Justice of the peace.

Recently there was an article in Malayala Manorama that an Aussie achayanu Justice of the peace padavi labhichu.

My Malayalam sucks, I am going to assume that padavi in Malayalam means Honorary title.

So this must be a big sambhavam.. And require an announcement in the newspaper ( with such details as the recipient was a bharavahi of various Mallu associations etc) along with a photo of the said Achayan attending some conference..

So, what is the Justice of the Peace? The name sounds all posh and pompous eh? Can you picture the fanfare, elephants, trumpets etc and the Queen awarding the our Mallu knight the Honorary title?

Well not so.

Although our recipient must have imagined  that he received the Order of  Australia award, in reality our Mallu knight in shining armour is now  in charge of attesting the Photostats after checking the original and placing the chop and his initials on the document. It  is a free service.

How do you become a Justice of the Peace? Attend a course, send your details to the local member of the parliament, who then will nominate you and you become one. There are hundreds of them and the service of JP ( as they are known here) is available free of cost in most libraries/malls. There is also a website where you can find a JP near your home in the event you need to find a JP after hours. The service is free.

Since our achayan has gone to all these trouble to get his padavi announced in the newspaper, let us Congratulate him..

Big sambhavam..indeed it is.

Cross roads

Before I begin, I want to reiterate that just because I write difficult things about my kids, it doesn’t mean that I don’t love them or that they don’t love me. We are still a family and we love each other very much.

Yaya and I are in a cross roads right now. She is 17, working and earning 22.60$/hour. She in strong willed and independent like me and I respect those traits in her, for she sure has inherited those genes from me.

Early Jan Yaya had to submit Scholarship application and it required that her school send her official transcripts to the Uni. She mailed the school counsellor to let him know. I told her to go to the school and check and make sure they have sent it and she came after me like a ton of bricks.

“Madre, (she calls me Madre when she is really pissed) I know what I am doing, My school has been around for the past 6 decades and I am not the first student going overseas to study. They know what to do. You make everything seem so difficult, you need to learn to trust people to do their job and you need to stop nagging me”

All of Feb, she drove her siblings to the school to get her on the road hours and twice I asked her, if she would go to the admin and check, it takes 1 minute of her time. She rolled her eyes and said No.

Yesterday she found out that the guidance counsellor only sent her grade 12 school results, not the IB diploma, not the past 4 years of records that the Uni wanted.

This morning she had to take leave from work, go to the school and meet the principal and sort it out, 8 weeks after the submission deadline. She looks like a nervous wreck.

As far as I am concerned, I did my job. I told her to check and reminded her twice. If she didn’t get the scholarship, she will just have to live with the consequences of not being able to study in the Uni she dreamt of going.

I didn’t rub it in.. I wanted to.. but there is no point in making her more miserable..

But I do know that from now on, she will not trust other people to do their job well..She will make sure that they did what they were meant to do.

Painful lesson to learn and a heavy price to pay.

Just when you think..

Just when you think that you know something..y ou learn that you really know very little.

Yesterday while taking my kids to school, I had to give way for an ambulance. My son noticed that we could hear the siren louder when the ambulance was behind us compared to when it was in front of us.

“Doppler effect” I explained.

He was pretty impressed and I added one more feather to my crown..

Few minutes later, we were behind a bus that had the sign for solar power with the tag line “make energy fresh every day”

I read that aloud and  said  “that is not possible, energy can neither be created nor destroyed” (first law of conservation, thermodynamics)

“Mom, you are wrong. Universe is expanding, that simply means the law is wrong”

I had never even thought about that. My son will be 16 soon and he has already thought of all that!

Btw, I was reading about what he said about expansion of universe..and some of the writers talk about stored gravitational energy is being used for the expansion.. This is beyond my ability to comprehend.. so if you know something about it, do leave a comment.

 

Sigh

One of my Prof at the Uni has been hitting on me all of last year. It was even obvious to my classmates.. He sent me 8 emails, all casual, like checking if I have a book of his etc in December alone.( When Uni was closed) I didn’t respond to any of his emails, hoping he gets the message that I really am not interested.

Yesterday was my first day back to Uni. He must have known what classes I was taking, plus he also knew I am a creature of habit and that before going to my class, I always go to the campus coffee shop to buy  Cappuccino with extra chocolate.. and he was there at the Coffee shop..

I  only had 10 minutes before my classes started and  in that few minutes he let me know that he and his partner of 2 decades are separated.. as if that was the final act from his part..that should swing my feelings for him..

As I walked back to my class.. it occurred to me..

You can choose where you want to study, what you want to study, even where you want to live. But you can’t chose who you love.

So even if the prof is well renowned in the academic circle and is exceptionally intelligent and well read, I don’t love him. I will never be able to love him. Because I love someone else.

“When love exists, nothing else matters, not life’s predicaments, not the fury of the years, not a physical winding down or scarcity of opportunity.”
Isabel Allende

Risk taking

I shudder every time I think of all the things I have done as a teenager. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I still did it anyway. I certainly knew there were consequences to my impulsive decisions, but I was also willing to live with those consequences.. My logic then was, The biggest disadvantage being born is that you are going to die.. everyone will die one day, so what is the big deal if whatever I was going to do might end up killing me? I think the most risks I took were between the age of 18 and 20. Around 21, the things that gave me so much excitement ceased to interest me and I found myself thinking of consequences before I did something.

Since apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, I was very mindful about my children following the exact path I took. I read every research paper about Adolescent risk taking behaviour. There has to be a reason why mortality and morbidity rate are exceptionally high in the adolescent age group, despite kids in that age are in their healthiest state of development.

One of the most interesting paper I read was this

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3445337 (/http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3445337/).

Evidence clearly points to the delayed gratification  of prefrontal cortex in the adolescent brain , the area responsible for making choices, impulse control etc.

When my son was about 6, I noticed that he loved speeding in the ice rink. I watched the instructor telling him over and over about how dangerous it was and he still did it. Even after he completed the full Skate Canada program, I still put him back for skating lessons. It was very  expensive and his instructors were really puzzled as to why I registered him again and again when he had already completed the program. My reasoning was simple, my son seemed to  have an affinity for impulsive behaviour compared to his peers of the same age and I wanted him to be safe and be able to enjoy the risks..I would rather he did it in a skating arena than behind the wheel of a car  I knew there will be  day he will be bored with speeding. where it doesn’t really excite him anymore. .. It did. If I am not mistaken it took almost  9 months.. and he started talking to the kids in group and skated alongside.  I stopped the lessons soon after that.

Yaya on the other hand was very rational  till she was 16. While her brother was speeding around the skating arena, she was calm and composed. She even went for figure skating..

When Yaya was in grade 12, her school organized safe driving classes for the kids, they also organized for people who ended up in Wheel chairs after accidents to come and talk to the kids about risk taking.. especially when driving. She lost two school mates and three former students (who were in first year Uni) to accidents when she was in high school. So it is not that she isn’t aware of the risks. She knows the risks.. but so long as her brain hasn’t developed, she is going to make impulsive decisions and take risks..

Like every parent of a teenager, I am terrified of all that can go wrong. I can tell my children over and over of all the dangers out there..I also know if it wasn’t for some guardian angel somewhere, I wouldn’t have survived my teenage years and writing this post today..

So I wait.. hoping that my children will survive without harming themselves and others.. because as a parent, that is the only thing I am left with.. hope..

100

Last night Yaya completed 100 hours on the road driving as part of getting her P plate.

The also has been the worst 100 hours of my life.

The first few weeks, she was only going too close to the curb, driving through the round about etc..The moment she realized she is getting better at driving, especially after driving on the highway the first time, she also became a typical cocky teenager..

Recently, at a T junction, she needed to take a left turn and did such a wide turn at high speed that she almost hit an oncoming car on the opposite lane.

“Yaya, slow down” I said and which resulted in her telling me, she knows the rules and the speed limit and that I don’t need to tell her those things and also that she has eyes to see that she did a wide turn.

She refuses to do shoulder check  on merging in residential areas because chances are that there won’t be other cars on the road and she couldn’t be bothered. Besides, her driving instructor has told her that at the time she goes for her road test, they only look for 5 shoulder checks. The fact that shoulder checks saves lives ( hers, pedestrians, cyclists etc) has fallen in to deaf ears.

Few weeks ago, she offered to drive us to the beach. There was a B double on the left lane going at 110 km/hr. She is in the middle lane, travelling at 110 km/hr. Then she felt thirsty, with one hand on the wheel,  eyes off the road and still at 110 km/hr she reached for the drink.. We missed going under the wheels of B double by few seconds. Her defence? Everyone makes a mistake once in a while and mom can’ talk because she drives with one hand on the steering wheel anyway.

My friends tell me that she will get a reality check soon enough when she has her first accident.

I am terrified..

Hmm

In all the time I have known him we only had one fight.. and you can’t even call it a fight because we didn’t really fight.

We were on holiday and had one more day before we headed back home. Usually both of us tend to be a bit crabby towards the end of our holidays because neither of us wanted the holidays to be over.

We headed out early morning. It was his turn to pick the activity of the day and I followed sleepily. I had absolutely no idea where we were going or what we were doing. When we reached the destination, he asked me something about what I would like to do as in which trail I wanted to walk and I assumed he was asking about where we should go for breakfast.  He laughed when he heard my answer and I was pissed. (honestly, I am not a good company first thing in the morning anyway)

I usually go quiet when I am pissed because I hate to fight/argue.

He chose to trek the trail that takes us to the pinnacle. I was wearing jeans and a sleeveless t shirt and a light jacket.(because I had no idea that we were going to do mountain climbing, but on second thought, I remembered him telling me  the night before that that we should hike the mountain, but in the morning I completely forgot about it)

The first one hour of the climb it was hot and sweaty and he being fitter than me gained a lot of ground…. Because I was in a non communicative mood, he left me alone to climb, except when there was a huge boulder in the path, he waited for me so he could  haul me up. 3 hours in to the climb, it was raining and only he had a rain jacket and being the stubborn mule that I am, I refused to share his jacket.. which led me to get soaked to the bone. 4 hours to the hike and 30 minutes before we reached the pinnacle, it began to snow. I was so angry. I was tired, breathless(asthma) and my clothes were soaking wet and I was freezing. He on the other hand was warm and toasty and happy..because he loves to climb mountains and the view from the top was spectacular.

When we eventually got back to the hotel where we were staying, he made me Chaya and asked me something and I didn’t respond. For the first time since I have known him, I saw him getting angry and the first thing I noticed were his eyes. They looked so strange.. so intense.. He was standing there with his arms crossed and he looked really really angry and he mumbled something. I have no idea what he said to me because it was in Spanish. We needed to get our camping gear from the car and repack our bags before we headed out for the dinner for which we had already made the reservation. We had an early flight to catch the next day… So there he was, standing there, still with his arms crossed and glaring at me and there I was, holding a cup of freshly made earl grey tea, looking at him and laughing. I noticed the intensity in his eyes getting lessor and then he said

“No more Chaya for you” and I nodded my head in agreement, knowing very well that he will make me tea first thing in the morning.

There was one more thing he did that day..

After we had our dinner, on the drive back to our hotel, he stopped by a lake..so I could watch the reflection of lights on the water. It was really cold and I didn’t want to get out of the car. So he parked the car in such a way that I could see the reflection from the car. And he sat there quietly, leaving me alone with my thoughts…and I sat there..watching the beautiful view..and knowing that this is the guy for me.

Hmm

It is a month since I last saw him. On the positive side, I now only have to wait 3 years and 11 months.

Words can’t express how much I miss him..

Every morning when I wake up, I ask myself why do I miss this guy so much? I don’t really have an answer..

I miss waking up next to him and pretending to be still asleep, so he could make me the worst tea on planet earth. I love the way he whisper my name and try to wake me up. I love the smile on his face when he hands me the cup. I love the softness of his hands..

A very dear friend has been helping me a great deal to cope. Every morning when I think I can no longer take another breath, I call her and she often asks me

“So, what can you do for yourself the next hour?”

Once when I was visiting him, he was doing Sudoku while attending a business call. He did the hardest Sudoku in 18 minutes. I do play Sudoku, but usually it takes me a lot longer than an hour. So I told my friend when she asked me what can you do for yourself the next hour that I will do Sudoku. And I have been doing them the past one month. I can now do them in 20 minutes..

I am yet to go to a lot of places that we  used to go to. I don’t think I can handle that.. Next week, my Uni will start, which is another thing I am not sure how to cope.. I used to see him everyday after my Uni lessons..

Yesterday after seeing me cry, my youngest asked me..”mom, do you ever wish that you never met him?”

I told her,  how can I ever regret meeting a guy who made me feel like a princess every second of my life…

Perspectives

Last night I  asked Yaya what time she needed to leave for work in the morning. This morning I asked her the exact same question again. I remember her answering me yesterday, but I really don’t remember what she said. It was like all those times I placed the cake batter in the oven and looked at the clock to check the time. I remember looking at the clock, but not what time it was.

She was really annoyed. “Mom,How many times do I have to tell you the same thing? I hate having to repeat the same thing over and over” she said

“I understand Yaya, no one likes to repeat the same thing over and over. However, do you remember when you were young, how many times I read your favourite Celtic fairy tales? Each of those stories were more than 20 pages long. How many times you made me sing your favourite nursery rhymes? Tell you the  story of Genghis Ghan? Matsalleh of Sabah? Now it is your turn. Just as you are growing up, I am growing old, today you might only have to repeat the answers couple of times, tomorrow you not only have to repeat the things, you might even have to scream louder so I can hear you. And that is not all, you might even have to listen to me repeating the same old story over and over for the rest of my life”

She was quiet for a few seconds and I think I got the message across.

While she is now in her infallible youth which is flawless, error free and is impeccable, she needs to remember that I am growing old. My physical and mental abilities are declining.. It is time she learned that along with all that makes her youth perfect, she needs to practice patience.. for that is the only thing that will help her cope with the fragility of my old age..

and so it begins..

5 split in to 4.

Oh the things you get to watch.

Last weekend one of the local thrift shop had 5$ a garbage bag sale. Where you can buy as much clothes as you can that will fit in to a garbage bag for 5$. Yaya and 3 of her friends attended the sale.

When she came back, she had 4 tops, 2 jeans and few pairs of shorts. When I used to take her for the same sale few months ago, she used to come home with lot more clothes. So I was curious as to what happened?

“We decided to split 5$ four ways and buy only one bag of clothes, so each of us only needed to pay $1.25.”

At the moment, she is working two jobs and earning her own money. I do not give her any money as I believe that my responsibilities were over the day she graduated grade 12.

All of a sudden, spending her own money is a lot difficult  than spending her mother’s money. She now knows how to stretch her money…which is a good lesson to learn..