Happy Diwali

It’s been a month since I promised to try to be still and I have to say I’m rather proud of myself. The only posts up have been alerts, campaigns and such, mostly copy pasted. I’ve really lost the urge to update you with my kids’ daily bowel movements, so to speak. I did tell myself ten times at least ‘I must blog about this’ only to realise later that I had no will to put fingers to keyboard. The laptop might be to blame. I miss the PC.

That and the fact that I now have no maid for my kids, I am doing laundry, feeding, bathing, dusting, doing Diwali cleaning, running errands and frantically trying to end my notice period that is stretching like a wad of stale chewing gum. I really should be done now, but I keep offering to help until a replacement is found (stupid me). I also got involved in the Violence Against Women month and at Saffron Tree we have our annual festival CROCUS 2011 on. None of which I’d factored in. And then the Bean fell ill – her annual Diwali asthma attack. And in getting her through I passed out with the exhaustion and finally crowned it by as usual blacking out on the stairs and tumbling down. At last count I have a cut and twisted ankle and bruises down the length of my back and legs. In the midst of this I am sunning winter woollies, attending birthday parties and doing much more.

But it’s Diwali and we must talk. I must tell you so much. I must tell you that the last month of working on the VAW blog has depressed me. It has reminded me of the amount of violence we live bang in the middle of. And then when I turn to look at my children and my life I remember how blessed I am, broken bones, lack of coordination, annoyingly anal husband and all.

We’ve been struggling with our social life since the maid left. This is a kick in the pants from fate for cheekily telling the pregnant friend that we’re done with the popcorn and movie evenings and are now ready to party. We’re humbled and back to babying our days and nights away. I wish I could tell you I didn’t enjoy it, but I am loving it. I think its because this is a choice. They are no longer just kids. They are entertaining company. Sample this-

The Brat and I are discussing something about behaviour and what is correct. And so I end with – “So you have to do what your heart tells you. What does your heart say now?” Brat with a wicked grin – My heart says don’t listen to Mama at all!

Me and the Bean chatting about the environment and greenery. She responds by pointing to the hibiscus and bougainvillea and saying, ‘Yes mama, I do like greenery. But I wish there was more red-ery, pink-ery and blue-ery.

The Brat and I are fixing something and I struggle with it and curse the electrician who didn’t show up, ‘Why is it that they all treat me like I’m a fool?!’ I mutter. The Brat looks up in all earnestness and seriously says, ‘Maybe for a good reason, Mama?’

The Bean’s clogged up nose is a matter of dispute. I try to chase her with a tissue and she wants the joy of shoving a finger up her own nose, so she says – “Mama, you always say, do you own work, do your own work. So I’m going to clean my own nose, and you clean your own.”

The Brat explaining ocean animals to his sister, “The squid has ten-tacles and the octopus has eight.”

The Bean watching an F1 driver head into a pit stop, to her father ” Now those people are going to beat the driver because he didn’t finish the race.”

The Brat is chasing a fly that keeps sitting on his cup of milk, and ends up whacking it with a dino on the TV screen. I scream. The Bean responds, ‘Flies bring diseases Ma… do you want our TV to catch some dirty disease?’

I’m chasing the Bean and telling her to wear her slippers. When health reasons like her bad cold don’t serve the purpose, I resort to vanity – “Do you want your feet to be cracked and ugly?” She stops and considers and responds – “You mean like yours?”

Me: Brat, will you hurry up and finish your breakfast? What are you waiting for? The Bean responds – ‘Christmas?’

Me: No more TV for you today Bean. Just because you’re sick doesn’t mean you watch all day. Bean – I haven’t watched any today, Mama. You’re fooling yourself.

Anyway, I digress.. but you get the picture.

Also the brat is now in big school and by the time he gets home it’s 4pm. It sunk in as winter began to set in and his evenings got shorter. It hit me with the force of a truck. My baby. My little bachcha… only spends about 4 waking hours with me. Is that all I want of my life with him? Is it already time to take a step back and accept that I am no longer the one person who spends the most time with him? Too late to ponder since it is all I am getting. Maybe it’s because I enjoy his company. He drives me nuts with his non-stop chatter so in practice this is not the same as theory. I often shoo him away, but he grins and ignores me. And I like that. I like that he is old enough to know I am busy, that I am serious, but that he can bend that rule. But the four hours are not enough to have his milk and biscuits, play outdoors, bathe, have homework, watch his daily hour of cartoon. And as I frantically schedule his time he looks up at me simply and says, ‘Mama, when can I do the things I want to?’ And it was a revelation. He has no time to just be. I want him to get his sunshine and fresh air, I need him to bathe, to eat, to do his homework… he watches some TV… but he no longer has any time to crawl on the floor and set up forests of dinosaurs and venomous snakes and spiders.

I think my favourite milestone has been literacy. I have wanted to share something with him for long and since he shows no great talent for music or dance (yet!) books were my last hope. I walk out of my bedroom and trip over a figure sitting in the corridor, hunched over a book. I scream blue murder and he looks up at me absently saying, ‘Oh, I was reading my book and sat down… forgot where I was.’ That’s my son! He reads hoardings, he reads shampoo bottles, he reads newspapers, he reads everything he sees and I feel a thrill bubbling up in my tummy. This is my son. He reads. He enjoys it. He and I have something in common. We can be friends. We can talk. We can discuss this. What could be more thrilling? My son reads and he loves it – proof? I walk into his room at night and see him crouched on the floor trying to read by the light of the dim nightlight. I want to scold him and tell him his eyesight will go to the dogs but I only grin stupidly. This is my son. He likes to read.

The maidlessness this time has left me determined not to depend on anyone else, no matter how hard it is. And so the kids are fetching and carrying like crazy. All of which might sound normal except that I know that for the income bracket we are in and the social circles we move in, it is a rarity. This is neither judgment nor pride, but simple statement of fact. Our kids never need to make their own beds, put their plates away or helpfully pass guests the coasters, but mine are doing it. They found it strange earlier when there was a didi to do it yet their mother insisted, but now there is no didi and they do it matter of factly. Yes, it means everything takes 20 minutes more, but it’s fine. We’re cosier and we’re more independent and I enjoy watching the Brat hold the hammer for his father, not because he’s cute, but because he is actually of some use. I notice the Bean helpfully take their damp towels out and hang them to dry without a reminder. Their nursery has been surprisingly tidy for a room that belongs to a 4 and a 6 year old.

And I’ve begun to see why a daughter is important. Bean, get my orange purse, not the office one.  Bean, where are Mama’s gold chappals – the ones with the beads, not the kolhapuris. Bean, can you get some sugar from the kitchen? She’s been sorting out Diwali decorations, struggling to help me carry stuff and criticising my taste – ‘Why do we need to use that orange runner? Can’t we get a new one? I’m sick of this one.’ It’s nice to have someone to talk to even if it means only getting a tongue lashing from her about every 4 hours, as opposed to the OA and the Brat who wouldn’t notice if the curtains fell off the windows and draped themselves down the staircase.

The OA has taken a hit too. His come-home-from-office-and-relax-time has turned into work time so he comes back and helps with homework, cleaning fans and whatever else I haven’t been able to get done that day. The kids get up to all sorts of antics the moment he gets home and its pretty amusing since they don’t give me half as much trouble as they do him. The Bean and he argued for a good 7 minutes over what shoes match her outfit, delaying their trip in the bargain. He turned to me for help in frustration but I ignored him and he left home with her swearing that he’d kill himself rather than suffer through her teens. I sort of see his point.

With winter around the corner the oil massage before a bath has come back and although I’ve rarely sat at my mother’s feet and had my head oiled, I’ve found a great joy in doing it for the kids. I put on some music, heat up the oil and then they both lie there chatting while I massage first one and then the other. They’re big babies now so it’s only once a week but I enjoy the way it relaxes them and in a strange way, me. It makes the Brat’s rough thatch of hair softer and I have been harassing him by burying my nose in the softened curls and kissing his head. A few days ago I literally squished him up and kissed him for a long time. This is a rarity as he is growing up. I finally gave some thought to his dignity and apologised – ‘I’m sorry I harass you so much, Brat.’ He rubbed his pink face wearily, gave me a long suffering nod and then walked away… only to come back a little while later, fling his arms around me and say, ‘Harass me more, Mama’.

And in case you think I’ve forgotten the most important bit, I haven’t. My nephew was here. A post on that shall come later. He doesn’t deserve to be bundled in between randomness.

But it’s all good. There’s a lot more we’re involved in that I can’t really blog about but I know I have your blessings. One final thing before you set off to string up your lights, please again consider helping this family or these kids. So many people are losing a lot more in a game of cards, spending so much on Dhanteras, burning so much up in fireworks – this Diwali, please add a little light to their lives. The more I thought of it, the more it upset me. We all talk of the environment, but they are the ones whose child took a cycle to school instead of the car. Please give generously. Every bit will count.

And now I must rush back to the vegetable stew and parathas for dinner. Kerala beckons tonight and apparently I am cooking. Yes. Pick your jaw off the floor, will you? Apparently I don’t have enough on my hands. Have a safe one.






79 thoughts on “Happy Diwali

  1. Oh dear God. Sorry, I did not know. Sorry sorry…although, Can you plan on blacking out before you start climbing down stairs? Is blacking out not drama enough?

    And wait, annoyingly anal husband?? What on earth should we call you! The poor man is probably just trying to keep up.

    Happy Diwali to you, OA and B&B.

  2. Dear MM,

    I was so depressed reading about the past posts about VAW. My close friend is going through a divorce for similar reasons…

    This post about kids is what I needed :)… Brat reminds me so much of my son.. they grow up so fast na!! bean is such a darling…

    Happy Diwali MM – my best wishes to OA, kids and your parents

    waiting for the baby button update…

  3. So…. nice to hear from the Mad household 🙂 I am smiling from ear to ear 🙂
    Happy Diwali to the Mad Family!

  4. Hi I love reading your posts and so agree with you that we must teach our kids to be independent. A little extra help is great but not to the point that it handicaps you. I dpnt have a maid either for my daughter and I must till you I dont regret it. But like I believe never say never maybe if I get a second baby my views might change. Also are you quitting your job? I really wish our kids did get more time to play and breath some fresh air & sunshine but its only us who can prioritize that for them. Do drop by and read my blog, will be a pleasure to here your comments.

    Mansi Zaveri

  5. A happy Diwali to you, Mad Momma and the OA and the Brat and the Bean. Thanks for posting glimpses of your life in the midst of all your busy-ness. Reading all the quips from the Brat and the Bean is enough to light up the day.

  6. aaww! that was so heart warming, something akin to cuddling up with ur favourite book with your favourite characters! 🙂 Good to have them even if once in a while. God Bless and Seasons Greetings!

  7. Making our own bed and polishing our own shoes…..we were taught how to do those as kids…since we had a house full of help however we rarely needed to do much….. but when we went off to hostel we did our own chores….and didnt need to be told….Joy loves to help……though we dont need him to…..and am sure when the need arises he will do the same…. it’s the same about forcing kids to eat at the table…..how many grown ups do you know who need to be fed….everything falls into place in the end….
    Joy watches a fair amount of TV…so does his Dad…..and that hasn’t “dumbed” his intelligence…..this was something I have come to terms with ….I live with a man who I think is one of the most intelligent and aware people I have come across….he is addicted to the TV, Bollywood….things that I have grown up being told were not to be done….
    The difference i guess lies in what is available to keep them occupied…on a normal day…my child does more than what other kids do…..including what he thinks is fun…..he eats his breakfast by himself, is already for school 15 mins before the school bus, dances his way to the school bus …the house is all peaceful and everyone goes to the bus stand to see him off…., has a blast at school, comes home eats his snack watches a bit of tv or listens to music to unwind…( dont we all…)…is raring to go down to the park for a couple of hours, comes back home to shower and sits down readily to do some funworksheets sent home from school…otherwise sits down with his activity books….eats his dinner…no fuss…comes and cuddles for a story, does a puzzle or some badmashi around the house….and then watches some tv before settling into bed…..
    The only rule we follow or try to follow is a bed time rule….and children not going out after it is dark…that is what we grew up following….
    So all I want to say is….all kids are wonderful… and when needed will do what we expect them to do…..whether we teach them or not….they learn anyway….

    • I think the way we’re looking at it is very different. I don’t need to ‘force’ the kids to eat at the table – they do it because I can’t see anyone walking around the house feeding them. I’ve fed them in their highchairs and then graduated to the table. I don’t think they know any other way because we don’t have any other options.
      I don’t know about TVs dumbing down and I think this is a very personal thing. My issue with TV is more the violence it teaches and I can see that my kids definitely aren’t as aggressive as a lot of other kids. So while this may not be the sample size, I think I would like to go with all the studies that disapprove of too much TV. Again, we have to decide where we want to draw the line. Its personal and we have to live with our choices. And also with our options. Now I have no maid so I can’t ensure they don’t go out after dark. A friend in a bike accident at night means I have to drag them to the hospital and to hell with light or dark. On the other hand, I am at home so I can ensure they’re gainfully employed and not watching TV. So you have to find your own path.
      You know the OA is as addicted to TV as Dipta is *insert eye roll* but I think we have to realise how different their childhoods were. They didn’t have mobiles, iPads, TVs and whatnots right through. The OA played on every sports team in school and thankfully its that level of fitness that ensures he still fits into his Class 12 shirt even though he watches a lot of TV now! Anyhow – how did we end up discussing TV on this post?! 🙂
      As for chores, I think we’ll disagree here. I grew up doing my bed, polishing my shoes and yes, inspite of the plantation lifestyle, putting away our plates etc. No harm in the kids learning to do it. In another year or two I might have no help at all – at that point I don’t plan to do all my housework alone. I am hoping the OA and kids will be of some use!

    • Everyone finally learns to do the stuff but if one gets into the habit early on, the learning curve is smoother and less steep. I think it is very good to have the kids responsible for some daily chores even if one has/has no house help. Putting a used dish in the sink takes no effort really and why be dependent one more human being to do even that.
      That we blame a lot of Indian guys for not picking up towels or not putting down the toilet seats is out of a habit that has grown on them as a kid. Once a six year old knows, he/she has to put away his shoes or pick up his wet towels I don’t think he will ever expect someone else to do it even later.

      • Very good point. I think its easier on a person. Plus we’re all living in India. I know that all my friends and family who moved abroad curse the amount of chores they have to do because they’re never done it here. As time goes by its harder to find househelp in India so its best that our kids are prepared for an adulthood where they are fully responsible for their homes and lives.

  8. i pressed post before i could finish….. so
    despite all your no maid, collapsing down the stairs, no driver…..and “sweet a@#$ husband”…..they are the best things that could have happened to you…..LOL…..Happy Diwali…..!!!!
    this is my way of also thanking god for blessing….. me and my family!!!

  9. Hi MM,

    Been following your blogs for the past months – ever since the “open letter” drama. And yes, absolutely addicted!! You think awesome, you write awesome!!! (Hmmm, I hear echoes of this in many earlier comments!!)

    Sometimes, being full – full of love, things to do, happiness – is what festivities are all about. In this joy is the perfection! Let us not check every corner of each room or every crease on the folded clothes – for they will never be what we want them to be.

    Kayakavee kailasa! (Saying in kannada – Work is worship :P)

    Take a moment, a deep breath – enjoy having loads to do!! (I know, I know, I sound preachy 😛 – but this is the message I got from your absolutely lively post!) In the deep breath part, make sure you have that power meal and that power nap!! (Moms need just 5 mins of shut eye to completely rejuvinate, don’t they?)

    Take care MM!

    All my love and good wishes to Brat and Bean. God bless them, you and OA!

    Happppppy Diwali!!!!!!!!!

    Much Love!

  10. “Annoyingly anal husband”…teeheehee. Yes, I’m 5. And I have 2 orange purses too!
    Happy Diwali to y’all. Hope the maidlessness is resolved soon and you finally get to do the lady of liesure gig.

  11. Now we’re talking . Glad to hear the antics of the brat (when are you going to rename? We have all agreed he’s the anti-brat !) and bean . High five to the brat for not wanting to listen to you and live to tell it like it is !!! Me want some orangery too in the garden. Lots of love and Diwali wishes to all of you .

  12. Oh ho….I think this is the 2nd time I am reading in your blog that you fell down from the steps. I hope you are fine now MM. It gives me so much joy to read the Brat and Bean antics(especially after the VAW posts which are very heart breaking).

    Lol @ your TV catching some disease. She is very ‘creative’ in her comebacks.

    Happy Diwali MM and eagerly waiting for your post on the little Button.

  13. oh..thanks for that typical MM post i was waiting for.. bright, cheery and full of b&B.. me likey 🙂

    pleaseeeeeeeeee dont stop updating.. I am addicted to ur blog..

    have a happy and safe diwali.. 🙂

  14. Loved all the conversations with B&B. We actually look forward to our maid’s annual vacation beause it suddenly gives us the privacy and the cozy 4some feeling. Yup it’s hectic as both of us have full time jobs and we need to do a lot of reshuffling. But I do love that time. And the kids are also amazingly well behaved during that time! 🙂
    HAppy Diwali MM & family

  15. Happy Diwali, I agree with you about sharing the joy and I have in my own way. 🙂
    Its lovely to read snippets and bits of conversation from your kids…

  16. 🙂 finally a dose of madmommamania…Lurrrrrv it! Hope you made the much required trip to the doc? You need him more than I do.
    Veg Stew and Kerala parottas from the MM’s kitchen, babes the mad family is so gonna luv staying maidless…Keep going!
    Have a bright and safe diwali!

  17. Nice to read the B&B post after a loooong time. Wishing the mad family a very happy, prosperous and safe Diwali Take care of your health.

  18. Welcome Back Brat and Bean.Happy Diwali to all of you.Keep coming back coz you are also a part of our lives.I missed you.

  19. Maidlessness strikes us too. The heartbreaking part is now my daughter is old enough to miss the maid who left and keeps asking about her all the time. So I’ve decided to go it on my own too from now on. No more didi who’ll leave without a thought for the child who keeps thinking about her all the time and asking me if didi is missing her too.
    Take care of yourself, get well soon and wish you a very happy Diwali!

    • Same here. It breaks a child’s heart. That said, I feel my kids are now too old to take instruction from strangers, so to speak. On the one hand I am trying to draw lines and tell them who to trust, on the other we have frequent maid changes, making it hard for them to understand who is trustworthy.

  20. Umm…lets see.. which piece of conversation do I like best…I think the Christmas one.Your kids are smart and witty, besides being cuuuute. 😀

    Hope you are doing better, health wise. And Bean’s asthma is better. Find a maid quickly. OK?

    I put my woolens out in the sun last sunday and everyone thought I was nuts. I am told its a little too early for that. But I am winter-phobic. I’d rather be prepared. Much in advance.:)

    Have a wonderful Diwali all of you.

  21. ok, i had to stop reading after the ten-tacles bit cos i wanted to laugh so hard i was about to burst! And i’m sitting at a very serious conference with people talking about wireless LAN!!


  22. hmmm…”tentacles” makes sense to me now, thanks to the Brat. Hope your veg stew came out lip-smacking.

    Happy Deepawali y’all!

  23. finally. was missing you loads. hope you had a splendid diwali.
    am managing with a servant who has to be pushed and reminded and really tries patience. putting up with him for mom who is now finding it really tough to walk. but cleaned the house and managed to do the usual diwali stuff despite the aches and pains that come later.
    kiddo is home and he surprised his grandparents by walking in to the house when they were having a phone chat with him on the pretext of him doing a survey with them. their expressions were worth a million bucks !
    and now we sit and play teen patti with my pals ( !! ) and he educates me about the kind of music he listens to ! and i still try to get him take care of his feet and hair.. ( !!!! ) managed to get him to wash his face with suparna’s basil cream face wash, gave him an oil massage with her mahabhringraj oil washed off by her orange shampoo !! ahhh the joys of mamahood !!

    • 🙂 There’s such a basic pleasure in taking physical care of a child, no matter how old. Actually in taking care of a loved one. I love pressing my elders’ feet while sitting around chatting. I love oiling Ma’s hair…

      • yes – and once in a while when they turn around to appreciate u.. is the cherry on the cake. j these days comes and sprawls himself on me and despite being crushed under his weight … luvwit….

  24. Wish this Diwali brings you more peace, love and happiness!

    Please take care of yourself MM. You keep talking about black outs and the knee problem often and I am sure you’re taking good care of your health – but I still need to say this – please take yourself and your health more seriously. Get admitted to a hospital/ayurvedic retreat centre or whatever else works for you.

    Also, I’ve recently got myself a food processor instead of the regular mixie and recommend it totally (does aata kneading, chopping, whipping and more), since you’re living a maidfree life right now.

    • How do you do that? I go mad doing the atta in an a food processor. Got one 8 years ago and have put it back in the packing because the dough gets stuck on everything and takes an hour to be washed out. Clearly I am doing something wrong!

      • Yes, it does increase the # of items to be cleaned, but I find that washing the spindle and bowl immediately after use or immersing them in water at least makes it easier.

        It kneads aata in 10 seconds flat, which is a total #win for me. I also use it to chop and shred vegetables, paneer etc.

        ( I know I totally sound like one of those aunties from telebrand commercials, but I can’t stop gushing)

        Another trick is keeping track of the gazillion fittings it comes with, blades and spindles and jars and what not. I emptied out a big pullout drawer just to keep all the parts together and now it is handy.

  25. This post felt like winter afternoons – cozy, warm, lazy. Though lazy and you don’t fit together in the same sentence. Hmmmmmmm.

    I am with you on doing some stuff on your own. While I am one of the laziest people I know, I do enjoy running out of groceries, grumbling about it, and then going to the supermarket to stock up. And I hate that I now have a driver who I send out on such errands. That’s one of the many examples. Hopefully once the child learns to sit in cars and be quiet for 30 minutes I will resume housework.

    Missed you MM. you do sound content.

  26. The Brat and the Bean are adorable.
    tumbling down the stairs, the bruises and cuts sound painful 😦

    Loved reading this post.
    Happy Diwali MM 🙂

  27. Hey MM,

    Hope you had a fab Diwali.. wishing you an even more fabulous year ahead! Do keep posting about the brat and bean.. its a fun read… so far one of my favorite ones has been the post: my brother’s keeper.

  28. Don’t ever delete either of your posts. I shall need them in 10 years from now. Love your updates from the Brat and the Bean. 😀

  29. Hey where did you disappear? All well right? Pls post. Please tell us things are ok.
    Much love to the Brat and Bean and the little Button.

  30. Dear MM,

    How are you, kids and OA? hope u are doing ok…
    Is baby button with you now?

    can you please update the blog? pl….e…..a…..s….e…
    Take care…

  31. Do I dare say that I do not like this still-MM? I like happening, full of energey, stories and life MM. Bring back our good-old MM back will you?

  32. Heya MM! I misssssss you!! Just realised that it has been quiet in this corner of the blogosphere for quite a while.

    Hope things are ok 🙂

And in your opinion....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s