Today is the last day of term 1 for my kids. Sages and poets talk about time flying..but only a mother can see the actual time slipping through her fingers..

When I went to Canada, my youngest was 3 years old, the winter PJ’s i picked up for her from Value Village had to be rolled couple of times to fit her short legs . She is 10 years old now. From Dora ( including the hairstyle and the back pack) to a beautiful girl  on her way to be a beautiful woman.

As I stood there at the car park this morning, watching my children going to their class, I tried to desperately remember the intervening years of my youngest child from the age of 3 to 10. I don’t know where those years have gone. It is like one minute she was 3, sitting on my lap while I read countless Dora stories ( and the much hated magic school bus stories.I hated those series, my kids loved them) to a child who cooks a proper dinner for me as a surprise.

I have eidetic memory, I was there with my children every bit of their childhood, yet I feel I don’t have much in my memory box to remember their childhood..It is all a blur
In 4 years, Yaya will be going to University and I know when she leaves my nest, my life will be like a ship lost in a storm. My children are the captains of their own ship and I have no right to hold on to them and I am hoping that when the time comes, I will have my memories to chew  cud.

Yet, this morning I felt bereft..that I am holding an empty memory box, that time that I have with my children are slipping through my fingers..

I will be away the next two weeks. I am taking my kids to NZ for their school holidays.
The moment I talk about going somewhere for holidays,  the first assumption most people make is that I am rich and that is why I can take holidays like this. And it bothers me much.
I am not rich. Not at all.
But I am determined that my children will see the world and I work hard to make sure that I can take them for holidays.
I have a Quantas American express card and am a member of Quantas frequent flyer program. I also have flybuy. If I go to coles and buy grocery and pay using my Amex, I get points on my Quantas frequent flyer and flybuys. I never miss a single triple flybuy event at coles.
I also subscribe to email bulletin for Quantas.
So whenever there is a promotion, I buy my ticket using  points I have accumulated.
Return ticket for my children and I came to less than 1000$. I have also paid for a rental car.
I am planning to do this trip this time. I haven’t actually had time to read about the trip and am planning to do that in the aircraft. We have a light weight tent and all of us have good sleeping bags. I have no idea where we will be staying. A bit of skiing at the snowplanet and lots of driving.
I will be back, with my batteries fully charged!


My rebel will be 12 in a few days.
He is as tall as me..bit on the chubby side..
Yaya says most boys aim for a 6 pack, but her brother  has 12 packs !! ( of flab)
He wants to lose some weight. but like me hates exercise.
He blames me for his weight gain..”if you weren’t a good cook, then I wouldn’t be eating this much.. So it is all your fault mom” is his usual excuse.

Every  morning you can see him standing in front of the mirror and checking to see if he got any meesa ( moustache). He can’t wait to start shaving and has already told me he wants a Gillette shaver. Right now, even with a magnifying glass, I can’t see much of meesa, But he claims he can see 100’s if not 1000’s of little meesa and blames my advancing age as the reason for my apparent blindness.

Any change in the voice is considered the ultimate step in to manhood..even if the said voice change is because of bad case of sore throat!

He is stubborn, short tempered and extremely forgetful. ( three wonderful traits that drive any sane person to total insanity)
But the one trait I absolutely love is his sense of humor..
When Yaya said “my brain is dead” after writing a 10 page assignment in Spanish, he nonchalantly asked her ” What brain?”
When I was driving in KL and got so badly lost ( what in the world possessed me to drive from Singapore to KL is still a mystery), Yaya told me “Mom, you are a smart one” and though it is said in a very sarcastic way, I ignored the sarcasm and told her, “Oh, so you agree that I am smart” to which my son replied
“Yaya, mom doesn’t get sarcasm, she emits sarcasm. she can’t receive it ”

Yaya wanted something “cultural” to wear to school for the International day and I suggested she could wear my saree and my son responded ” mom, she trips on her shorts and fall down, imagine her wearing a sareee”

Yaya posted a sign that said “knock” on her door and he stood outside her door and knocked ( for more than 15 minutes!!)..till yaya stormed out of her room and tore the sign in to a million pieces.. He claimed, he was only following Yaya’s instruction which said ‘knock’ and she claimed it is still a miracle that she hasn’t killed him yet.

He is too focused when he wants to do something, at the same time, he won’t do anything I ask him to do. His room is worst than a pigsty. He won’t put his clothes for laundry, just chucks then where ever he felt like..socks will be in the hallway, t shirt in the pergola and shorts in the swimming pool !!! When I go after him, he tells me, “you are my mom, it is your duty to do the laundry” and then we have a 30 minutes of arguments of what I consider is my duty and why he should pick up his clothes and put them for laundry in  the laundry basket. This happens every saturday, sunday and laundry days..

From a little boy who never sat still to an ‘almost’ teenager who still doesn’t sit still..

It has been a delight raising a wonderful child..

I bought him a  lego mindstorm.. as his birthday gift and I know he will be happy. It has been on his wish list for more than 2 years.


There are no mistakes in life, there are only lessons to be learned…
( Mark Twain)

Words are jumping up and down in my head..waiting to explode..most likely to create another incoherent rant..
But unfortunately, I have to head to Sydney for work..
Until tomorrow..

Rain and fever..

The one manthra ( dictum) my sisters and I had to follow as children was mazha nanayaruthu, pani pidikkum (don’t get wet in the rain, you will catch a cold/fever/pneumonia/typhoid/add any other severe illness you can think of, the list is endless!)

Our life revolved around umbrellas. One time my father came home from middle east with 20 ‘gulf’ umbrellas..Those black two fold umbrellas with ivory colour handles..
Amma believed in keeping spare umbrellas for those ‘just in case’ scenarios.
Before I left for school each morning, Amma would ask
“home work, lunch box, umbrella?” and I had to say Yes to all three to be allowed to go to school.
This continued till I went to study at the Medical college!! Even then she packed two umbrellas in my suitcase.

If I got fever, the first question she asked was, Did you get wet in the rain?
But her obsessions with rain didn’t end there. Every time we travelled to anywhere outside Kottayam town boundary, Amma carried a bottle of rasnadi..
What is rasnadi? It is powdered herbal concoction, often kept in an old, small bottle. In our house it used to be in a calcium sandoz bottle, the label on the bottle had discoloured to a yucky yellow colour.
It is a miraculous medicine. You  apply it on a specific spot on the head (I have forgotten my anatomy, I am assuming it is the anterior cranial fossa), right after your shower.
Take a pinch of rasnadi using your thumb and index finger, rub it in the correct spot , then sniff the remaining powder on your finger. ( I must say, I loved the smell)

Amma never went anywhere without the rasnadi.  She even brought it with her, when I gave birth to Yaya ( the same Calcium sandoz bottle!!) Amma believed that, vellam mari kulichal pani varum.. You get fever, if you bathed in a ‘different’ ( as in not from your home) water!!!

I tried explaining to my mother that, the water she is drinking is actually the same water the dinosaurs drank and peed. But years of cultural taboos has given her an ability not to see reason..
But seriously, there is only one water cycle..from the time life evolved on earth to this moment. It is the same water..nature recycles over and over..

Does getting wet in the rain make you sick??
Ask yourself, does standing under the shower each morning make you sick??
The usual answer I get for the above question is showering only takes a few minutes, you dry your body immediately and then wear dry clothes. So taking a shower will not make you sick.

Does swimming in the pool for an hour make you sick?? ( Thorpe must forever be suffering from  fever!!)

When Yaya and toothless were little, I used to make paper boats for them and  we used to float them down the storm  drain in front of our house. After years of living under amma’s fear of the rain, I couldn’t really break away. So I bought my children a rain coat.. Fluorescent pink for Yaya and blue for Toothless. But try as I might, my kids refused to keep the hood on..and always managed to get their head soaking wet..
I panicked the first few times it happened. I got them dried quickly, wrapped them in a blanket, made chicken soup..
I was expecting my youngest then, and eventually I couldn’t physically do all of the above..and to my surprise, neither of them fell ill..not once..
It was so liberating to be free of a belief that I knew made no sense, but I was so afraid to break free.. As a mother, my children’s health and well being meant everything to me and a part of me felt there had to be some truth in Amma’s fear..because it was not just her..all my relatives followed the same rules..Even my ABCD cousins still use rasnadi !!!!

One of the kids who came for my son’s birthday party was not allowed to get wet in the rain. ( Indian descent) When 28 kids plus my three were playing basketball and running down the water slide in the rain, this kid had to stay inside the house..Each time one of the 28 kids came inside to get a drink , they would ask the kid why are you not joining us and each time the kid had to say “I can’t, My mom won’t let me get wet in the rain”
The boy had tears in his eyes.. He begged and pleaded with  me to let him.. I would have..but I know his son is the only friend she had approved as a friend for her son..and if she knew that I broke her command, she would never let her son come to our house.. My house is the only house that child is allowed to visit and it is not for my is for that boy, I followed his mother’s rule..
My son has so many friends.. that boy only has my son as a friend.. My son had told me  some time ago that Shiva ( not his real name) hates his parents and  is planning to run away from home when he is a teenager..I worry about that child all the time..This year, he had been send to the office twice for anger management issues!!

If you are a parent like this..please..just spend a few seconds and put yourself in your child’s place.. and remember, there is always panadol..


28 boys and 1 girl ( Yup, 1 special girl!!!!) came to the party and I survived to tell the tale!!

But first,I must write about my obsessions.. I have many..but the top on the list is the delusion that, I get thorns in my maternal crown and lose my halo if I don’t bake the birthday cake from scratch..

I spend many hours in the middle of the night baking the perfect cake, followed by making my own icing ( I risked losing the halo, if I used store bought icing sugar, so I made my own!!) and then spend hours doing the perfect icing..If there is a speck of cake crumb on the icing..I redid the icing again.. till my masterpiece was a cake of total perfection unrivalled by any in this whole wide world.

And the joy I saw on my children’s face when they cut the perfect cake baked from scratch….My hard work was well rewarded.. So I thought, till I spend the Christmas with my Children’s grandmother in Seattle and we had to bake a cake for my youngest daughter’s birthday..I wrote the list of items to buy from Safeway..and the grandmother wanted the privilege to bake the birthday cake and grudgingly I let her.. I was going to stand there in the kitchen and make sure she baked the perfect cake for my beautiful daughter..But, before I could say a word, out came a box of Betty crocker’s vanilla cake mix from the pantry..I think I was in total shock..I couldn’t tell her that I never fed my children such ‘terrible’ things like cake from a box!!! How can anyone do that to their children? Cake should be it should be.. beat the butter and sugar till it is fluffy..add one egg at a time.. etc etc..
I was going to tell my daughter that, I will bake her a proper birthday cake when we go back home and also wanted to ‘shine’ a bit in front of my children and add few extra feathers in my crown.. because unlike their grandmother, their mother really spend her time and energy to bake the best cake..
Sadly, it didn’t work that way.. She baked the cake, then mixed some raspberry jello, poured it over the cake, set it in the fridge and to this day my children talk about the awesome cake grandma made and no mention of the train cake ( one engine and 4 wagons..each wagon carrying a load of treasure..M&M’s, candies etc, it took me 6 hours) or the unicorn or the ballerina..etc etc.
I learned my lesson..
and Yes I still bake cakes from scratch when I am in a mood.. But for b’day has always been Betty crocker..

This time, I bought one box of Chocolate cup cakes, one box of strawberry cup cakes and a box of lemon cake mix. I baked the cup cakes, baby did the icing.. some cup cakes had so much icing that it was falling out from the side, some cupcakes barely had any..and I was tempted to fix it..but I took a deep breath and told myself it is ok to have few thorns in my crown,
Birthday cake was a disaster.. will come to that later!!!
I made some jello..
Bought sausages.
Menu was, hot dogs, fairy bread, jello, cup cakes, chips and popcorn..Party was from 3 to 6. At 3.05, there were already 18 kids in my house and I must say I was panicking if I would have enough food for everyone..
By then it also started to rain heavy..
And the kids started to play basket ball in the rain..
At 3.30, there were 29 kids.
I divided them in to two groups, gave each group of a list for scavenger hunt.. One group had to go to the houses on the right and other on the left and ask the neighbours for items like a socks with a hole, a hanger etc..Kids were given strict instructions as to not to damage any property..I had one of the mother’s follow one group and I followed the other group. My group cheated.. One of the kids who attended the party also lived in the same street on our side of the road and we got all the stuff on the list from his house.
“Not fair “the other group cried..But we ignored them..The price was a box of Lindt chocolates.It was very tasty!!
There was a puddle of water from the main door to my kitchen when everyone came back after the scavenger hunt..

Then we had the best part of the party.. water slide…

I used two sheets of builder’s plastic ( tarp) placed it on the slope in the backyard, sprayed with water and tons of dish soap and the kids had fun sliding down the slope..

When they finished with the water slide..there was a puddle of water from my kitchen to the living room..

And now the cake..

Since I was baking the cake from a premix, I thought I might as well go the whole 9 yards and used al foil pan instead of a  proper cake pan.. ( I thought I won’t have to wash the cake pan!!). But the last time I baked lemon meringue pie in an al foil pan, when I lifted the pan to remove the blasted pie from the oven, the middle of the pan caved and the pan folded like a book..and lemon meringue pie that had a perfect meringue on top became lemon crash landing pie..that had no meringue on top. So to avoid another such calamity, I placed the al foil pan on a cookie tray..only thing is my cookie tray is from Canada and is a bit when I placed the tray in the oven, it was lopsided.. I thought I could correct it if I turned it the other way, half way through cooking..
Some times the law of physics doesn’t work that well as I hoped it would.. so we ended up with a cake that looked like a boat ramp..Not to be beaten, I made the lopsided cake in to a two way road..covered with left over icing from the chocolate cup cakes, placed few cars on top.. Nobody cared!! And my son probably is the one boy who got a ‘road’ birthday cake.. He did I..

Such is life..

In a lot of ways having children is life’s way of returning Karma..
Remember those days, when Amma was reading the newspaper, my sisters and I used to ask her for stuff and Amma would mumble Yes??

I was in the middle of doing a project when my son came to my room and asked if he could have his b’day party this weekend, as this is the only weekend he doesn’t have any basketball games.
I said yes, rather absent mindedly..
Then he asked if could invite 20 friends..
I was writing a story as required by the QLD health regarding a project I am working on..My head must not have been screwed in right..because I said YES.
What in the world possessed me to agree to have 20 pre teen boys is something I still don’t understand..
Yesterday was probably the worst day I could ever have.. Some idiot, felt that my car is too nice and decided that he must do something to make it even more nicer.. He used something sharp and drew from one end to the other..
I was sad..but it is just a car.. and I thought there is much to life than get angry at something that is not going to change anything..
Then I.who has severe allergies..was bitten by a spider, and I spend a lot of time kalan ( god of death) would look like..every little itch, imagined or real was one step close to the trip to netherworld..( the fact that my epipen expired in 2011 and I completely fogot to get a new one didn’t make it any better either)
Then in the evening, there was a terrible car accident near my home, which resulted in the road being closed on both sides and I sat in a traffic jam for 3 hours and 45 minutes..It was raining and I really wanted to chuchumulli (pee)
Then my darling son called up to tell me that, “mom, I forgot to tell you, I may have invited more people”
“What you mean by more people?” ( I may have said those  words in a tone that I don’t usually use and the people in the car in front of me may have turned their heads to see what is going on..)
“jeez mom, you don’t have to yell” my son replied
Well!!! have you ever tried to yell when you really had to pee?? Until that time.. you could still breath..but after yelling..taking a breath becomes a task..
“How many people” I didn’t want to use too many words..speaking was becoming rather difficult..holding my breath was more comforting..
“I don’t know” he replied..
With great difficulty, I controlled my breathing and very carefully spoke
“What do you mean by you don’t know?”
“That is the thing mom, I can’t remember who all I invited, we wouldn’t be in this trouble, if you helped me”
Well..let us just say that I am not a good candidate for any mind calming experiments.. son successfully transformed me as the culprit who created all this calamity and in an instant he became this innocent kid, who has a terrible, horrible, mean, nasty mother!!

Luckily for him, the traffic started to move again..nano cm by nano cm..Anyone who is desperate to use the washroom..any sign of traffic movement brings the same joy as winning a mega million lottery a million times..
As the traffic inched slowly..I remembered all the times I blamed my mother..It was her fault that she didn’t remind me to do my home work..and it was her fault, she didn’t do the laundry, and I had no coat to wear to the hospital..and it certainly was her fault when I couldn’t find my books (nah, I couldn’t have misplaced them,,, she moved them)..

Such is life..


Have an early AM meeting and don’t have time to update the blog..
Quick question. Have I ever written about spending the night at my friend’s pub when I was supposed to be on night duty and coming back to find the emergency dept full of patients?
I know it is simple to do a search on the blog..I hate to read what I wrote and dread doing it…

I wanted to write this yesterday, but didn’t have time.
The video clip I posted yesterday, I am not sure if I got the message across.
It is not just about missing children..
It is about violence at home ( the old man hitting his wife)
Children running away from home.. ending up in the streets..
Young girls being abused.. ( the old man.. the group of guys..)

Your children are the best gift you would ever receive in your life.. Give them a chance to grow up in a peaceful home..they deserve that.

The silence…

People live in bubbles..big, huge bubbles, that gives them an opportunity to see only what they want to see..and how much ever you try and poke the bloody bubble, it keeps growing right back, enveloping the ignoramuses in a bubble of denial.

As a child growing up in an abusive family, the biggest hurdle for me was the total disregard shown by the same people to do something.
It was a syndrome suffered by the inhabiter of the great didn’t happen to me, it isn’t happening to me and therefor it doesn’t exist.

I once had a female patient. I remember her eyes..brown, scary eyes..her eyes looked everywhere but my face. She would never look at me. Her mother brought her to the hospital because the girl was suffering from severe typhoid. I did the general physical examination and the girl wouldn’t let me check her legs. ( pedal oedema) Obviously there was something wrong..
I called the prof. He said don’t bother, just write on the chart that patient refused to be fully examined.
Her mother stood next to her like an over protective hawk, all throughout the admission process.
After admitting her, When the mother went to get food, I went to the patient and told her, I must see her leg.
She refused. But she didn’t have her mother standing next to her and I am strong willed.

This is what I saw..She had cigarette burns all over legs..100’s and 100’s of little round scars, some healed, some fresh all over her legs except the upper part of the feet ( the only part of the leg you can’t cover with the salwar bottom)
Which psychopathic idiot can inflict so much of pain on a young child?
Which mother lets it happen over and over?

I called my Prof and informed him.
His reply was ” there is nothing we can do”
And there is nothing WE did.

This song came out in early 1994. It was such a relief to watch the video when it came out..because when everyone sang about love and broken heart, someone made an effort to talk about the actual truth..the truth I wanted to say..the truth most of you don’t want to hear and even when you hear it, pretend that you don’t understand.

Go on, keep living in your bubble..

Live well

Almost all the old timers I knew in M’sia are no longer around.
I know I am growing old and obviously the older generations are not going to be around, but still it comes as a shock when you hear about the people whom you have known for a very long time are gone.

Every time I think of the old timers, I remember pa na the’ appachan.
The same cousin who coined the term ee aa for restaurants that are not doing well (eachey attuva), very lovingly named an Appachan we all knew very well as pa na the’.

Appachan was an Indian expat working for the British and when the British left, he worked for the Malaysian govt. He had a pretty good salary package.  Fully furnished accommodation and once a year air ticket back to India for the whole family. None of the Malaysians were eligible for the same deals and there were obviously a lot of discontent.

Appachan didn’t make it any better either.

Appachan’s reason for living was to save money. He was well known for his creativity.
He served watered down tang ( you know it is not plain water because it is slightly orange in colour) in honey jars !! In those times Honey came in jars with handles. The name of the company etched in bright colours on the jar. It has handles, it looks like a cup and Appachan felt it was good enough to be used as a cup/glass! ( enthina ethrem bangiyulla glass veruthey kalayunney,  Why waste such beautiful cups)

But that was not why he was named pa na the’.

Appachan loved a bit of thanni !! But he wasn’t going to spend his money to buy alcohol.
He devised a very smart plan.
He took turns to visit other Malayalees. ( No one wanted him to visit, but no one had the guts to tell Appachan not to visit)
My cousin’s house was reserved for Sunday after church. Appachan arrived like clock work every sunday at 2 pm. He timed his visit in such a way that, he was not imposing my cousin at lunch time, at the same time, there will be something to eat !!
Once my cousin went to the extent of going to the malls with his wife and children after the church, just so he and his family won’t be there when Appachan came at 2 pm, only to find that Appachan waiting for them when they returned later. 
My cousin was a ‘poor’ govt doctor. ( All doctors have to work in the govt service  for few years before they can work in the private sector. In those days, doctors couldn’t even apply for a credit card because the annual govt salary didn’t meet the credit card requirements)
As soon as Appachan arrived, he would suggest
enna oru small adikkam alle” ( shall we have a small?)
Appachan didn’t stop with one small..
And he got the name  pa na the’ ( patti nary thendi)
I don’t know how to translate patti nary thendi  to english..( can someone help?)
For the benefit of those who don’t understand Malayalam let us just assume that it means an A$$H@()@..

Appachan never bought any toys for his kids. His explanation was “I didn’t have any toys when I grew up and nothing happened to me” And most of the mallus who knew Appachan felt sorry for his kids and bought them  toys for their birthdays, but Alas, his kids were not lucky to even play with them. Appachan confiscated all the gifts they got, so he can recycle the gifts. He didn’t even let his children eat the chocolates given to them as gifts.
Every year before going to India, Appachan bought pant pieces and shirt pieces for his sons and dress materials for his daughters., to stitch them in Kerala (tailoring is cheaper in Kerala). 2 pants, 2 shirts for the boys and 2 dress for the girls.
He had never even been to a Chinese restaurant ( kashakum  expensive)

Appachan saved money to the end..

Live only have one life..