Walk on the wild side

My son had his school semiformal last week.

And we had a little argument..

Normally after a school event, kids would host an informal party. The best part of the semiformal is the informal party. My son decided he is not going for the informal party because there will be drugs and alcohol.

That is when the trouble started. I let Yaya go for the informal party knowing very well that there will be drugs and alcohol. She attended, had a good time..

I felt my son should attend the informal party. Because, this is how it is going to be..all the parties from now on..will have drugs, alcohol, unprotected sex etc. Instead of saying no, I am not attending, I wanted my son to say No, I am NOT  doing drugs, or drinking or having unprotected sex. Instead of hiding, he should be able to stand up and say No.

I told him, he is going to the party.. but at any moment he felt unsafe or uncomfortable, call a cab and leave the venue. (it takes me an hour to get to the venue from my place)

These are the tips I gave my son

  1. Do not take drugs..even if you are being peer pressured . Say No.
  2. If you are drinking, make sure you poured it yourself and watch your drink always.
  3. If people are behaving irrationally, or starting a fight, leave immediately
  4. Do not get in to a car with a driver who consumed alcohol.
  5. Call the cops if you feel your life is in danger.

He attended the informal party and when I picked him up at 1 AM, the first thing he told me was

“Thank you Mom for forcing me to go for the informal party, I had a good time”

It turns out, only few people drank and smoked weed.. the rest just danced and ate pizza..

 

Uni

My son got admission to study first year engineering maths at a local Uni. He is very excited. I am not so pleased and I absolutely hate his school for pushing him like this. No doubt, his school is well renowned for overall academic achievements and that is precisely the reason why son wanted to go there.. but is this necessary?

Last term they gave my son a gold medal for scoring GPA of 6.5 (of 7) And the poor kid has not had a weekend free because he wants to ensure that he gets the gold medal this term and this will go on.. till he graduates grade 12. I can see how the school is manipulating the kids.. They set the bar so high.. Apart from the GPA cut off points which is already very high, they only gave the gold medal to kids who has the word ‘excellent’ for all the activities in the report( behaviour, homework etc) And now, he is been promoted to do Uni level maths. Of course this will help him to get admission to top unis as well as give him credits for the courses already done. (Yaya got 3 credits off for her Uni based on her IB score, which my son will get anyway). But at what cost?

My son hasn’t had a friend over in months. He hasn’t gone for his weekly swimming for the past 3 months. It is as if his life is kept on hold.. and he is only in grade 11. If it is this hard now, what will they do to my child in grade 12?

Ideally I would like to go to my son’s school and tell the Principal off. At least explain to her about work life balance.. But then she would tell me off… that she is not forcing my son to study there.. he chose it.

I don’t know what to do.

Life goes on

First of all let me apologize for the missing posts. Life has been pretty hectic the past few weeks and this madness will last till Yaya leaves home.

Last Sunday, I was up early to watch the Meteor shower (Eta aquarids, associated with Hailey’s comet)). Kirra came and sat next to me. I did think of waking the kids up, but they were up late in to the night spending as much time as they can with each other before Yaya leaves home. I explained to Kirra the difference between meteor, meteorite and meteoroid and she slept off with her head on my lap.

The last time Hailey’s comet was visible, it was in 1986. I was in 10th standard. Even in my wildest dream, I never imagined I would be where I am today. ( let alone write few sentences in English!) What a journey this has been..

My youngest woke up first as she takes Kirra to the dog park at 6 AM every day. She made hot chocolate for both  of us, gave me a kiss after she gave a kiss to Kirra and wished me Happy Mother’s day.

Mom, What cake would you like me to bake today? I told her to bake Ina Garten’s lemon cake. It is a pretty straight forward cake recipe.  When the cake was ready and I tried to cut it, it fell apart. This is a cake I baked so often that I knew right away that she tweaked the recipe.

“What did you do?” I asked her?

She looked at me a bit sheepishly and replied

“Well, the recipe asked for 4 eggs, I changed it to three cause I felt 4 eggs a bit too much”

I am a perfectionist and a strong believer of if you are going to do something, do it right and do it well. There is a reason why the recipe calls for 4 eggs.. you need the eggs to hold the whole thing together. I glared at her because I didn’t want to open my mouth and say things I might regret later. I understood my mother’s need to pishukkufy when she cooked..like taking the meen puli out of the curry and using it again the next time she made fish curry.. I always have a tray of eggs in the fridge!

My son then jumped in to the fray and told me

“You can’t complain mom, you always tell us to wing it.. when it comes to cooking”

He likes to make oats for breakfast and take a measuring cup to measure 60 ml of milk and I get really annoyed when I see him do that.. He should be able to add just enough milk in to a bowl to cook oats without having to use a measuring cup..  I glared at him too.. If eyes could spew fire, both would have turned to cinders…

Finally Yaya emerged from her room holding a A4 size envelope.

“Mom, I am working today, but this is for you, Happy mother’s day” She said

I opened the envelope. .inside was a beautiful photo of the 4 of them (3 + Kirra)..

I am glad my eyes couldn’t not spew fire.. I know my children have their own way of doing things and I can’t force them to be like me and do things the way I do things..

There is nothing in this world that is more precious than the love they have for me.. and that is what I need to remember even those moments when I feel a bit murderous..

Measure

My youngest was cooking yesterday and as usual she refused to measure. It would have been ok normally, but in this case she was making spaghetti for the four of us and cooked enough pasta for one!

I had already told her that she needs to cook 125gm of spaghetti/person and she felt that was really too much. It was too late to cook another batch of spaghetti, so we had pasta sauce with few strands of spaghetti as garnish along with garlic bread!

I was a bit annoyed with her and told her, “everything in life can be measured”

“Really?” She asked

“Really” I replied.

“How do you measure love mom?”

It isn’t very often where I am lost for words.. I watched the siblings high 5 each other..This was even more poignant for me, cause I solved the IQ puzzle faster than the three of them and have been gloating just a few minutes earlier. (http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/mind/can-you-solve-the-intelligence-test-thats-sweeping-facebook/news-story/27981be57c7e02a711ddbc9502ac3501)

Anyway, I spent most of last night trying to think if there is a way to measure love.

This is what I came up with.

The measure of love is the adjustments you are willing to make to accommodate that person in your life through the vicissitude of seasons and fortunes.

I had always felt guilty because I could never love anyone as much as I loved ‘Beautiful Eyes’. It was because until recently, no one ever matched up to that measure of love that I experienced with him. Every time I tried to love, there was always something missing..

When ‘he’ and I went camping the first time..it was about to pour when we were pitching the tent and so he tied the tent poles while I went to get the sleeping bags. As soon as we pitched the tent, it started to pour..and  it poured all night. We were in a remote area, in a national park, the shower and toilet were rudimentary.. The next morning, I desperately needed to take a shower, but I couldn’t bring myself to take a shower in such a crappy set up with questionable hot water supply.. Add to that, I hardly slept the night before because the tent was pushed back and forth by the strong wind.  When it was time to pack up the tent, I noticed that he had tied the tent poles with double knots..24 knots.. When the tent is moist, the knots get tighter making it impossible to undo them and double knot makes it next to impossible. If I cut the knots off, then the tent is useless.. So, there I was, carefully undoing the double knots.. and I was not upset.. which really surprised me.. I am never known for my patience..and yet there I was, patiently undoing the knots.. It occurred to me that I was doing exactly the same thing ‘Beautiful Eyes’ did for me.. He was always patient with me.. all my faults didn’t matter to him…. that was his love for me.. undoing the double knots without a complaint was my love for ‘him’.. that is my measure of love..it  is unending, patient and is through the vicissitude of seasons and fortunes..

 

So

I am fond of people who can write well. Writing is an art in itself and you need to be well read to be able to write things that are fascinating. One such person was Astrologer Jonathan Cainer. I don’t believe in astrology, but I  have been reading  his horoscope forecast even before I had kids. I love the way he strings words together and often he writes quotes and facts that require me to google for more info. I remember him writing about Buckley’s chance years ago and I had to actually google to find out what it is. When I came to Brisbane and I told a mate ” you have Buckley’s chance…” He was impressed cause it is an Aussie lingo not many immigrants know about. Cainer passed away two days ago and I read in the paper about his own sign forecast for that day

‘We aren’t here for long. We should make the most of every moment. We all understand this yet don’t we forget it, many times? We get caught up in missions, battles and desires. We imagine that we have forever and a day. In one way, we may be right — for are we not eternal spirits, temporarily residing in finite physical form?’

And it got me thinking..and then I did something I never thought I would do. I emailed a real estate agent in Tasmania..

These were my requirements.  Must be located in St Helens, lots of land with an option to subdivide, close to the beach, small house, preferable with no neighbours. (I know I am weird!)

An hour later, I received a reply..

When ‘he’ and I visited Tasmania, that day it was my turn to drive. As we were heading to Anson’s bay, I noticed a large dam with lots of birds on my left. I love watching birds and I did a three point turn in the middle of the road(it was very narrow road and there was a ditch on the right side) so I could park the car near the dam and observe the birds. My driving terrifies most people. Let me rephrase that, my driving terrifies anyone other than my kids and in their case, they have been exposed to my erratic driving since birth. I waited for him to say something about my driving.. and he didn’t.  I loved him more for that. Where I parked the car, there was a’ for sale’ sign. I did think how lovely it would be to stay there and watch the wild/migratory birds every day..

The first house on the list the agent sent  was the exact same house I saw in December….the agent even sent me the photo of the dam..

Spooky? I think so.

Plans

Until now, I pretty much had some sort of idea as to where I am going with my life. At the moment I am pretty clueless. There is so much I want to achieve.

These are the things I want to achieve.

  1. Learn Spanish and read some of the books I have kept in my to do list. These are the books that are translated to English, but I haven’t read them, because I want to read it in the language it was written. Mario Vargas-Llosa : “La Casa Verde”, Benito Perez-Galdos: “Fortunata y Jacinta”, Miguel Delibes: “Cinco Horas con Mario” are few of the books I really want to read.
  2. Sail around the world for a year. This is something I plan to do when my youngest leaves home in 4 years. I have yet to figure out the financial implications of this particular dream, but like all my dreams, I intend to jump head first and then figure out how to get out ..(I know zilch about sailing shouldn’t stop me from achieving this)
  3. Buy a beach house. (Where? I still don’t know)
  4. Write.  My dreams have always been a bit unusual compared to everyone else. I like money for the comfort it provides and for being able to travel. But at the same time, I don’t want to be a slave for someone and work Monday to Friday and make money. My idea of the life I want to live is to get up each morning listening to the birds, go for my usual 10 km walk, come home, spend time doing the things I like to do (read, write and cook). I feel it is time I seriously consider how to get around to do the things I really want to do..

So onwards I march.. I know I will eventually get to my destination.. even with all the set backs..

Hmm

Brother of a very good friend grew up with the tag ‘slow’ till he was 12 years old.  He was beaten mercilessly by the teachers and mocked by his classmates every day of his life. He told me how he used to hide behind the trees and bushes so he didn’t have to participate in sports and how the gardener used to snitch on him and tell the teacher where he was hiding. Things changed when his sister completed MBBS and had a light bulb moment.. that her brother is actually short sighted. ( very very bad case of Astigmatism) He is exceptionally brilliant and missed out on schooling in his formative years and didn’t have the will to undo the damage and fight. Today he works as a special ed teacher because he believes that no child should ever go through what he went through..(We now know why he never participated in any sports.. he couldn’t see a thing)

My parents found out I had severe astigmatism when I was in grade 2. Their world practically collapsed..because of the amount of dowry they have to pay for me..already slow in studies..and now blind as well.. Elementary schools in those days practiced seating according to rank and me being the class idiot had the last spot…odukkam benchil odukkamatthey seat was mine..permanently. Now, when I look back, I know  for a fact that I never heard a word the teacher spoke..I was so clueless..even for homework because I didn’t hear the teacher’s instructions. The tag slow and stupid was forever imprinted on my own psychic. It was even more hard when everyone talked so high about my oldest sister and how brilliant she was..and then looked disappointingly at me.. The first time I wanted to run away from home I was 9 years old. I actually did. I walked all the way to the CSI church the only place I knew outside my home and beside the school..which for a 9 year old was really a far distance.. like almost to the end of the world.. but once I reached there, I didn’t know what to do or where to go.. so I walked back home.

When I was 10 years old, my mother registered me for summer classes at the children’s library.. Amma wanted me to learn dancing and I wanted to learn to play guitar. After begging and pleading, she relented. There were lots of kids in he class… and everyone had to sit in a large circle and the teacher spoke..obviously I couldn’t hear him.. and when everyone was playing the chords, I sat idly. Some people have an affinity for picking on the weakest..in this case the teacher loved picking on me. One day, in front of the whole class he asked me something.. and I couldn’t hear him.. I smiled and nodded my head..

What he asked me was “When you come tomorrow for the lessons, Will you forget the lesson I taught you today?” Happily I nodded my head and said Yes.. I can still hear the mean laughter that followed…. and after the class, the students pointed me to other students in other classes and everyone was laughing at me. I stopped attending the guitar classes after that.. and got in to bigger trouble because the teacher complained to my mother that I was skipping classes she already paid for..

When I was 11..it finally occurred to my mother that there was something really wrong with me.. I never heard her, when she called me from behind..and one day she took me to the district hospital from school, I can still see myself walking to the hospital.. wearing my school uniform..the ENT doctors clinic was on the first floor… it over looked the main road.. and a branch of flame of the forest was almost reaching the window..and I remember thinking how much fun it would be when the tree is actually blooming.. you could lean across and grab the flowers.. I sat on the little round steel stool.. and my mother explained the history and the doctor watched me.. and then he talked to me..and I replied..then he covered his mouth with his hand and I couldn’t hear him.. I still remember the shock on his face.. he told my mother, this was the first time he has seen a patient who could lip read without actually being taught to do so. He had warned my mother years ago to do the tonsillectomy cause associated adenoiditis was known to damage auditory nerve.. But my parents were scared to do the surgery.. what if I didn’t wake up after anaesthesia..

I remember walking out of the clinic.. I didn’t feel sad that I was deaf.. I was relieved that I finally knew what is wrong with me.. But the worst was yet to come.. When we went to the hospital we took an auto from the school.. As we got out of the hospital entrance.. there were autos parked on the left side and I slowed down.. thinking  Amma was going to take an auto.. but she was mad.. really mad..and she dragged my hand and started walking back to the school.. and then she said

“I had asked the doctor (I can’t remember his name) for an abortion and he told me that foetus was more than 3 months old ( when amma had mumps) and won’t have any damage.. If only I had the abortion.. “

My wings

As usual, my first instinct was to run away from my troubles. Unfortunately for me, running away was not really possible..

I spent the past few days contemplating my options. There were none.

I had to admit the simple fact that in 15 years I probably will be totally deaf. So I cried.. imagining the end of my dreams..my hopes..and ended with the mother of all migraines..to make my life even more miserable, I was also bitten by midges(sand flies) while I was in the garden. I am allergic to midge bites..

My plan of doing medicine in the next 4 years and then joining MSF and volunteering in any Spanish speaking countries is now not possible.

Since I was 17, I wanted to learn Spanish and read all the books written in Spanish, especially Latin American literature. I learn better when I am thrown in the deep end(living in a Spanish speaking country) than attending language classes. I now know why I hate attending classes. I could never hear properly in class and it affects my learning experiences. I have always been an autodidact and it was mostly because I couldn’t  hear anything and had to teach myself. But teaching myself a foreign language will be really hard. I now need to figure out how to get to South America and live there a couple of years and learn Spanish. Even if my world eventually is going to be a silent one, I still have books to keep me company and at least I will be able to live with myself knowing that I didn’t give up my dreams just because one door closed on my face.

And that was all I managed..in between tears, migraine and allergy..

So

This was something I should have known..perhaps of all the things I conveniently put under the denial title..this topped the list.

I failed the medical exam to join the Medicine program. I am more deaf than I assumed I am. ( actually my deafness has been increasing over the years, in 1988 I had 65% hearing in one ear and now it is 30%)

The past one year of studies should have given ample clues. I could hardly participate in group discussions because I couldn’t hear people sitting behind me. I have been lip reading since I was a child and accepted without any difficulty that if I can’t see the lips moving, then I can’t hear. I hated people sitting on the right side of me in the bus and talk to me. I am completely deaf in the right ear and I can’t hear a word anyone say over the noises in the bus. Often I just nod and laugh, not knowing what the person said.. If they said I was an idiot, I was smiling and nodding my head in agreement.. because I hated to tell anyone that I am deaf.

At home, kids have been getting rather irritated with me cause I have been asking them to repeat what they said..’ Mom, you don’t listen when we talk’ is what they say often.

One full year, I got up at 4 am everyday to teach myself organic chemistry..so I could write the GAMSAT exam. 99% of the students who wrote the exam were at least 15 years younger to me and even that didn’t stop me from writing it again and again till I passed.

I know I will find my wings again to soar high.. but right now, at this moment, I am devastated.

Little women

I think I have written before about how much I wanted a house like the Little women novel.

I never did any work at my mother’s home. According to my mother, she didn’t want us to help her because  she felt that we would be doing all the work in our own homes when we get married, so she wanted to spare us from doing the household chores when we were young. (Even when I tried to help her, it always ended in disaster.. she used to pick every tiny fault and turn it in to a big deal and made me feel so inadequate and stupid. So the safest thing to do was not to do anything, besides she needed reasons to complain to others about  how much she struggles..even when she had 4 daughters who did nothing to help her)

Last Sunday, I decided to go for a long walk. half way through my walk, I remembered I didn’t do the laundry. As it is almost winter and clothes don’t dry quickly, I planned to do the laundry as soon as I got home. School was starting on Monday, which meant I also need to cook some of the school lunches in advance..

This is what I found when I got back home.

My son was vacuuming the house. Baby was mopping the floor and Yaya was in the pergola hanging the washing. There was also a pan of  vegetarian Lasagne in the oven and a bowl of salad on the counter..( With mozzarella cut in to bite size pieces, just the way I like it)

I didn’t ask any of them to do anything before I went for the walk. I also didn’t check if my son vacuumed the house properly or if Baby mopped the house properly or if Yaya sorted the laundry like I do. I hugged each of them and thanked them and told them my heart grew few sizes big with pride.

And we ate the best Lasagne and salad for lunch and there was enough leftover for next day’s school lunch.

I learned that children will help you, if you don’t complain and appreciate it. That is actually the secret  to a happy home.