Saturday, December 29, 2012

Amanat - A treasure really?

For the past few days I have been reading about Amanat, the Indian girl who was raped brutally and left to die in the streets of Delhi. The people of India gave the government a wake up call this time. Protestors marched the streets of the country and forced the government to sit up and take notice. Last night Amanat breathed her last. She had been battered to the point of death, this was bound to happen.

For days we have been debating this in our household... what can be done to stop this crime. We talked about capital punishment, castration and public humiliation. Nothing seems sufficient. Rape is not the only henious crime either, in general law enforcement in India has become a standing joke!

Protestors crowded the streets of Delhi. Many expressed their anger and anguish yet I have not seen the names or pictures of the perpetrators. Are we protecting their identity? The government promised swift action and the country will move on like we always have. Yet there have been so many other rape incidents in the news this past week. What about the 14 yr old in Ahmedabad or the 18 yr old in Patiala both of whom attempted suicide. The latter died.

I think back to the days I roamed the streets of Bangalore. My friends would laugh at my paranoia, but I never felt safe in the streets. Every time I worked late and returned home at night, the company bus would drop us off at a street corner a mile away from home. We would have to walk across a little hamlet to get home. I always checked who else was working late before I made a decision to work late. I always made sure I had company returning home alone at night. That is the true state of the country. My independence was never complete. Today I sit in another part of the world and worry about my kids getting home safely but thats a story for another day!

A few years back I visited India and travelled to many citites on a sight seeing vacation. I travelled by train a lot, roamed the streets of Delhi and other popular cities. I went devoid of jewellery, my eyes constantly on the look out for trouble. And I found them lurking around every corner. The guy who keeps staring at your breasts, the other guy who walks too close aiming to brush his body against yours. There was this guy who followed me the length of a railway station looking, staring! I turned to glare and he moved back a few inches. I walked towards the police force guarding the station and the man ran away. I later realised this guy was probably a chain snatcher. My mangal sutra went into the afe at home and stayed there for the rest of my trip. This my friends is the true state of India.

We call her Amanat, the name does not roll so easily from my tongue. For we failed to treasure and protect her. We mourn her death and vow to ensure it was not in vain. But we failed as a nation. So what do we do to make sure this does not happen again? I dont claim to know the solution but I do have a few ideas.

Every Indian, man or woman needs to go sign up for a self defence class. Teach your kids the value of humanity and respect. Teach them to stand strong and fight back, teach them to be brave and yet not foolhardy. Be armed and forewarned. It could be a pepper spray, or a taser but it will prove useful. Vote for the right leaders, we dont need puppets and pupeteers, we dont need corrupt politicians, we need visionaries and true leaders. Clean up the country, it is your responsibility and mine.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Weilding a gun! Your right or another's threat?

It was another Friday at work. Being the week before Christmas I was decorating my cube to make it look festive. I went to check my email and there was nothing festive about what I read. I sat there miles away from the tragedy but a mom nevertheless. I felt my breath leave my lungs and could feel the sadness engulf me. A colleague looked ashen white and another couldn't get herself to eat food. These people had nothing to do with the tragedy, but they had one thing in common with the people in Newtown. They were moms, parents and they knew what the parents in Newtown were going through.

This weekend as I went about my regular activities there was a shadow cast on it. My thoughts kept going to the parents who had to bury their kid. Who had to deal with losing a child and who had to live with it for the rest of their life. If you are a parent, you went through this too. Today my husband and I talked about how to tell this to our children. How do we prepare them for that crazy guy with a gun. For if it can happen in Newton, in Colorado and in Virginia it can happen anywhere! Many parents are thinking the same things today.

Yet there are those that say gun control is not the answer. There are those who claim an armed teacher could have helped. We call ourselves a civilized society yet we argue that we need to bring a gun to a school in order to take out a maniac? There is a reason we have cops and law enforcement. And to me the point is lost if anyone can pick up a gun and defend himself. So when the kids get caught in cross fire it would be justified? Because someone was trying to save them?

I read an article today about how Australia, Scotland and Finland learnt the hard way. After mass massacres they brought in gun control laws.
Yet we stand here after yet another tragedy, not the first one we have seen in the past few years and talk about the right of wielding a gun? I dont have to make any arguments the facts speak for themselves
Fareed Zakaria of CNN posted recently : "From GPS: The sheer number of guns isn’t an isolated statistic. The data shows the U.S. compares badly on fatalities, too. The U.S has three gun homicides per 100,000 people. That’s four times as many as Switzerland, ten times as many as India, 20 times as many as Australia and England. Whatever you think of gun rights and gun control, the numbers don’t flatter America."
To me it is neither these facts, nor the arguments for and against gun control that sway me. It is the fact that ever day my child goes to school, everyday a loved one goes to a movie theater, or goes to a mall to go shopping I will worry. I will worry because terrorism is not from countries foreign to us, but stems from those within us. Every third person in my city holds a gun. Do I need to ask for mental research or that he put that gun away? I choose the latter!

Put it away. Put your kids ahead of everything else. Gun control!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

ToodleDoo from Tootsie Town!

Its never quiet at Tootsie town. Be it preschool or the Christmas wishlist, the Tootsie style gives us some laughs and the much needed relief in our otherwise mundane life. Oh well, there are days when the relief is all the yelling, screaming and drama. But other days like these, is what makes life as a parent worth its while. For kids do say and do the funniest things!

The latest preschool tale we are being told is still about Nafan (oh yeah thats what the little boy is called, and you dare not correct her!! I do hope the boy's parents dont read this blog though, after lovingly naming their boy they now stand corrected?)

So Nafan was asked by Tootsie
"Whats your name Nafan?"
"Nafan! Whats your name Tootsie" he asks
"Cutie Pie" says the little minx. And you dare not try calling her anything else "Me Cutie Pie" she corrects her mom. Hey little pixie I named you remember?

And then there is the Christmas tale. Cheeky has been getting early Christmas gifts by the hour. Because he claims he doesn't believe in Santa. So now all of a sudden he doesn't need to wait till Christmas to open his gifts? Boy this is getting exhausting! Meanwhile a guilt ridden mom tried to do right by Tootsie who seemed innocently unaware. So mommy asked "Tootsie do you know who Santa is"
"Yes" said Tootsie excitedly.
"Do you know he brings gifts to good kids?" asked Mama
"No Mama, Toys!" says Tootsie emphatically
"Yes toys" says the foolish Mom "What do you want for Christmas Honey?"
"Barney" says Tootsie and immediately bursts into tears "Where is Barney??" she cries.
Boy did I not tell you.. I am slipping in my parenting skills. So mom and Cheeky went online and ordered a Barney Plush toy. Cheeky in a moment of magnanimity (is that even a word?)  offered to buy it for his sister as a Christmas gift. Days later the Barney arrived. Cheeky and Dad could not hold the surprise, so here we were in the 2nd week of December and Tootsie had her first Christmas gift. A Barney singing "I Love you". The smile on her face stopped the protest on my lips. Till she declared in about an hour's time. An hour for which Barney sang I love you, non stop and she danced to his tune. An hour later she held him up and said firmly "That's enough! Go Inside the TV". And she insists that Barney go back inside the TV where she can watch him!
Sigh! We had to sell the plush toy up! Marketing and Advertising has things to learn from our family. So now she hugs the plush and watches Barney on TV!

What about Christmas you ask? Well I have my next gift planned and ordered. And hopefully I will be smart enough to hide it this time! The other day when I arrived with Tootsie at school she took me over to the toy kitchen in her classroom and I was thrilled. I lucked out, Tootsie is going to get her heart's desire. I had to share my joy and told her teacher. She assured me that Tootsie would love it for she spent her days at school at the toy kitchen. And whats more she spent her time multi-tasking while her left shoulder held the phone to her ear! I shared this tale with Cheeky and he said "So does she have a Tootsie clinging to her feet too?". Cheeky has not lost his touch!

He is blogging now.. my little baby is all grown up!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fautly Engineering? Where is the Flip Switch?

I was talking with a friend today and sharing the woes of being the mom to a 2 yr old. And I got thinking. I have been a mom to another 2 yr old, but things were never this intense then! Everything seemed much easier and more relaxed. Is my memory failing me, am I growing senile or is it just different this time around? As I was thinking I figured what was missing. The man up there has played yet another joke on me. There is no flip switch on this model!

My son knew when to tone down and turn off his tantrums. Every thing that seems a struggle now was just the flip of a switch then. When he peed his pants as I struggled with potty training ... all I had to do was switch to pants and warn him repurcussions. Lo Behold potty training sturggles were behind us. Cheeky just does and did things that way, he has a flip switch hidden somewhere. One day he wasnt walking, and the next day he suddenly was. One day he decided to throw away the bottles and switch to sippy cups. And one sweet day he just decided enough was enough and walked away to sleep in his own room. I do not have any claim to fame parenting that kid. He has made parenting a breeze.

Now my little rascal. I have been struggling with bottle weaning for months and months now. I have tried everything, from refusing to give in to throwing the bottle in the trash (only to retrieve it again after all hell broke loose and 3 hrs later we were still standing next to the trash can screaming!). I have tried scary stories of teeth falling off, I have tried compromise (lets switch to water, mickey mouse bottle), bribery, threats and power struggles. Nothing has worked because this model has no flip switch. Instead this model comes equipped with a strong willed mind that locks horns with me just because!!
And dont even get me started about sharing the parental bed. A purple room, wall decals with mickey and tinkerbell,  a crib, a full bed with colorful covers. And just for kicks a spare bed in the parental bedroom. Ask them they will tell you a woeful tale of a toddler who refuses to move!

This toddler has proven time and again she is a little independent Diva. This weekend we took her shopping. Her dad picked out this pretty blue dress for her and she picked out a pink one. When Daddy tried to tell her he really liked the blue dress she told him what he could do with it. "Daddy want it? Here! " (you can have it). "Tootsie want this pink dress, no blue" she says very firmly.

She forgets nothing. A little boy in her school had the misfortune of pushing her one day. And he will never live it down. Every single day she tells me "Nathan pushed me". She has this serious look on her face knotting her eyebrows into a frown. Apparently she uses the same mad face when she tells her teacher too.

Drama queen lives on. She has always been the little drama queen. Nothing in our house takes any thing less than a drama these days. Be it a party, visitors, a trip outside to the park or the backyard, a drive or a stroll. Everything invloves drama, before , after and during the event! When it rains kisses it pours, but catch her in one of her moods and she will scream bloody murder if you as much utter a murmur. And so when we asked her last night, how did Nathan push you? She demonstrated by pushing herself across the room and flipping over and falling! That is the amount of drama we have to deal with.

And there is no flip switch! A 2 year old teenager is what I have folks (Pause for sympathy) . Wish me luck!!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Running full steam ahead? I am going to stop! Are you?

We recently learnt that a 33 yr old man we know died of heart attack! He is survived by his young wife, pretty toddler and unborn child! It broke my heart to hear this news and I couldn't sleep for it! So the geek and I got thinking! Why is this happening to our generation? Why when we have made such progress on all fronts, longevity is now becoming an issue? And here is what we think!

We are a generation of over-achievers. Whatever we do, we seem to want more! Our needs and wants have grown multifold. We want big homes and automobiles. We want to travel and see places! We want to dress up and look good, we buy more clothes and shoes. We want to explore our palates and eat out. We want to party and make merry. We are not afraid to take risks and we do that over and over again financially. What we are really doing is hedging on our future! We hedge on our ability to earn and earn more in the future. So our present is filled with regrets about the past and worries about the future!

The previous generation saved up before they bought a home! But we are risk takers and go-getters.And guess what the banks, the country and the whole generation is with us on this. Success and Progress is important to us and we judge each other's and our own success by the amount of money we make and luxuries we afford! We have the need to do well at work. And with the sheer number of resources available today job security is unheard off. So we just work harder and harder and harder!

Our kids are our little clones. They run from one activity to another. They perform exceptionally at school, learn an art and play 10 different sports. Now this is a good thing. But this means everyone is always running to the next best thing! Before 30 and 35 this generation has done more than the previous generation did in multiple lifetimes. So naturally our stress levels are much higher!

Now I do not sit on a high horse and point fingers. I am part of this generation and very much in the core of the issue. So what do we do now? It is when we see a stark reminder like what we encountered that we start thinking. Where is contentment? Is it in our next pay check, next vacation or next pair of shoes? Or is it sitting quietly there in a corner of our head waiting for us to stop running and pay notice? I am stopping to look, are you?

Friday, September 21, 2012

I am proud of my choices! Are you?

I want to write this while I am still unemployed technically! Ever so often people would ask me "So what do you do?" and I would say "I am unemployed". They look shocked like I just insulted Me! And they overdo it! "Hey don't say that! You are a home maker! I know how hard that is!!" this guy tells me! His wife is a "Home Maker" too!
"You wouldn't call me that if you saw my home" I tell him
"Hey taking care of 2 kids is hard work" he says. I am thinking "Hey dude why are you defending my life choice?" but I say "Really, you would think! I point at my daughter with her messy hair and gooey face!!"
So all you stay at home moms out there! Is it just me or do you find this kind of talk patronizing? I don't care saying I am unemployed! Hey I made this choice and am proud to accept responsibility for it!
I spend some of my days running around my house chasing a 2 yr old! Its not hard work, its fun! I spend my afternoons listening to playground tales that my 8 yr old shares. I cook everyones favorite dish for dinner some days! I watch my favorite tv shows, read a book and catch a movie! Hey I am a bum some days! But guess
what I am a content bum!

I know things will change soon when I get back to work! I am going to feel guilty and miss this time. So I am going to have fun and enjoy it! I. In the process if I have a messy house who cares? I am having fun and that is important to Me!!! Is that so wrong? I am blessed that I can afford to be unemployed and I thank god for that! Let me have my simple pleasures of being jobless!! Don't patronize my choice!!

Now the flip side! Before that let me say my husband thinks I feel that way because I know the unemployment is by choice and not forced! I know I can go back to work when I choose too, so I am not dark and dreary!! :p Lol!!!!

Where was I ? Yes the flip side! Working women! I admire them, because guess what I have done that! I know what it takes to perform that juggling act. I know how guilty it feels and how tired you get! Give yourselves a pat for doing it! However I see these women who think they are successful just because they have a career and someone else doesn't!
Philosophically it makes me think! Are we out there chasing a mirage? I was talking to this middle aged lady recently. She is in the US watching her grand kids. Her daughter's in law will be here next. Apparently for a month in between there will be no one to support! She said "I asked my daughter to take a month off and she said I am not a stay at home Mom kind of person!" This lady said it with pride! But I was taken aback. So you are saying you have better things to do than spend time with your child? You made the choice to have the child, accept the responsibility that comes with it! And this is not just for women! So don't think I am not judging you men out there chasing careers!! I am
Sitting on my high unemployed throne and judging all of you!!

I know most women try really hard! I have friends who break their back and stress out about being perfect and balancing work and home! Some have chosen to work part time, work from home, take salary cuts, take breaks that will affect their career progression and do whatever it takes to make it work!

Now to the real question! Why are the women always judged no matter what? The working woman feels guilty of not being there for her kids (does the man feel guilty? Noooo!!) The stay at home mon feels victimized for not being successful! And most of the times it is one woman judging another!

So tell me what is success? Who defines it? Why can't we celebrate each other's choice and show solidarity? I am proud of having been unemployed! And I will be proud of my choice to work at some point! Are you proud of your choices too?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Wedding Cake Toppers

I got married in an Indian Style wedding. So I neither had a cake nor a cake topper. Growing up my birthday cakes had no toppers either! But now there is no birthday cake without a fun topper. My son choses his birthday cake theme months in advance! My daughter turned 2 and we went looking for a barney themed cake in every store! If we are so particular about birthday cakes, then think about their wedding cake toppers! It would definitely need to be over the top!

Recently my husband and I who have adjacent birthday's decided it was time to get ourselves a yummy cake! So I went looking for a cake topper! I wanted one with a biker guy and a hot chic! We settled for a bike and 2 figurines. But why settle? This was a small do, with family! What if it was a wedding, the most important day in your life would you want to settle?

Now you dont have to! Wedding Star has the most amazing cake toppers! I was looking at the different options and was impressed! I especially liked the one with the girl piggy backing on the guy's back! I am sure I would have wanted one of the funny ones! Well it never is too late, maybe it is time to renew our vows!

Wedding Star has a huge variety of  Wedding Cake Toppers to choose from. Make that your first choice. Go browse now and you will walk away with something that will capture the true essence of your relationship! And this cake topper, will remind you all your life of why the two of you came together! It will make your wedding day, a day to remember!

Wedding Decorations

I recently wrote a poem in my other blog. A wedding is a girl's dream! Across the world girls dream about it! Much as we complain about the cost of weddings, there is something about the glitter and sparkle that is appealing. My sister got married recently in an Indian style wedding and we went all out getting ourselves all decked up for the wedding. The wedding hall boasted vegetable carvings, sculptures, magic taps and various other decorations! The music was selected with much thought, and the menu was cause for much delibration!

Everyone expects perfection for weddings, and now it is easy. There are so many people available to help. Wedding planners, wedding stores, fairy godmothers and magic wands. Whatever your budget, whether you want to spend a few thousands or hundreds of thousands, there is a way to make that day extra special. There is a way to make the day sparkle and glitter. There is a way to make it a memorable day!

Wedding Star is one such place making dreams come true. Wedding star is the one stop wedding place. You can find accessories, decorations, wedding favors, cake toppers, ring pillows. You need it for your wedding and you can find it there! And whats more, it is in the digital era. Made for the modern man and woman, everything is available at the click of a button!

The goal is to make your wedding planning as fun and stress free as possible. Wedding Star believes "The time leading up to your momentous day can be stress free if you've already spent time ensuring you've left no details to chance". And isn't that vital? Isn't the wedding day something you will cherish the rest of your life. Wouldn't you rather spend the days leading up to it relaxing in a spa somewhere? So do that! Use the time spent planning your wedding to pamper yourself! And leave the details to the experts!

Wedding Star has been doing this for years and the experts can help you make decisions faster, quicker and smarter! Pick a theme, select the wedding decorations, bridal accessories, wedding favors and even cake toppers all at the click of a button! Internet has simplified our life! Let Wedding star simplify your wedding. Make it a day to remember!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

All iiiissss well! Or is it?

When you have a kid who plays for hours together with a steering wheel, a pretend one at that life is rosy! It is easy to sit and pass judgement on parents who let little itty bitty babies watch tv while your kid plays with his round object! It is easy to lazily wonder about ADD and TV watching while you surf through your tv shows and the little boy keeps himself busy! But let me tell you when you have had a day like I have, letting your kid focus on an hour of sesame street is sheer bliss!
You get cocky enough to whip out your iPad and blog! It has been all of 2 minutes and you are being climbed over while the trails along the couch are being explored!

Sigh! You think and get geared up for hours and hours of toddle-fief-Dom! If you are calling me unmentionable names for being a bad mom you need to hear the story!

I have spent a day washing little hands, legs, faces and the rest of everything from sidewalk chalk, grease, grime and other undisclosable explorations! I have had to remove wads and wads of toilet paper from the bowl where a certain minx thought it would be fun to dump contents of a whole new toilet paper roll! I have erased surfaces including magnetic boards and floors of pencil and crayon stains! Hidden pens and markers before the unthinkable happens! Gone hunting for the little pixie behind trash cans and in cardboard boxes! Run after her in the backyard while she picked on dirt, tried to destroy plants and trees, rearranged mulch and pebbles! And of course tried to feed her some healthy food while she insisted "mommy stop it" and snacked on junk!

But besides the daily madness and fearful anticipation of "terrible twos"! Really is it going to get worse than this? And besides the fact that my home always boasts the fact that a little tornado hit it and lives right in it, all is definitely well!

Tootsie has a more than healthy curiosity, an exuberant personality, bossy behavior and an immense love for dogs! The last fact is emphasized time and again as we stop neighbors from walking their dogs! Recently one of them offered to let Tootsie pet her dog, we just stopped short of bringing it home! After being hugged and licking Tootsie all over her face, the doggy had to feign sleep to be left alone!

We also try to bamboozle other babies and kids (who we call "baby" uniformly) and relieve them of their toys by telling them "giiiimmeee"! "Tootsie what do you say" asks mommy! "peaasee" coos the little imp and that apparently gives her the right to grab it now!
If mommy gets out of hand with the admonishments all that is needed is to shush her "Mommy ssshhhh...stop it!"

The little tyrant is walking on furniture again! Time to sign off and act alert! Bye bye!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The tale of the moving kitchen!

Yes you read that right! The moving kitchen .... That is what I need! A kitchen cart! About couple of years ago I moved to California! I was totally unprepared for the loss of space among other things! The kitchen came as an absolute shock! I have survived in small kitchens, galley kitchens! But this kitchen was designed in spite! Just to throw me the famous curve ball!
Survival instincts had me using the garage as an extension! In came a pantry closet! But still how could I make it work? I ordered a kitchen cart! A year later I moved to a bigger place with a kitchen to dream for! So in my moment if sheer bliss, I gave away the cart!
Now that Tootsie has decided on her life mission! To raid every cupboard high and low, climb every surface and destroy any semblance of order; I miss my kitchen cart! Especially since the only place I have managed to secure is my pantry! The only child lock requiring no drilling!
Now off to do some cart hunting! Maybe I can finally cart the dishes to safety!

The Elf on the Shelf! Me Too!!

So after years of avoiding the marketing gimmick of "Elf on the Shelf" I finally succumbed to the pressure and popular demand. I ...