Taking Forgetfulness to New Heights

This happened a couple of weeks ago. It sat in my drafts, half done, forgotten until I logged in today.

You know you are losing your mind, or just insanely busy when you do crazy things like
– forgetting to switch off the iron.
– forgetting to pack daughter’s lunch box and remembering at the last minute. Thank goodness for that!
– forgetting to lock your house when you leave for work.

Yes, you read that right. I did manage to do that today. Not only did I leave the door unlocked, I also left it wide open!

It was a crazy morning. Husband had to leave at 7 in the morning, and that, kind of, messed with my timelines. Finally when we stepped out, all I could see was a frosty car which would take ages to defrost. Okay, maybe not ages, but that’s how it feels in the middle of the early morning rush. Daughter was still putting on her shoes, so in an effort to save time, I decided to rush out, and start de-icing the windscreen and the windows. By then daughter, got into the car, I hopped in, waited till the windows were clear enough to drive and off we went.

It was a typical busy Monday at work, and when I pulled into my drive at 6 in the evening and stepped out, I saw a dark figure standing near the door. I nearly screamed before realizing that it was my neighbour. He asked me if I had left the door unlocked this morning. ‘No, of course not’, was my reply. I never do that! Or so I thought! Turns out that he saw it open at around 10 in the morning, but assumed that I must have been doing something and had left it open. It was when he stepped out at 12 and saw it still open that he got concerned and called another neighbour of ours to investigate. They then concluded that I must have left it open. They closed the door (it is a self locking door) and decided to wait till we got back.

I have to say, I was shocked, shaken and relieved in equal measures. What would have happened if not for my kindly neighbours, I shudder to think. Nothing was lost, the iPad, laptop and stuff were all in the ground floor just as we had left it.

I can only count my blessings…

If had some time to spare….

.. I wouldn’t be writing this post on the phone. All my posts in the last few months have been typed entirely in the phone. I so need to start using my laptop again.

- I would be baking the banana nut cake I had promised my colleagues.

- I would be spending a little more time with daughter on her school project.

- I would be making that pecan maple syrup baklava that my heart has been hankering for.

- I would be spending a few hours ironing the pile of laundry that has been calling out my name. This from someone who loves ironing!

- I would be downloading pictures from the camera. Pictures from our trip to Harry Potter studios, countless trips to Stratford upon Avon and general pictures and videos (like when we surprised Daughter with Hermione Granger’s wand:) ) Have I mentioned how Harry Potter mad she is? She’s got worse now!

- I would be downloading pictures from my old phone. Loads and loads of pictures just waiting to be downloaded.

- I would be spending some time painting my nails. Oh wait, that’s not me at all. Let’s cross that out. I’m more likely to read another book with the extra time I have than do something like painting nails :)

Wishes and horses and all things of that sort… What I actually need is a spa day, to just relax. Yup, that’s what I really should be doing I’d had some time to spare :)

Domestic Disaster-ess

I can be a domestic disaster pretty much every day, but some days… Some days are extra special when nothing ever goes right.

Waking up to a headache is normally a clue, in my case. It doesn’t help that you’ve had some really busy days, when even weekends are crazy, every minute of sleep counts, and when you wake up with an aching head, feeling like you haven’t had a wink of sleep, things don’t seem quite as rosy.

Today was one such day. I woke up with a headache. Headaches are horrible for me, at any time of the day, but when I wake up with one, it’s just pure torture.
So I had to drag myself out of bed, with my head banging with every move I make. Forcing myself to get on with things which had to be done. The kitchen was a mess, I had been too exhausted yesterday to pop things into the dishwasher, and dishes sat there, staring at the incompetent woman who left them in such a miserable state, tutting away, I’m sure, but I was happy to ignore them until evening when I would have more time to tackle them.

Downing a cup of coffee made me feel a wee bit more human, which isn’t saying much, but still. I managed to put a saucepan of water to boil an egg in and rushed off to have a quick shower. Rushing back into the kitchen, after the shower, I poured out some milk into instant oats (easiest option is all I can think of on days like this), and popped the bowl Into the microwave. Next thing on my list was to take the boiled egg off the cooker, and in my hurry, to my total horror, I found myself knocking the bottle of milk over with the saucepan of boiling water. I had boiling water splash on my hand and milk all over the counter and the floor!

I could have cried and I would have, for sure, if only I had the time. My morning routine is water-tight. I have no time for luxuries like cleaning the kitchen or crying over split milk. But today, I had no option, unless I wanted to come back home to a stinking house. Instead of sitting down for breakfast, I had the fun job of mopping the kitchen down. I wish I could tell you that it was a quick 10 minute thing. It took ages, absolutely ages. My slow-as-a-snail, when it comes to eating daughter, had finished her breakfast and had a bath before I managed to finish cleaning that mess. And the icing on the cake? The milk in the instant oats which I had popped in the microwave had boiled over too! My cleaning woes clearly showed no sign of abating. There’s only so much cleaning I can take before 8 in the morning!

Clearly there was no way I could reach work on time, so I just gave up trying. Reached school on time, thankfully, and I reached work 15 mins late, not too bad, when I think of all the chaos.

But there was a silver lining :), I came back home, in the evening, to an absolutely gleaming kitchen after ages.

Daughter Tales. Again.

*This was sitting in my drafts, possibly drafted over three months ago and completely forgotten. I’m just posting it as it is, too lazy to read & edit*

I’ve come to realise that I have a rather politically correct daughter.

The other day I was trying out a skirt in a shop fitting room. It didn’t look the best on me, to say the very least.

So I turn to Daughter and say,’ I look rather fat, don’t I?’

Daughter,’ Let’s not say fat, let’s say big’.

She’s mad about science. She just turned eight a few days ago, and all she wanted was a Chemistry set. She wanted the test tubes and all the works. I managed to track down something that met her specifications just days before her birthday. And needless to say, she’s been delighted with it. We did our first experiment the other day. And someone completely enjoyed it.

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They’ve started an after school scienxe club at school, and last Monday was the first session of the club. She woke up in the morning, came over, hugged me and shouted,’It’s Mad Science today’. First thing in the morning. Someone definitely doesn’t have Monday Blues.

We’ve now got enough books to open a small book shop. All sorts of books, but my favourite is this one.

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The cover was enough to transport me to my childhood days.

In other Daughter related news, she came home on Monday and asked me, ‘Did Modi win the Indian election?’

I was stunned. We hadn’t discussed Indian elections in that much detail with her. She knows the concept of a democracy and how it works, but not about the actual parties or the people contesting.

‘Yes, how did you know?’

‘Mr P mentioned it in the Assembly today’, came the answer.

Mr P is the head teacher at her school and he discusses world events at assemblies at school. They discuss a lot of current affairs and it is really interesting to see how much children grasp. I’m forever thankful that she has such interesting teachers at her school.
While on the subject of schools, I have to say, I am deeply grateful. Such a lovely environment. We had an open evening where children demonstrated diverse subjects such as volcanoes and poetry using dance, music and imagination. They also have such a diverse outdoor playtime with games like hockey, football and cricket. We just count ourselves lucky that Daughter was lucky enough to be part of such a nurturing and enriching environment.

Happiness is..

- enjoying a break from work and doing nothing absolutely.

- spending the morning reading alongside daughter, cuddling her and just relaxing.

- in finding out that I’ve downloaded 36 Kindle books. That’s about 4 months of reading in case I’m ever stuck in a place without a library or a book store. Unlikely, but it’s nice to be prepared isn’t it? Of course normal people worry about food and water and stuff like that :)

- Watching the day go by and not being in a hurry to get anywhere or do anything. Actually not entirely true, I have loads to do, but have just pushed it all aside.

- Eating the most delicious of fruits, oranges, mangoes, cherries, blueberries..

- Finding a twenty pound note in a long forgotten handbag!

- Happiness is when you’ve read three books in 1.5 days. Haven’t done that in a while.

- Happiness is in stayingat home for a change rather than because that’s what I do.

If I had been an ad maker..

Loads have been written about that Airtel ad. I agree with some, partially agree with others, completely disagree with some. But no, I’m not here trying to dissect it further.

Watching that ad( I found it cringe-worthy, for the record), I started thinking about what I would have liked to see.

So here’s my perfect ad. The boss, a woman, has this piece of work that needs doing. She delegates it to her team. Towards the end of the day, when the team is still working on it, she wraps up her work and joins them, to help speed up things and support them.

As she works, she gets a call from her husband, he’s on his way home, ‘What would you like for dinner, darling?’

And of course, like the other ad, the husband goes home, cooks up something delicious,  takes a picture, and sends her the message, ‘Finish your work and get home, I’ll be waiting for you’.

Wouldn’t that be truly breaking stereotypes? And showing that people can have it all if they shared responsibilities?

Safe.

That’s what my daughter feels in her school. I asked. I keep asking, actually. As a parent, more than how much they ‘teach’, I worry about how happy she feels at school. And fingers crossed she will continue to feel that way.

About a year ago, when my daughter was moving from Infant to Junior school (infant schools are uptil year 2, and junior schools from year 3 to year 6), we had a parent’s evening at the new school. The head teacher said something that stayed with me,’ Thank you for entrusting us with your children, we will endeavor to keep them safe and do the best we can to ensure that they are in a safe and happy environment’.

Across multiple pamphlets, we got the message about safety of children, and how that was paramount for the school. It made me feel comfortable. Of course, anything could happen, but the fact that the school kept reinforcing safety and the fact that while at school, the children were the school’s responsibility, makes you feel a tiny bit more secure. It helped there are rules, children are made aware of, of stranger danger, personal space and publicly lauded for being alert and aware of people around them. That coupled with reinforcement from home, about the dangers lurking around, is all we can do to try to keep our children safe. We can’t ensure safety at all times, but we can try, at the very least.

Contrast that with the school in Bangalore(VIBGYOR), and the way it dealt with the rape of their 6 year old student. It makes me want to throw up as I read the details. One horror after the other, and even worse, the school refuses to own any responsibility for a rape that happened during school hours, by the school staff, and was hushed up by the school staff. Even if you assume that the school had nothing to do with it, it was all done by the staff, one has to wonder what kind of culture is the school management encouraging, 1. By having staff of this sort, 2. By not taking action when it does find out about this. Makes me wonder, what kind of ‘education’ can a school like this impart.

I just hope that this translates into some sort of action that sees schools taking their responsibility seriously. In a lot of countries, you have to undergo a series of checks before you are allowed to work with children. Even with checks like that, criminals do slip through the net, so it makes me wonder how much easier it must be in a place where there is no such method in place? I know for a fact that even as a parent if I want to volunteer at school here, I have to get that criminal check done.

I know parents who complain about it, about living in a paranoid society, but knowing the sort of things people could do, I have to say, I’ll happily undergo a few more checks, if it means that our children are a tiny bit safer.

I’m just hoping that this incident changes the way schools operate. For that, we need our government to sit up and take notice, to do what it takes to keep our children safe. And for parents who think like this, to think, for once, beyond their own situation.  Because while today we might just be worried about a few phone calls, who knows what’s in store for us in the future.

Tread Softly, Tread Lightly…

..tread rarely, as it was in our case.

Have I told you about our treadmill?

No? Well, let’s get that corrected, shall we?

So. For a few years now, we’ve always had an exercise machine at home. I wish that translated into – ‘We are really fit people’, but you’ve heard about wishes and horses, haven’t you?

Some years back, when we moved out of London and to Leeds, husband decided that he needed something to keep fit. After a lot of research(he always does a LOT of research, no matter what it is), he zeroed in on a cross-trainer. I went with it, after all, looking after yourself is never a bad thing, right? Or so I thought.

It all started off well, we used it, to some extent. Him more than me, but he was the one who wanted it, I got plenty of exercise walking back and forth from school, or so I told myself. That phase of using the cross trainer for the purpose it was built for didn’t last much, though. Very soon, it turned into a coat rack. And soon, the layer of coats grew so much that it would be an exercise to just remove it. After about four years of languishing as a coat rack, the poor cross trainer got liberated when we decided to relocate to India. We gave it away to a friend, and our home was finally exercise-machine free.

In Bangalore we had a great gym in our apartment complex, but knowing me, it never got used. So many things to do before getting to the gym – proper gym clothes, proper gym shoes, towel.. One can’t go to the gym looking like something the cat dragged in! Not when half the others looked as if they had just stepped out of a salon! Too much pressure, I tell ya! Much better off walking up and down 11 flights of stairs. If only, I actually did that!

Husband came over for a holiday while we were there, and used the gym and came back gushing about how great it was. Inspired, I joined him a couple of times, and yes, it was wonderful. While it lasted. That phase ended as soon as husband went back to the UK. Soon I was busy with packing to relocate back, and I didn’t even need an excuse to never go near the gym again.

Once we got back here and had settled in our new home, husband started talking about a treadmill. He had enjoyed using it so much in Bangalore that he was convinced that he would use it. I was vehemently against it. I was sure that I didn’t want another exercise machine/coat rack. Husband had some other ideas. He had put on loads of weight in the time that we were in India and claimed that he needed to work out. What can you say, when he throws being fit and healthy at you, at least he wasn’t making the case for a 65 inch 3D HD TV (which by the way, he had already bought, much against my wishes, but that’s a story for another day). So I gave in.

The treadmill got delivered. It took us a few weeks to install it. And that too with the help of a technician that the treadmill company sent over. Finally we were good to go, albeit after about a month of buying it, I must add.

I used it once, found that the incline function was not working. Called up the help desk who asked me to try a few things. Nothing worked, so she asked me to open up the treadmill to check something out. Now, that was not a one person job, so I pushed it off for the weekend, which never came. I used the treadmill again, without the incline mode three more times(yes, I know exactly how much I’ve used it!). All this while, the person who wanted the treadmill the most, had not even touched it!

I never quite liked walking on the treadmill. I prefer walking outdoors, even in bad weather. There is something so liberating about walking in the open. So I would go walking, but never on the treadmill. Husband would just not do any exercise. The treadmill just stood in our lounge, occupying space and looking ugly.

Somewhere down the line, I went back to work, and that put a stop to even that once in two months use of the treadmill. It didn’t turn into a coat rack, but that had more to do with the fact that it wasn’t conveniently placed to be used as a coat rack.

In December, a colleague told me that she put her cross trainer on sale. Apparently January is the best time to put fitness equipment on sale because loads of people buy them after the calories overload during Christmas. I pestered husband to get the thing fixed and sold. Husband wasn’t convinced. He was sure he would use it, even though it had sat unused for the last 7 months!

Finally this last week, it has got fixed. It’s finally working properly now. So far we’ve used it 6 times in all. Now, that it’s working, all I want to do is sell it off! I’m just hoping that husband agrees to put it on the market and get rid of the eyesore that sits in the living room.

I’m just waiting for some exercise enthusiast to take this thing off us. And one thing is for sure, the next time husband talks about buying an exercise machine, I’m going to show him this post, to exercise his brain. Just in case he’s forgotten his case history with exercise machines. The only time I’m going to even think of getting an exercise machine is if we ever have a house with a separate room as a gym. Given the fact that the place we live in, it’s hard enough to find a house with an ensuite, I think I can safely say never:)

Blog withdrawal syndrome

Or something like that has afflicted me.

That urge to blog, to jot down things seems to have disappeared completely. I feel secretive and all I feel like is holding things close to myself. Why? I have no idea. I remember joking some time back, a couple of years back, actually, that I would hate to go back to work, if I couldn’t blog. But here I am, eating my own words. I don’t seem to miss blogging at all. As in, writing on my own blog.

I do read you guys, when I get a chance. But more often than not, commenting isn’t an option. Not when your reading time is while brushing your teeth or while gulping down breakfast. So I leave no footprints anywhere, a silent reader is what I’ve become.

And it seems perfect to me. Comfortable in reading and not writing, not putting my thoughts to paper…

What really has me puzzled is that I still seem to be able to do book reviews. Is it because book reviews reveal less of me? I don’t know.

To be honest, it’s not just blogs, it’s also Facebook. I just don’t feel like reading or posting. Can’t help wonder if I’m turning into a recluse. Any of you been through phases like this?