Diary of a Mother

I am mother of two children and that is the identity I love to live with everyday of my life. Being a mother is the most empowering, liberating and humbling experience of my life. We are a sum of each experience and every person we come across in our lives. Every moment changes us and shape us into whom we are. But if any of the experience stand out in my life that have changed me to a great extent, it is certainly the experiences of me being mother. I have found happiness and freedom in motherhood.

Yes, I said freedom as well. It might not be easily acceptable to many as to how could you achieve freedom in motherhood when it means mountain of responsibilities?

I do not deny the amount of hard work, pain, stress and anxiety that are part of being mother. It is a 24*7 job. It is exhausting and overwhelming. It will test your patience, stamina and will push you beyond your boundaries almost every day. You will be required to put the requirements of your children ahead of your own needs, ambitions, and desires. Still, you can experience the Freedom it brings to you. In my subsequent notes; I would love to share how I am changed in mind, body and spirit and how I find my freedom and happiness in motherhood.

 

So, let’s begin with the first level of our consciousness. The Body, first level of our identity in the world. We are all born with one. And along come the notions of beauty, average and Ugly; fat, thin; smart, shabby; tall, short. And the list goes on….Everyone is cute in childhood, though the comparisons are drawn even among children as well. But the real game begins in teenage, when we start to grow out of childhood cuteness into adulthood. And along come the notions of shame, appeal, attraction, confusion, perversion, expression, suppression…I remember the time when my body was transforming and I would hate it. I was angry, depressed, confused and in utter rejection of the body I was living in. Can’t explain how much I wanted to go back to my old childhood body. I was so self conscious that I would think everyone is looking at me and my changes. I wanted to hide myself. I did not accept the metamorphosis and was quite far from seeing any beauty in this change.

Gradually, I learned to put up with the changed me. But never with ease. I was still not comfortable with myself. And this uneasiness stayed for quite long, till I had another metamorphosis moment. Until I had my first child.That wasn’t easy either. However, their was a difference. This time, it wasn’t just my body that I was thinking about. I was thinking about the life that my body was nurturing. And then an incident shook me out of my self consciousness about my body and changed me forever…Srishti was 3 or 4 months old. I was at my home town. Planning to get back to work after a good break of a year. I had an interview at some institute in Rewari, a town closer to Gurgaon. The simplest and easiest way to commute was through train. But I couldn’t take Srishti along with me. And back then, I did not have the facilities of expressing milk and storing it (which I had at the time of my second child). So, I fed the baby to her full in the morning and left early. After Srishti was born, this was the first time I was going to be away from her not feeding her for the entire day. To my respite, my mom had a back-up plan of feeding her through a bottle during the day. It took entire day in Rewari and I had to take the last train to come back home. I missed Srishti through entire day and kept thinking how she must have been doing. Oh! how much I wanted to fly back to her. I could reach the station just in time to catch train. But, I did not account for the almost 2 Km. long over bridge path to reach the platform. the train was ready to leave when I took ticket and started to run (wearing sari) towards the platform. I’d never been a sports soul. But that day, I could have put a cheetah to shame. I had the picture of my baby on my mind, I just did not want to miss the train, I just wanted to be with Srishti coz I knew she would be hungry, she would be missing me….people were looking at me like I was crazy. the train was leaving platform and catching up speed and I chased it nothing less than DDLJ’s climax scene….I could climb the last boggy just before the platform ended; some people just pulled me inside; I was dripping of sweat, tears and milk…..Some people in the compartment gave me such unbelieving stares, a lady offered me seat and also commented a caution that I must not put my life in danger. I listened to her but did not say anything. I was exhausted and relieved. Now, it was just a matter of few hours that I would be with my baby.The first thing I did as soon as I reached home was to hug my baby and feed her. And that moment, that feeling changed me. It was my “Satori” moment. That moment taught me that life flow through me, my bosoms, to my child and that is the significance of the body for me. That it is a conductor of life from one to another. And that moment on, every act of touch became a flow of life….The notions of shame and awkwardness do not exist now. Who is seeing, how they are seeing, what they are seeing….nothing matters. Because I do not see my body the way others see. And that is all that matters…..The sagging breasts, the bulges on tummy, the big butts, the stretch marks…..nothing looks bad or ugly. It looks just perfect…..never before I felt so beautiful and comfortable in my body…..That’s my first freedom…..freedom from the notions of the body 🙂

So here I am, back again with some more memories and a story…

It is so important for us human beings to be something. So much so, that the training and aspiration building starts from childhood. “Beta, bade hoke kya banoge”, who hasn’t gone through this drill in their childhood! And every time, with a repeated answer forced out of your mouth becomes your aspiration too. Without realizing if it is really your aspiration or someone else. And along with this aspiration comes the sense of responsibility towards this aspiration. You own it and feel that the sole purpose of your life is to accomplish and be what you have been saying all the while.

I have also had this aspiration of becoming a doctor and I failed. All the while I knew I am not going to make it, and still tried. I knew I will fail. Still, when I failed, it hurt. I blamed myself for disappointing my father, who did more effort than I did for the aspiration (because it was his dream).

After 20 years, I am doing pretty well for myself and people around me would consider me successful by all means. But the ghosts of my failure still lingered on as my fears and frustrations. Till one day, when my child taught me to be free….of these fears and frustrations.

Srishti, my inquisitive wonder girl who can never sit quietly (unless she is watching TV), hasa habit of asking probing questions. It must have been a sunday noon. She came to me and said, “Mumma, let us talk”. Now whenever she says that, either she is getting bored or she is upto something. So, we talked. And at some point she asked, “when were you happiest mumma?”. I gave many occasions, like when I was married, or when I gave birth to Srishti and Srijan, when monu mama was born, when monu mama got married.

But she insisted,”No, give me just one instance when you were the happiest”. Well, I didn’t need to think much. Because this one moment in my life stands out entirely. I told Srishti that I was happiest in the second year of my graduation when I got the best actress award for our play in youth festival. Thinking of that day (or precisely, that night) when my friends came home to let me know the results, my heart beats still go faster. How I left my friends standing at door and ran inside house to hug my mom. I was so happy, coz I never even dreamed that I will get any award. Especially when I was not the first choice of the director during auditions. But I worked hard, I gave my 100%, and I so loved to be on stage. I felt I belong there.

Srishti was listening with interest. And came her second probing question, “mumma, if you liked acting so much, why did you not become an actor?”

Because I felt that I have disappointed my father enough by failing to achieve his dream for me, and do not have a right to pursue what made me happiest. Obviously, I could not have said this to her. She is still a child and I want to think before I say anything to her and cast an impression. So, I rephrased and said, “I did not pursue acting because I thought your nanaji might not be happy with me doing this”. (I did try to own the decision)

Srishti gave me such unbelieving looks that no words can explain. She said, “So, you let go of your happines because you thought and nanaji might not be happy!!??!!” (try and read her expressions with these signs)

For the first time in my life, I felt like I have been shaken so hard out of my senses by that question and those looks. And I came face to face with the truth. It was my fear, nothing else. My fear if I will be able to own the results of my decision. This is what stops us every time when we need to make a decision. When we are not sure that we have it in us to own our decisions.

This realization set me free…within a moment!

And then I made a promise to myself. That I would never again in my life let the fear cripple me and stop me in taking my decisions. whatever might be the result, I will own it and move on. That is the only way to be free from frustration and unhappiness.

And I want my children to learn this. But before they learn, I need to learn this and live it. I can not be in fear, not even in the name of my children. Because, nothing can be more damaging to them than a fearful parent.

A child and parent’s relationship should not be clouded by fear. It should be fearless. And my girl helped me learn this lesson.

No wonder it is said, “Child is the father of Man”….

Srishti came back from her school trip to Saat taal. She looked tanned and excited, super excited to have spent amazing time with her friends and some new people she met during the trip.

As usual we have to get the download of all activities and the fun facts. So, we listened and she went on and on till she remembered no more.

But she must have missed some detail, so it came out a couple of days later at dinner table. She mentioned how some children during the trip grew home sick and cried remembering their parents. So her dad asked her if she cried or missed us. And Srishti’s response was as spontaneous as her expressions, “Come on Papa. I don’t cry. I am an independent girl”.

Wow, should I be happy, alarmed or sad!

My girl declared out loud that she is Independent. What more is going to come in future?

Well, who knows? Only time will reveal what’s in store for her and me.

So, for now I am happy and relieved because my girl is happily independent girl. She ishappy making her own decisions. May be this is what Pre-teens is about. What else can a working mother ask for, right.

Just one more thing. That while she has tasted and accepted the independence, she should know that independence comes with its own responsibilities. That being independent also mean being responsible for the hard work that your decisions require; for the outcomes that your decisions bring. And being a mother means that you need to ensure that the grace with which your child has accepted independence, he/ she also accepts the responsibility.

Otherwise, the work is just half done.

Every dark cloud comes with a silver lining…

Not anymore…

I found I get this sexy voice in these days when I have terrible cold. So, I sing away to glory in bathroom and enjoy my own voice so long as this dark cloud of cold hover over my head… That’s the silver lining…

And yeah, there’s the body ache too. Well, how many times are we consciously aware of each of our body part? I guess, not unless every part hurts and reminds us of its presence. So, take the opportunity to give a little attention to every part that’s aching, give it some love and say, “It is going to be all right, soon!”

Life is full of silver linings. Show me a dark cloud and I will show you a silver lining….

Death

What is Death? Why we fear Death?

I am contemplating these questions and feel like giving my perspective. May be it helps…

So, how the dictionary defines Death!!

“the action or fact of dying or being killed;

“the end of the life of a person or organism”;

“the permanent ending of vital processes in a cell or tissue”;

“the destruction or permanent end of something”;

“a damaging or destructive state of affairs”.

Death is inevitable; in fact it is a part of our everyday life. Whether we realise it or not; a part of our being dies every day or rather every moment. How will we otherwise explain the dandruff falling off our hair; dry dead skin that we remove using various means; cutting nails, hair, shaving every day!! Or doing the routine morning business of clearing our intestines J urgh! Disgusting hunh…well, its true….

Think a bit deeply and all of these acts are involved with the death of something. And amazing is that the hair or nail or skin or crap does not end….So, may be Death is not really the end as we seem to think of it. Its just an act of transforming, clearing, transcending, making way for something new…

Imagine you are walking on the seashore leaving your footprints on the sand, and then a wave comes and destroys the footprints, makes the shore plain as it was earlier so someone else can walk and leave the prints….Can you imagine what happens if these footprints are forever imprinted in the sand! How many footprints can the shore afford to have? What would it look like? Perhaps a chaotic mess of impressions riding on each other…

Imagine your childhood when you would make a sand house with so much effort and then after you have played enough, you will destroy it before going back home….that is Death. So, when you come again the next day, you make another castle. That’s fun and Death of that old castle is an integral part of that fun, that child’s play…

Oh! this cold in the summer time, the running nose, the body ache… Its not new and I have known it from previous years of my life experience. I have felt terrible…

Book of Possibilities

I had a habit of writing my ideas in a small diary. The ideas that I thought are workable and that could be made into successful business. I believed that someday, out of those ideas, I shall pick one and make it the purpose of my life. I called that small diary “book of possibilities”.

But for all these years, I did not work on any of those ideas.

However, what amazes me is that all those ideas that I envisioned and wrote are manifested in the world by other people. And every time, I come across someone doing what I thought is

not be exactly in the same details as I thought of, but close, pretty close.

This proves to me that we all are connected to the world, through our ideas, feelings, thoughts and actions. Our thoughts and imagination could be someone else’s reality even if we never meet them. That’s why this world is miraculous.

I am happy to live in a world of my ideas, even though I did not practically work on realising these ideas and dreams. And the truth is, it does not matter whether we work on our ideas or not. Because our ideas are the fragments of our imagination, of the world we want to live in, the change we want to bring in. So, it doesn’t matter who does what as long as you are getting the world you want. As long as you are doing your bit in imagining, manifesting, working, assisting or praying.

If someone else is bringing that change, if someone else is making such a world around, why would we not be happy or contended? Well, there could be just one reason…Ego.

It is our Ego when we think that only “My mind can think of a potent idea”; “No one can do better than me”; “I am the best”; “Why the hell I did not do this”; “How the hell I missed it”; “why did I not get this opportunity” or “I would have done a far better work”…

And when there is no Ego, there is only happiness and acceptance that if something was to happen in any other way, it would have happened. But the life moves the way it should and we all play our roles. Our roles of sometime imagining, sometimes creating, and sometimes destroying or deconstructing. Like those of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.

This trinity exists in all of us. Our “charitra” or character is all that we need to find out and the world becomes the way we want to see it.

Our life is our “Book of Possibilities”. Go ahead, write your ideas, visualise, dream…

come across new words, ideas, concepts and influences. and you will be surprised and many times shocked to know how your innocent little preteen knows those words you were hoping they never get to know. They are exploring the new meanings of the A, B, C, D and the entire new dictionary is on its way.

Soon you will realize how much the world has changed and how much some of the children are exposed to the sexist words and expressions. Blame it to the natural curiosity. We consume sex symbols in and out every day. Who can we blame? You may have hoped against hope that it will be some time before your child comes home and asks you, “Mom, do you know …. Word?” you would have thought that you will have some strategy before the war begins. But its already begun.

So, what do a mom do that has had such poor knowledge of the new lingo and the expression that are hip and acceptable to the world but are objectionable to her personal vocabulary and senses? A mom who doesn’t understand more than half of the jokes of the modern adult world till date. A mom who has poor digestion for the abusive language which today’s youngsters are picking like a symbol of being modern and forward.

Well, to begin with, Be ready that your child will come across everything – good, bad or ugly and you cannot prevent them hearing, seeing, experiencing what’s out there.

Second, thank your stars and feel fortunate if the child comes home and asks you or mentions you such word that he/ she learnt from friends in school. Because, you at least have got an opportunity to respond and share your perspective on their new experience. What if, they do not even share their new found knowledge with you.

Third, share your perspective without judgement and let the child make a choice of right and wrong. When we try to declare something in right and wrong, it shuts them off for future

sharing and conversations. Besides, how strongly we respond or react to something makes it less or more important in the child’s understanding and mind space.

Neither ignore, nor over react to the things that you do not want the child to remember for long. Always bring closure to such topics by creating a clear understanding in the mind of the child. Because the loose ends bother the most. What’s wrapped and closed is gone. What’s not understood is what the mind keeps toying with.

And while you are doing so much effort for your child, brings closures to your own loose ends too….it helps.

There is no guide of Parenting that can tell you for sure how to raise a child well. Every child is a different person with abundant possibilities and you do not want to go wrong because it is not a test case, its life and every action has consequences. Besides, there are as many different experiences that everyone will share with you. But these are their life experiences and there can be conflicting information with all different people. So, you keep your senses alive, observe, listen, think and take your chance.

One such milestone for parents is Puberty. There are so many questions around. When to talk to child; what to say; how to handle their questions; how much information to share? Especially, when majority of us belong to the generation where no one sat us up and educated us about the huge change in our lives.

I thought a step by step intervention is a good idea. My daughter entering the pre teens is good time for me to start sharing with her. Not because she is showing any signs of changes within her. But because some of her friends might be early matures. And I want to be the one to share the correct information with her before she gets to hear any myths or half truths from any source that is not more experienced than her. So, I will not wait till reaches that milestone and is already frustrated and shocked with the changes. Rather, I have to get her ready for what comes ahead.

So, I bought her a comic called Menstrupedia. She read it on her own and she read it with me. She asked questions about my periods and how it feels and why it happens and when will it happen to her? It wasn’t bad at all. Half my task was already done by the comic as it provided a structure to the discussion. And then we left it there.

Two days back, i got my monthly period and when I reached back home from office, I realised sanitary napkins are finished and i did not buy new ones. I was tired and in pain when Srishti asked, “What happened mumma?” I told her my periods started and the napkins are finished. She promptly said she will go down to chemist and buy for me. I said that it was late and I shall go and get myself but first I will go and wash my face.

While I was in washroom, Srishti went and told her dad that I need napkins and he went to buy from chemist.

That was not all.

When I was sitting down having food, Srishti sat beside me observing my face. She knows that the first day of periods is always difficult for me. My stomach and back pains and hurts.

She quietly went out in the middle of her dinner and came back after a few minutes with a potli in her hand. She gave it to me and said, “This will help in your pain mumma”.

She made a hot potli by heating the rice in a pan and putting it in a handkerchief. All by herself. I never taught her that!

My little girl, became my friend in that moment. I cried the happy tears.

The warmth of my child’s love and the warmth of the potli soothed my pain in no time.

I asked Srishti how did she learn to make this potli and how did she even know this will help. She said, “Mom, I watch life hacks on youtube. So, I knew it”.

And I am still amazed and touched.

She extended her learning on her own. I did not realize this aspect of educating her. All I was looking for is that she is capable to cope the change when it happens. I did not know that it will make her compassionate and sensitive to my life.

That’s why I say, everything we decide for our children is like taking a chance. Because we can never know in entirety the consequences of our decision. Good, bad, ugly, great!

Whatever it will be, only time can tell. But, you take the chance…..

My little boy thinks he is big already. So one day he asked me, “Mumma, when will I be small baby?”

What kind of questions is that! I do not know how to respond to him. So, I tried hard to explain to him that he will not be small boy because he was small when he was born. Now, he would only grow big. But, he is adamant. He wants to become small at some point and want me to tell him when will he be small baby again.

And once Srijan decides that he will be a small baby, you better tell him when, instead of trying any other argument. That is how his mind works.

So, I told him that first he will grow more and become a man, then he will marry someone, and then he will be a small baby. In my mind, I am trying to say that becoming a father is like becoming a baby because the baby is also a fragment of your being, and another chance to live through a baby’s experience (The philosophical, ideological whatever…)

And, Srijan totally buys my philosophy. Now, he is keen to know when he can marry. Looks like he did not hear me saying anything about growing up, being a man. Perhaps, his smart mind doesn’t comprehend the difference between a boy or man! who knows. But he does know that marriage is important part to be small baby again (I hope and pray he remembers this when he grows up!).

So, I face this question at least five times in a week. “Mumma, when will I marry, I want to dance in my marriage”. When I ask him who will he marry, the obvious choice is “Mumma”. He says, “I will marry you Mumma”. An I just kiss him for his innocence and Love.

 

My boy is not the first boy who wants to marry his mom. Almost all boys have had the same thought of marrying the one woman who is symbol of Love for them. Who brings nourishment and protection? Sigmund Freud may say its Oedipus Complex. But for me it is a sign of the intelligence human are born with. Even a child knows what’s good for him/ her. I am including the girls as well because in my case, I had my daughter saying she will marry mumma when she was younger. So, it is not just that male child exhibits such behaviour.

So, I believe as children we know very well that we want to be in company of those who nourish us, who protect us, who love us. And that’s why mumma is the first and obvious option for children when it comes to relationship building. Some remember the innate need of being human even after growing up and many get distracted and confused in their choice.

Though it doesn’t seem as difficult if one stays close to the child within. Choose a companion who nourishes, protects and loves the body, mind and spirit. Everything else is just frills.

Life is always simple through a child’s eyes and so are the decisions of life.

I love being the small baby once again. I hope Srijan remembers to be the small baby when he is all grown up.

My boy is learning to understand and express his emotions. And being the male child, the abundant expression is anger and rage. Every evening he has to follow the ritual of picking up a fight with his elder sister. Of course, he cannot win over her, she is more controlled and stronger teen girl. So, the saga ends with them shouting out for me, my reprimanding them and putting them in two different rooms (or sometimes they would shut themselves in two different rooms).

So, it happened again last night. And after the usual process, Srijan shut himself in the bedroom. I could hear that he is busy throwing things around (another way to ease his anger). I went in the living room leaving him to finish his business and sooth his nerves. I was hoping that in some time he will come out and declare that he has thrown all things on floor.As expected, Srijan did come to me after a few minutes and declared that he has broken something in the room. I asked him why he broke something. He said, “I wanted to because I was angry”. I asked if breaking it made him feel better. he said, “No, it didn’t”. I calmly said, “Then, you should not have broken it or thrown stuff over”. I still didn’t believe that he actually broke anything because usually he will just throw things on floor but cautiously. I sat quietly doing my work and Srijan kept sulking beside me. In a couple of minute he nudged me to go to Bedroom and check what he broke.

When I went in the room, I found a small glass jar broken on the floor and the pieces of glass splattered around. I cleaned the floor and picked the broken jar and glass pieces in a tray. Before throwing the pieces, I took them to Srijan and I told him, “Sriji, you broke a glass jar. You know it could have hurt you or anyone else in the house”. I could see that he was already feeling the burden of his act and was sulking. he was aware what he did and that it wasn’t right. But my pointing it out made him more outraged, this time perhaps on his own self. He again shut himself in the room. I tried to open the door but then I stopped. I just asked him, “Sriji, do you need some time alone”. He said, “Yes”. I said, “OK, but promise me you will not throw or break anything”. He said, “OK”.

After 20 minutes, Srijan came out of the room and he was perfectly ok. Not sulking, not in anger, no tantrum. He was his chirpy self. I realized the little pride of the little man and

thankfully I did not trample over it. No matter what age we are, what is our social status, we all have an inherent pride or sense of self. That we protect from everyone, our closest of people, even from ourselves. Only if we remember always to not step over anyone’s pride or sense of self. Only if we can learn to allow others to be with dignity.A family, society or country that doesn’t allow this dignity, this little pride will create either rebels or spineless people. A strong headed, independent, creative person needs the dignity and the pride. Perhaps that’s why even a little 6 year old would guard it from his own mother.