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 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!!