Misc, Work & Life

Coincidence Galore

My friend and x-colleague, Saravanan called his friends Shaktipriya to pass on birthday wishes and invite her for his wedding. Both their birthdays fall on the same date, so it is easy for him to remember 🙂 This is how the conversation went.

Saravanan: “Hi Priya, Happy birthday”

S.Priya:”Thanks Saravanan. Happy birthday to you too”.

Saravanan: “There is a good news. Am getting married.”

S.Priya:”Congrats man. Am getting married too. So where is the girl from?”.

Saravanan: “Her name is Priya, actually Gnanapriya. She is from your hometown, Madurai. What about your groom? ”.

S.Priya:”His name is Saravanan. He is from your native,Chennai :-)”.

Saravanan: “When is the wedding Priya? Me and my Priya will definitely try to come. Oh by the way, Gnanapriya’s birthday also falls on the date as ours 🙂 ”.

S.Priya:”Incredible. And yes, you and Priya should come. It is in Madurai, on the coming Feb 16”.

Saravanan: “Oh my… Don’t think I would be able to come. I would be at Madurai the coming Feb 16, but it would be my wedding then”.

Now we are all waiting to see if their kids would share the same birthdays too. LOL..

Misc, Work & Life

UMA is different

Our appartment is huge. Atleast 50-60 families reside there. Most of us do not know our nieghbours. It is true that after Shebi went to Dubai, I have befriended my immediate nieghbours, securities and the flat association 🙂 But there is one name everyone in the appartment is familiar with – UMA. She is always ready,whether it is to look after your baby or get milk from the nearby shop or cut your vegetables. She offers you all kinds of services.

Uma is our part-time maid, not only ours, looks like the whole apartment has owned her 🙂

When our bell rang by 5:00ish, my mother eagerly opened the door. She smiled and greeted Uma in. Pari started jumping up and down after seeing her. “Wait dear. Let me clean my hands and then pick you up”. She rushed to the kitchen, got some dettol, played with Pari for a while and then hurried to do the dishes. “I don’t get enough time with my children. There are 12 homes now, out of which 3 goes to office that I need to reach by 7”.

Uma’s day starts at 4:30 in the morning. She cooks for her family, take water from the corporation pipe nearby for her household and get her children ready for school. She has two kids – elder is 11 yrs and younger one 6, both studying. Her job of maintaining orderliness and cleanliness at other homes start by 7.Inspite of her busy weary backbreaking schedules, she finds time to take out grandmothers to the hospital, pay electricity bills or buy vegetables, even for people whom she doesn’t work for. Strange that we keep complaining about lack of time to take our children out for a walk!! Once she finishes the last home, it will be almost 7:30 and she would have to hurry home to take care of her children. After her children hits the sack, she would have her dinner by 11:00 and call it a day. 17hrs of tedious work!!!

Uma does not have weekends either. Rarely does she take off and if she does there would be prior notice.

Oh! Yes,she has a husband, who finds it very convenient to eat, sleep, drink and finish all the hard-earned income that comes into the family. “He was not like this when we got married”,Uma said once.”He used to drink, but would give enough money to run the home. During a construction work, his hand got injured after which he was advised to take rest for few months. We had no savings and so I had to start working. His hand got cured in 3 months but he does not work anymore”. She stops with a sigh. Uma had arranged plenty of jobs for him, like a security at our home (where he does not have to use his hands at all). But the 3 months had injected a high degree of laziness into his blood. He chose to relax at his wife’s expense. “He does not work anymore. But I don’t complain. Things are moving on smooth. Why should I unnecessarily create problems at home?”. She had put in her efforts to bring him on his feet again, but now withdrawn from that task to keep peace at home.

Yesterday when Hari (Uma’s younger son) came home,he showed me how his new maths teacher had taught him to subtract. Uma proudly said,” He is my hope. I will work hard and will not let my children end up like me”. I could feel the strong determination in her voice. I really hope she succeeds.

Uma is one among the hundreds of Indian women who struggles uphill to run a family. She is one among the many who are abused and exploited. She is one among the many whose mileage is driven out by their own men. But what makes Uma different from the lot is her attitude and selfless nature. Not only me, this whole nieghbourhood would agree that she is not like the usual maids. For the same reason, I have found that everyone around is willing to help her too.

Uma’s readiness to work and her cheerfulness, makes her our favorite. She is apt, prompt and reliable (not submissive). Any minimal incentive that you give is taken with utmost happiness. To her it’s a service, which she believes will eventually bring blessings to her children. All that she want is her children to study well, earn good jobs and eventually lead a better life.

UMA’s are hard to find in the kind of society we live in. God bless her and the family!!

Marriage & Motherhood

Dealing with ‘N’ Laws

”Moluuu”… In our custom, ‘Molu’ is a real sweet way of addressing a girl of your daughter’s age. But the minute my mother-in-law calls me this way, I get a lot of “What next?,” Why me?” thoughts. Being blessed with a homely face (Looks are sometimes deceptive),I managed so long.

A friend of mine called yesterday and grieved about the way Mrs.MIL spoiled her weekend plans. The same is the case with me too. But how can the same her or me be happy, when our parents drop in for a weekend, though weekend plans are spoiled? Because parents love you, no matter what you do. You are free to do whatever you want. In-laws are not bound to love you, no matter whatever you do. They are ‘different’. They may accept you, they may not. They may love you, they may not. Their opinion on you keeps changing according to what you do and they judge on all that you do. Most importantly they may not believe in you always.

When you marry someone, you actually marry their family too. Maintaining harmony in the new family may not be easy.  Like someone said, when you choose to stick to your husband, you are stuck with your in-laws too.

I often wonder why the world is designed for the girl to stay at the guys’. If the couple could remain at her parents’ then the would have been a peaceful place. Now that the world is not so, you have to deal with them. And yes, dealing with ‘N’ laws is tough, tactical and tricky.

Me and Sayf are a team, who lets only the most necessary things flow to the  in-laws on both sides. We let them pour their opinions into only what is necessary. We stick to our decisions as long as a real valid reason does not come from either sides, but we do listen to them, appreciate them and at the same time convince them on why we chose to be so. They might not be happy, but at least the ‘she came and took my son away’ feeling will not be there.

Even when I have a real busy schedule at work, I make sure to give them a call at least twice a week. I may not call my parents that frequent, because they do not mind calling this side without complaints. My mobile alerts me incase I forget 🙂 I don’t miss a chance to shop, dine out or sometimes gossip (carefully of course) with my in-laws. I make sure to spend quality time with them when I visit them. A little effort, a little attention from my side, make my in-laws feel that I care for them.

MIL’s  may  usually be over dominating or over sentimental, but with good motives. And as long as I can find that element alive inside her, I can move along with her. They would also be experts with words and tears. When words does not work, they switch to tears, and tears works wonders 🙂 Mine does a lot of emotional black mailing, but I have cleverly developed the act of sincerely listening to everything that she puts across. She is pleased that I do so. But this is not an easy task because you will have to patient enough to hear the same story of “How people used to admire the MIL when she was young”, “How fair she used to be once”, “How her handsome son ended up marrying the me-with-ordinary-looks”, ”Why her daughter could not get a nice MIL as her”, and similar stories over and over.

Point to be noted is that a little observation helps you understand what your  mother in law actually needs from you. If you can’t give the whole cake, give at least a fairly big piece.

It is difficult to talk things straight to the in-laws because we treat them as respectful elders. But you can always speak your mind out to your husband or a very good friend. The minute you share it with another daughter-in-law of hers’, double trouble. She may have tons of her own versions to share and the conversations would eventually lead to the MIL being an ultimate villainess. However if you choose to share it with your husband, please don’t make him chose between you and her. It’s not your way or the highway. She, who has been in his life for a much longer time than you, definitely has a say.

Most of the MILs keeps reign their kitchen. At least mine does so. But only when am at Shebis’. She shoo’s me off from the kitchen and still complain on my ability to handle things on my own. So when she comes to Chennai, I get ready for the in-law invasion 🙂 Prepare menu for the whole week, show her how I manage my home and plan for the weekends. I think she is quite convinced, but she never admits. “My poor son doesn’t get to eat enough” and “I don’t know how he will survive” and “You should see how well my daughter does things” and blah blah blah. Looks like see gets some sadistic pleasure on acclaiming that her daughter is better than her daughter in-laws.

There are obvious times when you will have to really bite your teeth so hard to make sure that your tongue does not move over her protracted whining, esp. in the issues that involve people at my home.

So the most important of all. Follow the two mantras – S-M-I-L-E and I-G-N-O-R-E. If you can’t smile, at least ignore. So now a days whenever she makes unnecessary issues, I just do that. After all, she is the reason for me to have a lovable husband.

With all of the above and more, I still think most of them are harmless. When people get aged, they think different. Most of them feel that they will be left out by their children after marriage. They too would be anxious about the girl who steps into the family as much as your parents are. Like the girls, they also try to find a place in their son’s new life. While doing so, they annoy us but I think it is driven out of love.

As Dr Rebecca Liswood who founded the marriage counselling service in New York puts it, “Sudden love rarely binds the two most important women in a man’s life. But you can slowly evolve into good friends and well-wishers.”

At least give it a chance.

Masti ki paatshala

The night of Vampires at CUSAT

During my graduation at CUSAT (Cochin University of Science&Technology), there used to be a much awaited Arts festival every semester. Everyone would cheer up for their own teams, plan for the variety of programs for the event and spend time brain storming on how to win the championship and associated accolades. If at all there was someone in the class who does not participate for any competitions, they would definitely be behind the scene helping others. The spirit and unity of the class reflects so evidently, that all engineering branches will be rivals for those 3 days.

During the Arts fest which fell in the final semester, we decided to participate in Eastern dance (a traditional folk dance form that represents Kerala history). The competition was supposed to start that night at 7:30pm. Programs were delayed and by 11:30pm the dances began. After our dance that went kinda ok, Parvathy Devi – a skinny female who was the tiniest in the troop – was exhausted. She heard that coffee was served in a nearby classroom and went to have a sip. After a days heavy pratice rest of us were tired too, but the next item was Western Dance (this used to be the crowd’s favorite then) and we decided to stay and cheer up our juniors who were participating.

There were four of them stepping to the tunes of Michael Jackson’s ‘Dangerous’. The attire was amazing. Two of them, tallest of the lot, were vampires with silver body and black wings. The other two were of average height were vampires too, black body and red wings. They captured the crowd in no time that the whole crowd started dancing and howling. When the dance finished, we decided to join Parvathy.

It would be almost 2:00am then. Parvathy was all alone in the class room having coffee. With just a dim light in the room, she was half sleepy but trying hard not to close her eyes as there was another practice to begin soon. Suddenly there was a heavy thud from behind. “Can I have a cup of coffee?” Parvathy turned back, rubbing her drowsy eyes only to see a huge silver vampire spreading its big black wings waiting for coffee. She moved 2 steps behind, when the vampire asked again “Parvathy, did you not recognize me? Can I have some coffee?” Parvathy hardly heard anything. All that she wanted to was to run out of the room. But to her biggest shock, she saw 2 more vampires stepping inside, smiling at her, their wide white eyes focusing her. Parvathy wanted to scream now, but no voice came out. And to add to her shock, she saw her dance troop coming in frolicking with a 4th vampire.

Guess how big a laugh we would have had for the next few days…

We did not win anything for the dance that night. Sheeeshhhh!! I was the lead dancer too.. 🙂 But the fun we had those days were incredible.


Marriage & Motherhood, Misc, Work & Life

Weekend Blues

Its been 7 yrs in Chennai, and I cant remember a single day when I did not long for a weekend. Whether it was for a movie with friends or dinner with Sayf or even to simply laze around, weekends were always awaited with excitement and welcomed with happiness. Planning something for the weekend was usual whether it would work out or not. Weekends always used to be eventful then,..

I knew that it would be different with Pari around. After all, child is the father of man 🙂 She and her moods have now become major factors that drives anything and everything in my life.  But this time its not Pari. Its been little more than a month since Sayf moved to Dubai, and every weekend after that has been a question mark.

Week days are not a problem anymore. By the time I do the cooking and get ready, Pari would be awake. By the time I get her ready, it would be time to start for work. I drop her at the day care and go to my desk. In another 2 hrs she would be awake. I feed her and get back to my desk. In another 2 hrs she would be awake again. I feed her and get back to my desk. In another 2 more hrs, it would be 6 and we both start to home. Again feed Pari, cook, eat and it would be time to sleep. I hardly have a glimpse of even ‘Idea Star Singer’, that being the only program we used to watch. Sounds so mechanical and redundant, but for me it is one more day less to see Sayf.

However, to push a weekend is tough. I sometimes wonder whether Pari doesn’t get bored after seeing only me and more of me around her. Going out alone with an unmanageable 8 month old is hard. A few of my friends do stay close by, but am not sure how comfortable I would be managing Pari there. I finally should not end up spoiling their day 🙂 So I often invite them home but then like we used to plan for the weekends, they too would have already planned something. I try downloading movies, calling friends, and recently do a lotta blogging,… But the vaccum inside still stays and echoes inside that am empty without him…

The many faces I get to see at work lessen my suffocation during week days. Am happy that Pari is there in my life or I would have gone crazy on all the days of the week. I know it is not the problem with weekends, but me. I do not long for weekends anymore. All I long now is to join him..

How I wish this weekend and the rest of the weekends pass as fast as it could…

How I wish we both join Sayf soon, and weekends become lively like before..

How I wish we get back together, and regain my life…

Masti ki paatshala, My thoughts & Interests

PS : I love you, F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

What would happen if a geeky Scientist guy fall in love with a beautiful, naïve girl?

How would it be for an easily gullible guy to live with an infallible womanizer?

Why would a lady who is obsessive to cleanliness marry a messy rich man living next door?

How can someone always act so strange that she goes to the extend of believing that her dead friend was reincarnated as a pencil?

What would be the result if all of them hangs out often at Central Perk?

When the nerd scientist (Ross Geller), a beautiful yet spoiled brat (Rachael Green), the gullible rich man who has a hard time asking women out(Chandler Bing), the strange and quirky (Phoebe Buffet), an amazing chef who suffers from obsessive cleaning disorders (Monika Geller) and the handsome but pathetic actor who is good with women (Joey Tribiyani), started sharing their lives and love, there evolved one of the most favorite TV shows of all time – FRIENDS.

I have been hooked to this serial since high school. Me and bro would be waiting for Star Tv to sing,”So noone told you life was gonna be this way, tang tang tang….” (Friends Theme song) and there we would be in front of the TV. Had there been a session for friends in school, we would have with cent percent attendance 🙂

Kudos to the script writers Marta Kauffman, David Crane and the rest of the crew, for coming up with this lively, quick-witted,romantic comedy. Thanks to the actors for making it brim with enthusiasm and energy.

I love friends, for the humour they have  is so natural, so spontaneous.The laughter emerges out of the blue, so unexpected,so REAL…

I love friends, for the love, support and empathy the characters have for each other.

I love friends, for the way they make fun of each other and still remain closely knitted.

I love friends for they accept each other the way they are..

I love friends, for the way dark humor, light humor,friendship and romance is interlinked in the script that neither it is too sentimental nor too dim-witted.

I love friends, for the theme song they have…

“… But I’ll be there for you, When the rain starts to pour…

I’ll be there for you, Like I’ve been there before,…

I’ll be there for you, cause u‘ve been there for me too…”

And most of all, I love friends, for they help me connect with my favorite set of people and brings back a lot of memories of the past – the hangouts, the movies, the long walks, bunking classes, the college strikes, Arts festivals, fun and laughter…

I love friends, for they make my day.

After completing all the 10 seasons for the umpteenth time, I can confidently say that I could go on watching ‘FRIENDS’ again and again and again, and still roll over and over, giggling and laughing… I wish they continued after 10 seasons, but alas!!

And for those of you who frown over, let me tell you my friends that you need to be patient over the first few episodes of this dialogue oriented show, and once you get started, I promise that there would be no stopping…

Referred sites: http://www.friends-tv.org

Marriage & Motherhood, Work & Life

The “House-Maid” Hunt

Finding the right house maid has become a huge challenge for the women of today.  But once you find one, making them stay becomes another big challenge.

Fareiba was born at Kochi,Kerala (my native). A little more than 4 months after  her birth, we took her to Chennai. My maternity leave was supposed to expire in another month, and amma’s BP rose to its peak.

Amma, then vice principal of Maharaja’s College, had built a huge circle of contact through her 33 yrs of service. Her circle included Principals to professors to teachers to students to peons and canteen care takers, to all of whom she had managed to pass on the need of a maid for her daughter. She had undertaken this herculean task since I got pregnant. More than a year and nothing worked out.

People were ready to work at Kochi, but always found lame excuses to come to Chennai. To some of them Chennai was too hot, to some Chennai was too far and to some others Chennai was scary. I still do not know what it means!! However, there was no time to worry about what they thought. We had only a few weeks left and  the “House-maid Hunt” accelerated.

We tried to console her and thought we would hire one from a trusted agency. But amma was against the idea. She wanted the best maid to look after her daughter and grand-daughter. Poor amma!!She travelled even to a relative who lived a few hundred kms away from home to see if she could manage one..

Meanwhile,I too felt the pressure. Handling the baby and home was tough. So handling work, baby, home and a gastronomic husband together would be exhausting. Well, the husband was just gastronomic, no pressure though :). But the others were a must-do-everyday-job.

Being the kind who doesn’t give up easily, I tried to cultivate a routine in Fareiba which would match my office schedule and tried to build the confidence that I would be able to manage. With a day care at office and Shebi helping around, things started moving positively.

And BANG!! The bomb blasted!! Shebi was asked to fly to Dubai in two weeks time. This was a oppurtunity he had been waiting for long, so I would not stop. Shopping, Packing, Ironing, Repacking…We even had our 3rd anniversary to celebrate.Two weeks were just enough.

Life was miserable since then. But two weeks later amma landed home with a maid. She was a decent lady, aged above 60, but still healthy. She was quite expensive, but still impressive. She managed the kitchen and household, took care of Fareiba and made us all feel so better that we finally started believing that the best was served for the last!!

Life changed in a minute. I, who did not have a breather,now started watching soap operas too.She was too sweet to be doubted for anything. She asked permission before she even moved a chair from its usual position or before she sat beside us to watch a movie. Two days later she asked me permission to use the television after I went for work.The tv was never switched off after that. She reigned the kitchen.  I never bothered because the thought of finding someone new was impossible. I even took her a saree  for her birthday that fell on the weekend after she joined. Her regular blood tests and check ups fell on the days immediately after she joined.In additon, I being too generous took her to the doc for her allergic cold also.Mananging everything at home,all alone, was impossible and so keeping her was the only option before me. So when she demanded for a mobile to talk to her people at home and a small wooden stand (the Jaya-Amitabh kinda stand from KKKG) to stand on top and do the dishes, I did not hesitate.

Everything that she demanded was given and every request granted. That was Mistake no.1 🙂

6K per month was too much for an 800 sq ft flat and cooking for two(me and her), but no other choice.

The immediate relief from the tight schedule was all that I could see, and I often showed in words that flattered her.That was mistake No.2. Guess I made her too proud that she started actively participating  in all our family affairs and made sure she let out her comments at everyone’s action. Irritating but we kept mum.

She started developing regular shoulder pains and back pains due to which half of the work would be undone. I offered her help at times, which later became a habit. She started showing faces when amma got involved in something, and would not look after fareiba anymore. She even used our washing machine to wash hers’.

She had a whole day to laze around after me and Fareiba go to office, and looks like she enjoyed it a lot.

Huh!!!But one of the rarest species of its kind was finally found and I had to preserve it by all means.

Two weeks after she came, the next bomb fell. Her son fell down with Chicken pox. She was all in tears, not for her som but she had to leave me and the baby. But tickets were not available on a short notice. When I told her that she could not go immediately there was a huge scene as though I kept her in central prison.Finally after a lot of running around, we managed a ticket, brought her son (the one who was not affected) all the way from home and sent her off.She promised she will come back as soon as he recovers. I believed and even gave her the salary and some money for travel&expenses. Mistake No.3.

Luckily,one mistake that I did not do was that even when she demanded for some more money for the extra expenses that was supposed to come for her son’s treatment,I dint give.

Its been 2 weeks since she left. No news. They don’t pick my calls anymore. Am back to the old routine. We have a part-time maid who is paid lesser than one-third of what we paid her. With amma at home, things are moving on pretty well. At least I have the freedom to move around in my kitchen.

The 2 weeks that she stayed, I ended up spending almost half her salary, for the check ups and phone calls.That was of course in addition to the salary.

I think,now I know why people are not willing to come all the way to Chennai. If they work at their home town, they can make any excuse and run away.

Amma has started a fresh ‘House-Maid-Hunt’.

Culture & Religion, My thoughts & Interests

When believing is seeing,….

I have no picture as to how to start or end this topic, but Krishna Murugan’s questions had to be answered. Religion, Faith, God,.. Krishna, my colleague, argued about the existence and truth of everything.

Here are his ‘W’s on God… Let  me try to answer them in my version.

Q. Why believe in a man-made religion?

A. Religion is man made. The wise men of yester years had to form a set of rules to stop the chaos in the society and cultivate polished humans for tomorrow. But every religion has a common concept and that is ‘G-O-D’. It is not religion that people believe in, but its god.

Q. Why do you pray?

A. People may have a lot of reasons to pray. It may be to thank god for the food, for helping them pass exams, for the well being of themselves and their loved ones, and lot more..

For me, prayer is the bond between me and god. He, to whom, I can communicate about anything and everything. For am sure, he will be with all his ears to stop my tears. This bond always helped me sharpen my confidence and above all, helped me to attain peace of mind..

Q. Where is god when we are sad?

A. In this busy world where maintaining work-life balance is difficult, god is crowded out of our minds. It is when sadness strikes that we run to god for help. So on a positive note, sadness is a way to spend time with god.

But if your questions is about tragedies like earth quake or tsunami, then let me tell you that god has different plans for each of us. Havent you read about people who saved others’ life putting theirs’ at risk. Do you not feel that you would have also helped the needy, if you a got a chance to? Sometimes to show the existence of goodness in others, to reveal the existence of selfless people on earth, to plant that element of goodness in you or to wake up the real human in you, god too will have to take some extreme steps.

Q. Why terrorism when god exists?

A. When he created man, he also gave us freedom of choice and freedom of thought. Had he created man without choice, we would all be forced to believe in him. But god wanted us to learn, think and then choose between right and wrong. He wanted not blind faith, but know him and then believe.

The same message is interpreted by different people differently, and so is conveyed differently. What is wrong for the world, may be right to some people. They are not made different, but they chose to be different. Let the almighty forgive the wrong doers.

Q. Why god is not proven scientifically?

A. This one is the toughest of all.

While doing some research on Islam, I have come across this beautiful statement – “Science is not mature enough to prove the existence of god”.

So let me reframe this question. How did god touch our lives today? It may a help from a stranger, a greeting from your nieghbour or a call from your long lost friend that helps you move on in life. Like Bhavia mentioned in “Any Help”, she helped two girls for no reason. After a tiring day at work, Fareiba’s smile still become an inspiration to go ahead. God shows his presence in our daily lives, in a variety of ways. Some refer to it as luck, but I would prefer to call it his help.

Yes Krishna, You are right. People need to be humans at heart first and then true believers of god. Only then will the purpose be served and only then will there be peace. So being a good human being, you are already one step closer to him. Take the next step and see how life changes.

You may still continue to look for facts because for you, seeing is believing. But for me believing is seeing…


Marriage & Motherhood, Work & Life

The long 9 months…

While hurrying through my closet for Pari’s vaccination card, I came across her first Ultrasound scan report. Taken on 7th Jul 2009, the report read, “The uterus was visualised and contained a single intrauterine gestational sac with fetal pole measuring 0.64cm corresponding to 7 weeks gestation”, which meant my has been medically confirmed. It meant that there was a teeny tiny life inside me, who was 7 weeks old and 0.64cms long….

I took the report and sat on one corner of the bed.. Pari was sleeping sound on the other end. I tried to recollect the 9 months that we waited eagerly and restlessly to see the first glimpse of this little girl.

Jun ‘09: The home pregnancy tests were positive on 3rd week of Jun. But accuracy was only 50%.

Jul ‘09: On Jul 7, doctor added the rest 50% and both of us  held our hands tightly to witness the most beautiful phenomenon. Inside my uterus was our little one, with a rapid heart beat (twice the rate of a normal adult) and a small food sack for her nutrition supply. Doc asked me to include 2 lts of milk, 1 egg and 1 cup of pulse in my daily diet. Milk and egg. Grrrr!!!

God is great!! He had another pleasant surprise in store. One of my best friends, Sheetal had confirmed pregnant too.

In another weeks time, my sickness started. Anything that went inside would come out in a minute or two.

Aug ’09: Sickness continued for the first 2 weeks of Aug. I managed to stick on to the milk which had now reduced to 2 cups a day :0)

Work was getting onto my nerves. In addition there was an immediate requirement offshore. Some good things happen at the wrong time also 🙂 There was too much of pressure to fly that finally I had to disclose the reason.

“There is a good news and a bad news for you, Mugundan”. My project manager got ready to face both the news’. “Good news is that I am carrying, and the bad news is that, I would not be able to fly for the same reason”.

The first trimester scan was full of excitement. The baby was in shape, kept moving throughout the scan but did not show the face

By the last week of Aug, I regained my health. Sickness subsided and I started walking on the evenings.

As you gain weight during the later stages of pregnancy, the circulation to your legs decreases, and hence walking helps.

Sep ’09: I got busy deciding on our Anniversary gift. Our second anniversary fell on Sep 9th. It was special this time 09-09-09 🙂 I was clueless and finally got a ring. As usual, my gift got dissolved in the beautiful jewel set Sayf got for me from Narayana Pearls. He is too good with gifts.

By Sep,I had put on 2 kgs. My belly had slightly grown and I could feel the slight movements inside, as though a feather moved from within.…

Oct ’09: My stomach had come out, dresses got tight, Pari kicked harder, still October was adventurous.

Being 5 months pregnant, I had a 12  in without a berth,not even a seat. Sayf’s parents had plans to go for Hajj, but the dates were fixed suddenly. We had to go home, see them off, but no tickets to travel. Everyone had asked me to stay back, but I wanted to meet my ‘N’ laws before they started for the pilgrimage.

We came back to Chennai the next day itself. The second trimester scan showed a fully developed baby. She had her head, neck, spine, heart, lungs and stomach fully developed.

We travelled to Bangalore the very next weekend to meet Sheetal. Bangalore was major fun. We showed off our reports, examined the profiles of our babies, found that one had bigger nose and compared their weights.

Nov ’09: Second trimester was cool. No sickness and a Not-so-heavy-stomach. Sayf’s bday fell on Nov 14th. I brought a scrap-book, scribbled a few poems and pasted photos of the most important moments in the past 2 yrs. Sayf loved the book.

Pari had started rolling inside. At times, she would do a roller coaster ride. Sayf could feel her too.

Dec ’09: Belly had grown really big. I weighed 58 kgs and had started experiencing breathlessness. No clothes would fit anymore, and one more month for my maternity leave to begin. Too much of pressure was there at work, and it affected my regular walking. Back pain started and then came the varicose veins.

Sayf was behind me to know on my pregnancy craving. Honestly, I had none.

Pari started weighing heavier and kicked harder that you could see the shape of your stomach changing. She kept me awake during the nights. On a positive note, she trained me to stay awake which proved helpful during post pregnancy 🙂

We had started googling for a nice muslim name.

Jan ’10: Then came my birthday on Jan 9th. Sayf had a range of surprises for the whole weekend – Movie, Mahabalipuram, dinner. .

One more week at work. Staying away from Sayf was painful, but I still was excited about the 7 months vacation, I would get after I started working on 2003. While packing my stuffs, I came across a 2 yr old Anchor Stitch Kit that was left half way through. I packed that too.

I experienced the freedom of being at home after long(6yrs).It was immense pleasure to be a child again. Wake up and sleep as you wish, and worry only about eating 🙂 and watching TV ofcourse!! I also tried to work on the Stitch Kit and immersed in books on labour and birth.

I weighed 60kgs and increased 3kgs every 2 weeks. Breathlessness became heavier, so resumed walking. Luckily, I had Sheetal to share everything with 🙂

Feb ’10: My false contractions and pseudo pain began. Feets and ankles were swollen. My doc examined to confirm that babies head was not fixed. Amma made a list, packed the bags and did the last- minute shopping.

Sheetal had a bleeding and was kept on observation for a day. Doc sent her back the next day, but she had started dilating, and delivery was expected anytime.

I kept on working with my stitch kit, tried some breathing exercises, read more books on what to expect during labour. However, I was running out of room. It was a pregnant forever feeling. Sheetal was admitted for the second time after a heavy bleeding, but Pari seemed to be too comfortable inside 🙂 She showed no signs to come out.

Feb 17,2010: I was due on Feb 25th as per the records, but on Feb 17th 4:00am, my water broke. Hospital was just 15minutes away from home. I dropped an sms to Sayf and prayed for a healthy baby when I stepped inside the hospital. The nurses tried their best to answer my curiosity and induced pain by 05:30am. The contractions started slowly, like mild cramps on the stomach. I tried the breathing techniques that I read. But as the labour progressed, the contractions became powerful, longer and frequent. The doc confirmed that am in the second stage of labour. They moved me to the labour room and I pushed the baby out into this world on Feb17, 09:48am.

While the doc was working on my stitches, I could hear the nurses talk ”Normal baby, 2.8kgs, 50cms”.


“Girl baby”, she handed over the little one to me. Wrapped all over, Fareiba looked like a small bundle of cloth. I couldn’t take my eyes of that small, brittle, lovable creation of god. She looked exactly like the man whom I admired the most – Sayf. I realized the value of this little creature god has handed over to me, that I cannot give Sayf a gift more valuable than her…

Sheetal gave birth after another 2 days. They have named their daughter Shrishti.

I finished my Stitch Kit two months after the delivery.

My thoughts & Interests, Work & Life

Difference between owning a license and owning a vehicle

When Pari fell sick last week, I had to take her to the doc every other day. She recovered fully after a week’s time. Hospital was just 4 kms from home, but it would have been terrible if I did not know to drive. So while coming back from the hospital, I thanked god and the two men who insisted me to start driving and keep driving..

Umpteen women own a driver’s license but do not drive. I too belonged to this group, but not anymore…

It was in my father’s  interest that me and my brother started driving. I even took license the very next saturday after I turned 18. But I hardly drove a few kms at my hometown. Being younger to me by 2 yrs, my bro took license soon as he turned 18, and he offered a ride when needed.

After I moved to Chennai for a job, the city’s heavy traffic  was the primary reason for not driving. When my brother joined me at Chennai , I happily took his help to travel.

Post marriage was even easier. With my husband, one of the greatest drivers I have met, anytime-anywhere-pick& drop was readily available. So being a license holder for over 10 yrs, I managed to reach anywhere I wanted to (sometimes after fighting with auto drivers), but still did not try driving.

My office was just 2 kms from where we stayed. So during my pregnancy, Sayf  wanted me to start driving  since I could come home as and when needed. Somehow it  did not work. But after Pari (Our rolly-polly-naughty-sweety and now 8 month old, lil princess) came in, driving became necessary. With a day care at my office, there was no option than to bring her along, drop her at daycare and start with my office.  I was still reluctant, but Sayf was behind my life 🙂 After my test-driving-sessions with Sayf, I started taking Pari to office.

Today, with my husband at Dubai, managing work,home and the baby has become really difficult. Needless to mention, my car has become one of my most reliable friends in no time. And I realise that driving is essential. Its been just a month since he left, and my car has (unbelievable) run over 600 kms. It was actually meant to run only 2 kms to and from office everyday.. 🙂

Now, I take my car for grocery,market,shopping,work,parlour,anything and everything.

Now, I pick my parents from Chennai Central (25kms from home) and go to T.Nagar (one of the busiest places in Chennai city)for shopping. Chennai traffic doesn’t seem to be a problem anymore 🙂

Now, I give lifts to the mothers who needs to pick up their babies from daycare and also to fellow male colleagues who wants to be dropped at bus/railway stations.

And if I can, all of you can…

When license and driving go parallel, we do not realise how handicapped we are. Only when you start and sense the tremendous volume of independence it gives you, do you realise what you were missing earlier. You actually own your vehicle only when you start driving.

Now I know what is carburetor, slow speed, mileage,piston rings,coolant and much more. Above all of this, I know that driving has made my life a lot simpler.

Today, I am an ‘independent’ working woman, and behind the success of this independence there are two men – My father and My Sayf 🙂

Driving now means a lot of freedom, independence, excitement, adventure, happiness and satisfaction. Its worth giving a try.

So next time you need to go somewhere, no more quarrels with auto drivers and no more waiting for someone to pick you up.  Get ready, a smear of face powder, a dash of lipstick and vrrrroooom… Go Babelicious gals!!!