So long, Sleep!

It’s been 8 days since I last slept. Actually, no, that’s not true. It’s been 8 MONTHS since I last slept, and 8 months before that! Basically, I haven’t slept since that day we decided we wanted to be parents. Things that have kept me up:

Is this what I want?
So, we’ve spoken about it, at length. We’ve decided we want a baby. We’ve decided it’s the right time. Rather, I’ve decided all that, and he seems to agree—yeah, hell, of course he agrees, to be sleeping as peacefully as he is; those snores are definitely someone who knows what he’s on about! Oh lord, I hope this is what I really want!

Am I, am I not?
Ten days on, I was quite sure there was something up with me. I was getting cramps, while on my run, I was pulling myself around the tennis court (Yes, Serena Williams, you really are GOAT!), and I was having trouble getting out of bed. I also, once, nearly broke the door down, so I could run to the loo, to throw up. The doctor had an answer to everything—not drinking enough water, the weather (apparently, sleep is a symptom of the ‘salubrious Nilgiri climes’), and something I may have eaten. He then conceded, there may be a hormonal issue, but it was definitely nothing to really worry about. And no, I was definitely not pregnant, because these were all 6-week-pregnant symptoms, not 6-day-pregnant. So I stayed up, convincing myself, alternatingly, that it was too early to say, and that I definitely wasn’t.

Someone strap my legs, hold ’em down, make it stop!
Restless leg syndrome. That evil, evil thing! According to statistics, almost one in every five pregnant women, suffers from RLS. But, to be fair, I wasn’t the only one this monster kept up. Everytime, I’d wince, or one of my legs would jerk, an arm or a leg would appear from somewhere and pin it down. And because sympathy often begets tears, there would follow a meltdown, and then a pep talk… So much for sleep!

OMG, I’m doing this alone!
From ‘I’m only going to get bigger—how am I going to do xyz’, to ‘who’ll change the diapers when he’s gone’… The anxiety for having to wing it alone is greater than actually flying solo. And yes, anxiety keeps you up. It also makes you panic, which, too, keeps you up!

You bladdy bladder!
Picture this: You’re 8-months-pregnant, and you have all these noises running through your head, and you finally exert your will for all its worth, and shut them up, and then, there is a squeak; and you realize this noise is not in your head, it’s your bladder, being pushed to within an inch of its life by your bulging uterus! Not a very pretty picture. But who said anything about pretty? There’s absolutely nothing pretty about being pregnant, or having a baby, except, perhaps, the baby. Even the baby, is usually pretty only to her own parents!

Will I be a good parent?
Will I? Am I? If I am, will I continue to be a good parent? Like it sometimes happens with jobs, does burnout happen with parenting, too? Will she come and tell me all that I’d like her to tell me? Will I meet her standard of what she expects from her mother? Will I meet my own standard of what I expect a mother should be?

Popping the baby!
Will it be a natural delivery? Will it be an easy delivery? Will it hurt? I hope she gives me an epidural! Will I have to go the surgery way? I hope they don’t have to induce labour—that’s rarely ever a happy scene! Is that a contraction? What’s a contraction like? How will I know, it’s time? I hope I know it’s time, in time. I hope ‘time’ is not in the middle of rush hour traffic. I hope it’s not a water-breaking, messy affair. I hope my water breaks, because then I’ll definitely know it’s time. I hope the baby waits for her daddy to be around when she arrives. Will it be a girl or a boy? Oh, I so want a baby girl! Baby boys are sweet, too—I can dress him up in bowties and suspenders! Oh wait, we still don’t have a name for a baby boy!

Everything hurts!
The month before the baby came, and the month after, literally everything hurt. Legs, arms, neck, back, sides, stomach, everything! I’d like to see you sleep through that kind of pain. And then there are pains that carry on, a few months down the line. GROAN!

The hospital
Everybody I spoke to, said, sleep all you can, while you’re still in hospital, because once you come home… And I thought, yep, that’s the way to do it. But this is how it went:

Night 1 (pre-baby)
10 pm: ‘Sleep now—tomorrow could be a long day.’
4 am: ‘We need to take you for an NST.’
6 am: ‘Induction or c-section?’
7 am: ‘Have you taken a call?’
8 am: ‘Are you sure?’
9 am: Here we go….

Night 2, 3, 4 (post-baby)
10 pm: OMG, my phone’s been going crazy, let me reply…
11 pm: It’s getting late, I better sleep.
Midnight: ‘You need to feed the baby!’
12.30 am: Ah, sleep!
2 am: ‘You need to feed the baby!’
4 am: ‘You need to feed the baby!’
5 am: ‘Madam, should we sponge you?’
5.30 am: ‘We need to change the sheets.’
6 am: ‘You need to feed the baby!’
6.30 am: ‘Would you like some tea?’
7 am: ‘Here’s your tea.’
8 am: ‘Feed the baby!’
8.30 am: ‘Breakfast?’
9 am: Breakfast.
9.30 am: Where’s my family?
10 am: WHERE THE HELL IS MY FAMILY?
10.30 am: *‘Family’ troops in.* Go away, you guys, I need to sleep. ‘Oh, but we didn’t come in earlier because we thought you’d be sleeping!’ AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

It isn’t always me. Sometimes, it’s the baby.
Gas pain. Teething. Growth spurts. The occasional flu. OMG, she’ll roll off the bed, in the middle of the night, if I don’t watch out. Oh dear lord, why does she insist on sleeping on my arm, at that awkward angle? The dead of the night is not for singing! Or for dancing!

And then sometimes, it’s HIM!
Dude, seriously? Do you even realize you’re two-and-a-half hours BEHIND me? You’re seriously telling me, you’re tired?! When we’re together, why must you be the first person to hit the hay? Why can’t you, ever, put the baby to bed, so I can be the first person to turn in? Not only do I need it, I DESERVE IT!!!

IMG_6402

While they all sleep…


It really IS me!
Like now, for instance. Why must this post be wrapped up, just now? Why can’t it be done in the morning? Because then it’ll be 9 days, and that just won’t make sense! I’m ambitious like that. I’m also a little selfish like that. I want my time and I guard it jealously. But what it really comes down to is, I’m never sleeping again!

The Funniness of Agony

I love Ogden Nash. I think the man’s genius. Anybody who can create a poem with three words and make you actually laugh is. My introduction to him was through my English text book in school, with This is Going to Hurt Just a Little Bit, dedicated to dentists. It struck me as so true.

I’m quite a regular at the dentist’s. So regular that I sometimes say I should marry one. But that’s just a joke. I find the idea of somebody who’s seen the insides of my mouth so closely and in so much detail knowing me outside of his office unfathomable, even unacceptable.

So, I had a rather excruciating trip to one, this morning. Post which, the LA, combined with the pain and tingling from it wearing off, caused me to pass out. I woke up, over six hours later, having been completely oblivious to everything. I’m sparing the more gory details, but suffice it to say, it was the perfect day to revisit my favourite poem ever…

This Is Going To Hurt Just A Little Bit
– Ogden Nash

One thing I like less than most things is sitting in a dentist chair with my mouth wide open.
And that I will never have to do it again is a hope that I am against hope hopen.
Because some tortures are physical and some are mental,
But the one that is both is dental.
It is hard to be self-possessed
With your jaw digging into your chest.

So hard to retain your calm
When your fingernails are making serious alterations in your life line or love line or some other important line in your palm;
So hard to give your usual effect of cheery benignity
When you know your position is one of the two or three in life most lacking in dignity.

And your mouth is like a section of road that is being worked on.
And it is all cluttered up with stone crushers and concrete mixers and drills and steam rollers and there isn’t a nerve in your head that you aren’t being irked on.

Oh, some people are unfortunate enough to be strung up by thumbs.
And others have things done to their gums,
And your teeth are supposed to be being polished,
But you have reason to believe they are being demolished.

And the circumstance that adds most to your terror
Is that it’s all done with a mirror,
Because the dentist may be a bear, or as the Romans used to say, only they were referring to a feminine bear when they said it, an ursa,
But all the same how can you be sure when he takes his crowbar in one hand and mirror in the other he won’t get mixed up, the way you do when you try to tie a bow tie with the aid of a mirror, and forget that left is right and vice versa?

And then at last he says That will be all; but it isn’t because he then coats your mouth from cellar to roof
With something that I suspect is generally used to put a shine on a horse’s hoof.

And you totter to your feet and think. Well it’s all over now and after all it was only this once.
And he says come back in three months.

And this, O Fate, is I think the most vicious circle that thou ever sentest,
That Man has to go continually to the dentist to keep his teeth in good condition
when the chief reason he wants his teeth in good condition
is so that he won’t have to go to the dentist.

P.S. I’ve been desperately looking for Candy is Dandy: The Best of Ogden Nash, an omnibus with some of his best, but it seems to be out of stock everywhere. So if you happen to see it somewhere, please do think of me. And don’t just think 🙂

Speak Up, You!

She got married at 22. It was way too early, I felt, as did my parents. But there were others in the family who did a ha! at me. “That’s how it’s done!” “What are you still waiting for?” “She’s so much younger, and you’re still sitting around!” I shrugged it off, with a good for her. Today, 3 years later, when the news of her marriage falling apart came in, my first impulse at a ‘ha right back at ya’ was quickly crushed by the reason. He’d been beating her up for the major part of those 3 years.

On the face of it, he’d been the perfect guy for her. She’d dropped out of higher education because she’d landed herself a plush job. He was older and with a job good enough to support her in case she didn’t make it big for lack of proper qualifications. Also, it was a ‘love’ marriage of the old-fashioned kind. He’d seen her at work and had gone straight to the M-word and the parents, something that guys these days (or at least the ones I happen to come across) seem to shudder at the prospect of. Honourable, indeed! No ‘let’s have fun’, ‘let’s see where it goes’ kinda shenanigans. Perfect, yeah! And when, after the wedding, she decided to study further, he was right there, by her side. Supportive, too. Just what we all want. And how they all loved him for it. Little did anybody know of the real state of her paradise.

I’m in the dark where all the deets of all that transpired are concerned. But a few months ago, they moved to a new city, away from both their families. She found herself a really nice job and all seemed to be going well. Till she decided, about a week ago, that she’d had enough. She moved out and is filing for a divorce. Her company has given her a place to stay and security, lest he try to harm her in any way. He has given his landlord notice for vacating the house they lived in, making sure she has nowhere to go till she finds her own place.

But this is where she’s gone wrong, a second time. The first, was to not speak up at the first such instance. Now, she’s making it worse by not filing a report against him for domestic violence. From what I’ve gathered, her parents, too, feel it best not to ‘risk her safety and make it any more ugly’ by doing so. But wasn’t she unsafe enough anyway, living with a wife-beater? Didn’t all those bruises he gave her make it ugly enough already? Or that he had her stalked by a private detective (who was incompetent enough to get caught) as soon as she moved out of her house? That she can’t be seen alone with a guy, lest he try to imply that she moved out because she was having an affair, instead of the real reason? From what I hear, the case, as it stands at the moment, seems to be one where she has decided to leave him without any substantial cause, making her the culprit, not him, and allowing him to get away with what’s as good as murder! Now, I’m not one for revenge. But there are certain things you cannot let go.

I feel this now and I felt this a couple of years ago, when a friend’s boyfriend hit her. I was to pick her up on my way to work. When I was 10 minutes away, she called to tell me to carry on. She was at the hospital because she’d ‘slipped on the staircase’. When I offered to see her there, she said it was OK, he was there with her and she’d be fine. She didn’t turn up to work that day. Nor the next. I was worried, but didn’t suspect a thing. Till then, I didn’t really believe these things happened, because it had never happened to anybody I knew. It was unfathomable to me that a man could hit a woman. What kind of pathetic person does that, anyway! A week later, she told me the truth. They’d had an argument in the morning, and he’d hit her, making her fall and hit her head against the corner of the dining table. When he saw/realised what he had done, he picked her up and rushed her to the hospital. That was the first time. He apologised profusely, promised her it would never happen again and she took him back. Then, just before she told me, it happened again. He slapped her. Good on her, she hit him right back, before throwing him out of the house. They never spoke again. Then, she confided in one or two others. For some reason, none of us thought of reporting it anywhere. She was out of it and free. He wasn’t going to come near her ever again, even though he worked in the same building. He left the organisation soon after. Maybe it had something to do with the icy looks he got every time he walked past any of us. In hindsight, maybe he just got a better offer elsewhere and he could move on and torment another. And this is why we should’ve reported it somewhere.

Of course, we did what we thought was in our friend’s interest. But who knows how many more people will fall victim to his abusiveness? And this is why ‘she’ needs to report it too. Because, like The Mother says, if he can beat her, he’s capable of anything!

*Disclaimer: While I would’ve liked to reveal the identities of the men, the stories, with factual details, are for these two women to tell.

Back to being random

Tonight seemed to be just about right to get back to my blog, after what seems to have been an eternity. No, I hadn’t lost interest in blogging or writing, nor had I run out of things to write about. On the contrary, I’ve been dying to write and I have a grand total of nine partially-written posts. What has kept me from completing and posting any of these was simply a lack of coherence. For one, I was always thinking of way too many things at the same time and I wanted to write about too many things together. For another, I wasn’t quite able to sift the mentionable from the unmentionable, so I chose to just keep mum about it all. Also, there have been way too many life and lifestyle changes in the last few months, so my routine of writing really took a flip. And then, I’m a bit of a freak–incomplete tasks nag me; I can continue to procrastinate, but they will keep nagging me, and if, for some reason, I’m unable to get down to those, I will procrastinate over everything else too! So, every time I tried to write something new, the older drafts would nag, and, unfortunately, it’s not a switch you can turn off and on–once the flow of thought is broken, it can take forever to get back to it!

What happened tonight? I’d say it’s just a happy night. For no reason in particular. It just is. I’m home, visiting my parents after almost a year. I wanted annual summer vacations so bad, I actually contemplated teaching as a profession; then, last summer, I decided to just give myself a break every year! So here I am, at home, allowing myself to be pampered by The Mother, and catching up on play and sleep 🙂

This is a throwback to a lot of things. We lived in this town when I was 15. The first time I had a summer with no holiday homework and no friends, much like this one, and I find myself doing the things I did 12 years ago, albeit differently. The cycling has been replaced by swimming. The brother’s company by The Mother and The Grandfather. This pup will drag his bed to my room and then insist on getting into my bed. I’ve graduated from from cakes, cookies and simple desserts… I baked my first batch of brownies today, and next on the agenda is tarts, pies and souffle, besides main course dishes slightly more complex than pasta and my cheat chicken.

Since I am on vacation, and thinking of nothing really, forget the 100-at-a-time, and doing only things I love to do (except the forced socialising, which really has ME wishing to turn into a wallflower!!!), I reckon it’s as good a time as any to being keyboard-happy, with every intention of keeping it up!

Weird’s the word

Do you think I’m weird, he asked me. Who’s not, I responded. Wow! How poignant! Not really. The W word gets thrown in my face quite often, for me, to me, for people around me, by people around me. Enough to send anybody with a slightly lower degree of self-esteem than mine to go spiralling down the abyss of self-questioning and self-doubt.
It was a standing joke with an ex that you had to be ‘weird’ to be my friend. Another said he kept coming back to me because he liked ‘weird’. When I playfully suggested what fun it would be to attend the latter’s wedding, The Princess was horrified, “You’re weird!” Okay, so I’m weird, now watcha gonna do about it?! “Nothing,” smiled back The Wise One. What’s there to do anything about?
Well, we’re all weird, aren’t we? It’s our quirks that make us weird. But it’s also our quirks that give us our individuality. My obsession with having my finger and toe nails painted the same colour might be weird to you, but then that’s me! The day I turn up with pink toes and red fingers, wouldn’t you wonder what’s wrong??? My self-obsession might be weird to another, but, for me, it’s what keeps me from sweating the small stuff. That I can just dance around the house may be weird to you, but the day I don’t do it, The Mother wonders if all’s okay with me.
Nin quit job after job, and botched up that crucial interview, the one everybody felt was going to be a breeze for her and that would get her where everybody thought she should’ve been. The W word came up again. But what was weird about it? She didn’t feel she belonged where the world thought she did. She had other ideas, and she’s is in a much happier place today for it!
The Princess spent an entire evening flirting with a rather acceptable boy. But when he offered to drop her home, she chickened out. Weird, again! But she just felt more comfortable going back with the same people she’d come to the party with. Did she miss out on anything? Not really.
Coming back to the person who inspired this post. I call him Weirdo, just because he’s convinced of his own ‘weird’-ness, and the name has a nice ring to it. Weirdo’s concern is that he lives in his own head, so much that the world doesn’t matter. But should it? I’ve always lived with the conviction that you can do what you want to and be the way you want to, as long as you can keep looking yourself in the eye every time you look at the mirror. Nobody and nothing else matters. So then, how does it matter if he lives in his head? If he’s a dreamer?
Isn’t conformity just so overrated? Why would you even want to conform, especially if it’s at the risk of losing your individuality? Sure, we all do things to please others. Must we not do things that please us because they might displease others or cause them to call us weird? Who’s to decide what’s weird and what’s not? And if you do think I’m weird, so be it. You’re most welcome to raise your eyebrow, while I revel in my weirdness 🙂

When a part of you goes missing…

Nani left us on this very day. How many years ago it was, I cannot remember. Not because it’s been such a long time. No, it’s only been a few years. Five, I think. Or is it just four. Calculation by order of events tells me it’s definitely more than three. The mind does not register. I’ll have to be reminded. Just as I had to be reminded what date it was today. And the year before. Last year, I wept from the guilt… How could I forget?! Today, I wept from the confusion in my head.

Problem is, I don’t forget. No, I have a razor-sharp memory that rarely allows me to forget dates, incidents, conversations. But here is a date that clearly doesn’t seem to register in my head. Possibly why I woke up confused and disoriented… I had no idea what day or date it was. Having been reminded, I was, not unexpectedly, sad, till it turned to confusion when I tried to recollect some memories of my favourite person ever. And what I drew was a huge blank.

Now, this scared me! Because it was like massive chunks had gone missing from my life. All my summer holidays, the two years I lived with her while Dadda was posted to remoteness, the innumerable times she visited us, my college years and after when I spent every weekend with her, everything was a blank. I can recall when we met, but I have no idea what happened then. Nothing. What did she cook? I think she fed me a lot, just as all grannies are wont to do. What did we talk about? We must’ve hugged and talked a lot, we’re just that kind of a family. All I could recollect was that we’d been thick as thieves, and that The Mother often complained about how Nani’d been more of a mother to me than she’d been to her, and how I was more Nani’s daughter than hers. But how??? What was it that prompted her to say that?

Weirdo’s explanation to this bizarre type of amnesia was that I’d come to terms with the loss, and that this was my way of accepting that Nani’s gone…just blocking it all out. I’m not so sure. Objectively looking at it, to me, it seems more like a case of denial…she was never there, so where could she go???!!! But inside me, I know that’s not true either. Because she was there. And she loved me, and I loved her back like I’ve never loved anybody else. And a part of me, even though I’m too disoriented right now to tell which part, will always be with her.

This one’s for you, Nani, because I know in my heart that you were the most beautiful person ever. I hope you’re spreading your beauty and warmth wherever you are, and gladdening more hearts, just as you did mine.

Being fabulous

http://icecream-is-cold.blogspot.com/2010/08/my-own-lady-gaga.html

“Be fabulous,” Heh said, in this post she wrote for me on my birthday last year. As I look back at it, well over a year later, I see the wisdom in her words. Fabulous is the only way to be. I realise that it could sound like I’m too full of myself, or like I’m trying to give myself an ego boost. Perhaps why this post has been so long in the making. While the first wouldn’t be entirely untrue, as it turns out, the reason for me writing this is neither. For this really is more a coming-of-age kind of post.

Now, I’ve always been an extremely observant and perceptive person. I notice far too much, and tend to analyse even more. While this may not always work to my advantage, in that I often end up seeing and discovering things that I may, emotionally, have been better off not knowing about, it has given me more than enough reasons to justify the greys. Ah, wisdom!

But I seem to have gone a step further. Of late, I have taken to this rather peculiar habit of observing myself. I seem to be registering, more acutely than ever, what I say and how I behave, and later subjecting it to my own scrutiny. And here’s what has been revealed…I’m fabulous! Not because I believe I’m the best thing ever, because there really is quite a monster not too well-camouflaged by that endearing smile, but because I can see the fabulous-ness in others, and because I couldn’t really be bothered by the monsters they hide behind their pretty faces. Because frankly, my dear, I couldn’t give a damn!

And I’ve learnt I can help you be able to not give a damn too. Like in the curious case of Morbid Kat. So, I got what was clearly a distress call from her, yesterday. By the end of our talkathon, she really couldn’t let things get her down either, and all because she’s fabulous. And that’s what we’re all about. 🙂

Coming back to Heh’s post, all those who read it and who know me, felt she had me down pat. I agree. And not just because it makes me out to be this really awesome person. But because the traits she’s picked on are traits that have seen me through time,traits that have been consistent despite all the change that has taken place in me…my zest for life and for the prettiness it has to offer.

The 27-year-old me is quite unlike the 26-year-old me. But the PS Heh wrote about is right there, still basking in her own moonshine, through the near-decade Heh has known her. Ranevsky still holds centrestage, and the only way she goes off is with a kick in the air and a dance to the wings, only to be taken over by Pari, who flits about seemingly without a care and with all the good cheer in the world, because all her worries are in those pockets that only a select few can enter, because they can be taken care of with a swish of the wand.

Heh’s post helped me embrace aspects of my personality, not because she lauded them, but because she made me realise they existed. Well, these aren’t exactly things you introspect and ponder over, and, so, I’d never spared them any thought. And, her post made me unapologetic about being so awesome, about striving to be fabulous.

And that’s just how the 27-year-old me is. Not perfect in any measure, but fabulous in every.

Epilogue

So, Doc’s boy read the last post. He thought it was funny, and introduced himself as the guy with my phone number. I could’ve been embarrassed, but was just glad for his humour.

But, how do you react when a guy compares you to Homer Simpson?

Well, I just thanked him for ‘unsulting’ me back. What would you have done?

P.S. He’s probably reading this, too, but I suppose there was ‘unsult’ enough in the last post to bother much about making this public! 🙂

Celebrating First Blogiversary with tartlets & a Giveaway! (via )

Celebrating First Blogiversary with tartlets & a Giveaway! Finally after the clouds tantalizing us for days, they decided to shower us with some water! And oh what a downpour! I have always loved the smell of freshly wet parched land! And since it started raining a little after I put a fig-date nut torte in the oven, the whole house smelled doubly good. Couldn't wait for it to bake and have a warm slice with some tea, sitting outside, listening to some good music and enjoying the weather! And that's exac … Read More

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