Saturday, March 20, 2021

A little bird

There is a bird. 
A little bird. 
She lives in a cage. 
The door of the cage is open.
The bird is trapped. 
Trapped in a cage with an open door.

The bird has lived in the skies before, so she knows that there are other possibilities.  Some may be worse than this but others , some others, must be better?

The door of the cage is open.
But she cannot leave.
She wonders why?

Because she lacks the courage, she knows. 
But will she ever find it?
She does not know. 

What should she do?
She does not know. 
Maybe she will continue to do what she does, smile in front of others. 

Maybe the bird needs a bit of help.
Maybe she needs someone who will help. 
Maybe there is no 'someone'.
Maybe this the life she was meant to live. 

What do I wish for the bird?
Two things.
Strength and grace. 
 
There is a bird.
A little bird.
She lives in a cage.
The door of the cage is open. 

There is a bird.
A little bird. 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Grateful today for:

1. A very busy day at work. I actually infinitely prefer crazy busy days to quieter days.

2. A walk with a friend. Thames, the park and the deer.  Also it's lovely when the conversation just flows.

3. Bought a red dress. A red jacket dress ( while doing the 4 times table with the older one at 7 in the morning). I have no idea where I will wear it but its coming to me now.  

4. Waking up to both boys cuddled into me. Everyone is holding someone's hands, though you cant be sure whose hand it is and the legs are intertwined and everyone is at so much peace. The the little one woke up and sat on his sleeping older brother. And then he stood up on his older brother. And then he started jumping on his older brother.  Peace over. 

5. Being reminded that sometimes it can get very hopeless and then, miraculously, you can be full of hope. It is important to stay calm no matter what. 

6. Being reminded that sometimes you may think you want something desperately but when it comes your way you know it is not meant for you and  you surprise yourself by walking away. It is therefore important to know that everything, even your own desires, are transient. 



Saturday, February 27, 2021

A year of no posts!

A friend said to me that i no longer post on the blog. So this post is more for her than anything else. 

Blanket apologies to the 200 odd silent readers who still visit this blog every day even after a year of zero posts . Hello! and Sorry! 

I had my covid jab today, and everything hurts at the moment. The head, the eyes, the arms. I barely got out except to walk to the post office. A lot of pending post including 2 cards made by my son, one each for the two grandfathers, a book (my book), a little welcome to the world baby gift hamper, a card. Feels oddly satisfactory to send out stuff. 

Anyway, because everything hurts and I am feeling very sorry for myself at the moment, curled up in a dark room  so apologies for spelling mistakes , sentence construction etc coming your way. I am probably not going to feel like proof reading this once i have written it. 

Cheat post- just picked up some questions for a blog and answering them.

When did you cry last? 20 minutes ago. Long lost families. God, why do I do this to myself?  I need to see someone crying for the tears to magically appear so no big deal I guess. Many years ago, I saw a movie called ‘Dunston Checks in’. Something about a monkey in a hotel or something, anyway, point is that I cried when the monkey was made to leave in the end. So. Well.

Favourite food to eat: Ma Po Tofu. And peanuts. Not together though. Not that I have tried it. Maybe I should – one life to live and all that.  

Music: These days nothing, though I did find myself listening to 500 miles the other day. There is too much going on and too much noise in my head.  While I am at it, aren’t the Proclaimers totally legendary. They look like engineers hussling their way in, and you think it is going to go all horribly wrong but it ends up being the most amazing thing ever and you cant stop smiling. 

Proud of: Recently finished my 5th book. It’s taken me 3 years to write this one- more on that some other day if I can bring myself to write another post soon-ish. Next book will most definitely be a comedy. Enough serious stuff.

The hardest thing you have ever done: The two pregnancies. Specially the second one.

Did you move today? Does performing to baby shark in front of an audience of two little boys count?

What made you smile today? Older one told me that my smile was ‘only the most incredible thing in the world’. You are crying.

He also told me that I look little.

I beamed.

He corrected himself after thinking for a moment. No, you are old but you are little in size. Maybe you will grow more.

I am crying. 

Are you a hugger? Hugger. Smotherer with chicken kisses. Sayer of I love yous on loop. Hand holder.

Weirdest place you have danced at? In the tube. Long story. Actually that’s a lie. Was saying bye to a friend. The Doors closed. She waved frantically. I waved frantically like our lives depended on it. She started to pretend run after the train. I did a little jig for her.

I got glares. And some smiles.

No, I was not drunk.

Something new you are learning: Trying to learn how to play Shape of you. However that’s not going too well. Once the restrictions are lifted, I think I am going to start learning kick boxing. Be very scare d of me. I may be little, but i am very firce. Or will be once i have learnt kick boxing. 

How often do you drink: have never had a drop of alcohol.

Loud music or quiet conversation: Quiet conversation.

What’s the most beautiful place you have ever seen?  The sky in Masai Mara.

The first place you will visit after covid? India. Have not been back home for 3 years ( high risk pregnancy, new baby and then covid) and I am so homesick now that I think I need some paracetamol to deal with the heart ache * dramatic look*. (On that note a team member was about to get his vaccine. I told him to keep some PCM ready. He called me immediately because he thought PCM was short for ‘please call me’. I had tears in my eyes from the laughing.)

Quick weird thing about you: Unless one of the babies is sleeping with me, I cannot sleep unless I have a book in my hand, usually clasped to my chest. In my defence this comes from a long habit of reading myself to sleep.

How your manager describes you: LOL.  No, that’s not how my manager describes me, that’s me Lol-ing at the question. Anyway.

‘As delicate as a rose petal.

As hard as nails.’

Verbatim from a manager.

Dreams: Usually have extremely complicated, thriller type dreams. There is a best selling thriller that can come from them somewhere.

Favourite book: Alice in Wonderland. Such a cleverly written book, of my goodness.

Covid pride: biceps. Be very scared of me.

First love: Aah. Maybe another time. Or never.

 Thank you for reading. Everything still hurts in case you are interested, so i think I will go back to Netflix and to feeling sorry for myself. 

Keep PCM ready when you get your vaccine. 

PCM= Paracetamol. 


R


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Monday, March 30, 2020

Jan hit mein Jari


So, this is a post I was never very keen to write for a variety of reasons. And I am doing it mainly because i have been asked about my experience so many times and many friends have asked me to put down my experience on paper.

I have been so petrified of everything i have read on COVID 19. I wished there was something, anything that was not scary. Hence I have just one expectation from this post. This is for that person who desparately needs to read of a case which does not scare the living daylights out of him/ her. This is also why I have tried to keep it light. Nothing about COVID 19 is funny, I know, but a good sense of humour can help make things easier, cant it?


*

I will never know for sure whether I had covid 19 because they are no longer testing in the UK but if I have to bet my life, my house , all my earnings on one thing then it will be that I did.

 My case would be categorised as a mild case and I am insanely grateful for that.

On the outset you will know if you have covid 19. You will know that something is very different. You will just know it. I did from the very start. The symptoms were flu like but it is NOT THE FLU.



Talking of symptoms, here are mine and how they progressed.

Day 1: Dry cough on and off, nothing that would worry me.

Day 2: I am helping my 4 year old change clothes (don't judge pls!) in the midst, simply find myself laying on the carpet, exhausted. This is weird. And completely unfamiliar but I ignore it as I am a very busy mum of two who has no time for all this dramatic laying down in the mornings nonsense.  Later I am walking on the road and feel dizzy, put it down to high heels, because why else.
But, as if to prove a point, it happens again a couple of hours later.
By afternoon the dry cough worsens and after spending a fair amount of time on the NHS website, I self isolate as per UK government guidelines. I tell myself I am over thinking it but it is best to be cautious as I select the spare bedroom and plant some supplies I don't really think i will need.
Haah.



Day 3: Fever strikes and with that comes the sinking realisation that this could very well be covid 19. I call my Mum and her voice on hearing that I have a fever will remain with me. Both of us knew that that I had the virus. The 'killer virus' everyone is running away from.

Awake through the night coughing and with fever. Sleep for a bit at 4.
Cloves help. Ginger + honey helps specially with those non stop coughing bouts. Body aches in funny places that i did not even know existed. Fingers also hurt. Wrists hurt. The space between fingers hurt.
Breathing feels heavy, chest feel weird. It is NOT flu. Or if it is , it is the worst flu of my life.
I hate swearing. There are only 2 times in my life when I have. 36 hour labour with 1st kid. Brutal post op recovery from second C sec.  Have started swearing again. That makes me realise how bad this is.


Day 4,5: Shivering followed by a lot of sweating. Need paracetamol every 6 hours ( who invented paracetamol? I want to send him a thank you card with hearts on it. On second thoughts writing a card seems like too much work, will think about it later. Thinking seems like too much work too. I will think about thinking also later. Phew. Let me sleep.) .
Coughing nonstop. I stay awake nights tossing and turning. Listening to music. Weird combination of music. Love ballads from our very own Arijit Singh and lenka with some Jonas brothers thrown in.

Brain feels foggy. I have not combed my hair in 5 days but still don't feel the need for it. Combing hair is over rated. Changing clothes is over rated. I need to sleep. Sleeping is not over rated.

Everything at once will be my covid song forever.

Day 6,7: coughing continues pretty much non stop. Chills have stopped to probably once a day.  Sweating has stopped. Lungs feel heavy, every breath feels laden with something, i dont know what.. I feel like things are getting better but then the fever hits again. Need PCM everyday almost like clock work at 6:30 pm. Hate 6:30 pm. Almost feels like this insidious virus is working its way downwards. Chest also hurts when I cough. Feel extremely toxic. Don't want anyone coming within a million feet of me. Have not touched kids since i isolated. Have been talking to them through the glass walls in the door.
1)Thank God for glass walls.
2)It breaks my heart.
3)Does Covid make you all hormonal or weepy? or is it just because I am sat alone in a room not able to be around people I love, scared of what may come?
Folks from back home keep an hourly check on me, cheering everytime we see some tiny improvement. Friends from all across the world message every day. I am probably single handedly using up most of whatsapp's cloud space. Sid manages both kids.There is an outpouring of love that I am grateful for.

Day 8: No fever.(I pumped my fists in the air when i check temp at 6:30 pm and get 36.7. I don't think I have ever pumped fists like that. I want to say a loud, jubiliant 'Whoa!' but a timid frog like croak is all I can manage.) Coughing is reduced but still ridiculously frequent. Lungs feel okay. I hope I am past the worst. Then realise that using any more cloves is resulting in swollen gums. Also have completely lost voice (which husband seems inordinately pleased about from the other side of the door. Doctor Uncle from India tells me, dont talk and certainly dont shout. Husband finds that funny. He should be very glad that there is a door between us. )
.
Day 9: Coughing at same reduced but still high  level. Voice is beginning to come back- has this really sexy hoarse ring to it. On further investigation and opinion seeking, find that apparently I am the only one who finds it sexy. Feel deflated for a bit, but who wants a sexy voice anyway). Beginning to feel better but still feel weak. Took a walk in the room and felt like I had exercised 30 minutes with Joe Wicks (40 seconds exercise and 20 seconds break, repeat till you feel like you are dying. You would have lost 10 calories.Yay.). Head is clearer though and i begin to feel like myself. I find a comb. I still dont use it, but i keep it by my bed next to the paracetamol, ginger honey and thermometer. Good progress.

Day 10: Coughing. Feel extremely weak. Lungs feel heavy. Going to the loo makes me get slightly breathless. Anyone who asks me if i have been tested for COVID in a slightly incredulous voice will regret asking the question. DOES THIS LOOK LIKE EFFING FLU?
Keep reading that a lot of people have felt breathing problems start on day 10. SO feel quite anxious. Monitor every breath and realise that will make me go crazy. Watch some netflix. Work on my book. Knit.
The book, my 5th, has seen me through some really difficult days and I wish there was a way to say thank you to it.

Day 11: Was hoping to come out of isolation and called NHS 111 to discuss. They have suggested that because i still have the cough, best to complete my isolation of 2 weeks. 4 more days of this! Miss the kids. Okay. Miss them when i can hear them being orderly. Otherwise just put on headphones and pretend I am in college again. Have not had a lie in in almost 5 years. Maybe this is God's way of helping me. God, after all, works in mysterious ways.

Day 12: I did step out today for a bit.  Felt quite tired after about 20 minutes. Mask. Gloves.  Touched everything with an antibacterial wipe. Washed hands like 20 times in the few minutes I was out. Scream in utter horror if someone comes within 3 feet of me. I cannot imagine ever holding the kids without being utterly horrified. Covid had messed with my brains, I realise now. See myself in my head as some highly infectious person who should remain in isolation forever.

Sat in the TV room with the kids playing far from me. Older one pauses, looks at me, smiles and says ' I really feel happy that you are in the TV room, mumma'. I pretend I have something in my eye and leave hurriedly back into the safety of my isolation room.
Classic case of covid hormones.

Day 13:
So I called NHS 111, coughing is quite less, no fever for many days and now lungs and chest dont feel heavy. And they said 'YES!'
I leave my isolation room. I still feel weak, like I am returning from battle. My body feels different. But I am insanely grateful that I am fine. That I had the love and support of SO many people. That my husband took such ownderful care of our kids. I take big naps. I dont feel like speaking too much but i dont feel toxic any longer. i still dont want to hug my kids. I still recoil whensomeone walks close to me. I still yelp when my husband touches something i have touched. However time is a wonderful thing and this too shall be over soon.









Friday, July 21, 2017

An open letter to my 2 year old

Dear Shikhar,

Are you really turning two today?

Just two?

Only 2 years since my world imploded and exploded and turned on its head and its axis and a new me was born?

Just two years since you came along and in the midst of those wonderful doctors and nurses, put your chubby little palm on my face and smiled a smile that in the most literal sense of the word altered my life.


I have not loved you the way i have for just 2 years? Surely, i have known you longer? decades? centuries? or i am just being a bit mad :)

Even though you are little, you are oddly enough becoming someone i rely on. That day , a few weeks ago when the ants started crawling all over my leg, you sprung into action with a 'Shikhar helping mumma'. And you blew at them and batted them away like a pro.  Cool and calm, like you were 15.

When you wake up, I like to be around. You and i spend the first few moments of your day looking into each others eyes. Yours are shaped like a large almond, by the way. For some reason, this has become a ritual- just spend a few precious moments looking at each other. We are both smiling because we are both looking at our favourite person in the world.

We spend the last few moments before your day ends together too. You lay on my stomach ( your favourite pillow in the world) in the darkened room and you tell me which songs to sing as i pat your forehead. Ba ba black sheep, twinkle, lakadi ki kathi, happy birthday to you- i sing, fairly tunelessly, and you love it. You sing along, add your comments, giggle and more often than not say something that makes me laugh. Sometimes we do numbers, alphabets, days of the week ( i ask you everyday what day it is and its either a monday or a friday. And if i dont looktoo happy, you hurriedly tell me that the Sun is out ). Sometimes, i tell you about my day and sometimes, you tell me about yours.

Sometimes when i think you are busy doing something, i try to sneak into the other room and begin to count silently. I have never reached 10 before i can hear the familar ' mumma, mumma?' and the sound of your little feet pattering around the house looking for me reaches me. It always makes me smile.

I am the demontrative kind of parent. I tell you that i love you, i smother you with kisses, i hug you, i hold your hand just because.

You speak a lot, and often surprise me with how clever your thinking process is. The one phrase you still have a baby version for is 'I love you'. You say 'I laa loo'. But the fault is partly mine. I never correct you because there is an innocence to the I la loo that i want to cling on to. Sometimes you tell me with the sweetest smile -' i missed you mumma' and my heart melts and then when i tell you that i love you ( which i do about 10 times each day because i want you to know without any doubt that i do )you say 'I la loo mumma' and i dont know what to do. Today while i was feeding you lunch, you turned to me and smiled.
'I la loo Mumma' you said without me having encouraged you to say that in any way. The very first time you said that- made my heart melt that one :)


I have always loved you, even before i knew you, i loved you. However, in the last year you are slowly but steadily and even though you are just two, you are becoming someone whose company i enjoy a lot. You are becoming a friend. Odd, but true.


I wish you the happiest of birthdays, my darling Shikhar. Fly high and claim the mountain peaks. I have your back. I will always have your back.

I la loo, shikhar. I la loo very much.

Ma.


Friday, July 22, 2016

Happy Birthday

Dear Shikhar,

[If you are anything like your father you are going to groan at the sight of *another* letter from your Ma, for there is about 50 GB already waiting for you to read. However, if you are anything like me, you are already greedily devouring each word.

You can look like daddy but please please please love words like your Ma does.]

You are One. One.
One.
Can you believe it?

You are too little for any of it to matter ( something i am planning to take full advantage of) but for me today, one year back, life changed in more ways than i can count.

Today marks the most eventful, the hardest, the most brutal, the most beautiful and the most peaceful year of my life.

If i look back on that day i can just think of one moment. When the nice midwife gave you to me, you put your chubby little hand on my cheek, looked me directly in the eye and smiled (yes, smiled) as if to say ' Hello. Again'
Your daddy was recording that moment and when i see the video, i see myself looking at you and saying in a mildly surprised voice that is shaking thanks to copious amounts of drugs in my system ' oh, you are cute'.  My hands are trembling too and my lips are white. But do you know what, i look very calm.
And do you know why?
Because...there was such peace and wisdom in your little face that one look at it calmed me like nothing else could. You still half belonged to the other world you had just come from yet there was an air about you that told me to not worry any more. There was a calmness that clung to you that, in one second, strengthened me.

When i saw you, i knew without any doubt in my heart that we were not meeting for the first time. That we had known each other, cherished each other, loved each other in a different world. In that one moment, magic took a new meaning for me.

Though i churn out romance novels with alarming frequency, i do not think i ever really knew what it was like to fall madly in love in a moment before that.
In that one second, i was transformed. The entire chemistry of my existence changed as if someone had swished a magic wand on me. Yes, it was as melodramatic as that. In a flash, I was different. It was a new me, i had a new heart and a new soul and a new life and most importantly, i had you.

You will probably never understand, till you become a father, but perhaps not even then for i do believe a mother's heart is different from a father's, not better or worse, just different, how much i love you. But I know that somehow, even though you are just one, you know that.

The serious wisdom that clung to you in the first few months has given way to incessant chattering and such a naughty glint in the eye that i often find myself wondering how someone as docile as me could have given birth to someone as 'natkhat' looking as you.

Yet there are flashes of the wise and the sensible that shine through all the naughtiness. For example, often, ever since you were about 4 months old, i rest my head on your shoulders. And sometimes you clasp your pudgy little hands around my head and gather me into your chest. And for the few seconds this lasts, i do not know who the parent is.

When your eyes search a room, i know that they are looking for me. And when they spot me , your face brightens up like the Sun and i know that for you, at the moment, nothing, no one is as perfect as your Ma. You are my world and for the moment, i am yours too.

This will change.

There will friends, girl friends, your own life. I wish nothing more than for you to have a full, happy life. I am also painfully aware that there will be a time when you will no longer allow me to hug and kiss you in public. I am so aware of that that even now i often smother you with kisses, to make up for all the times later in life you will push me away with a horrified glare.

You are my biggest strength, Shikhar, you are my pride and you are the love of my life.  Grab joy from life, be kind and always treat people with respect.

Fly as high as you wish to, Shikhar, claim the mountain peaks. I have your back.
I will always have your back.

Happy birthday darling.

Love,
Ma.







Monday, July 18, 2016

A letter to a soon to be Mum


Dear New Mum/ Soon-to-be Mum,

Welcome to the sisterhood. It is only the biggest sisterhood in the world no one really tells you about, but it exists and transcends age, country, colour...everything. I am almost an year old as a Mum and before i forget all that being a new Mum is all about (for really i have hardly slept since i went into labour) here is a heart felt letter to you.

Pregnancy is not easy for most people. If you are having a mucky day, breathe, it will soon be over. And you will forget it all. I know it sounds unbelievable, and inconcieveable but that is the truth. You will forget it all.

Birthing is painful, scary and gory in most cases, but it is OK, trust me, it is okay. And most importantly, you will be OK. Trust me, you will be OKAY. You will probably have a story to tell, a story you might tell often, but you will be okay.

I know you must have made huge lists of things to buy for your baby but do you know what, all a baby needs, really needs, is your love and in the first few months, your time. I know the first few days, weeks, months are going to be very hard, in more ways than you can imagine right now but they are also going to be more beautiful than you can imagine right now. Breathe through the hard days and remember that it gets better.
Madly absorb every moment of a great day with your baby because when it is beautiful it is the most beautiful thing in the world.

A lot of people probably tell you how hard mother hood is going to be and you probably want them to shut up. But do you know what, i will tell you the same. I am still surprised by how brutally hard it can sometimes be and i have no wise words here. It is hard and that is the way it is. Shrug , grin and bear it. They also say that it does begin to get easier and i am craning my neck to look for the light at the end of the tunnel.

You will have proper meltdowns, the ones where you do the ugly cry, just because you are exhausted or because your baby wont stop crying or because you are hungry and the baby wont settle. And you know what, no one will be able to do anything about it, you will have to calm yourself, pick up the pieces and smile.
In short, you will grow up. Nothing bad about that ;)

Your body will change. You will have scars and stretch marks. Wear them like a badge of honour. Be proud of what your body has done- it has created from scratch the one person you love the most in the world. And with time, you will begin to like these changes, or perhaps make your peace with them. Most Mums i know have snapped back into shape. I fit into most prepregnancy clothes but you know what- it does not matter. All that matters is my son.

Almost everyone tells you how your life is going to change, and you think you understand what that means but you dont. Nothing in this world can prepare you for what hits you when the child arrives. it is brutal and relentless. It is beautiful too but sometimes you need to have slept a bit to appreciate the beauty. Yet, somehow, in some weird , twisted way that does not even make sense as i type this, it is beautiful.

Sleep. Sleep is gold. Your relationship with sleep will change drastically when the baby comes along. To put it mildly, you will ready to murder to get a few extra hours.  The concept of going to bed at 10 and waking up at 8 is alien to me now. All i can say is, gear up for that, take help where you can but mostly, just tell yourself that this will happen and you will have to deal with it. Also helps to remind yourself that a lot of people are parents and they have all been through this.

Friends. Your relationships with some of them will change. You will no longer understand what that friend , who does not yet have a baby, means by 'I am tired because i had to go to the party'. You just wont get some of them anymore. There will be a huge list of missed calls you need to return, whatsapp messages that you vaguely recall seeing at 3:00 in the morning need replying and general catching up to do. Your relationship with some of them, however, will not change. They dont need to be mums themselves to understand what you are going through. They will come armed with cake and will even offer to babysit your baby just so that you can sleep for a bit. Some friends once offered to come and baby sit my son just so that i could finish the final draft of my 4th book. Touched me, that one.

So what do i say about one year of being a Mum?
I can say that i am no longer the person i was before i had my son. I have changed. I am more patient, i understand love better, my heart is fuller. I am sleep deprived but i stay up nights so that my baby can sleep. I cannot imagine another person i could love as much but a little news piece about something sad that happened to a baby i do not even know breaks my heart. I laugh more, i smile more but i tear up at the drop of a hat. I am the busiest i have ever been, i cannot recall what i did with all that time i had before having my son but i have more time to look at leaves and petals and pebbles.

And if there is one piece of advice, above all else, i can give to any new mum, it is this: you will sleep less, you will be over tired, you will be exhausted. But please enjoy this time, please smile, be nice to people in the house. At times it is easy to be happy , but sometimes it is not. it is a lot easier to scream and shout and throw a tantrum and be rude to your partner or parents, specially when you have not slept in 10 weeks. Do not do that. remind yourself that this time may be hard but it is special in ways that are difficult to express. There will soon be a day when you would give up anyhting to have your baby this small and snuggly again.
Smile. Be nice. Smile. Your baby loves it.

Love,
An year old Mum.