Got the best partner!

#WOW

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

This is a short simple incident which changed my life for the better.  Around 16 years ago, my aunt who lives in Delhi came to know that a prospective groom’s family was searching for a girl for marriage.  Since I was of marriageable age at that time, she decided to talk to them about me.

Later we came to know that the boy’s family wanted a girl from Delhi and a teacher and I was neither!  It’s not that this was something I was expecting or broke my heart, but it was kind of a “rejection” for me which I didn’t like!

That boy’s family passed on my alliance to a neighbor of theirs as they knew that they were also looking for a girl for their son.  They liked me and after talking to me over phone it was decided mutually that we will meet.  I met that boy and his family.  In the first meeting itself, I liked that tall lanky boy with a disarming smile and simple nature and within 6 months we were married.

On the day of our reception, the other boy’s family came to greet us.  He had gotten married by then.  When I looked at him I instantly said, “Thank God I didn’t get married to him!”  Personality wise he was nowhere close to my husband, he was a grumpy irritable fellow.  Later on we came to know that he subjected his wife to domestic violence too.

That rejection of the boy’s family was a blessing in disguise for me as I got the gem of a man as my husband and not that abusive man!  I got the best partner that any girl could wish for and here we are happily together for 15 years now!

The silent, strong supporters

The other day I went to attend a bloggers’ event.  It was almost an entire afternoon event and in Mumbai commuting takes up a lot of time, so I knew it would be late evening by the time I reach home.  My husband was traveling and hence I asked my kids to take care of themselves that day.  Being grown up slightly now and in a nuclear set-up, they are pretty responsible.

When I reached home, I saw that the washed utensils were kept in place and the clothes were washed in the washing machine.  My son had already left for his 10th tuition classes and my daughter was listening to music and studying.  These are the very kids who in my presence become so naughty!

Suddenly, I felt overwhelmed.  These two little kids of mine, who are my favorite muse for writing, have always been my source of encouragement.  The other big support has been my husband who had so many times worked from home to take care of the kids while I was away attending events.  Many would say that this is nothing great; a family is meant to do that!  But when you have such a strong support you do feel blessed.

I had my kids pretty early on in life, but I never for even one day, felt that I was sacrificing my life and happiness because of them.  I had raised them, still do, with a lot of happiness and love.  I expected nothing in return but I didn’t have to because my kids are supporting and encouraging my endeavors without being asked for support.

My husband even in the most stressful situations has asked me to continue to pursue what I love, writing.  A family which I have nurtured with love is giving me back the love when I require it the most.

Every moment of love, every gesture of encouragement and support counts.  I do have my three strong silent supporters always to give me that impetus!

The young feminist..

Interpretation of a 20th Century 1980s song by a 21st Century girl.

Yesterday while surfing channels I stopped at a music channel which was playing 80s songs. It was playing the song “Ye tera ghar ye mera ghar” from the film Saath-saath where a couple happily sings about their new abode. My daughter was watching that song with me and after a while she remarked, “Why is it that the woman is doing all the household chores like washing utensils or cooking while the man is smiling and standing? Then why is he singing Ye tera ghar ye mera ghar when he isn’t sharing the chores?” While growing up I could never imagine that someday this song will be interpreted like this!

Enjoy..its pregnancy not a disease!

Becoming a mother is one of the most joyous and memorable event in any woman’s life.  The would-be-mom goes through mixed emotions of happiness, excitement, fear, anxiousness, etc., especially when she is expecting her first child.

Unless there are any medical conditions associated with pregnancy or before pregnancy or the doctor has advised bed-rest and other precautions, pregnancy needs to be enjoyed, taken normally and not treated as any disease.  I remember during both my pregnancies I was working till the last day, doing all the household chores, and enjoyed my pregnancies thoroughly.

Few tips for a smooth pregnancy and taking this phase as normally as one can:

  1.  First and foremost, pregnancy should not be taken as an illness.  Yes, the woman’s body goes through a lot of physical and hormonal changes but unless there are severe medical conditions where the gynecologist advises total bed-rest, take certain precautions and medicines, pregnancy should be taken normally.
  2. Some women have severe nausea and vomiting during the first trimester,  hyperemesis gravidarum.  She should consult the doctor and follow him/her.
  3. During pregnancy, the expecting mother should diligently follow the gynecologist.  There is no harm in following advice from the elderly or experienced mothers but only the doctor is the best person to understand about her condition.
  4. Eat nutritious food which includes all food groups but do not eat excessively.  Some people suggest that a mother should eat for two people, but the fact is whatever healthy diet the mother takes for herself is sufficient for the baby.  Also during this phase the mother shouldn’t diet or bar any food group like fats.  Like all other nutrients, fats are also required for the development of the baby.
  5. As per the doctor’s advise, folic acid and calcium should be taken regularly.  Never stop any supplement on your own.  Also in certain conditions like gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, preeclampsia doctor’s prescribe few medicines which should be continued.  They won’t harm the baby.
  6. Continue working in the office, in the house as before.  Just take care not to haste too much, not to bend as the tummy grows bigger.  Take rest in between.  Seek the help and support of colleagues, family and friends whenever required.  This is the best time to get pampered by everyone.
  7. Go for the scans and Doppler as and when indicated by the doctor.  This monitors the baby’s growth and development.
  8. Indulge in prenatal yoga, walk and light exercise after the gynecologist gives a go-ahead.  This helps the would-be-mom to keep fit and energetic.
  9. Never ignore the slightest of discomfort.  It might simply be gas or heartburn or later false alarms yet visit the doctor immediately if the mom feels any issue.
  10. Often women worry about the mode of delivery; whether it would be normal or cesarean.  I always say that one cannot predict anything till the last date.  Of course, every mom would want a normal delivery but when it comes to certain emergent conditions its best to get a C-section done.  After all, nothing is more important than the mother and baby’s life.  I myself had both my kids via C-section and I am perfectly fine and so are my kids who are grown up now!

Pregnancy is a phase that needs to be enjoyed and cherished.  Feel the kicks, hear the heartbeats via Doppler, see the little one moving in the scan..

Happy motherhood!

A Letter To Her-Don’t Go Back..

#ALetterToHer

Dear Her,

Do you remember the time our class teacher had humiliated you in front of the whole class for not submitting your homework on time?  You had told me, your friend, that you will never give her another chance to insult you again and you never did!  Then what happened 20 years later my friend?

I remember when you were dating your boyfriend, now your husband, once you didn’t reach your meeting place on time and he abused you publicly by calling you a “filthy late bitch.”  You were shocked and cried on my lap.  I had told you to immediately break up with him.  But you were so madly in love with him that you forgave him the very next day when he said sorry.

You were so excited and participated in all your marriage festivities with fervor.  On your mehendi night, he called you up and cursed your family and you as he and his family felt you people didn’t match up to their standards of wedding preparations.  Even the marriage was a big drama with him and his parents insulting you and your parents at every step.  Every time you forgave him because you loved him.

On your first night, his mother had asked you to hand over all your ornaments to her and you refused.  I still can’t forget the black mark beneath your eye and your swollen bruised lips the next day when you came for “pag phera” at your parents’ place.  This became a daily routine for you.  His violent outbursts, abusive language, thrashings, rape, etc.  He wouldn’t allow you to speak with your parents, would never let your parents visit you.  The demands kept on increasing.

My pretty friend, you became pale and lifeless.  You wanted to come back but your parents feared “log kya kahenge” and asked you to adjust.  Amidst all these, you discovered that you were pregnant.  You felt your husband and in-laws would change now.  But you were so wrong.  They kept insisting that you bear a son; chromosomes be damned!

I still remember the day your beautiful little daughter was born.  Your husband slapped you in that delicate stage.  He didn’t take his own daughter in his arms; he didn’t even look at the angel.  Your in-laws didn’t come to visit you.

Now your daughter is 2 months old and you are contemplating going back.  Your parents are willing to “seek forgiveness” for a fault that you haven’t committed; the fault that is your daughter.

My friend, don’t go back!  Be the girl you were 20 years back when you had promised that our teacher wouldn’t insult you again.  A father who hasn’t seen his darling daughter’s face, a husband who has slapped his just postpartum wife doesn’t deserve your forgiveness any more.  Even if you go back, can you fathom what will be your and your daughter’s condition there?  You have tolerated all the abuse and violence for all these years thinking your husband would some day mend his ways.  But now do you want your daughter to go through the same ordeal as you?  Would you want her to give a life of humiliation and unacceptability?  You are the one whom she recognizes now, trusts blindly, and will always depend on, look up to you to protect her, give her strength.  Don’t repeat the mistake that your parents are committing now, of not supporting you.  You know how much it hurts.  The very people who are supposed to protect you, love you; your parents and husband, are nowhere in your support.

But my friend, you are a strong girl.  Don’t go back.  Your education and inner strength will help you.  Of course, the road isn’t going to be easy.  But at least you will lead a life of dignity and freedom.  You have to gear up for another battle; divorce, societal pressure, parental pressure, hurtful remarks.  But remember, nobody is in your shoes.  You have had enough, now protect yourself and your daughter.  Make yourself strong and resilient, make your daughter strong and bold.

A marriage is a happy one only when there is a bond, not bondage.

Much love and strength to you.

Your friend,

Note:  I went through Meena Kandasamy’s blog in this Sunday’s Times of India and was very impressed by her honesty and her fearlessness.  Her decision to walk out of an abusive marriage is not a step that still many educated women take till date.  That’s why I want to read her inspiring story, When I Hit You,

The eternal friends..

I came to Mumbai just after my marriage some 15 years back.  As an introvert, a bit reticent small town girl I didn’t know what was my new life going to be like.  I was of the breed of girls who weren’t much ambitious, didn’t even ask how much the husband earned or what properties her in-laws had.  I was not the street smart, confident young woman who was focused and sure of what she wanted.  At that point of life, I simply wanted to focus on my new chapter, with a tall lanky man whom I had just met 6 months back in an arranged marriage setup.

I still remember we arrived late in the night in Mumbai; me, my husband, his close friend, and our luggage traveling through the dusty path from Baroda.  The express highway wasn’t in existence then.  I landed in a 1 BHK flat which was going to be my new setup, the beginning of my new life with my young new husband.  I didn’t know cooking, I didn’t know how to wake up in the morning without my mother waking me up, I didn’t know how to manage a home.

Call me silly, but I got exposed to credit and debit card thanks to my husband.  I didn’t know how to operate an ATM card.  I didn’t know that Andheri was compartmentalized into East and West like the other suburb stations.  I didn’t know which BEST bus would take me to my new office.  I didn’t know how much rice would be sufficient for the two of us.

But that tall lanky man held my hand, guided me at every step.  He would calmly without complaint take the half burnt rotis that I prepared for him every morning.  He didn’t watch the shape or taste, he only saw the love and feelings of a young naive wife in it.  He calmly explained me that ATM slip was not to be left but torn and thrown in the bin before leaving the ATM.  He lovingly taught me how to make rajma and kaali daal.

I, who never could hear an alarm ring, used to wake up religiously every morning and try to learn and do things that I had never done in my life.  No, there was no compulsion; it was my own choice.  We would order pizza in the evenings when both felt really tired.  We would share a bottle of coke in that 1 bedroom-hall-kitchen which had no fancy furniture or gadgets.  His 6-foot frame would lean over my 5-foot frame to give a hug of warmth, assurance and love.

Isn’t it or shouldn’t be that marriage should be all about?  You give some, he gives some, you learn some, he ignores some.  In all these years, we both have never ever dragged our parents or siblings in any fight.  I have seen things turn ugly when couples drag their respective families in fights.  Too much scrutinizing on the girl’s “beauty” or the boy’s “salary” doesn’t assure a happy marriage.  When two people accept each other with all their flaws and instead of changing them appreciate what’s good in them does a marriage become successful.

Often people claim that we are “lucky”; yes we are lucky to have found each other but it’s not that we haven’t had to work on our relationship; only we never felt that we needed to make “adjustments”.  He doesn’t eat fish, I do, but I have never forced him to eat neither he has forced me to give it up!  A simple example but it makes a lot of difference.

I always say more than religion, food, caste, beauty, salary; its the compatibility that matters the most; it is what makes a couple the eternal friends.

 

Work from home-how easy, how difficult..

I am a part of many mom forums and even otherwise daily come across many women wanting to do some work from home.  Many of them are frustrated or unhappy that they are unable to utilize their skills and qualifications or have an income of their own.  Many women feel lonely once the kids are grown up and want to do something of their own.  Many women in nuclear setup or otherwise do not wish to leave their small babies and go out to work and hence look for work-from-home opportunities.

Sounds nice and it is a boon for many women too!  There are lots of work-from-home options coming up each day.  Jobs in the field of content writing, blogging, data entry, social media-related jobs, medical transcription, tuition, etc., etc. are few work-from-home options.

But is it really as easy as it sounds?  Like every other thing, work from home has its own pros and cons.  I started working from home when my son turned 9 months old.  I stay in a nuclear set-up with my husband being my rock solid support always.  Its been almost 14 years now that I have been working from home, changed my job profile though.  I have had and still have many hard days.  Now with the kids grown up things are easier but still managing the home, kids’ studies, people, phone calls, etc., is quite a task.

Sharing few tips from my own experience of so many years of working from home:

1.  Work from home doesn’t mean that you don’t have to denote fixed working hours.  Yes, it has more flexibility than the office hours yet one needs to stay committed to the assigned hours.  Stay connected with your work colleagues online.

2.  Before starting any work from home option, please think calmly about it.  It is a commitment after all.  You can keep on taking breaks every 3-4 days citing kids’ issues or other social problems.  It impacts your performance as well as irritates your employer.

3.  Support system.  Create a support system, specially if your child is very small, so that you can work without any distractions while someone takes care of your child or does the home chores.

4.  Don’t expect the same salary, perks, or career growth as one gets when works from office.  I won’t generalize but generally the work-from-home jobs options have slower growth and sometimes lesser salary as compared to the office-going counterparts.  Things are changing though!

5.  Don’t try to do home chores and your job together.  It’s hugely distracting!  What I used to do was did some chores before starting my work and then finished the other chores later.  Compartmentalize your work and prioritize them accordingly.

6.  Inform your family and friends about work timings so that they call or visit accordingly, unless any emergency of course.

7.  Spouse and children play a big supportive role for women who work from home, at least holds true for me.  My husband was always very, very helpful and supportive.  Once my kids turned a bit older they also started realizing that mom is working and that she shouldn’t be disturbed.  Now the kids are my motivating factor!  Involve your family in your work schedule!

8.  Keep on reinventing and updating yourself.  Work from home can get stagnating at times.  Look for some other line which interests you, learn more about it, and try to work in that field, if you wish to.

Any work, be it from office or from home, is never easy.  Every place has its own set of challenges.  If you have decided to take the plunge, best of luck!