Away

I have four groups of friends and family visiting me the next 3 weeks. Worst part of is, I completely forgot that Yaya has her exam block ( final exams for grade 11) starting next week. ( Yeah, I know I am hopeless, how can I not know when my child has her final exam?)

My house is a mess..

Back paddock was levelled last week, weather is very hot and there is no rain, so I can’t turf the levelled area and the slightest wind brings a dust storm inside the house.

I have so much work to do as well.

So, I won’t have time to blog every day..

Take care.

Exam

Today my youngest has her violin exam.

All through the weekend, she was in a crabby mood. She practiced her exam song few times everyday. Last night she came to me and said

“Mom, what if I failed my violin exam?”

I told her ” if you think you are going to fail, chances are that you might, but if you think you are going to give your best shot and do it well, you might pass”

“But I am scared Mom” She replied

I told her, ” muthey, exams were invented to actually find out how effective the teacher was in teaching and not meant to make you scared. I think it should be the teacher who really ought to be stressed, not you.”

She looked at me incredulously, for only her mother can come up with such great words of wisdom.

I took some chocolates with me when I dropped her to school and gave her that and told her

muthey, there is no point in getting stressed, it just make you feel awful, today is a beautiful day and you are going to give your best shot. The worst that can happen is that you failed, but it is not the end of the world. For me, what matters is that you gave your best shot. So enjoy your day and good luck”

She still looked stressed.. perhaps in time she will learn, success in exams alone do not define who you are or where you end up..

Btw, I would have liked to tell her that ” if you practiced properly everyday  instead of the half hearted practice you did, perhaps you wouldn’t be in this position”, but I know from my life’s experience that the last thing my child needs is for her mother to put her down when she is already suffering from her own guilt trip..So, I didn’t.

Reaching out

Sometimes, it means so much when you know there are people who care about you.

When Yaya was in Mexico, my youngest moved in to Yaya’s room and slept in Yaya’s bed. She has her own room and the only reason I think she did that was because she missed her sister. I was really concerned how my child will cope when Yaya leaves home next year. It occurred to me that I probably will have to move to US  and the same evening a friend asked me without any rhyme or reason “So when are you planning to move to US?” It felt like she read my mind !

Every year,  as we approach Christmas season, I miss my mother. I know another year has come and gone and that is one year less I will have with my mother. There is no chance that I will ever have any sort of relationship with my mother, however that doesn’t stop me from wishing if only..and I cope by cooking food that I associate with my mother. A reader send me the recipe of coconut chammanthi..very similar to what my mother makes. ( I am sorry, I haven’t replied to your email, I just don’t get enough time to do it)

Yesterday, due to various reasons, I was feeling a bit down and just needed to talk to someone..and  a friend in Mysore did just that. It felt so good to talk to someone..to know that there are people who care..

So here is a thank you to all of you..for all that you do..

5 years

Next week my youngest will play her last violin concert at her school and that event will finally end 5 years of tears and tantrums.

It all started in when she was in grade 3. She was chosen to learn violin at school. I remember how excited she was when she came home with the letter from the school music teacher that she was selected for the instrumental music program.

I also knew if she joined the music program, it will involve regular practicing and early morning lessons, so I explained to my child that I will only sign the parental consent, if she signs a declaration that she understands it is a long term project, that she has to practice everyday and that she will not be allowed to quit and must complete the full program ( until grade 7).

I also felt it is not fair to her music teacher, who really works hard to teach musical instruments to children who have never played violin/cello etc before and  most children quit when going gets tough and she can’t replace children half way.

I wanted to teach  my child about  commitment and not to be a quitter in the game of life. Signing up for violin lessons provided an opportunity for her to learn about commitment and 5 years was a really long time..

Grade 3 and grade 4 was alright. She practiced every evening. Grade 5, she felt learning violin is a waste of time and we began to have regular arguments. She wanted me to tell her what she would gain by learning to play violin and I told her very frankly that  perhaps her destiny is not going to be like Vanessa May, but sticking with the program will teach her a valuable life skill.  We argued passionately. She said how much she hated violin and  me I said I am sorry you feel that way, but you will still need to practice because you signed a declaration saying you will. And she did. ( grudgingly)

When she went for her high school interview, her interviewer noticed from her report that she is in the school musical program and asked her ” will you be continuing your violin lessons in high school?” and she replied very frankly ” not in this life time”

And that is that.

Whatever it takes !

When Yaya was little, she was very much like my oldest sister. My sister owned a blue metal trunk that held all her worldly possessions and Yaya had a little red box she called Lallalla ( my youngest sister’s makeup bag, the one VIP brand used to sell and airhostess used to carry in the 80’s. I remember watching a Mallu movie of Mammotty and Suhasini, where Suhasini as an airhostess is in love with Mammotty the pilot and she always carried Yaya’s Lallalla )  Everything Yaya owned was in her Lallalla. Her room was always tidy and perfect.

Then one day, the child that always kept the room neat and tidy  vanished and was replaced by someone whose room is worst than a pigsty. ( In all fairness, I must admit that I can be messy at times, I have my days! )

Grade 11 has been really tough more so with her doing IB. She has to leave home at 6.30 am most mornings  to attend extra classes at school and has tons of assignments to complete every other day. She works in the weekend.

I can live with some amount of mess, but will not accept left over food being left around. Sometimes, she won’t get time to eat her school lunch and when she gets home, in stead of throwing it in the bin, she chucks it on the floor in her room.

She is going to be 17 years old in about 7 months and I refuse to pick up after her. And so I do whatever it takes to get her to clean the room.

In this case, I collect dead cockroaches from around the house.  The pest control company sprays around the door frame and often I find dead cockroaches outside the door. I collect them and keep them in Yaya’s room in areas she is sure to see. She is terrified of cockroaches..and the whole room gets cleaned.

Trust

When Yaya was little, I explained to her that she should never lie to me. I told her, it is not the lie per se that would bother me, but the fact that from then I wouldn’t be able to trust her ever.

It was not an easy thing to achieve. I had to learn to be a better parent. When they broke a dish, .. or the time they cut their own hair or the time they snipped and shredded my expensive bed linen ( to this day, I haven’t found what possessed them to do that) I had to learn not to get really mad and yell at them.

I had to learn not to snoop on my children and give them the right to privacy, when so many times I was tempted to find out who they are chatting with or what they are up to.

Yaya is honest to the core. ( so are her siblings)

Few of Yaya’s classmates already got their P plate ( driver’s license) and have bought their own car. ( Digressing a bit here, When people in India bash western culture and how bad it is, they ignore good things like this..that children start working part time from the time they are 14 years old and save up their money to buy their own cars/bikes etc),

Yaya’s classes finish two weeks before her siblings and she and her friends are planning to drive down to Melbourne.

I really don’t want her to go. It is not that I don’t trust my child, somehow my trust doesn’t extend to her friends, even though I know they have all been raised well. I am worried about driver’s inexperience ( a 22 year old flipped her 4 WD and killed her passenger few days ago).. the rational part of me knows whatever has to happen will happen and accidents don’t happen only to inexperienced drivers. But we are talking about my precious oldest child here..

I don’t have any rational excuse for not allowing her to go..

When my children were little, I was so exhausted running after them trying to keep them safe and I couldn’t wait for them to grow up.. and now I wish they  stayed little…. forever..

Morality guardians.

While I was doing my second year of MBBS, one weekend Beautiful eyes and I went to Bangalore to eat ice cream at the Lakeview MilkBar on MG road. ( btw, the place is still there on MG road and I took Yaya there the last time we visited Bangalore) They used to sell hot chocolate fudge and my favourite was mint hot chocolate fudge, Vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate and mint sauce. Beautiful eyes didn’t like strong flavours and would never touch mint sauce, but will wait for me patiently to finish mine before he ate his regular hot chocolate fudge, so I could eat the chocolate topping on his ice cream fudge. He knew how much I loved the hot chocolate topping.

Anyway, after eating the ice cream, we walked towards the MG / Brigade road junction, crossed the road and sat on the cement bench to watch the world go by. There was another reason to sit there. We both wanted to eat the bhel poori from the road side vendor near to where we were sitting, but one can’t eat bhel poori right after ice cream.. I think as you grow older you tend to be more wiser, had I been with him today, we surely would have had the bhel poori first and then the ice cream.

Sitting with him always meant some story or other and I was engrossed in his world of words.. And after a while I heard a distinct whistle sound, even amidst the cacophony of horns blaring, I still heard the whistle. I looked around to see the origin of the sound and noticed that a policeman standing on the other side of the road, blowing the whistle like a mad man and waving to us. Once he saw me looking at him, he indicated to me to sit apart. Somehow, me sitting in close proximity with the opposite sex made him very uncomfortable and angry. I pointed the police guy to Beautiful Eyes and he told me to ignore him. I was terrified and tried to move away, but he held my hand and told me don’t.  When the policeman saw that his demands were ignored, he crossed the road and came to us swinging his baton in a threatening manner.

Beautiful Eyes, very calmly asked him “what is the matter?” and  the policeman replied in broken English that we can’t sit next to each other. ( perhaps he thought I would get pregnant if I sat close to a guy ! ) It was also the first time I actually noticed the power of position. Beautiful Eyes very calmly told the policeman who his father is and why it is not worth making his father angry.

There were few things that was wrong with this event. First, both of us were over 18 years of age, old enough to vote in India. We were not doing anything but sitting on a bench and talking to each other. And whenever I sat on his modified Yamaha 350 CC bike, I was much closer to him physically than when we sat on the bench.

Who gave a policeman the power to be my moral guardian? Why should there be a moral police?

I believe in Robert Heinlein’s quote..I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.”

Day for Daniel

Today is day for Daniel.

Child safety depends on each of you.

Today I want to talk about sibling abuse.

I grew up thinking that I am deaf and dumb and blind. Every time my sister and I had an argument, she would tell me ” You are deaf and dumb and blind” and those words used to make me so angry and sad. At that time I was already diagnosed to be partially deaf, I wore glasses and I failed most subjects unlike my sister who was the epitome of everything I wasn’t. But still,  I looked up to my sister for acceptance and instead she made me believe that I was a useless piece of shit.

My mother never once told my older sister off for calling me deaf and dumb and blind. I always felt betrayed by my mother’s action. She was supposed to have helped stopped the abuse. Instead she condoned my sister’s action by grinning and telling me ” You ignore her, she is just riling you up” But she wasn’t. My sister was deliberately hurting my feelings knowing very well that Amma was not going to do anything.

I grew up wanting to run away from my family. So many times as a child I packed my bag to run away. But I didn’t know where to go. My home was supposed to be my haven, yet all I wanted was to leave it. I think I must have had a guardian angel who taught me that all I needed was to survive another few more years and I can leave home and join a collage far away from home. I dread the thought as to where I would have ended up had I really run away.

Siblings will always have strife. But as a parent you have the power to stop emotional abuse by siblings.  If only my mother understood how much my sister’s actions hurt me.

Sibling abuse ( http://www.aaets.org/article214.htm)

 

Small things..

My friend ( ahem !) was home last weekend and I was getting annoyed with him for every little thing.

I am usually an easy person to get along with. Being a Piscean, I hate conflicts and usually avoids fights but not this time and I really don’t know why.

It started of with Ice cubes ! ( Imagine that )

My water cooler broke down few weeks ago and I haven’t had the time to go and buy a new one. ( I am also very stingy and am hoping by December, there might be some promotion..) Every night before going to bed, I fill the ice cube tray .. I thought I would make myself a smoothie in the morning and I opened the freezer and twisted the ice cube tray to collect the ice which I was sure would be ready because I filled the ice cube tray before I went to bed..only to find that my friend in his quest to help me had already re filled the ice cube tray with water in the morning.. and the water in the ice cube tray fell in to the ice that was in the bottom compartment..It was not something that is so disastrous.. Yet I was so angry and annoyed..

Then I went to water the plants. The night before, my friend had helped me water the plants and I found that he changed the hose setting. I use shower setting and he changed to jet..and I was mad..

I really am not sure what is getting me all riled up. Normally I would just ignore things like this..it  only takes a second to twist and change the hose setting from jet to shower. I suddenly find myself in a position that I don’t like any changes and don’t want to be helped if the help is coming with changes.

Either I am on my way to become a crabby annoying stubborn woman or.. actually there is no or. I think I am becoming a stubborn, crabby old woman.

 

Thank you

Thank you all for helping me to figure out what is Pachari..

From all your comments, this is what I understand.

1. Pachari ie the one I am familiar with..tiny grains of rice that is white in colour is only available in Kerala.

2. All grains except parboiled ie Kuthari is classified as pachari.

Now that we have sorted that.. What is Chakkari?

I grew up during IR8 nellu season. There were only four types of rice available then.

1. Mesha Ari = Basmati. ( Some of the old Kerala recipe books in English actually uses the term table rice for Basmati and I have always wanted to know, why basmati is called Mesha/table rice. If you know, please leave a comment.)

2.Kuthari = parboiled rice

3.Pachari = not parboiled rice

4. Chakkari ???????

I am away the next two days. Back on Wednesday.