Open letter to roomie dear

I could have written an email, but she reads my posts every day  - or so she claims ;) so here goes....

We have moved to Ipswich. Initially I didn't like it. I would not say I hated it. I just felt 'this is not Leeds!' Nothing more or less. 

K was around in the train station to pick us up and he brought us home. We had lived in a very modern, newly constructed apartment right in the centre of the city with onsite gym, pub and convenience store in Leeds. This apartment was an older construction. Everything had a run down feel to it. Nothing had a shine. Nothing had any new -ness. It in fact reminded me of a place in  the past where we had a horrible couple of years. Horrible infrastructure wise - Chiyaa was born in that house, so I cannot relegate it to be totally horrible. As K went to work, mom and I first learnt how to work the stove. Slowly the kids settled down and K was back home with pipping hot pizza! We tend to celebrate every moving in with pizzas! And in our 6 years in the UK this is our 5th house. Ah averages to around a house per year....we do have a nomadic existence :|

I suddenly realised that we were short of diapers. Since I was coming from a 'city' I was used to shops being open till 2000. I now understood what people were on about when they used to speak with distress about shops closing at 1730. Being a 'town' shops shut at 1730 in Ipswich. Like a big city girl I exclaimes 'really??!!' when K made me aware of this. But there were a few stores near our apartments. We popped down. I took the chance to soak in the neighbourhood. I had glimpsed the place when we had come to visit K during the Good Friday holidays. Now seeing the place up close,  reminded me of Delhi. Lodhi Garden to be specific. The place where me and my two friends from engineering had spent a glorious summer. A gorgeous summer when we had savoured independence, friendship, a bit of work experience and fallen in love with a beautiful place. *sighs* Ipswich took me back to a place I loved. Ipswich scored a point. Another winner was a little play area. It was the perfect place to take our little ones on the few days of summer we are granted.

The next day K took us into the town centre - in particular to a place that stocked Indian grocery. It was smaller than the shops in Leeds, but it was quite popular. We met nearly all of his colleagues there!

The weekend followed next. God made the sun shine brighter to make things look better.  We stepped out with K to get acquainted with  supermarkets, parks and other points of interest. We live right next to the river. To get to any place we mostly need to cross a foot bridge ( Yes that is where my Facebook profile pic is taken). It is very refreshing to notice the birds in the river. We have seen 5 eggs of a swan hatch. We see the swan  parents (hope that is the right word) float along with the baby swans. Chiyaa even has designated one as daddy swan and the other as mummy swan :) I feel as if like us, they are also off to a new start with their new babies :) 

Aclimatised with all the shopping destinations, the main thing I got was wipes. Lots and lots of them. The house lacked sheen. I was going to make it shine. Shine with a good scrubbing. Then shine with love. I decorated the rooms with pictures and quilling arts that I had made. If you love something, it is bound to love you back. I was getting ready to fall in love with Ipswich. As if God had chosen a voice, I got a call from my friend in Leeds. Yes the college mate I had mentioned about in my last post who had Oh so tremendously helped me. She asked me how I was faring. It was too soon to be attached to the new place. So I cribbed about it being small. Then she said that being an unsocial person, what was I missing in a small place? Really! The  amenities were nearly the same. And I was not the partying sorts to miss the vibrant nightlife. Nor   was I a shopaholic to miss the big brands (most of my shopping is done online or by my sister :D) What was I missing? Just the vibe. Shouldn't I rather take this as a chance to readjust my vibes to this quaint place? Most definitely I should.

So here I am geared up in true saggi spirit to approach whatever adventure and experience Ipswich has in store for me. This weekend we travel to Leeds to catch our flight to India. Another chance to say another goodbye to a favourite. This doesn't happen very often. Last time I was super excited for my travel to India. This time I look back at how 6 months ago I was waiting with trepidation for mummy to arrive. 6 months have passed and I feel I am going to drop mummy back. :( I am very excited to meet Papa and Lichie. But I feel as if the joy ride is about to get over. As one of my friends in school had said, parting causes more pain than meeting causes joy. Hmm... I guess there is some truth in that! I don't see my India trip as a chance to meet.... But as saying goodbye to mummy, Papa and sister. I should turn my views.... And I hope God helps me with it. I will miss K for the next 2 months. He has never been away from the kids... And this year suddenly he has been away a lot... I hope he copes ok with the lack of clutter and morning mayhem. I hope Chiyaa copes ok with daddy being in a different place again. I hope  Gabo is not too bothered by the change of circumstances. 

I will keep nagging you with my doubts and apprehensions. And I hope you don't give up pushing me - my alter ego!

Full circle

Life has a strange way of coming back to where it all began does nt it? It was two years back that I wrote the posts about the start of a journey. Chiyaa had started day care and there were some tear filled days of settling her. I remember leaving a very timid and diffident toddler in the care of the nursery staff. Two years and some months hence, we are leaving Leeds and there were a few tear filled nights. I used to be up at night thinking how she would fare without her daycare which was such an integral part of her life. I know eventually she would have left it for school, but that would have been the normal course of action, something deemed to happen. Now we were removing her from her set environment . 

Ever since I had given notice in her daycare intimating them of the move I kept wondering of all the friendships and relationships she would be missing. Every time her key carer spoke of her imminent departure, she used to choke. Before the time drew to an end I had my last progress review meeting with her. Through all her words I could gauge how much she really cared for my daughter. I cannot thank her enough for her kindness and her personalised care.

Finally the dreaded Friday came when Chiyaa went to daycare for the very last time. I had gotten some cakes for the fabulous staff. We went to pick her up a bit late to allow her to play a bit longer on her last day. We saw her being seated in a circle where all the teachers were wishing her all the luck in her future. There was a biiiiiig group hug with all the kids which brought tears to mommy and my eyes. Then the teachers  gave her a beautiful gift which included card games, some books and a card. It was tremendously emotional leaving the place for the very last time.

I am not sure if Chiyaa fully realises what is happening. She walked home proudly with her gift  on Friday and said 'Cam said it was my last day today'. I asked her if she knew what it meant to which she was unsure. Then I said' it means you will not go to Twinkles  (her nursery )again, we are going to Ipswich in some days. You won't meet your Twinkles  friends but you will make new friends in Ipswich.' She nodded her beautiful head. Those deep thoughtful eyes which were trying to understanding what I was saying simply broke my heart. 

Chiyaa still keeps role playing about Twinkles all the time. She keeps reliving the routine there. I will also keep getting a lot of insight into what she feels through her actions. When things were being loaded to Ipswich on Saturday, she found her old push chair. She asked if she could go in it to  Twinkles . I felt like hugging her but I distracted her by saying she was a big girl now and did not need a push chair any longer. And today she has gotten her ears pierced! All she wanted to do was go to Twinkles to show it to her best friend. When I said Friday was her last day, she asked if she could go to her best friend's house. I had no words. I hope she reconciles soon to the first big change at the tender age of four. 

I hope she comes around soon and moves on to the future and keeps the fabulous memories of the past.

Because I can

I am going to write this post ;)

Well I have so many thoughts and feelings. There are so many things that are happening and my to do list just keeps getting extended. As I was playing with Chiyaa and Pumki today, I thought, this is the last sabbatical of mine. I better use it to the fullest. My mom is around and she makes a whole world of difference. This is also the first and maybe last time I am with my mother full time. I get to spend the whole day with her which is pure bliss. There is a Hindi saying which loosely translated means, where there are two vessels there will be noise.  There has been occasions where my mom and I have 'fought' with each other and gone without talking to one another. As I look back, I just see the time - rich in moments. Time I have spent with mummy, discussing the new baby and things to come, having the new baby, her help through those initial cold dark days, and now the full mobility with the 3 month old young lady and her 4 year old fiesty sister.

K has been in the other town for the past 3 weeks. No matter how much she denies I know my mother feels a degree of conciousness in front of her son in law. I am sure these last 2 months of her stay she is without any inhibition what so ever. Though on the other hand, K's absence does make things seem a bit vacant. I am sure even mummy misses some of the fuss associated with cooking for K.

K being away was a very different experience for Chiyaa. The first day she did not realise till late at night that daddy was missing. When she did, she cried quite a lot which was very heart breaking. But time is really a very good healer. She slowly did move on and got used to the fact that daddy works from another place. K made a trip to Leeds last weekend. It was real fun, I could see the change in him. He was much more patient and was giving real time to both the kids. In spite of a very long journey he was up with a lot of enthusiasm in the morning and got on with diaper duties with more diligence than he used to when he was around. After that he was ever so attentive to Chiyaa. Chiyaa also loved every bit of the time with him. When he left, she was crestfallen. But we distracted her with some movies. Slowly we have talked to her that daddy will be coming and going. K did not come this weekend. And I am not sure how she is going to behave when he comes the next..... Fingers crossed it all goes well.

This is think is good preliminary practice for our stay in India. Had I mentioned that ? Well, mommy will travelling to India in the third week of May. The kids and I will be making our journey with her. Woo Hoo. But not a full throttle one. On one hand I am super excited to be at home for 3 months! Yes you heard me right.... 3 months. We will travel back when K gets his vacation in August. But on the other hand, I am full of doubts. The planning of the journey itself was doubts riddled with the arrangement of Pumki's travel documents being a very critical affair which thankfully was successful. I also have concerns about the children. Here they are used to a peak summer temperature of 20 degrees Celsius. And I will be dragging them to 46! I hope and pray they are ok in the heat and humidity.  Chiyaa will be starting school in September. The final months before the big change, she will be in totally alien environment. Again I am putting her through a lot here :( That is why this travel is riddled with doubts, but our reason for making this trip now is - if not now, we will never get such a long time in India. With school and my job resuming next year, this is the best we could hope to have back home. Last time when we had undertaken the trip to India with Chiyaa being a 7 month old baby, all the relatives wanted us to stay a bit longer. But since things were not very bright on K's work front, we had a 3 week long vacation. This time things are not hunky dory yet for him, but we are going ahead with being with extended family a bit longer. We will mostly survive to tell the tale.

The change of location has thrown another item into the mix. Chiyaa's school. Yes I think I mentioned that. But the real deal is this. We were all set for starting school in Leeds. But with the move we had to get a house in a rush in Ipswich (the town we are relocating to). Since allocation of schools are location of residence driven, we had to finalise a house and find about schools and give our choices in break neck speed. We are new to all this, and are keeping our fingers crossed that all goes to plan and Chiyaa gets a decent school. 

That is quite a lot of crossing of fingers. :D We have too many things in a year, too many uncertainties, too much action. Already our house looks like a waiting room with boxes to travel to Ipswich, suitcases designated to travel to India and stuff for use day to day in Leeds. A lot of factors are still 'up in the air'. Hoping they all land shipshape.

Severing ties

It's time again. To pack up and move shop. To severe some existing ties and move on in the hope of new, meaningful, sustainable ones. 

I have spent six years in this beautiful city. Six years ago, it seemed such a temporary arrangement, our landing in Leeds. I was on loss of pay leave for a year and in the absence of employment in the UK harboured thoughts of moving back to India at the end of the year. There were other plans laid out for us. I secured a job and K 's tenure kept getting extended. I had my first child and left my first job in the UK to work in the same firm as K. We were blessed with our second diva. I feel a strange camaraderie with this city. I never felt like an alien. I felt one amongst the many souls trying to make a living.

I feel I know so many people, though I don't actually know them! The parents I pass when I drop and pick up Chiyaa in daycare. I might not know them but I recognise them and acknowledge them. The shopkeepers in the farmer's market that we goto every week. The cashiers in the local convenience stores. The security people of the apartment. I could go on about the little ties here and there, like small capillaries carrying life blood into all parts of an organism. Apart from these there are the main veins and arteries. Primary is my midwife. She kept me ever so confident during my first pregnancy to handle everything without any help from elders. Coincidentally she was around the second time too. She must have seen so many women in the span of three years. But when she saw me and gave a smile, I asked 'Do you remember me?' And she said 'Of course I do!' That was a simply awesome for her to say those words. She and I share the same date of birth. We have spoken a lot about our families, about health facts, career, kids, and many other.

 I share a good relationship with many of my colleagues. I have been able to tell them about home and family without inhibition. I feel very fortunate to have met such nice people. I might come back to work with the same bunch, or I might be forced to move on post my maternity break. I will definitely miss seeing them on a daily basis . 

Chiyaa's carers in nursery have also been a lovely bunch. I have felt so confident and assured in dropping her there and going to work. I have never for a moment felt insecure or ill at ease. Over the years I have seen her mature and become a social individual. I have only her daycare staff to thank for so many positive changes in her.

Two years ago  , a college mate of mine moved to the UK. She was initially in a different city but then ended up moving to Leeds ! What are the odds. Trust me such things do not happen to me. We hung around quite a bit initially till the rigours of kids and work made the meetings few and far between. Till last year when I announced my pregnancy to her. I used to take frequent leaves and we both could chill and enjoy a quiet  lunch once in a while. She and my mom also got on famously. Since the birth of Pumki we have been able to spend more time together.  She has a little boy, the same age as Chiyaa, it's a double whammy for us. It is too bad that she came in so late :(This city made it possible to meet an old flat mate and my best friend. 

Things change pretty fast in a progressive city. I remember wondering if we could have a kfc nearer home, K wondering if there could be bigger mall, and a few more wishful thoughts which all came true one way or the other. We still have a month here. But it seems too less. I feel   I have to run through a lot. Visit the city centre for those final glimpses, meet people, visit the eating joints - do everything that one last time - all of them need to be done with a sense of urgency for me. I know we can always visit the place, but I feel living here has been a very blissful experience. I will always love Leeds!

End of a chapter?

How things pan out! Steve Jobs got it right when he said, when  we connect the dots later that things make sense. Last Friday was K's last day in his current assignment. A few months ago I had written about having worked with K for a bit and wrapping up work for my maternity leave. Now it was K's turn to bid adieu to the people he had worked with for 8 years. Come to think of it,he had worked with the same set of people for as long as he had been married to me!

I kept asking K if he was feeling OK. He was raring to go on to the new assignment  which was to be in another city. I was in fact more emotional about him leaving the place. It was a dream to have worked with K in the same department and eventually in the same project. The odds of that happening again seemed a distant dream. 

His last day in Leeds, I kept visualising how he must be winding down. I was filled with nostalgia. I would miss the days we could work from home together, I would miss our walks to work, the lunches, the office communicator messages, the total understanding of each other's work since we knew the people the other was talking about. It was good fun. With K moving on it seemed like the end of a wonderful chapter.

As I picked up Chiyaa from daycare, we met K on the way. Chiyaa was beside herself with glee. As she walked home holding her parents, I could not help but think, this was the last instance of coming back together. End of a hefty chapter made up of so many forgotten bits.