Wild

The book Wild is about a  woman Cheryl Strayed who ventures on the hike of the Pacific Crest Trail in the wake of the demise of her mother. It is a continuous wilderness trail that goes from the Mexican border in California to just beyond the Canadian border along the crest of 9 mountain ranges. It is a 1000 miles in a straight line, but double that when walked. She is ill-prepared, young  and impulsive. She undertakes the arduous journey on an impulse and absolutely no sense of purpose. As they say, its about the journey not the destination, the journey changes her. 

The book celebrates the unabashed love of a daughter for her mother. Something I am oh so guilty of! My mother is my most favourite person in the whole wide world. As in, I like my mother not just because she is my mother, but as a person too. What Cheryl does and undergoes when her mother passes away is overwhelming. She literally throws her whole life away. Time and again, she keeps dipping into the fact just how much her mother loved her children and how much of an epic presence she was, Truth be told, there was a point, where I even thought, when I am left without my mother, will I be as devastated as Cheryl was? Maybe not. And I hope not. Being so devastated, would need something monumental like hiking through the Pacific Crest Trail to recover. 

The book celebrates the love of a child for her mother. I remember when my paternal grandmother had passed away, Papa had said 'I have no one to call bou (the Odia word for mother). I do not have a mother.' 

Ah well, I digress from the book. 

The book keeps going back into instances in Cheryl's life. Incidents that shaped her. I thoroughly enjoyed those glimpses into her past. Those portions are way more well written than some of the details of her journey in the first half of the book. Some of the narratives of the details of the trail were a bit tedious. I felt there was a bit too much detail. There is a description of Lake Crater, which took my breath away! I had never known the details of the lake, but the way she has gone about describing it, compelled me to Google the same. It is one of my wish list to visit the lake one day.... God willing. Another item, that the book made me add on my wishlist was undertake a hiking holiday with my family. Maybe once the kids are big enough to walk a longish duration but not big enough to be encumbered by the burden of studies, I would love to spend at least a couple of days walking with them. *Sighs*

The book picks up pace towards the last quarter. She is funnier and her anecdotes are narrated with way more suspense. In the end as expected, she becomes philosophical. I quite liked the philosophy. It is simple. It is rational. 

The book is definitely worth picking up. So much so, as I finish writing this, I have decided to read the book again :) 

The lil big sis

The new addition to our family elevated the status of Chiyaa. She was promoted to 'big sister'. We were very sceptical as to how she would take a new baby. We kept preparing her during the pregnancy. We kept telling her how mummy's tummy has the baby and that it would come out one day. We prepared her by saying babies would initially sleep a lot and cry a lot. Chiyaa was very excited and receptive of the upcoming changes. But we were not sure how would deal with the facts when they actually manifest. Once when I had asked her 'is mummy's tummy really big?' She said ' no mummy you are beautiful' :) (I know she is precious) Another time when I asked 'do you know why mummy's tummy is big?' She replied 'because you ate lots and lots!'( Ahem there is some truth in that) 

 The day I was to be induced into labour, we had to sneak out of the house lest Chiyaa raise a hue and cry about both her parents leaving. She was pretty good for quite some time till she suddenly realised mom and dad were missing. It was easy to convince her that dad had gone to office since she was used to it. But I was on holiday for a couple of weeks and she could not digest  the absence of mommy. Somehow my mom convinced her that I would  be back soon. She was OK for most of the time. Sometimes when she got reminded of us she would sob a bit. But mummy said she used to become normal pretty quickly. 

In the hospital I kept thinking about how Chiyaa was doing. My mom kept sending me pics of her playing, being her naughty self which were a big reassurance. I hoped for everything to be over soon so that I could be with my cup cake as soon as possible.

The second day of our hospital stay we had the second cup cake. Chiyaa and mom came to visit in the room. Chiyaa was very intimidated seeing all the tubes and pipes stuck to me. She did not come near me at all though she happily picked the baby and kissed her. With a crest fallen heart she went back home. The next day when K was home but I wasn't she very innocently asked 'is mummy more poorly?' Mummy and K convinced her that I was fine and in the hospital to become bigger and stronger.

Once back home Chiyaa was her usual super helpful self. We were scared of sibling rivalry. So we were totally unprepared for sibling over-enthusiasm. ;) Chiyaa wanted to do everything for the baby. If we did not allow her stating she was too young she would sulk in a corner. It was like walking around egg shells so as not to hurt her feelings at the same time keeping the new baby safe. For the first few days after both of us were back from the hospital she would not venture anywhere leaving me or her baby sis. We would have liked her to go out and get some fresh air and activity outside, but she was scared of leaving her mom and sis. We thought she would become a clingy little kitty but with time she got better. She enjoyed going out with daddy and coming back with goodies for mom and sis. 

Chiyaa loves her sister a lot (as of now ;)) which makes us feel our mission to expand the family has been a rousing success. But I would be failing if I  dint give credit to the big girl herself. She is a very mature, loving and sensible individual. She understands many things quite quickly and effectively deals with them. She rarely throws a tantrum - even when we are in a toy store buying gifts for another kid, she may want something for a moment but touchwood  it's relatively easy to distract her. Given these I feel young Pumpki is lucky to have an awesome elder sis like Chiyaa. 

Deja vu

Disclaimer: Once again a pretty personal post and more for my record keeping. Spinsters and people with no kids yet please look away. Seriously DO NOT READ FURTHER.

Did not expect to be back so soon, but I guess having mom and some experience is making some difference. 

K and I welcomed our second daughter last Monday. I had a more or less uneventful pregnancy except for being diagnosed with gestational diabetes in the third trimester. Since it could  have an impact on the growth of the baby, I was given a date to be induced into labour if things did not materialise naturally. I kept hoping and praying that nature would take its course. After having a section for Chiyaa I wanted a more natural procedure this time. A week before the scheduled induction  I was a nervous wreck. My mom was confident things would proceed to the best outcomes. I was not very open to share my fears with her because I did not want her to feel worried about me. K was in his own world where he thought 'the baby and would come out like a banana ' ( mind you those were his exact words!) I used to lay sleepless at night thinking and crying. I was an emotional wreck. Roomie dear 's words were some consolation. Having had a baby through induction she said the experience was 'mesmerising'. I hoped I had similar words at the end of the procedure. 

The day arrived. A nice sunny day. Not a day meant to be induced into labour but a perfect day for taking a walk and window shopping. We went to the designated ward and were told to wait. While we waited I read a novel while K browsed. We must have looked like the ultimately relaxed  couple,  but I for one had serious butterflies in my stomach. Finally at noon I got the stuff to get the induction started.

Within 20 mins I started feeling uneasy.  K and I went for a walk downstairs. I thought it was just the sensation of something alien in my body. But even a stroll of 20 mins seemed arduous. We returned  to the room. I asked the midwife if things were progressing or all of it was my imagination. The midwife said things were definitely progressing. Around 1800 I asked for my first pain killers. I could take one every 4 hours. I took another at 2200. K said I was like one of the characters of Breaking  Bad  looking for my drugs fix ;). We spent the time watching House on Netflix  :) Thank God for technology! I also walked around the room listening to music. At 2300 the midwife did an examination. I was having regular contractions but was not in established labour nor had my waters broken. She decided to take me off the induction hormones to stabilise the body and see if things progressed naturally. She advised me to get some rest. She dimmed the lights and I got a fitful and painful couple of hours of sleep. Poor K tried sleeping stretched on the chairs, putting some makeshift stuff on the floor and even sitting beside me on the bed. The night shift midwife was very diligent coming every 30 mins and checking me. Through my groggy sleep i could see her looking at me and checking the intensity of contractions. At 0200 the doctor was supposed to see me and give the next course of action since my body was not getting into established labour on its own. Apparently there were quite a few  emergency and surgery cases, that we finally got seen by the doc at 0500! He concluded that the only way to progress was to  restart the induction hormones. By 0700 I was back to square one - experiencing contractions but not in established labour neither  had my waters broken nor were they in the position to be broken artificially. 0730 saw the change of yet another shift and I saw the third midwife! As this midwife was being transitioned by the night shift one, the latter mentioned - 'this is a typical deja vu. Last time she was induced at term +2, this time at term +3 (which had become 4 by now), her body does not seem to be adjusting too well to the propess(the induction hormone carrying device) She had fetal distress the last time, so had emergency cesearian. We might be going the same route this time.' The morning shift mid wife mentioned -' it might be better to go the surgery route.' The night shift lady bid good bye saying, 'we are eventually going to have this baby '

The new midwife thought it was a good idea to get the view of the doctor. The doctor came in and was of the opinion that the induction drugs remained  for 24 more hours. Once he had left the midwife came close to me and said 'you do not have to listen to him just because he is a doctor. You can choose what you want to do.' K found this move of hers utterly manipulative. She seemed to be in a rush to him. But then K and I gave it a thought. Was it worth it being in pain for the next 24 hours and still being in the same situation. What if we were to go into surgery anyways tomorrow because of the induction not working? We agreed it was a bit of an irony that we went through all the trouble for a normal procedure and inspite of all the pain had to opt for the additional risk and pain of surgery. But then it was better to take a call sooner rather than later. The words of a friend rang ' there is no medal for enduring pain!' With that being the cornerstone of our argument, we decided to go for a section again. 

At 1202 I saw little Shambhavi in K's arms. I remember one of the apps I was using during pregnancy having a section ' what are you going to miss about being pregnant. And I in my logical pregnant self had thought nothing - nothing at all!)  I will never be pregnant again (we definitely don't want to birth more kids) Despite all the inconveniences of pregnancy I will not feel the flutter of movement in my tummy ever again, I will never feel the excitement of what the stork is going to hand, I will never wait with trepidation for a date. I will never have a chance at a normal delivery. I never understood women who had a section and used to feel they have been bereft of something. Again my super logical self used to think, as long as mom and child are healthy, the how should not matter. But it does. 

Well all of it is water under the bridge. As my body recovers,my mind has to accept the realities as well. I could play through a lot of if -then -else scenarios. As of now I am ever grateful for the newest addition who has made our family complete. I certainly stand by Vidya Balan 's dialogue in the movie Paa - everyone should be a mother once. 

Let me finish this task


There are still 6 more days to bid adieu to the year, but let me pen my customary post, and keep it to post on a later day. To top it, it's Christmas today so what better day to finish this auspicious task!

The year started with its usual coughs and colds. Chiyaa had some trouble settling into her new room in daycare. But slowly things returned to normalcy. We planned a vacation. It was an amazing trip. Since Chiyaa was 3 years old already, it was a very different experience. She was more aware of what was happening, where we were going, what she was experiencing. She was also way easier to manage and was very flexible. Its been nearly 8 months but she still remembers the trip and what all we did.

This year saw us competing 5 years of stay in the UK. It seems like yesterday that with so much uncertainty we moved in here on a strictly temporary basis. Time has flown and we are hanging around here. We have no idea how long we have daana paani in this country. But 5 years seems long enough sometimes and just like yesterday at other times. Theory of relativity is no wonder so popular!

My sister made a move on the job front. In these volatile times, a job change that is conducive on all fronts is hard to come by. This resulted in her leaving the nest finally. But she being her continued to take care of my parents with her trips home. She called them over to her place for a long vacation as well. She is so much a better offspring than me!

The job front was a year of epic fails for me. In my current organisation we need to apply for the next level of progression. Since there was an opportunity I applied for a role. I failed. It was a good learning experience, but the negative result was a bit disheartening. I also attempted to write a certification examination. I have never ever failed an exam. This time I did, not once, twice. I admit this with much shame. I can rationalise it as much as I want to. I can draw inferences and think of the positives and what not. But the truth remains. K also faced a lot of troughs in his career. Gives me the hope that things should even out in the new  year. Then again I am an external optimist.

One personal achievement I am proud of its the books that I was  able to devour. 15 and counting! Woo hoo! The penultimate month saw my mom coming over. I get to bask in her pampering. I get to have the time of my life again! 

I am not one to openly comment about political or international events. I have an opinion and prefer keeping it to myself. This year I was witness to the Syrian refuge crisis. In my years of existence I don't remember a situation of such proportions. It was heart rending  to see innocent people bearing the brunt of the vagaries of politicians. A news channel reported 'a humanitarian crisis is made up of individual humans '. In the new year I wish there is peace and cohabitation and we come together as human beings to alleviate the problem. I wish children don't face such massacres and genocide.

The new year stands at the threshold holding a lot of promise, a lot of uncertainty. As a family life will change for us. As professionals I hope it changes for the good for us. I wish the coming year brings us face to face with things that make us better, stronger and content. 

Wishing everyone a new year which brims with hope and prosperity.


It's different this time

The second sabbatical of mine is turning out to be way different from how it was the first time. This time I have a Lil monster to look after ;) And I have mommy :) Two of the most amazing people I could be spending my time with!

Chiyaa goes to daycare for the second half only since I am home. It is interesting being with her. Some days are good when she plays around without any fuss at all. Other days she is a bit clingy and wants constant simulation to keep her engaged. The bad days are when she gets  bored and cranky. But whatever be the sort of day, it is mighty good spending time with her. I get to see so many aspects of her. I get to do activities with her, have a note of her 2 meals and generally just hang around with her. I also get to savour mummy's delectable dishes. She makes the simplest dishes with the bare minimum ingredients but with the most mind blowing  taste! 

Once we drop her off, it is awesome time with mommy. We try to go for a walk in the city centre on some chore or other. It is such a joy holding mummy's hand and walking. She quite enjoys taking the festive sights and sounds in. The cold is an inconvenience she has accepted very gracefully. Not once has she complained about it. Just reaffirms my belief that she is the best role model I could dream of. We enjoy each other s company a lot. Even if there is nothing to talk I just lie on her shoulder on a bench in the mall and that in itself is sheer bliss. 

The days we feel like getting some rest or the weather is too uncooperative we stay put at home with a garam chai ki pyaali.  Some days it's a movie we catch up, or discuss family and politics or just mind our own stuff. Mummy being busy with a book. I also try to devour a book or try to make some sketch. I have tried to learn the art of quilling. Still a novice at it. But after the initial hiccups I am hooked.



I have been waiting for these much relaxed days since the past God knows how many months. Now that they here I am enjoying to the hilt.