We didn’t have any pets when we were growing up. My cousin who was the same age as me had a collection of love birds, pigeons etc and he was always bragging about his birds. All I ever wanted when I was young was a pair of love birds. After so much whinging, whining and pleading my mother finally relented. Those from Kottayam would remember the row of pet shops in what is now the new bus stand on 70 feet road ( Shastri road) There used to be shops selling  birds and fish and I used to visit those shops each day after school on my way back home. Amma only had one condition, that I would have a hair cut. Not an ordinary hair cut, she wanted to take me to the Deluxe hair salon ( men’s only) where they had a razor that could cut my hair really really short. ( My mother had the theory that it was my hair that made me sick all the time). I remember pleading with the barber, please don’t cut my hair really short and I can still see my mother and the barber giving the signs to each other, thinking that I am an idiot and I can’t see their action in the mirror in front of me. After the barber “motta adikkufy” my hair, as we walked home and I thought we were going to stop in front of the pet shops, my mother very kindly told me ” you know what, we should ask Appa ( who was working in middle east at that time) for his permission, before we make a decision to buy the love birds” I knew then that my mother’s words are never to be trusted again. For weeks, I endured the mocking of every Tom Dick and Harry about my lack of hair and didn’t even have the birds I so much wanted to comfort my broken heart..

My grandmother had guard dogs at home, that were chained and kept behind closed door in the shed during the day and were only handled by her and released at night. The dogs were trained to bite and I was terrified of them. ( My mother once mentioned that Ammachi used to feed the dogs opium to make them ferocious. I am not sure how that worked or what exactly she gave the dogs)

I don’t like dogs and I have never felt the need to pet one. It is the same with cats. ( I am also allergic to cats). My children really want a pet and I refuse to have one. They have promised to feed and take care of the pets, like they said when we got the chooks. Their interests lasted 6 months and It is me who take care of the chooks now. I only have limited free time in a day and I refuse to spend my free time to walk the dog and take care of it. Then there is the financial aspects, vets are not cheap and I read some where that having a pet is like having another child. I only earn “x” amount of money and I have to educate my children, want to travel and don’t want to be a financial burden to my children when I am old. So pets are not something I want to invest my time or my money in to.. I told the kids, one day they will leave home and have a home of their own. They can have all the pets they wanted then.

Ps. We did have budgies when we were in Canada. After living in a Condo and having all the luxuries life could offer and then moving to a two bedroom basement suite with nothing, it was a drastic change for my kids and I got the budgies for them, so they had something they didn’t have before.

Away until Monday.

I can’t wait.

Probably the one thing I believed in. that would be my saviour through each and every abuse I endured was that, One day I could leave home and go to a place far  away from all the madness.

A degree and a job was all I needed to leave home, both I knew I could achieve and I couldn’t wait to grow up.

When I was in 3rd Year MBBS, Amma received a marriage proposal for me. The boy was a dentist working in Australia. Amma consulted with George and replied ” We can’t send our girl that far away to Australia, besides it doesn’t look nice a doctor girl marrying a dentist boy”. It was funny that the proposal was for me and no one bothered to ask me for my opinion.

I bought the books for USMLE the day Amma rejected the proposal. I was studying pathology in 3rd year and my first USMLE book was on Pathology. It costs me 230 RS. I can still see the yellowish orange book cover and what it represented,  My freedom. My classmates thought I was showing off, they had no idea that it was my ticket to heaven.

When I was 5, I imagined when I grow up, I will have a cellar filled to the brim with chocolates, cakes and candies. ( Hansel and Gretel must have been the inspiration). but from the time I became a teenager , I only dreamt of one thing. I was going to have a home with a loving husband and lots and lots of children. A house full of children and I will give them all the love that I was denied.

So it was a big shock while we were having dinner and Yaya said ” I can’t wait to grow up”

I think my heart actually missed a beat when I heard her say that. I wondered if I turned out to be like my mom and my precious baby girl too wants to run away from home, like I did.

“To do what?” I asked.

” I want to travel and visit all the places , Mom”

“But, I do take you to all the places”  ( I didn’t deprive them of travelling, they have been to so many countries compared to kids of their own age)

“No Mom, it is not about travelling as a family, I want to travel on my own, explore the countries like Ireland, Iceland etc  and learn their myths and history”

Hearing her sister’s dreams, the youngest too said ” I can’t wait to grow up, then I can live in my own home and have all the pets I ever dreamed of having.” ( I will blog about that tomorrow).

My son was quiet during all these growing up discussion. So I asked him ” What about you?”

“Nope, I don’t want to grow up, then I don’t have to make decisions or take  responsibilities. I am pretty content to go on like this for a while at least”

I took a deep breath and said to myself “All is well”