Messages to my dear friend, Monica, as we share our experiences of being a mother, the things we learn from our little girls, everyday and the lessons we learn from life itself.
A Blog-dialogue across continents, countries and oceans of time and space...
(We last met in 2000 A.D, in India.)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Running to stand still...

My dear friend Mon,

Do you remember hearing ...running to stand still , the U2 song with the same name, way back in SID days??! Sometimes, I feel like that's all I'm doing, day in-day out...and the world still doesn't stop spinning around in my head. It makes me dizzy with worry, at times, and at times, I laugh out from the stress of it all, till I cry...
The last few days have been like this... Kids' school, my work-shifts (the night shift days are back)..shopping for food, shopping for groceries, hospital appointments, kids to entertain after school, Shivangi's Parental Request for her new Special School place to present to the SPAG Panel next month...
At times,in the mornings, the kids are still indoors when the clock says we should be halfway across on our walk to school. Sometimes, I am lacing up my trainers trying to get them to cram their lunch boxes into the carriers...So its not surprising that I have spent the last whole week asleep on the sofa falling asleep at night, with the TV on...Sitting up, leaning across the backrest... In the early morning, a chill, a pain in my neck or the lights in the room awaken me and I sigh, getting ready for another day...Today, the girls came to a farm with me and my friend Pavla, and her son James. We'd been there last week, so it was a repeat visit. shivangi usually likes repeat visits as she knows what to expect! Tomorrow, I have my second hospital appointment at 11 a.m, so Pavla will take the kids out with her son, and said I should get some sleep. (I'm off to work now, and have another shift tomorrow). On Sunday, My Mum-in-Law comes back.
Would love to hear your ideas for calmly tackling the daily grind!
love n hugs,

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Simon says...

I have always felt that one of the biggest weaknesses of being a human is that, often, one feels compelled to given in and follow the 'herd'... Whether out of fear of standing out, or from being unsure of oneself, too many times, too many people give in to this urge. Last year London reeled from the effects and losses of the most reprehensible and vilest of acts committed by so-called 'civilized' people, namely the looting and trashing of businesses, public property and personal belongings. At the time, I thought of times of unrest in India and the subsequent public outrage- evident in images of horrifying attacks, burnings buses, raided stocks, pillaged shops, and hurt humans when the 'masses' gave vent to their mindless outburst and 'protested' some government stand, or another such unfortunate event...

 Yesterday, in the unlikeliest of settings, I saw one of the most glaring examples of this behavioural trait.It was a gloriously sunny day, so I took the children to the park, and watched them frolic, and try out the rides, sharing, playing, chasing other kids around... On and off, they called on me to help them on the merry-go-round or onto a swing and I did, returning to my favourite activity- watching them play! As they weaved in and out on their mechanical scooters, my attention was claimed by a group of nine-ten year olds, playing that popular nursery school game, "Simon says".

There were a few girls and a couple of boys, and the game was going predictably enough, with 'simon' saying "...spin around" and "roll your shoulders"...the group complied, and there were no surprises there. Then, 'Simon" decided to throw in a moral twist into the plot, telling the group, "Simon says....push Elijah", The whole group set upon the one named Elijah, pushing him onto the tarmac, and laughed at his surprised outrage. Simon, then, said "Simon says... kick Elijah" At this point, to be totally honest, a big part of me was all for breaking up this nasty 'game' , but I was held back. Was it he kids' age or the fact that one of the group's parent stood nearby, all eyes and attention, looking after a toddler and also gazing at the group of 'simons', playing nearby. I watched from a distance, uncomfortable and torn-in-two... ready to break up the 'party' come what may, if it went beyond a point...About two years ago, I had broken up just such a group, when they had cornered a five year old...I had realised then, that a group of kids, when they stand against one child, can be ruthless and unforgiving... At the time, an older sibling had taken a cue from me and made them see sense. I had heaved a sigh and turned to my children...

Thankfully, the group broke up, fighting amongst themselves long before the need arose for me to intervene. I was left feeling sad for the loss of an innocent childhood, witnessing an age when youngsters think nothing of pulverizing one of their numbers in the name of a dare, of looting and trashing others' belongings, destroying their lives and defying the Law confident that their 'human-rights' will be stronger than their lawless disregard of authority and judgement, no matter how horribly they trample the 'human rights' of others... Of how we, inadvertently, breed, raise and allow this violence of mind and body...

My heart was struck cold by the playground antics, wondering if, someday, my own child would be a victim of this apathetic hatred and indifference. A cold wave washed over me and I decided to speak to someone about this...soon. Memo to self: Talk...Ask...Scream Out Loud...STOPIT!

Friday, March 23, 2012

'फुर्सत के रात दिन- The Heart and the Home.

Dear Monica,
When I look back on the last weekend and those two days I spent with my brother, I find it hard to believe I was so free, so relaxed, and yet so out-of-place... I could not understand the restlessness inside me until, as I walked off the bus nearby and turned around the corner, I saw my home... The feeling of peace it gave me, made me realise what I had been missing, all along. I BELONG HERE... my heart said, and my head, filled with relief, concurred. So, what is home!!?? It is a harbour to the ship called body, it is a parachute to the jumper called desire, it is a rein to the horse called drive and ambition... home, truly, is where the heart is!!

When I knocked on the door and Raj opened it, his smile said it all! Then, the kids soon came looking towards us from the behind him, smiling and exclaiming "mummy!!!", ..."You're home..."

This is one of my favourite songs of all times....It reminds me of my childhood days, when, in a home without a TV, I watched my parents sitting outside in the Lawn on summer nights, the light filtering out through the curtains...(Dil dhoondhta hai), There are so many memories associated with it.... Dad singing along, and even humming it the next day, as he stood by Mummy watching her cook. He would lean on the Kitchen Platform, chatting about their day, and stirring the vegetable occasionally, as she busied herself with making the rotli. 

Daddy always has loved good music, and given my Mum's understanding of various languages, (or her 'sources', like her colleague Arvinder Auntie in Chandigarh's Dev Samaj College who told her the meaning of tricky Urdu words they weren't sure of in Ghazals and Nazms), their enjoyment of world music was special and intimate. In our home, music was the constant echo, just like it is in yours, Monica... Your description of how music is a part of the very air you breathe, reverberated in my soul and I could feel an identical sense of kinship with the memories you shared!

My favourite memory of being in Ahmedabad after SID was when I was busy with the Thesis and would spend hours in the room, reading, writing, sketching nad typing things up on my PC. Later, after Dad would get home, we both would sit down with Ba, have our dinner, and then all of us would chill-out, listening to the radio crooning  musaafir hoon yaaron, or gulzar's serial- Mirza Ghalib's Audio CDs, one of our favourites...When the home stirred the silence with Jagjit Singh's melodious, pathos-laden voice as he sang, Aah ko Chahiye... By Mirza Ghalib...we felt really touched by the depth of feeling in the shayari...
Music is an integral part of life; when we go for a walk, we hear the birds sing, and as we listen, we can make out which tree the bird is in, where the responses is coming from, and how high-up in the tree it is...sort of like waking up to Nature all over again...It soothes me, calms me down and nothing else can do that, unless of course, we count a perfect evening spent with my husband, just sitting together, alone, talking or watching something and each of us thinks the exact same thought at the exact same time...This realisation of being so finely 'tuned-in' to each other is fantastic...and makes us smile! Music is the echo in my heart; when I'm restless, missing Dad or Keya didi, Digi or Mummy, I listen to a song from the past, and it transports me into that era....
Time goes by, but memories remain, and music is a power that can bring back the 'feel' of that moment back with all the sensory experiences you went through at the time....Its like a phoenix rising from the ashes each time you invoke it with the music of that bit of time...!

Note to myself...!

Dear Monu,
Reading your latest post, Big john doesn't pay!, I was struck by how you used the lesson to guide you to reach a conclusion; of hope, opportunity and getting something good out of every adversity!!

...एक राह रुक गयी, तो और जुड़ गयीं...
...मैं मुडा तो साथ-साथ, राह मुड़ गयी...!

मुसाफ़िर हूँ यारों, न घर है, ना ठिकाना,
मुझे चलते जान है... बस चलते जाना...
                          -Kishore Da's song 'मुसाफ़िर हूँ यारों'  from Parichay

I would like to share another such anecdote with you, one that my Dad had read in a Readers' digest Magazine years ago (we were probably eight or nine, Digi and me). He came home, and later read the story to us and we all shared a laugh, as a family! Just like your home, we did not have a TV at home in those days by choice and so, evenings usually went by listening to old LPs, reading, or chatting about things at school or work.
This story left such an impact on our demeanour and attitude, that if at all any of us starts fretting or worrying about 'what if' kind of scenarios, we all recollect this tale and have a laugh! If I'm panicky about 'what will happen if' I take the kids out, or if they make noise and wake up the other members of the family and start imagining their reactions, based on one incident, then I remind myself, that their reaction may not always be that way...I tell myself to loosen-up a bit and get REAL!!! Dad and I often banter about it in our e-mails and share a laugh (well, a 'virtual-laugh' at least!!) Its a good story, and makes us realise why we need to give our minds a rest, sometimes!
I'm sharing it here, (from the wonderful World-Wide Web), so you can see why its such a favourite with us!! (just click on the link, sit back and enjoy!!)
Borrowing a Jack!!

I'd love to hear your views about this one too!!
Lots of love,
yours, Ruch

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pleasure versus Happiness

Dear Monica,

For some time now, I, too, have been finding it hard to ascertain whether I'm truly happy or otherwise.... One thing is for certain- if I were truly unhappy, I would not sit still until I changed the Status Quo. For example, when I am unhappy with my health, I try to eat more healthily, when I'm unhappy with the state of my house, I set about cleaning it through and through...and when I'm unhappy with something someone said or the way they said it, I try to talk to them about it and clear the air...
Pleasure is, as you said, a short-term feeling; fleeting and intense, but gets dulled and predictable unless we derive it from things that make life meaningful. Somehow, to me pleasure is something that is intertwined with happiness....The happiness of others.

So, when I cook, I get pleasure, but I get my happiness when my family enjoys the food! When I go to work, I feel happy if a patient is well looked-after, and their smile is enough for me then! Nothing is too much trouble, and that's the way it should be. If I take care of someone for their own sake, I feel happy. So, when they, in turn, get pleasure from my pleasure, it gives me happiness! When  the kids are pleased to go outdoors with me, it gives me happiness! As I see the delight on their faces, the excitement dancing in their eyes, I feel buoyant and light...! When Raj is pleased with something I did, I feel happy....too!!

All this is not to say I am always dependent upon others- kids, husband, in-laws, friends, workmates etc to make me feel happy. If that were the case, I would probably be more unhappy, than happy! The simple reason is, one can't please all the people all the time! Someone, sometime, is going to get upset/ displeased with me. I accept that, and I also look at it with a rational mind and open heart. Sometimes, others' expectations of us are so high, we cannot please them, no matter how hard we try...In such cases it is right to do our best and leave the rest to God...! He sees our effort, and He will reward us with the peace and happiness our soul craves.... For its is सुख not ख़ुशी we seek, surely!!??

All I do is be honest with myself, and make sure my inner being is always happy! It is important to revitalise ourselves and do things that make us happy- just for us, sometimes. Like go and do something that is good for us, which only we, ourselves, will understand, even if anyone else won't ...That isn't selfishness; we OWE it to ourselves! This will ensure that our 'bank' of joy is always in credit and we never run out of spirit! So, if I feel like taking a walk, reading a book, eating a chocolate muffin, writing/talking to my Dad or sister, I DO IT! But, these activities are sensory, so that, when the phone-conversation, muffin or book is finished, so is my pleasure... Why does it not translate into happiness??!The reason, to me, is because it was dependent on other, external situations, people, scenarios etc to derive that pleasure. 

We just need to remember one thing: never, deliberately hurt others by our thoughts, words or deeds. That is cruel and disrespectful, unnecessary and malicious. We, our Soul, our hearts work best when we are at peace with ourselves. Just as a car works best when the engine is clean. If we liken our life to a car, the body of the car is our physical self, the condition of the car is like our attitude, our way of co-existing with others... the fuel is how we handle our relationships- with anyone and everyone- from our spouse to our milkman, from the bus-driver to our child's teacher... Just as a car tries its best on any road or surface you drive on. Then, the performance of the car is the peace and joy we get out of our lives... This peace comes only from making sure we are kind, in our hearts, our mind, our words and our deeds. Such peace is everlasting and buoyant, weightless and eternal.

Remember how we greet every new person in our life with respect, attentiveness and a smile??! Sometimes, because of different attitudes and outlooks, there are, fights, arguments and misunderstandings among two people. Then, the same people cease to look at you the same way..! We, still, for our part, need to be at peace and this is only possible if we 'erase' all the hurt, all the pain, all the frustration and dislike in our hearts and replace it with peaceful love for them. How is that possible, you say, when the other person hates us??Just imagine you're meeting them for the first time, again, and the feeling, the 'vibe' will return. Slowly, they too, will see the change in us and feel differently about us...

When I find this hard, or feel I'm not getting the desired result for me soon enough, I remind myself-

I need to be like the flower which is always smiling, always giving away its fragrance, its nectar, its pleasant colours and its life- to give pleasure to others. If I pursue my pleasure alone, all the time, I will be no different from the bee, which flits from flower to flower, in search of sensory pleasure for its own gratification.  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Journey of a Mum:

As I walked to the car last Friday morning, on my way to Swindon to see my brother and his family, (Raj and Shivangi were dropping me off to the Leagrave train Station) I checked my bag and shared some last-minute concerns with hubby (Where the kids' socks, underwear, day/night clothes are kept, how early they are likely to get up over the weekend, where the Paracetamol was kept, how to reach School, in case he needed to ring there, etc etc.)..I tried to calm myself down and push away the feeling that I was, somehow, abandoning my family over the next two days, to cope as best they could without me... Raj reminded me we had discussed this and decided this together already-WHY I simply needed this time: to unwind, to revitalise myself and find myself again...

The Train journey began tentatively, with me learning (again) about the various tickets, and stuffing them in the pocket on my Jacket. I lugged my backpack to the Platform and waited. A passing train hurtled past a minute later and I realised that it was, indeed, a GOOD IDEA to do this trip alone first. I would have had a hard time with the two girls, tickets, luggage etc if I were unsure of it myself! I told myself there would be plenty more chances to visit their Mama-Mami and took mental notes to listen for the warning over the PA System, and hold them back safely behind the Yellow Line, as instructed.

 As my train approached, I got onboard and settled down. Soon, it was off again, and the city stations gave way to a free-rolling meadowy landscape that made me itch to fish out my phone and take some pictures... Conscious as I was of the many people around me, I suppressed this desire, contenting myself with making the images stick in my mind instead!
Soon, we were rolling into London St Pancras International, and it was as magnificent as ever- just the way I remembered it from a previous journey alone a few years ago. At the time, I had gone to Victoria to get Mum a Visa for India. That first journey into the Great City was a true adventure for me. now, as a mum with kids who are growing up swiftly, and with my brother here for a year, I needed to make ever effort to make the twain meet!! Getting off the train into St Pancras, I soon joined the massive horde of people walking, purposefully towards the tube. I stopped briefly to consult a London Underground Map, to make sure I was heading for the correct tube station in the right direction!! If I goof up, I told myself, I'll have ended up far away in another direction...(and miss my connecting over-the-ground train, too.)
Map of the London Underground Tube network.
I mentally thanked and lauded the people who had done their homework, making so sure there was a map of the tube or string of stations before my eyes stopped moving, so I knew, at every junction of the maze, where I was supposed to be heading!! That I did not, even once, have to re-trace my steps is thanks to the nature of the Maps (both whole and part thereof, with relevant sub-stations depicted) themselves...The Designer in me was marvelling at the Font Size, placement and positioning of the signs, whether on walls, ceilings, 'stand-alone's or along tunnels to the tube.

The tube was not choc-a-bloc, as I had travelled during 'off-peak' hours, but people facing each other resolutely averted their gaze. No one smiled. There were no 'friends who took the tube together to work' kind of people about. Everybody just stuck to themselves/ their companion(s) and waited to disembark. I smiled to myself, thinking about Shivangi and her nature: remembering how she chats away at the TESCO Checkouts, looking into the eyes of perfect strangers, giving them a winning smile and saying boldly, "Hello"... This always gets her a smile and a mini-conversation always ensues!! I took this time to take stock of the surroundings, realising I'd be better-off giving the kids some of their belongings for the trip, in a backpack of their own- as they don't (yet) have a Nintendo DS, maybe even a doll or a plaything; unless it got left behind. That would be horrible...!

As I reached my destination and spent an idyllic two days being calm and chilling out with my brother and sister-in-law for company, I had time to rethink, unwind, rewind and come up with enough can-do spirit to last me a  few months. I, bravely, decided that it was now or never. If I wanted the kids to see their uncle in the holidays, I would have to get a move on and do something about it soon!

As Prachi and I went for walks, went out shopping and visited their friends, I realised how good a change can feel. On my return journey, I was much more confident, and got on and off the trains easily... I had time to really appreciate the Stations, their Architecture, the new 'Language' v/s the Old where vaulted roof structure in steel coexisted with a steel space-frame with the appearance and engineering of a tensile structure. The scale, the beauty, the light and the whole space filled me with joy and awe...!


Beautiful steel Vaults with Tensile Steel links across the span. One of the many Platforms. 

The Old and the New.
The Kireet sir & 'Frei Otto' memories:  East/west concourse, King's Cross.

The Scale of it takes your breath away...!! Lit by natural as well as artificial light...

The lattice of Steel, Glass and Natural light
Daylight catchers along the periphery
Go West!! Looking towards the westbound links.

The 'sentinel of light' Tree-like and beautiful! 

St Pancras International:

Looking (and walking) across towards St Pancras.

Old and New Juxtaposed...
Level one, Inside!! Beautiful and Poetic: Arcs and the Arches
London, 2012!! (See the Olympic rings!!??) 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Spring in my Step....and a song in my heart...!

A Long, long time ago at the age of around 10 yrs, I sat mesmerized in a science class in Primary School, in Chandigarh, India. Our teacher was discussing the chapter on evolutionary biology. One of the students volunteered to stand up and read the text for the whole class to follow and I read an account of Origin of the Species, By Charles Darwin...

Darwin's 'Theory of Evolution' became a much discussed, interesting and very well expostulated, scientifically researched paper for us.... There was a group of us friends who stayed in at lunchtime, choosing reading, writing or simply chatting over the noise and dust of the playground. I belonged with  my books and with them, spending many a lunch hour sharing first the food and then something of what we were reading. We often discussed the textbook, catching up on revision plans for the upcoming tests or examinations... It was about this time that I first realised the connection between what we were starting to read in our history books, (Old Stone-Age or the Paleolithic Age, Iron Age, Neanderthal Man, Fossils, Volcanoes and more ) and what we read in our Biology textbooks... The way the Earth's Crust, Mantle and Core were changing; imperceptible to us with our blink-and-miss life spans but chronicled for millenia in the topography of the great big sphere we call 'home' , in the erupting of volcanoes, the rising of the oceans, the heaving Earthquakes etc.

As a student, I had always been in love with the Languages and Sciences...So, Science, Hindi, Sanskrit, and to some extent Mathematics were my favourite subjects. I enjoyed reading about history too, although, Geography  (Maps, especially!!) , and Economics, P & L (Business studies) were my weakest subjects. I 'evolved' into what I am today shaped by those predilections, passion for the languages and hunger for books that could whet and satisfy my appetite for knowledge.

Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution lists a few points that are necessary for the evolution of a species. These include 'Natural selection', and 'Survival of the fittest' , amongst others...Basically, I understood that in order to survive, Nature has devised her very own 'checklist'. Unforgiving and unrelenting as it was, Nature gave us many a source of Stability, Inner-Strength and Courage. That no matter where we look, there will be lessons to learn from, and things to follow...all life long!

So, if I were to list my Revival-Essentials, they would include:
Nature :
 Being one with nature, listening to the sound of the birds...feeling the crisp, morning dew on my tired face and aching head soothes me! This sense of oneness and peace is beyond the scope of any medicine, its works like a palliative on worn, stressed minds and tired, aching bodies...

Sounds of Nature: birdsong, the gentle caress of the wind as it blows, the sight of the changing seasons, the many, varied, ever-changing moods of light from dawn to dusk... Are all so invigorating and spellbinding!!
Watching the leaves on the trees change colour, fall off, only to be reborn anew in the spring season... when buds blossom, tiny leaves burst into bloom, and the trees begin to sway and dance in the breeze again...
In this life, my constant source of joy and delight is my family and the kids... as I watch them, interact with them, I learn something I never considered... If I need help or support, guidance or advice or simply a hug, I turn to my family..My sources of  inspiration and strength (Dad), love and understanding (Raj) and guidance (my brother)....never let me down!!
 My greatest ally would be my friend, my sister, Keya didi, who, despite living half-way across the globe from us, makes it a point to respond to each and every e-mail with love, kindness, thoughtfulness and great practical, helpful advice!!

Dad and Bachchi's in 2010.

My anchorRaj.

Raj and Shivangi

Some of the most inspirational people have been constants in my life only after Raj and I got together. He and I shared our memories of childhood, our youth and inspiring people we idolised, seeing them in films or reading about them in their autobiographies..
Some of the most well-known of these are:

 My Inspirations:

Bruce Lee, his life, his writings, his Jeet Kune Do his philosophy...  
Bruce Lee

Bear Grylls
Bear Grylls is inspiration personified!! A Martial Arts Expert,  Ex-Army (Special Forces, 21 SAS) the youngest -ever Briton to Climb Mt Everest, daredevil adventurer, a loving husband and Daddy of three boys, presenter of Discovery Channel's most popular adventure shows: Born Survivor, Man V/s Wild, The Island, Running Wild, and the latest Mission Survive, to name but a few!
As a parent ourselves, my husband and I spend a lot of time sharing inspiring TV programmes, books, music and Films with our children these days. So obviously, Bear Grylls is a family favourite, always!! Not only is he one of the most charismatic men I care to watch, read or follow, his simplicity and selfless attitude to sharing his love for nature and Adventures with the people of the world is truly commendable. That he happens to be the most well-known Britons the world over is a testament to his courage, strength of character and his devotion to his family and friends. Whenever I feel stressed or shattered, I pick up one of his many books that I and Raj have gifted each other over the years, and there is always something deeply inspiring in his writing. Reading his books has been a great shot-in-the-arm for me, personally, in tough times. Bear's grounding in his Faith (he reads the Bible on many of his journeys, including his trip to Mt Everest as a 23 year-old climber, his bond with his family, his Armed Forces Background, and the respect and love for his family echo my own experiences in life. I often read bits of his books to my husband, (who is something of a book-o-phobic man!) He'd much rather watch Bear in his Series, whether it be the Classic Born survivor series, the Gruelling Escape to the Legion, or the Wild Adventure of Life trips- amusing journeys where he took a few celebrities like  Jonathan Ross (Bear's Wild Weekend)!! 

Inspiring us all: Bear Grylls.

The Crocodile hunterLate Steve Irwin -Australian Conservationist, who grew up on a Zoo owned by his family... His Nickname is misleading, because not only did he help rehabilitate Crocodiles, working and campaigning ceaselessly for their natural habitat, he also shower us all a much different side to these terrifying reptiles. His series on Animal Planet was a favourite of ours for many years. 

The Dalai Lama ... his simplicity, his smile and his messages...truly inspiring! 

Prachi on the walk!!
A walk or bike ride gives me a great feeling of peace. This morning, my sister-in-Law, Prachi, walked with me around their village near Swindon. felt rejuvenated.

I DID IT! At the finish line, with Prachi and friends. (Cycletta South, 2011)

Taking the girls outdoors is another great 'pick-me-up'per!! As they play, explore, munch and crunch, sip or dip, tumble or rumble, I remind myself that this is a God given opportunity for me and also my responsibility as their Mum... I immediately begin to try and gauge where the 'slack' is, in my line and pull up the reel taut, to haul in the fish of my  spirits from the waters of despair!! My children love the freedom of the great outdoors, revelling in the natural 'feel' of things, the way the earth 'gives' under their weight as they jump, into sand-pits, and the way the wind whistles in their ears, sometimes! They're naturally attracted to animals and birds, observing unafraid, approaching them in response to a primal calling... knowing just how to touch,  how to play.... and when to stand back and watch!!

picnic in the park


Paddington Station, London: Travels of a nomadic soul...!
 I love travelling and exploring new places- journeying by bus, train, bicycle or on foot....As the miles stretch on, so does my mind, my questions, my thoughts and my imagination!! That is why I started writing, to give form and face to my thoughts and tales, anecdotes and observations...! In a lot of ways, this trip to see Digvijay and Prachi has been a Godsend.  I got a chance to unwind, detach from the kids and stress of my daily life, which was weighing heavily on my mind, and this gave both of us a chance to re-evaluate the ' Biggies' in our lives together and come up with answers, solutions and strategies to help make our parenting skills more effective.

...watching the Swans on the Bridge, in Watchfield.
 Reading a good book, listening to my favourite music, sketching or drawing and looking at pictures of family... these are some of the things I also do, to revive myself and relax after a wholesome day's work! Life is uncomplicated and blessed, and I have a lot to thank God for...

Friday, March 16, 2012


Dear Monu,

How are you, my friend!!?? Reading your post from yesterday (Rhythm and Soul) made me marvel at your beautiful writing! I could just close my eyes and see you there, in front of me- its the first Sem, after taking a bus in from home and see your smile!! After we moved from Nagindas, I'd often find you in the studio working on drawings  with your walkman on....Sometimes, when we shared the double-height space-tables alongside, and after I got permission from Dad to stay over till late (after drawings and portfolios, models and sketchbooks became too big for buses!! I think in second and third year??), we would often listen to our walkman and occasionally come over to the other's table and 'brainstorm' or ask for suggestions, if stuck on something.... sometimes, we would, playfully, take out one of the earphones of the other's ear and listen to the cassettes we were listening to!! I remember borrowing your collection many a time!! (Click this link and continue to read now..(Song for Raj) One fond memory that I recollect is of you reading Silence of the Lambs, and later lending me your book to read myself... did you know, I still remember the book and after I watched the film with Raj, I told him about the book, our friendship, and He would listen......He is a man of a few words, but his love shows in his actions... They tell me he cares, and inspite of our busy life, he does things which make me realise what a gem of a person he is...

Yesterday, I was really stressed, upset and totally out-of-control, emotionally I was missing Dad, you, my brother, sister, everyone.... all I felt like doing was diving under a rock and hiding from the stresses in our lives that have started to resolve themselves, but each time the phone rings, I feel its some bad news... We've had social-workers' visits, doctors appointments, my poor health, insomnia and the near-constant feeling of dreading Shivu's next outburst or tantrum...to top it all, I and Raj had an argument over something really small...and this made me fall apart, completely...Raj was really understanding and let me cry my heart out as we hugged, and then gently asked me what was the matter... Then I told him I am feeling as if I'll burst from all this strain... He said I should take out some time for myself, leave the kids with him for the weekend and go and see my brother... So, today, after eleven AM, I'll take a train into London and onwards towards Swindon...... I'll carry my notebook with me, so I'll keep writing to you and posting pictures. .. In a way, I still feel guilty about leaving him alone to cope with the two of them, but he said its only for two days, and besides, the three of them have time off. He's planned fun-things for them to do at home...

Okay, let me share my recipe for sanity- because being in this alien country, with a few acquaintances, and no close friends except my dear Raj, I feel so so alone sometimes.... Maybe its the memories of SID days, from the songs I've been listening to, on youtube, maybe its my stressed-out emotional state, or maybe both, but I feel like I'm not doing justice to my family here by diving into the past loves- music, drawing etc...so I just go on, from day to day, like a robot, doing my daily tasks, living it up as a mother, keeping my smiling face, patience and sanity intact for the little ones...looking out for Raj as he's so busy with work five days a week (I work only 30 hrs, or three-four nights a week) his regimen- gym, home, shower, food, TV, Bed... Often we meet each other for a couple of hours over weekends, or weekdays as I'm running behind the kids trying to get them to eat, bathe, sleep etc etc... So today, I'll carry a book, a sketchbook (after nearly 11 years, I don't know if It will be any good) and my phone, which stores all my music...

 On days when I feel relaxed, and am cooking at a leisurely pace (when its a weekend, or holiday, or just the two of us and kids), I try to decide on a dish that my girls can help make. This week, we made alu parathas one day, which they helped with, peeling the potatoes, mashing them up etc after returning from school.... I feel my heart soars whenever they say in their excited little voices, "Yeah, Mummy, let's make that,it's a great idea," or "That's delicious I love it!!" Often, we bake cakes together, measuring out the ingredients, sifting the flour, cracking in the eggs etc etc... If we're doing soups or stir-fires, they cut the veggies (with a cutlery knife only!!) and stir it like a pro!!

With each activity done by them in stages, their excitement grows exponentially!! (while I do the background preparations!) Its great to see the delight on their faces as they enjoy things that they've helped cook. One of our favourite shows is I Can Cook.   Cooking together adds a dash of fun and loosens-up your fears, inhibitions, shyness or stresses.... so I invite my girls to join me. We wash our hands playfully, and if there are accidental slips like spills or fights, I try to keep calm head on my shoulders and sort it out... In the end, what matters is that they are happy!! And THAT makes me happy too!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

AAl Izz Well...!!

Dear Monica,

Hope all's well at your end, or should I say 'all iz well' at your end! I was just getting ready to iron my uniform (work-shift tonight), having put the children to bed already, and couldn't resist a little dekko if you'd posted anything on your blog yet! Well, its late evening now and I'm re-reading your blog-posts from yesterday, smiling to myself, and 'google'-ing Nigella's kitchen videos!

One of my favourite films to watch with the kids is 3 Idiots...! They love the simplicity of its message, its songs, Aamir and his two friends singing Aal IzzWell... I like Aamir's character and his love for learning for its own sake. "Success के पीछे मत भागो, perfection के पीछे जाओ, success झक मार के पीछे आएगी!!"  its dialogue etc etc... There are a number of times when we three used to call ourselves the three idiots, and laugh and sing together, loudly, "AAL IZZ WELL"... tramping around inside the house when there was only the three of us together, alone at home! Actually, it was Dad and me who loved this phrase, and the idea that it can 'fool the mind to calm down'.... made me start thinking...

Dad and I are always saying AAL IZ WELL to each other!! My Dad, as you will no doubt remember, is such a fun-loving, easy-going person, that he's my father and also my best friend too! If I need a 'pick-me-up' in life, I look at him and instantly smile! Just listening to his voice when I call him, saying "Hi Ruch!!" ...the love, the joy, the surprise, when he says it makes my spirits soar!! He's been through so much, has coped with so many setbacks in his lifetime and yet still retains that joy for life and getting happiness from small tiny things... When I lost my mummy in 1995 he became both, a father and mother, changing my perception and rapport with him so much for the better.... Where I used to be scared of him, and resentful of his criticisms, we gradually began to talk and share our likes and dislikes and I respected him not just out of fear or love, but adoration, sheer admiration and pride..

It must have been so hard for him; at an age when most people look forward to some solitary time as a couple with their wife once again, having discharged the duties of bringing up little kids to be self-sufficient, confident and secure. To most people with grown-up kids, after life-time of working and relentless juggling of responsibilities, comes a time for pause. not so, for my Dad... Not only did he have three kids on the cusp of adulthood, but he had also lost his lifetime companion and wife...Then as we sisters finished our degrees, we worked for a bit, got married, and followed our husbands to far away continents.... He's lived alone (after Ba passed away in 2003) for nearly a decade, and yet, he's as joyous as a child, as loving as a parent can ever be.... We share mails, FB posts and songs, texts, the odd phone-call and memories, and he's my biggest motivator, telling me to take up writing, working, loving what I do, even if I'm just cooking with the kids or for them...!. I miss him every moment, and yet, also feel as if he's right here with me, you know??!! A bit like the way I feel about my mother.....as if they both are watching me, helping me, guiding me when I struggle, fall or flounder...

This experience of life is so different for everybody, and yet a lot similar, isn't it!? Reading about you and Raina, how you remind yourself not to worry about pace and the time things take... to go-with-the-flow, and let her enjoy the moment, and actually live the moment with her is a really great thing....You're so right, its a great learning opportunity for me too...Sometimes I feel that in this so-called advanced, fast-paced country, where kids have nursery school at the age of three, we lose the plot and spontaneity goes out the window....Rather than letting the kids just be kids and watching and enjoying their liveliness, curiosity and exploration of their world, we take them away from the most important people in their lives till that point- their parents, and put them into nursery schools, play-schemes and force middle-class parents like Raj and me to leave them with Grandma (who is firm but kind, fair and looks after hem, but is a lot more disciplined than I am, I admit) or Childminders and work for a chance to secure a future for our kids... Not only do we lose out on a chance to learn from our child, but also miss the best moments of their lives...Raj feels it all the more, because of his work schedule and I feel it too- so we try to make Sundays special, with nothing fixed, except that I cook something for when everyone gets hungry...!! Since Mum (my MIL) went to India, we've been a bit relaxed about cooking, Raj often tells me to take it easy after a night shift, and says we should get a takeaway or order a chinese meal.

After we were married, Raj and I stayed at his village overnight for a ritual at Mataji's temple. The next evening as we were walking towards the hills after sunset, talking about our aims and goals for the future, our passions; his for Shotokan Karate and Astronomy, and mine for photography,books and music...we looked at the open sky, lit only with the stars above and marvelled at the universe!! Where does that sense of awe for the whole of creation go when we're at 'home'??!!Surely, the purpose of life is not to complicate , but to simplify...!!???

Why is it that in our villages and far-to-reach places with no electricity, no TV no mobile networks et all, our minds calm down and we find every person so warm-hearted, with genuine smiles and cheerful attitudes?? They may not have the riches or comforts, technology or education of people who live outside, in town cities and abroad, but their lives are uncomplicated and truly joyous. They celebrate life, ALL of it... That is why they open their hearts and arms to people when they visit, and leave a lasting impression! Last year, Diggi and his wife visited Leh, India, and the pictures they took made me realise that the lovely people there are every bit as wonderful as the place itself!  When we visited our ancestral village in Gujarat, near Jamnagar in 2002, Dad, myself, Ba and my Faiba and cousins felt a bond with the place...I felt as if the road itself was taking me towards my destiny, my past, my future... All those generations had coalesced into that one special event in my life- visiting Bhalsan (Dad's ancestral village) for Diwali... I can never forget that...!

When I surf the net looking up a topic or finding a place, for example, I find that the search engine slows down... The speed of acquiring and processing data is inversely proportional to the amount of requests pending, the number of window tabs open and the frequency with which I tap the 'return' key... Similarly, there comes a point in human endeavour, when we need to step back, take stock, discard what is not important and focus on the good and right in our world, our life and ourselves. This purging of unnecessary thoughts, emotions, words and actions is extremely important to me as a person. It is who I am, at the end of the day...

Maybe this is why I am immensely satisfied in my role in life, no matter what anyone else's opinion may be. I may have 'wasted' my design education, to the untrained eye, but to me, it has made me what I am today, it has given me the sensibilities, the common-touch, the concept of being simple and straightforward in life. so that, I can do what I need to do, in my situation. I'm happy with me. My job gives me a deep sense of satisfaction and I feel like I've won an award when a patient says to me, "I will remember you for the rest of my life," and I know that I will too, and I'll pray that they get better soon.... Nurses on our ward and in our Hospital are so dedicated, with round-the-clock shifts and attention to patients' needs that I feel great to be part of the team! Doctors (it is my perception, only) here in the UK are like the president of India; just meant to review a patient or, for prescribing a particular drug, IV Infusion, Blood Test, Scan,X-Ray etc which the Nurses have probably told them a few days ago to do... makes me wonder, how many people's lives we'd save if Doctors actually LISTENED to the Nurses' concern fora patient.... and acted on it asap...

But, I'm deviating from the subject.... (Sorry, Dear Mon, I'm doing it a lot lately!)
When it comes to bringing up the kids, the daily joys and difficulties, the daily battles about school-time, dinner-time, play-time, TV-time, Bathy-time, and Sleepy-time do wear me out, sometimes... knowing that each day, they are growing up a little more...and will one day, inevitably, grow into adults. It is my responsibility to make sure they have a good role model in me, so I try to keep my stress or pressures from affecting them.... When it gets too much, we unwind with me taking them to the park, for a swim or giving them a bath with lots of bubbles to splash around in, for twenty minutes or more. Watching them have a good time and their awe and infectious thrill of innocence gives me peace and joy like nothing else can... with them, even going shopping, getting on and off a bus, buying tickets, getting on an escalator etc is so much fun, its unbelievable!! Kids really should be in-charge! As you mentioned in your blog, Raina always asks WHY and not HOW...! Often, Shivangi asks me why why and more such questions, and leaves me flummoxed and looking for the answer myself! Sometimes her questions are hilarious, sometimes they are serious, but its always a question whose answer leaves me wiser..

Tonight, I gave them a bath then a glass of milk and after that we went upstairs and I tucked them in and we prayed together. Tonight they were both so sad that I was working at night, that I stayed with them until 8 p.m, and we listened to a CD I got from India with Keya Di. It has Sai Baba's Students reciting Vedic Shlokas and chants... Rani told me, after a few minutes of silently listening, that she could imagine men singing it and God was listening to them. When I asked them how it made them feel, they both said, they felt calm.... Memo to myself: Continue to ALWAYS be home for the kids' bedtime, as far as possible, until they are teenagers or beyond! That way, they will have something constant and 'fixed' that they can associate with me, their mother... Like Raj and the kids have their own special games, names, toys and treats...!! Your description of you watching and helping Raina slowly explore the slide and gain confidence was marvellous, Monu! It brought tears to my eyes, to see you both in the pictures, so near in my heart and thoughts, yet so far away... I wish that the future brings us together and we can share some lovely moments again, and watch our daughters interact and play as we sit back and laugh!!

On that happy note, then, I close this post!
Always keep on smiling!! You're teaching me a lot just by sharing your life and day-to-day joys of motherhood with me!! Thankyou, my dear friend!!
(written on the 12thof March,2012 at 2031hrs)


Monday, March 12, 2012

There goes the Sunday....

Dear Monica,
I'm sorry I couldn't write last night... Shivangi was awake until half-past-ten, and Raj said I should probably go to sleep with her to settle her. Next thing I know, its morning- my phone lay on the kids' room floor with the battery out, so there hadn't been a wake-up alarm, and Rani was complaining of tummy ache, heart ache (!!??) and a 'big bug in my tummy, mummy' ; basically all she really wanted was to try and get to stay at home...I reassured her that I'd have a word with her teacher,and if she felt poorly after she went to school, they would ring me at home and I can come get her back. She, being my darling, obedient child that she is, agreed straight away...!! I try to implement a 'reward' system, whereby both of them get a sticker for good-behaviour, obeying Raj, mum and me, and doing things they have been asked. If they get five stickers a day, then we do something special on the weekend- maybe take them to the park, a trip outdoors, a visit to a place of their choice or a special 'kiddie-movie' at home. I am very very impressed with your decision, as a family, not to have a TV...it must give you so much of quality time with the little one!

Raina and you must do some amazing stuff together!! As I grew up within a house with no TV myself, I appreciate what a 'NO TV home' gives the family in terms of free time to talk, listen, read and draw... TV is a good tool, but like all household implements, it should, in my view, be used only when needed, and not as one would use a pacifier for a baby... I think there's a very real danger of it becoming a crutch, and a distraction, or a 'shut-up-and-watch' thing as against something to explore, understand and learn from... Raj is great in that regard that he usually watches discovery or Animal Planet anyway, so the kids, even if they peep-in, learn a bit about things like 'biodiversity', geography or science... When MIL is at home, its the usual Saas-Bahu serials that run (some of which are good I think- like a couple on Star Plus which I record, and watch in my 'me time') and I use the time to get the kids to eat in the kitchen, have a bath, read a story with me etc...I try to limit the time they spend watching TV on weekdays- the kids watch some cartoons/ children's programme for about half an hour in the evening, if at all they do. I sometimes feel they could utilize the time to do some reading with me, play a board game or even a cuddle and a chat... But with my night-shifts, Raj working and going to the Gym (twice a week till 2100) and mum in India , it is a little treat for them and gives me a little while to sit down and watch them....if you know what I mean.

It was a good day yesterday with lots of mild weather and the prospect of a whole day (and night) at home... We started off light and cheery, watching Tom & Jerry together, amid giggles and laughter after their breakfast. I woke up in the morning and the kids came downstairs and agreed to eat some breakfast when I offered to make some french toast for them... (They usually have a bowl of cereal on school mornings, so weekends are the time I cook something up for them). With my MIL in India, I often find my 'management' skills definitely need looking at. I found their uniforms still unwashed yesterday evening and rushed to put them through a cycle in the wash. Then, it was getting to be nearer to eight PM so I hustled them into bed, and we said our prayers, (I wrote about that here), and, having taken care of the kids' bedtime routine, I went downstairs to sit down with Raj for a little while, but then Shivangi was up until late, as I mentioned.... and that was that. Shivangi is a bit like a teenager already- all the attitude, all the back-biting tantrums, etc, etc... I know its because of her Special Needs and all that, but it doesn't make life any more simpler... Raj always knows how to tackle her, but to me, his way sounds too roundabout- I'm always trying to hold it all together, for me, for the kids, for our home... and trying be IN CHARGE and hold their life together and she should respect that. But, enough of that, more on the topic of Shivangi later...!

 Since I started working night-shifts, I feel as if my head has been detached and not screwed back on properly, you know!!?? I feel as if, on the days I'm home, the kids, especially Shivangi, want me to be with them at night, as she feels secure only when she's sleeping with me, Rani or Raj. Raj can accommodate this wish only over weekends, so that his habit of watching 'Bear Grylls: Born Survivor' at bedtime doesn't disturb her sleep. (I would definitely frown upon anyone or anything disturbing their sleep on school days in any way.) Shivangi, it has emerged, functions well when a routine is followed, owing to her special Needs. She feels safe when she knows what is coming up, in the course of the day...If plans change, or things go off-kilter, she loses her security and feels imbalanced, emotionally. This shows in the way she talks to others, the way she cries, shouts and screams... The sad thing is, my own family- Raj, MIL- do not think there's anything 'not-right' with Shivangi's behaviour.

 Recently, Raj has started to see that there is a difficulty she faces, which, medically, is not definable or quantifiable yet... and we are trying to come up with a plan that will help her... But after years of struggling, I still fail to make my MIL understand that my child having a difficulty and me recognising and attempting to identify the extent of it does not mean I am trying to kowtow to the authorities who want to merely 'LABEL' her because she is Indian-British... She harbours so many prejudices in her heart, that even my 'mother's instincts' are doubted and questioned. Immensely frustrating and extremely agonising... Good thing is, I recently visited a school, which Shivangi will attend in the coming school year, (Sept 2012)...It is a brilliant school which has a very low student-teacher ratio, with classes having between 8-9 pupils, and a godsend, for Shivangi. As it is her school work, her learning itself suffers at the moment because she needs an adult TA (Teaching Assistant) to help her stay on the task in class. She is performing at an academic age of 3 + years, which will affect her future, in the long run. Thinking of what will happen to her when she starts high-school, and is struggling to understand things, follow-up with her reading and writing (which she has support with, at the moment) and all that makes me worry for her..

I'm grateful I have the next two weeks off so that I can do a lot of pending jobs within the house. Raj is also off from tomorrow, until next monday; we both have to take our Annual Leave unless we donot mind losing it altogether. Come April, the new (financial) year begins, and our remaining Annual Leave quota is nullified thereafter. My colleagues often work even on Leave days, and I don't blame them; its hard to provide all we'd like to for our family unless both of us work. Having no house-help also means we have to think about making the kids self-sufficient at this age. Yesterday, I got them to help me clear up their room upstairs,  Shivangi was bundling her toys together and Rani helped sort out the clothes while I cleaned the house, their room in particular. They make a royal mess of it on weekends, with biscuit crumbs, crisps, chocolate etc smeared on their bedsheets, strewn on the floor and the room is like a tip. Raj dealt with the dogs, their mess, the garden and all of that... and later I thought, there goes my sunday! Time really flies when there's so much to do, doesn't it!!? Which reminds me, I've got to clean up the house, and start cooking if I am to finish everything in time to pick up the kids from school!

Those pictures and the loving posts you wrote, they made my day, Mon!! Thank you for sharing your breathtakingly beautiful shots with me!! I can see you've got your wonderful coping-mechanism in place, when things get a bit too much! Even I sit and watch the girls as they sleep; nothing is as calming or as contemplative as the sight of our sleeping child to a mother, isn't it!!? At times like that, I wonder how these little angels turn into 'terrific tornadoes' in their waking moments, literally flattening everything in their path!! Where do they repose this energy, this passion which can be so exhausting to live through, for us parents...
How come I'm so terrified of them and yet so much in love with them at the same time!!?? Is this normal, or am I losing my grip on reality...slowly, inexorably slipping into the whirlpool...
More tomorrow, (I'm on a night shift today)
Lots of love and hugs,

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Dear Monica,
I have been looking at pictures of your little darling, Raina...! God, she's adorable! She really is like 'Tinkerbell' as you wrote, and her smiling face is a wonderful amalgam of your and Harit's features... So, how's life!? I'm eagerly awaiting your first link/e-mail/message. It would be great if you also start posting something on a Blog of sorts...All the better for our kids to read when they are of age... But I understand if you have reservations about viewership, privacy etc. (There's a 'settings' page where we can tweak the Blog Readers' list to add/remove e-mail IDs, google+ friends etc.) See if it catches your fancy!!

Today, I practically lazed around in my pyjamas all day long, partly because of my head aching like mad,; (the medication I'm on is being changed, and its one of the unpleasant side-effects.) and partly because the kids are home and Raj is at work...and  I did not have to courage to leave them to their own devices and get into the shower.... I had skipped through the day, giving the kids a rustle-up sandwich for lunch, and we shared the leftover rice and vegetable curry from last night too. I've been at work for two night shifts this week, and my body-clock is still unaccustomed to sleeping at night. Raj often feels like we haven't spent time together in ages, and is urging me to take up day-shifts on the Ward. I think he should be home soon, as he just rang up to ask if I needed any groceries.

Tonight, I made some home-made pizza on a puff-pastry (ready-rolled) sheet, and also some cheesy garlic bread. Raj is always critical of the amount of fat/butter I use, so I have to be careful with my cooking. (My M-i-L is in India, visiting her elderly parents. She's getting things ready for when they come back with her, and live here in the UK with her, in a house she owns. Its a five-minute walk from our place and initially, at least, they'll all stay with us.)
I am still reeling from the kids' noisy day -it takes a lot of 'getting used-to' to live with my brat-pack!! Trust me, they look cute and angelic in their pictures, (which kid doesn't!?) and all that, but their waking moments are full of unplanned, unforeseen dread, for me!! Can't let these two out of my sight even for a few minutes...

Last Saturday, I ventured to take them out to an Indoor Playground, 'Fun Factory', you know the ones where there is lots of netting, soft-padded climbing frames, loads of colourful ball-pools, ladders, slides and the like... The kind of places we parents take our kids to when the weather outside is rubbish, with the incessant rain (UK-ishtyle) making it impossible to contemplate taking them to a park or hillside, so the only option is to let them loose in a space like Fun Factory, where they (ideally) expend their surplus energy, while their parent(s) watch them from a cafe area overlooking the play pits, nursing a cup of coffee, can of coke or a good book.

You wouldn't believe it if I told you how Shivangi cried, when she felt too scared to try the plunging 30 foot-high slide, and yet, felt compelled to try it...From where I sat in the cafe area, I could hear her crying and talked to a member of staff who offered to investigate. .Eventually, I was told by staff that I should take the plunge, literally, with her in my lap, holding her close to me. We sat on the edge of the slide, with its drop-off, plunging length stretching right down, vertically for more than 30 feet and then turning into a parabolic curve as it became horizontal for nearly 40-odd feet. In the end, I had to ease off down the vertical edge of the slide with her held close, and as we fell away off the cliff-edge I prayed with my heart in my mouth that she would be spared any jolts... I think this was, by far, the craziest thing I've ever done...! (catch the action here)  We both hit the bottom run together, and I held myself back and resisted the urge to scream from sheer relief! (Shivangi would have REALLY screamed if she saw me do it, and I did not think it would be a good idea to push her into all that..) But she did scream, when it was time to go home. Luckily, I'd given myself fifteen minutes' extra time to deal with her 'mood' so we did not miss the bus back home.

Raj is not a very hands-on person, unless I need him to watch them at home. so trips like these are usually a solo undertaking on my part. But, on the flip side, he's very much a do-er, so that when we returned home, he had cleaned and cleaned and then some more! Unfortunately, I was working that night, so we could not enjoy the fruits of our labour. (The kids crashed into bed at a decent hour, leaving the home peaceful, and the clean house was a treat..!)

Tomorrow is his day off and mine too, after a lot many weeks of both of us just meeting each other as one or the other came from work...We had begun to feel like ships crossing each other at the harbour while docking in to ports. Now, with the prospect of the next two weeks off, (only one more night-shift to go; Monday.) I am quite simply, delighted to be at home...!

More later, when I hear from you!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sands of time...

My Dear Monica,

How are you!? It was so lovely to hear from you!! Since we caught-up on FB, I've been following your posts, looking at Raina's pictures with delight and happiness. She's a lovely kid; and I'm proud and joyous that you want us to share our 'everyday lives' with each other. Since I began blogging last year, I thought of sharing my thoughts, daily memories and feelings with you, my friend, via another such blog...

My fond SID memories of days spent with you are incomplete without telling you how much I've missed talking to you, writing to you and sharing my thoughts with you. Just the way we did all those years ago, sitting on the damp south Lawns, at lunch, sharing our food, our laughter, our time... our lives...
Do you recollect watching films like 'Guddu', just to get over the 'DESIGNERS' BLOCK' and escape the frenzied, unrelenting heat of an Ahmedabad summer...Do you remember, we went to that cinema on Ashram Road, and झेल-oed that SRK, Manisha Koirala film,Guddu..

I remember talking to you in our first month together, us building a rapport. How I was drawn to you by your quiet confidence, your no-nonsense attitude and your fun-loving, smiling nature... then came our SID ragging days; you helped me when my leg was infected with Cellulitis (thanks to working in an Acute Ward in the NHS, I now know what it was) on the day of our so-called Talent Show in CEPT! Then followed fiveand a half years at that Institution, a time of self-discovery and Design-Education... where our friendship flourished, amidst Submissions, Time-Problems and RSP!!
 There are many other memories; you sharing your Sureshbhai-canteen walla breakfasts with me...चना-पोहा was our favourite!! It was so, so sweet of you to do that...You were a great, motivating friend,spurring me on when BD or FD became far too much for me to handle and I would have been rubbish at Colour Workshop if it wasn't for you showing me the ropes and demonstrating how to use watercolours.  There are truckloads of lovely memories I can think of, us cooking a meal of parathas, or omlettes at home together, when we visited my Dad and Ba...  going shopping for materials together, when MODEL-MAKING days dawned!!

A lot of time has passed, since we met- about 12 odd years, since you joined IDC after we graduated ...and we lost touch...I'm eternally grateful to FB, for getting us back in touch!

I'll write again tonight, and will wait for your reply! Like you said, a 'daily'-a-day!! I'll go and fix my kids' dinner now; maternity beckons...!!
Love to you n Raina, hugs n kisses too!