The weekend that was…

It wasn’t the kind of weekend that I would have written about, normally, but in the usual, boring weekends that seem to have become the routine, this last weekend was slightly, ever so slightly more exciting. That reminds me that I haven’t yet blogged about the weekends when husband was here – all our travel stories. One day, I’ll get down to it, hopefully before the year is out 🙂

Saturday morning dawned, or to be more accurate, I was woken up before dawn, by daughter who was super excited about a birthday party that she was invited to. It was at 10, but she wanted to be sure that we wouldn’t forget about it. If only that were an option. I would have gotten really cross at being woken up at 5:30, had it not been a huge kiss that woke me up.

Having woken up, both of us stayed in bed and read until it was a decent enough time to wake up, 6:30. Daughter refused to stay in bed any longer. Sigh! Here I was, happy that she is an early riser! Obviously, we were ready and all set, way before time. My domestic help came and went, and all daughter wanted to do was go. That is was an hour too early was no reason to stay at home and wait. Our friends were taking her to the party, and she couldn’t wait. Finally, we went downstairs, 10 mins early to wait for our friends, just in case the leave without her! Finally, she was off, and I got a few minutes to myself. I had planned to run to the gym and work out. Of course, knowing me, it stayed in the planning stage and I did a post in that time, instead, pushing away the thoughts of an overweight me, far, far, into the recesses of my mind, from which it dared not surface.

Daughter got back around one, and she and her friend still had loads of energy, which even the mid-afternoon sun refused to dissipate, so they played in the park for a bit until the mums had enough and pulled them home. Lunch sorted, daughter did some painting, and cutting up of paper -which has been her favourite hobby since the time she could hold scissors, while I decided to do something useful for a change. Our Wii-Fit Balance board had stopped working. It had been packed away last June, and I had not bothered setting it up until now. I had asked husband to do it, when he was here, but 6 weeks was not time enough to do that. So when I realized that I needed the exercise – rather desperately, I set it all up, only to realize that the balance board refused to start-up. Turns out , that we had forgotten to remove the batteries before packing it all up, and the batteries had drained out. Google, came to the rescue, with what seemed a too-simple-to-be-true solution. A friend of mine confirmed that they had done it and it worked, so Saturday afternoon, I decided, it was time for it to be implemented. And it worked! I can’t tell you how happy I am! Even my Wii-Fit was rather happy to see me back – after over a year, she said 🙂 Of course, she also said something about keeping up regular exercise to keep fit, but I chose to ignore that.

That fixed, I had some other important things to be fixed, like daughter’s teeth. She had two wobbly front teeth, which have been wobbling for a while but not enough to be pulled out. In the last few days, they started to protrude like rabbit’s teeth. Which was rather fun- for me 🙂 And annoying for daughter. So we decided to go to the dentist to see if they needed help to be pulled out. So we had an appointment in the evening, and the plan was that we would go straight from the dentist’s to Blossoms, the book store everybody has been talking about. TGND, especially 🙂 Ever since she’s told me about it, I’ve been dying to go there, and so has daughter.

At the dentist’s, it turns out that we did need to pull the teeth out. Daughter was rather brave, and just whimpered a wee bit, when she was injected with the anesthetic. She had to keep the cotton clamped tightly after the procedure for about half-an-hour, and that meant that she could not speak. If you know her, you’d know that it is just too much to ask her – to not talk for half an hour. So we ended up playing dumb charades to understand what she was saying, until, we hit upon the idea of her typing on the phone whatever she wanted to say. And of course, I had to call everybody up to tell them all about how brave she was when the dentist pulled out her teeth. *rolls eyes*

All this, of course, meant that we could not go to Blossoms on Saturday. We rescheduled it to Sunday, and turned in for the night. Waking up early has it’s advantages, daughter also goes to bed early. But then, if you’ve been woken up early, the chances are that you are equally knackered and all you want to do is crawl into bed as soon as possible.

Sunday morning, I woke up at an unholy hour again. This time, I can’t even blame daughter, I just woke up. It’s my darn body clock that refuses to let me sleep beyond 5:30! Since I had nothing better to do, I stood in the balcony, enjoying the view.

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Sunday, was busy with everything we had pushed away. Daughter has a couple of tests this week, so we went through it all. Did some reading, and some TV watching. The plan was to go to Blossoms in the afternoon. I had a bunch of books I was looking for, and daughter had one particular book that she wanted. We set off at around 3 in the afternoon. I was worried that we would get lazy if we left it too late. Plus with the next day being a school day, we wanted to be back early. We took an auto, and the auto driver, it turned out had no idea where the address was. So we went round and round before landing up in the correct place. We rushed in, all eager and excited. Daughter wanted Roald Dahl’s Enormous Crocodile, and was really disappointed to see that they did not have it either. She managed to pick up two other books though. Then it was my turn. Turns out that none of the books on my list were there. I thought I’d search through the book shelves, but by then daughter was bored. Now, that she had her books she wanted out. Of course, it did not help that the place was crowded, hot and stuffy, and we felt like we were permanently wallking over people or books. I had to give up. I might go there again on a weekday, alone. Hopefully that will give me enough time to browse and find some books I want to buy.

By the time we were out of the bookstore, daughter was hungry. I wasn’t sure how hungry she really was, but she claimed to be starving. So we set off, hoping to find something where we could find something she could eat. Walking a little distance, we came across Nandos! Now Nandos was one of our favourite places to eat at, in the UK. All three of us loved it. So in we went, and ordered. I wasn’t hungry, so I just ordered pita and hummus. And daughter had a kids meal. And polished it off too! I was surprised, to say the least. I hadn’t realized that she was that hungry. The food was delicious and so was my drink. A mocktail called Citrus Bliss. I would have liked it slighlty less sweet, but it was still delicious! I did not take any pictures of the food, we were too busy tucking in, even me. Non existent hunger comes to the surface once my eyes spy on yummy food 🙂

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We got back home, went downstairs, where daughter rode her bike, and I walked/ran after her, in the hope that it burns some of the calories I just consumed.

We ended the day with fruits as we were just too full after our rather early dinner. I could make a practice of this, you know, eating early and then having fruits. And for a change, it felt like a full weekend, rather than a boring one.

Happy Republic Day

One of the best things of being in India is being able to celebrate days like Independence Day and Republic Day.Properly.

It is such a wonderful feeling. And it makes me glad that I am in a way, able to share some parts of my own childhood memories with daughter. Making some memories with some common ground, because no matter what, living in Britain did make it very different for me. Little things like the the national anthem meaning different things to her and us.

Being in India, changes all that. For the first time, we are enjoying the day, feeling the pride, explaining to daughter, the importance of this glorious day. No matter how negative things might seem, I have always felt rather proud of our constitution. And Republic Day, to me, is a symbol of all that is right in our country.

Today, as the National Anthem was sung in daughter’s school, I felt the pride wash over me. The happiness at belonging to a wonderful country, a country with its problems, its flaws, but a country of our own.

Today, brought back memories that had been almost forgotten. Watching the school celebration, my own school memories came flooding back. Memories of preparing hard for the marching, dances and then the day, when we would have a ceremony in our schools, and then rush off to the colony stadium to celebrate with the whole community. What fun it all used to be.

Today, daughter had a taste of it. She had a celebration at school, and we rushed back to the celebrations at our apartment. And we, husband and I enjoyed it all, soaking in the atmosphere.

Hopefully in years to come, daughter will come to truly appreciate and celebrate the day for what it is.

Child Play

Long ago, before daughter was born, I remember going to Toys-R-Us and going a little crazy myself.

We had just found out the gender of our baby. No, not illegally, we were in the UK then, and was overjoyed to know that we were to have a daughter. I wanted to go and buy all sorts of stuff, but somewhere, the cautious me, stopped the frivolous me. And I had read of people who had been told the wrong gender, so decided not to jinx it. Yes, I know, I am a little crazy:-)

We ended up buying gender neutral beddings and nursery accessories that day. Since that day, Toys-R-Us has been  a regular haunt, but we never bought too many things. Most of daughter’s toys are gifts. We do buy her stuff, but it is very controlled. And truth be told, she is perfectly happy too. She’s happy enough to window shop, and come home empty handed. Although, I have to say, the one place where it gets difficult to get her out without buying anything is a book shop. But, that’s a different story for a different day.

We realized quite early she was more fascinated by mundane things than her actual toys. Pieces of paper, cardboard, ribbons from gift wrapped presents, a shiny piece of gift wrapping… And she could play for hours with odds and ends. She once made a picture of a friend of hers with her assorted odds and ends. If you knew her friend, you would admit that there was a definite likeness.

We would find thermocol ripped into pieces, paper cut into tiny pieces, driving us crazy sometimes. Why couldn’t the child play with regular toys for a change? She would, but in her own way. The dolls house would have all sorts of inhabitants, the toy laptop would become the check-in desk at the airport.. All sorts of stuff.

I have to admit, it makes me glad that she lets her imagination loose. That she finds can think beyond what the toy manufacturers must have envisaged fir their toys.

We had been to a lake in Wayanad. As we walked the path by the lake, daughter found ways of entertaining herself. Jumping on the uneven pathway, she created ‘levels’ and rules for herself. She went up to ‘Level 4’:-)

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Watching her play, finding ways of entertaining herself, I feel so grateful. Grateful that in the midst of technology and toys of all sorts, she(and most other children) still plays games that are so natural and so intuitive. That anything can become fun, if we let it.

No season for thanksgiving..

Or to be specific, there is no specific season for Thanksgiving – it happens all year around, doesn’t it? Especially when you have help pouring in, just when you need it.

Daughter and I had been ill since the beginning of this week. I recovered, but she got even more ill. One evening, her temperature spiked and I, to be honest, was a wreck. I was still ill, did not know any doctors I could rush to, had no option but to call around asking for information. My plan of action was to get her temperature down, for the time being, and get her to the doctor the next morning. It was a rainy day, roads jammed, cold winds blowing, there was no way I could take her anywhere that night.

Before I knew it, my cousins came over to us to their doctor, a really nice doctor, who, btw,was really nice. My friends called in with offers of food, transport, and any other thing that we might need. It was a mad, mad day when everything that could go wrong, did, but also a day when I got all the help I could have asked for and much, much more.

I can’t even begin to express how grateful I feel. It’s tough when you are alone, but all the people I have here, never lets me feel alone. Knowing that help is just a phone call away, and sometimes, even that phone call isn’t needed, is such a huge support. It’s times like these that feel truly grateful, for family and friends that I can turn to. And I just hope I can be there for them in their hours of need.

Memories and Yearnings

The place we live in for a number of years, leaves it’s own mark on us. Marks that may fade, marks that may become faint memories or just photographed memories in the years to come. Initially, however, they remain fresh for a while, and come back to make you yearn for them.

Christmas time is probably one of the times when we will miss UK a lot. All the lovely winter weather in India, doesn’t seem to make our yearning for the Christmas fervour any less. The lit up high streets, Santa’s Grottos, Christmas food, the school Christmas play, writing out Christmas cards… So many things… I’m hoping that by next year, we would have moved on, and forgotten about it all.

Daughter especially seems to be missing Christmas and snow! The other day, while talking to husband, I casually asked him if it has started snowing there. Only to find daughter in tears. Apparently, she’s been missing snow the most. She even wanted Daddy to cancel his holiday so that we could travel there instead! Just so that she could have Christmas there, and play in the snow. Some expectations some people have, eh?

CR’s comments on this post, made me yearn for all the trappings of winter back there. Coats, scarves, hats and boots! I miss my boots! And there is no way I can wear them here, unless I want to look really pretentious and crazy 🙂 I would be happy enough if it got cold enough to wear some scarves.

Although, I have to say, Bangalore has been trying very hard to make me feel at home. So what if it can’t give us snow, its sure very successful in making us cold and wet! Now, if not boots, how about some wellies?

Parenting throws you a googly…

…every now and then, having you wonder about your choices and decisions. And for me these days, everything becomes a trigger to wonder if we made a mistake about relocating.

Not relocating actually, but probably having moved before husband got a job in India, adding to the confusion.

The last two days, daughter has been waking up – tired. She had been sleeping slightly later than her regular time, but I thought that she would be alright. Yesterday and the day before, she woke up – tired and weepy. That never happens. She is my sunshine girl, always bright in the morning, up with a bounce, cheerful and full of beans at 6 in the morning. The day before, she was a little less bright, but was fine by the time she went to school. She was her usual self when she returned. Yesterday, she woke up grumpy, despite having gone to bed on time. She claimed that she was tired. She did not seem unwell in any way. So I tried to cheer her up, acted goofy, tried everything – but nothing would bring a smile to my normally cheerful child.

I managed to get her ready and just before boarding the school bus, she burst into tears. I was taken aback. I asked her if she wanted to stay home – she never ever likes missing school. Not even when she is ill. Never in her life has she cried before going to school. She normally just waves me off, all excited about her day ahead. Yesterday, all she did was shake her head and look miserable. The teachers in her bus gave her hugs and told me that she would be fine.

As I walked home, all I could hope was that she would be alright. A hundred doubts ran through my mind. Was I too hard on her. Did she feel that she could not tell me what she was going through. Or worse, did I ignore some important message that she tried giving me. Was there something happening at school that made her miserable. Wracked by guilt and worries, wondering, questioning everything, going right back to the relocation issue. Should I have just sent her to an international school rather than the ‘middle class’ school that this one was. All sorts of worries and doubts. Finally, I made up my mind to go and see her at school at lunch time. Her school is quite nice in that sense. They had no problems with me dropping in to check on her.

Waiting for mid-day to come was another torture, but finally it was lunch time and I rushed into the school, and cast my eyes on the field. Where was daughter? Oh! There she was – cheerfully playing with a couple of her friends. I went up to her to surprise her. Was she excited! She came running, flinging her arms around me, at the same time, questioning me,’Amma, what are you doing here? This is school time!’. When I told her that I just wanted to check on her as she seemed upset in the morning, she says, ‘But I was just tired, I’m fine now’.

And that was it. All I could feel was relief washing over me. She was fine… I must have seemed like a mad, crazy parent, but those few hours really were torturous for me. Normally, I might not have worried so much, but with all the confusion that is our life right now, all I can try and do is be there for daughter, and that morning, I really felt that I had perhaps let her down.

Thankfully, she seems fine today. I got her in bed early and she woke her to her normal cheerful self.Nothing, absolutely nothing felt better than seeing her happy face in the morning, reading a book, while sipping her milk. All I can hope for is for her to have – sunny mornings all her life. And for this single parenting business to end soon. I so miss being able to talk to husband about these things. By the time it is his morning, the issues would get resolved.

The Big Gap..

..between planning and execution is the reason for my downfall.

Rather the reason for the lack of posts this week, and the next week. We’re off home, to my parents(the mere thought of it is so exciting, relaxing and all things warm and cozy :)), and as usual, I’ve got loads of things yet to be done.

I had these huge plans of scheduling posts, book reviews that I had planned on doing. What did I actually do – nothing. Sigh!

I have been reading all your posts, but haven’t had the time to comment. I read on the phone, whenever I get a chance, but commenting gets more difficult. I try to hit ‘like’ when I can, sometimes even tha doesn’t work, because WP logs me out, and to ‘like’ I need to be logged in. After reading Shilpa’s and Bikram’s posts, I’ve been feeling rather guilty. So please consider this an apology – I just don’t seem to get the time to comment properly, or even respond to comments systematically these days. One day…

So all I have now is warm wishes to all of you for the festive season. Hope you all have a great time, and see you on the other side of the holidays.

Oh! Before I go, let me tell you who else is looking out for a job for husband. Yesterday, we had been at our local supermarket, buying a few last minute things, when daughter noticed a ‘Wanted’ sign, advertising jobs. They were looking at SSLC pass candidates to work at the store. All excited, she turns to me and says, ‘Look, Daddy can try and get that job, and then he can live with us forever!’

Back to Square One(almost)

In other words – we might just have to go back to the UK.

Returning back was something, I was confident, we would not end up doing.

Just goes to show how unpredictable life is, and even the best laid plans are not enough – sometimes. We might need to go back to the UK. We might have to return, not for the usual reasons, but because we can’t find a job here!

Eight years in the UK, we refused to put down roots there. Mainly because India always felt like home, and there was nothing we looked forward to more than coming back to Bangalore and living the dream we dreamed. Everything was as per plan, when we moved back in July. Or rather, until Daughter and I moved back – husband was still there for a while, until he got a job in Bangalore. How difficult would it be? Not too difficult, is what I had assumed, husband was far more realistic, even then. But clearly, I assumed wrong. Apparently, most companies just want him to go back abroad on projects. That doesn’t exactly bode well for our, ‘End of nomadic existence’ plan, does it? If we have to be abroad, we would stick to his current job, and stay in one place – UK, rather than be shunted back and forth on projects while being an India employee.

So right now, we are wondering if we took the decision too quickly, if we should have waited till husband got a job before relocating. At that time, this seemed the best thing to do, to come here at the start of the academic year, so that daughter would not have to miss much, so that she could settle in easier. And it worked too – to that extent. Daughter is comfortable, well settled in school but missing her Daddy terribly. She just cannot understand why he can’t get a job here, or why he can’t just come here and find a job.. It’s taking a toll on all of us but hopefully, we will be able to look back at this phase and smile, in a few years time.

Hoping for the best, here we are gearing up for the worst – having to pack up and head back. After a year apart – we plan to give it a year – until the end of this academic year, and lots of money(and effort) spent on the apartment(and other things), we might just have to head back. The mere thought of that make my heart sink. While it would be wonderful to be back with husband, I only wish it were him joining us, rather than the other way around. The main reason we decided to move back – parents, would still be a reason which makes it tough for me to go back. It feels really bad to be so far away, at a time when they might need us… I so wish we were living some place closer to home.

On the positive side -I do believe that daughter would have it better there – in many ways, education, opportunities. And most importantly, safety. Every time I read the newspaper, it scares me. I know, its silly to worry like this,but one can’t help worry. As I have mentioned earlier, I had/have my doubts if India is the best place for daughter, but I was still hopeful that we would be fine. Every country comes with own set of problems, but being in India had so many things we were looking forward to. Being close to family, the fun, that feeling of belonging, and to be finally able to set down roots. For daughter, it is those simple things like being able to play outside everyday. Not having to worry about rain spoiling her playtime. But after the first few months of soaking in the new place, the new atmosphere, now, she has started missing her old school, and friends and also comparing them. Although she hasn’t been very upset, she does wonder why they don’t do some things in the school here, like experiments. But she’s alright, and I suspect she will be perfectly at peace here, once husband gets to join us. Right now, I think the situation has started to unsettle her, just a bit.

Being in a situation like this is annoying, and frustrating, to say the least, the uncertainty, killing. ‘Suspended equilibrium’, sort of situation. No idea which way we go. I’ve stopped getting work done on the flat. We had been looking forward to so many things, not knowing that what we would get is uncertainty and confusion. Right now, I would settle for some definite plans – either way, it would just be good to know which way.

Taking one day at a time, doing just what needs doing, at the moment, keeping our fingers crossed, and hoping that whatever be the outcome, we have the strength to face it, and make the most of it. And if we do go back, one thing is for sure, we would not be doing any relocation, unless all of us move together – lessons learnt, eh?