Saturday, December 24, 2011

'Tis the Season to be Happy

Here's me wishing all of you out there, a truly Blessed Christmas and 2012 filled with God's Love, Mercy and Peace.

I am currently holidaying in India with my folks for the X'mas season and shall be back to UAE by the second week of Jan. This explains the reason for my absence from here. I am expecting a lot of family members from far and wide to join us for a big fat Indian Chrismas with tons of yummy food, music and memories. Will have lots to share once I am back. Also, am sorry that I have not found time to rely to all your comments and mails to me. Everytime I visit my family, I resolve to be off the computer for the entire period I am here, so blogging and facebook are neglected too. I need the rest and the break and this staying away from all technology and gadgets does wonders for me. My cell phone is also switched off as I never get my international roaming service activated. So I take or make no phone calls.  Bliss.

This whole month has been all about sleep, sleep and sleep and not having to lift a finger thanks to the fleet of maids my parents employ and who enjoy pampering me. Yohaan has six people in his 'service' and each one has been instructed to stay with him at all times and basicaly let his mommy chill. Eeeeks, how mean that sounds but honestly on this visit I am truly physicaly tired so I am giving in to all the spoiling and pampering. No, I am not complaining baby! And you should see how my boy goes around bossing everyone too! Everybody is rather happy. We shall come crashing down on earth once we are back in Dubai and our life re-starts our usual programming. LOL. I am again going crazy trying to decide if I want to employ a maid once I return...but that is how mad I usually am! My mother has been on my case to hire one and is totaly amazed that I choose not to hire one.

So anyhow, we shall meet again in a few weeks. There has'nt much happened but still lots to share. And I shall be relying to your kind comments asap. I will! So long then, toodles my lovely readers.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

To School or Not To school

With my son turning three end of November this year, a lot of people have been asking us and/or advising us to send him to school, if not a big one, then a small play school. I am not so sure about that though. I suppose it is a common practise now a days with parents sending their children as young as eighteen months to play schools. Last week I bumped in to my former manager at a local resturant here in Dubai. She has a daughter only fifteen days older than my son. And this little girl has been enrolled in to a nursery school. Not a play school mind you, but a proper pre-nursery curriculum. I was curious so I asked her what do they teach if it is not just free play? Apparently they train the children in making sandwhiches (for eg) , colours based on some themes, numbers and alphabets also based on themes and in play way method. Sounds good. But is that all I should be sending my child to school for? I think not.

I believe there is a lot to it than meets the eye and on different levels. I am a teacher by qualification and have taught some before I decided to stay home. It would be fair to assume that I sort of know about educatiing children in general. Now that I am a mother too, it becomes even more important that I give it great thought and planning. Firstly though, let me make it clear that I have nothing major against schooling system in general. I come from a country where education while greatly valued, also comes cheap if you are reasonably well off. Anybody who can, will take a higher degree from a university. India infact, is one of the countries which has the largest number of universities and colleges in the world! That should tell you something. But getting a degree is not what the intention should be. It is improtant to me personaly and I dont want to bring up my child thinking that a fancy degree will solve all his problems in life. It gets you only so far after all.

So why am I resisting sending Yohaan to any kind of establishment yet? It is my belief that I, as his mother, should be his primary teacher. I should be the biggest influence on him along with his father. I should be his chief care giver. I am most  certainly not comfortable thrusting this responsibility on to a stranger in an environment wherein, he has to adapt to twenty other unique personalities and conform to a regimented structure of activities. What can be more baffling? At this age when he is only just becoming his own person, why should I inflict more unfamiliarity on him? And what can be more better or important than lessons learnt from home through his own mother/father/siblings. I mean really, do I want to send him to school so that he learns to say hello to strangers, so that he learns to sit nicely in a corner and eat his lunch, so that he can learn how to use scissors??? Or know that a fire engine is red in colour or that he must name his body parts by a certain age? Who decides these milestones? Is it not enough that an average baby will anyway learn all this as time goes by. I am the kind of mother who does not fuss much especialy about reaching milestones. Everybody picks up. They all catch up and the one's who dont, there are doctors and therapists to handle those challenges. But what I do care about is his emotional and spiritual charactor. It matters a great deal to me that my child becomes a good human who loves his Creator, no matter what. That is something we as his parents are not willing to compromise on.

One of the major reasons we are hesitant to send him to any kind of school yet, is knowing the fact that he is under critical training before he can be let loose in the world, on his own, for a few hours. He reamins close to me throughout the day but he is constantly learning and absorbing like a sponge. Sure it gets tiring for mommy, but they never said mothering was going to be a cakewalk. It is exhausting  precisely because it is supremely important too. Bringing up your child your way, is your responsibility. Period. The teachers and care givers, grandparents and relatives, neighbours and friends are good to have around but parenting is my job. If I am able to trust anybody else to do it for me and not only that, I pay them for it, it doesn't make me think much of myself am afraid! The sense of security and a combination of learning, discipline and application of skills learnt at home is any day superior to a school. Yes my dear readers who might disagree, I do genuinely think so. Even if I was not a qualified teacher, I would still think that I am the best teacher for my child. Ofcourse, if the husband paid me for it, I would be a happy bunny and out in shot, shopping, but jokes apart, nothing compares to mommy being the teacher at home. As it is, I also happen to feel that for many, many women going to work and leaving their children behind is just a means of shirking off their responsibilities as a parent. It is as simple as that. I do not and will not accept any of the usual reasons working mothers give for leaving their kids at home. They 'think' they deserve the down time, well, I dont think so sister! You spawned them, you look after them. And so, dont stretch it by sending them off to school when clearly they are not ready. Have some compassion.

Do parents consider need for socialisation as one of the reasons for sending their kids to school? Sure they do. Homeschooling families get a lot of flak from families who dont . Let me tell you then, research has already established that children infact, dont need a classroom full of peers to grow, learn or even to enjoy friendships. It seems, no more than two or three children of the same age group is enough to develop their social skills. Add to the general chaos of having too much too soon, I dont want my child to develop a competitive spirit. It is not an acceptable quality either to me or my husband. It is enough for us to know that he tries his best. That is definitely enough. Some of those typical,  high achieveing friends of ours, have asked us whats wrong in being out there competing with the rest? Everything, I say! On every level if you will. Lets not even begin. Else I might just explode!

Then a cousin of my husband's says to us, send Yohaan to school so he develops immunity and wont fall sick often. His system will get used to the germs floating around. Thank you very much but really, my child is not a guinea pig, do you mind. Further he says your son will become independant. Allow me a few moments of utter and great pride dear brother-in law and readers alike. (Readers, brag alert ahead) My son who is not yet three- eats by himself and loves his food, goes to the toilet by himself, does not wet the bed at night, loves to talk and  listen to music and dance and read, he can wear all his clothes on his own, he enjoys playing with his imaginary friends when the actual friends are not around, he has a fabulous vocab, he loves to read whatever he can manage (aww my baby), he can climb high chairs, jump from heights, he can express himself if he is in pain, he has clear and precise interests and dislikes, he is outgoing, he looks you in the eye when making conversations, he can count some, scribble some, recite some poems albeit in his baby language, he knows his colours, he loves animals and gardening, he loves to swim, he loves to help around the house, has zero interest in watching that wretched TV or playing with his father's fancy gadgets and so relies on his own imagination to keep himself entertained, follows an easy going but familiar routine and above all knows the  enitity of  God the father and His Son Jesus. See? Your usual baby out there, going about achieving all the required milestones and then some! No pressure, no seperation anxiety, no distress at the unfamiliar. Why would I want to throw in some nasty germs and competition with the peers  in to the scene now? Tell me one good reason. As for gaining independance, I am not sure I want him to be completely independant of us, his parents, at such a young age. He seems to be enjoying the security we provide by constantly being available. There's no rush to register for that college dorm just yet anyway.

I must again point out that I am not anti-establishment. Schools and colleges have their use ofcourse, but as a parent I will decide how much of an influence I am allowing on my child from these external sources. I am very uncomfortable doing something just because everyone else is swearing by it. No offence meant to nursery teachers (remember I was one), but really I know that they have 20 other kids to handle and all in the same way. There is mostly no scope of indivisualising methods of teaching and nursery care. In large groups, systems have to be tailored and regimented suiting the establishment, not the child. That is not the kind of 'forced' care I want to subject my precious child to. What about you other parents out there? Would you be willing to send your child to pre-nursery so he/she can learn how to make sandwhiches or use stickers or wear a red dress because the teacher declared it a red day in class? What is it that they can learn better which you cannot provide at home? Tell me because I am curious. No, I really am. What makes a parent take such a radical step as to send their child to school before the conventional ages of five or six? And how do you decide when is the right age anyway? For starters, I think mothers first need to stay home! Stay home and know your child. Dont base your decisions on feedback receieved from the nanny or grandma! Stay home and do it your way, you child deserves that much to begin with no? Nothing else can/should be more important. Nothing. Ever.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

All That I Ever Wanted To Be

For the longest , longest time I remember, all that I ever wanted was to be a wife and mommy and play house. Yes, there I've said it now. It was a passionate, strong , living dream of mine. As a little girl I loved playing with dolls, imaginary cooking sessions, mothering my baby cousins and the grown ups around me would comment 'oh, she is such a mummy!' I even remember being very pleased to hear that! Then you know, being Indian means you have to get married and have children before the right age, that 'right age' differs from community to community but a general trend in my clan is getting it all done before 30. That is infact quite late by most Indian standards. So as I started approaching twenty-five, my parents, ah bless them, dutifuly began making noises. 'Havent you got a boyfriend? What kind of guy do you want? Do you want us to start a search?' I can imagine many of you cringing, which is okay. As I keep repeating, I am Indian and in India we do still have arranged marriages you know! If one has'nt conjured up a boy/girl friend or if one has'nt been noticed and basicaly nothing exciting is happening in one's life, parents step in a do the needful. Very convenient I must say.

Suffice it to say, my life wasnt 'happening' enough and so one sunday morning my mother asks me, 'well, you know, shall we then?' 'What mother?' 'You know, you are soon going to be twenty five, maybe we should get you married?' "Why mother, how nice of you to notice!'. Except for the small, teeny-tiny problem of 'arranged marriages' not working out in our clan for some reason! As it is there are hardly any uncles, aunts or cousins of mine who have had an arranged marriage and the ones who failed at producing a suitable boy/girl were 'fixed' by their parents and lived to regret the choice. So, arranged marriages dont work for my family. It's just one of those family curses or something. Anyhow, me being me, happliy agreed. To marry that is. But informed her that I would find my own man. And I did! Non Indian and particularly western readers may find all this weird. I suppose it is, if you are an outsider looking from the outside ring view....but for many of us young Indian men and women marriage is a serious business and most of us, if not all, comply with societal norms of getting married 'on time'. I was no different and while I was not desperate to start living my domestic dream, I knew in my heart that I was ready to be married from like the age of 10 months maybe....who know huh?!

Many women who have a similar profile like mine express great amazement when I open up about living my dream. With increasing options vis a vis higher education, career choices, access to world travel and technology nowadays, no doubt more and more young Indians are pushing marriages and motherhood to the backburner. That is alright I suppose. I mean our parents' generation did not have these choices, so it is natural that changes will take place, it is inevitable. Which is why some of my mommy friends who have chosen to work too, express shock that I 'seem' to have such old fashioned views. How can anyone simply dream of being a wife and a mother. Is that it they ask? How? Why? Honestly, I have never felt concious of speaking about my dreams. I have never felt the need to sound right and say that I will also try and take a shot at being a career woman and a home maker and balacing it all. I always knew my inner most desire and whats more I went about planning and attaining my goal just like any 'other' career minded person would. While you may have gone to college to train in a career outside home, I studied so I would be better informed and able to teach my future children. I travelled to become more aware, I read books to hone my intelligence and pick up skills, I watched other seasoned home makers and learnt housekeeping and mothering from them, I watched happy couples and tried to file it all away for a future need. I learnt from their mistakes too, one of them being 'dont say no to sex!' :) Jokes apart, I did take preparing my self for marriage and motherhood rather seriously. In my mind, if I was to live my dream successfuly, I had better be prepared. Lifestyles today face unprecedented stress and strain, so I chose to be fuly equipped. When the right time comes, you can make the transition as smoothly as possible.

I dont know whether by working outside, I would be making great changes in the world. The kind of person I am, I have my doubts really. I did work steadily before getting married and untill I was pregnant with my son. In my mind it was just a phase of getting to meet lots of people people and making some money, thats about it. I performed well because it was the right thing to do. But those jobs that I picked up were not going to take me anywhere and were certainly not my priority. They would never take the place of the stuff that were supremely precious to my soul. That is, having a partner, a house to look after and a child to bring up. Yes ofcourse I was biding my time untill I met the love of my life and asked him to marry me and proceed to give me a baby- major strategy at play here, dear readers! Hello there hubster, you were very obliging I must add! Ha ha ha. It worked out quite well isnt it? The sense of contentment and fulfillment I now have is the same as any other 34 year old (darn, you guys know old I am now!) working woman. She would probably be a manager by now, heading her own team, steadily climbing up the career ladder and making pots of money too! On an average I assume. Well, it is the same with me. What would you expect from a 34 year old home maker and a mommy? I must say I have come a long way indeed! From pure panic at the prospect of hosting a couple of friends or cooking a fancy meal for hubster's boss, from not knowing how to revive a dying inddor plant, from not knowing how to plan and execute a week's worth of menu, from not knowing anything about brith control, from not willing to submit to my husband and caring for him, from not knowing how to shop for fresh meat and vegetables and oh, so many things I have come a long, long way baby!

Even if I say so myself, I do run a good house. And am currently guilt-free as far as mothering is concerned. Being a good wife is fodder for another post altogether though. *sigh* I am now a fairly seasoned home-manager! I dont panic, I am organised, I plan and I execute effortlessly. My house is open to all. My pantry is well stocked, fresh food always available. The beds have clean sheets-always. The toliets are shining. Things are (mostly) in their place. I have a budget and a menu plan. I manage to be awake before the boys and ensure they are looked after. (Hubster's ALL socks are always missing though...loosing battle that one now). My child is secure and happy knowing mommy is always around. He gets the very best of me and not some care taker, and that is perhaps the best deal in this whole drama. I can and have hosted 50 guests easily with not an ounce of panic, I am available to anybody who is needy around me.  A new mother needs a meal? No problem. An elderly church member needs a pick up for church? No problem, even though I dont have a car, will organise a car lift anyway.  A young single girl friend needs help shopping for her upcoming wedding followed by hand holding and counselling? No problem. She also needs advise on sex and birth control before she gets married? No problem. A young brother in law needs advise on handling a crush? No problem. He also wants his laundry done during the weekend because he is a bachelor and not very well equipped to handle it in his own pad? No problem dude! Come on right over. Husband's colleague at work gets married and visits with his new wife , reqeusts me to share recipes and tips on settling down in Dubai- with pleasure! A hindu friend drops in for a meal during Navratri and wont eat meat, will cook a fantastic hindu-veg meal babe. ( I know you will read this and smile!) A visitor from India first time in Dubai? Will take you around and cook and launder for you and entertain you too! A reader of my blog , perhaps very lonely will email and expect a few words back- certainly no problem! Blogging regularly after so much happening in life- maybe a little problem, lolll.

As you can see my dear readers, I have enough and more happening in life. I am not busy without a purpose here. I am trying to live intentionaly. Without expectations. My Father in heaven sees all this and I hope he is similing. Look at her! She's a little-big momma alright! And am lovin it .

Disclaimer: I sound so full of myself but let me assure you, I am no domestic godess, yet!

Monday, October 10, 2011

How Exciting....

 Patricia has posted today  featuring a house tour of none other than your's truly! To view the pictures go here.

Thanks Patty. I am so excited and honoured.

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Pickle.

Over the weekend, I surveyed and found 183747 kilos of fresh lemon and green chillies in the fridge. I could not think of a regular recipe requiring so much of both. So, this is what I did. Made the most amazing lime and green chilly pickle. Let the pictures speak. :) Gimme a shout should you want the recipe.

See what I mean? Too many of 'em!

Love the colours!

Assembling in to a jar.

Salt and suggah!

A final dash of lemon and....

We are done. Out in the harsh sun just for four days and this is good to eat!

What have you guys been up tp then? Am linking this to Patricia's The Weekly Story ~ wk 52

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Servant Girl

Most of you would have figured out that I am from India. North India to be precise but that is not important. I am a stay home mom and am quite comfortable with this choice. Lately, I have had a chance to meet some other mothers who stay home (mostly Indian, or Asian) in my appartment complex. Different backgrounds, different sub-ethnicities, some with a single child and some with more than two at home. What binds us is ofcourse our motherhood and the fact that we all are at home with these kids. However, just mothering is not all of it. We also have homes to look after and meals to cook. Many of us have decided not to employ any domestic help. These helpers are commonly referred to as 'maids' in this part of the world. I personaly  dont attach too much importance to semantics really. It is a generic name. As far as I am concerned, I would like to be a kind and a fair employer ensuring that in my dealings with them, they get to witness some light of Christ. Currently though, I dont have anybody working for me.

Two days ago, my next door neighbour and two other ladies from another complex met me down at the park. This neighbour has a Bangladeshi woman working part time for her, the rest of us manage on our own. There really is no glory in it. Just that we are home makers and do the job of making home! Just because we dont have a maid to help us and we do everything ourselves does not make us superior. I really dont think so. It is a choice end of the day. Some of us may be happy doing everything ourselves and some may not. After all, there could be a hundred reasons why a family chooses not to hire help. A lot of Indian women tend to read a lot in to this I'm afraid. So anyhow, we were all chatting away when suddenly I realised it was getting late and I had to be back to prepare dinner and fold laundry. My last chores of the day. And so I decided to make a move. Immediately my neighbour says to me, 'Why do you have such a maid mentality, why dont you value yourself more?'. To say I was astounded would be putting it mildly. I did not react then but it triggered a thought pattern in my head. I managed a goodbye, took my son and came back home.

Non Indian readers must understand this unfortunate cultural/social phenomenon in our society. That we do not have a concept of dignity of labour. Class and social barriers are deeply rooted and so the 'maids' there certianly do not enjoy a respectable status in society. I dont know about other countries but thats how it is in India. They come from the poorest of the poor slums, are illiterate and because they cannot find work say in a 'offoce-school' kind of establishment they choose to become maids. Often they are married off at a young age, have children just as early and are forced to move out to fend for the whole family. I think I can safely genralise that most of them suffer from extreme hardships brought about by poverty, illetracy and poor health and nutrition.When my neighbour asked me that question I know for a fact she wasn't referring to my 'class'- just to the way I seem to be working hard in my house- maid like if you will. But then she was also very condescending in her tone. And that bothered me. What is it about being a maid that is wrong? No really, if I am working in the house the fact remains that it is indeed 'my' house.

I dont understand why is it a problem if I want to do everything myself? I cook, clean, dust, mop, water the plants, make beds, clean toliets, do laundry and everything else that is required to run a house smoothly. The way I want it. At my pace. With a flexibility that suits me. If there is any urgency and endlessness attached to it, so what? I have never, ever judged a woman just because she has hired someone to help her in the house so she can have time to do her thing. Never. I know so many women who run their homes fully relying on an army of maids. Their homes sparkle, the meals are fabulous, the toilets always shining, the plants thriving, not a speck of dust anywhere, you get the picture. I however will not even dream of turning around and asking them, 'Err, excuse me, but what is it precisely that you do in your house everyday?' or ' And you are preening about your fabulously run house because you work your butt off or your ten maids do...?' That would be harsh and terribly judgemental is it not? Especialy because i have been on both sides. I grew up with an army of house help. My mother has always worked and owns her own school. No way she could have stayed home to do even a fraction of chores one is required to keep it running well. She also has high home making standards however. So, I like what she has done since she set up her home. She always chose not to spend money on clothes, jewlery, eating out etc. In those days ( about 25-30 years ago) there wasn't much she could do anyway living in a small Indian town. Instead, she spent on her  personal physical comfort and peace of mind. She may not have had the best sarees in her wardrobe, but she had her own personal maid to attend to her. For her, that was money well spent and frankly she deserved the rest and peace these helpers provided after she worked so hard all day. I know some relatives kind of disapproved of this lifestyle but like I said, my mother had her priorities set and did not mind paying for it .  My father never seemed to mind this arrangement and so that is how things have been since forever! After I got married and set up my home, I have had maids off and on to help me. I took them on when I needed them the most like when I had a baby through a c-section and my bedroom was on the first floor. Or earlier, when I was working full time. I needed help and I got it. Nothing to it.

We must realise that there are often two sides to any given situation. When my neighbour who also by the way professes to be a Christian, asked me such a question I was struck by the thought that how easy it is to judge or worse look down upon somebody. Just as there is no big deal in keeping a house with the help of a maid, similarly,there is no glory to doing it all on our own. You can either enjoy it or tackle it in a very matter of fact way and just do it anyway.  It is a calling for some, like me. I dont find it mundane, I dont crave change, I like my rythmn and routine, I get satisfaction out of cleaning the toliets as per my standards of hygene, I am excited in the kitchen when I try a new recipe. No, it is not always fun. It can get exhausting,it does get lonely alone at home, sometimes it seems thankless too. Some days I dont complete any chore, some days are super productive and smooth. Each woman does what needs to be done, just as I do. Sometimes, we do it all by ourself, sometimes we get help. What is there to judge, yeah?

For me personaly, it started becoming a matter of living out my faith. As I struggle to grow in my christian walk, I am trying to incorporate it in every aspect of my life including in practical terms. I blogged about it earlier too. Some months ago, I reached a stage wherein I got convicted that I was just not a very productive home maker. As a wife and mommy, it will always be a work in progress but I was not being intentional about my home making. Which is when I decided to make changes. I learnt to be still and be intentional in everything I do around the house. And to learn to be joyful. If this is my house, then I better be happy looking after it. Many do not enjoy this privilege. I am blessed to be able to stay home. I am not proud, but am so contented that I cook for my boys the things they love. I clean for them and ofcourse for myself. I am happy knowing that my plants probably laugh behind my back because I talk to them when I water them. I dont mind serving my husband when every night without fail, he forgets to get himself a glass of water for his bedside and will ask me to do it, and to fetch his phone too while I am at it. Or early morning he will ask me to organise his towel and socks etc even though it will be lying right there in front of his eyes!

There are rituals  and rotuines every family forms. Of different kinds. And if mommy or daddy (even) is the one serving the rest, so what? It is a wonderful way of demonstrating to our children the value in being 'of a servant heart'. It teaches them humility and hard work. My son watches me look after the house, him and his father. It will be my hope that one day, while he wont compare his wife to me, he would have learnt from his father the ways of appreciating his  wife! My neighbour was rude no doubt, but in calling me practicaly a maid , she unwittingly complimented me! Christ Himself commanded us to 'serve one another in love'. Also, on a somewhat  similar note,  I dont think I am sacrificing anything here. How can my role be called sacrificial? I am doing it for 'me and mine'. Thats hardly a sacrifice now is it? I am doing it because I love my house. I like to keep it pretty. I love my family, I look after their over all well being. The end result is 'ME' being happy and contented. I wish I could have made her understand that in God's eyes the lowliest of the lowlies is the apple of His eyes. His preferred one. I wish I could tell her that there is nothing wrong in being a 'maid' - of anyone! I AM the servant girl around here and proud to be one!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

My Major Blog Crush

...and I do mean serious , seriouser, seriousest of the kind!  I dont know why did I not share with you all before, but better late than never as they say. I absolutely love this home decor blog which focuses on only the colour Turquoise! Want to know more? Then head over here. I can promise hours and hours of eye candy. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Tiny Oasis

Most weekends I have some project going on in my house. I like to potter around. Change things up. I have this urge almost every weekend. During the week my time and energies are consumed with housekeeping. I am so anal about most things. The way dinner is cooked, the way it is served. The way the beds are made every morning. Nutrition for my child who wont put on any weight despite my best efforts. The way the towels are hung in  the bathrooms. The way the microwave has to be cleaned and not to mention my other babies- my plants! I love them. I love having greenery around and those of us who live in this desert land's high rise appartments know how difficult it can get to avoid feeling numb with the crazy concrete jungle all around.

I have a fairly big balcony, but poorly designed and executed. I dont know why did the architects think that a 'really long but very narrow' balcony is a good idea! I mean, mine can be termed 'big' but it is practicaly rendered useless due to it shape. Long and narrow like I said. :( But anyhow, knowing me, hubster has indulged me and bought me some plants and greens. I had some cute ideas but had to make a choice between being able to sit out in the balcony for 'chai sessions' or having a bit of greenery there. Since I am vain, I chose the option of simply planting some greenery for my visual pleasure. I now, sit on my dining table which opens in to the balcony and have my chai in the air conditioned comfort. Here are some pictures of my before and after changes carried out this weekend. Much grunting, sweating, cursing the Dubai weather later, I present to you my garden corner ladies and gentlemen, (if any). And because it is Patricia's The Weekly Story-episode 50, I decided to jump in and participate too. It is the 50th after all how can I not join in at all !

Looksie now.

This is how my baby garden started....I went away to India and hubster ofcourse destroyed my flowering shrubs. I had to make changes to incorporate just the green stuff left....else I would have nothing to show, you know!

I used old wine bottles, discarded water coolers and broekn artifacts from my living room to add some interesting elements.

Then slowly changes were made. Watch!

I had been collecting little pebbles and rocks from sometime. And dying to use them here, finally got the husband to lug them from the car boot which is where I was storing them!

Look at my little Birdie and Mr Froggy! Adopted them from the Dubai-Garden Centre.

The other corner. All the clay pots are a result of ordering take away Biryanis! And the blue carton you see, that is how mushrooms are sold here, in those little tubs. Just drilled some holes and voilla I have a pretty container. I am collecting some more so I can add lots of blues to the greens.

A day light shot taken very early morning when I was out watering them babies.

A night view of the Dubai sky line beyond the balcony railing. I added some knick-knacks here for my smoker friends to have something talk about while they have their smoke here. Ha ha ha.

So thats it then. I have had a lot of fun making these changes. Got more and more and more plans going on in my head. But time and budget constraints will have to be taken in to consideration. I am going to be away for whole of December and dont know if hubster can handle more plant-care duties. I am dying to add so much more to my motley collection but for now we have to wait. Hope you guys enjoyed seeing my little oasis. Right here in the desert!
Edited to add: I missed the linky party to Patty's weekly roundup on her blog. So shall link up on Monday for the 51st round. Am leaving the link up here, so if any of you want to come back , you can.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

And what do you think of this??

Hello hello. I have been cleaning, organizing, re-decorating and adding colours to my house....the sneak peek follows below:

There are some crazy colours in my house now. No holds barred. Love them. Totally. This is the entrance to my appartment as you step in.

More pics to follow soon. Stick around now. :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Some Shelf Love

By now all my readers must have got used to me missing-often-in-action! The thing is I mostly have nothing interesting to share. Not even pictures even though there are so many in the camera waiting to be transferred. I am the original lazy bum and we dont want to ruin that image now. I cannot say if I can keep bloggin on a regular basis because well, I dont want to waste your time, and we are kind like that. Thank you,.

Now but, I would like to share some pictures. Patricia(based here in Dubai) of the very colourful and inspiring blog  organises these lovely linky parties. I have been meaning to join them since ages but I always seem to miss the deadlines. *heavy sighing* But this time around I managed to do something about it. Cleaned, dusted, placed some of my favourite bits and pieces and took pictures (that is important you know) and am finally linking up to her show and tell 'Shelf Stories'.

I live in a chicken coop for a house. Less than a thousand foot sqaure, space is a premium. Add to the woes of teeny-tiny space,  a complete lack of storage . We have nothing, and I mean nothing. So this open rack/shelf has to be practical and pretty both. See for yourselves. Many of the pieces dispalyed here are from the Dubai Flea Market where I have spent many a blissful saturdays. I love flea markets. Dubai doesn't seem to have much of a flea market culture (I think because everybody is super wealthy??) and I hardly ever see any Indians there. Which is sad really. But I digress. Now then, on to some pictures. Hope you like 'em.

This is in one corner of my living room. Me and hubby are voracious readers, so you see books books all over. I also love plants and a combination of both is my favourite way to decorate!

A close up of the top tier. That big bowl is from our holiday in Turkey.

The second shelf houses my meagre silver collection. The tea set is a part of my wedding gift. And is antique.

The bottom two shelves. The ceramic orange pot is from a roadside in New Delhi and the wooden/silver pipe is a flea market find. Pretty isn't it?

And the whole of it! The cushions in the background have been stitched by me btw.  Why yes, thank you.

And my wooden hanging shelf. You will find it in every home which loves to shop at FabIndia, which is where we picked it from when we bought our first house here in Dubai. Since we were broke buying that house, we couldn't have bought anything more expensive. I do love it though. The little miniature pottery pieces you see here are from all over. Japan, Turkey, Yemen China and ofcourse the flea market.

A close up of the same shelf.
Can you guess I have a thing for collecting cute little tea pots? Well, I do.

And that my love is the End. It took me a good one hour to get this up and I am wondering how will I find time to do this on a regular basis. We shall see. Thankfuly, Patty is way more inspired and hardworking than me.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Lazy Friday

In UAE, our weekend is Friday/Saturday and Sunday is the first working day of the week. I have for the last five years lived out crazy-busy weekends here. Before we became parents, we used to go out all the time but weekends were especially hectic. Infact, I think they were more tiring than the weekdays even though we worked at full time jobs. Things have slowed down a bit- only a bit, mind you. Today has been one such day. A rare friday when we have stayed home the whole day, cooked and eaten at home and are expecting nobody for dinner. My weekends are rather crazy otherwise. Packed with outings, errands and socialising/hosting friends. It is amlost as if it is taboo to have a quiet realxed time on fri/sat! Honestly! For a long time I remember, I would feel depressed if no plans had been made by wednesday. It was a compulsion to be out and about. Sounds mad no?

Last night as I finished cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, I made mysef stop and think hard. And I realised that I badly needed to just be 'STILL'. I am constantly on the move if not physicaly then mentaly. I actually stood still near the kitchen sink, looked out of the window, deep in thought  and decided that we will stay home on friday. The original plan was to attend church (which takes half a day-almost) and then drive down to Fujairah to meet friends for lunch/dinner. But guess what, I just couldn't face a long day out with a pesky kid and sleep deprivation. I function on six hours of sleep, a bad back which play up only during night and a full day of chores. So I informed hubster that I would like to relax and rewind at home. No malls, no errands, no meeting anybody for a meal, no going for some show or exhibition and figured I would more than survive the seemingly 'boring' day at home instead. In Dubai, everybody loves to hang out at a mall. I may be over-generalising a bit but bear with me. Over the last few months, I have become so disenchanted with malls. They are tiring and mindless. People think that because it is so hot and humid here they have nothing to do except hang around a mall. No doubt the malls are cool, clean and serious eye candy but there's only so much hanging around a mall you can do, right?

Anyway, I speak for myself. We have been making a serious and a concious effort to keep Yohaan away from big huge malls and are doing rather well. We have made an effort to take him to the beach, the different city parks, Abra rides, The Spice Souq, Zoo and Aquariums and the times when we dont go out, I ensure he plays in the appartment complex's beautifuly landscaped lawns and several sand pits and play areas built especially for kids living here. I just let him be. He is so happy when he he is down there, getting dirty and meeting lots of other children from so many nationalities! That is priceless. Children from Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, SriLanka, Pakistan, Phillipines, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, England, Germany, Russia, USA, Canada, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Nepal., Malaysia, Singapore, China...and these are just some of the nationalities in our complex. Brilliant no? Thats Dubai for you guys!

With so much already on our plate, therefore, I really do need to calm down. It has been a long, lazy day. I just lounged around in a plain old tattered T-shirt and shorts and asked the boys to look after themselves. While I pottered around the house. Brought out some knick-knacks which were stored away and had to be showcased, did up the guest bathroom with some old bottles and candles. Organised our clothes. Cleaned the balcony and repotted a few older plants which were begging for  some TLC, folded tons of laundry, dusted off my miniature chinese pottery collection, sorted my craft basket and even decoupaged an old coffee bottle . I am tired but happy to have accomplished so much at my own pace. There was no mad rush to get anywhere, no seeking of excitement and thrill outside of home. All three of us just did our own thing. I suspect hubster watched 2-3 movies back to back and Yohaan has played with water the whole day in varying ways which only a toddler can manage, just dont  even ask!

Okay now, confession time. Tomorow, I have a trip to Dubai Flea Market planned with a girlfriend and yes, we will go sans kids. This will be the first time I will leave him alone with his dad at home. I am a bit torn that he is growing up so fast and seems to be okay hanging out with dad. Anyhow, I think I am born to have extra-busy weekends. Which makes the point of this post rather pointless. Hmmm.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

There is only so much one can do!

Everybody knows I love to cook. If I am  not cooking  I can be surely found cleaning my kitchen or simply pottering around there. It is by far my favourite hangout in the whole house. Did I ever mention that I love to also do dishes by hand. Yes sir, I dont have a dishwasher in this new rented flat having sold off our dishwasher to our tenant. Back in the older villa, I hardly ever chose to use it anyway because I find washing dishes by hand very calming. You give me any amount of dishes to be cleaned and I am a happy bunny! At every informal party with friends or family here, I am always the first to offer to clean up once the meal is over. Infact, I get restless to do the dishes much to the host's embarassment! Must tell you all about this one time when my neighbour invited me to do her dishes after a party she had organised and was left with a big pile of washing up. She knew about my obsession so she took up my offer to help. Well, I was in dish-washing-heaven! I loved it. In turn she made lunch for Yohaan and me. Yes, yes we are weird like that. Werid neighbours included...

Anyway, I digress. The other day MSIN called me for a chat. I informed her with fair amount of pride that I had prepared roast Lamb Shanks for our dinner. The first time ever. It was fun and tasted Yumm eve though I say so myself. With some green vegetables and bread it was all good. But unfortunately, the hubster of mine totally freaked for some reason. He found the 'largish' size of the shanks a turn off and he refused dinner!!! How crazy is that now??? How can the size of a meal turn someone off? What about the presentation? The taste? The effort put in? I was pretty crushed actually considering he is a hard core carnivore....I thought he can eat anything dead and cooked...But see, thats the thing with hubster. He hates change. I have been given strict instructions not to experiment in the kitchen which I find rather frustrating. It's like having to curb y creative instincts in one area I know I am good in. Over the years, he has refused many a meals because he deemed them too different from the usual! Arghhh!

So then, dinner that day was a fiasco with neither of us touching the darned shanks! Yohaan included. Hmpppph. The boys were hungry though and I quickly came up with this awesome chicken salad. I have no name for it although the stuff that goes in to it ?The usual suspects. Mayo, mustard, cooked diced chicken cubes etc. I am sure some reader from the western hemishphere will find it familiar. For us south Asians, or atleast for my family, this is a novelty since we dont eat salad by itself as a meal! Salad is strictly on the sides to accompany the main course. And often just as spicy! So without further ado, let me recap this super quick, easy-peasy creamy chicken salad for those times when your partner is being a spoilt brat!

1 cup of diced apple. I used Granny Smith ones because that is what I had on hand.
1 cup of roasted walnuts or mixed nuts. I had lots of raisins in it too. Roast the nuts.
1 cup of  mixed  fresh grapes. I halved them all. And included the juice that ran.
1 cup of salad leaves - lettuce. I used ice-berg.
1/2 cup of  diced celery.
1 cup of peeled and seperated Pomegranate seeds. It gave a lovely red colour and the juice was ever so sweet.
2.5 cups of cooked/boiled (in salted water) chicken - diced.

Mix all of the above in a large salad bowl except the raosted nuts. Now make a dressing by mixing 1 cup of  regular mayo, although I had only garlic falvoured mayo in my fridge- which is fine too, 1/4 cup of honey and 1/4 cup of mustard sauce. Salt and pepper according to taste but not too much. Pour this over the assembled salad greens. Mix well. Top it off with the roasted nuts. Serve with any bread of your choice. I served it with Khaboos- Arab local bread. And Iced tea. Doesn't it sound easy to put together. Unless ofcourse you dont stock cooked chicken bits for times such as these in which case you will have to prepare the chicken first. I usually cook and keep chicken along with bones and stock too, mostly for Yohaan' meals. It is wholesome and nutritous. Do play around with the greens you want to use and some of you may want to drop the nuts due to allergies. Feel free. I just threw in whatever I found in my fridge. And yes, the hubster and brat both ate it and liked it but hubster was back to his old ways. He said to me, 'It is really nice, but next time and at all times, please stick to Indian'. Clearly, there's no pleasing a certain someone around here! 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Growing Through Motherhood

Growing Through Motherhood

Came across this beautiful post on one of my favourite blogs. Just when I had screamed at Yohaan for the n'th time! Enjoy and be blessed!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

To Be Home and Happy

It has taken me five years of marriage and half of that being a mother that my calling to be a home maker and a mother is not to be taken for granted and is infact a serious thing. I have written about being lonely earlier. But as time has gone by, I am suddenly struck by a realisation that I am actually lonely no more. You see, if I was/am doing my job at home properly I would hardly get time to breathe or chew or wear my coordinated churidaars (Indian pants worn with a long tunic) and trust me that wont make for a sexy sight!

 No, I am not talking about filling my schedule with mindless chores the entire time but even so I'd say, if I was/am putting in my best efforts in my everyday homemaking/parenting routine I wont have time or the energy to be 1.discontented and 2. resentful 3. lonely. I entered wedlock with the best of intentions ofcourse. Everyone does am sure. I had visions of being the ever loving and understanding wife. My recipe  journal was full of lovely south Indian stuff to be cooked for hubster. I looked forward to being his companion in the true sense. But a few months in to it and boy! I was in for a shock. I would like to clarify that my husband is extremely non-demanding. But anyhow, many things didnt go the way I had envisioned married life to be. I mean, why but why do you have to drink coffee when I make better chai-latte? And why must you insist on eating rice for all meals when I am a chapati girl? And why must you watch the news after work when clearly you can use that time to sit with me, hold my hands and look deep in to my eyes and tell me that I cook better than your mother? (Err, I am obsessed with food I think)

None of those things happened and if I were to get real it never does! It's not like I was a terribly young and a naive bride. I got hitched at the grand old age of 28! But as they say, some folks dont wanna grow up...looks like I didn't either! Over the years being married (mainly), I developed a deep sense of self-entitlement. My needs. My wants. My shopping. My outings. My friends. My lonliness. My comforts and convenience. What about me?? I had no clue that marriage by it's very nature is self sacrificial and involves loads of dying to one self. And mothering takes the cake. Although whatever I do now for my son does not feel like a sacrifice to me at least. But it is no doubt tiring and exhausting and that can be eroding physicaly if nothing else. I am diabetic and overweight. I do workout but for the longest time I never did, thus running low on energy fuel all the time leading to much impatience with life in general. It was only after I started doing something about my heath and weight loss that I realised how much I was missing in life by being sickly all the time. So yes, in a way it all started with me. If mommy ain't happy- nobody is happy. But my sense of self went much deeper and at alarming depths. And that was making me a deeply lonley and an unhappy person. It didnt seem like hubster understood much of that. As far as he is concerned, I am married to the love of my life so what's all this nonny about being lonely and restless?

About six to seven months ago, I started praying really hard for some kind of perspective on my emotional state. And slowly as days went by, the layers started peeling off. I found that my entire being and identity is connected to God and my walk with him. So while I was running restless the answer was to be still in the Lord. Just as gradually it started dawning on me that I am nowhere near fullfilling the purpose God has assigned to my life. My home and my family was to be my calling and my purpose. Everything else comes after. If my laundry for the day is not done then I really dont need to sit down with a long and a needless phone call. If dinner is not ready on time then I have no business going out for a coffee. If any of my chores for the day is not done properly and on time, then in essence I am guilty of neglecting my calling to be a wife and amother of real virtue. It is not about performance you see. The kind of person I am, I need to have order and beauty and structure to thrive on a daily basis. I think it is wonderful that God has ordained that I work this out for myself and not be at the mercy of an external agnecy to provide that stability and structure. It is so apt that I dont work outside. I would go mad because I draw great encouragement and satisfaction from a job well done. If i were hold a job, I wouldn't be doing justice to it or to my house and family. And God knew that even before I was conceieved (Psalm 139)! And that to me is very humbling. To know that each one of us are perfectly made and given assignments according to our inherent nature and personalities. So some women thrive on a profesional challenge some women like me, totally dig being home makers.

When this realisation dawned upon me that I am the CEO of my home-ministry a lot of things fell in to place. My restlesness settled down and the biggest thing of all I have learnt to prioritise and say 'no'. I used to mourn about lack of meaningful friendships/girlfriends but I also realised that in this season of my life I really cannot invest outside my house in terms of time and energy. Oh yes, I do love to hang out with people. I love to party, love to dress up and go out, love shopping and everything else out there.  I am an extrovert to the core but then this season is also about learning hard lessons. My marriage is still young and my son even younger. God willing, we will have more children some day. And the lessons learnt now will come in so handy in the years to come. Hopefuly I will have more emotional maturity, stability , a happy marriage, well groomed children and a loving home to show for it. In order to achieve even some of that I need to be STILL now and keep my ears and eyes open. If I am not able to call a friend for a long chat or if I am not able to attend a Bible study or a small house group study, or volunteer at church or go out for any random outing with a girlfriend or not be able to organise tons of playdates for Yohaan- so be it.

I know my own capabilities and how much can be accomplished by me. I am a really efficient and a fast worker but have a tendency to get overwhelmed when the workload is huge. It begins to bother me and I start obsessing over strategies to overcome. Which is what I have been up to these past few months...devising plans to be a happy home maker and becoming efficient and learning along the way. I hardly thought of blogging, and it has taken me around six months to breathe easy now. I think I can safely say that my house is running on well oiled wheels. Routines have been developed, tweeked and re-tweeked and sucessfuly implemented. Mornings, afternoons and evenings are in control. Has it been easy? Heck no! I am sinfuly lazy and keeping myelf motivated has been a challenge pretty often. But oh, I sleep better at night and I am a lot more fit than I have ever been. Thats a huge bonus apart from a happy family which is well cared for. Err, I am still hopeless with the family socks though....I dont know what happens to them and hubster has to keep buying more and more. Not funny ok? So if you guys ever wondered why do I keep disappearing for such long periods it is because I was busy building my nest and now with the new found ideas, rest and time are ever, ever out of reach. I am not complaining though just saying.

As if to affirm whatever stuff I was getting convicted of  'not doing' with  my time, energy and talents a situation arose which seems to me totally godsend. I had a maid for a few months. Loved her. She was a young muslim lady from Bangladesh. Honest, dilligent and caring about all of us and our house. But with my new self I was getting increasingly convinced that I needed to be the 'worker' at home and not hire a paid employee to do 'my' work. I have nothing against hiring domestic help. They give us tremendous comfort and convenience no doubt, leaving us rested and free to pursue many other things on our agendas. My maid was a real sweetheart but I was finding it very difficult to terminate her services. Poverty stricken and miles away from her own husband and children she needs every dirham that she can make. I also dont think she would have understood my position. So i kept delaying asking her to leave. But then God worked in His ever so funny way! She got pregnant when her husband visited her briefly and she was too sick to work. She gave in her notice and stopped coming . I am happy for her but worried too as to how will she handle her finances now. But  I was also silently thanking God for confirming it with a sign to me that my house and family has to be looked after by me - chiefly. I have decided not to hire any more help and am totally relaxed about it.

Here are some things I decided to implement in order to become more like a Titus woman i,e looking after the affairs of my home and not going around gallavanting!

1. No TV. Easy for me since I am big time anti TV anyway. I watch like 10 minutes of TV in a month maybe.

2.No ladies Bible study and No mom-toddler church meet. Once upon a time I longed to belong to such groups but am over that need for now. Maybe one day my house can be used to meet up though. Till then I shall be happy to be home.

3. Time spent on the www. A biggie for me because I love to net surf , facebook and blog hop. It had become an epic addiction. Not anymore. This also includes blogging. I have so much to share but no time to do it as often as i would like to. I did have ambitious plans for this blog but looks like it shall all have to wait....but then again if I am more organised and efficient I could sneak in a post or two, for those of you who must miss me so much. I hear you buddy, I hear you. FB takes away a lot of quality time and now except for status updates I dont stay on it for longer than 5 minutes literally! Good job eh?

4. Wake up way earlier than the rest of the members which would be hubster and Yohaan. I now wake up at 6 am everyday except saturday when I take my day off and do no cleaning or cooking. All meals are either a takeaway or we go out. I personaly love visitng IKEA for breakfast, easy on the pocket and nutritous too.  And it helps that we live very close to it. Lunch on a saturday is always a seafood fest -Kerela style(love crabs and shrimps) and dinner is always something from our family favourite Pakistani joint. Here I go on about food again.

5. Getting up early gives me a great headstart and I dont find myself running around like a headless chicken the rest of the day. Once I am up, I finish my shower and get fully dressed down to my shoes even! And yes, yes ofcourse, there is makeup carefuly applied and coordinated jewelery too! I have a lovely collection of silver stuff which I love to wear on a daily basis. It' just my small strategy to beat early morning blues and lethargy. Guess what! Many ladies in my appartment complex have actually come up to me and complimented me on my efforts and some have even told me how I inspire them to take more interest in themselves. So the new rule? No more lounging around in pajama's or sweats or God forbid a tattered nightdress all through the day. Crisp cottons are laid out the previous night, hair is oiled and washed and conditioned regularly, nails are trimmed and well groomed as are the feet, shoes are comefy but stylish, sometimes colour coordinated bangles are worn too which can be a bit of a pain while doing dishes but never mind- all for a good cause after all ! :) It makes me feel ready for the day and pretty and the best thing is that my son already notices all this and will sometimes kiss me with joy if I am looking very colourful that day! How sweet is that huh?

6. Finally, every friday we do our grocery shopping. I buy my fresh produce for the whole week ahead, including meat and poultry and sea food. As you know, weekend in this part of the middle east is fri/sat. So the next morning saturday, the only work I do is wash-chop-dice-slice-marinate. I chop and dice ALL my veggies and bag them up in ziplocs ready to be used. All the meat is portioned and marinated if required,bagged and frozen. Ginger and garlic paste is ground and stored away. Tomatoes are pureed and boxed in the fridge. I never ever buy any canned goods. I buy blocks of cheese and grate them all on saturday and box it. I also make a week's worth of some Indian chutney. I rarely run out of fresh produce. Everything has it's place in the fridge and makes taking inventory also super convenient. Throughout the week, because my menu is pre-planned, all I have to do is pull out the required bags of vegetables and meat and enjoy my cooking. This takes me about two hours in total on a saturday morning and is sooo soooo sooo totally worth it. Maybe some of you can try this. Try chopping every vegetable that is well, 'chopable'. Life will rock!

I have a lot many more strategies to make life at home productive and joyful and contented. Will share ideas as we go along. For now, I must hit publish post because I have taken the whole day to write this in bits and pieces between chores. And it is late and I have tons to do tomorow because the day after we are going to India for a week to see my mother in law. As usual, yours truly is looking forward to some major shopping in India. Now, your turn to write in a share your home making ideas with me. Ok?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

EGR- Extra Grace Required!

Rick Warren in his bestselling book 'Purpose Driven Life' apart from talking about many wonderful things, also talks about how in life we meet certain kind of people who come under the category of 'Extra grace required'. When I read this I found it very funny and kept chuckling to myself. Oh sure, I can come up with a big huge list of such folks I thought. I mean, haven't we all constantly met people who drive us up the wall? That annoying manager, that weird neighbour, that foolish young cousin and so on? Infact, I am sure I could possibly be on someone's list too. Ouch!

No, but you know what, I am having to come over here and vent. This post is dedicated to my neighbour, lets call her X. This lady has forced me to loose it completely. As it is I have this pressure to be a good wife, a good mother, a good home maker, a good daughter, friend, lover, sister, chef, chauffer, pacifier, counsellor and what not and here she comes along and unravels it all with one thoughtless comment or an insensitive remark or some insanely selfish act. I will try and not bitch about her but lets get it clear folks, it is tough not to. So we met last year in the corridoors. While playing with our respective brats. Her's is a two year old while mine is two  going on twenty but that is not the issue here. We started chatting and were happy to discover that we are both born again christians. How difficult can getting along be and what are the chances that living in an Islamic republic you have a Christian neighbour sa? Mobile numbers were exchanged. Promises to visit were made. The mandatory expat-questions asked and a playdate arranged for the very next day. So we went to her house as planned. Enter mamma and Yohaan- wait what's that smell. Smells like poo-literally! And it was all over the living room. X seemed blissfuly okay about this, so we also braved it and plonked down on the couch. Which was unbelievably filthy! Took a deep breath....calm down mamma, she is as hassled as you are with a toddler around and there is only so much one can do. Shut up and dont judge. However, tell me this readers, how can one not be upset about such obvious filth? Without judging, but really it is your house, please keep it clean and okay so the visitors are not the presidential variety still show some consideration no? I can happily let my son play with mud and sand and muck but asking him to fool around in human crap is asking for a LOT! Lets not forget that we are never offered anything to eat or drink, but that is okay because we could die of the germs found all over her house you know! And we dont want that.

And this hygene thingy has been never corrected. Her house is a landmine of germs and I have no idea how to refuse her invitations to visit. But wait there is more. I get asked all kinds of weird questions for eg: how much money does you husband give you to spend on yourself? To me that is as bad as asking me my salary which err, by the way is zilch. While I am trying to come up with a suitable answer I get this- are you happy in your marriage, do you have plenty of sex? I have no words now. Many of you would wonder why did I keep going back to her...inspite of such exemplary behaviour on her part. Well I have to be honest here then. Initially for the longest time, it was out of sheer lonliness. The need to bond with another new mother, some woman- any woman- to get some break. And the bonus of having a child who is close to Yohaan's age seemed like a blessing. So he too would have a friend. I continued it for more than six months. We have visited each other often along with our boys. Cooked for each other. Talked a lot about parenting, our faith, our lives here in Dubai and back in India. But something kept us from clicking, that feeling of 'Oh i have a good friend in her' never happened. Soon I reached a stage in our relationhip where I withdrew emotionaly  but kept up the pretense for Yohaan\s sake because he really loves her little boy. But I now realise I was wrong. I wasn't being sincere in my friendship and am ashamed to admit that I haven't been real with her.

About two months ago, X started fussing about Yohaan's behaviour. Her son is essenially a loner and hates being touched. He will sometimes not want even his mother to hug him or cuddle him or kiss him. He has been spoilt and over protected to the extent that anything and everything which wont go his way will send him flying in to a tantrum. Now Yohaan is the other opposite. He is extremely social, mild mannered and very demonstrative. He is quite the touchy-feely sorts too. Till date I cannot recount a single tantrum of his. Easy going and calm by nature, like his dad I guess. Yohaan has been known to bestow kisses and huggies on random people at malls and parks. Which by the way has been deemed as dangerous behaviour by X what with so many sick people on the prowl. I cannot compare because all children are different and have their own individual personalities. But try getting such polar opposites to play peacefuly and you might want to check in to rehab! So when Yohaan wants to hug his friend he will scream and cry which makes X think Yohaan is being rough or worse, hitting her son! She will then be very stern and ask me to leave or ask me to spank Y. And this happens at every single playdate. Never mind that her son refuses to share his toys, will hit Yohaan for hugging him etc. See what I am dealing with here?

   I have diagnosed that the problem is not our kids, it is us mothers. We claim to believe in the same word of God but clearly we are not on the same page here. We come from very different cultural backgrounds inspite of being Indians. We are from a different social class, economic background, we studied differently, we eat and wear differently, we are married to men who themselves are polar opposites of each other. Even though the body of Christ is above all this I am just so sad that these differences have crept between us. Satan will try his best to cause rifts. However, in all honesty I can claim that I have tried very hard to be forgiving and understanding but now I cannot go on because she has consistently proven to be toxic. From the way I keep my house, the way my husband makes money, to my mothering style, the church I go to, the clothes I wear, the make up I use, to our outings, our lifestyle-she has a strong opinion on everything and will never ever refrain from voicing it out. One remark like ''why do you fuss over your husband's meals so much'' or ''Yohaan will become gay if you let him play with your scarves and makeup'' not only astound me they hurt me to the core. I cannot believe that an educated person leave alone a Christian can speak like this! Often I have come back from her house in tears because I have been hurt and felt judged.

Apparently, she has been gossiping about me to my maid (we share one) and has called our friendship (or whatever there is left of it) a waste of time. I got to know about it this afternoon and this was the last straw. I am  not wanted and it has taken me so long to realise it. I normally dont give attention to what the other wives are talking amongst themselves simply because it it mindless gossip and I have no time to sometimes breathe, leave alone socialise. All I wanted was to get out for a while and meet somebody nice and get my son to have fun with other kids. It breaks my heart to see my son, who is such a social being like his parents, be alone and not have kids to play with. Anyhow, just as I am done writing this post I think hubster and me should get busy and make a sibling for Y, a playmate if you will. What say?

And now that I have vented, please do feel free to send me lotsa love and concerned filled comments. I have finally decided to let go of X. Good from far, far from good!! Should anyone feel I can handle this differently or you have a strategy to basically feel better about this, send me a lecture. Am open to all kinds of advise. I guess I am also looking for assurance that I am doing good by saying goodbye to this so called friendship. She is my EGR person and I want to breathe again. Good, that feels better now. Breathing. (Such a drama queen)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lot of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing

...or something like that! I had/have tons to share but have been preoccupied  with a whole lot of stuff going on in my head (mostly), hence the title of the post. I really thought that keeping this blog updated wont be a big deal but I was clearly wrong.. It takes up a lot of time if nothing and that is one commodity I am always short of. I cannot believe that I have been away nearly four long months...anyhow, we shall see how productive I am going to be hence forth. Oh by the way, have just returned from my bi-annual vacation in India. So am still settling down. I need a holiday now to  recover from this holiday. If you are a long time reader (which I doubt), you will know how difficult it is for me to visit India even for a day! Different reasons , all personal to me. Travelling with a brat on top of that simply adds to the woes. However, needs must and all that. So the grandparents and grandson were thrilled to be together while mamma was as usual miserable.

Except . For the shopping. But. Ofcourse! I am easy to please that way, just take me shopping and I am your girl. Mean but also true is the fact that I enjoy shopping only when I am the direct beneficiary or my house is. Infact, can you believe it, I get bored shopping even for my own son! Some serious gene-defect going on here...

Tomorow I shall be back with details of why's and how's (is an apostrophe needed here) I have been missing in action. Will be kind enough to let you all sneak in to that mind of mine which kept me away from my faithful (and lucky) readers. OK ?  OK.