Formal

Yaya had her school formal ( prom) last week.

I never understood why formal was a big deal until last week. My impression of it was from all the American movies I watched. Girls getting dressed up and attending the event with her date, travelling in a flashy car etc etc.

The preparation for the event started few months ago. First was the dress. Do we get it stitched or buy? The choice of the fabric material was the next issue. Then the colour as it not only had to suit Yaya’s complexion, but also her date. He is a Ranga ( ginger head) and she couldn’t wear a lot of shades as he needed to wear something that matches and it would clash with his hair.

I had a kutch/mirror work lehenga in medical school and I really wanted Yaya to wear a lehenga. A friend living in Mysore went to so many shops to look for one and we couldn’t find something that we both liked. There was also cultural issues, my Indian descent child can wear, low neck, off shoulder dresses etc, but not wear a short blouse and show her midriff. She finds showing one’s belly disturbing! So no lehenga.

I was also very busy with my work and Uni and didn’t have time to sit with Yaya and find a dress. Besides I felt she really should do these things on her. Which she did. She found the dress she wants on ASUS and paid for it using her credit card (45$). Then she found another dress that she felt might look good on her and asked if she could buy it too? If she didn’t like it she can return it, so I let her.

And we ended up with  a red dress and a blue dress, both looked equally good on Yaya and we had to do a survey with all our friends and families to see which one she should wear. We had a near 50: 50 split.

I liked the red, but she went for blue because it had sequins on it and it would really sparkle under the disco lights.

My best friend organized hair and make up for Yaya ( because she knew I am clueless and was busy)

Yaya got dressed at my friend’s place and she took Yaya for the function. I had Uni in the morning, so I got home, changed and went for the parent’s party directly.

The function was held at the local golf club..As I parked my car and started to walk towards the hall, I met other parents and their beautiful daughters and handsome sons..and the one thing I noticed was the beaming smile on all their faces..and that is when it occurred to me, why formal is really important. As a parent, you are actually witnessing your child turning in to an adult. It is like one minute you are packing their school lunch and dropping them to school and then all of a sudden you see them as adults..

There were few steps to climb to get to the venue.. It was raining a bit and I was wearing heels. I really didn’t want to embarrass my child by falling down, so I climbed up the steps slowly, just as I was nearly 3/4 of the way, I looked up.. there on the top step was my precious child..all dressed up..looking like a Bollywood actress and smiling. She took my breath away and I had to think happy thoughts so I wouldn’t cry.

Parents had only 30 minutes to spend with their children before the actual party started. ( actual party is only for the kids). My friends had already organized a party for the parents at a local pub and I joined them for the parents party. We reminisced the past 17 years of being a parent. And it was good.

Away until Oct 15 th.

 

 

In all fairness…

After my last post, I have been a bit tormented and I still don’t think I will ever understand the reason.

My oldest sister got married a couple of years ago. I don’t know when, where or to whom. She sent a mail inviting me for the wedding and I ignored it because for me it really doesn’t matter what she does with her life. I didn’t think I would gain something by attending her wedding.. I couldn’t imagine having to deal with my family members and all those dramas and the four of us meet face to face.

The sister younger to me got married when I was living in Canada. I didn’t attend her wedding either. Partly due to financial reasons, but mostly due to the fact that attending her wedding was not something up in my bucket list of things to do.

My youngest sister had a baby few years ago.. I find it really odd that I, who remembers every one of my friend’s birthday do not know when my nephew is born or how old is he this year. She sent me a video of her child and I never watched it. Why should I? What difference would it make to my life if I watched a video of my nephew? I don’t feel any affection for my sister’s kids.

At the same time, I celebrate every milestones of my neighbour’s grand daughter and consider her as my niece and she calls me Aunty Sarah. She visits me every week when she comes to see her grandparents. I buy her cute girlie things and sometimes take her to the park. I also consider a friend’s son as my nephew and wait for his mom to upload photos of him on FB.. Few of my children’s friends call me ‘mom’ and one even added me on FB as her mom.

When I wrote that two of my sisters didn’t attend my wedding, I must admit that I didn’t attend any of their weddings either. I can’t cast that rock of accusation without telling both sides of the story.

I wish I knew why we became the way are now. Amma used to always say, “you only have each other” and did everything to make us fight with each other. I think she enjoyed what she was doing The anger and resentment I feel for my siblings is endless. Today my siblings are not part of my life and they  will never be part of my life.

I am not at all upset that I have no contact with them.

But the peace I feel for not having to be part of any of the dramas.. that is priceless.

You did well !

That was a comment my cousin made few weeks ago and after reading the post today you will know why that particular comment meant a lot to me.

My cousin was the person who annoyed me the most by constantly reminding me of the importance of family and forgiveness. How I should remember the sacrifices made by my mother and be grateful. She always made me feel like a horrible, ungrateful wretch.

When she was here few weeks ago, my kids were in the kitchen cooking. Each of them sharing the cooking duties and when it was time to drain the pasta, my son took over the job, because he didn’t want his sisters to get burned while draining the pasta. Yaya hates bacon In her pasta, but cooked it because her brother loves bacon in his pasta. Baby hates Mushroom, so Yaya made Alfredo sauce, but sautéed mushroom for herself and me and added that to our pasta at the end. They were talking to each other, teasing and laughing while cooking. My cousin watched the whole thing and then told me

“You did well, by walking away from your family”

There has never been a day where my sisters and I talked to each other without fighting, without sarcastic comments/retorts, without selfish thoughts and acts. I have no memories of happy times with my siblings. ( Two of them didn’t even attend my wedding..)

I could attribute my children’s love and respect for each other as a luck of the draw. But I think it is because my kids have never seen conflict within the family and that has saved their relationship with each other.

There is an old Sicilian proverb, if the tree doesn’t bear fruit, cut it off at the base. ( Similar to the one in the Bible) and that is just what I did. If my family can’t get along, there was no point exposing my children to all those traumas..and the best thing to do is to walk away. I am happy I did it. I saved my children from my family.

 

Yesssss

Yaya’s mid term exams are going on now. The result from this exams will be used as her predictive score for admission in to US unis. ( Her final results will only be published after the admissions closing date). So it is very important that she gets really good score.

Beginning of this year, I noticed that she was struggling with Maths, especially calculus. Her first term score was 5 ( highest is 7) and I finally asked her if she would like to have a tutor?  She refused. initially and after a few weeks of pestering she relented by saying that she will try a tutor for one lesson and if she doesn’t like him, then that is it.

So I looked for the hottest tutor I could find. ( The only way I could ensure the tutor would last) He is a 3 rd year Engineering student, got the highest grade in grade 12 and very good looking and Yaya was very keen to have maths lessons!

Then there is a girl in her class who always got 7 for maths and Yaya and her have been competing to be the Dux. ” I am never going to be better than her” was Yaya’s response after every maths exam. “She is so good in Maths, I inherited your brain mom, why?” were all became part of her grievances.

Last week she had her Maths exam and she not only got the 7, but also beat her friend by 1 mark. It was the impetus Yaya needed.. All of a sudden the clouds of doubts have parted and it is like there is a new Yaya.. the really confident one..

 

Hmm

Having a best friend who speaks 6 other languages (None of which I speak) apart from English means that I get to hear a lot of songs I would have never heard otherwise.

Today I have a test and I haven’t studied anything. I am going for the probability..ie..if I pick B for all the questions I don’t know the answer to, chances are that I get 1 in 4 right. ( I think we can safely assume that my GPA is heading south)

Instead of studying, I am listening to this song..

Lyrics and translation here

http://lyricstranslate.com/en/volvere-volvere-i-will-comeback.html

 

Questions and defining moments..

I do have a large circle of friends and most of them are similar to me in a lot of ways. I also suffer from the absolute inability to cope with idiots. It is not that I am super intelligent and act snobbish.. it is just that if I can’t talk to someone at a certain level, then I get bored and it is the end.

When I meet someone new, the first thing I look for is (apart from their eyes). if they read. If they don’t,then they are not going to be my friends, because I have nothing to talk to them about. Then I look for if we read similar kinds of books. I don’t read Harry Potter/Twilight etc and I don’t mind if someone reads them..However there are books in my list that is a must read, I have asked almost every single person I  met ( except one, who turned out to be an idiot) what do they think of Princess Maria’s eyes? ( war and peace).. and progressively my questions would go to WW2. I usually ask if they have heard about Bockscar? ( B-29, Kokura, Nagasaki, fat man are the answers I expect to hear)

I have never been on the receiving side of this sort of interrogation..that is until few years ago..

I was asked  “have you ever seen the video of a polar bear attacking a penguin?”

“That is impossible”, I replied. ( One lives in the north pole and other in the south pole..so obviously it isn’t possible).. Apparently I passed the first level with flying colours 🙂

After few weeks, I was asked very casually  ” What is special about Liechtenstein ( geographically)?”

” It is one of the two double landlocked countries in the world” ( Uzbekistan is the other one)

Since then we have been quizzing each other religiously.. and the good thing is.. I learn so much..

 

Time for everything !

I am one of those type of people who like to predict their life’s path.  I do like to follow where the wind takes me, but being the control freak that I am, I direct my ship to where I want it to go 🙂

Even in my wildest dreams I never thought my life would end up like what it is now.

A friend once told me that she hates her life because she never had any fun. She is the only daughter of over protective parents, never even talked to boys while in school, got married as soon as she finished her degree and had a child before the first wedding anniversary. On her 40th birthday, she woke up thinking what a wasted life it had been. I did try to explain to her that going to a pub in my teens doesn’t make my life better than hers. But she disagreed.

I had Yaya at the age of 27 and at 31 I had three kids. My life revolved around my children. I gave up my career and became a stay at home mother, while my classmates who barely scrapped through med school became consultants and senior consultants. I never went out with my friends (difficulty to find a child minder) or did anything that could be considered fun for me. The highlight of those years were taking my kids for play house Disney live shows! Meanwhile my favourite bands had concerts in KL and I couldn’t even afford the tickets. ( Technically I could, but the guilt of spending on me instead of the kids was too much, plus having to leave them with a stranger, so I convinced myself that I simply couldn’t afford the tickets) A lot of times, I felt I was a candle burning itself out.  There was no hope, there was no light at the end of the tunnel..

Today, I find myself with plenty of time for myself. I can go out for clubbing, go for the music concerts or even spend time with my friends..I no longer have to worry about my kids. They are capable of taking care of themselves.

End of this month, I am going for a two weeks dive holidays with a friend. Kids have outright refused having a child minder to stay with them ( ie Thelma). They tell me that they are old enough to be on their own. I am a bit worried, but my neighbours and friends have promised to have an eye on them.

Finding myself after all these years..It feels so liberating !

Btw, taking two weeks off in the middle of a semester is nothing but madness..I need to finish all my assignments before leaving because when I come back they are all due. So the next few weeks, blog updates will be irregularly irregular.

Stress

This happened when I was doing 3rd year MBBS.

I had thought some chapters for Pathology part 2 were not part of the internal exam and on that morning of the exam, I found out that my assumptions were wrong. Obviously I am the very last second learner and had spent the time previous evening reading the chapters I thought was important. I had not even read those chapters and didn’t have time to read them before the exam. I was in full panic, especially because this was part 2 and the Patho prof was a real pain in the posterior. As I was walking to the exam hall, I met a senior who wished me ” good luck” and I told her  “no point, I didn’t study half of what is required and I am going to fail ” and she looked at me, smiled and said ” You will be fine, just read the question and give your best shot”

I don’t think I can explain how that one comment changed my life. The way she said ‘you will be fine’ made an enormous difference to me. I felt I could write this exam even though I haven’t studied anything and still pass. ( which I did)

Couple of weeks ago, Yaya had her first oral presentation. It is part of her assessment, recorded and sent to IB head quarters to be marked by an external examiner. Obviously she was very stressed. My cousin was home and in the morning when Yaya came to the kitchen, She said ” Mom, I am so worried, I don’t think I can do it” and my darling cousin told her ” This is how life is going to be, you will have plenty of speeches to give if you are going to be a diplomat, so better get used to it”

Fortunately my cousin stopped with that and didn’t proceed to do much more damage.

When a child is stressed, the last thing they want to hear from you is about what they are going to face in the future. They are worried about the present.. the event of that day.. not the speech they have to give 100 years from now.

I told Yaya ” you will be FINE, go and give your best shot”

I made her Mexican breakfast, talked to her about the hot guys in my class etc ( anything that can distract her and stop her from getting worked up)

She did the presentation very well, not because she as a diplomat she will have to give a lot of speeches in the future, but because she believed in herself.

Bit by bit

This semester I am taking 5 subjects ( instead of the standard 4) and am bogged down with assignments. I only had 3 hours free last Wednesday and decided to celebrate Onam with my best friend.

I told him, it is going to be informal and he can come after 12 pm. I thought that would give me enough time to come back home after my morning lecture, quickly cook, shower and wear a saree 🙂

Exactly at 12 noon, I heard the door bell ring ! I was half way through wearing my saree !!  ( I hate my clothes smelling of food and will never wear my work clothes while cooking)

I opened the door to find my best friend standing outside looking all formal ! His idea of informal lunch is not wearing a necktie.

He handed me  a box of chocolate chip cookies. ( He likes to have the darkest, strongest coffee and a chocolate chip cookie after lunch and it doesn’t matter that I always have chocolate cookies at home. He likes chocolate chip cookies and he brings them.)

“Have you read any of Pancol’s books?” He asked

“Nope” I said.

“Good” he replied and took off the price tag from the book he bought me. ( he kept the price tag on , just in case I read the book, he can exchange for something I haven’t read)

I cooked Avial, dhal, beans thoran, pachadi, all without chillies or garlic, because he can’t ( rather won’t) eat chillies and hate garlic.

I had already set the table before he arrived and didn’t place the flatware, hoping that he would at least attempt to eat the food with his fingers. He noticed the missing flatware, went to get it from the cutlery drawer and offered me a fork and spoon!

He loved the chilli and garlic less avial and lentils.

I had thought of making payasam, but I know he doesn’t like anything too sweet, too coconutty..too dairy.. He likes coffee and cookie..and that is what we had.

And that was that.

I don’t think I ever imagined celebrating onam like this. Each year that goes by, I am losing a bit of myself.

Hmmm

I want Yaya to get her P license before leaving home and part of the requirement to get a P plate is 100 hours of on the road driving.

I drive a very very very expensive car and I am terrified of her wrecking it and I don’t see the point in buying a second car and pay the road tax etc when none of the kids are planning to stay back in Australia after grade 12. So we were in a stalemate with her getting her 100 hours on the road..

Finally my best friend stepped in..

He asked me ” Don’t you think your car is the safest car for your child to be in if she get in to an accident?” ( It is true, My car is reputed to be one of the safest and fastest cars in the world)

I had never thought that way. Until my friend asked that question, I was more worried about the value of my car depreciating if Yaya wrecks it. But, isn’t my child’s life more important than my car’s value?

And so, I let Yaya drive my car. On the first day, we went through the roundabout ( instead of around it), second day, I saw the cracks in the crash barrier, because she was only a mm away from hitting it. She gets really angry and scream at me when I don’t give according to her ‘Clear instructions’. ( I beg to differ, however I understand that she is really stressed, so I don’t get angry with her when she yells at me 🙂  )

Yaya hates roundabouts and freaks out every time we are at a roundabout that is near my home and we can’t avoid it.. Again my friend stepped in and told her “roundabouts are designed to give you time to think, you can go round and round without having to worry about where you should turn, so chill” and the next day Yaya was perfectly fine. ( I had never even thought about telling her things like that)

And now, I sit with her every morning as she drives to school. She is confident and is a very good driver..

But there are plenty of bitches and bastards on the road. She needs to turn left in to the main road after leaving our street and few days ago, someone honked at her because she didn’t turn quick enough.. ( obviously there is an L plate at the back of the car and the driver behind us could see that).. Some of the women drivers are really aggressive and cut in front of the car when Yaya is driving..One even refused to give way when Yaya was trying to merge in to the highway..

I have always been mindful about L plate drivers because I remember how terrified I used to be when I learned to drive and it is really sad to see that not many people remembers their L plate days and act like bullies..