Every time I have to make a decision that affects my children’s welfare, I always put myself in their place and I always remember that I too was once a teenager. I never really had a strict curfew for my children. School days they come home around 4.30 and weekends if they are going out, I expect them to be back by 5 pm and if they are going to be late, they should call and let me know.

Lately, Yaya is going out often with her friends. She is going to be 16 in a few months and this is how life is going to be and I am fine with it. She tells me who she is going out with and where she is going and what time she will be home. Last weekend was her semi formal and she told me, she wants to hang out with her friends after the function and wants to take the last train back to her friend’s place and spend the night at her friend’s house. I said “no”. I explained to her that Friday is the day where you have most number of drunkards on the street and midnight is too late for an almost 16 year old to be out , even if she is with a group of friends. She came out with “all my friends…” and I replied with the one dialogue that drove me nuts when my mother said it to me, but couldn’t think of anything better ” if all your friends jumped in front of the train, will you?” ( To think, I promised myself I never would say the same to my children !). She started to scream at me, telling me how unreasonable I am. Her points being, she is out with the boys from her class and they will protect her, she attended self defence classes and knows how to defend herself and the best “nothing is going to happen, for this is Brisbane, where nothing ever happens and she just want to enjoy her freedom and take the midnight train”. I told her,I understand how exciting it is to take the midnight trains and the trains will still be there even when she is 50 years old and she will always have her freedom, but coming home at 11 is not about curtailing her freedom, but ensuring her safety”

Her semi formal was finishing at 10 pm and I thought I will give her until 11 pm, so she could go to one of the restaurants with her friends and eat dinner and I told her, I will pick up all of them, ( she and her friends) at 11 and drop them all home. She screamed at me some more and slammed every single door at home. I ignored her tantrum. ( I was annoyed with her for slamming the door, but didn’t want to make the situation worst)

The day of the semi formal, she asked again, if I would reconsider my decision and I said “no”. I also asked her if she remember the time we went to Mount Coo’tha to watch the city lights and found teenagers loitering there at midnight and I asked ” where are the parents of these kids?”. She slammed the main door as she left.

I wondered if I did the right thing? Should I have allowed her to stay out till midnight? Is she now going to take drugs/alcohol because she has a horrible mother?

I picked her up early from school, so she could get her hair done. I was waiting for more tantrums. I bought a small kit Kat chocolate as a bribe and gave it to her. She shared half with me and I waited for the out burst. We went to the salon, got her hair done, went to the Pharmacy to buy eyeliner, she held my hands as we crossed the road to get to the car park and told me ” I love you mom, you are an awesome mother”

I thought of asking her, where is the apology for slamming the door so many times and screaming at me?, but I remembered doing exactly the same thing when my mother told me “no”.

She wore a beautiful turquoise dress and a small silver three strand headband on her hair and 3 inch high heels. She looked gorgeous. As I dropped her off at the venue, she told me ” see you at 11 ”

I felt I dodged a bullet this time with many more to come.


Motta is what I am going to get for my exams in a few weeks time. One would think that an adult woman of 43 would know the implications of procrastination. somehow, I can only study when the pressure of failure is looming in the horizon!  Even yesterday night instead of studying I read a novel and this morning when I woke up, two things came to my mind. Today is Ash Wednesday and like every year I give up drinking for lent out of respect for my grandmother who observed the lent every year without fail.. I am a vegetarian, so giving up meat is a mute point. As I was counting how many days are  in  valia noymbu, in other words how many days I will have to survive without having a drink, l it occurred me  that my exams are also approaching very quickly.

Panic is what you feel when you know you have not studied anything and you really don’t have enough time to study everything.

When I was a medical student, apart from dating and spending as much time as I possibly can with the bf, the only other distraction that kept me away from studying was novels. And now, I work, I drive my children to various activities and when I sit down to read, I like to quickly check what is happening in Ukraine and that leads to What N. Khrushchev did in ’54 and in between, I also take a quick look at my FB, read my emails, and check what happened to the bid I placed on Ebay.

My life was a lot easier till the technology started to become a major part of my life.

I am going to take time off blogging. ( Otherwise I will get motta)

Back on 29th March.



A minute after typing this post , I checked my fb..and saw this..thought I shall post it here

Avinash Madhav's photo.

The zones

Yesterday was a good day for me. A reader send me the link for Sidney Sheldon books and I thought I was going to make my son’s day when I got back home. He was waiting for me to get back home and as soon as I parked the car, he opened the car door and asked “guess what?” ( I was hoping to do the same and ask him “guess what”, entey helium balloontey kattu shhhhhhhhhhh nnu poyi)

“What?” I asked

“I won the school election” He started jumping up and down.

As most Ivy league Unis are interested in admitting students who are all rounder and not just academically good, leadership qualities will be an added bonus. My son knows that and is working hard to ensure that he does all that is needed. My son is not your typical  popular student. You know the one who is sporty and acts like a male model etc..Ok, I didn’t say that right. My son is good looking and wins all the maths awards and won the academic gold medal last year.. what I meant to say was, the popular guys are the ones who has Justin Bieber hairstyle, athletic with 6 packs,, wearing branded clothes, vans shoes, owning those expensive headphones etc.

So, I asked ” How did you manage to win?”

” all the girls voted for me” He replied

“Really?” I asked

My helium balloon was back to its original fully inflated shape. For you see, I have always been very careful about raising my son well. I don’t want a girl to come and ask me later “why I did such a terrible job as a mom and raised a jerk”. So if all the girls voted for him, obviously I did well, don’t you think?

he must have seen the grin on my face and felt he needed to explain.

“It is the zones, mom”

“What do you mean?” I asked

” well, it is like this. when you talk to a girl, if you are going to be a jerk, then she will place you in a ‘no go zone; and you have no hope of ever dating her. If you are going to be her best buddy, then she will keep you in the ‘friend zone’ and she will never date you because she will tell you it is like dating your brother. so you need to keep them in a ‘strike zone’ where you have some chance of dating her..You are not a jerk and you are not the best friend. I keep all girls in the strike zone”

I took a deep breath and sighed. There is so much you learn from your children.


I do not own anything from my father, not even his photos. When I left home after completing medicine, Amma insisted that I can’t take anything that my father gave me ( things like my cassette collection, my hair dryer, even the plastic table cloth I used in the medical college, not that I was planning to take that anyway !) for they  belonged to the family and my sisters have a right to use them. It was time before computers and internet and I couldn’t take a copy of the family photos , not that we had much left after my older sister went through all the photos and cut her head out when she decided she didn’t want to be a part of the mad family and wiped all traces of her.

But I have lots of memories. When I want to think of my father, I just close my eyes and I can see him doing all the things he loved !

Last weekend, I attended  a jumble sale at a local church. I had given away my collection of  Sidney Sheldon books only to find my son suddenly developing a liking for Sidney Sheldon. I had kept my Sidney Sheldon collection for almost 10 years, Yaya didn’t like to read them nor did  my son and I needed the space. So I gave them away few months ago. During the last school holidays, my son found a copy of Sidney Sheldon’s book at the thrift shop and now wants to read all his books. Our local libraries don’t keep a copy of old books and I am now forced to go to all Charity events to get the books for him. As I was going  through  the books, I found a book I last saw when I was 4 years old.


End of 1975, my father had gone to Trivandrum for work and he bought few books from the Russian cultural center when he came back. Until then most of the books we owned were printed in India and the paper was not smooth, the printing was crappy and the binding was always coming lose. Where as the Russian books were beautifully illustrated and printed on smooth white paper that had a unique smell. It was like Manna from heaven. My father sat with me that day and read the stories for me. Although I didn’t understand a word of English, I never forgot the story of the little girl who went to collect mushrooms with her oldest sister and survived  by laying down on the railway track when the train came.

My parents considered my older sister to be the custodian of family treasure and gave those books to my sister for safe keeping. And my sister with such absolute power and responsibilities to be the keeper of the family heirloom never let me see those books again.

There were few more books my father bought that day. I remember the story of the boy who went to the market to by sausages and the illustration was a picture of the boy and a girl walking holding a basket of sausages and a dog following them eating the sausages from the basket.

If you own any of those Russian books from the 70’s and are willing to sell them, would you please mail me. daofto at gmail dot com.