Off the beaten path

As I can’t really write a lot of things I want to, today we go off the beaten path.

I have always carved my own path. Occasionally some of my medical college classmates would write a comment here and there on my fb account and all of the comments are of the same category. “We really can’t picture you as a mom, that too the mother of three kids or let alone imagine how far you have come”

Sometimes, I do wonder how did I manage to live a life like this.  Perhaps the only thing I can say is that I am the owner of an indomitable spirit. However much I get beaten, I still rise.

A year ago, while I was undergoing some medical treatment,  I asked myself, if I had all the money in the world, what is the one thing I would buy?

7 years ago, when I arrived here, I was shopping around for a car and walked in to a car dealership. And the sales person gave me one look and ignored me. He gave me a form to fill and disappeared. Few months later, as the market was slowing down(due to K.Rudd changing some policy) i received a lovely email from the same showroom asking me very politely if I had any questions about their cars..and I didn’t  have any questions, I had plenty of answers and I told them to F.off and explained to them how I was treated when I went to the showroom. They apologized and it made no difference to me.

So, If I had all the money in the world, I wanted to walk in to the same car dealership and order their most expensive car and pay cash. Totally out of this world ambition and clearly I was out of my mind. But then again  I carve my own path..

And so with that dream in my mind and the fact that I will be 50 in 3.5 years and I want to drive that car on my 50th, I decided to do something about it.

I read about all the shares again and about 6 months ago, I bought a lot of shares in a mining company . NTL( New Talisman Gold). I bought the shares for 0.006 and within a month the share prices tanked to 0.004. But I had faith in my research and I had a strong feeling that it will get better. And it did. It is now 0.016. And I am planning to leave it alone for a little while longer and if the shares have a good run.. I will own a beautiful car that cost twice more than my house. If it tanked, I will find a guy who owns the car(joking la)

 

 

Here I am

First of all thank you all for mails and comments asking me if I am alright.

I am not. I have had the worst few weeks of my life. And I am not able to write what I am going through here.

I started this blog in 2005 as I needed a place to write the good, bad and  ugly things that happened/s in my life. I  have MS and I wanted a place to keep my memories safe, so my kids will have access to them when my brain will no longer function. Most people have family they can lean on to in times of trouble. I don’t have that, so I relied on strangers around the world. Many of you have offered me a shoulder to lean on in times of trouble. We shared the laughter and shed the tears together.

It was comforting to know I was not alone.

My oldest sister used to read my diaries when I was a teenager and it then her snooping progressed to coming to my hostel and going through my stuff..and once she even came to the house where I stayed in Bangalore while I was away and got the key from the landlord and went through my stuff.

And now my sisters started to stalk me in this blog to an extent that even when they are on holidays in Timbuktu or Slovenia  or wherever, they still visit my blog

I have made it clear many times why I walked away from my family. Apart from the fact that we shared a womb and a horrible childhood, I have nothing to do with my sisters. I do not have the contact details of my sisters and have made no attempt in the past 8 years to have any contact with any of them. I have not seen my youngest sister for well over a decade. I have never met my nephews or know their names. I will never see any of my sisters in this life time. I know one should never say never. But this is one thing I am pretty sure of. The one thing I wanted was to protect my children from my family. I felt the best gift I could give my children was to keep them as far away as possible from my family.  Yet, when my sisters are reading this blog, I am not protecting my kids from them.

They have effectively limited my ability to write whatever that I wanted to write. Perhaps that is their aim.

I wish they would leave me alone.

Hmm

I haven’t abandoned the blog.

It is just that the past few weeks have been extremely busy.

My youngest had a lesion on her nose. I noticed it on Friday, spent two stressful days(Sat and Sun). Though the sensible one in me was very sure, it was a benign lesion, the mother in me analysed the likelihood that it could be malignant. It also didn’t help that she is extremely fair and won’t use sunscreen. A part of me wanted to scream at her for not being careful I called the specialist on Monday and managed to get an appointment for the afternoon. And he decided to do excision under GA the very next day. It was too short of a notice for me to get leave, so I had to drag Yaya to the hospital and make her stay with her sister while I went to work and spend the next few hours imagining all sorts of horrible things.

Taking Yaya to the hospital took a lot of effort. First of all, she hates hospitals, secondly there is nothing for her to do while she was there and her sister was in the OT.  Very rarely I have yelled at Yaya and I did, when I told Yaya that she needs to be with her at the hospital and she refused.

After my youngest was discharged from hospital and as I was driving back home, Yaya told me

“mom, I think I want to become a doctor”

I swear, I thought I was hallucinating.

To be honest, I never wanted any of my kids to become a doctor. The amount of time and money one invests in becoming a doctor is really not worth it. Those days of medicine being all about saving lives are no longer the reality. Doing medicine will take a huge toll on you and that is the truth.

https://ericlevi.com/2017/05/13/the-dark-side-of-doctoring/

No other profession is this demanding and I don’t see the need why my children should sacrifice their mental health and well being when there are plenty of other jobs they could do.

I have never told my children what they should do with their life. So, I told her, if that is what she wanted to do, then I will support her..

In the 7 hours, she was at the hospital with her youngest sister, She has already found out the requirements to do Medicine at her Uni and chosen to do Chemistry next semester. This is apart from the part that she is aiming to do a four year degree in 3.

The funniest part of this drama is, in the event she decided to do medicine in Australia and joins my Uni, I will be teaching her 🙂

Such is life.

I am heading to Singapore tomorrow (for work) and will not have a chance to blog till I come back in mid June.

Bah!

I think I screwed up!

That in itself is a huge statement..that too coming from me!

First of all, it is the SAT my son wrote couple of weeks ago.

Unlike his sister who knew what she wanted to do and how to go about it, my son only decided to write his SAT exam in May end of March. And then he was busy fixing up his car and was building a speaker box for his sub-woofer from scratch. Although as a rule I never tell my kids to study, having seen my son not touching a book, I thought I would tell him to study. Which was a big mistake. He called his sister and asked her if she studied for her SAT and she was in the middle of her Uni exams and was annoyed with him for bugging her and replied she didn’t.  To be honest, she didn’t study, however she did go through the practice exams four days before the test. My son felt because his sister didn’t study and I nagged him to study, he is not going to study. I also forgot to buy the books for the new format SAT. He wrote his SAT without studying and with no clue as to what is the actual syllabus. In a couple of weeks, he will get his SAT results and let us just say that I am not very hopeful.

I also screwed up with his subject selection of IB. He moved to a new school in grade 10 and at the time he joined, he was doing Physics, Chemistry, Economics as his major subjects. I remember sometime in term 2 he came and told me that he doesn’t like Chemistry and wants to switch to Computer Science and I said fine. We both forgot one critical point. All engineering degree  programs have Chemistry as a prerequisite. He received a letter from Caltech that they won’t consider his application without Chemistry!

Uni of Qld has an intense Chemistry bridging course starting 3 days after he finishes his IB exams. He and his mates were planning to head for schoolies celebration for a week right after his exams. I know it is unfair to ask him to study right after his final exams, not  when all his friends are having fun.

The other option is defer admission for a year, which means he will be off Uni for 2 years(He finishes grade 12 in November 2017 and won’t start until Sep 2019. I am not happy with that for I think 2 years is too long.

So, all in all.. I screwed up.. big time..

 

Changes

I had a beautiful mother’s day with my children. I spent a bit of time evaluating my current and future role as a mother and this is what I think.

Until now, I spent every bit of my  time with my kids and everything I did was with them in my mind. And now they are tiny adults on their way to be full adults. It is time for me to do the things I wanted to do. It is my time.

Last Friday eve, I went out for dinner and walk with friends and came back home very late. In the morning when I got up, there was a note on the kitchen table. “Mom, good morning, we are going out to eat brekky and do a bit of shopping, your tea is in the microwave”.

Now that my son has his own car, he takes the girls out for brekky, drop them to wherever they want to go and fetch them after parties if they ask him.

My actual role as a mother has drastically reduced. I was a bit worried about how I will function when I have too much of free time. I go out to meet with friends more often, read a lot more, take the dog for walks a lot more.

It is actually so much fun to be a mom of three teenagers with half the load of work( to do as a mother).

Strength

I hate public speaking. 18 months of my masters degree, I avoided all the assessment that required me to speak/present one way or another. (Often asking my group members to present). In Manila, I did have to do power point presentations and I hated it very much.

Couple of weeks ago, I had to go to the Uni to meet with a Professor. I never take the lift as I really want toned legs and intend to wear short skirts in to my 70’s. Just as I was going up the steps, a staff from another department whom I know vaguely was coming down the steps. She was wearing a beautiful dress and I told her that.

10 minutes after that, I got an email from the Director asking me if I am free to meet him right away. So, I went to see him.

Turned out that they desperately needed a tutor for medical students as the current one had a family emergency and the person  whose dress I commented on  was heading to attend the crises management meeting  and she mentioned at the meeting that she just saw me and think I should be asked.

Long story short, I got a job as a tutor. I wanted to stick around in Brisbane this year till my son finishes his grade 12 and had declined the job offer in Manila. This job was perfect. But the only issue was public speaking. Apart from the fact that I never ever taught medical students until that moment. I heard from other tutors that it is a very hard job as most medical students think of themselves as high and mighty. Plus this was the middle of the semester and I have no clue what the students have already being taught.

Last Thursday was my first class and this morning my boss forwarded me a mail that was sent by a student.

My point is writing this point is about fear. We all have fear of not being able to do something. But there is strength in all of us. If you set your mind in to something, you can do it. I proved it.

 

My bubble

My best friend came to visit me last week. Apart from BE, he is the one friend I had kept away from my family, especially my oldest sister.

Silly as it sounds, my sister had this need to steal my friends. It started with the niece of our neighbor who was studying in Kottayam and used to visit my neighbor once in a while and  ended with my senior at medical college who was staying in the same apartment complex where I was living in KL. The last one was really a traumatic experience. She and I were good friends when we were medical students and imagine my happiness when I found her staying in the same apartment complex. Our children were good friends and I visited her often. My sister came and stayed with me and she and my sister became good friends and their friendship continued even after my sister moved out to her own place to such an extent that my own sister would come to the apartment complex to visit my senior and  not her own sister! One day I visited my senior and Yaya kept saying my sister’s name and finally I asked “is my sister here?” Hearing that my sister very sheepishly came out of the room she was hiding. I have never talked to my senior after that.

Sorry, I was digressing.

Anyway, my best friend had a meeting in Sydney and decided to come over to Brisbane and visit me. He bought me my favorite coffee and a slave.

I like to start my day with tea and then the rest of the day I drink coffee. By now you all know that I am very picky when it comes to the things I use. For coffee, I only use single origin coffee and insist on the bean, roast etc that suits my taste.  When I was visiting India, I loved Kalmane coffee and  my friend bought me a few packets of Kalmane coffee.

But it was the slave that I want to write about.

I had an extensive collection of music when I was studying medicine. I could only study if music was playing in the background. A lot of my music had events/memories attached to it. So every time I wanted to remember something, I played the music that was connected to it. When I was leaving for Malaysia, my mother told me that I can’t take my music tapes as they belong to the family as some of it was bought by my father. It was such a devastating blow. In one strike, she took all my memories away from me. I never ever could collect my own personal collection after that. Over the years, my friends have given me ipod, spottify account etc and I have never used them. I just couldn’t bring myself to start collecting music again. My friend knows about my inability to start a music collection again and how much I miss listening to music

He gave me an Amazon Echo (Alexa) and  linked it  to his account. Not sure how he has done it. He has even sorted out various playlists for me. This morning all I had to say was “Alexa, play my favorite music” and the first song was Dire Straits Money for nothing. It was one of BE favorite song. I remember him singing this song. He was wearing a Hawaiian shirt, white with blue prints, a Khaki shorts and his trade mark hat when he sang this song.

My family is totally screwed up, but I have wonderful friends who will do everything they can to make me smile.

I am happy today.

Thoo vella

To those of you who doesn’t speak Malayalam, Thoo vella means pristine white.

When she was growing up, she was told by her mother that her life was like a thoo vella saree..any blemish on it will be easily seen by others, so she should lead a very pure life. In other words all her mother wanted her to do was to keep her virginity for her husband. Don’t experiment, don’t sleep around and don’t be a woman with needs.

The interesting part of the above story is that her mother was the daughter of a woman who worked as cleaner/cook in a very prominent family and her father was forced to marry the cleaner’s daughter when the said daughter got pregnant. (political interventions)

But in true typical Mallu system of governance where the parents can do any thanthonnitharam, but the kids are forbidden to do the same, the mother watched over her daughter like a hawk.

Then got her married to a guy whose lineage can be traced to St. Thomas’s crew (so they claim). There was only a small problem. He is gay.

Her parents didn’t want her to apply for a divorce. They didn’t want to deal with the potential rumors and stigmas associated with a divorce. They told her, sex isn’t everything. I never understood how any mother worth her salt would ask her daughter to continue live with a man who goes out at night to sleep with other men.(plural, cause he was using the services of male sex workers)

After 25 years, she finally managed to get a divorce. Her parents haven’t talked to her since then.

When  I was talking to her, I told her. “You are now single, time to start living your life, you haven’t had sex, it is time to enjoy it”

And that is the problem. She is stuck in this ideological hell, where she thinks sleeping with a guy is the worst thing she could do.. She believes in love, marriage and sex as the only possible combination. But that is bollocks.

If I could change one thing in the Indian way of thinking, it would be this notion about sex. Sex outside the realm of marriage  is wrong according to Indians, yet everyone is sleeping around, but only behind closed doors.

Sex isn’t wrong. It is just a biological function. If you want to live in a relationship without sex, that is your choice. But don’t think that it is crime to think about your own needs. Marriage is just a piece of paper given by the state or church that tells you that you can now legally sleep with your partner. But the truth is, you don’t need the church or state’s permission. It is your body, your life, your choice.

 

 

Nudity

Piqued your curiosity?

I saw an article in the Malayala Manorma about the horrible misfortune that happened to an Indian woman who was racially profiled and was asked to strip in Frankfurt airport couple of days ago. This horrible crime was committed in front of her 4 year old daughter.

I am not interested in what, why or how it happened. What I was concerned about the event was bringing a four year old in to the picture to portray the horribleness of the situation.

Question that needs to be asked is, What will really happen if your child sees you nude? Do you really have something that is so shameful that your kids can’t see it? Or if they saw it, are they going to be scarred for the rest of their life?

If I was asked to strip because the security wasn’t convinced that I wasn’t a terrorist, I will. My world won’t end because someone saw me naked  My children would be least bit concerned that their mother was asked to strip. They might ask me, if I at least had some decent undies on. (Which I do. After working in Emergency dept, I am always careful to wear proper decent undies, because I have seen what people wear under their clothes and trust me, it is not a pretty sight) Btw, if you can strip in front of a doctor, or for that matter give birth in a labor room, I don’t understand why stripping at the airport or the gaol be any different.

I go to the beach with my children. I wear a bikini just like every friend I have here. Most of the women you find at the beach wear bikini. In fact you don’t even have to go to the beach to find a bikini clad woman, My local swimming pool is near a grocery shop and on hot summer days, you will find women wearing bikini walking to the shop to buy ice cream from the swimming pool.

At home, often my kids walk in and out of my room and sometimes this happen while I am changing my clothes. I don’t have anything special that I must hide from my kids. It doesn’t bother them and it doesn’t bother me.

Coping a feel, stealing a glance, peeping etc are the phenomenon I have often seen in India where the mentality that human body that too of a female must be covered at all times.. or the sky might fall prevails.

Perhaps, we should be a bit more relaxed.

 

Responsible!

My son does tutoring to earn extra cash. Often he stays back at school and teach. But sometimes his students come to my house.

This particular student joined us for lunch and while we were having every few minutes his phone pinged. Turns out that his mother was texting him. Did you have lunch? what are you having for lunch? when will you finish? etc etc. She then called him, just to make sure that everything is ok.

My son and I are on the same phone plan that gives us unlimited texts. From January to now, I have sent him 5 texts, all 5 were the same message. I texted him to let him know that I have arrived at his school to pick him up. I don’t pick him up from school often. These 5 occasions were because he was doing his experiment for Physics and could only do after hours due to OSH regulations and I agreed to pick him up.

I probably called Yaya less than 10 times since she left home last August. I know if she needs me, she would send a message on FB and ask me to call her back.

I felt a bit guilty that I don’t do things like other normal mothers do. When his friend left home I told my son

“I must be a very irresponsible mother for not checking up on you regularly”

He replied

“No mom, it is because you know I am a very responsible son and that you don’t have to check on me every single second”

It is actually true.

I know my son attended plenty of parties organized by his friends where there were plenty of alcohol and weed. He lets me know in advance that there will be weed and alcohol. It hasn’t bothered me and I haven’t stopped him from attending. My point is that I trust my kids. If they are going to get drunk or smoke weed, I would rather let them do it with me knowing about it than behind my back.

I was a terrible teenager and did a lot of things that I probably shouldn’t have done. Because of that, I am an awesome mom. There is nothing my kids could do that I haven’t done or thought about doing. The thing is, I have never forgotten who I was when I was young. The problem only happens when you forget your own past and try to create an innocent version of you in your kids that never really existed.

I don’t have to check on my kids every second of their life because I know they are responsible. I raised them well.