Investing

My son is representing his school for the UAV challenge(Unmanned Aerial Vehicle).

First he needed to design a parachute.. I gave him an old plastic table cloth I had used for one of the birthday parties..It was too thin, but would work if you folded it and glued two sides together and made it thicker. He needed to figure out what glue would work on plastic.. Then he needed to cut the glued piece in to a perfect circle.. He was attempting to draw a large circle.. Years ago, I had seen a caterer cutting a circle table cloth for a function by folding the fabric in to quarter and then drawing a quarter circle on it..) And I showed the trick to my son.. He was really impressed..

He wasn’t happy with the table cloth parachute.. so he went to the Thrift shop and bought a second hand Egyptian cotton bedsheet and made another parachute..

Last evening, he looked visibly upset.. and I learned that, he has a perfect parachute and a holder, but somehow the system he had designed is not working.. His parachute doesn’t deploy..

He is angry and upset.. and it is quiet natural to feel that way. I am sure he was expecting me to help him to figure out what is wrong.. I didn’t.  I told him, the only way to find out what is wrong is to work out all the forces involved.. He needs to draw the diagram and calculate the forces and figure out where he is going wrong.. There has to be a reason why his design failed.. and it is his job to figure it out..After all, this is his project..

I did however cook his favourite tacos for dinner..

Now I feel terribly guilty.. If he and I work on it, I am sure we would find out the reason.. Was I not supposed to be the teacher?

Hmm

Sometime ago, I blogged about receiving a doom and gloom email from my son’s maths teacher..

Here is the term report.. Of course he didn’t get a 7 for maths.. But in the grand scheme of things, does it really matter?

If you look at his report, he actually got really good grades and I really don’t care that he didn’t get 7 for all subjects.. How I wish his teachers would stop fretting about perfect 7’s and actually take a moment to see that he is a really happy child, determined to do well and is not a robot.. Sometimes you get a score that is not perfect.. But the sky won’t fall.. It never did, it never will..

Report term2.1

 

report term2.2

Determination

After completing my MBBS, I had hoped to do internship at a top hospital in Bangalore, to gain experience in Emergency Medicine.(They had one of the best A&E dept). But there were very limited internship opportunities available at that hospital and they did favour candidates from their religious clan.

My results were announced on a Friday at 9 AM. At 10 AM , I was already at the hospital with my application form filled and signed. (While my classmates were out celebrating) However, the Hospital director very kindly informed me that they have no places available, which sounded like a lot of BS. I was the first student to be at the hospital, my application number was 1 and there were no other students waiting. Besides, I also scored exceptionally good marks and was one of 24 students(out of 150) who passed medicine without ever failing and repeating a single subject. So I told the hospital director, I am not leaving her office till she gave me the internship because I really am the first student to apply.

I got the internship.

That evening, the guy I was dating at that time hosted a party.. His friends were  the wheelers and dealers belonging to Bangalore upper class.. And one of them asked me ” So, I heard you managed to get Internship at the xyz hospital”  I nodded my head and then he asked ” how did you manage?” and I explained ” I told the director, I won’t leave the office till I got the internship” And everyone laughed..

When my mother was here last time (abt 20 years after the above incident), she told me ” Did you know that your bf came and told me that you told the hospital director about not leaving the office unless you got the internship and he was really embarrassed about it, especially because all his friends knew about it!”

This was the same ex bf, who tracked my classmates and managed to get my contact details and then wrote to me saying that, he regrets letting me go and that he still considers the time we spent together the best part of his life.. and I replied and told him, I have only two words for you, first start with F and second start with O. This is the same guy, who was the youngest student at that time to pass the CA exam and still has one client..(I know because his cousin is married to my classmate)

I wanted that internship and I got it and I have no regrets trying to threaten the hospital director with Sathygraha to get what I want.

Yesterday, my youngest finally got a job at Kmart. This was after a 5 months of relentless campaign and the past 6 or 7 weeks of going there practically  every day after school and handing in her resume. Besides handing in her resume, she also found a classmate’s cousin who works at Kmart and getting the cousin to introduce/recommend her to the boss in charge of hiring. This particular Kmart is near her school and close to the bus stop and she will have regular hours till she finishes grade 12 and that was the reason why she was adamant in getting a job at Kmart. She knew what she wanted and got it.

Tomorrow, if Baby’s bf comes to me and tell me that he is embarrassed because she went to Kmart and gave her resume every single day or any other reasons, I will tell him to go and take a hike..I am absolutely proud of my child and am glad she knows what she wants and will work to get it.

The difference

28 years ago, I joined the medical college to study MBBS. My mother and my oldest sister bought all the sarees without consulting me. I do not like printed sarees, I like plain sarees with a border and every single one of those  sarees were printed. They even packed my bag for me. My sister was meant to stay with me for a week and protect me from ragging. Instead she left 3 hours after we arrived at the medical college and left me to fend for myself. I didn’t speak a word of English, the only Kannada words I knew were  that all the words starting with pa in Malayalam can be changed to ha in Kannada (with the exception of Patti which is not hatti in Kannada) I also knew nothing about sex and had erroneously believed that women have a zipper in the tummy and it was opened only during birth. How naïve  was I that I never wondered how the heck the baby got in to the woman’s tummy..

I was ragged mercilessly by my seniors and while all the new students had their mothers staying with them, I was all alone..

I will be going to US next month. Yaya will fly from Barcelona and together we are planning to travel around a bit before her classes start. I plan to buy all the things she needs when we are there. First thing in my list is a blanket. Yaya has been using the same baby blanket I bought her when she was 2 and had to sleep in her own room. I refused to let her take it with her to Uni. It is still folded and kept on her bed and every now and then I go and sit on her bed and I can almost picture her snuggled under her blanket. Her adopted grandmother had a goose down blanket and Yaya always loved it, so I am going to buy her a goose down blanket. Initially I thought I will buy her a single size, but this would be something she would use for a long time, so why not a queen?

I think the last time I bought Yaya a dress was when she was in grade 7. I bought her grade 7 graduation dress.. She buys all her clothes herself (same with her brother and sister, they too buy their own clothes) She has packed two bags of clothes that I have to take from here. So, I guess she will have enough clothes..or if she needs more, she will buy it herself.

Couple of years ago, while I was in the kitchen cooking dinner and waiting for footy(I never miss a single NRL match) to start, TV was on and Modern family was playing.( I hate that show). What I remember about that particular episode was that the parents buying a large supply of condoms for their daughter before she joined Uni. I thought that was really odd..

Yet, before Yaya left, I bought and gave her one year supply of Oral contraceptive pills. It is not my business who sleeps with, but it will be my business if she gets pregnant. Consequences of teenage pregnancy are tremendous..

She knows about sexual transmitted diseases.. actually I must say, she knows everything about sex unlike her own mother at the same age. She should have the smartness to protect her from STD.. So instead of buying her condoms, I thought it would better to buy her pills. My friends (both the GP and the paediatrician) agree.

I will be staying with Yaya the first 5 days of her Uni..I know how it feels to be abandoned by your family when you need them the most..

You know what is really weird.. When I look back and see the 17 year old me, the village urchin, who was standing outside the medical college on a cold winter morning.. I never thought there would be a day I would write about sex and condom in  a public post..

Such is life

 

Finally

This was a post I should have written last week. Didn’t have time..

And now, let us have the drum roll please….

I have completed my masters and graduated with a GPA of 6.5/7.

If you have ever dreamt of going for further studies, let me assure you that it is possible. I probably was one of the oldest students in my class and it didn’t matter.. When my classmates who are half my age complained about how hard their life is, I had to laugh..because while they only had to worry about writing their assignments before deadlines and where to go and eat, I not only worked part time, but also took care of my kids and did a million taxi rounds,dropping and fetching them from various activities.

Unlike studying for MBBS in India, studying outside was really a walk in the park. No rot learning, no nasty Professors with hidden agendas. So long as you did your work, you get a pretty good grade.

It felt so good to wear my gown and walk up to the VC and collect my degree..

I am happy..

Dramas

So, Yaya has been travelling around in Europe.. She was meant to send me a message every evening before going to bed. But I knew she won’t. When she went to Spain, she send me one email in 4 weeks and that too because she wanted more money. It was a little better when she went to Mexico. She sent me two emails.. First to say she arrived, second to ask me which Tequila I wanted. (Patrón Añejo, my favourite)

Since she left Brisbane, there were couple of days she messaged me on FB and that was it.

I am not a control freak parent. So, even though she doesn’t send me a message, it doesn’t really bother me. Because I know she will contact me if she needs me..

Two days ago, while watching a movie marathon with my youngest in the middle of the night as we were the only two at home, my phone rang. My heart missed a beat..and I picked up the phone to hear my child crying..and in that few seconds I imagined all the things that could go wrong.. It took a few minutes to calm her down to get her to tell me what is wrong.. It turns out that she got lost in the London tube network and missed her connecting flight to Rome. Her flight was leaving at 2.20 pm and she was still in the train at 2.20. I told her to go to the airport and talk to the airlines, for sure, they will rebook her flight..

I called British Airways helpline and after waiting what felt like a life time I spoke to someone with an Indian accent who gave me another number to call.. which wasn’t working..

Yaya finally reached the airport and spoke to the airlines staff and they rebooked her for the next morning 7 AM flight. Which meant she needed a place to stay for the night that is close to the airport, as she needed to be at the check in by 4 AM. Again back to crying.. .(She is only 18 years old and has not yet had a chance to experience all the lemons life can throw at you, so it is natural that her first response is to cry)

I checked all the hotels near Heathrow.. They were all fully booked. Sitting so far away in Brisbane and alone, I really didn’t know what to do  I decided to call my best friend who happened to be attending a conference in India at that time and fortunately had his phone on. I told him what is happening and he said to give him 10 minutes. An hour later, two strangers whom I have never known, but who were colleagues of my friend, went to the airport, fetched Yaya and gave her a place to stay and then dropped her to the airport at 4 AM.

Few things happened with this event.

One, my child has learned that whatever happens, wherever  she is, I am only a phone call away and that I will always be there.

Second, She has learned that even the best laid plans can go awry and she needs to take a deep breath and think what is the next step instead of crying.

Third, when you are in crises, have a little faith, there are people out there who will step up and help you.. even strangers.. this world is full of good people..

So

Yaya left for her solo backpacking trip to Europe..

The first morning after she left, I woke up and went to the kitchen and while waiting for the water to boil to make my tea, I took three lunch containers out to get the school lunch ready.. and then I remembered..

I still set four plates for dinner. I think it was easier to add more plates as the family increased in size with the birth of my son and the youngest than to reduce the number of plates.. Now there are three people occupying a 6 seater table.. In 18 months, the count will drop to 2.. and in 3 1/2 years there will only be one..

Fortunately I do have a large circle of friends and they rallied around to help me..

Before Yaya left, few of them offered valuable advice to Yaya.. Places to go, things to do etc..

One caught my attention more than anyone else. He showed a video of him and a friend at various party venues.. The first was at a swimming pool.. one person giggling like a monkey and does a perfect backflip and the other  looking petrified and does a perfect belly flop.. Giggling monkey was high on weed and the petrified was on MDMA. Then there was another one where the giggling monkey running around screaming about snakes chasing him.. He was tripping  on ‘Shrooms.. My friend brought video evidence to tell Yaya about the dangers about drugs.. apparently the worst drug to consume is ‘Shrooms as you are not in control when you trip and have no idea what you will do to yourself.(btw, both the guys in the video are doctors, one is an emergency med resident and the other is a paediatric resident)

I was a bit worried about Yaya thinking about the type of friends I have.. but then again.. why would I pretend to live in a sanitised world in front of my children, when the reality is so different?

 

 

Harder than I imagined

The past few days Yaya has been busy cleaning out her room. Yesterday I  helped her to pack some of the things away.

First thing I noticed was the grey silk bag. I made it for her when she started her Ballet lesson at the age of three. I bought the fabric and hand stitched a bag for her. I also bought silk ribbons and braided them to make the strap, so it won’t hurt her shoulder. She carried her ballet shoes and leotard in her bag and I remember taking her for her lessons every weekend. I also remember how much I struggled entertaining her younger siblings while she was attending her lessons. It was the time before Ipads and other forms of child entertainments. We played countless I spy games, read stories and ate waffles with Kaya and Butter.

Next item that went in to the box was a little glass angel my oldest sister bought for Yaya. I don’t remember when she gave that to Yaya. When we were in Canada, Toothless broke the angel’s head and I remember how much Yaya cried. I spent the next few years looking for a new one and I did find one eventually and gave it to Yaya as a Christmas gift. So she now has a headless angel and a complete angel.

There were also two out of shape clay bowls.. her brother and sister made for her when they attended summer camp. It was held at the Surrey art Gallery and which was very close to the Bear Creek Park. And everyday, I would take the three of them to the park after their art camp. They were so little.. so full of life and love..

By then I couldn’t stop crying and I didn’t want her to know that this is really traumatic for me.. so I lied and told her my back is aching and I need to lie down.

 

18

Yaya turned 18.

There was a long period of time i.e. till I was about 23 I never thought about becoming a mother. Then one evening while laying down in my bed and watching Fresh Prince of Bel Air, a friend phoned me to tell me that she was expecting. Until that moment I was only ever jealous of people who had normal family(practically everyone I knew had normal family and all I ever wanted was a normal family). But that evening I felt extremely jealous when I heard my friend was going to be a mom. Then the journey became one that was full of heartaches and tears. And then Yaya came and made me the happiest  person on earth. When Yaya celebrated her 18th birthday, I celebrated 18 years of motherhood. And it felt so good.

Yaya got

18 gold sovereigns that I collected one/year.

An Amethyst pendant set with diamonds. She loves purple and I wanted her to have something valuable that she could give to her grandkids..

A masala Dabba. This was part of her hope chest and I felt I better give it to her now that she is going to be on her own and is going to cook her own food. I had always wanted a steel masala dubba with all those little lottas inside. I don’t really have any reason why I never bought one. Perhaps it is because I am reluctant to give up the masala containers I have been using until now. I bought Rajah spices that came in little containers when I was in UK and it travelled with me all over the world for the past two decades.

A boss Bluetooth headphones. I did buy her one last birthday with the caveat that if she destroyed it, I will never buy her another one as it is really expensive. Unfortunately for her, Kirra went in to her room while she was away and chewed it up. What was most remarkable was that when this happened, her brother offered her his headphones because he knows how much she loves to listening to music while studying. Since it really wasn’t Yaya’s fault that Kirra ate her headphone, I bought her a new one.

Baby bought Yaya a St Christopher pendant and got it engraved in Latin ‘Sit Vis Nobiscum’ (may the force be with you) Apparently St Christopher is the protector of travellers and Baby felt it was something she wanted Yaya to have. As Yaya is embarking on her life’s journey. She also bought Yaya fluffy socks that Yaya can wear at night when it is cold, a bag to carry her passport etc and a silver nail polish to replace the one she spilled couple of months ago.

My son bought Yaya a Tshirt that said 1998, aged to perfection, a makeup brush set and a Ferrari ride around Brisbane.

Then we went to Hog’s breath restaurant to have lunch. My son was attending a conference and only had 45 minutes to spare. Since this was the last time I have all three kids at home to celebrate Yaya’s birthday, I pre-ordered the food, picked my son up, went to the restaurant and had a quick lunch. We have been going to Hog’s breath for lunch on Yaya’s birthday since we came to Australia and Yaya like me is a creature of habit. We had a good lunch.

Later in the evening, Yaya booked a room at  hotel in the city, organized a slumber party with her friends.. The hotel upgraded her room to a suite on the 67th floor with a view that is worth a million bucks!. She had 10 of her friends over, enough alcohol to feed an army and celebrated. The floor had white carpet and I am really happy that no one spilled any drinks or vomited. (Yaya told me later that the first thing she did when she checked in was to photograph every singe stain on the carpet so she won’t lose her deposit, I must say I was really impressed.)

All in all she had a great birthday.. and as her mother I must say I raised her well.

 

WHO

I got the coveted WHO internship. For the longest time, I dreamt of working for WHO and it felt so good to receive the offer letter.

And now, we are back to the same problem I always faced.

I am posted to Manila and Yaya won’t be home. I can’t leave Toothless and Baby alone home for the duration of my postings.

This is the part of my life I hate the most.. where I can’t just drop everything and do what I really really  want to do.

Anyone want to come and live in Brisbane for couple of months ?