When I Grow Up….

As a child I never waited for the time when I would be an adult. When my friends were planning out their future lives, I was an active participant, but the actual growing-up part I wasn’t very keen on. Having been an adult for well over a decade now, I can say that my seven year old self was absolutely right – being an adult sucks (even though I had a really committed but extremely strict mother). I spent a few days thinking over it and this what I think is at the base of my not wanting to grow-up:

  • Public opinion – As a child you aren’t aware of or don’t care what the world around you thinks of you. Yes, there may be the occasional comment from an exasperated parent comparing you to some friend’s super obedient child, however, that’s not something you take personally. The focus at that moment is more on distracting the parent, and changing their train of thought, so you don’t get into more trouble.
  • Extreme Expectations – Yes, we do have to take responsibility and that comes with a certain amount of accountability. The difference here is as a child it’s only part of your life, but as an adult you’re rarely able to enjoy something because most acts are on the road to achieving something else. If you’re in your thirties and aren’t married, then your either ‘lost’ or working really hard on reaching some pinnacle of success that justifies your failure in settling down.    
  • Doing Nothing – Sitting alone and reading a book that you don’t have to read is considered a luxury. What happened to all the times our parents asked us to go do ‘something’ on our own. I want that undefined ‘something time’. Those hours when no one really cares what you’re doing (except if you make a major mess or it’s unsafe). Now, it’s a guilt inducing non-activity to do something undefinable. Since there’s so much we have on our to-do lists, if there’s any time spent doing nothing it means you’re slacking off. If you’re good at a sport it’s expected that you’ll, excel at it or get really fit, not just enjoy playing it for fun. If you dare to make it the latter, then it’s considered ‘me time’ and becomes a last priority thing!   
  • Wasting Time with People You ‘Don’t Like’ – It’s not cool to say ‘these are the people I want to spend time with and these people don’t make me happy’. You can do it, but it has to be PC and subtle or you end up with a the tag of ‘haughty or aloof’. It’s not done to reach out to people you like, because that makes you ‘desperate’. What about the simple act of going-up to a girl on the playground and saying ‘Hi, can we be friends?’. No reason or timing involved there. No rethinking our ‘approach strategy’ and the person approached questioning our ulterior motives.

Having said all the above, I have to add that there’s a lot of positivity out there and there are definite benefits to growing-up. (My husband prefers going to work to going to school, so obviously it’s not that same for everyone.) It’s to capture this positivity that I’ve decided to start a new experiment (this is the project I mentioned before) ‘The Escapist’. Recording and finding those no purpose moments in life through all forms of everyday fantasy daydreaming, travel, movies, books, art and aimless discussion. Join me on Escape a Little Everyday for the fun.

P.S. – I haven’t decided to actually shut down this blog, but I won’t be posting here for a while.


Posted by on December 5, 2013 in Blogs and blogging, Defining Me, Growing-Up


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Has it really been almost four months since my last post?! This seems like a regular theme here. I have so much to talk about, but hardly any time to sit down and share. My daughter’s started full day school and the days have got waaaaay fuller for me. Plus, I’m back to doing sales after almost three years and though I thoroughly enjoy it, it is physically a lot different from sitting in the office and working on spread sheets. Between the two here’s how my average day pans out:

I don't look this sleek in the mornings and V is a bit older, however the rest of it is pretty much spot on :-)

5.30 am: Get-up and give my daughter her glass of milk. She still insists on sitting in my lap and drinking this

6.00 am: Cook breakfast and lunch, pack everything or lay it out on the table

7.00 am: Rush upstairs, set V up to finish her brushing and potty and do a 25 minute cardio, arms, legs workout while shouting out the answers to V’s random questions or life, friends  family, books, behaviour, God, science, geography, holidays…

7.30 am: Get V ready (if my husband’s available he helps out with the bathroom routine for V), do her hair and send her down to put on her shoes and start breakfast

7.45 am: Jump into the shower and get ready while forgetting to look in to the mirror

8.15 am: Drink a glass of milk and usher everyone into the car which ususally involves some level of screaming or glaring

8.45 am: Drop V off at school after a prolonged hugging and kissing session which I looooove (I hope she never outgrows this)

8.50 am: Get to the office or a sales call and start the day

Evening 1 (When the husband works late and I have bedtime duty)

6.00 pm: Leave work and read on the drive home. Complete me time

6.30 pm: Get home, feed V dinner (if she hasn’t eaten yet), get her to do her homework

7.15 pm: Play / reading / art time with V (basically snuggling time)

8:00 pm: Put V to bed, which involves very long stories or repeated songs or detailed discussions of random topics

8.00 pm: Have dinner and relax

8.30 pm: Spend time with the in-laws

9.00 pm: Start work

12.00 – 1.00 am: Stop work, read for an hour or watch Mad Men

1.00 – 2.00 am: Bed

Evening 2 (When I work late and the husband has bedtime duty)

9.00 – 11.00 pm: Get home, have a shower, kiss and watch a deeply sleeping V, spend time with the in-laws if they are awake

11.00pm – 12.00 am: Stop work, read or watch a movie

1pm – 2pm: Bed

This does not include days when I have morning meetings before 8 am, which means getting starting the day at 4.30-5.00 am and skipping the workout (I’m not really complaining there).

Seriously, my hat’s off to moms who do this with no help. I have domestic help, they may be a bit unreliable, however, they are there most of the time. End of the day I’m really lucky. I’m in an enviable situation of having my cake and eating it too. Yes, there are days when the cake is burnt with anger or soggy with tears, but most if the time, the cooking is fun and the eating is sweet. So no, this is not a complaint. It’s a combined thanksgiving speech and a semi-farewell speech, because even though I have asked for this lifestyle and love almost every minute of it, there are only 24 hours in a day and I need to sleep for a few of those. (Did you know, people die from lack of sleep, not mothers, like me, but soldiers and chronic insomniacs?)

I guess I’m trying to convince myself here, but the only area from which I can take a leave of absence at this point is the blog. So I’m going to take a break from mommy blogging (because, let’s face it, that’s what this is blog about), though I’ll share details of another project I’m going to be having fun with soon.

Thank you for reading in between your busy days. Every like and comment here, really gave me baskets of sunshine and happiness.

Photo Credit: Image 1

Leave of Absence


Posted by on July 23, 2013 in Uncategorized


A Love Letter to My 5 Year Old

My dearest darling baby,

Happy happy fifth birthday to you (it’s actually tomorrow). I know every mother says this, but I just can’t believe that it’s already been five years, I still remember meeting you for the first time. At the same time, I can’t remember the details of my everyday life before you were born. Is it selective amnesia? I don’t know but I’m happy with this. You are the center of my universe along with your daddy, your maamu and your grandparents (you will always be our baby).

A few months back I promised myself that I’d write you a letter every year on your b’day. I want to do this for multiple reasons. One, it’s so easy to forget and I really want to remember your early years, not just the images in photos but the way you spoke, the surprising things you said and the milestones you crossed. I can’t capture all of this but I hope to create enough of a verbal image to kickstart my memory when I’m older. The second reason is, I know most mothers and daughters go through a tough period when the daughter is in her teens or early twenties and though I appreciate that this is a part of the learning process for both of us, it’ll be nice to look back on the times when you were a mummy’s baby to help me remain patient with you and myself.

Yes, we have ugly crocs. You love purple and I love pink and tangled is still your favourite movie (2 years running).

Yes, we have ugly crocs. You love purple and I love pink and Disney’s ‘Tangled’ is still your favourite movie (2 years running).

There’s a lot I want to tell you, so let me start with what’s important in life. Family and doing what you love. Yes, it sounds simple (but it’s not my darling), however, these two life factors are worth working, fighting and taking risks for. Maybe it’ll hurt more when you put all your love into a relationship and things get messed up, but if there’s real love those messed up things will get resolved over time.

Doing what you love will make you happy, I don’t know if you’ll have enough money or have a comfortable life initially, but you if you keep doing what you love you’ll eventually become the best at it and this will lead you to the life you want. How do you know what it is you love doing? Well, it’s different for different people. Some people just know right from the time they are really young and for others it takes some time to figure out, but everyone has that one thing they enjoy doing and figuring out how to make it your life’s work is the real challenge. A definite barometer on finding out if you love something is wanting to wake up and start doing it on the first day of the week, after a super fun weekend. While daddy just puts his heart and soul into whatever he’s doing, mummy took some time to find my calling. I always loved reading and writing (stories or poetry), art and travel. In my mind I was sure I would become a chartered accountant and a traditional artist who paints with oil. Things have turned out completely differently and might possibly change as I grow older (I’m not sure we really completely finish growing-up and that’s half the fun of life). Today mummy and daddy work together and mummy has written my first book and also lost interest in it and am writing my second book.

When it comes to relationships you are a child blessed with so many people who love you and that also comes with a certainty that at various points in life you’ll have to choose who you spend time with. This does not mean you love anyone less or more, it just means at a particular point in time someone needs you more. Never hesitate to make decisions after considering all the visible options, because if you are sure about why you made a decision and it’s in good faith (that means you think you did the right thing), people who love you will understand even if it doesn’t turn out great or the way you envisioned.

Now something I must tell you about your daddy. He loves us to bits and he is also highly protective and a little bit possessive of us. Even today he doesn’t mind the house being overrun with a bunch of five-year olds but he won’t send you to anyone else’s house to play unless he knows the parents really well. I understand this but foresee a few problems going forward, when you want to go for sleepovers or for a movie at night with your friends or even to college in another country. We’ll tackle those when they come but in case I’m not around (I don’t believe this will ever happen but hey! you never know), the best way to handle him will be to address his fears rather than rebelling. You may not always get your way (which is good for you character) but you will definitely get to do the important things, because at the end of the day he loves you to bits.

Now I know I’ve been rambling on a bit, however, there’s a last thing I need to discuss. It’s about being a mother. I know I’m not a conventional mommy. I work long hours (though daddy and me alternate working late to ensure that you never spend too much time away from us), I take you to movies (not with adult content obviously) and art galleries, I’ve carried you around for work for almost a year when you were too young to be left alone, we go running together and I’m not really into cooking. Despite all this I know that we have an amazing relationship and that I’d rather spend my day with you than anywhere else. Plus you’re well-adjusted and a happy child and I guess all those hours of sneaking off to the movies or painting crazy stuff in our pyjamas while eating strawberries has worked out right. I know you want a brother or sister and you’ll probably get one but only when we are sure that we won’t be taking away from the time you need with us. If this means going through the potty training stage again when I’m forty, so be it. Basically, when you become a mother (if you want to have children that is) remember that there is no perfect formula. What suits every mother and child is unique and precious. The only rule is every action should be driven by love, even if it’s anger.

At the end, baby remember that mommy and daddy love you the most in the whole world and it’ll stay that way even when you become a namnam (grandmother).

Love Mommy


P.S. – Last week you found a letter written by daddy to mommy and demanded to know where your love letter from daddy was. Well he’s written you one for your 5th birthday and it’s going under your pillow tonight.

P.P.S. – Too much nail paint always turns your fingernails yellow. Transparent is the best nail colour for hands. I love the way you laugh like you’re acting in a movie🙂 (You know what I mean my drama queen). You are also currently crazy about rhyming words and we spend hours giggling over them.


Posted by on April 8, 2013 in Family, Growing-Up, Lessons in Parenting


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Who’s A Feminist?

What in the world do you mean by the word ‘feminist’? Does a woman who wants respect, a safe life, the right to voice her opinion and the freedom to follow her dreams automatically become one?

Then let me ask you three questions:

  • The Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN in 1948, says “…..recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of the human family is the foundation if freedom, justice and peace in the world”.  This is applicable for and by every individual on our planet and I count myself one among them, don’t you count yourself there too?
  • The Indian Constitution gives us (1) the right to equality, (2) the right to freedom, (3) the right against exploitation, (4) the right to freedom of religion, (5) the cultural and educational rights, (6) the right to constitutional remedies for enforcement of Fundamental Rights. Are not women being exploited and denied to freedom of living as equals in society?
  • This phrase from the United States Declaration of Independence “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” what do these inalienable rights stand for and why should we not demand them?

If wanting the above makes me a feminist, then I am proud to be in the company of some of the world’s greatest leaders, women and men. You definitely are not better than that.

Image Credit: Image 1


Posted by on March 22, 2013 in Stereotypes


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A Girl and Her Jewels

“Romance is divine, and I’m not one to knock it,
But diamonds are a girl’s best friend.
Romance is divine, yes, but where can you hock it?
When the flame is gone” – Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,

A friend of mine shared this article on facebook and it was like the author had gone into my head and was saying ‘Yes, you are doing the right thing’. To be honest, I didn’t really know the detailed history of how Madison Avenue and De Beers created the ‘Diamonds are Forever’ craze, but the sentiments expressed in the article are what I’ve always voiced.

Before I start seeming holier than thou, I must tell you that both the techie and I have diamond engagement rings (in India we exchange rings, double the sales for our jewellers). We choose them with great care and made his and her rings because it meant a lot to us to show that we were committed. It was diamonds by default, so I think De Beers has done a good job there, but it could have been any other supposedly valuable stone and we would have been happy. We wear these every day and now that we have put on a few post wedding kilos, they won’t come off, so I guess we were meant to be together for life.

Whenever my mom went jewellery shopping (which was an event saved and planned for over months), from the late 90’s onwards, my brother and I would always lecture her on not buying stones and buying more of gold, but gold that did not have too much of making charges as part of it’s cost. My mom would first try to explain that, yes, she understood where we were coming from but she was buying this to wear, or to give me or her future daughter in-law as gifts, and that she had no intention of ever selling them. My brother and I considering ourselves more worldwise than my housewife mom, not considering that she had run a household for years in a foreign country, told her that jewellery is too expensive to be an indulgence and always has to be thought of in terms of investment, so why doesn’t she just buy gold bars. At this point my mom would glare at us, turn her back on us and ignore us till we got home.

My mother was a typical Indian mother. Indian parents have always set aside money and collected jewellery for their daughter’s weddings. Sometimes, starting form the day the child is born (obviously depending on the families economic status and income levels). In my limited experience, I have seen this happen in families barely above the poverty line (yes, I know it’s unbelievable  but it’s true), as well as, the very, very rich. I understand the sentiment and the practicality of this habit, given the patriarchal society that most of India is governed by. Traditionally, the house and money go to the son, the daughter is given her share of the wealth (or non-wealth) at the time of marriage. Again we won’t go into the reasons for this difference, as that’s whole new ball game.

Anything that is given to the girl, right from a wardrobe to cash, is considered ‘dowry’ and the property of her new family, though it’s technically hers (and the word dowry is never openly). Giving a daughter jewellery carries some gurantee that she will have access to what is hers, over any other gifts. In a crunch the girl can depend on some amount of liquidity from the resale of her jewels or can raise some money against them. It’s the family’s way of giving their daughter some form of security and reducing her dependence for survival on her new family. It will also be preserved to be passed on to her children as family heirlooms from her side of the family. How much of this happens as expected is a discussion in itself which embraces most of the negatives against women in Indian society.

Given today’s ‘modern’ young Indian women, who work and support themselves and their families, the jewellery gifted to them by their birth family is cherished and pulled out to be worn at every major family function. It shows the world the her parents are still a part of her life, irrespective of her married status. She may even use these to start her own business with her parents blessings, though always working towards clearing any debt attached to them. Again, these are hopefully passed on to her children and treasured through generations.

Having explained a little bit of the Indian jewellery sentiment, I will now tell you that I received a good amount of jewellery from my parents when I got married. Some pieces where vintage, having been passed on from my mother’s trousseau, some where over 20 years old (the pieces my mom bought for me every year since the day I was born and some where new, having been bought by my mom to go with my wedding trousseau. Till today, I treasure these pieces and wear them as often as possible (I live in India and attend multiple traditional functions a year, so there is quite a bit of opportunity). Whenever, I wear these pieces, I lovingly explain the significance of each piece to my little daughter, who adores jewellery. And that’s where my relationship with jewellery ends.

To my mother’s distress, I have bought only one set of bangles (and these were gifted by my husband and in-laws when I was pregnant) since my wedding. I have got myself no other jewellery. For my daughter, we got the traditional must-haves at her birth (the two gradmoms put together can be formidable) and another set when she expressed delight at a similar set of mine for her birthday. By Indian, standards this is makes us highly irresponsible parents.

My friends invest in a piece of jewellery every Dante Ras or Diwali, at a minimum. My cousin, who has a son the same age as my daughter invests in two to three jewellery pieces every year after a lot of careful saving and planning. She’s a successful business woman, but loves her jewellery and wants to grow her collection over time. This is partly a personal choice and partly the effect of having grow-up in a family of women who have followed this tradition for generations and still do.

The techie and I have both been on the same page when it comes to our daughter’s upbringing and future. Though we want her to know all the traditions that are part of our lives and appreciate the history of our land, we also want to give her a chance to grow to be the person she wants to be. An independent young woman, who can knows who she is, what she wants to achieve and where she wants to go. For this we have directed all our resources – times, energy and money – towards giving her three gifts. The gift of education (we hope to be able to support her in whatever she chooses to specialize in), the gift or travel (because nothing broadens your understanding of the world as much) and a legacy (no I’m not pretending we royalty, I just mean something special for her to treasure and maybe carry on). This legacy may be the business we are currently struggling to build or something else that will add value to her life (we are fortunately not soothsayers).

To be truthful, again, I have never been a jewellery kind off girl, in the traditional Indian sense, and am a chartered accountant by profession, so it’s easy for me to hold this opinion. That being said, I love my shoes and bags and do plan to buy a few special pieces when I make my money, the only difference being I’ll never consider them as an investment. These purchases are like my mother’s jewellery purchases. She scrimps and saves to buy a special piece because she knows she will enjoy wearing the piece herself or gifting it to someone she loves. She is not thinking of resale value, liquidity or justifying her purchase as an alternative to saving money in the bank.    

The buying of jewellery by Indians, is a really complex topic of discussion  with a lot of history behind it. I don’t think I can actually do justice to it in one post, and I definitely can’t even begin to address the traditions and gender based reasoning that are such a large part of it. What I did what to touch on here was the economic aspect and how it doesn’t really work or apply in today’s world.

I understand if people want to buy jewellery because they derive some enjoyment from it, but buying jewellery today as an investment is not the best move. Yes, when our grandparents did it, gold was a fairly steady commodity, banking was not for everyone and stones where not such a common factor in jewellery unless they were special pieces. The making charges for the metal and the highly erratic and quickly depreciating value of gemstones today (though some are better than others) make jewellery an unreliable investment proposition. If you want to gift you child something, invest in blue chips shares and watch them grow in value as she becomes a young lady or take out a fixed deposit in his name and give him a little egg nest when he needs it. Yes, there are risks involved in any investment, but the ones that give come with a balance sheet or a statement of account, give you a chance to re-asses and change strategy, if required, and they don’t lose value the moment you hand over your hard earned money . If you do get a piece of jewellery buy it because you, or someone you love, will really enjoy it.

Photo Credit: Image 1


Posted by on March 21, 2013 in Family, Stereotypes, The Economics of Life


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Winning Against Ourselves – Mind Games

V comes up to me this morning and starts talking about school.

“Mommy I’m really getting fast at running, I ran past S and K when we had games period yesterday.”

“That’s great V but isn’t the running part more fun than the running past other children part?”

“Yup, I love running with you in the park mommy, and we run together. So, I loooooooove running. It’s almost like flying a bit. But mommy I can’t go faster than the boys you know. That’s okay coz A (my nephew) told me that boys are stronger than girls.”

That put me in a dilemma, I didn’t want to encourage competitiveness in a child not yet 5 years old, but I also didn’t want to leave her with the weaker gender idea. That’s when I had a half-formed brain wave.

“V do you know far we run together at the park?”

“Yup 3 rounds?”

“Right and that’s one and a half kilometers darling. I’m sure no one in your class, boy or girl, runs that long and far.”

“I don’t know mommy. Their mommies don’t take them running so how will they know?”

Okay…… that was the second spanner in my works. Still, I decided to gamely plough on.

“Right, darling but here’s my point. See we are both girls and we are doing something nobody else in your class is doing, boy or girl. It doesn’t matter who’s stronger or weaker. All that we need to think about is this. Do we really want to do something? If we do, we keep doing it and enjoying it. After a while we will become the best at it. So the next time A or anyone else tells you that someone is stronger or weaker, tell them this. ‘The person who really wants to do something and enjoys it, is stronger and the person who doesn’t is weaker.'”

I don’t know if I got through to her this time or if the the idea was too convoluted. However, I’m making a promise on this Women’s Day to keep reminding myself, my daughter and my nieces that we can be and achieve whatever we want as long as we really want it and enjoy it. Gender is just a category like hair colour or height, it can’t affect who we are and what we choose to become. Yes, we’ll have a lot of battles to fight as women, but let’s win the one in our minds first. 

P.S. – Funnily my first ever post on this blog was on gender discrimination🙂

P.P.S – It doesn’t matter if your little girl chooses to play a princess game or climb a tree. As long as she is confident in herself as an individual, she will make the right choices for herself.

P.P.P.S – Wow! I just realised (when I went to get the link to my first article) that today is this blog’s two year anniversary! I somehow missed the first one! Yay! Happy Anniversary to me.

Update: A couple of days back I found a new trophy in V’s prayer basket. She apparently won the girls running race for her LKG batch. That’s like first among 60 kids, I’m guessing the boy- girl ration is 50-50. Now I know where that boys being faster/stronger than girls discussion came from. It’s the school making them compete separately. She never mentioned winning and she just shrugged when I asked her about it!

Photo Credit: Image 1


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Eyes On You

I’m not a make-up kind of girl. I don’t even use moisturiser everyday (okay I know that falls under skin care and not make-up, but you get the point right?). Consider this, I have used lipstick about ten times in the last 30 years. If I’m going out I’ll swipe lip balm and then lip gloss across my lips and maybe use the same lip gloss to give my cheeks an au naturale blush. This happens maybe once in a week or even fifteen days. Really dressing up would mean mascara and recently eyeliner, which happens maybe once in six months, though I carry a mascara wand in my bag!

Over the last two years I’ve kind of started enjoying reading and looking up fashion blogs and this has slowly lead to a fashion transformation. I now enjoy expressing myself through my clothes. Obviously this is within the limits of my working and parenting lives. For example, I regularly wear printed pants (I’m not saying I look good in them, I just wear them) with my more conservative tops and shoes. This is a big jump for someone who lived in black for two years. I even wear white trousers, though with longer bum and thigh covering tops (I’m nowhere close to model proportions). The point of my fashion exercise (if you can call my limited attempts, fashion) is to cheer myself up with colours and designs. The focus is less on the fashion factor and more on the style and fun factor.

Anyway, my point being despite all this fashion forwardness, I still think of myself as a no make-up
kind of girl. So where is this going you ask. Well, of late I have this feeling that if I get the Shu Uemura Eyelash curler and the Helena Rubinstein white eyeliner my glamour quotient will go up by several notches. Both the products are not cheap and I just can’t justify, even to myself, why I want them. It’s not like I’m going to use them more than once in a month, if that. Somehow, I’ve convinced myself that if I get them, I’ll make an effort to do my eyes everyday and increase the fun factor in getting ready every morning.

So what do you think is wrong with me? Do you ever get any crazy cravings like these? If yes, how do you handle them?

Photo Credit: Image 1

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Posted by on March 7, 2013 in Randomness


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