Monday, December 31, 2018

This will be a close call

To the year end post... Huff puff. 

Year end! And what a year it has been. One that started with a bang. My sister's wedding. An event our family was eagerly waiting for for many years. I wasn't sure if the following months would be able to top that. As I sit at the end of the year I would say - no. But all gave their fair share of highs and lows. 

Feb was a big one where we moved to our own house after nearly 8 years of nomadic existence. It was quite exhilarating, tiring and fulfilling. The day we celebrated Chiyaa's sixth birthday was the day we moved in to our own place and that was a crowning glory. 

Through March, April and May the struggles and push and pull relating to work and life continued. My sister had to make a move from Pune to Bangalore to be with her husband. Those were tough months for her, looking for a job, managing the house, managing all  aspects of her life. Since she was in between jobs, she was at home. Even I was light with my projects and managed to have some time. So we spent a lot of  time chatting and messaging and just being with each other virtually. Such was the frequency of our conversations that when she got her offer and joined her job, we missed our regular conversations. 

While she was busy looking for a job, I had temporarily suspended my job hunt. Amma had returned to India and without her support around it was tough to manage work and the additional task of looking for jobs. Once mummy, papa joined us in August, I resumed the search. By God's grace I ended up having an offer which was good in all respects. Since papa mummy were there, I would have some cover at home to be able to settle into the new job as well. It all seemed perfectly timed. It had been a long and arduous job hunt which had gone on for nearly 9 months!

During the same time there were some hiccups in my sister's life on the personal and professional front. There were health issues that impacted her personally and office politics that impacted her professionally. She did not have any help since mummy and papa were here. One child wins the other looses :( They were worrying few months. We kept praying for things to settle down. 

By October things had assumed a semblance of normalcy for sis. I started my new job. Things were challenging for me. I used to think, we don't need earth shattering events to make the fabric of life. The daily struggles are enough. The dash of catching the 0730 bus in the morning, running out at time to pick the kids from school and nursery, the karate and swimming drops and pick ups, getting the uber for making to work in time, making new friends in new work places - they are the threads that make life. The every day mundane stuff. 

November was mostly packed with preparing for papa's return. December was a festive month with the birthdays in the family and the winding down for year end. In fact things have been so busy that I have barely managed to post my year end post. But I intend to make it before the clock strikes 12.

Year 2018 has been unique. A year where we went to India, amma was here and so were mummy papa. Year 2018 had been unique where I learnt that my metabolism is definitely no where near where it was 6 years ago. I have managed to gain 1.5 kgs in 10 days of year end holiday and I would not say I am very indulgent or frivolous when it comes to food. Year 2018 has been unique where I have bonded even stronger with my sister and seeing our bonding and the one between my kids have reaffirmed my firm belief in sibling love. Year 2018 has been unique where I have learnt that time holds the answer to many things. Its best to just accept some of the events of the present and move on though it may not always be easy. 

Year 2018 has laid the foundation for a future. A future that is our hands to shape and God 's wish to design. May 2019 gently nudge those small everyday dreams to attainment. May 2019 help us put into action the small steps needed to lead to fulfilment of our aspirations. May 2019 be a step towards a better future. 

Here is wishing every one passing by a very happy new year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Ei jaate hue lamhon

Many  of us remember the lyrics from the soul touching song of the very forgettable movie Border which loosely means “time, please stay a bit longer before you move on”. That would be somewhat the state of my mind. Somewhat – not exact. I am looking forward to the holiday season. I am looking forward to waking up late, reading books to the kids, reading some books myself, cooking and eating, relaxing without bothering about work and generally wrapping up the year. But there is a slight sense of dread too. I want time to move a bit slowly too. I want the days to be a bit more drawn out.

Because - Mummy’s return looms close too. I am having to steel myself for it. For me, its not that she only lives in our house and helps around a bit. She seeps into our daily life – especially mine. I start from home first, she ensures that the door has been opened. Also, I always carry the house and car keys with me. She argues against me carrying that load!! – the ever protective mom. She stands ready for me when I return from work with the car keys so that I can dash off to pick the kids. She comes with me every day when I do the return pick ups. She does not need to especially in these horrible cold months, but she does. We have a lovely catch up on what happened during the day when we drive. Oh yes! And like all caring moms, she insists that I have dry fruits :D While we are on our car trip to pick the kids, she feeds me a delicious mix of perfectly roasted cashew nuts, pistachios, walnuts, pecan nuts, almonds mixed with raisins. (The emptiness of the car, her conversation and her periodic feeding in spite of I many a times yelling at her to stop it – will be what I will miss the most once she goes back) She makes me the evening coffee. I just have to mutter a need, for instance “I need new black trousers” and there she goes browsing online for the perfect pair of black trousers. Another award winning contribution of hers – she enables me to sleep late on a weekend. No one has been able to manage the kids without me around on weekends beyong 0800. Case in point, last Sunday I woke up at 0930!!! A feat which only mummy could accomplish. One of the kids coughs or is restless at night, she runs from her room and stands at the door ready to help. Sometimes the kids get agitated seeing her, wanting to be closer to me, so she stands by the door ever ready. If the children are unwell, I leave them in her care with full faith. Pumpki has an ongoing mild cough, and every single day mummy rubs warm oil on her feet and chest and back. She sends her wrapped up nicely with some vapour rub on her feet ( a remedy she swears by , and I believe too!). She tries to feed Chiyaa a fruit before she starts for school.

She just magics herself and makes things easier for us. We are getting ready for the next few cold and drab months without her. Till then  - ei jaate huye lamhon, zara thehro zara thehro.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Compare and contrast

Always helps – comparing and contrasting. Listing out the pros and cons and just thinking about it. I have had a lot of categories to compare and contrast and then stand back and think about.
First and foremost the elephant in the room – my job! Yes I have been writing about it ad nauseum. It has been recent and I have been taking some time to settle down. 4 years of working in a certain fashion does make one get used to working in that fashion J. So it takes time to break the shackles, come out of the old mould and accept the changes. I am 2 months and 10 days old in the new job and I can finally say that I am glad to have taken this role. It lacks the flexibility but I have made my peace with waking up and getting to work everyday. I have become a seasoned public transport taker too where I can sniff an empty seat in the bus ;) I have also sushed out the workings of cab services to some extent and predict with some accuracy, how much in advance should I be booking a cab to reach in time. Since I am at a work environment I concentrate more. If there is a bit of a downtime,  don’t run and do the dishes or vacuum the house or cook for the kids, which I might do if I was at home. I read up something, even if it is the news. I write a blog post (which must be making the only reader somewhat happy J )Also I am learning new things. Over the span of 2 months I can say I have learnt 2 new things. Which would not have been possible in my old role. Yes it had the flexibility, but it lacked defined work. I was in conversation with one of my bosses in the old place, and I learnt that they are going through a fresh selection procedure. That means some of the people could be facing redundancy again!! It would not have been a nice position to be in a span of 3-4 months to prep for a round of selection or termination. I know, no job is permanent. But if the same situation were to come up here, my resume would have 2 new things to put forth, which is a benefit.

So that area definitely looks better.

As I finished yet another revolution around the sun, I could not help but marvel at how different it was from last year. Last year K forgot  my birthday!!! That is how I will remember my 2017 year. I was miserable. He remembered at the end of the day, and came home with a lousy bouquet. Chiyaa hated the bouquet and started crying that it was a horrible gift (she totally said my thoughts :D !) and that there was no cake, and no one told her it was mummy’s birthday. It was a very down in the dumps kinda day. This year, I had mummy with me! That just puts a smile on my face. Chiyaa is a year older and remembered my birthday. In fact she started a countdown ever since it was December. Counting down to my birthday and Pumpki’s which is in a few week’s time. The day before, she  kept telling people at school, at her karate, at her after school care that its mummy’s birthday. It was also the first time ever in my working career that I went in to work. Since I am on  pro-rated leaves this year, I have managed to accrue 6 holidays.  I took most around school holidays which meant I did not have one to spare for my birthday. I did a load of interesting work, which was good. We had evening cake cutting and snacks which was good. Evening when I picked Chiyaa, the staff at her after school care sang happy birthday! It was just so cute. K remembered my  birthday!  Think after the debacle of last year, he was on the defensive for the whole year. For his birthday in July, I had got him a gift. But we needed to change it in the shop. While there, he really liked a piece and wanted me to buy it. He said, he would forget my birthday when it came, so I get something early on. I did not say to no to such an attractive offer and went ahead with it. 5 months down, he still remembered :D He got me a beautiful bouquet. I am not a flowers person, but its always the thought that counts.

In the evening we were pondering where to eat out. There were quite a few criteria to consider -  proximity from home, state of kids, state of hunger of adults, availability of place in shortlisted places, the service time in shortlisted places, and many more! Finally we zeroed in on good old Kentucky Fried Chicken! :D Cheap – I know. Unhealthy – double check. But we had way too many criteria to satisfy. Since we were all too hungry, the dinner tasted amazing! So satisfied – triple check ! A fabulous birthday indeed J

Same time last year, everything was so unsettled. Chiyaa’s school, her after school care, Pumpki’s daycare, our house, the unhappiness at my job and K starting a new career. Things take time to turn around. Sometimes a year.

Monday, December 10, 2018

A speedy recovery

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.