You are teaching us another lesson

Dear Chiyaa,
You have started school and yet again daddy and I are the ones who are learning.

You started off with enthusiasm on day one. But then you did not realise one goes to school everyday. And you started showing some reluctance. I am not sure if the elaborate lunch routine makes you nervous ( I have been with you once, and I felt intimated by the maneuvers. Taking ones tray, asking for what one wanted, walking back to the dining hall and after that depositing the utensils in designated place before making ones way back to class is a pretty elaborate set of steps). You also do not have the luxury of knowing anyone at all. Mostly children have some one from their daycare or neighborhood who acts as a familiar face. But  you have been uprooted from the place you still call home - Leeds. You live in a different place, you are just back from 3 month long stay in India - you are taking things pretty well though. Much better than mummy and daddy for sure. In the midst of this school! Lots of strangers and yet another change. No one takes well to change, inertia is a big a big a big deal. How would you get on with so many upheavals  - a little thing of just four years ? We knew in some manner we had to expect this, the reluctance to go to school, the daily convincing that school is good, you will make lots of friends there, you will have lots of fun there and you will learn lots and know the answers to a lot of questions. You get convinced. But then with those beseeching eyes you ask ' But mummy I want you to be with me'. I wish sweetheart I could be with you, I wish I could ensconce you, I wish I could forever and ever protect you from the slightest difficulty. But you know what, that would not be very good for you. Just like twinkles made you that gregarious, out going person, I am sure, school will make you an even more confident individual. 

And already you are doing immensely good. You said you had pointed to some 'wow' words which your teacher appreciated. Not only that, you have not for a single day given me any trouble in waking up. You wake up pronto at 0630 without needing any help. You have been utterly cooperative doing the morning chores. And when mummy gets anxious and agitated as to what to offer you for breakfast, you suggest what you need. Most of the days you eat to my satisfaction. Could I ask for more? 

Because of you, our experiences with Pumki seem so much easier. You have shown us the way, made us be prepared. You after all have taught us parenting.

Forever indebted,
Your mummy

Something is wrong with me

Any change seems disconcerting. Any change has a potential to throw a spanner in the works. But any change is advantageous. Any change is a chance for better. 

But I think I am not getting any good at changing my sails to the winds. We moved to a new place. I am still not at home here. In the place's defence I was barely here travelling to India  within a short span. Still.... I don't feel like accepting it. The return from India was uneventful. The commencing week was supposed to wring life out of us. On the contrary we were so busy we missed out on finding things amiss. I coped through the first week brilliantly and if there is any truth in morning showing the day, I felt, well the vacation and the glorious time had a positive rejuvenating effect.  Chiyaa was to start school a week on, the start of new routine and better things.  

Things are not turning out as expected. I am feeling a loss. I of course miss having the trouble maker at home. The little one also misses big sister and is super clingy. This leaves with nothing better to do but miss the company I had. I miss having all the people around. I know it was a holiday and  temporary. I feel all alone in this strange new setting. I am ill at ease, restless, diffident. Since Chiyaa started school I sent pictures of her in school uniform to her nursery. It was a pleasure hearing back from the nursery managers and them appreciating how Chiyaa had grown. But since most nursery emails are not relevant to me any more, I unsubscribed from their mailing list. It was like cutting a crucial tie. A part of me hoped to meet all the amazing nursery staff again while another part pondered what would I talk if I did met them again? My own thoughts don't make sense to me.

I am high strung for no apparent reason. Just holiday blues? Simple lack of sunshine? Or the overwhelming feeling of having too much to do? Or am I missing my little birdie? Seeing her get ready in a uniform makes it all seem so strange. She is such a little thing. Seems like yesterday I had her in my arms. Now she is in yet another setup, dealing with new people, trying to forge new friendships, having new experiences.  One  half of me wishes to just hold on to her..... Keep her from slipping away. And  another half wishes for her to grow up sooner, so that we can go for walks and swimming and trips.  I don't know what I am hoping for. I so wish I knew.

Hangover and a few thoughts

It must be close to midnight now in India. I cannot just like that WhatsApp a friend or family member. It takes some time to get used to the time difference after 3 months of seamless contact. The change in the time zone which happens automatically on the smartphones still comes as a shock to the untrained eyes. 

India was all about abundance. Abundance of space, heat, time and people. The lack of the big four makes everything very still here. The adults to kids ratio of 1:1 makes us feel a bit under handed since the 2 divas can throw quite some fits. We have busied ourselves with grocery and school uniform shopping. The car batteries going dead and a friend inviting for a house warming function have made us busier. Our parents are supportive and have asked us to be calm for a couple of days after which it will all feel normal. I remember when I came back from Hyderabad and was speaking to Dino all loaded with nostalgia... And he said ' don't worry we learn to forget '. Well... Don't know whether it's a good thing or a bad thing. But I blog to remember.

Last few days

I have not written about my last leg of vacation. 

After K reached bbsr it was a mad rush. Food, family and the final packing. My sister was around and those were my time with her. My sister had come over to spend the first 4 days with us and work from home for the next week so that mummy and papa did not feel our absence. I really like her thoughtfulness but then in many ways she is a much more mature person than me.

The day we were up start, it was raining heavily. As if there was a pall of gloom all around. I had insisted that no one come to drop us since I wished to say my good byes at home. We boarded the taxi amidst tears and hugs. It will take some days before the image of Papa, mummy and Lichie crying at the gate is obliterated. 

While there was grief at bbsr there was revelry at Chennai for the granddaughters were coming home! As soon as we reached, we took a walk to the beach which is a few minutes from home. The lovely sea can make one feel a lot better. K was at home. In every aspect. Roaming around in  track pants, in the place where he was born and brought up, I could see him blending in all aspects. We had a trip nearly everyday to visit a friend or family member. An example of India shining, I could see how Ola and Uber had revolutionised transport. Auto fares had actually seen a decreasing trend.

I managed to meet two friends of mine which made the trip worthwhile. Renu from bloggerville. I have been following her blogs since 2008. It was a special thing to meet up with her in person. She is a vibrant, optimistic lady who sees a lot of good in the world. I was impressed by her positive views of everything down south though she happens to be from the Hindi heartland. We could have gone on chatting if a certain four year old and infant  did not keep interrupting us.

Being a bit unsocial I have single digit number of friends. One of them is Preeti from school. She came over all the way from Bangalore to meet me. That she felt I was worthy of it was humbling for me. The evening zoomed past and I will have only memories of it. Just like I will have memories of the day spent with my college friend Basu who travelled 4 hours to meet me at bbsr. Just like I will have memories of the past 13 weeks. 

In these last few emotional days as usual my best friend K comes in as the sounding board. I asked him if he was sad that his holiday was over. He said 'I couldn't have asked for more '. 

A pilgrimage

Hyderabad is one of my favourite cities. Recently I made a four day trip. It evoked lot of fond memories, of times with friends and time  around with family. I had done most of my wedding shopping here. I had spent a very nice year just before marriage. But the main draw of the place is the Chilkur Balaji temple. 

I am not a very devout person. I believe God does stuff and He will do the needful. We need not coax Him, bargain with Him or bribe Him. But I had some desperate times in my first firm. I was unhappy on a lot of fronts and needed a change. That's when my close friend S told me about Chilkur Balaji. For people who are not familiar the deity is also called Visa Balaji for devotees get their visas approved upon visit to the temple! The concept of the temple is very simple. One needs to do 11 circumabulations of the temple when asking for a wish to be granted. Once the desire is fulfilled one needs to do 108 circumambulations (pradakshina). I am not a believer in such stuff. Once I tried to fast on a Shiv Ratri because there was an important cricket match and could not do it beyond 1300. One horror-scope errr horroscope dude had asked me to leave non vegetarian food on Sunday for some  problem and I was like go take a hike. So when my friend told me about the Chilkur temple I half heartedly gave it a 'shot'. Kinda like ' yeah bhi try kiya jaye'

When I entered the temple I could feel the positive vibes. I think that is the most important part of visiting a get a good positive feeling. People were going around the temple and chanting  Govinda which gave  goose bumps.  I did the 11 pradakshina and within a few days my desire for a change was fulfilled . Coincidence? Maybe. But I was a convert. 

The priests at the temple keep extolling that there is no special puja or darshan. All that is expected is chanting of Vishnu 's name and concentrating on Him. I feel it is a very rational expectation. If we feel God gave us something all we need to do is concentrate on Him and fill ourselves with good thoughts for the 2-3 hours that it takes to do the circumambulations. For the health oriented ones, it's good cardio ;) 

I had prayed to the God during some tough times. I don't even remember how many times I had prayed to Him. Per my estimate it was four. Since I am in India this was a chance to visit. My school friend Sam was also around which made it a double whammy. The first day we just went to just visit. Since there was no crowd I decided to do 108 pradakshina s. Chiyaa also did a few with me. She was skipping, running, jumping and doing all sorts of antics. She made the whole ritual so much more pleasant. The darshan was spectacular! We saw the deity from such close quarters. I have been to the temple many times but never seen Him from such close proximity. We had plans to visit the next day but because of a bit of mis-planning we were not able to make it. I visited the next two days and completed three out of four. The visits were splendid! There was no crowd and we viewed the deity from such proximity! The children were ultimately well behaved and though I had some doubts as to how they would be, He took care of them. 

I also noticed the popularity of the deity. There was a sardarji doing pradakshina. I heard Odia, Bengali and Gujrati in the crowd. There were people on wheelchairs and babies in prams. The feel, the vibe, the aura was surreal. And in typical Indian style the driver who ferried us everyday was a guy called Shaik! Talk about  secularism :) Indians live it.

A fantastic four days filled with piety and of course some shopping ;) My mother and shopping gp hand in hand! ;) I have a few more prayers..... Here is hoping I get to visit Him soon!