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.

Satisfaction

I received a mail from one of the Unis. The name of the Uni is irrelevant and I have redacted it.  I felt a sense of satisfaction reading it for the reasons below.

I don’t know if any of you remember the vitriol laden comment Deepa (under various handles such as coorgi deepa etc) left on my blog few years ago accusing me of all the things I have written such as being abused and parents fighting, and went on to call my grandmother a nut case …and then telling me to get a life. People always say don’t wash your dirty linen in public and the reason for that is you give ammunition to others to hurt you. However I only had me to speak for me. I couldn’t keep all the hurt to myself and writing this blog has been cathartic.

If you could  imagine all that could go wrong for a woman, it happened to me. I had no role models to look up to, no family support and yet I was determined to be the best mother a person could ever be. Against all odds, I succeeded.

And here is the proof.

Dear Parent,

Please allow me to offer congratulations. To xxx, on her admission to xxx University, but also to you, for raising an extraordinary child and exceptional student. xxx  is truly one of the most accomplished students in our incoming freshman class; and we know her contributions to our university would be significant.

As the parent of two children who left home for college, I understand you’re very proud but also may have many questions. College can be exciting, scary, thrilling, confusing, intimidating, and fun for student and parent alike. Attending college today also is costly, so choosing the right school is more important than ever. For an accomplished student whose options include some of the most distinguished and celebrated schools, the choice can be especially difficult. Therefore, it is understandable that xxx will look to you for guidance on this life-changing decision.

To help her make a choice, we’ve created a brochure about xxx University  that I hope will help you and xxx discover the inspiring research and teaching activities that define the undergraduate experience at xxx. The details of daily life at universities are not often front-page news, so you may be pleasantly surprised by some of the things you learn.

Included within are stories of our amazing faculty and the ways in which their research is changing entire industries–and lives. You will also learn that, on the foundation of their xxx University education, our graduates are finding more than just jobs, they are forging impressive careers. This information highlights how a xxx degree opens doors and expands the global reach of students like xxx. We hope this helps your family make a decision about xxx University.

Should xxx choose to attend xxx University, I make you this promise: my colleagues and I will do our best to educate her to be reflective, resourceful, and ready to live, adapt, and lead in an interconnected world. We will endeavor to keep her safe and happy, and make available the resources she will need to gain an elite education. And we will most proudly call her a member of the xxx family.

Whatever institution xxxl chooses will be a fortunate one. We at xxx University wish xxx and your family all the best.

Sincerely,

 

Excitement

I was the first to arrive home yesterday. I opened the door to find Kirra literally jumping and shaking her body and then rolling down and asking for a belly rub. Until then I had not attempted to touch her. I tend to freeze every time she came anywhere near me and I think she understood my fear and left me alone. But when I saw her all excited to see me, somehow I couldn’t have just ignored her. So, very gently I gave her a belly rub ( and then I went to wash my hands!)

I guess I am getting used to having a dog.  The folks at RSPCA told me that Kirra would live at least 15 years, that simply means I will be 60!  I wondered about the next 15 years of our(KIrra and I) life.

She would say goodbye to Yaya in 2 months time. She would see Toothless going for his semi formal in a few months, then say goodbye to him when he goes to Peru for student exchange. Then she would see him in a tux attending his formal, his graduation etc next year. She would then say goodbye to him when he goes to Uni. Fortunately for us, Baby will be with us for another 4 years.. After all the kids leave home, perhaps the next major event Kirra would witness is their marriage. At this stage I have no hope that it would happen ..all three are career minded and don’t see the need to settle down. My mother became a grandmother when she was 60..I wonder if the two old biddies(again Kirra and I) will get to see a little baby in 15 years time..

Such is life.

This is what she did while we were away yesterday.

Kirra1

Kirra

So, this is a post I never ever dreamt that I would write. As they say, one should never say never.

When I got back home, on my bed there was a folder with few printed pages inside. First of all, I must tell you about folders. I love Calvin and Hobbes. When my kids were little, I read all the cartoon strips for them. There is one strip where Calvin tries to score marks by presenting his assignment in professional clear plastic folder..http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/1989/10/31 http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/1989/10/31

You should read the rest of the cartoon to know what happened in the end. Anyway, kids have always known the importance of professional clear plastic folder. 🙂

Inside the professional clear plastic folder was this.

proposal1proposal2proposal3proposal4

I haven’t laughed so much for a very long time. However, I grew up in a family that never had a pet. I have never patted a dog in my life. I am terrified of holding animals and birds.

Kids have not only done the funding proposals, they also worked out the proper budget, including a spread sheet on the ideal breed, best pet insurance and the best pet food. They also called the RSPCA in Kingaroy (a cool three hour trip from my home) and made an appointment, So, We went to see the dogs and came home with one.

So here we are..

Announcing the arrival of Kirra Isabel

Kirra means leaf/ boomerang in Aboriginal language. Isabel is in memory of Isabel Gonzales, human rights activist..

Kirra