Thursday, December 17, 2009

My family reached me after 3 weeks of separation

I had taken the day off. Since I was working in graveyard shift starting that week (i.e., from 6 PM to 3:30 AM) I had come home early morning that day. Couldn’t sleep at all considering the fact that there was no bedsheet at home, I was sleeping on an iron cot that the owner had provided which was playing music in sync with my movements. When I had reached home, I was very thirsty and there was no water. It was just before dawn broke, so had to wait till sunrise to quench my throat. I woke up quite early and waited to meet the milkman to ask him to supply milk for us. Then I went out and had tea in a nearby shop coz without it my engine wouldn’t ignite. I came back home and set myself to clean up every nook and corner of the house. Before I entered the house a guy had lived there alone for about 15 days. And I guess you can imagine what condition the house was in. Guys!!!


I had told my landlady to get a maid to help me with domestic chores. Luckily the local flower seller lady popped up with one. I put forward my requirements and they quoted the price. After a few English-Tamil mixed broken words and sentences of negotitaion, the deal was closed at a mutually agreed price. She asked if she could get to work right then and there. Since I had a guy coming in the afternoon to install our new refrigerator, I told her to come at around 5:30 PM. Her name is Sudha. (Lucky me that I found her - she has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. She really goes out of her way to help me voluntarily.)

I set off from home about an hour prior to the flight arrival. I ordered some food for us from a nearby restaurant. When I reached the Arrival gate, Abbas SMSed me saying the flight had just landed. My eyes were fixed on the Arrival exit, reluctant to move or wink. And after sometime they came out and my heart skipped a beat. Best part of it was Tamanna’s reaction – When her eye’s caught me her jaws dropped with awe, her index finger pointing towards me and I was ecstatic. She jumped into my lap on reaching me. Mannat’s reaction was exactly contradictory and really disheartening. She rejected to come to me, cried at the top her voice when I tried to take her to me. She was running slight fever and I left her on her own and didn’t force myself on her.

Tammu was seated on my lap all along our way home and Mannu on Ma’s. We reached home and I asked Ma what food ManTam would have. Those 21 days had really had some effect on me as well as kiddos. I was not able to differentiate between Nestum and Cerelac. I couldn’t guess my kids’ apetite or taste. They had changed!!! I found myself asking each petty thing to Ma. The worst thing that happened that day was when I tried to put them to sleep, they screamed and screamed denying me. It was only when Ma pitched in and I came out of the room that they cooled down. I kept my cool too. I wanted to give my daughters room to breathe. I had walked out of their life one fine day and they had to cope up with it. Now suddenly when I come back to them I can’t blame them for not recognizing their mother. I told myself that everything will be alright. It was just a matter of time…

Abbas had taken 2 weeks’ leave. The very next day, Movers and Packers delivered our stuff. Abbas spent his leave by setting up the TV, Internet, Aquaguard connection etc by calling the respective vendors and following up with them. Other than that he spent his days in Chennai by spending quality time with ManTam. I was really taken aback by this ‘transformed Abbas’. He had learnt cleaning potty, changing diapers, giving kids a bath, feeding them and what not. He would also keep track of the frequency at which they are pissing and make sure to feed ample water to the one that is pissing less!!! I was really taken aback to see him this way. Atleast some good came out of my penance, I thought to myself.

This new Abbas was in the limelight from my kids’ point of view and I seemed to be overshadowed by him. Tammu was gradually behaving normal with me. But Mannu wouldn’t come to me at all (Read ATTT ALLLLL). She would always be with her Dad, literally stuck to him. When Abbas would disappear from her view into the bathroom, she would shed litres of tears and keep on banging the door till he came out. My patience was averse to be in harmony with me. After a few days I was really upset with the way Mannu was behaving with me. I was anyway facing denial from my parents ever since marriage. And now denial from my daughters too!!! Both the cases, I had nobody to blame but myself. Coz I was facing the consequences of the voluntary decisions I had taken. Like the old saying goes “What you sow, you reap!” Anyway, the only support system for me is Abbas. With him around, I can’t be distressed for long. He is undisputedly my “Pied Piper”. He instilled faith in me again that Mannu will be alright soon.

True were his words!!! Ever since the day he left, she began sticking to me instead of him. I had slowly and steadily won their hearts back. After all I’m their MOM… And now that Abbas is coming to Chennai on a leave of 10 days soon (after 2 long months), I am eagerly waiting to find out how Mannu is gonna behave with her Darling Dad. Will keep you guys updated…

Friday, November 6, 2009

My experience beginning the day I left Kolkata

It was 13th September 2009. I have heard some people believe that 13 is inauspicious. But we had chosen that day when we booked our flight tickets coz I had to join my new company on 14th. When I look back at that day today, it’s difficult for me to express my exact feelings. As a mother, when I looked at my kids, I was unsure if they would have judged me, had they been mature enough!!! But when I looked at my career this was a major leap for me. Although I was excited about my new expedition, I dreaded the thought of my children forgetting me. How would I tolerate it??? I kept on telling Abbas,”Please tell me they won’t forget their mother”. I would tell him, “Please bring them to me ASAP no matter what”. I would repeat to myself –“This is the first and the last time I would be away from them this way. I wouldn’t let this happen again.” My eyes have turned watery now as I’m recollecting that phase. I had declared that only Abbas should come to see me off. It would be difficult for me if Mannu Tammu come to the airport. I cried a lot on the way to the airport. (I pass off to be a strong bold girl from outside, coz I don’t like revealing my weaker self to others. Only Abbas knows me in and out) Abbas reassured, consoled and tried to comfort me with all nice words, but I knew he would also cry once I vanished from his view into the departure.

God, this post is making me shed more tears than I actually shed when I was away from my kids. I had controlled my emotions to such an extent that they had extensively got accumulated somewhere in there. They poured down like monsoon rains as I wrote the first paragraph. Now I’m feeling better.

To make the moment lighter, let me come to the good part of the three weeks. Within a span of 6 days, I travelled by air thrice. After reaching Chennai on 14th I had to fly to Mumbai the very next day. While in Mumbai I had been to my friend Vanitha’s house and ate mouth watering South Indian delicacies prepared by her mom. I was eating all those preparations that I had missed out on in the past three and a half years. It was a tongue tingling treat for me, thoroughly enjoyed it. To be more honest, first time after marriage I felt a motherly gesture from someone not even related to me. Thanks Aunty for everything… Simply love you.

When I came back to Chennai, I was staying in the Company Guest House. Marvellously built and beautifully maintained. It was the second time after marriage that I was actually relaxing freely (first being my days in the nursing home before delivery). A married woman hardly gets this experience of where she could just walk off the messy room with clothes dumped only to come back and see her room and bathroom tidied; her clothes laundried. She could just come and jump into the bed, watch TV with the remote control all for herself. She is being served food on the table. After eating she could simply get up and go to bed. I really got rejuvenated to face the strenuous days to come

After my Guest House booking was expired, I moved to my Uncle’s house for a few days. It was again a new post-marrieage experience for me: Being with my relatives, speaking in Konkani after a long time and eating the kind of food that I used to have at Kundapura. Srinath Bappa and Vatsala pachchi helped me a lot right from locating a house to settling the lease agreement to buying household stuff. Their daughter Tanvi was with me when I enetered into the house the first day. We had a small “milk boiling ceremony” too. She helped in setting up the house before my family arrived.

I was to work in the graveyard shift (6 PM to 3:30 AM) beginning 5th October. They were gonna come on 6th. More to come up in my next post…

Monday, October 5, 2009

When I had to seclude myself from kiddos to cushion their future

Our life was smoothly sailing through the usual ups and downs. Content, though Abbas and I were at the family front, professionally we were both disturbed due to reasons, better left unmentioned in public. We were quite well off to manage a family of 4 adults and 2 infants efficiently. But in today’s competitive world, one can’t afford to be stagnant. If you don’t move with the pace, it will be quite late when it’ll strike you that you have been left behind. I want us to be able to provide good education to Mannu and Tammu, also to secure our retired life. While being able to do this, I want us to lead a comfortable life too. With the kind of insatiable ambitions I possess, I began looking for new oppurtunities. Abbas, as usual is very resistant to change. (I’ve told him several times to read “Who Moved My Cheese!” But where does the busy chap find time?) Initially he was reluctant to leave Kolkata and had arrived to a conclusion that we would look for opputunities ONLY in Kolkata. While we both stuck to this decision for a while, we became enlightened of the scarcity of oppurtunities for our profiles in our Sonar Bangla. Even then he was determined to be uncompromising. Anyways, what am I his wife for after all? Kept on pestering, thrusting, urging… I began getting interview calls and I knew where they were leading me to. One fine day I told him “Boss! If I get a good oppurtunity, I’m going. If you think you can manage the kids without me, you stay back in Kol with them. If you think you can’t, then I’ll take them along. You have two options to choose from.” It was like flipping a coin for a toss coz you have thrown it and the outcome is out of your control. It’d either be in your favour or against it. Had he said “Neither am I choosing any of the options nor am I leaving you with any options!!!” it would have been a googly. But fortunately most decisions that we have taken so far has been with mutual consent only. He would politely put his point forward when in disapproval of something that I’m saying and possesses the uncanny knack of convincing me when he is right and vice versa. Looks like I’m drifting from the topic.

We finally decided to go on with an offer that I received. We had to relocate to Chennai. We decided that I would go to Chennai first and find a rented house and then he would come along with in-laws and kids, stay for a few days with us and then go back to Kol, keep looking for an opprutunity in Chennai. Easier said than done it was for me to detach myself from my ‘Tan’ and ‘Man’, comforted myslef by thinking of the ‘Dhan’ which would secure all our future. But the strong genes that I have inherited from dad help me repulse even the temptation to look back, the moment I decide and set a foot forward. I’m getting in to too much of “I, me, myself”, ain’t I?

Locating a house in Chennai was an experience of its kind. As I was working in the second shift, first half of the day I would go house hunting. The “Lotus Facial” that I got done just before leaving Kolkata seems to be having a reverse effect on my skin with Chennai Sun being the catalyst. I must’ve visited around 40-45 houses in and around Thiruvanmiyur and just 1 house in Thoraipakkam (which I reluctantly went to see when the broker insisted a lot) which I ultimately finalized. Like they say, some things are simply meant to happen…

Tomorrow my family is going to arrive and I am absolutely looking forward to it…

A special note of thank you to Srinath Bappa and Vatsala Pachchi for being by my side during these days and helping me in all ways possible. Thank you for bringing back to me, the feeling of having parental guidance, advice, support and protection. Thank you Bittu aunty and Shankar uncle not for all the stuff that you gave me, but for the kind affection you bestowed on me. Not to forget Ramnath Uncle for giving me lots of work while saying Sorry. (By the way, this weekend I might have to say sorry to you for my speed of replies would degrade) and Devika Aunty who is too fun to be with, I’m very happy for you.

Last but not the least is Tanvi who helped me a lot in setting up my house. Like an elderly lady, she kept giving me her precious words of wisdom free of cost. She is my Tamil teacher-cum-interpreter. Love you Tannu…

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Amazing feeling of seeing your offspring grow


As days passed, both my daughters amazed me with all the new skills that they developed. They learnt many things by imitating their elders. But things that they captured on their own really marveled me. A smile from a baby is an instant rejuvenator that makes one forget all his worries, qualms and stress. Your baby’s touch especially when she rests in peace in your arms is simply out of this world.

Sequential milestones in physical activity: Rolling over à Crawling à Stand up with Support à Walking with support à Standing without support à Walking without support. Tammu crossed all these milestones well ahead of Mannu. Reason??? She is light weighted compared to Mannu. What I feel is that she has that athletic blood in her inherited from her dad who was a soccer champion once upon a time. Mannu resembles me as in Sports and I meant North and South Pole. In ways more than one, Mannu resembles me Tammu her dad. The extent to which the similarity goes really surprises us because Mannu is more attached to Abbas and Tammu to me…

Foodwise, they were only fed milk till they turned six months old. Semi-solid food in the form of Cerelac and Nestum were introduced. They also gulped in fruit juices and apple pulp. We introduced Khichdi to them, which was a mix of Rice and Dal initially. Then we gradually began adding 1 new vegetable every week. By now their tongues have savoured on Carrots, Beans, Raw Papaya, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin, Potatoes, Ladies’ Finger etc. Gone are the days when we used to get the Khichdi pureed and take them in our lap and feed them. Now are the days when they consider themselves as grown-ups. They prefer to be fed the lunch that we have. They love to eat with us on the table. In the evenings we used to feed them with spoon, small chunks of roti soaked in milk. My daughters now prefer to have the roti in their own hands and nibble on their own. When they are hungry, they would get the container of Biscuits or Mudi to us and ask us to open it for them. The days are not far when they would open the containers and eat on their own. Whenever we are eating something and if they are around, we are bound to give them a share of it. By now, they have tasted ice-cream, soft drinks, biriyani, noodles, pasta and the list would go on…

Don’t get me started on their mischief. No newspaper could escape their reach without getting torn. Tammu would inspect the nooks and corners of the house to find dirt to please her taste buds. She even took a bite of soap once as though it was a bar of chocolate. Strands of hair, wires, utensils, pens, papers, combs, bottles – they have tasted them all. Oops! Not to forget - their own POTTY!!! Eeeks…Dustbin is the favourite place for treasure hunting. We even have our walls decorated with teeth imprints. They pee on the floor and start wiping it off with the first cloth that catches their eye. Bathing is a celebration… When my nanny comes out of the bathroom with one of them, I am forced to think who has bathed whom? They can now show you their teeth, tongue, hair and tummy when asked to. Mannu is so fond of crows that even when she is very much indulged in an activity, a crow can easily divert her, Tammu can’t be made to sit in a single place for more than five minutes. She is always on the run after committing a deliberate crime. Mannu learns by imitating her. They never like to play with their toys. Spoons, spatula, vegetables, newspapers, bags and mostly all that elders use are their play things. Its fun watching them take a newspaper in hand as though they are reading it or hang a bag on their shoulder or around their neck. They would wait for us to have a look at them and acknowledge it.

They demand our appreciation on anything that they do. They don’t need material things. Your love and attention means the world to them. Guilt pangs me when I see their sad faces when I leave for office. But I sure love to see them jump with joy when I return home from work. Nothing satisfies a parent more than seeing his baby happy. Every accomplishment of theirs makes me feel so proud.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

First day at home and then on…


Abbas had decorated our bed with streamers and balloons… It was a lovely surprise… And immediately then the timer for me to “stay on my toes” was triggered…. It only stopped when they tuned around three months old… The lower tummy area where the incision had been made kept throbbing. Our nanny Sabita joined only three days of our arrival. Washing their clothes and the kitchen chores fell into Ma’s scope of work. 
I bathed them. 

Changing their clothes, cleaning their bottles, cleaning them after potty and feeding them were “round the clock” job, in IT terms they call it “SUN Support or 24X7 Support’”… Abbas always shared these jobs with me… Ma too pitched in now and then to assist, in case required. We had found a nanny, Sabita, who joined three days after our arrival. But she stayed only during the day. Nights were totally managed by Abbas and I. It was frantic for him as he was working after going through sleepless. (Times like these make me proud of my decision of marrying him in spite of the consequences.) They had to be fed almost every 2-3 hours. But since they were two, we were feeding one of them almost every hour… This sure was the best ‘test of patience’ that could be. The thought that haunted my mind the most at that time was “When will the day come when they will sleep through the night? So will we…”

 Milestones during the first trimester in chronological order:

  

June 14

They came home

June 15

Mannat’s belly cord fell off

Both had their first bath at home

June 17

Tamanna’s belly cord fell off

June 18

           

First shampoo at home

Sabita, their nanny joined to look after them

June 21

Tamanna’s vaccination

·        BCG

·        Hepatitis B – 1st Dose

·        OPV – 1st Dose

Introduced Cifran eye drops to Tammu as she had fluid discharge from her eyes

June 23

Introduced A2Z drops – 5 drops daily each

June 27

Mannat’s vaccination

·        BCG

·        Hepatitis B – 1st Dose

·        OPV – 1st Dose

June 28

Began applying Johnson’s Baby Powder

July 4

Both learnt to clutch their pillows tightly into a fist

July 5

Ended applying cord drop in the belly

Began Body massage with Johnson’s Baby Lotion twice daily

July 12

Both’s heads were shaved off as per custom

July 23

Tamanna’s vaccination

·        DPT – 1st Dose

·        Hepatitis B – 2nd Dose

·        OPV – 2nd Dose

Began applying Johnson’s Baby Hair Oil

July 26

Mannat’s vaccination

·        DPT – 1st Dose

·        Hepatitis B – 2nd Dose

·        OPV – 2nd Dose

August 2

We bought their cribs

They used to sleep with us on the bed till today

August 3

They began sleeping in their respective cribs at nights

August 8

Ma and I went out with them on a taxi. We were to meet Abbas at P.C.Chandra Jewellers but wandered streets unable to locate it. In the meantime the shop was closed and we picked up Abbas and came back home in the same taxi. Tams enjoyed the ride but Mans slept all through.

August 9

We came out of home again heading for P.C.Chandra Jewellers, this time a little early to rectify the previous day’s mistake. This time it was Tam’s turn to sleep all through the trip and Mans enjoyed the journey. And I loved everybody trying to have a glance at our fairies. (One of those PROUD MOM moments I suppose)

August 12

Mannat began to respond to talks and thus established a conversation by making sounds of vowels like ah, eh, oh (mostly oh)

August 14

Tamanna began responding to talks, but she made less sounds and laughed more in response

August 23

Tamanna’s vaccination

·        DPT – 2nd Dose

·        HIB – 1st Dose

·        OPV – 3rd Dose

Aug 25

Tamanna held her pillow tightly when Ma lifted her out of cradle. She carried along it along with her not letting go of it for atleast 2 minutes

 

Post delivery qualms and the discharge

All the nerve that I had pre-operation had sunk down to great depths. When I was first asked to come out of my bed and walk to the bathroom myself… it was like a nightmare. I had never seen my self-confidence at such a low. The pain made me too nervous to even think about the discharge… I was unsure if I would be able to take care of babies well enough in a condition like that. We had not even found a nanny at that time. Abbas and my in-laws insisted on me staying in the nursing home till I thought I was OK to come home. I got discharged on 14th June w

hich was a Saturday. I was too excited on that day. 

It was as though I had miraculously become fit all of a sudden that morning. The pain was still there, but the excitement of going back home with our ‘daughters’ took it over. We had to wait for quite some time for the discharge formalities to be completed. Abbas and I were impatient. He was too eager to hold his daughters in his arms, which he was not allowed to do till then. 

We completed the discharge formalities at the nursery and got Mannat and Tamanna. 

Abbas held Mannu and I held Tammu and headed for home in a taxi… Their grand parents were waiting for them there…..