Two posts in a day??

I have a full day at Uni tomorrow and won’t have time to post this till next week.

So, Yaya got her SAT score an hour ago. She got 2060.

I am very happy for her. But she isn’t and she has realized that 2 weeks of studies won’t get you a really good SAT score and wants to write it again.

It felt so good to see her score.

Orientation

I didn’t know anything about homosexuality till I went to study in UK.

As a child, the church indoctrinated me from the very young age that homosexuality is a sin, so I never even spent any time thinking about it as it was something that didn’t exist in my life. Even after leaving the church system, homosexuality still wasn’t part of my life, it was also not part of my medical curriculum. We were never taught anything about homosexuality as if it is something that didn’t exist. The only gay person  I knew while doing Medicine was Freddie Mercury ! But again he was a famous singer and his sexual orientation didn’t matter to me. In my world all inhabitants were straight.

During the student orientation day at my University in UK, I was given a bag full of pamphlets and student news papers. When I waited for the bus to go back home, I went through the pamphlets and I was scandalized! There was a full news paper for gay people. I quickly threw it off in the bin before anyone could see me reading it, let alone hold it in my hand.

But slowly, I met normal people who didn’t share the same sexual orientation as me and I learned that they are just like me..humans..with the same ideals and goals that I have with the only difference is in their choice of sexual partners. I learned that I do not have any right to judge another person based on their sexual orientation. Today if I am upset, the first person I call is my best friend who is a Dr and is openly gay. He is compassionate, gentle and has a sense of humor that rivals mine. When he calls me “darling” in a typical Aussie drawl it makes me smile.. He makes me see the silver lining in every grey cloud and I am fortunate to have him in my life.

Today, I can tell you I have come a long distance from the person who threw away gay newspaper without anyone seeing me to a mother who doesn’t care a bit if my children turned out to be gay. My children’s sexual orientation is irrelevant to  me. They are my children, be they are straight/gay/bi.  However, If my children are gay, I want them to be able to get married to their partner if they want to and no one should tell them they can’t.I support same sex marriage because no government/church should ever have the right to determine who can live with whom.

No child should ever be ostracised for their sexual orientation. No society to should ever judge someone for their sexual orientation.

I am proud of you Padma Iyer, you have finally made India to have an open debate about homosexuality.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-3089804/Mother-seeks-groom-son-Indias-gay-marriage-advert.html

Restrictions.

I know there are various categories of parenting.. here are few types.

I don’t really know what type of parenting I do. I have had consistent rules for my kids since they were born and they were all based on one simple fact ‘respect’.

I respect their right to be a child ( teenagers now) and now their life revolves around their mobile phones.

A lot of parenting guides talk about restricting children’s access to social media, checking their accounts etc.

I do not restrict my children’s access to social media.

I raised them well and expect that they know when is a good time to chat with their friends. They have to make that decision, I don’t want to do it for them. As I said so many times before, every rule my mother set that restricted my rights as an individual, I broke them without her knowing and I know without any doubt that so will my children.

I read this article and I thought, that is exactly why I have never asked my children to hand in their mobile every evening. ( My friend’s daughter used an old ipod touch when her parents took her mobile away every evening and her parents had no clue) You don’t want your children to do things behind your back. If they are going to talk to their friends at 2 AM, they should do so in front of you. With the amount of school work and deadlines kids have, the last thing they would do is to talk to their friends in the middle of the night.. and even if they do,  there is often a reason for it. ( My son once told me he talked to a friend at 3 AM because his friend was upset with something and needed someone to talk to and was so grateful that my son cared enough to talk to him in his darkest hour)

It is not too hard to raise children without having too much of conflicts and anger and without making them finding ways to cheat you. All you need is to remember that they are your children and they are smarter than you.

 

 

Nope!

I found this poem on a facebook post by  a colleague claiming, all parents should follow this.

“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”
?William Martin.

Imagine if every person from the beginning of time spent their time just eating a tomato, apple or a pear and relishing its taste, and then held each other’s hand  and cry when their pets die ! If that was all that meant to live in this world, then perhaps, we wouldn’t have sent an unmanned  spacecraft to Mars, we wouldn’t have almost eradicated Polio.. If it wasn’t for the people who lead/led extra ordinary life, we would still be living in caves and eating raw meat! It is the extra ordinary that made all the scientific discovery possible.

I am not saying children shouldn’t be taught to be compassionate or find joys in little things. However enjoying little things in life alone  doesn’t make your life extra ordinary. You need to work for it, for that you need to teach children, Determination, work ethics, good attitudes, positive thinking..they need to aim for the extra ordinary.

At the end, It is not how you can relish the taste of a freshly plucked tomato that will define your life. It is what difference you made to this world.. your contributions ( However small) is what matters at the end. So teach your children to  strive for the extra ordinary today, the tomatoes will still be there tomorrow..

 

So!

First let me explain how Gamsat works.

You have a full session of reasoning in humanities and social sciences.. here is where you find the most obscure poems and prose with even more obscure questions. 75 questions in 100 minutes.

Then you have a writing part, 2 essays in 60 minutes. ( there is no break between section 1 and 2 and you are not allowed to take any food/coffee etc , except a bottle of ‘clear’ water)

Then an hour break for lunch, followed by reasoning in biological and physical science..110 questions in 170 minutes.

As a doctor, I can assure you, there is nothing in this exam that tests your ability to study medicine. This test is designed in such a way that majority of the students who write will fail. For eg, there was  a set off questions calculating torque of the ankle joint. Never in my life as a doctor, I needed to calculate torque or even work with torque principles, but Acer, the company that runs these tests thinks, it is my thinking ability/analytical ability etc that will enable me to calculate torque and if I could do that, then Bravo !! I could get admission to do Medicine.

So, we now come to the title of this post.

So, How many times do you think I wrote this stupid exam?

3

3 times, I burned midnight oil, spent enormous amount of money ( fees for the test is exorbitant) suffered severe migraine after the exams and two times I had to tell my children and each and every friend/colleague/neighbour etc that I failed.

It was really easy for me to say OK, this tests are really hard and I am too old. I should just give up.

Years ago, someone taught me ” having choices doesn’t equate freedom, making decisions sets you free” Context of the quote was different then, however in this situation, I had plenty of choices to say I am not doing it, it is too hard, too difficult.too old, waste of time..But then I made the decision, that I will do this test till I pass, even if it meant I have to write in 100 times.

Today I am free to pursue my dreams. Imagine if I had quit after the first and the second time I failed!

 

Double standards

Sometimes it is the little things that shows you how prejudiced you are..

My son is on a mission to save money.. Every time I give him 10 $, he spends 8$ and deposit the 2$ in his bank. Yaya on the other hand will spend the full 10$ and more if she could ( often borrowing money from her youngest sister !)

Because of this, when they go out together, there is always complaints, the brother saying sister spending all the money and sister complaints brother is a Scrooge.

So finally I asked my son

“Why do you need so much money?”

“to buy a car” he replied

“But  you can buy a car for 700$ ( old junk of course)” I responded

“Nope, I want to buy a Merc” He replied

“For goodness sake, why?”

“Chick magnet Mom !!! Do you think girls will give me a chance if I am driving an old junk?”

“But, son, you shouldn’t be dating a girl because she likes your hot car, you should be dating a girl because she likes you for who you are”

Then I looked at Yaya and realized, I would really be a bit unhappy if she dated a guy who could only afford to buy an old junk and be a bit more happy if she dated a guy who owns a Merc. Hypocrite… that is me.

 

Personalities

Yaya and Baby go to the same school and they look exactly like identical twins.

They hate being compared to each other and each claims she is the better looking person than the other.

Everywhere Yaya goes, grade 8 kids ask her “Are you Baby’s sister?” and everywhere Baby goes the rest of the school, including the staff ask her ” Are you Yaya’s sister?”

In my defence, they have the same father !!!!!, which usually cracks up people when they tell me that my kids look exactly like each other.

This morning, both came out of their respective room wearing exactly the same kind of outfit, black and white stripped top and black jeans. ( top is from different brands and the stripes are different in the thickness)

I waited for the fireworks.

Yaya only noticed Baby’s outfit as they were leaving

“Oi, you are wearing the same thing as me, you better go and change?” she said to Baby

“I am not changing” I wore it first, etc were the arguments and counter arguments.

They had already missed the first three buses (karangifying instead of getting ready) when Yaya saw Baby’s outfit. But still Yaya chose to change her outfit, given the chance that she will miss the next bus and will be late for school.

“As it is everyone talk about us looking like twins mom, imagine what they will say if we wore same type of outfits.”

I didn’t say anything. But sometimes I do wonder about the first world problems my children have to deal with !!!!!

I passed

I passed my GAMSAT  ( http://gamsat.acer.edu.au/gamsat-australia) exam yesterday.  Similar to MCAT that allows me to study medicine in one of the local universities.

This was one of the hardest exam I have ever written mostly because I have not studied Maths since my 10th and Physics and Chemistry since pre-degree. I also have never written English essays as part of my basic education. Mine involved rot learning what the teacher wrote.

I had to buy Physics and Chemistry text books to study basics. May be it was that my pre degree time, I was confused having to learn everything in English, but for the love of Spaghetti, I don’t remember ever learning about chemical bonds..all I remember is learning about shells, valence electrons etc. plus a bit of organic chemistry, balancing eqn etc. It took me months to understand basic chemistry and then I joined  MIT ed ex courses online to understand Benzene, ring structure etc.

I approached one of Yaya’s teachers for English help and I met her every Monday after my work and she taught me to write English essays. She didn’t want payment and I didn’t feel that is right. So I actually rushed home after work, cooked dinner for her family, packed it and went to meet her.

Physics, one of Yaya’s friend’s older brother helped me. ( he is 22 years old, half my age ! ) and those questions he couldn’t, a friend’s husband took  half a day off from work the day before my exam and  helped me.

My children made innumerable cups of coffee.. borrowed books for me from their school library, collected past QCAS question papers, so I could practice comprehension etc..

And I got up everyday at 4 am to study till 6 am, rush to make breakfast/school lunch for the kids..most evenings by 9, I was so exhausted and often I questioned my own sanity. But I always wanted to work as a doctor and I felt no one could ever tell me I couldn’t do something. and if you are like me who really wanted to do something, trust me when I tell you this, there are people out there who will help you..and some of them can be half your age, but they will help you. The world still has a lot of good people.

Right now, I am not really sure what to do. I will finish term 1 of my masters next month. I already have the highest GPA ( 7 here) for all the exams/assignments I have written to this day. I don’t want to stop it  when I could finish this in a year and win the vice chancellor’s award.

But the crux of the matter is.. I passed GAMSAT.

 

 

Today’s special

To prevent myself from dying slowly due to boredom I subscribed to Netflix while recovering from my surgery. ( Netflix only came to Australia last month). I am not really a big fan of TV, except Mentalist. In fact when we were planning our last trip to US, Yaya suggested that we visit studio zone in LA where Mentalist is filmed so I can meet  my heartthrob ! Even my kids noticed my love for Mentalist :)

My Kids watch a bit of cartoon after they come back from school. I don’t think they really see anything, but sitting in the living room with a snack and watching something mundane on TV is the way they decompress after a hectic day at school. After an hour or so the TV goes silent.

I prefer to read than to watch TV, but since I couldn’t go to the library, Netflix was the only solution. I am sure they have algorithm that tracks people’s name to their ethnicity, because their suggested list for me contained Indian movies.

One such movie was Today’s special. Since Madhur Jaffrey was acting in it, I thought I might as well watch it.  Madhur Jaffrey is a cook I respect a lot. She taught me to cook Indian food. Her recipe books were the first Indian recipe books that I felt was written well without any complicated steps. ( side note. When I look for a recipe online, it drives me insane with the ones that have a million photos..that shows onions being browned in various shades of doneness, followed by another million photos of each ingredient being added, then more photos of stirring…. I am sure you got the picture! That is one of the main reason I still prefer recipe books that are well written with few photos)

Anyway, I made myself a pot of tea and prepared myself for wasting another hour of my life that I will never get back. ( Usually after watching some of the Mallu movies like Casanova, that is how I feel)

I have to say, I haven’t watched a movie this good in a while. Naseeruddin Shah was awesome, so were the rest of the cast.

If you haven’t watched give it a go.

 

SAT

Yaya wrote her SAT last week. The night before her exam, she came to me and asked “Can I sleep with you?”

“Sure” I said.

I watched her print her admissions ticket, pack her pencil case etc before she came and laid down next to me. “Mom, I am scared” She said

“I know exactly how you feel” I replied ” And I told her about this letter a teacher in US wrote

“The people who create these tests and score them do not know each student the way I do, the way I hope to, and certainly not the way the families do.

“They do not know that some of my students speak two languages or more. They do not know that they can play a musical instrument or that they can dance or paint a picture. Doesn’t that matter more? They do not know that they are someone who friends can count on to be there for them or that the sound of their laughter can brighten the dreariest day in the homes they live in and in my classroom.

“Those who design the tests do not know that some of my students have travelled to a really neat place and come back alive with stories or that they even know how to tell a great story and bubble over with excitement to share!” ( Kimberly Horst)

I told her, “as far as I am concerned, you are a great student. You speak three languages fluently, you are a talented artist and a good basket ball player, you are a wonderful daughter and a  big sister for your brother and sister, Yes the test score will determine your college admission, but that is only a tiny part of your life, there is much more to life than an SAT score, so you go there and give your best shot, whatever has to happen, will happen”

I don’t believe in last minute studying ( biggest irony, when I only studied the very last second) So we went to bed early. On the day of the exam, she told me ” Mom, I think I want to join the circus”

“That is fantastic” I told her,” you are naturally talented as a clown, you don’t even have to pretend to fall, you just need to walk on absolutely flat surface and you still will trip and fall” ( Yaya is a walking disaster!)

Her brother was awake and he showed her some meme about falling down and they laughed.

I bought all of Yaya’s favourite chocolates the night before, so she had Cadbury’s chocolate for breakfast. ( When she is stressed, she won’t eat anything)

As we left her brother hugged her and told her ” Go get them tiger”

Her test center was an hour’s drive from my home. Every few minutes Yaya said ” Mom, I am scared, I don’t want to do this, I want to join the circus” And I replied the same standard answer. ” You will be fine , it is just a test and remember you got high distinction for ICAS maths without even trying to do the test” ( I forced all my children to do all the ICAS and other similar tests, to prepare them for this moment, and Yaya wasn’t very happy..so instead of actually doing the test, she guessed all the answer for her grade 7 ICAS maths and was shocked to get the high distinction)

She wrote the test, for her English essay she created fictional scenarios to suit her essay. Maths she didn’t know few of the questions.

First part of SAT is out of the way.

But I still worry.. when she goes to Uni, how will she cope on her own? Who will buy her chocolates? Who will make her laugh, so she won’t be stressed? ( yes I know, I survived my uni days, but still it is my job to worry about my children :)   )