Hmm

“You’ll learn, as you get older, that rules are made to be broken. Be bold enough to live life on your terms, and never, ever apologize for it. Go against the grain, refuse to conform, take the road less traveled instead of the well-beaten path. Laugh in the face of adversity, and leap before you look. Dance as though EVERYBODY is watching. March to the beat of your own drummer. And stubbornly refuse to fit in.”
? Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

As usual, I am leaving for a trip with absolutely no clue as to the places to visit. I was meant to look up the places and read about them.. I didn’t have the time. I am leaping before looking..travelling the road less travelled.

Visiting Churchill in Mannitoba has always been a dream. Ever since I read about Krumholz effect, I have been wanting to visit Churchill.. So I intend to do that.. Honestly speaking after getting to NY , I will have to figure out the best way to get to Churchill..

The woods are dark and lovely ..  I have places to go and promises to keep..

until then

adios..

 

Happy

I have been exceptionally busy the past few weeks trying to finish my work, cook enough food for the kids, sort the house and garden to make it less demanding on the kids etc.

Today much as I am exhausted, I am also really happy. I doubled my investment(almost).. As the kids get older, I am very careful with my money..my expenses will be exponential in 4 years when I have all three of my kids in Uni.. I wanted to travel without feeling guilty of spending money that I should be keeping aside for the kids.. I thought  and thought as to the best way to make some quick bucks.. I decided to invest in shares.

Now, my first lesson about share market  was from one of the Jeffrey Archer’s books. He had written, you buy when everyone is selling and you sell when everyone is buying. I know people who lost their homes when the share market tanked in 1997…. but just for this time, I thought I would play the market.

I researched all the companies that have stocks less than 1$/share on ASX. It took me weeks to narrow it down to the few I felt happy about.

One was a Zinc mining company. If you are in Australia, then you would know our mining boom is very much over.. I was a bit weary about investing in mining industries.. but Zinc on the other hand has market value.. it is required for Pharmaceutical/Cosmetic industry.. I read every article available online about zinc mining and decided to invest in in a company called Red river resources 6 weeks ago. I bought their shares at 0.14 and today sold it for 0.25/share. I could have waited couple of more days till it reached 0.28 then it really would have perfectly doubled.. but I got a bit scared of being too greedy.. I sold enough shares that will pay for my trip to US/Canada..

Not bad eh..

Raising a quitter

The school where my son goes to is extremely competitive. Every child has to write an entrance exam and pass an interview to get the admission.

Couple of days ago, my son mentioned that the only Mallu kid in his grade has quit. His work has been slacking and his grades were heading south. So his parents apparently suggested that he quit the current school and join the local school where he doesn’t have to do so much of work..

When I heard the news, I asked myself what would I have done, had my son was in the same situation?

I would have never let my son quit. It is much easier to quit than to stay and fight. Resilience and perseverance are the key strength children need to develop to stay ahead in this mad world.

If my child’s grades are falling.. then there are only two logical reasons for it. One, they didn’t understand the subject and are struggling. Two, their work is slacking.

if they are struggling, there is always someone out there who can explain things to them..(I am a lousy teacher, so I tend to not teach my kids, but will find a tutor if my kids ever need help. So far, only Yaya required extra help for Maths and I hired a third year engineering student to help her when she was in grade 12.)

If their is work is slacking… it doesn’t happen because my kids know very well that they need to give their best shot..and just have to get their acts together..

I believe that winners never quit and that quitters never win..

That being said, I am not encouraging unreal expectation from the parent’s side..which tends to put undue stress on kids.. As a parent, I really don’t care if my children get straight A’s or not, but I will raise all hell if their effort and behaviour column in their report is bad.

Baptism of fire

Soon after I wrote the SSLC exam and while waiting for the results, I saw an ad in the Malayala Manorama newspaper.. It was by a priest from an Orthodox Church in Thiruvalla who was organizing a trip to North India and he advertised asking if anyone else would like to join his tour group. It costed about 200Rs, which I had.

I remember waiting for my mother to come from work, so I could get her permission and join the tour group. They were planning to visit Taj Mahal.. and by then I had already read every single book about Taj Mahal.. and I couldn’t believe I was finally going to see the place I had read so much about. If you are my age, then you probably read the Amarchithra katha series..there was an issue about Tajmahal and the Shajahan and Mumtaz love story ..that was published around the same time..

You know that  feeling..excitement..trepidations.. fear all mixed together and create a million butterflies fluttering in your belly?

My mother took one look at the ad and told me, ” you can’t go” Apparently she has heard from others about a human sacrifice group.. they take young girls and take them to far off places and do human sacrifice..(I have often wondered how creative my mother really was to have come up with such a brilliant response)

Sadly, all the butterflies in my bellies died rather quickly…. and it took a very long time before I saw Taj Mahal..

But that was not the point..The point was, I was never allowed to do anything.. My mother always had reasons and excuses why I shouldn’t do something. The way she raised me has always made me second guess everything I do in my life and am genuinely scared of every little thing. In a few days, I will be travelling to US and renting a car. I am terrified..of all the things that can go wrong.. driving on the wrong side of the road tops my list..getting lost is a close second.. And every single time, I have to give myself a prep talk.. you have done this so many times before, remember the first time you travelled alone?

That would be the first time, I took a bus from the medical college hostel, went to the train station in a rural remote area, stayed there until late in the evening (alone and hungry), got in to the ladies compartment and travelled all the way to Kottayam.. I didn’t speak a word of Kannada and very little English and I was this tiny village urchin wearing this cloak of courage over me and doing a simple thing like catching a night train home.. that trip  was my baptism of fire.. I draw strength from it even now.. If I could do it then and survive, I can do whatever I face now and survive..

It was for the same reason, I let Yaya travel around Europe on her own. She needs to know her own strength.. that every time she faces a tough time, she can look in to herself and tell herself.. I travelled alone in Europe at the age of 18.. I can do this..

Good word..

Most often, my children’s basketball games are played late in the evening. The carpark underneath the stadium was designed by a maniac high on dope, for there is no other explanation for the horrible design.. really narrow bays with pillars crisscrossing.. I myself find it difficult to park my car there and whenever I find an L plate driver struggling, I usually tell the kid that “You are doing very well”  and you can see the happiness on the kid’s face.

Yesterday, when I went to fetch  my son after his uni classes, he asked if we could drop a classmate home on the way back as it was raining. Since he needs his on the road hours, I asked him to drive. The traffic was really heavy and it was raining .. and the road to the friend’s house was like a mini mountain pass.. a lot of  sharp turns.. My son follows the speed limit to the T. Every bend has a posted speed limit of 30KM/hr and soon we had a huge following of cars behind us. .Single lane, evening traffic, rain and an irritating L plate driver.. enough to make any sane person mad..

When he finally stopped at the traffic light( where the lane became two) the car that followed us came to the right lane and the driver ( burly looking guy) lowered the window and gestured to my son.. and I thought this was going to be a road rage..

Guess what?

He actually smiled and told my son

“Mate, you drive very well.. good job”

You should have seen the happiness on my son’s face!

Why,,

Before Yaya left for Europe, I had asked a classmate of mine to help me get a mobile phone connection for Yaya. I explained clearly that she will be visiting many countries in Europe and require roaming. I usually do not try to subcontract my responsibilities to others, but I was really busy(end of term at uni) and didn’t have the time to find out about European mobile phone plans and I really wanted Yaya to have a phone connection the moment she arrived in UK. Since my classmate has been living in UK for the past 25 years, I thought she would be the best person to sort it out. Besides she has kids of them same age as mine.

She got Yaya a Lyca mobile number with 500 minutes call time to Australia (so Yaya can call home! and apparently Lyca to Lyca is free and so I can call her.. I don’t have Lyca, nor do any of my friends), no data and no roaming..

I don’t know if it is just my kids and their cohorts here or is it generally the same everywhere.. None of my kids or their friends use the phone to call.. They text, snapchat or use FB messenger.. What Yaya needed is data and roaming.. She is travelling alone and need data to find information or even to use the google map..

Fortunately, I insisted on Yaya taking her Australian mobile phone with her.. and I activated roaming for her from here..

Yesterday night my child found herself outside a closed,remote train station in the middle of the night for 5 hours ( from 1 AM to 5 AM). She booked the train ticket thinking that she can sleep in the train (and save accommodation costs) and found out that she has a 5 hours lay over and the station where she got off at 12 midnight would be closed from 1 AM to 5 AM. Because she had roaming and data, she could message me on FB and even though we were thousands of miles apart and I imagined all sorts of horrible things that could happen to her, I was still able to comfort her and give her the courage..  She was sitting outside the station and didn’t want to talk over the phone and let her presence be known.. so we texted through the night..

I am never ever going to ask anyone else to help me get a phone connection..ever..

 

 

Investing

My son is representing his school for the UAV challenge(Unmanned Aerial Vehicle).

First he needed to design a parachute.. I gave him an old plastic table cloth I had used for one of the birthday parties..It was too thin, but would work if you folded it and glued two sides together and made it thicker. He needed to figure out what glue would work on plastic.. Then he needed to cut the glued piece in to a perfect circle.. He was attempting to draw a large circle.. Years ago, I had seen a caterer cutting a circle table cloth for a function by folding the fabric in to quarter and then drawing a quarter circle on it..) And I showed the trick to my son.. He was really impressed..

He wasn’t happy with the table cloth parachute.. so he went to the Thrift shop and bought a second hand Egyptian cotton bedsheet and made another parachute..

Last evening, he looked visibly upset.. and I learned that, he has a perfect parachute and a holder, but somehow the system he had designed is not working.. His parachute doesn’t deploy..

He is angry and upset.. and it is quiet natural to feel that way. I am sure he was expecting me to help him to figure out what is wrong.. I didn’t.  I told him, the only way to find out what is wrong is to work out all the forces involved.. He needs to draw the diagram and calculate the forces and figure out where he is going wrong.. There has to be a reason why his design failed.. and it is his job to figure it out..After all, this is his project..

I did however cook his favourite tacos for dinner..

Now I feel terribly guilty.. If he and I work on it, I am sure we would find out the reason.. Was I not supposed to be the teacher?

Hmm

Sometime ago, I blogged about receiving a doom and gloom email from my son’s maths teacher..

Here is the term report.. Of course he didn’t get a 7 for maths.. But in the grand scheme of things, does it really matter?

If you look at his report, he actually got really good grades and I really don’t care that he didn’t get 7 for all subjects.. How I wish his teachers would stop fretting about perfect 7’s and actually take a moment to see that he is a really happy child, determined to do well and is not a robot.. Sometimes you get a score that is not perfect.. But the sky won’t fall.. It never did, it never will..

Report term2.1

 

report term2.2

Determination

After completing my MBBS, I had hoped to do internship at a top hospital in Bangalore, to gain experience in Emergency Medicine.(They had one of the best A&E dept). But there were very limited internship opportunities available at that hospital and they did favour candidates from their religious clan.

My results were announced on a Friday at 9 AM. At 10 AM , I was already at the hospital with my application form filled and signed. (While my classmates were out celebrating) However, the Hospital director very kindly informed me that they have no places available, which sounded like a lot of BS. I was the first student to be at the hospital, my application number was 1 and there were no other students waiting. Besides, I also scored exceptionally good marks and was one of 24 students(out of 150) who passed medicine without ever failing and repeating a single subject. So I told the hospital director, I am not leaving her office till she gave me the internship because I really am the first student to apply.

I got the internship.

That evening, the guy I was dating at that time hosted a party.. His friends were  the wheelers and dealers belonging to Bangalore upper class.. And one of them asked me ” So, I heard you managed to get Internship at the xyz hospital”  I nodded my head and then he asked ” how did you manage?” and I explained ” I told the director, I won’t leave the office till I got the internship” And everyone laughed..

When my mother was here last time (abt 20 years after the above incident), she told me ” Did you know that your bf came and told me that you told the hospital director about not leaving the office unless you got the internship and he was really embarrassed about it, especially because all his friends knew about it!”

This was the same ex bf, who tracked my classmates and managed to get my contact details and then wrote to me saying that, he regrets letting me go and that he still considers the time we spent together the best part of his life.. and I replied and told him, I have only two words for you, first start with F and second start with O. This is the same guy, who was the youngest student at that time to pass the CA exam and still has one client..(I know because his cousin is married to my classmate)

I wanted that internship and I got it and I have no regrets trying to threaten the hospital director with Sathygraha to get what I want.

Yesterday, my youngest finally got a job at Kmart. This was after a 5 months of relentless campaign and the past 6 or 7 weeks of going there practically  every day after school and handing in her resume. Besides handing in her resume, she also found a classmate’s cousin who works at Kmart and getting the cousin to introduce/recommend her to the boss in charge of hiring. This particular Kmart is near her school and close to the bus stop and she will have regular hours till she finishes grade 12 and that was the reason why she was adamant in getting a job at Kmart. She knew what she wanted and got it.

Tomorrow, if Baby’s bf comes to me and tell me that he is embarrassed because she went to Kmart and gave her resume every single day or any other reasons, I will tell him to go and take a hike..I am absolutely proud of my child and am glad she knows what she wants and will work to get it.

The difference

28 years ago, I joined the medical college to study MBBS. My mother and my oldest sister bought all the sarees without consulting me. I do not like printed sarees, I like plain sarees with a border and every single one of those  sarees were printed. They even packed my bag for me. My sister was meant to stay with me for a week and protect me from ragging. Instead she left 3 hours after we arrived at the medical college and left me to fend for myself. I didn’t speak a word of English, the only Kannada words I knew were  that all the words starting with pa in Malayalam can be changed to ha in Kannada (with the exception of Patti which is not hatti in Kannada) I also knew nothing about sex and had erroneously believed that women have a zipper in the tummy and it was opened only during birth. How naïve  was I that I never wondered how the heck the baby got in to the woman’s tummy..

I was ragged mercilessly by my seniors and while all the new students had their mothers staying with them, I was all alone..

I will be going to US next month. Yaya will fly from Barcelona and together we are planning to travel around a bit before her classes start. I plan to buy all the things she needs when we are there. First thing in my list is a blanket. Yaya has been using the same baby blanket I bought her when she was 2 and had to sleep in her own room. I refused to let her take it with her to Uni. It is still folded and kept on her bed and every now and then I go and sit on her bed and I can almost picture her snuggled under her blanket. Her adopted grandmother had a goose down blanket and Yaya always loved it, so I am going to buy her a goose down blanket. Initially I thought I will buy her a single size, but this would be something she would use for a long time, so why not a queen?

I think the last time I bought Yaya a dress was when she was in grade 7. I bought her grade 7 graduation dress.. She buys all her clothes herself (same with her brother and sister, they too buy their own clothes) She has packed two bags of clothes that I have to take from here. So, I guess she will have enough clothes..or if she needs more, she will buy it herself.

Couple of years ago, while I was in the kitchen cooking dinner and waiting for footy(I never miss a single NRL match) to start, TV was on and Modern family was playing.( I hate that show). What I remember about that particular episode was that the parents buying a large supply of condoms for their daughter before she joined Uni. I thought that was really odd..

Yet, before Yaya left, I bought and gave her one year supply of Oral contraceptive pills. It is not my business who sleeps with, but it will be my business if she gets pregnant. Consequences of teenage pregnancy are tremendous..

She knows about sexual transmitted diseases.. actually I must say, she knows everything about sex unlike her own mother at the same age. She should have the smartness to protect her from STD.. So instead of buying her condoms, I thought it would better to buy her pills. My friends (both the GP and the paediatrician) agree.

I will be staying with Yaya the first 5 days of her Uni..I know how it feels to be abandoned by your family when you need them the most..

You know what is really weird.. When I look back and see the 17 year old me, the village urchin, who was standing outside the medical college on a cold winter morning.. I never thought there would be a day I would write about sex and condom in  a public post..

Such is life