Thursday, June 24, 2010

Down the memory lane - nanny hopping

Last couple of months has been quite eventful. (Frankly last one year, I would say) Feel pity on ManTam at times, coz while we are striving to steady our professional lives, their life’s going through a topsy turvy ride. Fortunately they have adapted to the haphazardness quite well. First 11 months of their life flew very smoothly…

Their first nanny Savita was a boon for us. Since she had joined us within the first week of their birth, they had got well accustomed to her and vice versa. I re-joined work when they turned 3 months old. I was a layman when it came to infants. I had gained bookish knowledge during pregnancy. Savita is a mother of two girls and I got to learn a lot from her which books never taught. I would teach her all that I had learnt from books. She was an enthusiastic soul and a perfect accomplice helping me in ManTam’s periodic photoshoots. I was maintaining a Baby Record Book and would read to her all that I had written and instruct her on what data I need to fill in due course and that she had to make note of several milestones during my absence. I would ask her to accompany me to the pediatric visits. Before the visits, she would ask me to make notes of all our queries we needed the doc to address. She would be at home from morning 8 to evening 8. I taught her basic English. Taught her some rhymes. I was grooming her so that she would percolate all the knowledge onto ManTam, coz I knew that she would be spending more time with my kids than I would. I put those 3 months of maternity leave to good use. During the 3rd month, I made a chart, which had rows for massage, shampoo, feeding, nail cutting, bottle sterilizing etc. I taught her to fill the chart for me so that when I come back from office I could know by looking at the chart how ManTam had spent the day. With her on board and Ma’s presence at home, my work life balance was at perfect harmony. Right from the 10th month, Savita and I were planning ahead for ManTam’s birthday. In the 12th month, on a weekday morning, a call from Savita put us on tenterhooks!

“Didi, Ami ar kaje ashbo na” (I won’t come to work any more), the voice came from the other end. “Whatttt??? What are you saying?”, I yelled unable to handle the shock. She said she had jaundice and she will have to be on rest. Still adamant to let go of her I enquired if she could send any of her acquaintance till she recovers, but she asked me to hire someone afresh. I was shattered. It was as though I had reached a dark dead end and I had no way to go…But like the old saying goes – ‘Time and tide stays for none’, the show had to go on. I was now juggling between work and home. I would massage, bathe and feed them, make their beds, put them to sleep, prepare their lunch, fruit juice for the evening and rush to office. Ma too had a hard time taking care of them alone. But she always tried to put me at ease saying she would manage. I was rest assured that my kids were in safe hands. There were days when Ma didn’t eat herself coz she was busy all the time attending them. I have been very fortunate to have her as my MIL. She was a working mother herself but had to let go of her career as she did not have a support system. Hence, she can empathize with me and is one of the reasons for my tranquil professional and personal life.

After a tumultuous week, there was a new entry to our household namely Poornima. It was very strange to see that ManTam strongly disliked her. Her mere presence around them made them screech. I still wished Savita would come back… Ma had to do all the bathing, feeding, putting them to sleep coz they were resolute to be rigid. Only thing she could do was prepare their food. She was very absent-minded and seemed lost in her own world. I personally didn’t want to have her around. But it was not easy to give pink slip and show her the way out. It’s not fair either. Luckily we got to know that she was pregnant and that her family didn’t want her to work. We too made use of the situation and made her understand that it would be difficult for her to take care of two babies. That was the end of nanny# 2 for ManTam.

During Poornima’s tenure, she had bunked on 8th June 2009, which was ManTam’s first birthday. I had taken the day off as I had planned to bake their birthday cakes. Our cook also did not come that morning only to make the day even more memorable. All day I spent doing ManTam’s chores, cooking and baking 2 cakes. I didn’t have either versions of a blender – electric or manual. All the whipping was done with a steel spoon. All day I couldn’t find time to breathe. After putting ManTam to sleep at around 7, I quickly assembled the cakes – Black Forest and Fruit Gateau. By the time I was about to tell Abbas to get food from outside, our cook appeared from nowhere, her face swollen and battered and I flinched at the sight. She was beaten up by her husband and she was hardly able to talk. She had only come out of her love for ManTam to cook the special birthday dinner we had planned earlier. I almost had tears in my eyes at this special gesture of hers. I first gave her some ointment to smear on the assaulted body. We both cooked hand in hand and finally came up with Fried Rice, Chilli Chicken and Potol Dolma. (Yes, all wrapped up within 10 PM) Then was the task of waking up the birthday girls and getting them dressed (forcefully). We were only 2 hours away from missing their birthday. Cake cutting was done with only Babu, Ma, Abbas, Latha Masi (the cook) and I. I felt the birthday was incomplete without Savita. If I deserved to be there, she too did. She has fed, bathed, massaged them many more times than I must have. But anyway, like I said the show had to go on.

After Poornima, it was Jharna. ManTam somehow mingled with her as though they knew her already. We only guessed that Jharna looked a bit similar to Savita. She was plumper though, but aren’t they too small to spot the difference? Good for us, we thought. Jharna quickly picked up all the chores soon. Somehow I couldn’t bond with her the way I did with Savita. Anyway I was happy that she had bonded with kids and Ma well.

They had been through nanny separation. Now they were gonna go through Mom separation

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A letter of apology to Amma

“You will realize my true worth only after getting married”, she would chant to me and sis once in a while. Those words would hit our opaque ears and they hardly mattered then. Yes, with Mother’s Day around the corner, here I am with all my guts accumulated to go public in apologizing to my Amma. I feel terrible for having taken you for granted – not once, not twice, I don’t even have a count of how many times.

Ever since I became pregnant, I craved for you more than ever. Not that I din’t yearn for you before that, but because motherhood had put me in your shoes. Every moment I spend with my daughters reminds me of your words, your actions, your love, your care, your affection. Amma, when I cut fruits for ManTam, I remember how you would keep a plate of neatly cut fruits on the centre table so that we could lazily pop in some of them while watching TV. I have even indifferently denied eating them never even bothering about how you might feel. When I prepare Dosa for my family standing for long hours in the hot kitchen in front of the Gas stove and giving them away one after one to fill each one’s tummy and then finally I am left alone. I make 2-3 Dosas and fill up my plate, switch off the stove and eat the not-so-hot Dosas alone. You know Amma, I feel guilty of never being concerned to make a single Dosa for you when you too ate the last couple of Dosas alone.

Amma, these are only a few instances I could quote of my day to day life which add to my guilt feeling. Honestly, I am leading a satisfactory and a jovial family and social life. But there is always this ‘void’ within Abbas and I which will only be filled with all of your acceptance of our marriage. I have realized your true worth, my dearest mother. The worst punishment of all is that I don’t get a chance to apologize to you. God has his ways!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Happy Mother's Day


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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

About ‘The Best Baba’ in this world

I had concluded my previous post looking forward to Abbas’ arrival and how curious I was to know ManTam’s reaction to see their Baba after 3 months. To my awe and his glee, they swiftly clinged on to him as though were demonstrating magnetism. Instantly I turned green with envy recalling how my daughters treated me on seeing me after a short absence. Well, nature enriches a woman with endurance, tolerance and forgiveness as soon as an embryo forms in her womb. People talk about the greatness of a mother, how she carries her child for 9 months, gives birth to it, feeds it, yada yada yada… But when I see Abbas, I am awestruck at the way a father is emotionally attached to his offspring although what connects him with it is his sperm, if you think of it logically!

I know Abbas for 6 years now. Till I became pregnant, I had never imagined how he would be as a parent. In one of the older posts, I have described Abbas as the to-be father. Initial months after ManTam’s birth were really hard for us due to lack of sleep. These days are generally spent by the mother at her parents’ place which was not a privilege for me. Abbas went through sleepless nights in helping me feed and nurse the babies. It was very arduous for him. I would empathize with him only to hear him consoling me saying “Because you can’t be with your parents at a time like this, I’m trying to give it my best shot Seemu.”

Other than carrying and giving birth to them, Abbas has done all that I have done for ManTam. He has had his hand at bathing, feeding, changing diapers, preparing food for them, cleaning up their potty; to name a few. When he is around, I am very relaxed as he even ensures that they intake ample quantity of water. Some of his attributes as a father puts me to shame and gives the mother in me, guilt pangs. For instance, I insist on going out for a movie or say shopping once in a while leaving kids at home with in-laws. He dislikes it but is compelled to surrender to my wish of spending some lone time together. There are times when both or one of them have not eaten properly and gone to sleep and Abbas would not feel like eating his meals while I hog mine as if it was quite normal.

Post marriage, I had conferred on him the title of ‘The Best Husband in this world’. I had no clue then that he would soon be promoted to be ‘The Best Baba in this world’.