Packing

I suck at packing. It is something which induces major anxiety in an already anxious person like me. Whenever we have to travel, I spent almost a complete day doing packing. I am always so confused about what to pack and what not, that I end up keeping more stuff that I actually need, resulting in huge suitcases or multiple bags for just a couple of days of vacation/ travel. I make a list of things I need to carry, so my list has heads like clothes, toiletries, footwear, medicines, electronics, Kavya’s diapers (thankfully no more needed now) etc. Now some of this stuff is pretty simple to pack- like medicines. However, it’s the heads like clothes, and Kavya’s things that baffle me like nothing. Even when I go by occasions and days and try calculating the total number of clothes to keep, I always end up packing more clothes than needed. Since the time I had K, I have been packing almost all of her seasonal clothes, if I am going to stay out of station for more than 5 days. I keep everything, in the fear that she may run short of clothes and then I will be in trouble. After K came into picture, this confusion and anxiety has only increased. What toys are enough to keep her occupied during the journey and at the said place? Her medicine box almost goes everywhere in full entirety. What shoes to keep for her…O my God! The list is endless. Thankfully, both of us do not own too many footwear, so the choice is limited in this department. It’s the clothes usually which create a mayhem. Other than what to keep, there is also a huge lack of planning on my part I feel. When I initiate packing, I do not have a plan in my head. So it takes me twice the amount of time than should be actually needed. I make so many rounds of the various rooms to collect stuff, that I am almost dead tired by the end of it. This lack of plan also creates anxiety. If it’s packing for winters- then God only help me. Woollens confuse me. What sweater/ jacket to wear with which piece of clothing, is a question I am yet to find answer to. So I feel like keeping all my jackets and sweaters, this multiplies the luggage. Add to it K’s winter wear- and I am drowned in packing anxiety!

I am so scared that I may need the only item I miss packing. I find it extremely inconvenient to buy anything in a new place. Even if I am going to a proper city with all facilities and staying close to a super market- I just find it extremely wasteful to buy something just for those few days, just because I forgot to carry it.

As I said I have tried making lists etc., but it only solves the problem partially. I am still over packing and wasting too much time.

This time however, I approached the problem from the other end. When I was packing for a trip to my parents’ place in March- I just allocated 2 hours for packing. I decided that I will pack whatever I can think of in those 2 hours. I noted down the major things I had in kind on our white board. And then kept ticking them off, creating separate entries for whatever was pending in each head. Like- in Toiletries- brush etc. This did help to a certain extent. I realized that I had packed almost all essentials, and I had avoided taking headache for the whole day. I just did everything mechanically. I was happy that I could save time. When I speak to other people, they are so relaxed about this whole thing. I know of friends who are not only very smart at packing but also take very little time. But, then I am not cool like them in many other things also. And as I write this I realize that like many other things, this is something I need to search on Google. May be I will get many options on how to be a smart packer. Let me add this to my goals now. I need to learn the art of packing smartly, by my next trip. And that reminds me, that I need to take a stock of my goals made at the beginning of the year. Let me do that in one of the upcoming post.

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Old

I read Sayesha’s blog, and picked up the title from there. This is my 2nd post of the day as I want to be on track in the marathon. Off late I have realized that I feel much older than say I did a couple of years back. I mean older than my age. Not boring or old old, but a lot grown up. This time I went to my school when I had visited my parents. There was a recent development, the principal of the school is now a guy who was my batch-mate! He is the nephew of our old principal, and as part of family “business” has taken over the school now. It was great meeting him, but felt really weird. It seemed as if we studied in the school like some centuries back. It was result day and all teachers were there, but I hardly knew a handful of them. Most teachers from our time had retired and there were all new faces around. My mother also teaches in the same school and is about to retire in 2019. When I saw the school magazine, it felt so nostalgic. That magazine had carried a lot of my articles at one time…J After leaving school, for many years my mom’s students would come home for tuitions etc., and most of them would know me, as I was few batches senior to them. Now, when kids come, they obviously have no idea who we are- my siblings and I. It feels really old, that we are not even relevant any more. Generations have passed since we left school!

Like, when I see pictures of some of my teachers now- many of them got married when we were in school, and now their kids are studying in professional colleges.  People my age in the colony, are all parents now with kids much older than mine. And then when I listen to 90’s songs, O my God!, it just feels like yesterday when I was going crazy over the DDLJ album, and last year it celebrated 20 years. Someone rightly said that time flies fast. I am already approaching mid- thirties. There are a couple of observations I have made off late regarding age and getting old. Let me share them here:

  1. I have realized that age had nothing to do with your aspirations in life. Or to put it differently, the heart does not age as fast as body. In my heart I still feel 20. No, I am not saying- I still like partying every weekend, or getting drunk etc. But the need to have fun, to enjoy life, to celebrate- that does not come down with age. I have started empathizing with old people a lot more. You still want good things in life, no matter what your age. And I can understand what really old people must feel like- when we assume they have no aspirations or need for fun or they just need to pass their time now. Worst, when we burden them with responsibility of raising our kids, or things like that. We assume, they are done with all fun in life. No, the heart is never done.
  2. I have realized that the only thing that will go with till the end is your health. HEALTH. The most important thing you own and should value. It must be taken very good care of. PERIOD.
  3. My attitude towards parents. This is one thing I am hating most about growing old- that parents are growing older. I guess this is the most I have valued them by far. Till mid-twenties, they were providers and the thought that they would also grow old never crossed my mind. But as my father approaches 70, and my mum 60, I am much more concerned about their health and well-being now. I want to spend as much time I can with them. I have never cherished time spent with them more.
  4. Another very important thing I am realizing now is that- even my time is limited. I mean I had dreams of becoming something, doing a lot of stuff. I realize that if I actually do not start working on those dreams now- it would actually be too late. I may die as a pile of regrets. And that is a big motivation. I have started working on things that really make me happy. I will do a separate post on that later, but now I truly want my each day to count.
  5. Since Kavya turned three and is growing independent, I realize, that spending time with kids is so important. In few years’ time, she will need me much much less than now, and I will miss this. So spending more and more time with her is my biggest priority.
  6. Looking good. I did not want to mention this here, but then why not? I realize, that the “youth” part is slowly going to fade. The downhill journey has already started, but few years left before the lines actually start showing up. I want to pay as much attention to my dressing as possible. I have been a lazy dresser all my life, but I want to change that now. I have joined the #100sareepact (More about that later), and through that I am trying to work on my dressing. I just wish that this effort stays on.
  7. The last and the most important- taking control. I have realized that life is too short to be spent on negative things. So cutting all the negativity should be one prime objective. I only want to be surrounded by people who are genuine and who care. Rest are all noise, and need to be cut out from life. Be it work, family, friends- there should only be space for those who add something positive.

I plan to write more posts on the last point in the coming days. Now I am off to bed. It’s been a tiring week, and more work awaits tomorrow!

New

I could not post on Saturday. It was a super busy day, as my SIL was getting engaged on Sunday. Parents were here, relatives were here and we were shuttling between the guest house and home. On the top of that, I somehow had this feeling that Kavya’s clothes are ready and I just need to iron them. Friday night when we came back, Kavya was already asleep in the car, and I got down to iron her clothes. I bought her a lehnga for Diwali, and since the top was fitting her well, I decided to go with it. Though I was not very happy with the dress, but my mind was against buying yet another dress for her, which I knew would only be more once or max twice. While ironing it, it hit me that she had another brand new lehnga top, which was gifted to her a couple of months back. So I took that also out, and started comparing the two. While doing so I also picked up the iron and resumed ironing. Not realizing how hot it was, it put it straight on the lehnga, making 2-3 holes in the cloth!! The child is very fond of dressing up. She loves wearing good clothes, wearing bangles and admiring herself in the mirror. I thought for a moment, that may be she is destined to wear something better and new, because deep down even I was not very happy with the Diwali dress which I was planning to make her wear.
Since the function was at 12 noon the next day, I had no option but to fix it. I dug out two tassels from one of my old blouse and tried to fix them to cover the burnt part and save the dress. My mum arrived after sometime, and I gave her the responsibility of fixing the dress….:) (You can rely only on mum at time of such crises!)
Next day morning the first thing she did was to fix it. So while it was looking pretty ok, and the mend was not visible, still both of us had the view, that the dress was not good enough for the occasion. Since the other lehnga she had was a bit dull, and had no matching dupatta, I was left with no option but to rush to market and get her a new dress.
Since the mall opened only at 11 am, I rushed to the parlor to get ready, and from there took a cab to the mall at around 11 30 am. I almost ran inside the mall to reach the shop and in flat 10 minutes, had picked the dress for her. This was definitely one of my fastest purchases..:) Being Sunday morning it helped, there was hardly any crowd. I dashed out of the mall after paying and in next 15 minutes I was home. Kavya was delighted to see the new dress, though she still wanted to wear the lehnga..:) So we had a new dress for her and for her dad, for the new beginnings of my SIL.
This is her wearing the dress:

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She would not let go of her Duppatta even for a second. Although she was finding it difficult to manage it, but she still carried it throughout the function and was trying her best to adjust it properly…:)
Btw- the iron seems to have some real issue. Next day morning it burnt my mother’s saaree as well!!
I will be doing another post today with ‘O’, to remain on track in the marathon.

Morning Walk

Since last year March, I had not been keeping very good health. I would catch throat infection almost every month. Then in July, I started having headaches. I had never experienced headaches in my life, so I was a bit surprised. I went to doctors and after spending a bomb on MRI and consultation fee, I was told that I have migraine. The headache subsided after some medicines, but would come back again in few days. It has been on and off since then. Then, I got acidity and heartburn. Again a new for me. In Jan, a small growth on my neck got puss. It started hurting. And this was followed by a muscle injury in right hand, which prevented me from driving for almost 2 months. Almost every 2nd day I was in the hospital for consultation, and was paying really high amount in medical expenses. When this acidity issue happened in Feb, I decided to go for a complete health checkup, which again costed quite some amount. I was kind of frustrated with so many hospital visits. More than Kavya’s vaccinations and doctor’s fee, it was I who was giving away way too much money to hospitals.

When the acidity issue did not subside, I went to see a gastrologist.  I just googled for some good gastrologist and found his name. In Gurgaon Gurugram, I generally prefer going to Fortis for OPD consultation. In the past couple of years, they have poached all good doctors from other hospitals and have a good team of doctors in almost every department. He was Dr Pawan Rawal. There were a couple of positive reviews, so I was confident that he would be OK.

That day I had two appointments in Fortis. One with a surgeon for the cyst on the neck, and the other with Dr Rawal. The surgeon asked me to come after two days for a small surgical process through which she planned to remove the cyst. It was a Sebaceous cyst. Then I went to see the gastro doc. The nurse made me sit in his room, while he was yet to come. After some time the Dr came in. The moment he entered the room, I could sense positivity. A tall, lean man with a really warm smile, and high energy. He sat down to write my history- and I started explaining my symptoms.

He listened to me patiently, and then he asked two questions. Do you do any physical activity? And, are you easy going/ bindaas types? Or take too much load?

Both my answers were negative. I lead a totally sedentary lifestyle, and I am a very anxious person, who takes load of anything and everything under the sun. He started smiling, and said, it is because of you people that this hospital is making money…:)

He examined me, and suggested that I immediately change my lifestyle. At least 45 min of walking everyday, and secondly, be bindaas (he actually wrote that on my prescription!).

His way of talking was so comforting, that I immediately felt as if some load had had been taken off my head. What he said was pretty simple, but the way he approached the whole thing made me feel good immediately. I really liked this doctor, and would recommend him to people in Gurugram..:)

I had been told to increase my physical activity earlier too, but this time I knew I would do something about it. While leaving the hospital, I was determined, that I am going to make these small changes in my lifestyle. I had spent too much time being lazy. Now, it had started affecting me both physically and financially. Never had I felt so bad about shelling out so much money to hospitals at such frequent intervals.

Dr Rawal had given me medicines for 10 days and he asked me to come back if acidity and heartburn persisted. I started going for a morning walk from the next day onwards. This was the second time I was doing it in my entire life. I had tried doing it earlier in 2012, but then I conceived Kavya, and all walking stopped. I already had jogging shoes, and I started my morning walk from the next day. This was in Feb end I think. I have been going regularly since then (almost), and believe me my acidity has just vanished. I did not even have to visit the doctor again. Though I do not walk for the full 45 min, but still I try to make it at least half an hour. DO I see any other physical change like weight loss etc? NO. But still I am very happy. There is a satisfaction for being able to follow a healthy routine, and that gives a lot of happiness. It is a confidence booster to know that I can keep promises made to myself.

I slowly plan to increase my time from 30- 45 min. And also follow this up with a small yoga session. Something to keep my mind calm. This is something which is on my to-do list now. I will blog about it once I have started and settled in it for good.

Lollipop

I have chosen this topic so that I can document some of Kavya’s recent antics here. Till now I have always refrained from giving toffees or chocolates to Kavya. Once in a while was ok, but I never encouraged her to have any. When she turned around 2, we also made a story around how a monkey eats too many chocolates and ends up at a dentist. Since she is generally a good kid, she never demanded too many of them. However, her recent visit to her Nanaji’s place changed things a bit. As part of the regular pampering she got to eat toffees, and that caught her fancy. Now, she demands toffees almost every day. And how she eats them, she keeps the toffee in her hand and keeps licking it till it becomes too tiny. Then also, she has to be forced to put the remains in her mouth and finish. So day before yesterday, she was throwing some tantrum at my in-laws place, and they immediately gave her a toffee. When she asked for more, we said that we will get you more from the market- later on. Kavya, generally understands logic. She very innocently repeated “Jab dadaji maaket jayenge, tab laayenge aul toffee”. My MIL was totally touched, and decided that the kid needs to be given more toffees. (That was actually a very cute statement by Kavya. It is generally easy to make her understand things, which I am scared may also sometimes work against her). This was a reward for her innocence.

Also, since she had seen Kavya eating the toffee the way she did, she had a brainwave. She called my FIL, who was in market to get her some lollipops. Logic being that, it has a stick, and it will prevent her from messing her hands. I tried to stop her, but she gave the usual, “bachche hi to hain, ab nahi khayenge to kab khayenge” argument. So in some time Kavya had a lollipop in her hands. To say that she was thrilled would be an understatement. She had never seen a lollipop before, so she was delighted to have a toffee with a stick. She devoured it for around 30 minutes. The whole time she was just concentrating on licking it and nothing else. Just roaming around the room, eating it, and periodically showing it to me.

She called it lollipok in the beginning..:D. The child thoroughly enjoyed her first lollipop experience. I am sure she is going to ask for more in the coming days, but since she already understands cause and effect to a certain extent now, it should not be very difficult for us to keep her away from too many sweets.

This also reminds me of one more incident which happened around a month back. I took her to market, and she demanded a toffee. I generally buy gems for her, as she is very fond of them. So I gave her a packet of gems. She immediately started eating them. On our way back, we crossed a paanwaala. He had some toffee jars on his counter. Kavya looked at them and said “ Mumma, vo dekho toffee. Toffee khane se to daant khalaab ho jaate hain. Gems se to nahi hote..hai na..” with a big grin. It was such a lovely moment. Both my maid and I started laughing. She said it so innocently and cutely…J Kids are super cute at times.

Turning 3 has been a period of growth spurt for Kavya. She has suddenly grown up in the past one month. Her speech is clearer and her reasoning has improved considerably. She can make logical sentences in English too. She explains herself almost perfectly, and sometimes it feels as if I am talking to an adult. She is still saying cute things, but I can see my child growing. She has a mind of her own, and is clear on what she wants. Like the other day she came back from school, and I asked her to change her clothes. She said no. When I asked why, she replied “Kyunki mujhe kapde change karna achcha nahi lagta, mujhe khelna achcha lagta hai”!

Today she was telling husband- after pee pee- “Papa, maine appko bata diya ki mujhe susu aayi hai. Ab main bali ho gayi. Pehle main jab choti thin a, to pajama mein hi kal deti thi..”..:)

She generally talks to me in English. And I am amazed at the rate at which she has picked up the language. We are mainly Hindi speaking people at home, but at school she only gets to hear English. She has picked up very well, and I give all the credit for this to her teachers. Today she said, “Mumma, take out my clips (from her hair), then I will become a boy”, I said no baby, you will still be a girl. She said firmly.” No boys don’t put clips, so I will be a boy”…:)

Whenever she wants to do something- she says-“Shall we do this?” “Mumma, Shall we go to the park”..”Shall I climb on your head..”…:) In hindi it becomes- “kya main ye khaa loon”…” kya main ye gira doon..”…:)

Another favorite of her these days is – asking questions. She asks so many questions, that sometimes it becomes funny. And she has to know everything. Whatever is happening around her, she has to be aware. If the bell rings, she invariably has to go and check at the door. If the maid says something- like she is not well etc, Kavya verifies with me- “Mumma, Manooshi aunty ko kya hua?” On the road, she keeps asking me, “ye kiska ghar hai”, when I say- 1 uncle ka, next question “Unka naam kya hai”- so I read the name plate and reply..:D Sometimes, I make up names, it is so funny. She knows all the major landmarks from her school to home by heart now. “Mumma, hum..xyz chowk aa gaye”…”Mumma, vo dekho Fortis hospital”..”Vo dekho Max Hospital” She has a special fondness for hospitals. The other day she was trying to understand a U turn. We have to take a U turn to each home, she just did not get why I tell the autowallah every time to take a U turn. She would say ..”Mumma, kahan hai U? Ye to T hai”, referring to a big T on a billboard..:)

For the first time in these 3 years I felt her growing so fast. She is moving from being a cute toddler to a school going girl now…:) I hope to write more posts on Kavya in the marathon. It’s a great opportunity to chronicle her most fun years here.

 

K- The Name

Even before I had Kavya, I always kind of knew that it would be a girl. Call it my sixth sense or a strong gut feeling, but I was more or less sure that my first child would be a girl. I had thought that I would name her Radhika. I am very fond of this name. Husband however, thought otherwise and never approved of this name. Moreover, one of his cousin’s daughter is also named Radhika, so he wanted to go with some other name.  My second choice was Radha. I love this name. Husband obviously did not, he felt it was too outdated and sounded old. Towards the end of my pregnancy, we discussed a lot of girls’ names. We discussed boys’ names also, but somehow the inclination was always towards girls’ names. We could never agree on one name. I even tried to fight it out with husband, that since I have carried the baby for 9 months, I should have sole right to name her in case we are unable to agree on one, but he did not budge. There was another name- Anasuya which I liked, but he disagreed. Priyamvada was another name which I really love, but he found it too old. Whatever options he suggested, were not appealing to me. So time passed and eventually we stopped discussing the name thing.

After the birth, the name topic again popped up. We had planned her naming ceremony 10 days after her birth. So we had effectively 10 days to decide on a name. I think it was my mother, she suggested the name Kalyani. (Her birth letter was K, and my in-laws insisted that we name her with that only) Husband instantly liked it. I think I also agreed thinking that I better name my child myself, else, the number of options pouring in from the extended family were scaring me. Kritika, Kiana, Kiara…etc. etc. No offence, but I somehow am not very fond of these new age names. I still like the traditional meaningful names, which most people on my husband’s side of the family disapprove of. I saw another family trait here. While my parents were OK with whatever name we selected, the same was not true with husband’s family. They had their opinion on every option we came up with. Anyway, since both of us had agreed only to this one name till now, we decided to call her Kalyani for the time being.

Most people did not like this name. So much so that, some were quite evident is showing their dislike. I was kind of surprised.  How can show your displeasure at someone else’s child’s name. I can understand it coming from close family and friends. But husband’s boss, random people we barely knew. “ye kaisa naam hai”…”Kitna puraana hai..” kept coming from people for a long time.

Anyway, I was kind of ok and had shut this topic out of my mind until, I was required to get her birth certificate made. Husband said, we can still get it changed later on. So I deferred that decision, and went ahead and got the BC made with Kalyani. Then came the PPF account. She was not even one year. The PPF application was submitted with the same name. Then one day, I realized that I myself am not very fond of this name. The first birthday was approaching. My FIL had been suggesting the name Kavya for quite some time now. So one day, after mentally giving up on having a name of my choice for her, I suggested to husband, let’s name her Kavya. That’s the only good option with K I can think of right now. Moreover, I believe that a name grows on you. After a certain point, name hardly has any significance. A person may be names Rakesh or Raj, Suresh or Sam, it’s who you are matters, not the name. Shakespeare has correctly said- What’s there in name? This logic has been able to convince me very well when I choose to by logic. At other times, when I go by what the heart says- I again start feeling, o man, Radha was such a good name…:)

Anyway, so just before her first birthday, we decided, that since in the 21 months period of having K around (inside me and outside), we have not been able to zero in on a name, it’s high time we go by what’s the next possible option available. And therefore, Kavya was chosen as the name for my daughter. This was a typical case of, if you do not take your decisions in your own hands, someone else will make them for you.

I am not sure how happy Kavya would be read this post when she grows up. But then, I am sure she would definitely love what Shakespeare said…:)

And btw, if and when I decide to have a second child, I have already told husband in so many words- the name I get to decide. I have already it decided actually…:)

Jai Maata Di

The Navratre- or the chotu Navratre as I call it are going on. Chotu, because, I have seen that the Navratres leading up to Dussera are celebrated on a bigger scale as compared to these ones which come in April. As a kid, I use to fast sometimes on the last day of Navratri or Navami, or on some other occasion like Janamashthami, Shivaratri etc. However, as I grew older I stopped fasting altogether. I could not stay without food for a single day, knowing that I am barred from eating anything. Though there are many other days when I end up having something only by late noon or evening. But if I know I cannot eat- I just cannot not eat…:)

In our home a fast means, consumption of only milk and fruits, that too in limited quantity. There is no “Fast”- Food which is prepared for the fastees. My mother, who is the only person who fasts religiously on almost all so called pious days including Hartalika Teej, Poornima etc, stays without any kind of food the whole day. Milk may be, but no food. However, I have seen a different trend altogether in certain families.

People have something called “fast” food or “vrat” ka khana. So every regular food item is replaced by another supposedly “satvik” version. Regular sea salt is replaced by “Sendha” namak (Rock Salt). There are many goodies and savouries made especially to cater to the Fastees. People keep gobbling them throughout the day and proudly claim that they are fasting. Yesterday, a colleague took out her lunch. She was fasting. It had some yumm aloo sabzi (potatao) and kuttu ki poori (buckwheat pancakes).

The whole point of keeping a fast as per our old rituals is to give our stomachs rest from its daily grind. We eat three meals every day for most of the days. Fasts is a way of giving rest to the digestive system and our body as a whole for a day by abstaining from food intake. I am not sure what the exact purpose is, but in my view fasting means abstinence from the pleasure of eating. I choose to keep away from food the day I fast. It’s a way of self-control, which in a way tests and builds up the will power. I have seen the old ladies and my mom in the family fasting. They restrict their food intake and keep it minimal.

However, these days I see a whole new market of “Fast” food. There are special chips- which can be consumed on such days. Then I see people having special namkeen (a savory) during fasts. I think they just replace the regular salt with rock salt, and the fasting items are ready. There is a whole list of main course items and snacks which are either available ready made in shops, or people prepare at home to consume at various times during a day. Like today morning- I saw a colleague having “makhane” ki nameek for breakfast. Then at around 12 noon she dig out a “Chaulayi” ka laddoo from her bag. Later for lunch she said that she is off to Haldiram to have their Navratri Thaali. She said I should have it too its yum!

I wondered, what was the point of fasting, if I cannot control my taste buds and refrain from having any of my favourite foods while I am fasting?  If I am giving in to my cravings for good food, then in principle I am not fasting. I am just replacing my regular favourite food, with another favourite of mine, with just the different kind of salt.

Infact today on insistence of that colleague I asked husband to go to Haldiram, as I thought let us taste the Navratri thaali- I am not fasting, but I am a big fan of Haldiram’s preparations. So after office we went to Haldiram with great expectations. Did I like the Thaali? NO. I had thought that the food would be simple but tasty. What I got instead was a plate of very spicy and oily food, which had all the ingredients of “fast” food, but was devoid of any simplicity. It was such a disappointment. The rice (vrat ke chaawal ofcourse), had so many black pepper in it, that I had to pick them and separate. The arbi ki sabzi was so oily, I never even make such oily arbi even on regular days. Even the raita was spicy! I would have been happier ordering regular idly dosa, which is one of my favourites at Haldiram.

I felt that it is better to eat and not cheat God and self, than by fasting and consuming equal if not more sumptuous food during the day.

I could not take a picture of the thaali today at Haldiram. Here is an image from Google. Our thaali was the same. Can you see the oil floating on “Arbi” and “Aaloo Sabzi”? and btw, it had shaahi paneer too..:)

Navratri Thaali