Saturday, November 16, 2013

My Super Baby

I had two kids in my twenties just within the first couple of years into marriage.
The first two kids were raised according to the elders of my family. My babies were born normal which is a miracle nowadays considering the numbers of cesarean babies being born all the time. I was told to breastfeed them and bottle feed them simultaneously since it so happens that purely breastfed babies give a traumatic time to mothers and are not easily weaned off. Giving in to instructions and assurances by the experienced, I did as I was bid. My first daughter was easily weaned off within the first 6 months and my second son was weaned off within a year.

I did everything else, the massages and the immunizations with the eagerness of a new parent. That they should get into school at the right time and learn all the colors and the alphabets and know how to speak English before they learned their own language.

While I was doing all this, my inner voice kept questioning me and making me feel like a traitor. How can I be a traitor to my own mother tongue and give preference to a foreign language and then expect my kids to grow up as self respecting adults. I don't know, I felt contradicted and torn! This was one of many things inside which was gnawing at my mind.
My kids are healthy kids but they are normal kids and despite my best efforts of doing the right things at the right time for them, they have not become what I would love to call a Super Baby.

Three and a half years ago, I had my third child. Now, this time too, I was bombarded with the do's and do not's by the elders. But this time, I had decided to hear all but listen to myself. I went back to the golden age when there were no medicines and no immunizations and the feeding bottle was not invented. I decided I will imagine a world where these things did not exist, and bring up my baby accordingly.

I breastfed my child for 3 years. She cried and exhausted me with her continuous cries for more and more, but I had no option to give her milk in any other form as in my world, the feeding bottle did not exist. The supplies did increase even if it took time. Obviously, there was no powder substitute like Lactogen or Cerelac also in my mind. When she was old enough to chew, she was introduced to fruits and whole grains and I gave her the same food I ate. No baby foods and no pampering. She was oiled and massaged well though, with different oils to help her to strengthen her bones and muscles.
Doesn't she have a naughty smile?

She is a strong baby, rarely falls sick, but even when she does I wait for a good 3 days to let her come out of it on her own and don't give her any medicine. Some people have accused me of being a cruel mom. I spend time with her, wiping her forehead with cold pressed towel and talk to her when she has a fever, and I give her lots of hugs and love. This is how I cure her. Thankfully she has always recouped well enough with my nursing of her back to health.

I haven't even put her to any playschool, and don't even bother to teach her anything. But she has been like a sponge gathering a lot of information and understanding of her own free will!! She has started to ask questions and to which I give her answers and the answers she remembers well, even if I have told her about it only once. I cant lie to her when I am going out because she remembers everything I tell her so well. I let her have all the fun in the bath and let her enjoy the water, let her walk barefoot and let her get all dirty in the garden. She takes showers even if it is zero degrees in winter. She eats by herself and sits with all of us at the dining table and eats on a plate which is not a baby plate. She even helps me around the house, she knows how to broom and dust and make the bed!! You better believe me! Here is a video I uploaded on you tube while she was at it!!

My parents and parents in law are a little worried because of the way I am bringing her up. I seriously am contemplating whether or not to send her to school and would it really benefit her?
As of now, she has a sharp memory and a keen mind with a perfect immune system inside her body which does not need any medication. She dances to songs and knows scores of songs and nursery rhymes which she has picked on her own. She is definitely what I would call a Super Baby and I have not worked even half as hard as I did on my older kids.

If most of us, develop the patience to raise up our kids like this, soon we will have a stronger, healthier and more immune India. Don't run off to the doctor at the sight of a cough or a sneeze or a temperature. let the body fight it on its own. We are one of the best of the creations and when animals don't need supplements and medications why do we?

I just let her be....herself!! let them all remain naturally fit!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Rural encounter.

Picture credit

A few days back I was sitting in a gold and silversmith's shop when two village belles strode in asking for a quarter of gold. One of them was very old and the other perhaps her daughter or daughter in law. Both wore those above calf length skirts with choli and dupatta. Looking at them I was reminded of the movies of yesteryears when most of the stories revolved around village belles who would be dressed like that. I had never seen villagers wear anything like that even though I used to spend summer holidays at a village in north UP.
I asked the older one what would she do with the quarter? The shopkeeper started to give an explanation instead and he said that they take pieces of gold and make their own ornaments. Whatever they wear is heavy solid and pure.
I was pleasantly surprised to see how talented, creative and independent the rural people are!

The older woman went on to say that the purpose of jewellery is to be heavy and chain like so that any woman wearing it has to feel the weight of it and be weighed down by it. A heavy necklace would ensure she didn't dare raise her head (or her voice). Heavy anklets ensured she could never run away. This is a kind of women policing women.

I don't know if it is right or wrong.. but after women have been liberated, men are a frustrated lot, they seem to hate the women who take away their jobs right from under their nose, who refuse to stay at home and wait upon them. On top of this, there are lesser females being born because of the male preference and thanks to foetal sex determination tests! was a nice experience to know life of the villagers!

Sunday, July 14, 2013


I recently had to strip my entire wooden cupboard which had gotten infected with termites. When all the furnishings gone and the room barren and empty, the room seemed fairly large but what struck me was the echoes. In the beginning I just went to that room and said things to hear my own echo. My kids were also a little intrigued as to how the same room didn't sound before, the way it did now.

I went on a tangent of thought. I think echo happens when there is a sudden vacuum where there was something or someone? Then the place is larger and staying in that place is noisier because everything reverberates.
Now, what happens when someone is gone from your life, a lover, a child, a parent?
These are close people, when you talk to them you don't hear yourself back, it is comforting to have people there responding to you, tending to you, making you smile cry and laugh.
Sometimes, they go without notice which is most painful, but whatever the reason, the fact that they go and leave behind a vacuum which creates an echo is what I am concerned about.

How do you deal with that echo?
Some people shut themselves from their self because they don't want to admit that there is a vacuum and there is a pain of a loss. They go into self denial, create barriers around them so that no one else can enter and they never have to feel the echo of someone gone again.

Sometimes, one starts to look for some"one" to fill in  and sometimes one goes on a frenzy of making too many friends, thereby drowning the noise of the echo inside them by superficial external noises. This is also not a permanent fix is what I believe, but perhaps better than the first option of creating barriers and isolating yourself.
When you find that someone whom you can be as close, you perhaps rush into it, thinking automatically that the other person will fill in the vacuum just as a perfect glove fit. When this doesn't happen as it is bound to, one goes on a frenzy of making friends still trying to find someone to fill in....a perfect glove fit!

Neither should one stay forever in isolation and neither should one try to find the perfect fit.. the one who is gone is irreplaceable because you will see in nature there are no two leaves which are identical even if it sprouts from the same tree. This expectation is turning you to your own worst enemy!
I believe at times, one has to let go and it is not your fault, you cannot suffer for one mistake or one unfortunate event forever, you make a mistake, you punish yourself and then you move on, but going on punishing yourself forever, is not right, and is unjustified.

Too much of isolation makes one more fragile and any contact with people is stressful and too much of socialising is numbing and makes one out of sync with their own emotions.
The mountains are isolated places and hence fragile so what happened to Uttarakhand was because of too much stress with too many people thronging and causing immense stress to a place in need and habit of isolation..

I know it is easier said than done, but what's easy is boring too and life is nothing but boring no?
Some things are beyond our control like the supernaturals and that is what is beautifully brought out in the movie I watched last night. People who don't believe in God or miracles, have the hardest time in letting go, so perhaps if they met a spirit...they would change :)
Last night I was watching Talaash, the movie talks about spirits who move around and look for people who have deep pain or as I call it echoes inside and try to connect with them. I think I have become one such spirit!!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

mirror mirror on the wall

photo credit
It is true that some people come into your life and bring out the best in you.
We fall in love with that person because we feel so nice with that person and we put forward our best behavior.
If the above holds true then there are some people who take out the worst in us and we hate that person and never want to ever remain in touch with the same.

If what people do is take out the best or beast in "US" then I wonder why do we love or hate them when the qualities that have come to the fore is uniquely entirely US.

Why do we love the mirror which shows the good in us and why do we hate the mirror which show the bad in us?
First of all, I think one should realise that we may think that our responses which were evil was because the other person was evil and we keep blaming the other for the bad things that happened because of him/her. We hate to see the part where it is as much as our own selves which is reflected in the whole encounter!!

A certain husband took out the best in his wife not because perhaps the husband was good so much as that wife who was inherently a good lady. Similarly for the worst!

So what are we really putting the blame and loving and hating someone else for what we are inside??
Perhaps we aren't brave enough to encounter or face upfront the evil things that reside in us and can never accept that it is "me" who is wrong, but even if we try or for that matter if I understand it, I am unable to rectify it and turn my own weaknesses into strength!!
Knowing your beast should help overcome it, but perhaps I am too weak and allow the beast to overcome me.
It must be true that the beast must be inside everyone. When we come face to face with our beastly side we can't stand it, although I think the sooner a person is aware of it the better for him to grow out of  it and overcome it and it can be done with the right attitude. The attitude of survival and the love for life.....

Maybe someday I will... maybe maybe!!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Forced Introvert or Extrovert?

I don't have much recollection of my childhood meaning perhaps the time when my mind was forming itself.
I remember when my grandfather came home, we (me and my sister) used to go to him and open our palms and he would drop in the change he had in his pocket. What I don't remember was that when he came, all the ladies of the house went behind curtains or to other rooms out of his sight. Mom tells me I followed suit, whereas my younger sister would bravely go to him and ask him," what did you bring for me?" And dada would drop some changes in her hands, seeing this I would hurry from behind the curtain and also ask for my share. So I was shy! This was a revelation!

There were many instances which confused me about me, if I went shopping for example, I would never enter a shop unless I really had to buy whereas my sister did not mind entering and asking for the prices and leave without buying. After my marriage, I wore the clothes my in laws bought for me without bothering if I looked good in it, if it was my taste. My sister once commented, how can you wear whatever they give you? You don't have to take in everything they give you. Have your say!

I always thought I was the stronger one than my sister. I was a little headstrong of course, but I let people run all over me, because I think behind all the headstrong and stubborn nature my primary instinct was of a people pleaser. I used to "say", I don't care to anyone and everyone, but that was just a show off and convince myself that I really didn't care, when I was just denying myself my own emotions. I recently read a lot of articles regarding introversion and extroversion and I am perplexed about my true nature?

I was most definitely an extrovert, a bubbly gregarious person, always saying yes to everyone, generous to a fault! My father would time and again remind me not to overdo myself. Ask my friends or open my true confessions book my friends filled in for me, they will all vouch for the same. Now why I say I was and use the past tense is because I think I have changed or transitioned to more of an introvert. I tend to like only selected people and others get on my nerves. I can't stand dual nature.  Most of all, I can't stand extroverts! I am shocked!

I have had the past month home alone for reasons I don't want to discuss here. But, time has flown, and I have not really craved company and enjoyed the peace so much, I am scared I will get addicted to it. The few days that my sister in law visited, we chatted and gossiped alot and by the end of the third day, my throat was paining!

I am even contemplating a solo trip in order to get to know what I really am. Somewhere while I was growing up I have let people influence me and in my desire to explore and curiosity to know more, I think I have lost myself and up until now, I thought someone else would complete me, perhaps my better half, someone to steer me, but I was wrong. In this journey of life, one is fortunate to find such a companion and if not then also, life must go on and maybe it will be a better life with no more outer influences and I will hopefully and most certainly be able to find me as I was born to be!

I think I was shy as a child but I saw that shyness doesn't gain merit. I remember when I was in class I and I had to go to the toilet, twice I did it in the classroom because I was so scared of the class teacher. The time that I would have asked her I would have rehearsed the speech a hundred times to myself.."may I go to toilet please?" I had to buy a school badge from the school office and I kept loitering outside the office but didn't have to courage to go and get it, and ultimately a cousin who was in the same school as me solved my dilemma. I want to say a little more about this cousin, this girl was 4 years my senior and an extrovert and I admired her tenacity and her boldness and I wanted to be everything that she was I took the same subject in class 9 as her because I wanted to be her!

Somehow when we are a child we are what we are and growing up we see certain things..and we like certain people we want to emulate and in the process lose ourselves. If we have it in us we can surely emulate and find success in life. My last blog on "practice what you preach" is about this. When we become something we aren't made to become we face failures in life, life then becomes a struggle. A different analogy to explain this is, in the movie 3 idiots where every parent aspires the son to become what he or she wants but not what the son wants or can become? So what happens is that the child is just a mediocre person in life whereas if he had been allowed to follow his instinct he would have carved out a niche for himself and lived happily!

Before marriage, during school life I selected my own friends, it is ironical to note that my friends, almost all of them were introverts, and I was the only wild one amongst them. My identity identified with an introvert and while I like extroverts because the world is for the extrovert and by the extrovert and of the extrovert!
My survival instinct was ruled over by wanting to be a people pleaser, hence I made many friends, I enjoyed big parties and my high energy or call it self denial never let me feel stressed out!
My obsession or deep craving to be acknowledged and praised pumped up my expectations for whatever I did. Involuntarily I started sacrificing myself, and still do. All this built huge pent up reserves of frustration of living too much for others and when I let it all out , it took a moment to break whatever god relations I had built up. In the end, people don't look at me as if I am a people pleaser! (and they are right because in reality deep inside my id is not a people pleaser, and my reactions or outbursts prove it rightly, it is my ego which wants to please people) I can't change overnight, but now consciously I tend to stop myself from going overboard, which also backfires because my huge reserves of energy makes me restless and unemployed.. so here I am writing my energies off!! haha!

Anyways, I have decided I am going to stop living in denial and be myself. My last blog on "Oh girl, be yourself" is on similar lines but different topic. You may want to take a look at that. I will take up one issue at a time and try to resolve or untangle my life and try to learn from the failures and hence be more successful now onwards..

The question if I am in extrovert or introvert, also rather depends on who I am with?
There is this one Walter Mischel who says that our being an extrovert or introvert largely depends on situational causes! I want to believe in him for now, and his findings resonate with me and answers my question of whether I am an extro or intro!
Maybe I am both, perhaps I am an extro if I like you and an intro if I don't like you! Perhaps I am just too moody!! I hope I find my answers one day...

Links to read

Monday, June 17, 2013

Oh girl! Be yourself!

I had earlier written about Oh boy!

Being a girl and a woman now.. I hated to be one!
Anytime any woman blamed a man for whatever happened to her, I would defend the man!
I believed that men were much better than any woman. I still do!
Men braved the outside world and worked hard, what does a woman know about hard work when all she does is bask in the glory of her husband!

What I didnt know or understand, was that all this looks so nice from the outside

From the time I had a male gynaecologist to deliver my baby, I have been a man's woman.
I have seen men to be more sensitive to a woman.
The second and third baby I had, was delivered by a woman, and she, believe me was quite rough with me!

I used to think that I am the only one amongst many woman who are female bashers. But I recently realised that its not just me, there are tonnes of women out there who seek approval and they merit the approval so much that they are willing to let go of themselves to the extent that they let themselves be misused and misunderstood, all for the sake of a good name!
I was running away from myself till now.

The women who cry foul are called feminist, and looked down upon. For the first time in my life I am feeling yucky about myself and the treatment I give to half the world of which I belong myself.
WHY are women their own worst enemy?

I remember the first time I defended a woman, when I watched a movie called Kramer versus Kramer. I had a discussion about this movie with a friend of mine who pronounced that leaving the child by the mother was a very unacceptable behaviour. Women who take the child away with her after separation is yet another unacceptable thing to do. After all the child belongs to the father as well! How ruthless women can be!!
I was befuddled! Oh Heck what is the woman supposed to do? I always thought if I had to leave my marriage and step out I would never take the kid along with me.
Two reasons
1. The child is not only mine, more than mine, its least mine. Its like I am just the factory who produced the product but the ownership of the child is the man who has paid for the upkeep and supplied the raw material maybe. It was my own way of numbing my own emotion and saying NO before somebody else did that to me!
2. As a woman, stepping out also means that I have to start to fend for myself without a proper home and shelter, and when I am so unsure where I will land up, I cannot take the risk of taking another soul and putting it at risk!
I came to realise that whatever I will do, it is always going to be looked down upon.

Recently I told my sil about how many times in life I have been molested by men since the beginning of childhood, be it people in the house or people outside. I never raised any alarm and when I told my sil about it, she rightly said, its your eyes bhabi, they dance when you talk so you attract people!! Whoa!

Then again, my mil called and she was complaining of a certain relative who was cruel to his wife who's mother had died recently and he didnt leave her to stay for some days with her father for consolation, and when I retaliated by saying, that its not entirely the man's fault, its the woman who has no bones to speak for herself and hence the man takes advantage of her. My mil was quick to say, the girl is a nice girl!

So all for the sake of being nice and merit? Why does a woman do this?
I saw a movie today, it is an old movie called Dor, two women of different backgrounds meet because of certain circumstances. The stronger one makes her own decisions and stands by her decisions and comes across as very fair and almost like a man. The beginning of the story shows that the in laws of the stronger woman is not willing to accept her as a daughter in law. The son goes away to foreign country for work and tells his parents that if they do not accept the daughter in law, he will cut all correspondence with them and they will hear about him only when he returns. Meanwhile He keeps sending his salary to his wife, The wife who is an independent woman and earns her own living gives the entire amount to his parents who admit later that they were wrong in judging her! They tell her that she has a right to her husband's money to which she replies, "I may deserve this money but I am not needy of it and my salary is enough for me." WOW
I am digressing a little by saying the above. The reason I mentioned this movie was that there was a small scene in this movie where a widow empathises with another widow and says, "when a woman does not understand another woman, then how can we expect a man to understand us?"

Then I saw another movie called Fihaal, where there are two best friends. One friend is very focussed, independent and never wants to marry or settle down because as per her, "A woman in any relationship has to compromise sooner or later!"  The other just wants to love a man and have a family with him. What happens in the movie is another story. But I want to focus on being able to make your own decisions and then be blamed for what happened to your life. In this movie also, due to circumstances of the plot of the movie, the two women friends fight and fail to understand each other!

I see that any woman who is strong and independent comes out a winner in the end. These independent women look like feminists who don't want to settle down and who doesn't want to compromise. They are their own friends, they have self respect, they don't want any approval from anyone, they are responsible and fair. They hardly cry foul and most importantly, they are the ones in both the movies who are the true friends to their female counterparts!
Most importantly I have learnt that the stronger woman is NOT a woman hater!!

All this makes me feel that while I thought I was strong, I wasn't, I was just a confused idiot till now! I was only one of those men pleasers who in the end because of the sacrifices she makes to please a father or a husband or a son or a brother is spurned and treated like a doormat because she held no self respect for herself and expected someone to fill her shoes!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Practice what you preach!

Its been long since I wrote anything meaningful!
I hope I am able to collect my thoughts enough to give some meaning to whatever I write!

I used to think that people don't practice what they preach and that they do it deliberately. Recently I have come to realise that its not just them but perhaps even I don't seem to practice what I preach and its not deliberate!! And not just me, there are a good many great men who are unable to do the same!

I figured there are two reasons
1. It definitely is easier said than done and moving the tongue is moving only one muscle compared to moving the entire body to be able to actually come down to doing whatever one preaches!
2. This is an important point and where I think most falter. This is the point I am going to take forward and explore in this post. I read recently what we are is what we aspire to be..we may aspire to be Gautam Buddha but again two points.
i. Do we really have it in us to be him? Do we have the raw material inside?
ii. This is the same as point no 2 above.. which brings us to are we trying to Do anything about our aspirations subject to point no i!

More than anything else, we need to first acknowledge our strengths and weaknesses and then based upon what we have as a raw material, by which I mean our mind and its capacity to think and our body and its capacity to withstand harsh times, and then based upon them, set our goals and ideals in life.

Most people seem to be too different about self perception and what they actually are. Most will over estimate themselves, many will underestimate themselves. This  difference in self perception is in no ways healthy. Many think or believe that under estimating self is far better than over estimating self.
For me, both is a lie, and both mislead. I am not saying that the person who does this is lying, which was what I used to think earlier when I believed that people did this deliberately! Its only that the person has perhaps ...

1. Not introspected enough and relied more on the feedback of others!
2. The person does not want to acknowledge his her own emotions and feelings (weaknesses and strengths), many men do that because of social pressures on men who are seem feminine if they talk about their emotions/feelings!

The best way to practice and preach is to rightly estimate and project the same to people and cause less stress for yourself and people around you! We can only find success in this by first admitting to ourselves to ourselves!
This can only happen if one truly has a firm grasp about his her own emotions and knows what makes him or her happy or sad or angry or fearsome?!!!

~Dr. Maxwell Maltz says,
''Our self-image and our habits tend to go together. Change one and you will automatically change the other.''