When a compliment touches your heart…

Beautiful

Compliments! How many of us know the art of complimenting? In fact, the times today are such that a compliment is always viewed with doubt. The other day, a friend mentioned to me that she met an acquaintance at a party who was looking pretty and so she complimented the said acquaintance. The acquaintance, in turn, got so conscious that she kept asking throughout the party whether something was amiss about her look and why did my friend say what she said (a.k.a the compliment). This is probably not uncommon. Most of us cannot take a compliment these days. We get suspicious immediately. The fact is we either think someone is fake complimenting or that we really do not deserve to be complimented. In both cases, we are being judgmental. Aren’t we? We don’t allow ourselves a moment to shine, to bask in self-appreciation that a compliment subtly involves.

On the other hand how many of us really give genuine compliments? Today’s world is hard to please. Many people say that they don’t know how to use flowery words. This somehow is supposed to convey some sort of genuineness on their part while making those who compliment sound fake, and yes, many people belong to this category. Of course, complimenting shouldn’t equate with flattery/sycophancy at all; it needs to be genuine. It needs to come from a place that everyone has something good in them and that needs to be recognized.

Little compliments do matter. Toddlers and preschoolers are the best examples of how. They perform for applause and repeat. What a child can clearly demonstrate, we cannot. That humans are hungry somewhere for appreciation. That all the appreciation is not sycophancy or flattery. That it does make you feel better. How hard can it be to accept compliments gracefully? How hard is it to say kind words to someone? It can be anything. The other day, on a message board I follow, someone wrote a book review and she wrote at the outset that her writing was bad. Her writing indeed had left a lot to be desired for. However, the group moderators set the tone for further conversation. They all complimented the woman for the fact that her review gave them a good idea of the book. They complimented her for her passion for reading, due to which, she took this first step of writing a review and getting over her fear of writing. I felt their way of complimenting was spot on. It was genuine. It showed they had read the whole review despite bad writing and grammar which can be a turn off for many. That they appreciated her active participation. What they began was carried on by other members and this encouraged the woman to post one more review, this time she had proofread the post through her friend – she claimed. Thus beginning to improve her writing quality. This is, of course, an example from the virtual world. She declared her low confidence at the beginning itself. More often than not, posts with bad writing do get trolled very easily. Therefore the moderators who were kind enough need to be applauded. In real life, we mostly don’t declare our lack of confidence or demotivated mindset to the world. It’s trickier. But just imagine, what sunshine a simple unsolicited compliment can bring to someone in a similar situation!

I definitely know now, what a difference they can make. I happened to receive some genuine compliments yesterday and today – somehow I do not remember having received them with such a pleasure over years! Probably because they were received after ages for something that I was appreciated for during my younger days! They brought cheer to my day and even the days to come. I genuinely felt happy. Motivated even. I thought over it. I, who am not a graceful receiver of compliments and probably my way of giving compliments too is awkward and cautious because I keep thinking that the other person shouldn’t get the wrong idea that I am flattering them for no reason – am finally convinced that compliments are genuine verbal sunshine and that everyone needs it. Everyone needs to receive it and emit it every now and then so that the world, in general, is a happier place.

We women especially  – after marriage and child, are prominently in the role of a caregiver. We are busy motivating, boosting other members of our family and we rarely think about our qualities and attributes that once were appreciated – by friends, parents, at work. It’s not a conscious decision by the other members of the family, but definitely, our emotional well being does take a backseat in all the other hustles and hassles of family life and the larger scheme of things. Suddenly one day someone notices you for your work/qualities – and you feel genuine happiness. So this is a post to say thank you to my payers of compliments.

In conclusion, I’d like to share something that Gaur Gopal Das has said in his latest book – Life’s Amazing Secrets, which I finished reading earlier in the month. This is the real reason I got thinking about compliments in the first place. While discussing relationships, he gave the analogy of financial instruments – that one cannot withdraw without investing. Like financial instruments, our relationships need investing and there are various ways he explores – but one important way is to compliment. A lot.  There are ways to build trust first – after which we gain the right to really offer negative/corrective feedback if any. However, the person to whom we offer such feedback will be receptive only if s/he feels adequately appreciated by us for their qualities. Most of what we learn in OB or Human Resources as a subject/psychology or even plain old ancient pithy proverbs such as आधी स्तुती, मग विनंती! (a Marathi saying which means ‘request only after praise’) point to something similar. Still, we need to be reminded of it time and again! In fact, if I have to introspect on how much I have ‘invested’ in all of my relationships by way of compliments, I know I haven’t done enough. About time I changed this. While the book specifically focuses on relationships, my post is also about the compliment to all and sundry. The least we can do is brighten someone’s day with a genuine compliment. I know, I will start immediately.

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Wanted: A good GP

At the outset, let me put the disclaimer: A) I do not claim to know about healthcare in entire Jakarta or Indonesia B) This post is related to just my own experiences.

Over the last 7 years, I have concluded that the healthcare options available to us where we live in central Jakarta are at best dubious, despite having 2 very well known state of art hospitals nearby. As an expat, the first problem that one comes across is to find a doctor, a GP, that is reliable. Usually, there are references, but everyone’s perspective and experience are different. Also, it’s not easy to find a doctor whose approach matches with your beliefs.

In Indian context usually, the approach/line of belief is ‘minimum intervention’ – that maximum healing should be done with minimum possible intervention in the body’s natural rhythm and healing process. Treatment only if necessary. Body is a natural healer. We need to allow it enough chances to heal itself. Antibiotics are used at a later stage in the healing process  – usually only after determining that other medicines are not working.  There is something called drug resistance which develops on account of constant, unnecessary and incomplete drug intake. Thus my first preference would be to find such a doctor who believes less is more.

As an expat, very first difficulty is finding a good GP, especially the one that confirms with your own approach of health care. Yes. the doctors KNOW what is right, however, over the years, we laypeople do develop a valid perspective in my opinion, which is in other words known as ‘informed choices’. This became more critical to me after my son’s birth. All the ensuing reading and discussion with his Indian pediatrician led me to be fixated with minimum intervention philosophy. One of my closest friends happens to be a practicing pediatric cardiologist, presently in Germany but who has also worked in India and thus contributed to my education on the subject substantially. I think of her as my lifeline!

The problem might also be because as expats we receive references of doctors who are good with English as well as only state of art clinics/hospitals, which might not necessarily lead to effective treatment. Finding the right medical care is like finding a needle in the haystack. That’s what my experience says.

Urgent need for today’s post came from yesterday’s visit to the nearest GP’s clinic. I had been having fever since early morning and it seemed to increase gradually, so I went to the clinic at my husband’s insistence. It was just the first day of fever. Since I don’t work, I do not have the pressing need to feed myself antibiotics or cure myself immediately. But I do have a 3-year-old at home who is absolutely attached to me and from whom its difficult to quarantine myself. We had been hearing about dengue since last week in Jakarta so we thought better be safe. As my GP measured the temperature, it was 38 degrees (100 F). He asked me certain questions about fever, phlegm etc the usual. Then he immediately offered injection – anti-inflammatory he said. It will also break my fever. I asked him why was he offering injection when it was just 100 degrees. He replied because my throat was extremely inflamed. I said I would not like to take an injection. Then he gave me a total of 6 medicines including antibiotic, anti-allergen, something to manage my stomach acid, a syrup to alleviate sore throat, a flu-related tablet and one more tablet. The syrup was a concoction of some powdered medicines+syrup – what they call ‘Racikan’ here and you don’t know what it includes. I asked him why was he giving antibiotics  – he replied because he was sure I had bacterial flu and not viral flu and that it needed antibiotics. I didn’t argue. I am not a medico. But I have enough experience of falling sick on account of flu and it getting cured by itself with no medication. I was only relieved that it wasn’t much serious.

I came home and messaged my dearest pediatric cardiologist, who despite handling close to 100 patients for the day on account of winter-related sicknesses, replied back saying all I needed to do was just to take a paracetamol and lie down for as long as my son lets me, drink lots of fluids and repeat this for the next few days till I feel better. She was shocked that I was offered injection as well as antibiotic and then an anti-allergy to counter the effects of antibiotic if any.  I followed her advice and my fever has broken immediately and not returned so far as I type.

This, however, is not a sole example. Over the last 7 years, we have always been given antibiotics for flu every single time we saw a doctor from the nearby clinic/hospitals. We being expats are not covered by the national healthcare program and hence our bills for simple flu visits can range up to 700,000 IDR which is near about USD 50 / INR 3500. We do not have health insurance too. Which of course is our own laziness but in any case I don’t think coverage will include flu visits.

I was chatting with few friends on this and they were in fact in favor of a treatment containing antibiotics though aware of drug resistance etc. They were working individuals and felt they didn’t have enough time for the flu to naturally subside. However such strategy is harmful in the long term and someone badly needs to educate the public at large.  Some of them were indeed shocked at the total bill amount I mentioned because larger clinics and hospitals are probably charging a lot more due to their infrastructure and their names. There could be the whole shebang of corporate sales/ profit targets at hospitals behind this for all I know.

When I was in India, the very first pediatrician I consulted, who was attached to the maternity ward where I gave birth, was big on medicines. Which is exactly why I looked up, researched and found the right doctor for my son in India. Here so far despite living for 7 years, I have been unable to.

Play-Doh Saurus

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Dear Play-Doh-saurus,

You are tiny but mighty 3.4 years old with all your willfulness and individuality. You made up your own name in a flash of inspiration from an empty play-doh box and of course, Play-Doh Saurus you are. You definitely are. I have lost the count when we have made instant play-doh at home. Your dad has lost the count of times he bought you play-doh. You definitely love mixing things…textures… colors…exploring new textures sensorily. You love play-doh, kinetic sand, homemade dough, soil from pots, salt and what have you.

In a rare exception, you didn’t want to touch the earthworm because it was slithering in a puddle, though you tried hard to touch a snail and were frustrated that it went inside its house. You are curious about our home-pets (home insects rather)- the ants, you have a love-hate relationship with. Sometimes you follow them to see where they are going and sometimes you want to crush them because they might want to eat your meal. Lizards, a staple in Indonesian housing – you love. You always compare their calls to each other with me calling you. That makes me feel super awesome! ok. I am kidding. I hope by the time you are of age to be able to read this – you will realize how disgusting this is…. you hate errant houseflies but wanted to collect cockroaches and take them home one day.

You love singing. you want to sing nursery rhymes with pretend mike in hand. You need to be sung to so that you can sleep but a lot many times these days it is counterproductive because you join the singing 🙂  you hate going to podium. I have to push you outdoors, but once you go there you love playing on the slides. At home you keep climbing on things – on me too and yet you are a cautious wise pre-schooler. I think you do balance out. You’re not a daredevil. Nor are you timid. You do run like there’s no tomorrow, but always turn around and look for me in a while. I think that’s cute. Though when you know I am really close by, you don’t prefer to look where you are going and ram into things, people and what not. You love tug of war, somersaults, chasing and your cars. Your red car is like your sibling. Just yesterday you called your yellow car your baby too and asked me to ‘gendong’ (Indonesian) = hold the baby. You also love pretend -plays, pretend-talking on the phone, pretend shopping and pretend doctors.

You were not much into soft toys so far but a Diwali visit to meet a  newborn had you reformed. You made your tiny Ele (elephant) your baby and began microwaving it – to keep it warm. Later you kept her in the refrigerator to counter the heat. I was touched when you started calling your small kiwi bird baba when the real baba had gone one business trip. You took it everywhere, fed it meals and even slept with it. When your real baba returned you were excited and even slept on the big trampoline (baba’s tummy) but you never cried when he was away. That reminds me. You call your dad’s tummy big trampoline and mine, the little trampoline! I guess you do have a point there. You want to convey in cute creative words, the need for us to work out!

You have a 3-year-old mind of your own. You value your possessions. A bit too much sometimes 🙂 but I hope you soon will learn to share. You are beginning to notice other kids and wishing to play with them. Your sense of fashion is much ahead of mine. This I concluded almost a year back when you matched white shoes with white design on your orange shirt and requested to wear eyeglasses :-). You have maintained this interest. You hate long sleeves and formal shirts. You hate collars, long pants, and non-cotton fabric. I feel this is cute as well as precocious you know.

You get mad when people make incorrect pronunciations! something that you seem to have inherited from me ;p you began crying while correcting the pronunciation of your friend Y’s original Mandarin name. You call languages ‘talking’. You ask me to play ‘shopping’ in ‘English talking’. You asked me this Saturday – “what talking is going to be there at the birthday party aai? English talking, Bahasa talking, Marathi talking, Hindi Talking or Mandarin Talking?”,  though you only understand Bahasa and Marathi talking mostly 🙂

You observe more than you talk and one day suddenly spill out words of wisdom 🙂 just the other day, you asked me to draw an angry tyrannosaurus (‘ANGRY’) and called it Baba. You asked me to draw a pterodactyl and called it aai. How did you even know these names? or even remember them? That’s when you called yourselves a ‘play-doh-saurus’! You love reading. Mainly car stories. But you are also enjoying stories about insects, germs, and cats. You are a cat person! (We are dog people … so we tried to make you come to the other side. It didn’t work.)

You love love love colors! coloring, drawing. You seem to be engrossed while coloring. You talk in terms of colors. The water bottle is always the red water bottle. Aai-purse is always yellow aai-purse and so on.

Most of all you love me a lot. You used to hate kisses and hugs till you turned 18 months and from then on you have never looked back. You are big on hugs and kisses  – but only with me. Not with baba, not with tante, not with anyone else. That makes me feel so special 🙂 You still have great separation anxiety and still we go together to relieve both ourselves … but I hope you will outgrow this soon.

There are lot many things I want to write but I’ll just sum it up saying you are an awesome kid and I love you to the moon and back ( though you never loved that story).

(Inspired by a post I saw on my friend Rekha’s blog)

My glorious reading journey in 2018 and goals for 2019

Very happy to be able to post this on the very first day of the year, albeit, 7 more minutes to go for the said day to be over… and since my writing style has never been to the point, this might not be actually posted on the first day. Though I am happy indeed. I am writing. As planned. This didn’t happen a lot many times this past year. Therefore as far as I am able to post this without any interruption (such as my son P waking up  – which keeps happening, and one of the reasons I really haven’t been able to update this blog exactly when I wanted to) – so as far as any interruption to this post doesn’t happen, I am happy. It still remains a win-win situation!

I wont be writing reviews in this post. I hope to do a post/s later for that. I just want to declare my success to the world (if at all anyone really reads this blog). I finished… hold your breath….a staggering total of 17 books in 2018. And exceeded my goal of reading a book a month! This wasn’t really easy. I am an avid reader. Rather, I used to be. But after moving to Indonesia – my reading of physical copies of books was next to nil. I couldn’t find affordable sources of English books anywhere. I suppose these books are expensive here because a majority of them are imported. Whereas in India, same books would cost much lower – because of localised printing because of the fact that English is the choice of majority when it comes to reading. Also due to limited baggage allowance, I have never carried back more than a couple of books during my India trips. As a result, overall my reading has been abysmal. I read a lot of short stories and online works during ensuing years, but my habit of reading regularly went for a toss. Locally as far as I am aware, there’s just one English newspaper that is easily available and that is Jakarta Post. It never had thought provoking articles and interesting Sunday supplements that I used to enjoy back home. I’d say probably because it took me some time to assimilate the local way of living. Also possibly because the day to day English as used in India could be different in ways that only my subconscious might have understood ( I haven’t). The point is, my reading had come to a standstill. It also didn’t help that I refused to buy kindle thinking that the experience would never compare with the joy of reading physical copies of the books… the touch , the smell of paper, smell of print, the bookmarks and so on… I was not exactly right.

I wouldn’t say I was totally wrong. Yes, in fact Kindle experience is not at all close to that of holding the real book. But it is absolutely the more practical choice for any person in my situation – someone who wants to read English books,  wants to be able to afford them (without resorting to piracy) and someone who couldn’t bring more books from India. I failed to see this all these years. I was also totally involved in being a new mom (not that I stopped reading – but my reading was mainly parenting sites and parenting facebook groups. In fact it was obsessive. So much that eventually I uninstalled FB app from the phone to limit my frequent surfing – that used to happen while being in a semi passive stage such as feeding times during the infant stage or insomnia due to difficulty in getting back to sleep after having woken up every time to take care of the baby’s needs)

This year in October, I got Kindle. Till then I had read 5-6 books out of the total 17 I have completed in the year. And that’s exactly why I am happy. This is absolutely promising. If I could finish 10 books in 3 months, I could finish several more in an entire year. So I am grateful beyond measure for the Kindle 🙂 Thank you husband, for such a birthday gift! You kept suggesting over years that it should be bought, but I never paid any heed to you or turned down your offers to buy. I think what prompted you into ruthless action of buying without asking me is the fact that I joined a book club in June and tried to read every month. You saw my life suddenly spring into real life (outside of the preschooler and the kitchen) and you saw me enjoying it, holding on to it  – like a treasure. Normally you ask me before buying anything for me – you don’t like giving surprises for the possibility of them turning out to be unpleasant 😉 as you have wisely learned over the years 😉 😉 But this, you made an exception – and I am really really thankful for that.

With a Kindle Unlimited subscription, I already have access to a large number of books. Though this excludes majority of well – known books and authors, there ARE some of them very well – known and also in my ‘to be read’ list. And needless to say there’s a vast ocean of undiscovered books and authors – which I have begun and am really happy to discover…

I read (not in the order of reading):

  1. One life to ride – Ajit Harisinghani
  2. Wild goose chase – Sophie Lynbrook
  3. Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
  4. Montessori at home guide – Rachel Peachy
  5. Midnights with the Mystic – Cheryl Simone and Sadhguru
  6. Did Darcy do it – Sophy Lynbrook
  7. Prachin Bharatiya Shastradnya ani Sanshodhak – Bhalba Kelkar
  8. An Unquiet Mind – Kay Redfield Jamieson
  9. How to take decisions – Devdutt Pattanaik
  10. Laws of the spirit world – Khorshed Bhavanagari
  11. Ready, Study Go – Khurshed Batliwala and Dinesh Ghodke
  12. Chai, Chai – Biswajeet Ghosh
  13. Many Lives, Many Masters – Brian Weiss
  14. Gathoda – P. L Deshpande
  15. My Favourite Nature Stories – Ruskin Bond
  16. Montessori at Home Guide: A short Introduction to Maria Montessori – A. M Sterling
  17. Darcys of Derbyshire – Abigail Reynolds

I aim to post reviews of some of these books that I haven’t already posted.

So what next? The Goodreads app already asked me what my reading challenge for the year is. Instead of putting in a number I’d have liked to make qualitative goals. But Goodreads doesn’t yet let set such kind of goals. Thus I thought of blogging them here:

  1. Equal number of Kindle and Paperbacks – to catch up with some paperbacks that haven’t been read from my earlier collections.
  2. A balance between Indian and foreign authors – to make sure I read even Indian authors – whom I have been mostly avoiding.
  3. A balance between English and Marathi books – to make sure I read enough Marathi. I love reading even Marathi books which were so far inaccessible being abroad and Kindle has made them accessible.
  4. Versatility in reading – Try to get out of my comfort zone and read across genre.
  5. Read some George Eliot because it’s her 200th birth year
  6. Try to finish some books from my ‘Currently reading’ list in Goodreads. The number is 32. Yes. Total 32 that I picked up and abandoned after some time. Not all of them are bad. So try to sort of salvage my list.
  7. Since Goodreads asked for a number I have put 30 books for the coming year, but we are flexible about that in reality – as far as the 5 goals above are met.

All in all, it feels awesome to jot down these goals somewhere. I think these are much in detail as compared to the last year’s a book a month. So a lot of improvement over the last year!

Its 12.40. So we are already on the second day of the year. Like I said, its still a huge improvement over all years. I think since inception. Signing off. Happy New Year 2019!

Dating !…of sorts…

I spotted you from a distance…. As you stood under a tree
The sun shone upon you, as you basked in all its glory
Your eyes, with pleasure alight, upon the tot at your knee
And I saw a ray of hope –  a kindred soul in thee

 

As I approached you, you noticed me and I smiled shabbily
You narrowed eyes appraisingly, as I stood so flabbily,
I tried some witty remark on weather that I offered as a bait
I thanked my stars in my mind, that finally someone worth I met

 

Then we exchanged pleasantries and chatted for a while,
And what I learned about you then, really made me smile
You stayed nearby and came to the park daily at this hour,
You too were seeking to meet someone these days that had been so dour

 

Accidentally daily at same time we seemed to bump always
One day at park, my heart hummed its time to seek the ways
To spend more time with this one, she’s the keeper you see
So I gathered my wits and my courage and invited her for tea

 

We bonded over diaper brands, we gushed over babyfoods,
We shared agonies with each other complaining about our broods
Dear reader, the rest is history, of this love story of sorts,
Its about one mom dating another one, now control your snorts…

 

The end!

Probably I have overused the poetic license , but these or any other words wouldn’t do justice to one important agony of the mom life! Finding new friends – er make it new mom friends.

Mom dating! Yes, Mom dating is the term for it, and about accurate and succinct description – of the struggles one faces as a mom, trying to make friends with other moms. This agony may not be faced by every mom. But many of the first time moms (that’s FTMs in modern mom world lingo) that have willingly opted to be a stay at home mom (SAHM – another modern mom world lingo aka MMWL), do face it. Like any other decision taken in the heat of the moment – where we later try to justify it  (including that of marrying, having a child and so on) (LOL) – the decision to quit job never really estimates the impact of lack of regular (almost constant) adult interaction, that makes up for even the lack of social life otherwise, in some cases (like mine to an extent when I was working in India with 14-15 working hours a day). Working moms have colleagues for some sensible adult conversation throughout the day. They connect over one common aspect – work. Whether they like each other or not, they must accept each other. It is sort of God given (or fate given – take your pick) arrangement, where you need do nothing. You can meet your other friends during the weekends – but mostly you are busy with chores on weekends – and spending valuable time with your kids. There is no time to feel , think etc.

For us SAHFTMs (Ha! I just thought of it) – life is all fun initially until the extended break seems to be extending towards infinity. You spend your day cleaning, bathing, feeding (rinse and repeat) ,putting them to sleep, obsessing over number of feeds, number of poops, colour of poops, figuring out exactly why the baby cried and so on… I have elaborated more than enough I suppose. It is a mix of awesome, fun and frustration in equal measures and worth every moment spent in doing these I agree. But as days go by , and the signs of clinginess of the baby don’t dissipate,  you do miss some adult conversation. The husband being the only remaining earning member of the family, cannot cater to this whim exactly when you feel like it – like when the baby is asleep in the afternoon or when out for evening stroll, since he is probably stuck in some corner of his office, trying to make sense of something on his work screen. Plus who would really want to bond with you to discuss your frustrations about a diaper rash cream , a baby detergent and so on??? Unless that person is a mom of a similar aged baby herself!!! That’s why SAH-Mom dating is needed. Some adult conversation, similar concerns and so on!

But what is the reason for a blog post if it was as smooth a sailing as in the poem above, which is just a figment of my imagination. In reality, if you notice someone at the park, in all likelihood they already belong to some mom-clique and will tend to ignore you. If this important hurdle is crossed, probably you have won half the battle. If not, then park probably was not the right place for you. You need to find other places – like playgroup drop off and pick up area, playgym / music / activity classes etc.  You cannot be seen looking shabbier than your mom-target, nor can you look unachievably chic holier than thou (though sometimes it could lead to aspirational popularity  – because everyone always wants to be friends with the cool chic mom in the class/area isn’t it?) You try to bond over clothing, stroller brands, parenting style and passing judgements about how other moms are acting (and in a way try to know each other’s compatibility).  You start discussions with discussing number and quality of playgroups in the area (I tried this), saying – “how has been your experience of ____ playgroup? Would love your honest feedback.” You send Facebook friend requests and then compliment now and then on their photos whenever you possibly can.  You receive and give compliments on baby clothes, get asked about doctors and so on. All this can be asked genuinely too of course, but these conversations, if happening too frequently are “masked friendship requests” so to say :-D. Sometimes, your “friendship requests” are met with a royal ignore. You do wonder things like – am I not interesting? Not funny? Am I not cool enough and so on –how easy it was during childhood. My toddler shares his toys with people he likes. If someone doesn’t play with him, he moves on…after 3.5 decades of life, such rejections are hard on your ego….

All in all, making mom friends is hard. Just like romantic dating I would say. Similar level of uncertainty and bruises to ego, which become more difficult to bear because of the advanced age (as compared to the romance years) I’d say, if you meet someone, keep the momentum of friendship going, because you never know- the 15 days you were absent from park were enough for your target mom to meet someone new and move on

Achche Din

I had created this cartoon on Bitstrips to share amongst the friends as an announcement of my pregnancy. I found it today while cleaning my mailbox and thought of preserving here permanently. It comes off a bit silly now, for sure, but since I was trying to be funny back then, it really feels in line with that intention now.

Bitstrips has ever since stripped off its own existence. It was fun though, to create cartoons, and then check out other users’ who were mostly teenagers and probably had no idea it was a lady in 30s whom they were encouraging through their comments on my cartoons 😀

 

Acche Din

 

 

The greenery and the scenery amidst the traffic

One of the things I love about Jakarta is its greenery. I haven’t really traveled to many commercial centers beyond India and some regions of SE Asia. However, having lived majority of my life in Mumbai, the most important commercial city in India, I find myself pleasantly surprised by Jakarta, almost every time I step out. The city is still green thankfully and that creates pleasant vistas within concrete jungles. Sure, Jakarta doesnt have huge public parks that many other (mainly western) cities are known to boast about. But it has enough greenery to cool down your eyes amidst the super horrible traffic that it is known for. I live in almost CBD area and across my home is a boulevard laced with lush evergreen trees. I would also love taking a walk around my office area, which too boasts of lush greenery. This post is just to share some pix of the greenery that I took in during my post lunch walk around my office block. One more aspect that I miss about my work 🙂

Rants of a stay at home mom!

With the birth of your child, comes the birth of your new role as a parent and your whole life changes. It is true, everyone says that. But one more change, that happened in my life as a new parent – which may or may not happen in case of other parents – was my transition into being a full time stay at home mom. Making this decision was not easy for me, having worked for several years, usually long working hours for a majority of my career in India mainly. Making this decision in Indonesia was even harder than quitting my job in India (to relocate to Indonesia). In addition to excellent work culture and learning, important fact was that I was staying very close to my office and that provided me with good amount of work life balance. However we had to make this decision till we were convinced of a good child care option.

During my youth I was extremely influenced by a book called ‘A road less travelled’ by M Scott Peck, the psychologist, who had contended that a significant part a person’s nature/personality is determined by how s/he is raised till the age of 4. I had determined to myself back then (when I was around 19-20 and really inexperienced in the ways of world in general and ways of parenting in particular) that I would take a career break if need be and really raise my child in the most ideal manner etc. Blah blah blah…. Cut to present day and I find myself missing those early morning market and current affairs analyses during team discussions, deadlines, meeting clients- here it was even more interesting because different language posed new challenges. The tea time converations, and so on. With so many years of working behind me, how could I believe that I would be immediately okay with the sudden end to it? This was in a sense me time. I never realised how much I have enjoyed my work before I had to shut my shop so to say and sit at home. Raising child in ideal manner etc was thrown out of the window, the day I gave my child my mobile phone to watch youtube for a while so that I could drink my tea in peace.  There is no ideal. Parenting is always about uncertainty and guilt. I learned soon, sadly.

Yes, it is mainly the work-life, the excitement of working on a new project/case, new sector, the rush of chasing a deadline… all these things is what I am reminded most sorely. This was also my personal space. Socialising has definitely reduced, but I was more or less prepared for it,having noticed change in the lives of new parents around me.

Is it wrong of me to think of my worklife since my priorities have changed? I do not feel guilty, despite being subjected to constant judgement the moment I mention this. As a new mother, every woman is subject to constant judgement anyway, so I have taken it in a stride. I do enjoy being at home and being available through all milestones and stages of my child for sure. I have enjoyed it to the fullest and am most thankful for this opportunity. Not many have this luxury. At the same time, I remember how wonderful I felt while working too. The sense of independence , confidence in my work etc were wonderful to experience. On some days, I envy those who have resumed working and on others, I am extremely thankful for being at home with my child.

Not a unique rant, I know. Many must have gone through it, many must have either resumed or reconciled to staying at home. But sure, most of them would have ranted atleast for a while, and it is my turn today!

This blog is not dead….

This post comes after a gap of closer to 2 years. Wow! I never realised it had been that long since I updated. The real life had taken over. I was completely immersed in taking care of my baby, who now, as a toddler still commands most of my time. Therefore I cannot make commitment to myself to write regularly. But yes, I will be writing more often. Now that my toddler is getting more and more independent, I do find myself with some time to spare. Especially, the lack of regular adult conversation (with friends) these 2 years past, has made me realise the need to gather my thoughts and ponder on something that doesnt involve meals, sleep schedules, poops, toys and so on. Living in a foreign country, you do get used to a pattern of friendships that ebb and flow with several incoming and outgoing expats and if you are the one that stays at a place for long time, you do get used to welcoming new comers with enthusiasm, building friendships over the period only to bid them good byes with aplomb…. In short, in 2016/17, 4 of my friends relocated. That made the need for this kind of conversation with myself more apparent. However, whatever spare time I would have, would be spent in browsing through yet another parenting group or article or milestones update from the babycenter … LOL.

However, lately, I began missing this whole process more and more. Writing usually always allows me to come to a conclusion if I am stumbling. It always brings me at peace. It always makes me more and more in tune with myself and that is why I always think it is one of my greatest friends. So I do see myself writing more and often on this blog again….

Bucketlist – Things I’d love to do on a day off.

Today, I took an off. Was tired of routine. Was unwell too. So just thought of pausing for a moment. It wasn’t an ideal day though – nevertheless, I felt much better for it. I thought of listing things I’d do on an ideal day off 🙂

  1. I’d wake up to cool morning breeze and lightening sky. Would love to take in the calmness of early morning. Peace and quiet. Just be. Take in lovely pink and orange hues of the skies.
  2. Make myself a cup of steaming ginger-flavored tea, listening to the early morning classical raagas. Just absorbing every taan, aalap, every nuance of a bandish… experiencing its mood, sentiment, just dissolving my existence, going to faraway places within that song – that raag. Its been ages that I have done this…. I guess these days, early mornings are all about getting breakfast ready / lunch boxes ready.
  3. Would then go for a walk on the podium. It is lovely around 7 here. Much brighter than I would like, but on an off day, I am hardly going to wake up too early 🙂 . What I love about Jakarta most is its green surroundings. At least compared to Mumbai, where I lived most of my life, this city is several times greener. Evergreen trees laden in their full glory all the time. 🙂 No fall here … The facility management of this apartment complex has done lovely landscaping work and maintained well all these years. Its a pleasure to walk on the podium – especially when it is less crowded. Mild morning weather, chirpy birds, green grass, evergreen trees, flowers… would just take in everything. The hibiscus near swimming pool with bright pink blossoms, frangipanis  just about everywhere, dotted with yellow flowers, at times which are scattered on the lawns below, making a beautiful picture. I would stop to notice the toddlers over at the kiddie-swimming pool. Their laughter and bright faces will be sure to set my mood. Maybe, I will just sit on one of the benches for a while, all by myself  – just observing. Just being. Doing nothing.
  4. I would return home to be served delicious breakfast. On a day off, I wouldn’t have had to bother about deciding the menu or even cooking it. I’d just get it ready in my hands. I would eat it while scanning through the morning papers. I’d find just the right news to debate with my husband and chat leisurely. Or just to talk about nothing and everything. No rush to get to the work – no rush to be on time anywhere. No meetings, no deadlines, no notes to be written, no follow – ups.
  5. I’d then tidy up and just lounge about with a favourite book to read. I think I haven’t read a book end to end for quite a while now. It would be fun to just read for 3-4 hours at a stretch.
  6. It would then be lunch time and miraculously home made lunch would be ready waiting for me 🙂 On weekdays, I cook only a part of my morning meals, and on a day off, I’d shirk from even that. It would be awesome to eat my favourite meal – varan-bhat-batata bhaji – poli – tup and limboo. Simple Maharashtrian fare. It would taste like my mum’s cooking.
  7. After lunch I’d probably watch some movie or tele-series, out of the collection of CDs that has been accumulating here over the last 2.5 years, but really never accessed yet….
  8. Or I’d go to a spa and pamper myself – especially my feet, I feel too worn out these days.
  9. Tea-time I’d just make some nice snacks. Try something new – and quick 😉
  10. I’d then make an hour – long call to some friend . Catch up. Laugh, cry and be happy. Maybe even gossip a bit.
  11. Husband would be back early from work. Or he too has stayed in and just lounged about with me. Maybe, we will go out for a nice dinner or just stay in. We will cook dinner together. I will cook and he will be with me in the kitchen, chatting about his day, maybe he will lend a hand. Would play some nice music – maybe consorto music? maybe Vivaldi’s four seasons while we cook. We’d have risotto, some bread and some salad. 🙂 Numero uno of comfort food.
  12. We’d then walk up to the terrace and just watch the city go to sleep. Try to catch some stars in the clouded skies of Jakarta. Or we’d take our sleeping bags and just lie down, listen to radio, playing old classics.

🙂 thinking up all these things in itself made me giddy with joy. Now I can’t wait for a real day off to arrive.