Maddy, maddy, quite contrary

Me when the kids begin their experiments: So good to see kids fly helicopters in the garden on a winter morning and conduct science experiments with their friends instead of playing on screens.
Me after they’ve spilled red paint on my wooden floor and Persian Kilim: Christ! Why can’t they just play on a tab like regular kids???

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Chaddi solidarity

Thought long and hard before writing this one and finally said, what the heck, let’s overshare as usual.
I noticed over the last few days that the ten year old daughter had begun to wear shorts under a short-ish dress. She’s outgrown it, but it’s a thin, cool, comfortable cotton slip – perfect for these awful summers.
I wondered if it was an attack of modesty and asked her about it. It seems her 12 year old brother had been teasing her about the dress flying up and her undies being on show. I let it pass without interfering in the sibling relationship, until I realised she was wearing it everyday, and that it could no longer be dismissed as a joke or a sibling thing.
My son is being raised by a mother who thinks hijabs and veils, and the policing of women’s bodies and chastity culture are the devil’s own idea (smash the patriarchy, yo!), so this is just unacceptable.
A casual chat with him and I realised he didn’t actually have a real issue, and wasn’t playing protective, patriarchal elder brother. He’s actually more of a feminist than his sister. He was simply playing annoying sibling. Very pleased to have found something to annoy his sister about.
It wasn’t his attitude I was worried about, it was hers. I didn’t want her to lose the safe space of home, covering up even when there was just family around. Choosing modesty over comfort.
So I did the only thing I could. I took off my jeans, and sat down by her side. Just. Chaddi solidarity, sistah. The son gaped. The daughter began to giggle.
I swim with them, so they’re used to seeing me in swimwear, which is much less clothing than the tee shirt and undies I was in. It wasn’t the sight of undies that was supposed to horrify him. It was the reminder that mama is also a girl, and she feels hot too, and has every right to be comfortable in her own home without anyone commenting on it, even as a joke.
The maid who realised what was happening, was in splits. The daughter smiled widely, and took off her shorts. And the son conceded that it was unfair to tease someone and make them self conscious, specially in a world where women are constantly being told to cover up to make others feel comfortable. That it might be a joke in this case, but in the real world, society and men, force women to cover up.
In case you feel strongly about how traumatised he might be, I’ll send you my bank account number. You can donate some money towards his therapy at a later stage.

Update blog: check

Each time I come back here to update, I feel like a fraud. When people ask me about my social media presence, I say I have none, other than FB. Because honestly, does this intermittent blogging count for anything?

What have I been up to that keeps me away from here? Well, I moved out of the country, hated it with every fibre of my being, sulked, sobbed, lost weight madly and finally moved back.

Yes, I’ve moved back to India with the kids. The OA shuttles between the there and the here. I had many reasons for doing so, but it’s been seven months since I moved back and none of them matter anymore except the biggest one – I wanted to move back.

This is home. This is where I can be who I want to be. This is where I want to raise my kids. Does it sound like its all about me? Well, it wasn’t. There were good reasons that the OA agreed upon too, and had I not waited to reach this place of calm and blogged while I was at my lowest, most devastated, you might have heard of each one of them in excruciating detail.

The Brat turned 11, the Bean turned 9, the OA and I have completed 13 years of wedded togetherness, some of it blissful, some not. Maybe I shouldn’t blog when I’m PMSing! But here we are. Right back where we started from. I look back on the last few years and wonder what I have to show for it. Nothing much, really. If anything, it is a reminder that I am not an ambitious sort of person. I was a go-getter and a topper and a winner until I realised I’d been conditioned to do so. It made me angry and aggressive and drained me. I still have days of wanting to go back to the rat race, but I am reminded of how it turns me into a person I don’t like, and I am happy to putter along at this pace, give the kids my time, my home some attention, and my dead-end career, what is left of my energy.

This is just a little note to tell you that I’m not dead yet, but at the rate I am going, the blog soon will be. Let it not be said that I didn’t give you any indication. šŸ™‚

Senti bhi hoon, aur mental bhi

Something utterly adorable about your parents sending you rather drunken watsapp messages from their college reunion.

And something akin to maternal pride when one of them receives an award for being a distinguished alumni.

I believe this is what they call the circle of life.

#ForeverYoung

Oh so bloody random

I’m sorry I haven’t answered your questions. I don’t feel ready for them yet – some of us just don’t deal well with our cheese being moved, eh? šŸ˜€

I thought I’d shut down this blog that I’ve neglected so long, but I just couldn’t. A moment’s hesitation, a little procrastination and it’s still here. I have nothing earth shaking to say other than that I am back in India for the kids’ summer break. I’ve been working from home but barring that I’ve had a lot of spare time to think. I shall share my earthshaking thoughts with you and you shall be deeply enriched by my wisdom.

1. Wear your own oxygen mask before you help others put theirs on.

I feel like a fool because I come back to this one time and time again. I put others first, I choose others’ enrichment over my own. And then there comes a day when I wonder what I’ve done for me. Very little indeed. So wear your own gas mask incase you haven’t done so yet.

2. The most interesting people have mediocre professional success.

Of course we can get into deep discussions about the definition of success etc, but I think we all know what I mean. The most interesting people I know, seem not to be at the top of the game. I don’t mean nice people, happy people, intelligent people or any of those. I only mean people who interest me. They might not interest you. But the reason, I notice, that they’re unsuccessful, is that they don’t have the single minded focus success calls for. They’re too engaged with too many things. Too many pies. Too many projects. Too many people. An ailing mother in law, a little nephew whose love won’t allow them to move beyond a 40 km radius, the dhobi’s daughter who was raped and left for dead and had no voice to fight for her. And so on. I sit here waiting for them to write books, set up big businesses and so on and I realise they can’t. They’re deeply engaged with a lot of things. And that is what draws me to them. Their ability to juggle two jobs, family, friends, community and so on. That’s what makes them real, interesting, observant, aware and multifaceted, and as a result, attractive to me. This also leads back to point 1. They’ve not worn their own oxygen mask to get to the top of the career ladder – the air up there is rarefied.

3. Be the missingĀ piece.

Explain yourself. As often as you can. This goes against all conventional wisdom. There’s a famous saying that you should never have to explain yourself, because those who love you don’t need an explanation. And those who don’t, won’t care for your explanation. But this is not about what makes you comfortable. This is again one of those larger good arguments. If you’ve had a misunderstanding with someone, explain yourself, even if it is 10 years later. Our lives are not just our lives. I like to think of them as heaps of mixed up jigsaw puzzles. My pile might have a piece that belongs to you. A memory that you need to make sense of your life. To explain why he thought you were not good enough for him. Why she thought she’d been betrayed. All of us have a little something that fits into another’s life and helps them make sense of it. A missing piece. Your reason might be someone’s missing piece. Please help them find it. Even if it hurts for you to do so.