure of your life. When Amit and I got married we moved to Chennai almost immediately. Our stuff was transported to Chennai even before we left Mumbai and it was suppose to reach before us. But unfortunately major delay happened. We temporarily were staying at Amit's old accomodation and looking forward to move in to our own home. That now seemed impossible. So we continued staying in the old accomodation. Amit lived with two of his friends. The house was typical of how a bachelors house would be. It had one big living room and one spacious bedroom. Amit's poor friends had to let me in their home and tolerate me as well. To my surprise and relief they were extremely understanding. They made me feel at ease. I was living there like a fourth friend. There were more lizards than people in the house. So I was always watchful! There was a guy who claimed himself to be a cook and would come daily to cook for them and now me too! The kitchen was a total mess. I cooked for them at times to make them realise what real food meant. They had almost forgotten it after eating Ramu ke haath ka khana. After fifteen whole days of sharing the house with them we finally moved to our home. Even though the stay might not have been very convenient it was surely memorable. Anirudha (urf manager) and Ajay (urf geem) were humble enough to let me stay with them. Now we are all miles apart but those days will always hold a special place in my heart. School friends are the oldest and the bestest friends one can ever make. That's my belief because I have experienced it thoroughly through out my life. I value them way too much in my life. So two years back I decided to make each of their birthdays special. It had been years since we had gifted each other anything. So I tried and made their birthdays grand. But what they did for me recently was totally overwhelming. They travelled all the way to Ahemdabad while Amit was here, to surprise me. They arrived at my doorstep with a cake and two garlands (lol) to congratulate us. Sometimes it is still hard to believe that all of them could find time on the same day! When we were in double mind about moving to Singapore our very good friends from Malaysia who were now residing in Singapore encouraged us that we should. We were welcomed in their house for a whole week when we landed until we found an apartment. Dont know what we would have done without them. Later when we moved into our own apartment I was unaware of the fact that I would make such great friends there. But thanks to my cousin sis who lived there for several years helped me find them. Sometimes it takes years to get along with someone and few moments to click with some. When I moved in to the new condos I was clueless of everything. But then I met them and it fit like a jigsaw puzzle. There is a true connection between us. I am totally grateful that I found these bunch of girls and am so looking forward to be back in Singapore! Friends are such integral part of your life. They are family. I am glad I have been gifted with such amazing souls in my life!