Happy Birthday Zen!

I’ll call her Zen.  That’s because she’s my place of peace. I could be in the middle of the biggest crisis of my life, and two minutes of chatting with her will have gotten me back to my normal self. I think I’ve mentioned her here once. I first met Zen on the day of my engagement. Me and TS were onstage greeting people who’d come, and she walked right up with her Husband N. She had the most gorgeous smile and was easily one of the tallest women of my acquaintance. TS introduced her as one of his best friends. I didn’t get to talk to her much then except for the usual pleasantries, but I made a mental note to ask TS about her.

TS had had a long list of girlfriends before me and I assumed she might have been one of them. I mean her and TS obviously got on like a house on fire and their heights made them perfect for each other. For those of you who don’t know, TS is almost six feet and well built while I’m pretty much five feet and maybe a couple of inches and reed thin. Anyway, I brought up the subject later on and TS laughed and said that she wasn’t one among his girlfriends and that she was just a good friend. I remember blurting out, “Why?”And TS’s shocked expression. I seriously felt they looked good together.

Fast forward to a couple of years after our wedding, Zen came visiting with her family to where me and TS were staying then. We caught up for like half an hour and that was it. I still remember a pic we clicked then. Me in the middle and TS and Zen on either side of me. Even in heels, I look like a midget. All this while, me and Zen were friends on Facebook but that was pretty much the extent of our interaction.

Then my first pregnancy and miscarriage happened and that one loss brought me and Zen closer than ever before. Zen had been through the same and more than anyone else I had in my life then, she knew exactly what I was going through. Not to discount my amazing support system of family and friends then, but no-one understood my guilt and fear then better than she did. We started chatting online and then soon graduated to WhatsApp.

And talking to Zen was a revelation. She was like a part of my soul I didn’t know existed out in the world. We were alike in more ways than I could count and where we didn’t agree, we found we could make our peace and move on. She was one of the most fun, most grounded, most amazing human beings I’d ever met in my life. People say its hard to make friends as adults, but Zen and me got along marvellously.  So much so that the husbands started complaining about the hours we spent bent over our phones. Zen was my rock when I got pregnant with Peanut. She was carrying her daughter Nash in her tummy then so I kind of followed her lead in everything baby related. Now at ages three and three and a half Peanut ad Nash have hardly met but they know each other well from the daily dose of pictures and videos that fly over WhatsApp.

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Zen has a baby boy now as well and her family is complete while I’m still undecided about the expansion plans I have for mine. Anyway, I digress. The point is today Zen turns a year older. As she ages, she’s only getting more graceful, more beautiful and younger at heart. She has  such an amazing spirit, an irrepressible zest for life, an attitude than I wish I could emulate and a soul that spreads happiness wherever she goes.

Today as she turns a year older, I wish for her more of everything in life – joy, happiness, peace, love and laughter. And I hope I will be blessed with her daily presence in my life over the years to come; irrespective of complaints from the husbands. Happy happy birthday Zen. This is the least I can do from miles away. Here’s to many more chats, comparing baby notes and food tips, planning holidays and shopping expeditions, plotting against the husband and plotting for being on the same side of the planet. My life is richer for having known you and I hope its been the same for you too. Happy Birthday my soul sister! Love you to bits!!

 

Universal Music

I am that primordial music- the song of the universe. I am immutable, infallible. I am that from which everything is born and I am that in which everything ultimately ends. I am creation and destruction. I am that which sustains. I am everything and nothing. I was here before time and I will be at the end of time. I am time and yet time cannot limit me. I have no form or shape. I am infinite. I am the ultimate truth. I am what you know and what you don’t. I am those you love and those you hate. I am what you wear and what you consume. I am what you think and speak. I am all the words in all the languages in all the worlds. I am all that you feel and yet I am beyond feelings. I am the male and female and everything beyond and in between. I am all life and yet, I transcend life.

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I am good and evil, light and darkness, yin and yang and yet I am beyond those too. I contain within me what has been, what is and what will be. I am what is manifest and I am what is masked. I define everything and yet I am undefinable. I am the conscious, the subconscious and the unconscious. I am the sound and all the sounds. I am fluid yet unchanging. I am the knowable and the unknowable. Knowing me is to know the universe and everything in it. I have many names, many meanings, many characteristics yet I am bound by none.

I am eternal. I am. Om.

Disclaimer: This is what happens when you read Carl Sagan. Astronomy leads to philosophy leads to musings on existence and life. 

(Image Courtesy: Google Images)

The Balloon Man

The sibling, for all her brusqueness and bravado, is actually a gentle soul whose heart weeps at the sight of the homeless, needy and those less fortunate than her. She is always striving in one way or the other to make their lives better. The fact that she lives in a metro in India that is called the “city of dreams”, and that the city has seen more dreams wither and die than flourish, doesn’t help. The other day, she was taking a break from her studies (the sibling is always studying something or the other), when she looked out the window of her room and spotted a man selling balloons in the pouring rain outside. The time was closing in on midnight, and he had with him two little boys who were getting drenched in the rain as well.

The sibling’s heart bled, and she resolved to buy balloons from the man on her way back from work the next evening. The next day, after an exhausting day at work she stopped by the balloon man and bought three balloons. Each one cost 50 rupees and so her total came up to 150 rupees. She paid him with two 100 rupee notes (or so she thought), and asked for her balance of 50. The man said she had paid him only 100, and he was due another 50 from her. Not to make excuses for the sibling, but a hard, long day at work had taken its toll on her, and she proceeded to argue vehemently with the man and accused him of trying to take advantage of her. He protested that he was telling the truth, and even swore on his children that he wasn’t taking her for a ride. The sibling tossed one scathing remark over her shoulder, paid the 50 he demanded and went home with her balloons.

After her dinner, she opened her wallet for something and realised that the man was right all along. She had indeed given him only 100. Today, as she was recounting the story to me, she was extremely guilty. She said she couldn’t sleep last night and tonight she couldn’t find the man on her way back home. I told her it was ok and that we all make mistakes, and she could apologise to the man when she saw him next. What she told me next, got me thinking. She said, “The worst part is not that I yelled at him or doubted him. The worst part is that, I know if it had been someone well dressed and in a better profession, who had told me I’d given him only 100 and not 200 like I thought, I wouldn’t have doubted him as much.”

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What she said, hit me hard. We are so quick to judge people by their appearance and the jobs they do. We are taught from a very young age, that street vendors usually take advantage of you. So someone like a balloon seller on the street couldn’t possibly be honest, could he? He had to have been lying. And the sibling is usually someone who never judges people by their appearance. She’s the last person to subscribe to stereotypes. She always gives the other person the benefit of the doubt. But that day, even she was quick to jump to conclusions.

We often forget that even the poorest of men can be honest and the richest of men, crooked. Honestly, that seems to be the norm in the world these days. Part of it has to be attributed to the way we have all grown up. We are taught to be wary of people on the street- the homeless, the beggars, the street vendors. We are told that they are dishonest, take advantage of us; that they are not to be trusted, we should help them but not too much. If they are vendors, we should bargain with them or they might cheat us, if they have kids, they might be using them as props to gain sympathy and hence more business.The list is endless, and it is hard to break those years of conditioning. But maybe it is time we did.

In a world where research has proven that better looking people are paid better, and get farther in their careers and what not, let us not forget that appearances aren’t everything. Remember, sometimes a disagreeable exterior can hide a good heart. Lets not be guilty of catering to stereotypes.

(Image courtesy: Colleen Bevacqua, www.betterphoto.com)

Little Things

Yesterday was not a good day for me. Peanut was not feeling good and was crying all day long. Towards evening, I was at a loss as to what to do and asked TS to come home so we could take him to a doctor. Being in a new country for only a few months and not being familiar with the medical system here didn’t help. We finally managed to find a doctor and  although we weren’t prescribed any medicines for Peanut, it was a relief to hear that he would be ok.

Exhausted, emotionally drained and without enough time to cook dinner, me and TS decided to pick something up on the way home. I also wanted to stop by the local supermarket to buy some juice and stuff for Peanut. We went in, Peanut perched on the car  shaped cart and happily “steering”. He still wasn’t back to normal and I was so tired I would have gladly curled up in some aisle and dozed off.

We located everything we wanted and got to the cash counter. I was walking ahead so that as soon the goods were billed and put in grocery bags, I could put everything in the cart and push Peanut out; TS was paying the bill. There was this young man packing my bags and I guess he didn’t notice TS was with me. As soon as he was done packing up everything, he asked me, “Ma’am, do you need any help?”

I swear I just wanted to throw my arms around him and hug him that minute. I almost teared up. I’d had such an awful day and I still wasn’t completely back to being myself and this man, who’d probably been standing there for hours packing grocery bags had almost made me cry with his simple offer t o help. I said no thanks and pointed to TS and said, “I have him, but thank you so much.”

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Maybe staff at the supermarket are trained to ask this to women with kids, maybe they aren’t. I don’t know and I don’t care. He just made me feel a hundred times better by just asking me that simple question. I’m sure he was probably more tired than I was. But the fact that he asked made all the difference.

And that made me realise something. Often in our busy lives, in our pursuit for bigger and better things, we forget the small courtesies like asking someone if they need help or if they’re ok, of holding the door open for someone, or letting someone go first. And its those small little things that make us happy and make us feel human. In a world thats increasingly becoming hostile and cruel, we need those little things to remind us why we are human.

Next time you someone having a hard time, just ask them if they need help. You never know how much better you’ll make them feel. Dear man at the checkout counter, thank you so much for making a poor, harried mom happy and for restoring my faith in humanity.

Little things peeps… Its always the little things…

Image Courtesy: Shuttershock

Calling Mom…

Today, I spoke to my mom properly after ages. My Grandmother passed away recently, and my Mother was busy with the millions of minute yet vital things that usually follow a death. And with visitors, and condolence calls from people, she hardly had time to talk two words to me each time I called. And by each time, I mean every day. Yeah, I’m in my thirties and I speak to my Mother every day. It might be a bit weird, but it is as much a part of my routine as brushing my teeth or my morning cuppa. I have my breakfast, give Peanut his and then I pick up the phone and call her, and proceed to tell her pretty much everything I did the day before, and all my plans for the day. Sometimes it’s a toddler crisis or something else; but I talk to her and instantly feel better and I can sail through the rest of my day.

But since my Grandmother’s death and in the weeks I couldn’t talk to my mom, I realised something- talking to her had become a huge part of my life. And it got me wondering what I would do when she was no longer around for me to talk to. And that honestly made my heart grow cold. I simply cannot imagine her not being around for me to talk her ear off about things as silly as cooking, to as serious as my future plans. I was also having a tough couple of weeks here- there were some issues in the apartment we are living in, and getting them fixed was taking too long. There were alarms going off at all times of the day and night, and it was freaking Peanut out so much that the sight of the maintenance man was enough to send him into a crying frenzy. And since it’s only been a couple of months since we moved to another country, the Peanut is still getting used to a different daily routine. It’s not as easy for us to get out and about where we stay now, and since I don’t yet have my driver’s license, the Peanut finds himself cooped up at home most weekdays and that drives him crazy. Which effectively drives me crazy trying to find ways to keep him occupied.  Stressful to say the least.

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Usually I crib to my mom and she sets me at ease. Just hearing her voice and bantering about nothing in general is enough to make me feel better. But the past few weeks with her out of the picture it was awful. TS was and is bogged down with work and I didn’t want to bother him. One of my best friends is going nuts at home with a toddler and a newborn. Another one just moved houses. Suffice to say, I didn’t have anyone on whom to dump my woes. But then, I don’t think anyone can calm you down like your mother.

Talking to my parents is something that has been a part of my day since I can remember. From nightly sessions around the dinner table where we talked about our days, to long phone calls while my time away at college, its been a ritual that me and the sister still maintain to this day. I remember times during mine and the sister’s college when we would trudge our weary way back to our hostel rooms at 2 am in the morning after classes and Mom would be waiting at the other end for our call. She couldn’t sleep without talking to us. Employment and marriage didn’t change this routine for us. And it stays to this day.

Sometimes I think maybe I depend on her a little too much. That maybe in an age when she should be relaxing and enjoying life, I’m burdening her with my innumerable issues and troubles. Then again, research suggests that nothing busts stress like talking to your mom. Nothing can be more calming than the voice you’ve been hearing since before you were born I guess. And in an age where children are being taught to be independent and on their own probably from the cradle, its nice to have such a connection with your parents. And being a mother myself now, I can only hope the Peanut will grow up to be like me. That he’ll want to talk to me everyday; and not treat calls to his mother like a chore he has to cross of his list every week. Fingers crossed. Till then, let me pick up the phone and talk to my mom about this. 🙂

Image Courtesy: Google Images 

Boredom

Today has not been a good day for me. For one, I woke up late. Which in turn, meant my plans to cook a nice spread for lunch went down the drain. I was still determined not to order in, and so proceeded to whip up some easy dishes for lunch, whereupon I managed to slice two of my fingers open. After mentally cursing myself and bandaging them up, I got back to cooking. TS was heading out and he asked me a couple of times if he needed to stay back, or order something for me and the Peanut. But I was determined to cook, and that was what I was going to do. Yeah, I can be extremely bull headed at times; and for the weirdest of reasons.

TS heaved a dramatic sigh and walked out, leaving me to my own devices and the Peanut. On weekdays, I manage to cook easy meals; and I usually reserve my cooking for the evenings when TS is also home, so I don’t have to handle Peanut all by myself. If at all I cook in the mornings, its something easy like a peas pulao or some vegetable fry that I can manage when the Peanut is splashing away in the tub or playing with his toys. Worst case scenario, I put him in front of the TV or the iPad. But since the past week, I’m on a mission to reduce our reliance on gadgets to keep Peanut occupied, so I was determined not to put him in front of the TV today. Suffice to say, the ensuing three hours were crazy. I was interrupted every ten minutes with some request or the other- Pick up my toy for me. I need water. I am hungry. I need to pee. I want to see what you’re doing. I want a bowl and a spoon to play. I need to pee. Watch me throw the toys all over the living room floor. And now the couch cushions as well. I’ve gotten garlic from the pantry. You can fish the garlic pods from under the couch tomorrow maybe. I need to pee. Watch me spill water on the couch. Oops, accident on the carpet. 

My head was reeling and I was this close to whacking him to keep him from bugging me. I finally had to give in, and plop him in front of the iPad. And through the red haze of my anger, I realised something. I realised I myself was extremely dependent on gadgets. I read on my iPad and the first thing I do in the morning is check my phone. Plus, most of my friends being in different time zones, I’m always on the phone checking and replying to messages. I have thought many a time that I would restrict gadget time to just a few hours a day, but I haven’t been able to manage that. And I realised Peanut was dependant on them too.

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(Image Courtesy: Google Images)

Having just moved to a new city and living in an apartment, Peanut gets to go out very little. And he’s bored at home. I have to depend on gadgets to keep him occupied. But that got me thinking. is being bored so bad? After all I grew up without any of these gadgets. Even my TV time was severely restricted. And if I complained I was bored, I was made to help out at home, or find means to entertain myself. The Peanut does help out at home. I’ve made sure of that from the time he was about two, but when he’s bored, I almost always resort to gadgets. Before Peanut was born I had made up my mind that he wouldn’t be one of those kids who always had their head in some gadget. And till a certain time, I managed that. While I was with my parents, Peanut was never interested in gadgets. But then, I was at home. We had space for him to run around outside. There was birds and bees and butterflies and flowers. We would go to the temple and temple festivals. We would take him to my mother’s and father’s ancestral homes where there was enough and more space for him to run around and play.

Once I was back with TS, the amount of time I got to spend with Peanut dwindled. I was taking care of everything at home and I had no help. We were stuck in a high rise apartment. Peanut got to go out everyday, but he got tired of the slide and the see saw at the play area pretty quickly. Meal times became crazy for me. While back home he would have his lunch watching the neighbourhood cats and dogs and the crows, there was nothing now to hold his attention except the traffic on the road and that got old pretty quickly. After bouts of screaming and tantrums and wheedling, I had to give in and put him in front of the iPad. And so the tradition of eating in front of the gadget started. From then on, it got worse. If he was out and we were eating at a restaurant, he wanted the iPad. If we were out shopping, and he threw a tantrum, only my phone or the iPad would calm him down. If we were out on a long drive, he got bored after a while and demanded a gadget. After a while, it got so bad and so routine, that I would just give it to him before the tantrum started. And unconsciously I was teaching him that being bored was not acceptable. Something had to fill the void all the time. Giving him a gadget was easier for me as well. I didn’t have to try hard to keep him occupied. I didn’t have to think up stories and games and ideas. I didn’t have to clean up messes. I didn’t have to endure glares from people when he threw a tantrum in public. And it also gave me time to do things that I wanted to do- like watch a movie, or read a book, or talk to my friends.

But these days, I’m making an effort to let that not be the case. I’m still dependant on gadgets for his mealtimes and such but I’m also making the effort to spend time with him. To tell him stories I made up, to show him stuff I cook or explain it to him, to do puzzles or read books together, to paint, to actually laugh and play with him when we are at the park and not check my phone then, to not capture everything we do on the phone, to play car games with him or sing along with him to nursery rhymes when we are out on long drives, to put on some music and dance with him, to just chase each other from room to room, to play hide and seek, to stop if I’m using a gadget to actually listen to him when part of my mind is irritated at the interruption. To think of something to do to fill the time when both of us are bored, and annoyed, and not to fall back on some gadget to keep us entertained. The Peanut is hardly three, so some days, things go my way and some days his tantrums and crying get so bad that I give in. But as he gets older, I hope to teach him that being bored is ok. That you needn’t be occupied with something or the other all the time. That sometimes, you can just watch the rain fall or the wind blow, or trace the path of a falling leaf, or watch the trees sway in the wind, or just lie down on the grass and stare at the blue sky, or talk about random things, or ask me a million why’s, to find shapes in the clouds, to count the stars, to try and see the girl in the moon. That sometimes its good for your mind to just be in the moment, and stay still, and take stock of things and maybe even be bored and not do anything at all. Someday…

On Being Invisible

There are days in my life that I feel invisible. I wake up in the morning with my brain swimming with tasks that I have to accomplish, simply because if I don’t, there’s no-one else to do it. And from the minute my feet hit the floor, I cease to be me.

I’m a mother, a wife, a homemaker. I have to wake my child up, make sure he brushes his teeth and has a healthy, well rounded breakfast. If he refuses, I have to find ways to coax him to eat. I have to think of things to make for lunch and dinner and not anything will do. I have to ensure it is healthy and packed full of nutrients a growing boy needs at the same time also considering the fact that TS is on a mission to lose weight so I have to make sure what I make satisfies his requirements as well. I have to dust and vacuum and pick up a million toys. I have to bathe my child and dress him and keep him clean. I have to read to him and teach him new things and sing “Wheels on the bus” for the millionth time.  I have to do endless loads of laundry. I have to call my parents and check on them. I have to keep in touch with my tight circle of friends. I have to make shopping lists. I have to plan out a lunch menu for TS for the coming week. I have to supervise what Peanut is watching on the TV or iPad. I have to take him on a million pee pee and potty trips.

In the midst of all these things that I simply “have” to do in a day; I feel myself dissembling. Like I cease to have an identity. Like I’m just a series of to do lists and nothing more. Like I forget who I am beyond my identities of a wife and a mother and daughter or accomplisher of tasks.

And those are the days I have to remind myself to stop, and take a deep breath, and ground myself. The days when I pick up a book when Peanut naps and really read; not just skim through the ones I know I don’t have to exercise my little grey cells for. Or the days I stop feeling guilty about Peanut spending more time than usual watching rhymes so I can finally pen down a story that has been eating me up from the inside. Or the days when I hand over Peanut to TS as soon as he walks in the door from work, without thinking if I’m burdening him with a little too much. Those days when I cook something that I love to eat as opposed to what will be best for the boys. Those days when I try and tether me a little tighter to myself. Like a reminder to myself that I am much more than those labels that have been pinned to myself willingly or unwillingly. That I am accomplishing things even when my education gathers dust and my brain cells turn geriatric. That I am not just fading into the background of my life, and the things I dreamed of accomplishing when I was a naive teenager are still possible.That maybe, my life is only in limbo now, and that’s not a bad thing. Limbo is just a stage before going on to better things.

So to all those women out there who are like me, who are living their days in a series of to do lists and trying to not lose their identities in the melee, theres still hope. This too shall pass and you’ll all be whatever you dreamed you would be and maybe much much more.

Starting Over

People say, “start over”, like it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But when you’ve been away from a space for over four years, and another space where you used to scribble for over two, and all you’ve been doing in the interim is jotting down random things on pieces of paper, and rambling about the most mundane things in your journal, starting over seems insurmountable. There are days of self-doubt when you wonder you’ve lost it. That maybe all your creative juices have dried up, or the muse has deserted you. And then there are some days when you believe you still have it and a few sentences float around in your head and you desperately try to pen them down somehow. But most often you are so tired from running around behind a twenty six pound monster who has endless reserves of energy and needs you with him come what may. Ah, the joys of motherhood.

Coming to the task at hand, it has been ages since I left this space but for the past few months I have been feeling the urge to come back here. I’ve effectively shut down the other place I used to write at but since well meaning friends have been pestering me for ages and have even been telling me things like they miss my writing, I’ve made up my mind to turn wordsmith again. I’m a little rusty and my vocabulary isn’t what it used to be since most of what I read these days is Peppa Pig and Little Critter, but I’ll get better hopefully.

So here’s to a comeback and hopefully one that’ll see me here for a long time to come. And here’s hoping to find great things to write about and entertaining the ones who happen to frequent this space with some good writing and to making some good friends. Cheers!

When You Lose Someone…..

It has been months since I have opened this page. The last time I was here, I was a totally different person. Now, I’m changed. If you ask me how, I might not be able to give you a coherent answer. You might wonder what could possibly have happened to change someone so soon and so much. I have only one word- loss. Isn’t that what always puts things in perspective for us? Not that it gives you answers that are black and white, but still somehow things seem more clearer- like the fog has thinned a bit and you can make out faint shapes somewhere. In the past few months, I thought about writing what I am writing here a million times but each time, I felt that the time was not right. Each time, something held me back. This is one place where I can say whatever I want to say under the cloak of anonymity and not worry about the consequences. I have always liked the idea of putting something out here and hoping someone somewhere reads it and finds a connection to what I have written- however tenuous it might be. I have another space where I write but people know me there and I couldn’t possibly write there what I am sharing here. I don’t know why, but it just doesn’t seem right. Anyway, I digress. I am here to explain my absence- not tell you why I write.

You see, I lost someone. Actually, I lost two people. One fine day I was pregnant with twins and on top of the world and the next I had to sit and listen as the doctor calmly explained to me that my babies had no heartbeat and that they were slowly dying inside me. I had been ecstatic when I got pregnant. I had been over the moon when the doctor told me I was carrying not one but two little ones inside of me. I had been so very careful- eating right, watching the way I walk, the way I sat, the way I slept. I had been careful to not get into crowded buses or trains. I had eaten stuff that I had previously found repugnant. I had taken my pre natal vitamins on time. TS had been extremely attentive and not let me do anything. I had done everything I could and yet after two and a half months of being pregnant, on the day of my ten week scan, my doctor told me that my babies weren’t growing as expected. One of them didn’t have a heartbeat and the other’s heartbeat was so faint it was almost impossible to detect. She said maybe my body wasn’t producing enough of the necessary hormones. She said we could wait for a few days and see. She asked me to stay off my feet for a few days. I didn’t care what I had to do. I only wanted my babies to be ok. She said there was almost no chance for one of them at least. I didn’t know what to say or think or even feel. Was I supposed to mourn for the baby I was sure to lose or pray for the one I might be lucky enough to hold in my arms?

As me and TS trudged home that day, we both were deathly quiet. A few days after that I went in for a detailed scan as per the doctor’s orders. And that was to be the worst day of my life. I was still holding on to the hope that one of them would make it. I had been positive, trying not to entertain the myriad of morbid thoughts that insisted on popping up in my mind. I stayed positive even as the technician prepped me for the scan. I stayed positive even when she started her exam. But the minute the words “I’m sorry” were out of her mouth, I knew it was all over. She told me my babies were both gone- no heartbeat, nothing. She said my body had already started preparing for a miscarriage. The signs were all there. She called it a hematoma. I could only think of it as death. I felt numb. I had to come out and look at TS’s hopeful face and tell him our babies were gone. I had to see him struggle with his emotions for a minute before he found his voice to console me. I could feel my blood run cold, feel my heart go numb. I had to sit and wait for one interminable hour for the reports. I had to sit in the cab on the ride to the doctor’s office, sit in her room and listen to her telling me it was all over, there was nothing more we could have done. I listened and nodded mutely as she told me we would wait for a couple of weeks and see if a natural miscarriage would happen. If it didn’t, we would have to schedule a procedure. I listened as she told me that it was not my fault, that there was nothing wrong with me or anything I did. She said it was my body’s way of ensuring that I had only a perfectly healthy baby. All I could do was sit and nod. I had to go home and break the news to my Mom who had come down to take care of her pregnant daughter. I had to see her masking her tears for my sake.

The next few days were absolute hell. I couldn’t cry. My Mom and TS both hoped I would, but I couldn’t. I had to stop going to work. I would wake up everyday morning expecting the bleeding to start and there would be nothing. I had to fight down the thought that I was carrying my dead babies inside of me. I had to fight the urge to blame my traitorous body everyday. I had to fight the urge to go over every day that I was pregnant and wonder what I had done wrong. I had to fight the urge to look at the ultrasound images I had and wonder what my babies would have looked like. I watched mindless soaps from morning to evening. I tried to smile and entertain my Mom. I tried to stay happy for TS. I knew it wasn’t easy for any of them. But most of all, I had to try and make sense of the pain that was with me all the time. When my miscarriage actually began, I thought the pain would be the worst part of it. I was wrong. It was the tought that what my body was expelling was tiny little pieces of what would have been my babies that tore at my heart. Not that the pain wasn’t excruciating. I don’t know if labour is this bad, but I would call it labour without a baby at the end.

And if that was to be the end of it, I was wrong. My body cheated me yet again. It didn’t do a good job of the miscarriage either. I had to get a procedure done. By then, I was soo numb that I didn’t care what was coming my way next. I went in, got it done, and came out. And all the while I was at the hospital, I was surrounded by happy pregnant women and ecstatic new parents. I tried not to feel jealous but if I say I didn’t, I would be lying. I did. I wondered why I had to go through so much pain and so many others did not. I wondered why God had chosen me to be the recipient of so much agony and not anyone else. But after I was home, sanity set in. I realized there were millions around me who were going through the same. I realized there were people who watched their kids grow up happy and healthy for years and then in one cursed instant they were gone. I realized maybe my predicament wasn’t that bad, that maybe my pain wasn’t as deep as some others’ were. I didn’t have to watch my kids growing up, I had only just started dreaming about how life with them would be like. I didn’t know how they looked like. I had only started wondering if they would be little boys or little girls. I had only started wondering about baby names. I had only started to wonder what they would become once they grew up. And yet I didn’t know how to explain or make sense of my grief. I could not even begin to imagine how someone who had been through all this would feel about losing their kid. I still cannot.

In spite of all the sense I tried to make myself believe in, it was still hard getting over it. I couldn’t cry for weeks. I couldn’t look at a baby and not feel a sense of loss. I was blessed to have my family and TS with me, to get me through those dark days. They helped me through the blame and the self loathing and anger. TS was my rock, to say the least. He did not shed a single tear- not even when I accused him of not loving the babies as much as I did. He held me the night I cried and rocked me to sleep. That was the only night I cried. After that, it has been a battle to put it past me and move on. I had a bunch of great friends who held my hand through the whole process. I had friends who had kids but understood my need not to hear about them and always kept the conversation on other topics. I had friends who had been through the same and told me they understood. I also had friends who were insensitive- who in spite of knowing what I had been through kept telling me about their kids. I don’t hate them for it. I just hope they had shown a bit more consideration. And in the past few months, somehow the pain has become easier to carry around. TS  and my family tell me I have changed. I know I have. I still don’t know if its for the best or worst. I try to look at the bright side of things and move on. I know this happens to millions of people around the world. But that doesn’t make my pain any less does it?

I am moving on- slowly. Now, I don’t feel bad. I don’t blame myself. I can look at the ultrasound images without my eyes misting over. I can look at kids and not wonder why God took mine away. I still wonder what my kids would have looked like. I still wonder if the names I had in mind would have suited them. I still battle with the negativity that clouds my heart sometimes. But I am moving forward. I know someday I’ll be able to wake up and not think about what is missing from  my life, and even if I do, I will be able to do so without the faintest tinge of sorrow or regret. Until then, all I have left are a handful of lovely memories. the sound of a faint heartbeat and a few ultrasound images…

Encyclopedia Issues..

Its been a while since I devoted my time and energies to this space. It has a lot to do with a little something called “bloggers block”. Add to that my innate laziness and there you have it- no posts for quite some time. I have been thinking of millions of things to write about but somehow all my chains of thought ended in roadblocks. My mind seemed unable to process anything. And today as I was bugging TS, asking him for some topics to write about or some inspiration, he said, try googling for topics. And then that tiny little lightbulb in my head glowed brightly and I had a topic!!

This is an era when people say Google is God and I have to admit rightly so. I am a victim of this Google syndrome, if you can call it that. It’s where people say “when in doubt, Google”. And that is something I live by. I google anything and everything. When I hear or read about something that I’m not familiar with. Like a new work, or an ingredient in a recipe which I have never heard of before or when I’m watching “Are you smarter than a 5th grader?” and have to find the answer to something or need to confirm if the answer I have in mind is the right one. I google when TS watches some movie and I need to know the story or when he is in raptures about some pathbreaking technology and my curiosity is piqued enough for me to google it.

I google voraciously before I am off on a holiday. I try to find out everything there is and more about the places we are visiting. I also read through Wikitravel and the normal Wikipedia page and find everything from the climate and population of the area to cuisine and tourist spots. I even find out what insects are there at certain places and what precautions you need to cake. Am terrified of creepy crawlies in case you didn’t guess by now but that’s fodder for another post. So, to sum it up, I’m a compulsive googler. And today when he mentioned googling for topics, it triggered a memory in my head of a little something called an encyclopedia. No, not the CD/DVD version of it but the original encyclopedia. Remember the Encyclopedia Britannica and World Book series that used to be the staple in our school libraries? The ones you ran to every time you had a project coming up or some research work to be done.

I had an encyclopedia set at home. No, not the huge 12- 13 volume ones, but a smaller 4-6 volume version published by Reader’s Digest. It was not the most perfect or most complete version but, it was good enough for some quick reference. Now. this Reader’s Digest version was available only to people who had subscribed to the magazine and the version I had at home was a real old one, published sometime in the late 50’s or early 60’s. Its something that my Dad’s dad had bought when my Dad was in school. And when I inherited it, it was still in mint condition. The gilt edges had faded a little, the pages were yellowing but other than that, everything was fine. That set was a constant companion through my school days. Every time I was in doubt about a topic, or stuck with an unfamiliar word, it was that set that I turned to and it always saved me. It was from that set I learnt about Greek and Roman civilizations and culture. It was that set that taught me all about words and their origins. It was that set that helped me out when I had projects to complete.

But once I was in high school. the set I had proved inadequate. And since we didn’t have a computer at home back then, I had to depend on the Encyclopedia Britannica and World Book series at school and the set that had once served me faithfully was forgotten. Then came the era of the computer and everything was available online. It was Ask Jeeves and dogpile and all first and then I got hooked to google and wiki. And to this day, that is where I turn to when I’m in doubt. But today, when TS mentioned googling, I thought of my old Man Friday. And truth be told, sometimes I miss those days. Today, everything is available at your fingertips. All it takes is a few seconds to input what you like. Back then you had to know how to look up stuff in an encyclopedia. Flip through pages or go to the index and find out. The whole process would take a few minutes but the joy when you found what you wanted was amazing. And I think I took pleasure in the entire process rather than just finding the required information. The same was the case with my dictionary.

Today, all that is lost. Even my little cousins and nephews who are barely 4-5 years old mention google when they want to find something. It has become so ubiquitous with searching that kids almost don’t know what a dictionary is or an encyclopedia is except maybe a couple of words that are really hard to spell. I can still recall flipping through the yellowed pages of that set of books, trying to find some answers, opening it and smelling in the old smell, my Grandfather;s handwriting in the front, the faded royal blue ink that he almost always used, I can imagine him sitting at his desk and scratching his name on the brand new book with his favourite pen. I wonder if my kids will ever experience things like these.