The curse of giftedness

I have an IQ of 149. Yet, I grew up thinking I am dumb..
What came normal to most people, I could never master..simple things like mapping..I still don’t know where Kottayam is on a map of Kerala, but I can  tell you the complete history of Kerala without looking at any book.
I wrote the entrance exam for admission in to English medium school in grade 5..I scored the lowest mark. Yet, I have read more books in English than most and am multilingual

I love calculus and algorithms..but I hate working out “which train reaches the station at what time”

I didn’t understand what was wrong with me..but the label..”dumb” was stuck on me till I wrote SSLC..My mother prayed that I would pass the exam..She had even talked to the owner of Paikadas college..for me to enrol to rewrite the SSLC because she was worried that I won’t pass the exam.. I scored 529/600.

The way the school system works is..everyone is expected to follow the set path..if you struggled in one part of the path, you were labelled dumb..and the teachers refused to see the strengths in other aspects..
The one thing I remember clearly from my childhood is..I never listened to the teacher..not one word.. It was boring. The monotonous voice of the teacher was irritating. and.annoying and it felt like a drill was constantly going on in my head, .I practiced “tuning out” and I was always in my own world where I created imaginary patterns..or worked out complicated equations..( this habit also helped in branding me dumb, cause every time the teacher asked me a question, I had no idea what she was talking about for I was in some other world!!)

The problem was no one, not my mother, not my teachers and certainly not my classmates understood what I was going through.. I needed help to cope..yet all everyone tried to do was to make me follow the path..No one asked me if that is what I wanted..but I was expected to follow.. I wrote a million impositions..I was humiliated over and over for not paying attention.
My malayalam teacher took great pleasure in tormenting me in front of my classmates because I couldn’t pronounce the alphabet zha..I still say payam..for Pazham..I was the only student..that too in Malayalam medium who couldn’t pronounce such a simple word correctly.. My teacher couldn’t accept the fact that I couldn’t pronounce it right.. She used to make me stand in front of everyone and make me say payam over and over..and the joy my classmates see me suffering..

I felt I was misunderstood. I was bored, being held back, and was plagued by self-doubt and was struggling with loneliness because no one wanted to be my friend.

I was identified gifted in the second year of medicine.. I understood I wasn’t like everyone else.. It was such a relief..I felt liberated.. There was an explanation for my failures and achievements..

One thing I wanted to do even before I had my children was “to be there for them” because no one was there for me.

Yaya started speaking at the age of 7 months, she spoke in sentences when she was one. She didn’t go to school till she was 6. She went to Kindergarten at the age of 6 for few months and went to grade 1. When she started grade 1, she couldn’t read..and few weeks after joining grade 1, she came back from school, took a book to the washroom ( Chinese fairy tales) and sat there and read the whole book. Yaya didn’t follow any of the normal developmental milestones.
She is 13, speaks fluent Japanese, French and Spanish apart from English. She like me hates normal maths and like me said “who the hell cares which train arrives what time”. She wants to learn Latin next year and has already enrolled for the Latin language extension when she goes to Spain next term. She will not be studying Physics and Biology in grade 11..she hates them both and has made up her mind… ( and  both are my favourite subjects)

I have never taught my children to read or write.
All I did was to read to them..
I am not an artsy mother..I bought them colour pencils and crayons..and Yaya drew every where..even the fridge was not spared..My mother felt I should punish my children for writing and drawing on the walls..I felt she was upset because when someone visits me, they see the dirty walls and think of me poorly !! I have never been the one who cared for what other people think of me. and didn’t think that my children should be restrained from drawing on the walls in my own home because it upset other people..My mother then told me that my children will damage other people’s walls because no one taught them that it is not right to draw on the walls and dirty them.
I painted the walls with washable paint..explained to my children that, the walls in our home is painted with special paint and we can clean it..but it wasn’t so in other people’s house and I would like them to draw only on our walls. They have never drawn on anyone else’s walls.

I was not trying to raise them without discipline by allowing them to draw on the wall.. I was giving them a safe place to push the boundary..I rather they push the boundary in my own home..

My mother used to hide chocolates/cakes etc gifted to us by our cousins when we were little..and I had to steal them..I used to go  through so much of ‘push and pull’ emotional battles each time I stole the chocolates..One hand is the knowledge that it was wrong to steal..but then  I think, it was given to us by who ever visited us and amma chose to hide it..
There is chocolate in my fridge..all the time..I don’t hide food from my children. They don’t have to steal in my home.

I wanted to raise my children well, but not break their spirits. Most of the gifted children don’t do well in their later life..”failed gifted” is the term they now use..I know why.. after years of butting my head at all the injustice dished out to me.. I dream of living in a small hut some where far away..away from everyone..with my books and spend the rest of my life in total isolation!! I was beaten and broken because I was gifted..I will not let my children go through that.

I am not a pushy mother..My children are not an extension of my ego..But I will support my children, hell comes in my way..

if my son is given a choice, he prefers to stay home and read. he finds school extremely boring and told me more times than I can count that he doesn’t want to go to school. He wants to be in Princeton today if there is any chance that they would let him join. He found the MIT open course and registered for it because he just wants to learn more..
I want my son to have some sort of normal way I can achieve that is by sending him to school. He is not a disruptive child..He does his work..( he has completed the home work for the whole term in the first week of the term) He reads story books during maths and english lessons..both he finds boring..He listens to the science lessons because he likes doing experiments..
His gifted tag helps him in a lot of ways..before he was paired with the weakest student in his class for any projects..because the teacher felt, he would be helping the weakest one saw how much my son hated that..he is competitive and intense..and when he is paired with the “weakest” child, he ends up doing both of their work, because he will not submit a work that is not 100 % good in his eyes. His teachers are more aware of his needs..

I find giftedness is a curse..and if you think your child is gifted, the least you can do is to get them you can help them..Knowing you are gifted doesn’t make your child arrogant or give them an helps them to understand why they do things the way they liberates them hope..and helps them cope!

I was thinking about writing something that always bothered me..and I think I will write anyway..

One thing that always bothered me are the parents who wanted to create this “super” child..They enroll their children to early education programs..nah, actually the journey starts in utero.Eating certain food, listening to certain music..even putting a headphone across the belly to help the unborn child to listen to music..all for creating a ‘super’ kid…they put undue pressure on their children to produce ‘superior results” There is this constant need to herd children towards the ultimate goal..medicine whatever that makes the parents proud ..

Yaya is gifted in language and arts.. she will never become a doctor or engineer..(Right now she makes pocket money by painting grafitti on skateboards for boys in her school !!)
My son..has no linguistic abilities..he has been studying Japanese for two years and still doesn’t know a word of Japanese..He wants to be a mathematician..
My baby is not gifted..She loves animals..she spends most of her time reading about belugas and whales.. she wants to be a beluga trainer.
My children are not alike, what worked for Yaya doesn’t work for my son and baby.

The youngest child I had the misfortune to write a death certificate was 9. He killed himself because he felt he would rather die than suffer the beatings his parents surely were going to give when they see his report..he only got second rank and not the first rank his parents wanted/expected him to get.
Your children are unique..they are blessed with talents..not always in academic field..We need engineers and artists..mathematicians and beluga trainers..

Wouldn’t it be nice, if children are given a chance to grow..rather than be cut and pruned to be what the parents want them to be?

My (secret) fear..

Generally speaking, I am not really afraid of anything..It is kind of been there, done that sort of courage..
But there is one thing that is always at the back of my mind..
I am so afraid that my son will end up in the streets or take drugs/alcohol etc..

I don’t know how to explain, why I worry so much..

As a baby, he was a delight..He never cried..always smiling..He was such a happy baby.. so unlike his sister !!

But things began to change as he grew older.

Raising him.. without breaking his the same time setting boundaries…has been a challenge..

I remember getting a phone call from his school (grade 1)..When I went to the school..My son was sitting on the chair outside the office reception..He was reading a book.. I asked him why is he sitting there? and he replied very casually, they had DEAR ( drop everything and read) and when the teacher told the class that DEAR is over and asked the students to put their book back, my son refused..according to him, he was in the most interesting part of the book and it would only take him few more minutes to finish and he asked the teacher if she would give him 10 more minutes, she refused, he continued to read..ignoring her..teacher send him to the principal..and I was called..
Let me tell you my feelings..
I am a single mother..getting a phone call from school is scary..First thought is..something happened to my children..It is such a relief when the receptionist tells you, “oh, Mr so and so would like you to come to the school and discus matters concerning your son” and the relief turns in to new sets of begin to worry about what has he done this time? As you get your youngest child dressed and then carry her and walk up the hill to the school, you analyze all the possible things your son could have done..and wonder, is he going to get suspended? Will he get a record? What will I do?

The meeting with the Principal didn’t go well..
Rules are for everyone..and must be followed was his explanation…
I agreed with him..then I asked him, what do you suggest we do about it?
He has to listen to the teacher, the principal told me in not so nice tone..
How do you make him listen to the teacher? I asked him.
One thing I have noticed is, Principals don’t like parents who are vocal..
What he wanted at that meeting was for me to agree that my son is irresponsible, defiant, disruptive..etc By tagging him in those terms, it is easy for the school authorities..they have a record..of his misbehaviour and meetings with his parent..and eventually when things get out of hand, they can suspend my son.. everything will be done as per the rules..
There is only one person who can stand up for my children.. that was me..
I didn’t dispute the fact that my son disobeyed the teacher..but this happened because, the teacher allowed DEAR, teacher set the time..and my son couldn’t finish his reading in time..and asked for extention and wasn’t given.

What the teacher and the principal didn’t see that time it took me to reach the school and meet the principal, my son finished reading the book..My son was least bit bothered about being send to the office and having to meet with the principal..He didn’t think he did anything wrong..
What can I as a mother do?  How do I force my son to listen to the teacher, when he very calmly tells you that, Mom, all I asked was for 10 more minutes, she ( teacher) was doing maths and I have already finished the maths work book !

I asked for an academic assessment done for my son..That is the next thing school authorities hate..more work for them !!!
They did the tests eventually..( I had to go all the way to dept of education to get it done)
He got the ‘gifted’ tag..( which gave me a bit of break from having to meet with the principal every other day.. cause the school has to accept that his ‘giftedness’ was the reason for his (mis)behaviour)

One thing I have to mention here is.. I do not condone my son’s behaviour..but there is nothing that can be done to make him toe the line you have set..

He is a straight A student, he is doing Uni level maths and has been given admission for Maths acceleration program in grade 8..
He still reads story books in class..
and I worry..all the time..what is the next rule he is going to break..

My son…my rebel

Last Saturday, my son wrote the Acer scholarship exam.

I picked him up after the exam and he asked me as we walked towards my car, “Mom, if you have the power to ban one thing, what would it be?” ( It was a question in the humanities section)

Without any hesitation, I told him I would ban (narcotic)drugs..
And I asked him, what would you ban?
He replied

I can’t really explain what I felt that moment when I heard him say that.. My heart grew few sizes big with happiness and I thought it would explode !!!
I was just so proud of him..

But the journey to this point was not easy..

If there is one word I can use to describe my son, it would be “rebel”

If I told him not to do something, he would do it for sure. It doesn’t matter that I explained to him why he shouldn’t do it. The fact of the matter is,I told him not to do..and he has to do it and he will do it, just to see for himself what will happen..
If I am strong willed, he is one million times more strong willed than me.
He pushed every boundary that I set for him..he still does..

When he was little, every morning I woke up thinking, what is he going to do today? By then he had flooded the bathroom, drove my car, locked me outside the house ( when I went to get the mail)..
the list is endless……..
He has been perpetually in the “terrible two” stage.
When he started going to school, He was getting in to trouble every single day..He refused to listen to the teacher.
His kindergarten teacher was a very capable albeit crabby lady who didn’t tolerate any nonsense..She had a tough job, she had to train strong willed children like mine to fit in to the school I volunteered to be the “classroom helper”. My presence in the classroom sort of balanced his naughtiness!!
I worked with his teachers..
Few weeks ago,I attended the grade 7 orientation at his school. His teacher was talking about the importance of reading and casually mentioned, there are some children in her class, who hides the book in their lap and read while she is teaching. 22 pairs of eyes ( parents of his classmates) looked at me!!! Everyone knows, it is my son the teacher is talking about. My son has been getting in to trouble for reading story books during class since grade 1.. His teachers and I have tried everything to stop him read during class. Nothing worked. He wants to read, he will..

In my journey raising a person helped me immensely..
When my son was little, my bother in law visited us one time and he asked my son..” What would you want to be when you grow up?”
My son smiled happily and replied “garbage truck driver”
My son has been fascinated with big machines from the time he was little. He loved green colour DBKL garbage trucks. We could see the trucks from the Condominium corridor and every time, the trucks came, he would ask me to take him to the corridor..but if I had any inclination that my son was thinking of driving a garbage truck, I surely wouldn’t have taken him to the corridor to watch the trucks..

I was shocked and ashamed..Garbage truck driver? My son?
My brother in law hugged my son and told him, that is exactly what he wanted to do when he was growing up and the two of them talked about the merits of driving a garbage truck..( and every merit, added a layer of stink to my unhappiness with my child’s choice of future career). I also wanted to smack my brother in law for trying to encourage my become a grabage truck driver..

When my son went to bed, my brother in law clearly saw how annoyed I was with him and asked me to imagine..
8 year old boy, raised by a hippie mother, who decided she wants more adventure in her life, decided to quit her work and go to US with her only son and travel around US. She did just that. For two years mother and son travelled around US. She did whatever odd jobs she could do for cash, they stayed in camp grounds after the gate closed at night and left before the gates opened in the morning ( so they didn’t have to pay camping fees), if the boy wanted a new toy or a block of cheese, mother parked the car in front of the shop..and waited for the son to steal it and run outside..The boy didn’t go to school for two years..
My brother in law asked me, what do you think happened to the boy?
Well, it was not too hard to imagine what would have happened to the boy..
But the reality is.. that 8 year old now a president of a large company..multi brother in law..

I will never forget the one sentence he told me..’ remember, this world still needs garbage truck drivers..if that is what your son wants to do..stand by him..”

I do..( it wasn’t easy, especially coming from a Malayalee family of over achievers, where education and achievements are the only reason for living!)

Yesterday, my son registered for the Circuits and electronics course at MIT.( He is very excited..

from Garbage truck driver to MIT.. what a journey..

Chidren and their rights.

Long and winding post, bear with me..

Many many years ago, one evening, my mother decided that my father should help me with Maths. By that time, one of the relic my older sister owned was a steel ruler that was bend..after my father used it to hit my sister. My mother knew beyond any doubt that my father has no patience and how abusive he can be.. Still she asked him to teach me..

It was probably about 8 o clock at night. We hadn’t had our dinner yet. We used to have two cane chairs outside on the veranda. Appa was sitting outside and reading. The usual drill is, when Appa is home, you vanish..for your safety. So you can imagine the fear and trepidation I felt when my mother called me and told me to go to Appa and informed me that Appa will be teaching me from now on!!
Amma was even very kind..she lit a piece of amathiri (mosquito coil) and kept it by the side of the cane chair, so I won’t be bitten by the mosquitoes..As soon I reached the veranda, I saw the ominous presence of the dreaded rotan (cane) in my father’s hand. He asked me to pull the other cane chair in front of him and sit down and all I wanted was to run..I did try to keep the cane chair an arm length away from my father and he told me to bring the chair closer.
I knew without any doubt what is going to happen to me..It was not rocket science..and there was no one to help me or save felt as though the noose was around my neck and I couldn’t escape.
Frantically I tried to remember the times table..
The first question my father asked me was what is 8 x 7..I knew the answer, still I said 42.

Did you know you can actually hear the cane hissing before it splits the skin? Did you know in order to give maximum impact, you need to lift the cane above your head,, swing it and bring it down with maximum force?

I wanted to grow up.. so I could kill my father..that is what I felt then..The anger.. the rage..the hatred..and the humiliation.
I also hated my mother..for betraying me. If you knew your husband is a violent man, what in the world makes you send your children to him ?? What is even more odd was the next scene.. My mother rushes out from the kitchen, screaming at my father..” I only told you to teach her, not hit her” and then they fought..and before going to bed, my mother accused me of being the catalyst for the fight she had with her husband..

Few years ago..when we were living in KL, my children’s father went to the Pasar ( market) on a sunday morning. He came back with a rotan, along with meat and vege.
I asked him what was the rotan for? and he replied it was only for “show” and he won’t use it.
He showed the children the rotan..threatened them that he will hit them if they don’t listen to his commands.. I remember seeing the fear I saw in their eyes. But because he said, he won’t be using it, I thought I won’t make a big deal. He kept the rotan on top of the fridge
Yaya was three and my son 7 months old. I am not sure what exactly happened..For some reason they pushed the other..the end result was there were milo on the floor and the couch..the next thing I know is the sudden appearance of the rotan..and then wasn’t a one single was lashing. one after the other…I was warned not to interfere..and if I do, my children will be beaten even more..
when he finished beating them..the tip of the rotan was broken..Like the king who won the war, he marched back to the kitchen holding the rotan as a winners trophy..
I remember following him..when he kept the rotan back on top of the fridge, I took it.. broke it to a thousand pieces and told him..I will break every rotan you bring in to this house..
He bought a new rotan to replace the broken one the next sunday.. I broke it too..

My children’s father strongly believed the old adage.. spare and rod and spoil the child..and I remembered the anger and frustrations I felt when I was beaten. I couldn’t always protect my children from his beatings..but I taught them to not aggravate the situation ( if your  father says the sun rises from the west, so be it. Just don’t argue about it and when he goes to work, we will talk about it!!! Yaya understood the message, but my son was a hard nut ..and I fought most wars with his father for him, that is another story)

Why must you hit your child because they spilled Milo or broke the plate? Have you never spilled anything or broken anything? Why terrorise them unnecessarily for spilling milo? All it takes is a dish cloth and some elbow grease to clean up the mess.

My children are not angels.. They fight, they argue, they talk back, they disobey..they do everything like every other child do..and trust me..there are times I am tempted to give them a tight slap..But I tell myself..just because they are small and can’t hit me back is the only reason I am tempted to hit them.. not because by hitting them, they will learn a lesson. If hitting someone teaches them a lesson, why don’t we hit our colleagues at work?

When we moved to Canada, my son was in Kindergarten and the first thing he was taught was about his rights !! He was taught that no one can hit him/hurt him and he can tell his teacher if he was hit/hurt at home..He was taught to call 911 if at any time he felt he was being threatened with violence..I remember the walk back from home after school and how empowered my son felt when he told me about his rights and the knowledge that no one can hurt him..

Home is the most safe and secure place for your children..and if they can’t be safe in their own home, where else should they go? Must you hit them to get a point across when you can explain to them. Children do have brain !!

When home is no longer a safe place, the child services kick in. That is what they are for. It may not always save the lives of children. ( Shafia Children were failed by the Canadian child services!)

The child services takes the children away when they are certain that emotional and physical well being of the child is threatened at their own home.
Ideally siblings should be kept together in foster homes. But it doesn’t work that way often because of few reasons. One, lack of appropriate foster parents..two, there are psychological reasons..parentified siblings, sibling rivalry etc.three, different levels of care needed for each child.

While the children are in foster care, the biological parents are given the reasons why their children are taken and what can be done to get them back. There are regular meetings with the child services staff and the biological parents to review the case and reports are filed.
The child services can not take the mother to a psychiatrist for treatment.
Child services can not force the mother to go for counselling.
Once the children are in foster care, the rules of the country applies to them irrespective of the children’s citizenship, especially when it comes to releasing the children to family members. ( remember, when you collect Child  benefits and cash benefits for your children( immigrant or on work visa), it is a two way street..the govt that pays you the child tax has the legal rights to ensure that children are taken good care of, irrespective of the children’s nationality)

My point is..

Giving birth to your children doesn’t give you the right to abuse them. ( Emotional/physical/sexual)
Your children are a gift.. to love and cherish..
and most important, when you live outside India, follow the rules of the country..


He one word
Handsome !!
Nah, make that two..Gorgeously handsome.
Curly hair ( dirty blonde)
Dreamy eyes
Beautiful smile..

Is simply gorgeous..
I have read about cornflower blue eyes..and even that description doesn’t do justice to her eyes..

He is 17 and she is 3. She is his daughter.

He has custody of his daughter for two weeks each month. He shares the house with few of his work mates ( tradies) and the two weeks he has his daughter with him, he stays home all day.
Father and daughter..
I see them most evenings when I am working in my garden. He takes her for walks every evening.
When they leave the house, he has the dog and the leash in one hand while he pushes her in the stroller..when they come back, he is still pushing the stroller..but  the dog and the child are ‘free’ can hear them from far away..her laughter, the dog’s barking and the father telling..don’t run, go slow.. It is such a delight to see them.
He takes really good care of her. The garage is full of her toys..

I keep thinking about him..
While his friends are busy working, he is a stay at home dad.
While his mates go out drinking every friday, he stays home with his daughter..

I keep thinking..he is old enough to be my son..and what if it was my that situation..
I have no answer.

And there was a time.. I was 27 years old..I just had Yaya..the child I wanted so badly..Most my friends were still single..and Friday evenings they all went to we  used to before I had Yaya and I was home.. at times I felt..I was losing life..

December 1992..I was preparing for the MBBS final exams.. It was such a hard time. 
My life was at a cross road.
The final MBBS part 2 only has 6 months to prepare after the part 1 Uni exams.
Medicine, Surgery, learn in 6 months.
The future was a big question mark..
Morning rounds, afternoon classes, practicals, evening rounds, in between find every second I could to study for the exams.
In between all these..there was loneliness..

Some times at night, I could hear boys leaving the hostel on their bikes..and I always looked outside..hoping it is you.. Yes, of course I know there is no way you could..but hope is such that, even when you know there is no still hope..hope doesn’t cost you a thing..Hopes and regrets are free (for me..)

And then there were tears..that too were free..
I still had the best of  Rod Stewart album you copied for me..I could sing over and over “I am sailing”..and “You are in my heart” was the only way I could cope..Music was my anchor companion..

Tonight, Rod Stewart sang both of my favourite songs..and I took you with me..

You’re in my heart, you’re in my soul
You’ll be my breath should I grow old
You are my lover, you’re my best friend
You’re in my soul

My love for you is immeasurable
My respect for you immense
You’re ageless, timeless, lace and fineness
You’re beauty and elegance

You’re a rhapsody, a comedy
You’re a symphony and a play
You’re every love song ever written
But honey what do you see in me

A chance

I would love to say that I raised my children well and I am absolutley sure that my children will not take drugs !!  they will not smoke and they certainly will not  drink  and of course being Indian descent, I am even more confident that they will not be having sex before their marriage!!!

The truth is, My children have the same chance as every other child on earth when it comes to smoking, taking drugs and drinking alcohol and teenage pregnancies.
It has nothing to do with the way I raised them.
As their mother I taught them what is right and what is wrong. I have taught them about sex, conception and contraception. I have spoken to them about peer pressure,adverse effects of drugs, cigs and alcohol.. How I wish I could say that, my children are safe because I taught them all that they need to know…

Before I became a mother, I knew just how I am going to raise my children. I was going to be the best mother on earth. It was a pretty easy thing to be a good mother and raise great children..

But then I became a mother..none of my so called plans/ideas/great expectations worked..I thought a fed baby is a happy baby..till I had breast engorgement and a crabby baby!! Theories were good, especially Dr. Spock.. but none of them wrote about non stop crying and maternal exhaustion and the temptation of wanting to drop the crying child somewhere, anywhere and running away!!! ( new mothers are not allowed/supposed to feel that way..they are supposed to enjoy the feeling of being a mother.. it is such a glorified position)

At one time, I had three children under the age of 5 and I couldn’t wait for them to grow I could take a break from the vicous cycle of breast feeding,  nappies, potty training that seemed to go on forever.

Now that they are no longer babies.. I wish..they were little..I wish we could live in our glass cave, pretend that Santa is real and there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow..

Each day, I walk in a mother’s minefield..every word that I speak has a consequence.
I am no longer a mother of little children.. I am the mother of three individuals..who are on their way to their future..
They will stumble and they may fall of the wagon.., but I will be there..that is all I can do. 

My wild and precious life

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
That line is from one of Mary Oliver’s poems. I love it, because of two things. One is the sense of belonging, the  knowledge that I am not the only one with a “wild” life and the other reason is my answer to her question.
thokkan enikku manasilla!!
I am fluent in a lot of languages, yet I struggle to translate a simple Malayalam sentence to English. “I refuse to give up” is the simple translation, but it doesn’t give justice to the defiance inbuilt in that dialogue.
I remember my first day as a pre degree student at one of the famous colleges in Kottayam. All my classmates were from English medium and I was the only one from a Malayalam medium. ( there were students from malayalam medium in other streams, mine was the most in demand, science stream) I didn’t understand a word spoken by the lecturers in the first few days.. but then.. I told myself ..
thokkan enikku manasilla!!
I wouldn’t classify my will at that moment as determination.. it was more defiance..against my mother for classifying me as a sickly idiot and then doing everything to continue to believe the notion that I am not capable of achieving anything in my life. She didn’t just stop with her beliefs, she was also giving me more grief by making  me take french as a second language and I, not only had to re learn everything that I learned until then in English, I also had to learn a new language from scratch. it was tempting to give up studying, fail the exams and stay at home for the rest of my life listening to curses and then get married to some loser with my fat dowry. But then again I felt  thokkan enikku manasilla!!
At every turn in my life, I could have given up my fight..Unlike most of you who read my blog, I was dealt a bad hand so many times..over and over and over..and each time, it was really tempting to give up..but then what is the fun in that?
if I had given up,
I wouldn’t have become a doctor.
I wouldn’t have got a masters degree
I wouldn’t have my wonderful kids
I wouldn’t be driving my dream car
and I wouldn’t be living in a house of colour..each room painted in a different colour..( part of my  “wild and wicked” life dreams..)
so to answer what I plan to do with my wild and precious life?
I plan to live it..each day..
and to the fate that seems to get a thrill of dealing me a bad hand.. bring it on..I am still Methran Thamby’s grand daughter and thokkan enikku manasilla!!

I was wondering if any of you can help me translate thokkan enikku manasilla to english!!!?

My son..

My son won the student council election this afternoon.

The boy, who never sleeps for more than 4 hours, who reads maths books as if they are novels, who is obsessed with rubik’s cube..

There are moments in a mother’s life where her heart is so full of isn’t when her child gets  straight A’s for all the tests..
it is when her shy child, who dreams of going to Princeton, who knows he needs to be an allrounder, does things to make his dreams in to a reality..( he worked out the statistical probablity as to how many votes he needs to win.. and ensured that he personally talked to “that many” students to ensure his victory!
I am so happy for my son..( and no, I refuse to take credit for his achievements.. He knew what he wanted and he worked for is all his)

Entey Amma ariyunnathinu

You will be celebrating your birthday soon. I am not sure how old you are. You  were afraid of growing old and my sisters and I used to fudge your age from the time you were in your late 40’s. We randomly picked a number ( easily 10 years over your actual age) whenever anyone asked how old you were. You hated it, but when we were young, we enjoyed making an old lady out of you.
Today, I could easily calculate your age from your year of birth. But I don’t want to and I am not going to.
I don’t want you to grow old. I want you to stay young.. like an evergreen.

Yaya will be going to Spain next term. She will be away for three months. This is the first time Yaya will be away from me for that length of time. I worry so much about her upcoming trip and I wonder how I will cope without her. Who will tell me,”I love you mom” each morning before she goes to school? Who will come to me each morning wearing an assortment of jewellery and ask me “Do I look ok?” Will she send me any emails when she is there?

Then I think of you..and wonder how do you cope. You raised me and here I am, your daughter and the mother of your grand children..not even calling you up and wishing you on your birthday.

You know amma, all three of your grandchildren are playing basketball this year and are in Div 1 team? If  you were here, you would have said ” their mother, my daughter never touched a basketball in her life, but at least her children have inherited their grandmother’s skills” It is true. I never understood what is the joy in playing basketball and never had any intention of sending my children to play basketball, even though my mother and my sisters were well known basketball players.
But life is full of surprises.. Yaya insisted that she wants to play basketball this year and joined the club, followed by her siblings. One of the mother’s who watched my kids play basketball asked me which team they played before?? I couldn’t help smiling..thinking how proud you would be..and honestly, if I didn’t have the mole in my hand that appa and I share, I probably would have agreed that I was swapped at birth and your real daughter is someone else.

I don’t know how many more years you have on this earth. I know time slips through your hand like sand…I wish I could just pick up the phone and wish you..
But I can’t.
Not because I am stubborn like Appa. ( which I am, I don’t deny it)
I don’t hate you Amma. But if I don’t have this space, this chasm between us..I will not be able to cope.
Right now, I know, I still can come to you, if I ever have to, because whatever happens, you will always be mother..and I will always be your daughter.
Happy birthday Amma.
I love you.