My children’s Uni has cancelled all in person classes and exams and made everything online.

At this moment, I think it is very unlikely that Yaya’s graduation ceremony will go ahead in June. ( Wuhan has been in Quarantine for well over 7 weeks and the potential for reemergence is still high… hence the continuous quarantine)

Australia is already lagging behind testing and tracking potential cases (Meanwhile, India is doing a pretty good job at the moment)

My kids have just enough food to last the next couple of days. ( Food items are sold out in the groceries near them and Costco has a queue that is 2 hours long, which increase the risk of exposure)

I need to bring them home before Australia imposes further travel restrictions.

I don’t want them to have a stopover in a third country, because if they as much as have a slight fever, they won’t be allowed to fly …

My son had a very bad pneumonia when he was young which has resulted in lung scarring… and I am not willing to take any more chances.

Just when I thought my life is all settled, here we are.. more stressed than needed.

PS. As a public safety announcement… please wash your hands. I was taught by the head nurse at my hospital to sing the full twinkle twinkle little star twice ( which will make it around 45 seconds) when I was doing the hand wash routine before surgery

You really don’t need to worry about hand sanitiser. ..Good old soap and good scrubbing is all you need. Wash your hands, scrubbing for 45 seconds, don’t put your hands in your eyes, nose and mouth. And if you can, stay away from the elderly.

Stay safe

Irregularly Irregular

One of the things I learned in med school was the funny terms we used to describe things. One such thing was irregularly irregular. the pule could be regular, regularly irregular and irregularly irregular.

The next few months will be rather chaotic. I need to get my life in order before I am deployed to the field. I also teach at two Unis. ( three kids in Uni and need plenty of money) and I am doing my PhD,

Now, let me talk about my PhD, which I am doing it full time. I have to provide regular updates and usually 24 hours prior to update time, I work like there is no tomorrow.. it is sort of like putting out the fire for a while. So although I am on a full time work load, I only work on my PhD when I need to put out the fire. During the Christmas break, I wrote the confirmation document, which was approved 🙂 The point I am trying to make here is, PhD is not a big thing.. if you can cope under enormous pressure ( this regular report back you need to do) and are not overtly ambitious to be the recipient of the next Nobel prize, you can do it. I just want a PhD and at the rate in which I am going, I should have it 24 months from today. Not bad eh? (also, if you are an Aussie, make full use of citizenship and do your PhD. You don’t have to pay tuition fees and can do it for free. You can also apply for Scholarships, which I didn’t because there is a restriction for the number of hours you can work)

Ah, the irregularly irregular bit.. with so much going on personally, professionally and all other ‘lly’ blogging won’t be that frequent. unlike the previous time, I am not taking a hiatus. I will try to blog at least once a week. As many of you know I am a creature of habit.. I work on a schedule and don’t do well if things are not planned. Because the teaching schedule varies, there is no one day I can set aside for blogging. But this is only for a short while. When I am deployed, I will only have one job and don’t have to run between two unis.

Keep trying

How long should you try for something you really want?

Years ago, I was sitting outside and reading the newspaper. We had a small sit out in the middle of the house with a metal pole as a support. I was leaning on the pole while reading and Amma was sitting on one of the two cane chairs we owned ( two similar ones for Appa and Amma). There was an article in the paper about someone getting Rhodes scholarship.

I distinctly remember telling Amma that even I would one day like to get a Rhodes Scholarship and become famous.

Amma responded in her typical style.. ” You must only dream achievable dreams”

Over the past 3 decades, I had often wondered if I was being over ambitious and if Amma was right.. Was I asking for more than I deserve?

When I graduated with my medical degree, I had hoped to work for WHO. I had no idea where to look for a job and had no one to guide me. Besides in those days my primary goal was to get out of my house before my mother and my older sister destroyed my life. So I ran.. as far as I could.

The next 25 years was nothing but a struggle for survival. While in Canada, I applied for so many jobs.. so many.. I never heard back from anyone. I remember someone from the church getting me an interview for an assistant job in a charity.. even that job I didn’t get. And I wondered again, if my mother was right..perhaps I was not good enough. Perhaps I was really useless. To survive, I started my own catering company and people laughed at me.. Doctor cooking food for others.

A cousin of mine works as a GP here in a group practice and I begged him for a job when I arrived here. His group practice was looking for a clinic receptionist. He told me to take off all my medical qualifications and apply for the job as a clinic manager at his clinic.. I was so desperate for a job, so I did. The thing is once you take off all my medical qualifications, I only have a pre-degree.. which was not enough to be a clinic receptionist.

A classmate of mine who did MPH with me, who passed both AMC 1 and 2 and still didn’t get a job as a doctor once told me, he stopped applying for jobs because he was afraid of opening his email inbox and seeing yet another rejection letter from prospective employers. Very rarely, I meet people who are incredibly smart and he is one of them. And I remember thinking, perhaps my mother was right.. even a brilliant doctor who passed the qualifying exams here has quit.

After I completed MPH, I applied for jobs.. never heard from any employers.. again I wondered if Amma was right.

The teaching job I finally got.. was the one I applied earlier and didn’t get.. the only reason I got the job was that the people the Uni hired quit and they were desperate for someone. I was at the right place at the right time. Technically, I got the job that I initially was not considered as suitable … again I wondered if Amma was right.

Years ago, while attending to a patient who attempted suicide and eventually died.. She killed herself because she was afraid that her parents won’t allow her to get married to her boyfriend..and while I was intubating her, I heard her parents wailing outside.. why didn’t she talk to us.. we would have never stopped her from getting married to who she wanted to marry.. and the chief consultant who had come to check my progress too heard the commotion outside and said something like this “sometimes people quit just when they are so close to achieving their dreams”
I didn’t want to quit applying for jobs. What if I was so close to achieving my dreams and will not get to fulfil my dreams because I quit too soon?..On an average, I apply for 12 jobs each month.. It is a time consuming endeavour. Having to suit the cover letter and selection criteria to position description. Each time I received a rejection letter, I wondered if Amma was right and I considered quitting.

I am a member of a Public Health organization and I thought I would try to attend one of their monthly meeting to network. It was boring and I googled the organization website to identify the people in the room by looking at the ‘about us’ section in the website..This was after I played two online scrabble games and won both rounds. I was that bored. While scrolling through the website, I noticed a job ad by CDC and the application deadline was the very next day. The application asked for a great deal of stuff and one requirement was that the resume should be 2 pages long. Mine is a professionally written resume with a great deal of different fonts and annoying formats.. much as I tried, I just couldn’t fix it and create a two page resume. So I called my son and asked for his help. It was midnight for him and he still did. Application was due at 12 noon Australian time and I sent it in by 11:50 a.m.

Few weeks later I received an email. I assumed it was the rejection letter.. didn’t even open the email to read it. (If you get a job interview, they usually call you)

That weekend, I was cleaning out my email inbox, So decided to read the unread email. Turned out that I was short listed. 200 people applied, 11 got short listed. Out of the 11, only 5 will be selected by the CDC after the interview.

The interview was in early January and I did not hear from them again. As I am so used to rejections, it did not bother me.

Last Friday, I received an email offering me the job.

It took 25 years..

My mother was wrong. All dreams are achievable.. all it takes is hard-work.

If you have wanted something, even if the world is against you, if you truly want it, don’t give it a deadline. Don’t stop because you have been rejected many times. Don’t stop. Just don’t stop.

I am so happy

My older two got distinction for IB ( International Baccalaureate) and also had a very good SAT score. They also did a great deal of extra curricular activities and had a very impressive resume, So I was not worried about them getting admission to the top Uni’s.

My youngest on the other hand, spent most of her grade 11 and 12 laying down on her bed and watching Netflix. She even quit her part time job when she was in grade 12, so she could concentrate on her studies 🙂

Many times, I thought I should step in and talk to her. But then again, I felt she needs to learn to take charge of her own life. I knew how this story was going to end and I felt let this be a learning opportunity for my youngest.

Just as I expected, she scored pretty badly for grade 12. ( if you look at global stats, average IB score is 32 and she got 35, so it isn’t that bad, but she is the smartest of the three of them and could have got a better score if she worked for it.

I was very worried that she may not get admission to any of the top Uni’s with her IB score ( She is guaranteed a place in U of Melbourne and U of Queensland though)

She finished her work at 5 a.m. this morning and I went to pick her up. When we got back home, as I was putting the lead on the dog to go for our normal walk, she came and said very non nonchalantly ” oh, btw Mom, I got admission to the Uni and for the degree I wanted to do”

Phew !

And so, my job is done. Seriously.

She needs me

So, I try to talk to Amma over the phone at least once a day. Sometime ago, she mentioned that hearing my voice is soothing to her and I know what she actually meant is that please call me everyday, and I try.

Yesterday when I phoned her, she mentioned she is unable to sleep at night,gets palpitation and feels very unsettled. Then she asked ” is it possible to come back to Brisbane and stay with you soon?”

The way she said it broke my heart.

Amma was never a good parent, but she needs me now.

how fast the tables turned.

I remember distinctly how she made my life a living hell 10 years ago when she stayed with me. I remember how she hid the gifts I bought for her birthday under my towel in the linen closet.. perfectly executed plan for she knew, I will not take a new towel before leaving and when I return that is the first thing I would do and will see her treachery.

I think what I learned from my mother is that, life is a bitch.

I don’t think there is a soul on earth that would blame me if I turn my back on my mother. Fortunately, i am not vengeful and still be able to rise above the hatred and anger.

I think that is the benefit of this blog. Writing about my abuses were cathartic.

I am applying for her visa. I will have to go to India and pick her up. Please don’t laugh when you read the next sentence. I look forward to going to India, so I can buy the safety valve and the rubber seal for my pressure cooker I own two pressure cookers that are currently sitting idle because I couldn’t find the right safety valve here and the pishukki in me won’t pay the shipping costs to buy from India.

Think of your old age

My mother is so stupid. There I said it.

All through my childhood and adulthood, her matra was “nee onnum enne nokkanda, enikku government pension kittum”

I don’t remember which movie, I heard this, but I think it was innocnet who said, “you can live all your life without anyone, but when you die, you will need at least four people to carry your body to the grave”

My mother never thought of her old age. How could she not think of her own old age and who would take care of her, even if she gets pension from the government? Money is not enough. You need a home and you need family.

My father is very wealthy and owned large tracts of land and Amma fought with him and ended up with nothing, despite being married to him for more than 40 years.

My sister owns a house in India and Amma stayed there for a while and created hell for my sister. She closed centuries old access road that people used to access their farming land and my sister had to sort it.

Amma bullied each and every one of the maids/farm workers my sister hired and they all left. She even got her aged care staff, hired specifically to take care of her to weed the field.

Few days ago when I called her, she mentioned that the aged care carer service provider had sent a new staff with her current carer to train the new staff and Amma fought with him. Apparently she doesn’t want to be the guinea pig. ( not sure what she meant)

My sister had enough. I don’t blame her

So, Amma is now going to be sent to an aged care facility somewhere in Kerala.

I am applying for the sponsored parent visa for her here. It will take time and I am actually scared. I can’t afford to stay home and take care of her. I have to earn and support my children while they are studying.

Once when Yaya was 9 or 10 years old, I scolded her for something and she looked at me and told me

“I want you to remember that as your oldest child, it is going to be me who will choose your retirement home, so be careful)

That particular day, there was an article in Vancouver Sun that a man had been collecting his mother’s pension and carer allowance and was keeping the old woman in his untreated garage in Toronto. Yaya and I talked about that incident prior to her telling me off.

The truth is, my children love me. But it is also true that what goes round does in fact come around.

Treat your children well, they might still be there for you in your old age.

Also, at least make sure you have enough funds to take care of yourself in your old age. Invest in a home and in your retirement.

Updates on the war

As I mentioned, currently I am on a war path with my youngest. it wasn’t something I wanted, but this cannot be avoided.

Basically the only contact we have is when I pick her up if she is working late. That is it.

Yesterday we had a massive storm here and most of the roads went under. It took me almost an hour to get home after work.

She texted me to say that she is thinking of heading out for bowling.

The mother in me wanted to tell her that when it rains like this, the chances are very high that public transport will not work and that you are going to be spending a great deal of time on the road. The sensible thing to do when it rains is to stay at home. But I felt she was not asking me for an opinion, but telling me her plans. So i didn’t say anything.

Sometime around 9 p.m. she sent a txt to tell me that her friend is dropping her home around 11 p.m.

She is going to Uni soon and I will not be in control of her life as in who she is going out with or when she is coming back home. For all intent and purpose she is an adult and I need to treat her as one.

The mother in me wanted to cook something for her and stay up. But I also have a full day of work the next day and I was already dead tired. So, I went to bed. I know that is probably a bit reckless on my part, I mean not waiting for her and ensure that she got home safe and sound. But there comes a time, I need to take a step back.

This morning when i got up, the first thing I did was to check her room to ensure that she got back home. She did. Ohew

I also noticed that my Dosai Pan was still on the hob, so she probably made pancake or something like that. I felt a bit bad. But this is what she wanted and this is what she gets.

Independence comes with a price.

Meanwhile, I bought myself a Piano. I plan to give my neighbours sleepless nights.

My Pomegranate fruited

Remember sometime in 2013, I wrote about planting a pomegranate tree?

The past few years the tree did fruit a bit. But the fruits were all small and didn’t survive. This year, the tree decided to be merciful. It is laden with fruits and most of it is edible.

If you know anything about how to take care of the pomegranate tree, let me know.

I don’t know how to protect it from ants and when to actually harvest the fruit. Currently, it is a hit and miss.


I spoke with my mother yesterday and during our conversation she had asked me “how is my grandson”

When Amma was staying with me, she has seen that my son always calls me up on Sunday mornings and I told Amma that he didn’t call yesterday.

Amma asked :How come?” and I replied ” Ma, he sent a message that he is in Montreal attending some racing” ( My son didn’t even tell me that he is going to Montreal and I have no idea what racing he went to, while talking to Amma, I googled all the races in Montreal and I am assuming that my son did the Baja Montreal)

My mother’s response was ” He is a boy and he should live his life doing things he likes to do”

Now that is a statement you would never expect to hear from my mother. Many of you know what she made me go through when I was living with her. I couldn’t resist but ask her

“Amma, how come, you are all understanding and nice now when I, as your daughter had to go through hell”

She replied ” When you were young, I didn’t know how to raise all of you, clearly I have harmed you all. Now I know better”

And to top the icing of the cake, she also said ” that is why I didn’t react when your son brought his gf home and they slept in the same room”

I guess there are few things I should point out.

Damages my mother inflicted will never go away and will always be with me. But it made me a better mother. She had a chance to see the fruits of her labour ( the good, the bad the terribly ugly ones)

The only consolation that I have is that I have not continued with the abuses.

War path

Beginning of this month, I was thinking “Phew, I didn’t go through the usual hell teenagers make their parents go through”. May be I thought it too soon.

My youngest and I are on a war path. I am not sure how it all happened.

She is leaving home in a couple of months and I had told her that I would love to spend a bit of time with her. She is now using that particular request as a weapon and is telling me that I am a clingy parent who is self centred and annoying.

She works 11 hours shift at my local seven eleven shop. Her shift finishes sometimes at 3:30 a.m. and I don’t want her to take an Uber home. I told her I want to pick her up because I don’t trust Uber drivers. ( A student of mine took Uber recently and found the Uber driver ( Indian) following her on Instagram the same day. It is so very creepy) Her argument is that in a few months she will be going to Uni and living on hr own and she will be taking the Uber anyway. My issue is that, I live in a pretty remote area, most of the way to my home is a single country lane and the houses are set far back from the road. While my daughter stays with me, I am responsible for her welfare and if anything happens for the rest of my life I will feel guilty. When she is at Uni, she is responsible for her own welfare and there is nothing I can do about it.

The second issue we have is that, she won’t eat anything. All of Saturday and Sunday, all I saw her eating was a bar of Kitkat. When I asked her if she wants to join me dinner, she declined. When I asked her if she wanted me to cook her something, she declined and said she will cook something herself, which she didn’t.

She actually stopped eating food at home. ( apparently she grabs something to eat when she is at work.

I told her, I have no issues with her moving out. I just don’t see the need to go through this much of grief and she replied the same sentence that I am self centred typical brown parent.

Currently, I am ignoring her. I don’t talk to her. I don’t cook anything for her.

I come home from work, play with the dog, cook dinner for myself (earlier, I always made something she liked, now I cook what i like). I watch TV (Who knew K-drams are addictive). do a bit of gardening and pretend that she isn’t there. Anyway, this is how my life is going to be soon when she leaves. if this is how she wants to play it, I guess I have no choice, but to play along.