Vishu in Dubai

This year our Vishu celebration wasn’t that great. What is celebrations without family and friends ? As Vishu was on Sunday ( a working day here, in Dubai ) we were in office on Vishu 😦

Anyways, we arranged a vishukani with available items, Babs wasn’t much thrilled to be shown the Kani as soon as he got up. But as soon as we gave him one Dirham coin as Kaineettam, a glow came on his face. Then he was happy to see the Kani and had something to blabber about the items kept for Kani 🙂 I was reminded how Kaineettam was the best thing about Vishu for all of  us as kids. Didn’t know this love for pocket money would start at the age of 16 months 🙂

I came home a little early from office and prepared a small Vishu Sadhya for dinner . The sadhya was spread on a plaintain leaf and surprisingly Babs enjoyed his first Vishu Sadhya ( last Vishu he was just about 5 months old ). Not only did he have stomach full from his plate (plaintain leaf), he wanted a second helping when I sat down to eat.  So that leaves a happy baby and a happy mummy and of course a happy daddy 🙂

 

PS : As I was posting this, I felt the tremor of the Earthquake. This is the first ever time I actually felt the Earth quake.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Color

This photo was taken by my Husband at Ibn Batutta Mall in Dubai, Last Friday.

The theme being color I was looking for a photo with bright colors, but somehow I was attracted to this photo with the pale colors.

PS :  This area is between the Tunisia Court and the Andalusia Court, actually entrance to Andalusia court. In the photo you can see the model of  Flying Machine , created by Abbas bin Firnas, who constructed and attempted to fly in his machine between 875 and early 880 AD.

Husband’s property

This happened today, at my office.

My male colleague E, “Seena madam, you have become stylish nowadays”

I, with a smile “aanno? ” (Is it so?)

E, “new dresses, hair style, glasses and all. Suits you well.”

Another male colleague RS, “Hey, what is this man. She is a married lady. You are talking nonsense to a family girl. What will her husband think if he hears that, he might slap you”

Excuse me! Am I my husband’s property? A male colleague cannot compliment a female colleague if she is married ? Does he have to take the husband’s permission for that?

I was irritated and gave him a piece of my mind.

Actually he has been getting a piece of my mind every now and then.

When I was pregnant, the same RS had told me that he had prayed in the temple, for me to conceive, as I have been married for more than 2 years and it is because of him that I got pregnant ! 😯

Excuse me! Who are you (or anyone else for that matter) to decide when should I get pregnant.  It is something I and my husband should decide together. If we have decided not to have kids until we are ready to take the responsibility, why should anyone else be bothered about it. When I have never discussed or even remotely mentioned to  you or any of my colleagues on my plans to have or not to have a child, who gave you the right to assume that I badly wanted a child and pray for me in the temple ?

Even after getting an earful from me that day, he did not hesitate to tell me, when I was about to go on maternity leave, that he had prayed at the temple for me, to have a baby boy.

What the …. ! Who is he to decide I  should have a boy or a girl ? Why should he interfere in my personal affairs ? Why the preference for boy?

Now, who deserves the slap from my husband?

RS, believes that a colleague with whom I am friendly with should not pass compliments to a married family lady without the husband’s permission . At the same time a colleague, with whom I don’t even share a cordial relation and never ever discuss my personal affairs, can pray for me to conceive and then have a baby boy. He not only feels there is nothing wrong in it but also feels proud of it to brag about it.

Why ? Obviously, the social conditioning he has got from the patriarchic society he was brought up in. The social conditioning that did not tone down even after being educated, holding both a BE and an MBA degree and working in a professional environment as an Engineer for nearly ten years.

A social conditioning that teaches that a woman and her beauty is only husband’s property. A social conditioning that teaches that a woman’s duty is to get married and within a year give birth to a boy. Any other male complementing the woman is violating the husband’s property rights. Any other male praying for the woman to conceive and giving birth to a male child is being a well wisher to the couple.

It  was just after the above incident that I read this at IHM’s blog.  Isn’t the same social conditioning, mentioned above, the reason for an woman’s honor  to be linked with her status of being married. Rape becomes nothing to do with the woman’s mental and physical trauma, but everything to do with losing  honor and becoming unfit for marriage. Marriage becomes nothing about love and mutual respect but everything about the woman’s honor and status in the society.

Baby Sitting – Woes to Bliss (Part II)

Continuation of Baby Sitting – Woes to Bliss (Part I)

We met Patti Amma. This time our antennas were up. We tried our best to get to know her well. We were convinced enough to try. The location was an issue. Her flat was little off the route and 15-20 minutes walking distance from our Villa. I convinced my cab drivers to help me, but on the evenings when they have tight schedule, I would be dropped only till the Baby sitter’s place. I and my husband decided to meet at the place, pick him and walk to our Villa, on those evenings. Anything was fine as long as Babs was in safe hands.
babysitting-kangaroo-animals-birds-pelican-3093First week, he cried when I left and when I went to pick him. But I felt he was comfortable with her. By the second week he stopped crying, though he looked sad and was reluctant to let me off. I could see the change in him. He had connected with her. He was of course not happy to leave me but yet was not unhappy with her.
Opposed to the first Baby sitter’s view, Patti Amma told me that Babs was an easy child, any baby sitter’s dream child. He stopped crying as soon as I was out of view. When he wanted, he ate and drank without any fuss. He happily let her bathe him and groom him. He befriended other kids there easily but was shy and scared of outsiders. He would cling to Patti Amma on seeing any outsider. I was happy to see how he became everyone’s favourite at her house. On evenings when I went to pick him, I could see through the door left ajar, Babs sitting in Patti Amma’s lap and Patti Amma singing a Tamil Rhyme, Babs making sounds in tune with her and tapping his little fingers on her cheeks.
We were happy and relieved.
Patti Amma was planning to go on a vacation in December. Other kid’s parents were also fine with the vacation schedule. I too applied for leave and the request was accepted. But then we got a blow, when my husband’s leave application was rejected as his colleague was going on vacation at the same time.
Now we had to look for a new Baby sitter. We were really worried how it would affect our baby, to be left with a new person again.
Luckily for us, there was this couple who had moved to our villa in November. Their son was doing graduation in Kerala, the husband was working and the lady, S was a homemaker. Being in the same villa, we met her often in the evenings and between conversations came to know that she had Baby-sat a 3 months old kid till he was 3 yrs old. She had also expressed interest to baby- sit as she was idle at home and felt lonely. She is a sweet and cheerful lady. Babs was also familiar with her. So we requested her to baby sit him for 3 weeks and she happily agreed. Surprisingly Babs connected with her very fast. He cried only the first 2 days and from the third day he happily went to her arms. He seemed to very happy with her.
Then we went for the month long vacation . After coming back we were in a Dilemma. Both Patti Amma and S were good and loved our baby. Finally we decided to send him to S, because he seemed happy with her and being in the same villa and seeing familiar kids and people around, he never felt he was in strange place or away from home. We wouldn’t have the transportation issue also. There was no bus to Patti Amma’s place from my office and also from her place to our Villa. Getting a taxi to her place was easy but from her place to our villa was difficult. Where as there was a direct bus from near  my company to our villa. So I need not worry about dropping and picking up my baby even on days when I don’t get my company cab.

But our woes didn’t end there. On the fourth day after Babs was back  with S, S had to rush to Kerala as her mother had fallen and in the ICU. For 3 days, my BIL who was staying with us, did the Baby sitting job. Despite being a bachelor in his twenties and no experience with small kids, he did a great job. But then the sad news of S’s mother’s demise came. S would be back only after a week. BIL had come here on Visit visa, for job search and he had to attend interviews.
So once again I sought Patti Amma’s help. She was happy to care for Babs for one week. Babs hadn’t seen her for nearly two months now and so he again took time to connect with her. For me and Raj too it was a tiring week because that whole week I did not get transportation from my company, as the cabs were busy with deliveries at project sites.

After a week S came back and from then on she is baby sitting my son again.
Curious to know how he is doing ?416-daycare-cartoons

– as mentioned in the first post  , he is eager to reach there in the morning.
– in the evening he is excited to see me but not in a hurry to leave.
– one night, he spilled water on his night dress and when I removed his dress and was fetching another dress for him, he snatched a dress from the cupboard and in his language asked me to dress him up. He gave the socks to his dad and showed his foot indicating he wanted to wear it. Then he slid down from my arms and took his bag in the table and said ta-ta hurriedly to dad and pulled me, pointing towards the door. From his actions, it was clear that he thought it was morning already and was eager to go to his Aunty’s place.
– one night we were just having a walk outside the room. S also was there and he went to S arms and then he was not coming back to me at all, instead he was asking S to take him to her room.
Then S said ” go to your amma dear, its night, your sleeping time, I am only your vallarthamma, I can’t keep you with me at night, she is your pettamma who will be there with you always.”

Am I upset that my baby is happy to be with his Baby sitter ? No definitely not . I am happy and relieved, because now he is not just with a baby sitter but with another Amma, who loves and cares for him . Am just praying that the bliss continues.

PS : Vallarthamma – Foster mother. Pettamma – Biological Mother

Baby Sitting – Woes to Bliss (Part I)

My little boy gets up in the morning and as soon as I change his diaper and clothes he says ‘ta-ta ‘ and points to the door. He wants to carry the bag with his dabba (snack box) and dress himself. Once I open the door, he points and pushes me till he reaches his Aunty’s house. He happily goes into his Aunty’s arms and says ta-ta to me and eagerly looks around for Uncle. I smile and walk back to our room.

Last April I returned to Dubai after my 7 months long sabbatical, with my 4 months old baby. My Amma came along with me to stay for three months and help me with the baby. I rejoined my work the next day.

For three months things were fine. Babs was with his Ammama and I had nothing to worry. But as the time neared for Amma to return back to India, we all were worried. The search for a baby sitter started.babysitting

We could not afford a maid, so the options left were Day cares or Baby Sitter. Location was one major issue in our search for Day care/Baby sitter, as we do not own a car. We had to look for a place near our home or my office or somewhere in the route between my home and office, so that my office cab would not mind me dropping and picking my baby on the way.

I was not much sure about Day cares. The stories I heard about  Day cares such as that the kids are given cough syrups and put to sleep whole day, was not encouraging. We could not get any recommendations from any of our contacts, Google was our only guide. Online research and phone calls followed. Our options were limited – Few do not take babies below 1 year, few were off on Saturdays, few cases the timings were not ok, few were highly unaffordable.

Finally we found a Baby sitter, the week before Amma left. We visited her flat which was 15 minutes walking distance from my office. Her sweet talk and behaviour somehow convinced us that she was the right person.bs

But that turned out to be a horrible mistake. At that time Babs was 7 months old and still on milk and purees, he had just started crawling and could not stand without support.  My baby cried a lot every time I left him there and went to pick him. I went in the afternoons to feed him.  He was suddenly left at a new place with strangers, he would take time, things will be ok in few days, I thought. Two more weeks, there was no change and she had lots of complaints. She said he was a difficult child, fussy eater, not mingling with anyone. I told her not to force feed, I don’t force feed him. Let him have what he wants. But she kept comparing him with other kids and complaining. I was depressed. Didn’t know what to do. Was she no good or was the problem with my child ? Should I give them some more time ? Nearly a month and still I couldn’t see any attachment develop between them.

Then one day she called and said that Babs had fallen and bleeding from his nose. I rushed to her flat. He was sitting in a corner crying. I picked him up and he immediately clung to me and stopped crying. I checked his nose, bleeding had stopped. His dress had few drops of blood and there was little blood in his hanky. She was panicking and asking me to rush him to hospital immediately. I calmed her down and asked her what happened. She said he was sitting on the floor and falling asleep, she tried picking him up to put him on bed, but he would not allow her to touch him, he would cry when she went near him. So he dosed off sitting and hit his nose on the floor.

I took him home immediately and decided to not send him there again. Kids fall, bleeding happens, it sometimes happens even when you are most careful. I do not blame her of carelessness but I was disappointed the way she panicked and reacted after that. I could not understand why she was not able to pick up a sleepy child and put him to sleep. Why she could not connect with him even after so many days ?

But what knocked the daylights out of me was her call in the evening, “What can I do, he doesn’t allow me to pick him. I thought he was afraid because he was not familiar with us and so we all moved to other room and closed the door . Even then he cried. He is a difficult child, you better quit the job and take him with you back home. I tried my best but your son has some problem ”

What the hell! You don’t move out  and close the door leaving a crying child alone in the room, in an unfamiliar place. She thought she was doing her best taking care of the child by leaving him alone crying? It was completely my mistake. I cannot still come out of the guilt of trusting my baby with someone like her . Even now the image of my baby crying in a corner of the room all alone breaks my heart to pieces.

I took off for some days . Had no clue what to do. How can I trust a new baby sitter ? How will I find one ? Then one of  my husband’s acquaintances told him about a middle aged lady in the building next to his, who was taking care of kids for a very long time. They personally knew her and the parents of two kids going there. They assured us that  we can trust our baby with her.

Continued on  : Baby Sitting – Woes to Bliss (Part II)

Absolutely agree with each and every word  Lauren Nelson has written.

From the facebook comments image she has posted, we can understand the society we live in :

  • 16 year old girl is expected to be mature enough to not get drunk.
  • 16/17 year old boys are expected to get drunk.
  • 16 year old girl is expected to protect her ‘modesty’ even while she is heavily drunk and unconscious.
  • 16/17 year old boys when heavily drunk are expected to rape the drunk girl.
  • 16 year old girl is a slut when she gets raped when she was drunk and unconscious.
  • 16/17 year old boys are poor victims of fate when they are charged for raping the girl.
  • 16 year old girl getting drunk shows degradation of social/moral values.
  • 16/17 year boys getting drunk, raping, joking about the rape, posting the photos in social network are innocent.
  • 16 year old girl should be charged for underage drinking.
  • 16/17 year boys involved in underage drinking and rape are wrongly charged and convicted.
  • 16 year old girl who got drunk and passed out, in no position to object, was asking for it, is responsible for her rape, is a slut/whore, got what she asked for and did not lose anything.
  • 16/17 year old boys who got drunk, did only what most people in their position would have done, are not responsible for what they did, were just stupid to post it in social network , are innocent and wrongfully got their promising career ruined due to biased law.

Also read : Teens who witnessed the crimes used their phones to snap pictures and photos – never to call 911

Rethink the Rant

TRIGGER WARNING:

The following includes descriptions, photos, and video that may serve as a trigger for victims of sexual violence.
Please be advised. 

Someone asked me today, “What is ‘rape culture’ anyway? I’m tired of hearing about it.”

Yeah, I hear ya. I’m tired of talking about it. But I’m going to keep talking about it because people like you keep asking that question.

Rape culture is when a group of athletes rape a young girl, and though there are dozens of witnesses, no one says, “Stop.”

Rape culture is when a group of athletes rape a young girl, and though there are dozens of witnesses, they can’t get anyone to come forward.

Rape culture is when a group of athletes rape a young girl, and adults are informed of it, but no consequences are doled out because the boys “said nothing happened.”

Rape culture is when a group…

View original post 1,115 more words

2AM Photo

It’s 2AM and your phone has just buzzed you awake, filling the room in white-blue LED light. You have a message. It’s a photo. No words, no explanation. Just a photo. Tell us all about it. And what happens next.

 

The phone buzzed, filling the room in white-blue LED light. Tanay woke up and grabbed the phone on the bedside table. The phone screen clock  showed 02.00 am. On any other night Tanay would not have woken up with the buzz of the phone. Veena always pulled his leg ” You are Kumbhakarna’s son. Once asleep you would not even wake up if earth quakes’

But tonight he could not sleep like a log. Even while asleep he was aware of the small sounds around. He was waiting, waiting for the phone to ring. But it was a buzz. A message. A message from an unknown number.

He quickly unlocked his phone and opened the message. It’s a photo. No words, no explanation. Just a photo. He smiled looking at the photo.

Then called the number. Not sure who would pick up, he just said “Hello”

“Hello …, did you see the photo” it was Veena’s excited voice on the other end.

“Yes darling I did. You kept your promise. Thank you dear. She’s cute, just like you”

“I thought she is like you! It was hard to keep the promise, as I could not carry my phone to the labor room. But thanks to the doctor, when I told her I wanted you to see your daughter first, she readily gave her phone to click our princess’ snap and send it to you.”

“How are you doing dear ?”

“I am doing fine dear, no worries, just tired. Normal delivery.. Wanted to talk to you before taking some rest, our princess is now with our family.”

“You take rest darling. I will call later.”

He was waiting for this call since he knew Veena was taken to hospital in the evening because labour pain had started. He went off to sleep because doctor had said delivery is expected only the next day. But yet he was not quiet asleep. ” Damn this project, I am stuck here in Delhi, I  could not be home with my wife when she needed me the most. How much I wanted to be the first to hold my daughter.  Just two more days , I would be with them.  She went into labour two weeks ahead of the expected date. But Veena had kept her promise, I could at least see my newborn baby”  He once again opened the message and stood gazing at his princess’ photo.

*****************************************************************************************

For more 2 AM photo stories, click here..

PS : This is my first attempt to write fiction. Suggestions are welcome 🙂

Rice with moru curry and fish gravy

Rice with moru curry and fish gravy

Fish

Fish

Lunch is not an elaborate affair on working days. Most of the days, the Dabba I and Raj carry  has cooked rice and a curry and if time permits some ‘thoran’ / ‘poriyal/fish fry/dry fish or prawn fry.

The rice with fish in coconut milk ( almost like ‘fish molee’ , prepared in my own simple style) and moru curry ( made of curd, ash gourd, plantains and grinded coconut ) was made on Friday. The parboiled rice, we brought from kerala, was grown in the paddy fields of my In-laws. My in- laws and I put a lot of effort in it.  My FIL and MIL toiled in the paddy field along with the farm workers, to produce the grain. And my MIL spend days drying the grain, de husking it, boiling it and FIL got it pounded from the mill. Then I spent few minutes packing the rice 🙂 But the fact that the rice takes a long time to cook even in pressure cooker, makes it inconvenient to cook on working days and so has been labeled under ‘rice to be cooked on Fridays’ .

Vegetables

Vegetables

This Vegetable Rice is a quick lunch I make on busy working days like today. It can’t be called Vegetable Pulav nor Vegetable Biriyani. It is my version, a mix of both, done in quick and easy method. I just chop the vegetable and throw them in the pressure cooker with ghee, add washed and drained rice, salt, masala and water. Switch off the gas in 5-7 mins, let them cook in the pressure . Simple isn’t it ? No sauting , no frying, no garnishing… My Babs too likes it, isn’t that great ?, vegetables easily get added into his food. I used to make it spicy but since Babs too eats this, I now reduce the spice in the rice. Instead I make spicy pudina chutney to go with it.

You can see more yummy lunchtime photos here..

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime

Flying with the toddler…

Babs boarded his first flight when he was 5 months old. I say, he is so lucky, I boarded my first flight when I was 25 yrs old, till then aero plane for me was the small dot we see with amazement, moving high above in the sky.

On his first flight Babs was mostly asleep. He cried only when hungry and slept off on being fed. He was only breastfed at that time, hence had to carry only wipes, diapers and an extra dress in my hand bag. But this time I had to be prepared. Now, he being a 14 months old , hyperactive toddler, and having witnessed non stop crying babies in the flights earlier, we carefully planned our trip.

We booked our tickets from Dubai to Calicut, keeping our toddler’s nap time in mind. We booked the early morning (3.30 am ) flight. That would mean we have to report the Airport at 12.30 am, which would mean Babs would be fast asleep on our shoulders throughout the security check and boarding process and in the flight. If we had taken the 1.00 am flight, we usually take, we have to report the airport at 10.00 pm, means Babs would be too excited seeing us preparing to leave and would not sleep at all and it would be difficult to manage him. For the same reason we decided against morning flights. We would land at IST 9.00 am at the Calicut Airport, means Babs can have his morning bottle of milk on the flight itself and would be asleep during the checking out process and would enjoy the sights from the taxi. Be will be home by noon, he can have lunch and sleep. Perfect planning.

But the toddler had other plans. As I mentioned in my previous post, Babs had caught fever which was high the day before the flight. So on 8th, 9th and till 10th evening he was asleep or lying down inactive most of the time. By evening medicines took effect. He regained his energy. I tried to put him to sleep many times before leaving for the airport, but he would not sleep. Finally we had to carry a widely awake and excited Babs to the airport. He has not yet started walking by himself. But he wanted to get down. He would  crawl all over the airport.1 And he is Usain Bolt when it comes to crawling. We would easily loose him in the airport. He wanted to lay his hand on every thing and everyone he saw around. Only way to control him was to show any other kid in the airport, then he would be smiling ear to ear to the kid for next 5 mins. He kept calling everyone “eyy” and was blabbering non-stop to the attendants. Thankfully he wasn’t crying and so people around were actually amused. All were instantly taken by the sweet smile that he gave away without any hesistation.

Emirates Airlines too had plans to keep us entertained. They kept changing their boarding gates. Thrice, we had to walk, with luggages and over excited Babs to different gates which were so far from each other that we thought we may reach the Calicut airport walking.2

Once on the flight, he started crying aloud because of being restricted in one seat. But by the time the flight took off  I was able to feed him and put him to sleep. He slept peacefully in the flight and got up again only at the Calicut airport during the check out. Once the flight landed, we waited for the rush to be over before getting down the plane. Many people who passed us were looking at the toddler fast asleep in my arms and talking to each other “look how peacefully the baby is sleeping now” , “he was so cheerful” “poor baby, tired after all the excitement”

Once in the Taxi, from Calicut to Kannur, as we expected, he enjoyed the sight seeings from the car and also took short naps. The bag I had packed for him, with biscuits, bottles, warm water, Formula milk powder, sugar, wipes, diapers, dress, towels etc.. came in handy throughout the trip.

On the return trip too he did not create much problem other than over excitement at the airport. I could hear two babies crying non stop throughout the flight, and thanked God and of course Babs for being a better travel partner.

Image Courtsey : 1

I am back…

ImageAfter being away for a month and a half,  I’m back here… Oh! how much I missed this space.

More than posting, what I missed was reading my favourite blogs. So, the last two days, I hopped into all my favourite blogs and read all the posts I had missed.

Being new here, I did not expect any one to even notice my absence, leave alone missing me. But I was really surprised to find a message from Visha of  Zack and Visha. I was instantly on cloud nine.  Visha, you made my day. Thanks a ton:)

For me 2013 started on a bad note. I fell ill on the eve of  the new year. On the 1st and 2nd day of the year, I was down with high fever. I recovered in a week’s time, but then my Babs fell ill. It started with a cough and cold and developed to  chest congestion and high fever. My hyperactive and cheerful Babs became completely inactive. The smile he always had, was gone. On 10th Jan we were to fly to kerala for a month long vacation and on 9th night we were in the hospital. After injections, suppositories and nebulisation sessions, by 10th evening he got better. Though his cough and cold continued, his smile was back and he was active. This is something really amazing about kids, no matter how ill they are, they start playing the moment they can lift their head.

Finally on 11th Jan we were back home. A month passed like a week and we came back to Dubai on 11th Feb.

I was sure that I would be online and actively blogging back home, as there was internet connection at both my parent’s and in-law’s home. But KSEB (Kerala State Electricity Board) and BSNL  had other plans. Thanks to KSEB , the power did not go off occasionally, rather power came occassionaly :(. And BSNL made sure that the internet connection was lost or very very slow whenever there was power. And then my Babs and relatives/guests made sure that on the very particular moment, that came once in a blue moon, when both power and internet are available, I was not available to make use it 😦

So in a nut shell, let me borrow SRK’s dialogue from OSO, but with a change, “agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaaho , toh poori kaynath tumhein usse ‘door’  karne  ki koshish mein lag jaati hai’ . Seriously yaar , it happens with me every time !

More on the vacation in my next post.