Sat through the night to finish Bourne Sanction and I have to say it was a total disappointment. I wish Robert Ludlum didn’t die and could continue to write the Bourne series instead of Eric Van Lustbader..
I have never been this bored and only finished reading the most boring book of this century because I hate to quit, (and now I have the mother of all headache! Damn.)

Does anyone know why the cling( saran wrap) stick to whatever you are cooking in the microwave and goes back to the original shape as soon as you lift the corner and let the steam out?

What Did I do?

I received so many mails asking me what is my secret to raising smart children.

I don’t think there is any secret to raise a smart child, but I do think there is a secret to raise a happy child.

For me that secret was to take money and my own career out of the equation.

My motto was,I gave birth to my childrenand I will raise my children.

I still have all those letters my mother wrote to me calling me an idiot for giving up work. Every time she called me the first thing she would ask me was ‘When are you going back to work?’. She told me so many times that she herself raised 4 daughters and worked full time and her children are all doing well! She even tried to make me feel guilty for wasting my father’s hard earned money that he invested in my education.

It wasn’t easy to walk away from a well paid job and sit at home and do nothing. Especially when I was raised in a culture that suggested that only a loser( the one that didn’t get good marks in school, the one that did home science for a degree because it was the easiest way to obtain a degree and a rich husband etc) stay at home.
I didn’t belong to that category and no one I knew in my field of work quit work to stay back home.
There are no words to describe the social isolation I felt the moment I decided to quit work.
My friends stopped calling and visiting. It was like suddenly I didn’t belong anywhere and I simply vanished.
There were so many times I contemplated getting a Nanny for Yaya and going back to work.
But I believed no one can raise my child better than I can and my daughter deserved the best.

Giving my children my time was the only thing I did for my children. I was there for them. I read with them, played with them, scolded them and set consistent boundaries for them.

We didn’t have any ultimate goals to achieve. We just lived each day to the fullest.
We still do.

We didn’t follow the norm. When every three year old was attending nursery school, my children were at home playing.
I didn’t believe that a child who learned to read/ write faster is going to be a smart child and every mother’s job is to raise a smart child who can inherit the earth.

What I believed was ‘Whatever intelligence your child is born with will always be there. There is no expiry/use by date for intelligence and you can’t create intelligence’

So I gave my children a non rushed childhood.

I let them grow at their own pace.( Yaya couldn’t read till she was 7 and it was fine with me)

I was/am the constant factor in their life and they know that.

That is my secret.

I am so overwhelmed.. Right now I just want to cry.
I know crying isn’t going to help me. So I am going to do what I do best.


Today was Parent teacher day at my children’s school.
Each parent is given 15 minutes one to one time with the teacher and the Special education teacher was sitting outside Yaya’s class when I went to her class. She told me she wants to sit along while I talk to Yaya’s teacher.
Except for PE, Yaya exceeded expectation in most of the subjects. Her class teacher is happy with her report card. So was I
Then the Special education teacher told me that She wants to send in forms for Yaya to attend another gifted children program starting next fall.
Yaya is also nominated for the MACC( multi age cluster class. a highly specialized class for gifted children. Only Children who has reading and mathematical skills three or more grades above grade level plus two standard deviation above the mean on cognitive ability tests can attend MACC)
But that wasn’t all. She told me that Yaya has been certified ‘gifted’ since grade three( and I only came to know about the official certification today.)

I knew my daughter is gifted since she was 6 months old..and I don’t know why I am upset.

To make my life even more perfect,my daughter got c+ for PE.
Talking to the PE teacher, I was told that she got c+ because she just won’t participate in sports activities unless the teacher herself literally drag her to the field and force her to participate.
The worst part..according to her PE teacher, it is not that my daughter is weak and can’t handle sports, she just doesn’t want to do it. Period!

So here I am.. trying to figure out what is best for my child.
I honestly don’t know what to do.
I had always promised myself that I won’t force my children to do anything.( I should rephrase that.. I won’t force them, but I have one rule,if they join any activity then they have to complete it, there was no quitting when the going get tough!)

Right now I am at a point where I probably have to force Yaya to do better in PE.
I don’t want to do it.
If I don’t, her average score will be lower even if she scores straight A in all subjects except PE.
I want to be able to say, so what if she doesn’t get straight A’s in all subjects. so what if her average score is going down. So what..

But I can’t.

Then there is the pickle I got myself in to. I had always wanted to live in all the continents ( may be not Antarctica) and I am worried that I am depriving my children of opportunities in life because I am so selfish and suffer from a severe case of dromomania.

I wish my life was simple.

I wish I could be like everybody else. Live a simple life, go to work, come home in the evening

Instead I look for the first robin after the dreadful winter. I wait for the salmon to return. I wait for the Cherry trees to blossom.. While waiting for the world around me to change, I spend my time reading.
I have no qualms about days that are going by, no worries about not making those tons of money I could have, if I go back to doing what I am trained to do.
I am happy the way I am. ( While everyone around me is shaking their head and thinking what a waste of talent!, education etc etc)

I had to be different. No?

Kids have Spring break starting end of this week and I have tons of errands to do the next few days.
It is really annoying every time I have to stop blogging midway..
But the next few months is really going to be hectic and there will be plenty of interruptions..
But I shall persevere
I will be back on 23rd.
Take care

The lunch time visiting hours was about to end when I reached the hospital. There was a long line of autos waiting outside the hospital entrance and I braced myself for the verbal assaults accoladed to me for being a woman.
Whistling, catcalls and suggestive words were thrown at my direction and I looked down and walked fast.
India, the land that has female goddesses, the land that once had a female rulers Rani Lakshmi Bhai, Razia Sultana, even a female prime minister.. and the male inhabitants of the same land won’t let a woman walk alone in the day time without being accosted.
I wanted to look in the eyes of each person who was ogling at me and ask them, don’t you have a mother/ sister at home? Do you look at them the same way?
Pointless. It was pointless.
I remembered Amma telling me to ignore these creeps. Her words, “If you react, you are only making them more powerful”
I wanted to react. I wanted to scream and tell them to leave me alone.
But I didn’t. I walked quickly to the main entrance.
The security guard was standing outside the grill door and letting the visitors out, while making sure no one managed to squeeze and go inside.
He looked at me.
“Yes” He bellowed.
I wasn’t really sure what he wanted from me. It isn’t that this is the first time he has seen me. Besides, I had my lab coat in my hand.
“I want to go to the wards” I replied
My blood pressure was going up by the second.
Well, first of all he has no right to ask me that question. I am medical student and I can go to the wards any time I want to. Second of all, no there is no need for a second reason.
“Who are you to ask me that?” I asked him.
Now he was angry.
“Visitor hours are over” He retaliated
“I am not a visitor. I showed him my ID and demanded
“Open the door”
He looked at me for a few seconds and I was just about to scream at him and ask him to open the damn door when he turned to open the door.
He opened it a little bit, kind of telling me that if you wanted to go in, then you open it. I ain’t your servant.
Fine, so be it. i thought.
I pushed the door open and entered the building. I heard him muttering to someone next to him,
How rude the medical students are.
I thought of telling him that you asked for it. There was no need to act so big when you knew I was a medical student and that there was no point picking a fight with me.
Odichal lekkillemkil moothammakkirunnottey” sensible one spoke.
‘Shut up’ I told her.
A part of me knew I was taking my anger at the security guard and he really didn’t deserve it. But he wasn’t helpful either.
Not my day. I told myself.
The wards were quiet.
Except for the nurses walking in the corridor carrying the BP apparatus, even the corridors were empty.
I checked the duty room. Few resident doctors were inside the duty room and they were talking. I couldn’t just walk in and ask one of them for a med certificate.
I went back to the medical ward.
I saw Jomon’s friend Ranjith standing at the nurses station and talking to a pretty mallu nurse. I had heard rumors about the two of them.
Idiot, I thought. She thinks he would marry her. Doesn’t she know that she will be history the moment this guy finishes his residency?
‘You are a cynic’ Spoke Sensible one
‘I am sensible. I know how a Mallu brain works. He is already counting the Lakhs he is going to get as dowry. She is wasting her time’
‘Why can’t you accept that it could be true love?’
‘True love? you can buy true love of a mallu with money!’
‘You are so prejudiced’
‘I am not.’
Ranjith turned around and saw me. He quickly grabbed the case files in front of him and started to speak loudly
“You can start the drip for that patient now, call me if the BP goes up” He started to walk and as he came near me
“Hi, Nina, what are you doing here?”
“I need a favour” I told him bluntly
“What do you want?”
“Need a med cert”
“Med Cert? For what?”
I didn’t want to complicate the issue by telling him that Princy caught me today.
“I had migraine this morning and I want a med cert”
“Migraine ah!” He nodded his head as though he understood.
I was so relieved to learn how compassionate he was.
“Hmm” He looked at me.
“Sorry Nina, I can’t give you a med cert for Migraine. I don’t have your case history and I can’t give you a med cert without proper records. You need to see the Prof. He will examine you and issue you a med cert.”
He just walked away.
I stood there Dumbfounded.
Damn him. He has been a medical student and he knows how life is. He didn’t have to act so big. Giving me a med cert was not going to kill him. Damn him. Damn him. I cursed.
Now what? Who was I going to ask? I hated rejections and I couldn’t bring myself to ask another resident for fear of being denied again.
‘Ask and it shall be given’. Sensible one reminded me.
I remembered the painting that always hung in our living room.
It was a painting on a mat that my father bought from the Chukoor( ? spelling) shop in had a cross on the top and a wine of grapes by the side. I was a 11 year old girl with zero english knowledge when Appa bought it and I asked Appa, Amma and Chechy what the wordings meant. Each of them told me to look in the dictionary.
I did. I checked the English Malayalam dictionary and it made no sense
Ask= Chodikkuka, Kelkkuka
it= ( Can’t remember the translation now)
Shall= Bhavi kalam
Given = Tharum, of those words.
I gave up trying to understand what it meant. But I knew then that one day I will learn English and I will know what Ask and it shall be given means.

I didn’t want to ask anyone. I had to find some other way.
I checked my watch. Too late to go back to the campus. Besides I wasn’t allowed to attend any classes without presenting a med cert to Princy. That also means I will not be seeing Dr. Murthy today.
Why did he want to see me? I wondered. My assignments were all up to date.
Should I go back to the campus and see Dr. Murthy or should I stay back and wait until 5.30 for Dr. Bhatti.
Mallu nurse came out of the nurses station holding the IV stand.
“Are you looking for Dr. Bhatti?” She asked
She looked at me to see then what am I here for?
“I missed the rounds this morning, so I came to review the cases”
“Oh, we have 5 new cases” She replied. “If you can give me a few minutes, I will show you all the new patients”
I walked to the nurses station thinking how sweet the nurse is. The sceptic in me knew she was going to end up with a broken heart. But I really wished she wouldn’t. It wasn’t fair for someone like her to suffer.
I glanced at the patient on bed 1. Another middle aged woman.
The first case file on the counter belonged to patient on Bed 1. The metal folder was still the same. Number 1 was written on top just above the clip. The only changes were the papers in the folder. Mariamma’s folder was thick with all the lab reports. I picked up the folder and put it at the bottom of all the other folders.
I knew I was being stupid and dumb. I knew life has to go on. I knew I needed to read more about the new patient before Dr. Bhatti comes for the rounds. I had to, but I couldn’t.
Later, I will read it later. I promised.
I looked at the case file of the boy with Leukemia. He was getting referred to CMC Vellore. I hoped he would recover.
Little while later the nurse came back. She threw the needles in to the bin and then went to wash her hands.
She then came back and started opening the drawers one by one and was looking for something,
Finally she found something and came to me and whispered
“I heard you talking to Dr. Ranjith. Don’t tell anyone I gave you this” She tore a page from the med cert book and gave it to me.
“Thank you” I was genuinely grateful. (and I watched where she kept the book back!)

When I came to Canada more than three years ago I was new to blogging and while blog hopping I found a blog article about One stroke painting. I can’t remember where I saw it, but I am sure that blog was linked to the Kerala blog roll.
There were photos of baby chicks done by one stroke painting and I wanted to learn how to do it.
At the back of my mind there is always ” you can’t even draw a straight line and you want to be an artist???”
Famous words of wisdom!!!

Every three months the local community center runs courses on One stroke painting and I keep thinking I should join and kept on thinking,,
Until now.
I am leaving in 4 months time and I thought if I don’t do this time, I will never get to do this.

I went for my first lesson yesterday and I really wish I had done this three years ago!

I wish I practiced Nike tag line.. “Just do it”!

I am off to the soup kitchen to help out.. My Friday morning routine..

Wishing you all a wonderful day..

I didn’t know what to do. I was desperately trying to hold on to something and like sand everything was slipping out of my hand. I couldn’t let that happen.
I couldn’t.
I wouldn’t.
I needed a plan.
My brain was too fuddled to figure out a plan.
Concentrate Nina, I admonished myself.
First thing first.
I needed a medical certificate. At least with that I can attend classes. Then I will see Dr. Murthy and then in the evening I will go and see Dr. Bhatti. I thought of asking Dr. Bhatti for a medical certificate. Some how I couldn’t bring myself to do that. It kind of felt I was cheating him and I didn’t want to cheat him. I respected him way too much to take advantage of him.
Damn Arjun.
If only he wasn’t such a big jerk.
I finished my tea. My first drink of the day. If I keep going like this I was sure I would be classified as a resident of ‘below poverty line’.
It was to late to go to the mess to eat and I didn’t want to spend money at the canteen. I will buy bread on the way back from the hospital, I promised myself.
Since I had to get a medical certificate, I decided to go to the hospital and try my luck. I could soap adikkufy one of the residents and get the certificate. Worst come to worst, I will steal one.
As I was leaving the cantenn, I bumped in to Ramesh.
“Going to class?”
“Nah, hospital”
“Why, at this time?” Ramesh checked his watch to see the time and he was looking at me puzzled.
“I need a medical certificate” I owned up.
Ramesh started to laugh and I felt indignant for it was no laughing matter.
“Who are you going to ask?”
“don’t know. One of the residents. hey can you do me a favour?” I asked him quickly to change the subject.
“What do you want?”
“Can you lend me your micro class notes?” Internals were to start in three weeks time and it was high time I started getting organized.
“Which one?”
“All” I looked at him hopefully.
“What happened to your notes?”
I shrugged my shoulder and replied “Don’t have any”
“What do you mean? I have always seen you taking down the notes”
Ramesh was staring at me.
“I write letters, usually to my father or my cousins during the class. Or I doodle. I hate writing down notes”
“Are you serious? My god, Nina!!, are you crazy?”
I smiled at him. Just in time to see Arjun walking towards the canteen with all the Northies. Displeasure clearly visible on his face.
“I have to go, I will appreciate it very much if you will let me have your notes, I will photocopy it and give it to you back. Bye Ramesh”
“Bye, good luck with your medical certificate”
“Thanks” I walked out of the canteen quickly.
I felt guilty though I knew I didn’t do anything wrong.
It was weird feeling like that. It was like you are in an invisible prison and there are these invisible walls around you.
You don’t actually know what or where the walls are.
You can’t move because you are afraid that some sort of alarm goes off somewhere and everything will go wrong.
There was no escape.
I was trapped.

“Hey, I heard Princy caught you” Shylaja was so excited as she rushed in to the room followed by Aparna and Anitha. They must have heard the news straight from the horse’s mouth. I was so annoyed with the cleaning lady. No one else in the hostel would have known about what happened in the morning.
“Yeah” I mumbled
‘What happened?” Shylaja was so eager to know all the details.
“Nothing much. he wanted to know why I didn’t go to the hospital”
“But I heard he yelled at you?” Shylaja looked at me
“No, he didn’t. He just wanted to know why I didn’t go, that is all. Who told you that I got yelled at? Besides Why would he yell at me for being sick?”
Shylaja looked so lost, so disappointed!
I felt sorry for deflating her hope of seeing me in trouble.
I thought of telling her, if I can survive in my own home, I can survive anywhere.
I am a survivor. Born survivor.
No Princy, no cleaning lady was going to stop me from reaching the goals I set for myself. When your family members thrive on humiliating you, then you are all the more determined not to ever get humiliated by anyone else.
“Did he ask you to bring your parents?” Shylaja asked. She still hadn’t given up hope.
“For having migraine? Are you crazy?” I asked her.
“Oh, I forgot. Arjun told me to tell you that Dr. Bhatti wants to see you” Anitha spoke
Anitha and Arjun are in the same batch, but they were not posted to medical ward.
“How did Arjun meet Dr. Bhatti?”
“When we were leaving the Paeds, we met Dr. Bhatti in the hallway and he spoke to Arjun”
I was really worried when Anitha told me that Dr. Bhatti asked Arjun to pass the message to me. I was worried that he knew about Arjun and me. Medical students are not supposed to be dating. They are supposed to ‘only’ study.
I felt so relieved knowing that Dr. Bhatti didn’t know about Arjun and me.

Wait a minute, then why didn’t he talk to Anitha? Why Arjun?
Oh oh. Now even Dr. Bhatti knew about Arjun and I.
“Did Arjun say what exactly Dr. Bhatti said?”
“No, He just told me to tell you that Dr. Bhatti wants you to attend the evening rounds.”
I wanted to pull my hair and scream.
First it was Dr. Murthy, then it was the Princy and now Dr. Bhatti.
What did I do to get in to so much trouble?
I tried to figure out a way out of this mess.
First, I needed a medical certificate.
I had to see Arjun to get a medical certificate and ask him exactly what Dr. Bhatti told him.
“Are you coming for lunch?” Anitha asked
“Nah, I am going to the canteen, I need to see Arjun”
Anitha started to whistle.
Oh shut up. I thought of telling her.
More than anything I wanted to slam my stupid head on the wall for being so dumb. Why did I have to tell her that I wanted to see Arjun. I should have kept my mouth shut.
Me and my big mouth!
I waited for them to leave the room, so I can lock the door and change my clothes. I made a mental note to stitch the salwar mooti when I come back in the evening. The rip was definitely getting bigger.
A stitch in time saves nine. I remembered the proverb.
But then I wanted to know why not 10, 11 12, 100 or whatever. Why only 9?
Time and Nine.. Rhymes, so does five. So why nine?
English is a funny language. I thought. Just like tooth and teeth. E is before O, so technically the singular form should be teeth and the plural should be tooth.
But I didn’t have time to waste worrying about English language.

The canteen was crowded with boys. Girls usually don’t go to the canteen during lunch time. Probably because only handful of girls smoked unlike the boys.
“excuse me” I called one of the juniors who was just finishing his Torino.
“Yes Ma’am” He nodded his head in reverence.
“Can you tell Arjun that I want to see him”
“Sure Ma’am”
As he left to go to the boys hostel, I realized he didn’t ask me who I was or my name. He knew who I was and I had no idea who he was, except that he was a junior student. It felt weird being so popular.

I ordered for tea and found a place to sit.
“Hey, I heard Princy caught you today” Ramesh was standing by the window and was smoking.
“How in the world did you hear about that?”
“Mess boys were talking about it”
Ramesh shrugged his shoulder.
“So what did Princy say?”
“Nothing much. He wanted to know why I didn’t go for the morning rounds and I told him I had migraine”
Ramesh was trying to make smoke rings. I thought he looked cool. I really wanted to learn how to make smoke rings. May be I should start smoking!
“What?” I asked him because he was staring at me.
“Did you really have migraine?”
“Of course. otherwise Why would I skip the rounds?”
Ramesh started to laugh.
“You are a paradox. Do you know that?” he spoke.
“What do you mean?”
“nothing. Your man is here” Ramesh nodded towards the door and left.
Paradox? What did he mean by that? I planned to ask him the next time I see him.
“hey” I greeted Arjun.
He didn’t say anything.
This is not going well. I told myself.
“Why were you talking to Ramesh?” Arjun asked as he sat in front of me.
“huh?” “What?” I stared at Arjun to figure out what exactly was he asking me. Did he not know that Ramesh was my batch mate?
“Nothing. Never mind. Why did you ask to see me?”
“I wanted to know What exactly did Dr. Bhatti tell you?”
“He asked me to tell you to come for the evening rounds”
I wanted to ask Arjun for the medical certificate. He looked so angry and irritable, besides I didn’t know why he was upset because I spoke to Ramesh.
“Anything else?” Arjun asked
“no, nothing”
“Bye” he got up and left.
And all of a sudden I felt so lost.
It felt like I was in the midst of choppy seas and my only support just left me and I was drowning..down.. down.. down