Monday, December 10, 2018

A speedy recovery

Isn’t that what we all hope for? A speedy recovery – from an injury (to mind or body), from a financial downfall, from a professional hit. And I have managed to have one – from the sadness of Papa going back to India.

It has been a week. I can say that though I miss his presence, I am not crestfallen. In a nutshell, I feel normal.

The day he started it was a crazy busy day. I came in to work. I had to rush back to Chiyaa’s school for a meeting with her headteacher around mid day. Then at the end of the work day I had to leave Leeds to goto Oxford for a training. It was  a very hectic and jam packed day. The impending travel did not help me get over my emotions regarding Papa’s departure. I would have loved to mull over and think about the time spent with him. But I was going through the motions of the day in a rather robotic fashion. As I said in my post a week ago, I just felt numb. 

My training was slated till lunch time. I thought I would take a train around 1300 and manage to reach home by 1800. That way I would be with the kids before they went to bed. Yes! It was the first time I was away  from the kids for a night! Even when I used to travel to Leeds from Ipswich, I would make the grueling journey back the same day so that they did not sleep without me. But for this particular journey, the timings of the trains were very weird. Mummy was confident that she could handle them. She  was also insistent that I need not take unearthly train times just to be with the kids. It was important that I rested and had a relaxed journey. Well as relaxed as I could have while thinking about things back home! It did not help that I had to go to an unknown place and face unknown people. My manager had very kindly agreed to accompany me. She did not need to, but she decided to come along on the 4 hour long journey just to keep me company. Since my manager was coming along, the HR rep, who sits in the office in Oxford, decided to keep a meeting with all of us in the afternoon from 3-4. The meeting invite came close to the time I was about to log off. I checked with my manager as to what would I do during the gap from the training to the meeting. She assured that there would be plenty to get on with. In spite of that, I somehow felt very shattered that I would be late to return home. And I felt shattered that papa had gone back. I rushed to the rest room and cried out. I cried till there were  no more tears left. I needed  it. 

We started off to the station. On  the way there a problem in the rail network. We had to get down and get the subsequent train which was an hour later. There were further delays and reschedules. We finally reached our destination 1.5 hours later than scheduled! 

I was checking on the kids. They were fine ( or so was reported.) Chiyaa had a rare treat of watching a movie on a week night. Pumpki was kind enough to sleep off early. So it seemed relatively peaceful. The training went good. I was graced with the wonderful presence of my manager who was lovely  company. There was never a dull moment with her. And I never felt awkward of inhibited either that I was with my boss. She was just a normal person having everyday conversations with another person. The return was uneventful though delayed. Since I had clocked close to 10 hours in travel, I was due for some time off. During the return journey , she kindly mentioned that I would be totally ok to take the Friday off if I wanted to. And I am not the one to say no to time off :D 

Once I was back home I was given the real low down on how the kids had been. While I was away at Oxford, the kids had behaved relatively well, though Pumpki had thrown some tantrum at night. She wanted MUMMY! And was demanding that I come :D Poor dear, she did not now mummy was away – far far away. Know what, at times during the journey I felt so exasperated. I was going really far from home and with the delays and railways issues, I felt so stuck. I could not go ahead or return. I was just stuck. And I imagined myself on the map of England being really really far from home. I am quite a visalisations person. Same reason I love seeing the flight itinerary when we travel. As I was travelling papa was travelling too. I kept checking the live flight updates. I could sense him slowly go farther and farther from me – geographically at least. He had reached safely and had spoken  with the kids. The kids unfortunately could not fathom what was up. Chiyaa understood  that he was in  India, but she  was too busy with her school and extra curricular activities to fully appreciate what was happening. . Pumpki was a bit clueless. But it seems whenever there was a knock, she used to say its Ajaa. Since she had not gone to her regular day care session, her routine was not the same as every other day. So she did not feel the difference of the absence of her grandpa. 

But time heals. Time moves on. As Roomie dear said, if I read the last post when papa is here next time, I would realise how fast time has gone. In fact reading it today makes me realise that a week has gone. I had the Friday off and mummy and I had plans to just venture out and clear our heads. We had had quite stressful couple of days. We had a simple meal of burger and milk shake which she enjoyed a lot! (She has very low demands!) . The weekend passed with the kids and here I am having survived yet another Monday. 

Time heals and I have recovered. A part of me misses papa , as will always.

Monday, December 3, 2018

The numbness

The numbness is weird. I am supposed to feel sad, anxious, uncomfortable. But I am not feeling any of it. I am feeling weird for sure. I wish I could crawl into bed and  lie in this numb state. Or  talk to my mom or my sister. 

Papa has left for India and I  feel blank. 

 K and I had plans of taking the day off, as we tend to do when a parent leaves for India. But Chiyaa had a day off because her school was closed on the Friday. So I took the day off to be with her. And of course to be with papa and mummy and Pumpki. It felt like it would be better use of a holiday to be with papa rather than to think about him after he has left. Since I am on a shoe string holiday allowance in the new place, I did not have any more leaves to take. 

On Friday we planned to finish off some official work during the morning. Once that was done, we  went for lunch nearby. Five of us marched  on to the pub to have some  classic British pub food. It was delicious. But more importantly we all had an immensely good time. We laughed, we shared stories, the girls even played with the dog of the pub owner. It was amazing fun. 

Thankfully I was not counting down to the day papa would leave. I was being calm and enjoying the moment. I knew I had three days and I was to make the most of it.  The next day was quiet. Papa continued with his writing and text book work while we were busy with chores with kids. Sunday I made plans to go to the city center to enjoy the city lights and Christmas decorations. Papa was quite keen to have a last look at them all. He  enjoys and soaks in the sights and sounds of the city. But rain played spoil sport. It was too soaky and papa wasn't too keen to venture out. Mummy, the kids and I stepped out. We had a lot of fun though we missed papa. We chatted late into the night.

 Today  when I woke up in the morning papa was already up and at the dining table.  He said his fun time was over. I knew he was feeling torn inside. He is also a very nervous traveller. So I was very worried about his state of mind. He seemed ok in the morning. He started to finish the final preparations for the journey.

Chiyaa  likes papa a lot. More than she likes mummy to be honest. Papa didn't want her to be tormented by the information that he would be travelling to India soon. So it was only over the weekend K told her that ajaa was travelling back. She has a different way of dealing with things. She asked him who would vaccum the house when he was gone ( papa used to vaccum the house everyday. She used to be annoyed if she was watching TV or he asked her to move.) That she was asking for it made us feel so sad. She also said that he had promised 6 months but he was going back earlier. We were not sure how Chiyaa would handle his absence. 

 Chiyaa woke up and was very subdued. She had her breakfast and was about to go on to get ready. Papa came back all dressed. Not seeing papa at the dining table as other days, she had assumed he had left. So she was acting quiet. When she saw him, she hugged him. No words said. No tears shed. She only hugged him. Papa was crying bitterly. He  managed to say “I love you.”

We all got ready to start to our respective work places. Pumpki also woke up and sat with Papa. It was heartbreaking. The silence, the waiting for the cab to come. It finally did and papa managed to say “take care, become even better when I come next time. I will only see you in videos till we meet again”. I was sad, but I knew it was inevitable that he leave.

I hope to have a good cry tonight and get rid of the numbness.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

100 days

Papa doesn’t speak much. But once in a while he can be very vocal. When he opens up, he can speak his heart out. So yesterday he was quite emotional all of a sudden. What triggered it was a mix of events. Yesterday mummy got some stuff from the market which he will take back to India to give to family and friends. He will be returning to India in a few more weeks L The knowledge of the fact makes me very sad. In fact this Monday I was discussing with my sister, that I have exactly 3 more weekends with Papa which I am sure will just fly by. But when all the stuff came and he had to put them in his bag, the reality hit him. 

He usually spends his time writing the book he is authoring if the children are busy by themselves or we are watching over them. Yesterday even though there was spare time, he did not get on with writing. He was just sitting. He looked dull and lack luster. Finally when K was around, he said, “Today I have completed 100 days here. There are 19 more days to go.” ( As I type this, I get tears in my eyes. I can visualize, how empty the dining table will look without his books. He does not have much stuff around, his clothes etc are all neatly packed up. He is a very tidy man. Its only his books which are always by the window sill near the dining table. He keeps mentioning that he messes the look of our dining space! He will be retuning in a few days and the lack of books will haunt me). Anyways I don’t think I can help that. He said he really loved the stay and he had never been away from home for so long. But he had thoroughly enjoyed the 100 days. He said, he would dearly miss the kids and wished them all the luck. He was getting tears by this point. K tried to diffuse the situation by saying that they should make many more frequent trips while the kids are young and are enjoying the pampering of grandparents. Papa went on to say how he was tied up with commitments related to books, the community he manages and his teaching duties. But he said he would come again for sure.

As K moved away, Papa went on to speak about some old photos my sister had sent. They were picture of us four when we were kids. He said they made the whole life seem like a dream. Memories flooded him. He remembered everything, from the day he had come to see mummy as an alliance ( the day that kick started everything J ) , the day he had to leave mummy and go for his posting after marriage, and how she stood at the window waving him goodbye, the day they first fought and he left home without eating and mummy came behind him to call him back for food, the days prior to I being born when he had to travel from Calcutta to Cuttack in the midst of a cyclone and had to get some sweets from a derelict shop since all others were closed.. the list of memories went on. He said he appreciated our struggles and mummy and he were always behind us to support us whenever we needed. But during their days they did not have anyone and managed everything between them. There was no support or friends or family around – and between work and transfers and school runs and all life’s challenges we moved on. It all seemed like a dream. 

It definitely made me count my blessings. Even mil had a tough time raising her children after K’s dad passed away. She did not receive any help from family. But life has a way of carving itself out.

As we face out struggles, our challenges and gain our rewards, I felt thankful to our parents for raising us the way they have raised us and for helping us to raise our future.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

She's Funny

Who you ask? Chiyaa.
So today I get ready for work wearing this 

And Chiyaa asks ' Is it Christmas today?'.
I, all aghast say 'No, why?'
She says 'Then why are you wearing a Christmas jumper?'
I said' This is not a Christmas jumper. What makes you think this is a Christmas jumper?'
Chiyaa all matter of factly responds ' But it looks so warm and cosy, it must be a Christmas jumper '. 
Well I know, Christmas is near but it does not boost ones ego to be referred to as ' warm and cosy '. I spent the day feeling like a teddy bear.:|

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Rubbish

Rubbish. I have no better word to express my feelings for the weekend that went past.
It all started on Thursday. Chiyaa suddenly came into my room at night and said her ear was hurting.  I gave her some paracetamol. She struggled to sleep inspite of it. As she struggled to sleep so did we. We took turns trying to make her feel better – but how can you make an ear ache go in the middle of the night? We tried to soothe her, to placate her, to make her feel better.  We all kept drifting back and from sleep. Poor thing she just wanted the night to get over.

Friday, she wasn’t supposed to go to school. K and I started a really groggy day. I was in fact faring better than I had anticipated. I did well till lunch, after which I could barely keep awake. I so missed my “wfh” days when  would have spared of the commute and the chores of being at the work place. Anyways that should be water under the bridge one day. I kept waiting for the minutes to tick by till it was ‘home time’. I was super drowsy. Mummy kept prompting me to hit the bed, but I did not want to burden her with minding both the kids through the evening as well. I know they can be pretty draining and she and Papa had taken care of them all day.

At 2115, the kids showed signs of being sleepy. I could not ask for anything more. I hit the bed with them.  We woke relatively refreshed. But we decided to skip the usual Saturday rituals of dance and swimming lessons. This gave us a bit more time to rejuvenate. Since Chiyaa was not 100%, we decided to stay at home to give her maximum time to recover. A lazy day just moved on. We watched a few episodes of BBC Earth which were a saving grace. Other than that it was a pretty drab day.

Sunday also stretched on similarly. Plans to order food or do this or that bubbled but never led to fruition. To add to this K got on with reading and researching and was holed up in a room. So selfish! This is going to come back in a future fight for sure and he wont know what hit him :D   I had an imaginary headache due to over-resting  (yes a term I invented like just now :D ) . I felt so so so lazy and bogged down and just so bored, I did not do anything at all. The kids also lolled around and at one point Chiyaa asked “ Can we go somewhere?” Sadly it was 1700 ish by then and pitch dark outside which ruled out venturing anywhere. So we continued to watch some more PJ masks, BBC Earth and the like.

I realized there was a big pile on for the week days with not much having been done over the weekend. Monday started pretty bleary with the rains, missed buses and what not. But the sun was trying to brave it and make the world shine. So I decided to put up a brave front too. Work gave a moderate sense of achievement. Mummy picked Chiyaa from school which lessened one task from my to-do list at home. Chiyaa did a whole load of arithmetic problems and enjoyed them and it thrilled me to see her enjoying mathematics. We decided to call it an early night. Monday – you just redeemed yourself :D

PS . I decided to write this drab, mundane, super boring post to give an idea as to how rubbish my weekend was. Also as a note to self – don’t let the entire weekend be this bad!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The power to choose

I live by the mantra as said in The Matrix movie – the power to chose is an illusion. We think we chose, but we just move in the direction we are nudge by various forces. Call it fate, destiny, karma… we move in a path over which we are meant to.  

Coming back to the main change point over last month, it has been my job. My current job is way different from my last one. Apart from the fact that it is new and it is not the job I had for over 4 years in the past, there are a few more stark points that impact me. First point being it is way more challenging. My last place of work had pretty run of the mill sort of work, where I could hazard a statement like “I knew a lot technically”. Here I realise how lagging I am from a tech point of view. Everyone knows so much more than me. And tech in the current world is somewhere else. And I was being smug being a frog in a well before this. This challenges me and also worries me. I hope I am able to keep up. But I chose this job – seeing the brand, the opportunities to learn and grow, the location. If  I think on the contrary, there was no other which materalised either. Did I chose this job, or was I meant to have this job?

Also as I had mentioned in a previous post, everyone comes to work nearly everyday! I am still not used to it. I feel it quite  a task. In fact this weekend I noticed something bizarre. I had gone to bed 30 mins past midnight. And I was able to wake up bright and nice at 7. But on a working day, even if I hit the bed at 2300, waking at 0620 ish gets tough. I think there is some real or imaginary barrier at the 7 o clock mark. Hence waking around 0600-0620 on a working day to get to work is hard every day. It’s a mental battle I have to fight and win – Monday – Friday. I miss the days when I used to “hang around” the house and enjoy the pitter patter of Pumpki, and all the fuss she would be creating. In fact she is asleep many a days by the time I start. I miss seeing off Chiyaa as she starts for school and waving goodbye till the car went around the bend in the road. I miss the early finish on Friday, the ultimate flexibility to come home after the “oh-so-important” meeting and connect from home. The plus side, I see that I am not having to be mom and career woman all the time. While working from home, I would of course be distracted. If I had a call, I would beseech mummy to keep the kids quiet. I would be logged in for the same duration as I would at work and hence never be 100% with the kids. Now I am either mother or working woman. I am never both at the same time. It is a little less pressure on the brain (or so I  want to think to convince myself). Yes I get to use my wardrobe and shoes. I feel some purpose in buying stuff since I will be using them J Again – all rationalization points. Truth be told, I have not made my peace with my choice yet.

With this prime change still making its impact in our lives, we there was another change which was being nudged our way. Chiyaa at the moment goes to a school which is a bit far from where we live. We put her in that school cos, when we moved from Ipswich, that was the only school which had places. We were ok with the distance. But last year during the OFSTED review ( all schools and nurseries are periodically reviewed by a central governing body called OFSTED), the rating of the school went down(this rating is primarily driven by performance of the school against national standards, but other factors such as involvement of parents and child safety are also considered). We  were a bit concerned since we did not want Chiyaa to be in a  school that would not make her reach her true potential. With that and the distance in mind, we put her application for a few better rated , nearby schools. We did not have much hope since its rare to have a churn in students. But then it happened! We got a place in the nearest school! Also it was much better rated than her current school! We were ecstatic! Everything was falling into place.

One final thing and we were ready. We had to find a good after school care place which would pick Chiyaa from school and take care of her till I returned. And there were none! L L

The one attached to her “would be” school was over booked. We tried alternatives but were left in the lurch. I as usual got on my discussion spree. Mummy and mil recommended accepting the place. They would be around to help with the pick ups which would ease our current situation, and eventually we would get a place in after school too. They reasoned that it was a good idea to go to a school near home. But my friend A rightly suggested, that such things were best left to professionals. Even I was not very keen on having a round the year dependency on people who were back in India. It would also not be a dependency that would last a year. Chiyaa has many more schooling years ahead. Pumpki would join the same school as her and the cycle would continue. It would be very unwise to have such a long term dependency to be resolved internationally ( We seem to have a full on System running in our house :D ). Another friend of mine said, that if we were coping, it would be good to continue as is. Because, girls especially sensitive ones like Chiyaa might take a bit too long to settle down again. This did make a lot of sense since the whole rationale of bringing Chiyaa to a better school would fall apart if I put her back 2-3 months emotionally. She was just about making do in her current school and had a circle in after school. She also suggested that if it was a particular area of studies I was concerned about in the current school, I could consider tuitions.

Now that’s would be a  bit much for someone in year2. But it made perfect sense. It meant we had to invest more time in her studies. It was reason to be more involved and participate more. Its not that we desire A grade performance from her. We desire for her to be curious, eager to learn and someone who enjoys learning. It seems a good cause for now. Though it seemed like a coveted prize, we have for now chosen to decline our position in the nearby school.

One step at a time, like wise one change at a time. Life is made up of these everyday choices isn’t it. But are wereally choosing?

Friday, October 19, 2018

Sometimes rains are good?

Sometimes rains are good. They force you to stay indoors. They force you not to have 'plans' for the weekend which pretty much are synonyms to shopping (even if you don't need anything). They force you to take a pause, put your feet up and just relax. ( None the less, it would help if it was sunny for sure :D)

So yesterday was a rainy Sunday. My rota in the kitchen since K once in a while likes if I make stuff ( the spices tweaked) to his tastes. After cooking it was time for a movie ( more so to calm down the kids since they were getting increasingly agitated for the lack of something to do). As I watched the movie I thought. About random things. More about what to write in my next post :) 

The main thing that struck me was  I was a week old in my new place. I had managed to come to the weekend at the new job. And it did all seem quite weird. You know how they say everything in a new job seems so much better than the old place for the first few days. And then monotonity seeps in. I think I am a bit more grown up ;) Not everything seemed sparkling to me. Yeah the kitchen was amazing. I loved the fact that they did not use any plastic cups or glasses. Everything was glassware with a dishwasher. There were proper bins with a view towards recycling. There was a dryer for drying gym or running clothes. There were shower rooms for people who might be seeking a lunch time run. Not that I am ever going to use them but I liked the fact they existed.

But it was a proper office environment. Even people with laptops were at their desks. In fact people with laptops were leaving their laptops plugged in at work and going home. ( Maybe folks really like coming to office!!) In my previous working from home was rampant. It afforded brilliant work life balance. I had not made a 5 day week in my previous place in a long time. Except my last week when I had to go in on a Friday to give my laptop back. As well as that, at the last place there were amazing Flexi time and agile working options. People worked 4 days work weeks, 3 days work weeks, 9 weeks fortnight (!! So that means they worked 5 days and 4 days alternatively taking the any day within a 2 work week period off. Complicated? I know!), finished early, started late, logged off for childcare responsibilities and what not. Here it was way more regimental. 

Coming in to office 5 days was tiring. Not just the physical exhaustion of waking up( Yes that is definitely the hardest part. How I hate the sound of the alarm), getting ready, getting Chiyaa ready ( she has her breakfast etc after I leave but I get her hair and dress sorted), getting the lunches and breakfasts ready for K and me. There was also the mental time bomb. Leaving house at a certain time else I would miss my bus, leaving office at a certain time else I would be late to pick Chiyaa, waking Chiyaa at a certain time, finishing Pumpki 's chores by  a certain time. It is something I was sure would be different. It is something I had signed up for when I started looking for a new role. I should be happy that the location is not too out of the way, the company is one of repute and I have my parents as back up. 

The worst part is waking up though. I remind myself of a book I read as a new mom called '365 meditations for new mothers'. It said it's the exact moment of waking up that's hard. You just need to get over it. I have to think of it like that every day. But it's not that easy. Waking up for a baby is something totally novel! Anyways we try to make our peace.

As I was thinking all this, I chanced to meet an ex-colleague who had been made redundant in the selection process. She convinced me, change is good. She had been with the organisation for 13 years! She was dead scared of change. But she had to and she was liking it. I who have changed 6 times in 14 years should know better. Maybe I was getting complacent and lazy at my last place. Maybe I need this scenario to get on into the professional mode full on- rather than wearing a parent's cape all the time. 

I will never have the sort of flexibility I had. But we move on and learn. No pain no gain right. Let's find out in a few years time. Till then we wake up early. 

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