Think of your old age

My mother is so stupid. There I said it.

All through my childhood and adulthood, her matra was “nee onnum enne nokkanda, enikku government pension kittum”

I don’t remember which movie, I heard this, but I think it was innocnet who said, “you can live all your life without anyone, but when you die, you will need at least four people to carry your body to the grave”

My mother never thought of her old age. How could she not think of her own old age and who would take care of her, even if she gets pension from the government? Money is not enough. You need a home and you need family.

My father is very wealthy and owned large tracts of land and Amma fought with him and ended up with nothing, despite being married to him for more than 40 years.

My sister owns a house in India and Amma stayed there for a while and created hell for my sister. She closed centuries old access road that people used to access their farming land and my sister had to sort it.

Amma bullied each and every one of the maids/farm workers my sister hired and they all left. She even got her aged care staff, hired specifically to take care of her to weed the field.

Few days ago when I called her, she mentioned that the aged care carer service provider had sent a new staff with her current carer to train the new staff and Amma fought with him. Apparently she doesn’t want to be the guinea pig. ( not sure what she meant)

My sister had enough. I don’t blame her

So, Amma is now going to be sent to an aged care facility somewhere in Kerala.

I am applying for the sponsored parent visa for her here. It will take time and I am actually scared. I can’t afford to stay home and take care of her. I have to earn and support my children while they are studying.

Once when Yaya was 9 or 10 years old, I scolded her for something and she looked at me and told me

“I want you to remember that as your oldest child, it is going to be me who will choose your retirement home, so be careful)

That particular day, there was an article in Vancouver Sun that a man had been collecting his mother’s pension and carer allowance and was keeping the old woman in his untreated garage in Toronto. Yaya and I talked about that incident prior to her telling me off.

The truth is, my children love me. But it is also true that what goes round does in fact come around.

Treat your children well, they might still be there for you in your old age.

Also, at least make sure you have enough funds to take care of yourself in your old age. Invest in a home and in your retirement.

Updates on the war

As I mentioned, currently I am on a war path with my youngest. it wasn’t something I wanted, but this cannot be avoided.

Basically the only contact we have is when I pick her up if she is working late. That is it.

Yesterday we had a massive storm here and most of the roads went under. It took me almost an hour to get home after work.

She texted me to say that she is thinking of heading out for bowling.

The mother in me wanted to tell her that when it rains like this, the chances are very high that public transport will not work and that you are going to be spending a great deal of time on the road. The sensible thing to do when it rains is to stay at home. But I felt she was not asking me for an opinion, but telling me her plans. So i didn’t say anything.

Sometime around 9 p.m. she sent a txt to tell me that her friend is dropping her home around 11 p.m.

She is going to Uni soon and I will not be in control of her life as in who she is going out with or when she is coming back home. For all intent and purpose she is an adult and I need to treat her as one.

The mother in me wanted to cook something for her and stay up. But I also have a full day of work the next day and I was already dead tired. So, I went to bed. I know that is probably a bit reckless on my part, I mean not waiting for her and ensure that she got home safe and sound. But there comes a time, I need to take a step back.

This morning when i got up, the first thing I did was to check her room to ensure that she got back home. She did. Ohew

I also noticed that my Dosai Pan was still on the hob, so she probably made pancake or something like that. I felt a bit bad. But this is what she wanted and this is what she gets.

Independence comes with a price.

Meanwhile, I bought myself a Piano. I plan to give my neighbours sleepless nights.

My Pomegranate fruited

Remember sometime in 2013, I wrote about planting a pomegranate tree?

The past few years the tree did fruit a bit. But the fruits were all small and didn’t survive. This year, the tree decided to be merciful. It is laden with fruits and most of it is edible.

If you know anything about how to take care of the pomegranate tree, let me know.

I don’t know how to protect it from ants and when to actually harvest the fruit. Currently, it is a hit and miss.

Changes

I spoke with my mother yesterday and during our conversation she had asked me “how is my grandson”

When Amma was staying with me, she has seen that my son always calls me up on Sunday mornings and I told Amma that he didn’t call yesterday.

Amma asked :How come?” and I replied ” Ma, he sent a message that he is in Montreal attending some racing” ( My son didn’t even tell me that he is going to Montreal and I have no idea what racing he went to, while talking to Amma, I googled all the races in Montreal and I am assuming that my son did the Baja Montreal)

My mother’s response was ” He is a boy and he should live his life doing things he likes to do”

Now that is a statement you would never expect to hear from my mother. Many of you know what she made me go through when I was living with her. I couldn’t resist but ask her

“Amma, how come, you are all understanding and nice now when I, as your daughter had to go through hell”

She replied ” When you were young, I didn’t know how to raise all of you, clearly I have harmed you all. Now I know better”

And to top the icing of the cake, she also said ” that is why I didn’t react when your son brought his gf home and they slept in the same room”

I guess there are few things I should point out.

Damages my mother inflicted will never go away and will always be with me. But it made me a better mother. She had a chance to see the fruits of her labour ( the good, the bad the terribly ugly ones)

The only consolation that I have is that I have not continued with the abuses.

War path

Beginning of this month, I was thinking “Phew, I didn’t go through the usual hell teenagers make their parents go through”. May be I thought it too soon.

My youngest and I are on a war path. I am not sure how it all happened.

She is leaving home in a couple of months and I had told her that I would love to spend a bit of time with her. She is now using that particular request as a weapon and is telling me that I am a clingy parent who is self centred and annoying.

She works 11 hours shift at my local seven eleven shop. Her shift finishes sometimes at 3:30 a.m. and I don’t want her to take an Uber home. I told her I want to pick her up because I don’t trust Uber drivers. ( A student of mine took Uber recently and found the Uber driver ( Indian) following her on Instagram the same day. It is so very creepy) Her argument is that in a few months she will be going to Uni and living on hr own and she will be taking the Uber anyway. My issue is that, I live in a pretty remote area, most of the way to my home is a single country lane and the houses are set far back from the road. While my daughter stays with me, I am responsible for her welfare and if anything happens for the rest of my life I will feel guilty. When she is at Uni, she is responsible for her own welfare and there is nothing I can do about it.

The second issue we have is that, she won’t eat anything. All of Saturday and Sunday, all I saw her eating was a bar of Kitkat. When I asked her if she wants to join me dinner, she declined. When I asked her if she wanted me to cook her something, she declined and said she will cook something herself, which she didn’t.

She actually stopped eating food at home. ( apparently she grabs something to eat when she is at work.

I told her, I have no issues with her moving out. I just don’t see the need to go through this much of grief and she replied the same sentence that I am self centred typical brown parent.

Currently, I am ignoring her. I don’t talk to her. I don’t cook anything for her.

I come home from work, play with the dog, cook dinner for myself (earlier, I always made something she liked, now I cook what i like). I watch TV (Who knew K-drams are addictive). do a bit of gardening and pretend that she isn’t there. Anyway, this is how my life is going to be soon when she leaves. if this is how she wants to play it, I guess I have no choice, but to play along.

My youngest

She is a lot different from the older two. She can go for days without talking to me (except the one thing, she will always asks me how was your day when I get back home every evening)

She might even say I love you couple of times. And that is it. Nothing else.

She will spend all day in her room. Won’t come out to even eat. I often cook what she likes. But that too doesn’t work.

I have learned to ignore her. But it hurts, especially the fact that she will leave home in a few months and this is our last chance to spend some quality time together.

Dean’s list

Working in the academia, I can assure you that getting on the dean’s list is really hard, but worth it. In a cohort of 200 students, less than 5 will be on the Dean’s list and a great deal of companies value that achievement. It shows hard work and dedication on the part of the student. Skills prospective employers look for.

As I mentioned previously, my son missed out on being put on academic probation by 2%. He is an OP 1 student., clearly he is smart and shouldn’t be on academic probation.

So why was he struggling at Uni? He had different priorities.

He was out partying, doing things he was not meant to, including climbing buildings and structures he was not allowed to climb, smoking weed and getting drunk.

He also bought (with his own money), a high performance motor bike (350CC). He has wanted to buy a bike for a while and I told him that there is no way he will be able to ride the bike in the winter and that insurance premium will be really high. Getting a bike is one of the first adult decision he made on his own and he only told me that he bought a bike months after he bought it. ( he is now the proud owner of two bikes. He has one here in Aus and one there at his Uni)

How did I deal with this all?

For slacking at Uni, it is a very typical behaviour. it is the first year of absolute freedom and not having a mom to watch over him.However, I still needed to hold him accountable, so I told him that I will only pay the first round of fees, if he has to repeat a subject, he will have to sell his kidney and pay for it. Other than that, I let it be. After all he is an adult and is in charge of his destiny. He needs to be accountable for his own actions.

That being said, the mother in me was terrified. Every time an unknown car stopped in front of my house, I was sure it was the cops coming to break the bad news that my son did something stupid.

He usually calls me up every weekend. Yesterday he called me and told me, He is on the Dean’s list.

My contribution to him getting on the Dean’s list? Nothing. I just allowed them to take responsibility for their own actions. Eventually they come around to their good senses.

It works.

Yaya’s regrets

After not blogging a while, I am now all rusty.

yesterday, i wrote that Yaya has two regrets and forgot to write what is her second regret.

Yaya says I should have taught her to speak Malayalam. I have blogged about not teaching my kids Malayalam. Initially it was to avoid language overload. In Malaysia, she had to learn, English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil and I didn’t want to add one more language to the list. I also felt there is very little point in learning a language that you are never going to use. She will never move to India and live there and I hope to God that she will not marry a Mallu. ( I am prejudiced towards Mallu boys). So i didn’t teach Malayalam to my kids. Yaya can understand Malayalam though.

According to Yaya, it would have been nice to learn her mother tongue.

I offered to fund three months Mallu immersion trip to Kerala as I believe three months is more than enough for her to learn Malayalam if she is that keen. She didn’t take up my offer. ( I honestly didn’t expect her to take it anyway) Besides if she really wanted to, she can still use online services and learn ( she now speaks Korean after getting hooked on K Dramas and DuoLingo)

Do i regret not teaching my kids Malayalam? Not at all.

So What else happened the last 12 + months

Yaya will finish her undergraduate degree this year. She is on Dean’s list and is busy applying for jobs. I have begged and pleaded with her to do her Master’s degree and then look for a job. I strongly believe that it is much easier to continue another two years of study than to work a few years and then go back to study. She doesn’t agree. She says she doesn’t know what she wants to do her master’s degree in and had enough of studying for the time being. She wants to work for a couple of years and then do her Master’s.

She has two regrets. Regret one, I her mother didn’t force her to do UMAT (under graduate medicine admission test0while she was in grade 12. ( i remember taking UMAT ad paper cutting from the courier mail and giving it to her and telling her to give it a go. She said she didn’t want to do medicine and now thinks perhaps medicine has its merit. If she doesn’t get any good job, she is coming back home, studying for 6 months and write the GAMSAT ( post grad Med entrance exam)

My son. He is now second year of his Engineering degree. He took Civil stream. He missed being put on the academic probation by 2%. One of the most fascinating conversation I overheard went like this.

Yaya, “One of my classes had mandatory attendance and it was 5% of the marks and I had to get up at 7 am every Thursday”

Toothless. “You are a wuzz, I had one class with mandatory attendance and it was 15% of the marks and it was on Monday at 9 am. I couldn’t be bothered to get up, so I never attended”

Yaya. ” You gave up 15% easy marks that you would get just for turning up for the class?”

Toothless “Yeah”

Now, you can understand why my son nearly was placed in academic probation. The entire first year, he was drunk, high or both. This semester he seems to have got his acts together. He really wants to do well. No idea what changed.

My youngest completed grade 12. She is the smartest of the three and studied exactly for 3 weeks for her final IB exam and expected a miracle. I had always felt that sometimes life gives opportunities to learn lessons. My youngest did learn when she got 35 for her IB. Both her siblings got distinction

Here I am

I know many of you have been asking where I was.

I took time off because I had Amma with me. yes, you heard it right. My mother was with me for the past one year.

Earlier, my mother had chosen to stay in an aged care for destitute, the key word here is that she chose it on her volition. I think it was her way to get at us. Imagine the humiliation I have had to endure when everyone was pointing their fingers at me for sending my mother to an aged care facility meant for destitute.

As you know I attempted to see her for her 80’th birthday and mom and my younger sister played cat and mouse with me and I promised myself never ever will I have any contact with anyone.

Imagine my surprise to receive an email from my youngest sister in mid October (2018) asking if I can take care of Amma. it turns out that Amma had a fall and couldn’t even take a shower. And despite having a substantial sum from government as a pension, Amma refused to hire a carer and chose not to shower. The aged care facility contacted my youngest sister and she went and got my mother. She hired a carer for Amma and the carer left within a few days because Amma got the carer to weed the field 🙂 ( not the garden, the actual field). So getting another carer was not the option, for the tail of the dog will never be straight. (Decades ago, there was a story in either Balarama or Poompatta about someone who found a magic lamp and the genie will eat you up if you don’t give the genie work to do each day. So the man asked the genie to straighten his dog’s tail and the genie is still busy)

My sister asked if I could take care of Amma. The thing is, there is a bond, however cruel the parent is, the child will have that bond and it cant be broken. ( trust me, I tried) and i said ok.

And Amma got a one year visa to come and stay with me.

I took time off from blogging because, my oldest sister is reading this blog and she has a knack to create unwanted hassles by calling amma and telling her I said this or that. i just wanted to avoid troubles.

Amma’s visa expired last week and she went back to my sister’s/

So, here I am.

I can’t explain how much I missed this blog