the one about men

I think men are simple. They belong to the same species as us women, and thats where the biologists are wrong. But biology is a science, and the study of men is not a science but an art. Men are so different from us that it required a certain psychologist and author to compare us to two separate planets to drive home his point! I consider myself quite an authority on men and how they think, and I here's how I got that way.
I was born 13 months before my brother, and life threw at us so many brickbats and curve balls, that learning to dodge them drew us extraordinarily close to each other. He came to me with every single problem and I helped him out as best I could. Sometimes helping him out took the risky form of prompting him with the right spelling, while our tyrant mother was distracted, all the while keeping one eye on her current weapon of choice. Sometimes it involved gaping liked a fish out of water as he told the above mentioned tyrant an outrageous lie with such sincerity, that even Thomas (known for his untrusting nature) would believe. Once it involved pulling his foot out of the space between the railway sleeper and the metal track while a train screamed its shrill protest in the not-so-far distance... But I learned how his mind worked. When he came to me with girl problems, I told him what to say. And I learned how his mind worked. I learned what he perceived to be a problem. These things I was able to apply to my other boy friends. And because their problems seemed so natural to me, the solutions so simple, they found it easy to talk to me. And I found it easy to understand them.
When I married Edgar, I learned new things. One of the biggest revelations I had about men was this:
I repeat, men are simple creatures. Feed them. They are easy to manage when their tummies are full. Don't deny them alcohol. It makes them want it more. Not because they want it, but because they want to feel like they have control over their decisions. Don't ask them how they FEEL. They don't know and they get totally stressed with wondering how to answer. Instead of thinking about their feelings, they're trying to figure out what exactly you want to hear. They will most probably get you wrong and you'll end up fighting. Don't try to protect them. Let them ride their big bikes and play their rough games. Just pray that they break nothing more than a collar bone. Appreciate them. Everybody likes that. Smile at them. Its probably why they fell in love with you. Remember why you fell in love with him. Its probably the thing that irritates you the most about him, but whatever...
I know that apart from feeding them, the rest are virtually impossible for us to follow. I struggle with the rest everyday. But at least I try. If you want the man in your life to be happy, and the man can be your husband, your brother or your son, I suggest you try. There's nothing nicer than a happy man. He'll play with your kids, massage your feet and even do the dishes... It makes it all worthwhile...
And oh, have sex... they really love that. Its easy on you too...  

the one about happiness

I know the secret to HAPPINESS! This is my secret.
Sounds strange? Selfish? Take a minute to think about it... I might like to think of myself as some kind of martyr. I may say to myself, "oh I have to do this load of laundry and most of it is Edgar's, and look at him! He's sitting there watching TV... enjoying himself!" But what's actually going on, is that at some deep primal level, it makes me feel good to be taking care of the man I love. It makes me happy to think of myself as a good wife. Not it makes Edgar happy to think of me as a good wife, but it makes me happy to think of myself as a good wife. If it really bothered me, doing the laundry, rest assured, I'd find some excuse not to do it. I'm pretty good at that. And also, now that I'm aware of the secret, I have no compulsions about not doing the laundry if I don't think doing it will bring me any significant measure of pleasure. I not worried about being thought of as a bad housekeeper. Better a bad housekeeper than a miserable bitchy wife!
The other day, I had to wash Adam's bum. Again. I was tired and really did not fancy smelling shit at that point. So I asked Edgar to do it. He said, "You do it, you're better at it than I am." Like I've done some special course in bum-washing or something! Man, was I pissed off...A thousand scathing remarks surged through my brain, rushing to the tip of my tongue like Air India hostesses going for the fruit...(non Air Indians please read: like a fire in dry grass).  But then I caught Adam looking up at us, wide eyed. Confused. My heart missed a beat. I picked him up. And began looking for things that would give me pleasure. His tiny soft bum appearing, shiny and brown, clean now. The smell of his silky hair now close to my nose as I bent over him... This moment of private togetherness, just the two of us.. And then as if he sensed it, he turned up his little face, pursed his lips and kissed me. Just like that, I was very happy.
I guess my point is that happiness is a very transient state of mind. I'm happier now than I was one minute ago, and not as happy as I was yesterday. Happiness comes from within and we carry it with us wherever we go. I see husbands leaving wives, wives hurting husbands all looking for happiness. You're never going to find it outside yourself. YOU are responsible for making YOURSELF happy. Not your husband, not your wife, and certainly not your kids. If they do, its because you choose to look at the wonderful things they do,and acknowledge them. And if they don't its because you're not digging deep enough..
Also, I have a list of things that make me truly happy. Simple things, like solving my crossword, dancing, music, scrapbooking, reading, a good sitcom.. Just my 'things'. Regular stuff. But I make sure I do at least one thing from my list everyday.
That's it. That's my secret.
So go out there and be happy!  

I love being your mom

These pictures were taken over Diwali. The whole family was together and it was lovely...

the one about the Hindus

My brother married a Hindu. I cannot begin to tell you how REFRESHING that was for me! She opened my eyes to strange and hitherto only imagined facets of life. From bhaji that was so tasty that one could justify the argument for being vegetarian, to wondrous stories of Gods and Kings that defy all logic and reasoning.
You see, I was brought up in an (albeit dysfunctional), Catholic home. I lived in predominantly Catholic Bandra, went to good old St. Joseph's Convent, run by The Daughters of the Cross, and my playground was the Mt. Carmel's Church compound. I was sooo catholic. I 'm not saying that's a bad thing... I mean, I can carry a tune well enough, I can jive, I can play football, and know I must say, "Switch on the light, please" as opposed to "On the lights." But the Bhaji at my house was a mess. A soggy, greenish sludge sometimes sprinkled with coconut! I'd like to see any vegetarian live in my house for a week and not reach out for the pork!
As for the mythology, not too many Catholics know the difference between Ram and Krishna! They'd probably know the odder ones... like Ganesh and Hanuman... But apart from their names and too few facts picked up from Amar Chitra Katha, not much else.
I was like them. Till I joined Air India. There I met people of other religions. People with STORIES! So on those long flights to Heathrow and JFK, instead of asking them for their take on the latest affair doing the rounds, I'd ask them to tell me a story. (Or to give me a recipe). People need to be the centre of attention. Especially the quiet, not so good looking people. And sometimes they have the best stories. (Or recipes). I'd take all these stories and file them away, for use God only knew when..
But I was always on the outside looking in. Till Owie married Priya. Now I too have a reason to celebrate Diwali. I go for puja's, and clap and sing and do Aarti... I get to wear the most beautiful Indian clothes, courtesy my generous Anju Didi. And I can tell stories to three of the most adorable little boys. Stories of Kings and Demons and Gods who walk the Earth bearing weapons that no longer seem farfetched... Though I have to admit, I don't have a good enough reason when asked why Dhashrath had three wives... but then I can't explain how Jesus could walk on water...
Us Indians, we have such a rich and colourful heritage. I'm just glad Adam has a chance to experience all of it... He's one lucky boy! Easter eggs, Santa claus and firecrackers! And guess what Catholics... Jesus is cool with this. He told me!      

the one about the potty

Today I'm so proud of my little two year old. For the past year now, I've been asking him if he'd like to try conducting his business on the potty, to which he'd emphatically answer, "No". One time, about six months ago, he did dump in the potty. But it was an accident, and it literally scared the shit out of him! Since then, he's VERY particular about asking for a diaper every time he wants to go.
This morning, he suddenly stopped doing his puzzle and asked for his diaper. I said no, he screwed up his face, I stuck to my guns, trying to sense how much to push. He insisted, but my gut told me to hold out some more. I pulled out another weapon. I tempted him with a story about a tiger from a book I only keep in the toilet. His grey eyes lit up, and he ran to the toilet. First set- Mama!
Now we were on the potty. By now I know that that counts for nothing. Minutes could go by with no results. Minutes that seem like hours... So every few seconds I reminded him to try... All this during my highly animated story of the little tiger. He looked at me. Grey eyes appraising... I told him he could use the toilet paper. He smiled. A little pee, some gas... Second set- Mama!
Then he looked up at me. Big trusting liquid eyes. "Mama, please hold me tight." I did. I held my precious boy close. And he crossed a milestone... Game, set and match- Mama! After he was done and washed, I kissed the top of his tousled head and told him how proud of him I was. He ran off, the moment passed, and I was left wondering at how something I was so concerned about could mean so little to him. Potty training... there are chapters devoted to it...
My point is, fellow mothers, these things are natural. Time and Mother Nature takes care of it. All we have to do is nudge a little, and love a lot... And not pay heed to other moms who proudly say "oh my baby was potty trained at 9mths". After all, this little fact of life does not appear on ones resume, does it?
Not that I'm saying everything on a resume is important... But that another time...  
My layout!! The first one I made after I went into a complete creative slump from which I couldn't get out for MONTHS!!! I hope you like it. The picture is of my son when he was 11mths old. We took him to Goa, and he just couldn't get enough of the beach... He'd only stop to refuel and off he'd go. All sandy and salty.... 

The debut

Thanks for visiting. Can I offer you a cup of coffee? No... some cold water, perhaps? Yes? Oh good! in this weather it is the most refreshing drink available... If you can't get your hands on some freshly made Nimbu paani, that is... Not that bottled stuff, they have a strange aftertaste...the REAL thing... Don't know what Nimbu paani is? I think you call it LEMONADE...
I started this blog primarily to showcase my scrapbook pages. You see, I made a layout for a MME challenge, and everyone else had their own blog. To load my picture I was asked for my URL. Now I only speak English, and enough Hindi to get by. I don't know any Klingon or any other cyber related language. In fact I'm a self-confessed computer Neanderthal. I can send an e-mail, and a few weeks ago, my beautiful niece Alyssa taught me to chat on Facebook. I love the FEEL of a book. I like turning pages. I find comfort in feeling the weight of the book in my bag, knowing that with it there I'll never be lonely or bored. But I digress, the way I'm wont to do...So, in the same way, I love scrapbooking. I like the texture of the paper...Playing with the flowers and the inks... And the photographs... Pieces of my life here for me to touch and marvel at. No longer trapped in my precious Macbook, a gift from my sweet baby brother.
 But I also like appreciation. And in India I think I'm the only scrapbooker!  Also I'm kinda under what sometimes feels like house arrest. My captor is the cutest two year old. I have only him and the house help to talk to. So I decided to get myself a BLOG!!
Here I can talk/write to myself without seeming completely crazy! And maybe someday soon I'll be able to post my work too!!