26 December 2013

bad day blahs

there is nothing like watching the flurry of activity going on in the world at large to make me feel more dull, blah and listless at my own lack of 'happenings'. or to make me miss my family and friends. ugh. yes, this is me feeling gigantically sorry for myself.

i'm having a bad day. i was initially excited at being in india, comforting myself that everyone passes through here at some point, so surely i will be able to catch up on friendships every now and then. um, no. due to the colossal amount of family that people have to visit while they are here, not to mention all the shopping to be done, weddings to attend and so forth, no one ever has time to do anything else. as a result, i rarely get to meet up with most of my friends, no matter how many times they may visit.. today was another turned down invitation, which just hit me pretty low. i get that people have crazy busy lives, but still.. and you know, i cannot help that this will affect our friendship..

a considerable amount of my pregnancy and post twins weight was lost quite rapidly, but now i am stuck.. these last few kilos (which of course, are sitting at importune and unflattering areas of my body) refuse to go. it looks like i will need the help of some vigorous cardio... it will have to be something i can do in my room, and in a short amount of time.. any recommendations?

uh, before i start this new cardio regime, i think i should head down to the donut place.. :P

24 December 2013

people watching, schools and discipline

i took a train into town the other day, on my own. i was well prepared with my kindle and some polo mints for the journey, but in fact, i spent most of the time people watching. being on my own, without the twins, suddenly meant that i was free to participate in the larger world around me. when i go out with the twins, i have to say that i only notice other people if they have kids a similar age, or if they are interacting with the twins. most of my energy and attention is focused on the twins and other family members i am with.. everything else is superfluous. on my own in the train, i was fascinated by people's outfits, their choice of activity to pass the time, their accessories. there was an old lady sitting opposite me, wearing a sari, with her thinning hair left open (this is very unusual. not even middle aged women will leave their hair down here.. no idea why though..). she spent a considerable amount of time putting powder on her face and combing her hair, again, very unusual. the younger lady sitting next to her was busy texting on her phone, while i tried in vain to recollect who she so reminded me of. i noticed how muscular the women selling sundry items in the train were. i wondered why so many girls were wearing blue tops.. my hour long journey flew by! on the way back though, i happily immersed myself in my kindle.

schools are insanely expensive here.. who are the people that can afford to pay hundreds of thousands of rupees per year in tuition fees?? we need their jobs!! it has been a pain trying to select schools (the crazy competition and painful process means that it is easier and smarter to put your child in the nursery of the school you want them to attend. hence why i am looking at schools for my 16-month kids!!), but we have narrowed down a few.. sigh.. let's see how it goes.. we still have to find a decent playgroup that is not smaller than my bedroom, is affordable, AND is close to home.

a opened the dustbin, picked up an empty cheese wrapper and shook it on his head, ensuring some flakes of cheese covered his hair. m managed to peel an onion with his hands, and then proceeded to place bits of onion peel in his hair. where do they learn these things??

i need to figure out some discipline tricks and rules for the twins. 'no' at present seems to encourage them to increase the intensity of whatever they should not be doing. me shouting at them makes them laugh uncontrollably. removing them from the situation or removing the offending object is the only way to stop their behaviour, but this is not always possible or ideal.. most of the time i feel like i'm just shouting at the walls, and it is darn frustrating and depressing.

17 December 2013

random things and moments

many years ago, z and i decided there were two types of novels -plot based and prose based. we had lengthy conversations regarding the pros and cons of both, as well as our own preferences. the ultimate novel, clearly, is the one that uses magical prose to drive its fantastic plot. my love of marking pages, paragrahps and phrases, stems from awe at such prose.. my own personal test for how great a book was, was how many phrases i had marked in it (i used to fold the page corner and later copy down the relevant lines).

this practice has somewhat ended. i am not sure whether this is due to the soullessness of marking phrases on the kindle, or whether it is because i no longer take time to truly inhale the way sentences are built, but rather am too caught up in the plot. or, perhaps i just haven't come across anything that truly moves me lately, jaded that i have become in my early 30s!!

the twins are a-growing! they are no longer tiny tiny babies! i am so happy that they cry less, play more (lots more), communicate better. they are too heavy for me to carry around now, and i am trying to get them to walk more when we are out (WALK, not run or dance or randomly sit down on the floor). and yet, i love it that they are still small enough to cuddle, to sit (and sleep, but only just!) on my lap. m knows exactly when he wants to be lying on my lap, and he will come, push away my hands or anything else obstructing his space, and plonk himself down. ah, the cuteness :)

i went to a bookstore over the weekend. oh. my. gosh. to see all those beautiful books, on all those shelves.. to open them at random, smell their newness, oohhhh. i love my kindle, i am very thankful that it supplies me books that were otherwise difficult to access here.. but oh, how i miss real books. how i miss libraries!! and bookshelves, and armchairs. and books.

while giving the twins gol and roti today, i licked some gol off my fingers, and whoosh, i was instantly transported to my childhood and my mom's awesome gol and butter concoction.. there are not many things that invoke a feeling or taste of childhood (as opposed to memories).. i should perhaps eat more gol -it's yummy, it would get me eating more rotis, and it is iron rich, which i need. an overall winner :)

05 December 2013

great expectations

(i found this in my september draft folder, and am posting it without any changes)

why do we have children? what is behind this need to procreate, to nurture children into adulthood?

i mentioned before that since having the twins, i appreciate my parents much more, on different levels. and yet, i know that i am not the perfect child. (ok, i have no idea what the perfect child would be, but you understand..) and neither are my siblings. i witnessed an interaction between my mom and one of my brothers this morning, and it left me feeling sad, empty. i wondered what my mom was thinking in that instance, whether she wondered why she had children, or what the point of it all was.. perhaps not -i care for the twins not because i expect something in return, but because i must. as this post says,

It wasn’t even about choice, or making a career out of being a homemaker, or any of those glamorous debates. It was simply about doing what she must. In sunlight, we wear sunglasses. At night, we turn on the lights. When it rains, we look about for an umbrella. Circumstances change and we adapt. There is nothing to sacrifice, nothing to choose, there’s no option but to do what we must...

We play our parts, our cards. When life deals us a home, we run it; when destiny decrees us a passion, we follow it. Sometimes, we have the luxury of making a choice but, mostly, our choices are already made for us. Our happiness lies in our acceptance of who we are; our freedom lies in going with the flow. 

as i bathe, dress, change and feed the twins, as i entertain them and comfort them and put them to sleep, while running low on sleep, energy, food and patience myself, i recall that my parents did the same with me. i am led to believe that this is the repayment for all parents -when their children become parents themselves. and yet, surely this cannot be enough. we must all have expectations of our children, of our flesh and blood, who we so lovingly and painstakingly nurture.. i grew up in a culture that was relatively liberal, open and individualistic, even while being tethered to religion and family. i now live in a culture not as open, and not at all individualitstic, but more focused on family, social responsibility..

while i love the hindi movie 'baghban' and am even sympathetic to the protagonists' plight, and agree with their denouncement of their children, i know that things are not so black and white, people are not so black and white. children are not all bad or all good.. there are so many gradations.. sometimes a really good person could be a lousy son..

why is it that we would judge a lousy parent more harshly than a lousy child?

04 December 2013

life's routine

it's been a hectic and interesting couple of months.. from my dad's sudden surgery, to our trip to iraq, to ashera, to family wedding. H and i were both exhausted and in need of a break, so our recent weekend getaway with the twins was lovely. not only was i ecstatic to get out of the city (and the apartment!), but i was also thrilled at seeing the twins so happy to be out. we took them to the pool for the first time, and they enjoyed it, thinking it was a variation of their daily bath :P. the beach was a hit too: m was happy to sit and play with his bucket and spade and fling sand everywhere (sigh), while a was in awe of the huge expanse at his disposal for speed walking.

i was very sad to return to 'real life'. not only am i unexcited in getting back to the daily grind, but after having so many events to anticipate for quite awhile, i suddenly have only an empty canvas of time staring at me. it doesn't help that the holidays are coming up, with me recalling that last dec 31 saw me on a plane with my parents and the twins to singapore and hk.. how can i possibly top that this year?!

when i was complaining about this to a friend, he responded that, 'life is routine'.. and that reminded me of another friend, many years ago, saying that happiness was nothing but the stretching out of a few moments of bliss (or something to that effect).. so, instead of being upset at the larger 'routine', i will take joy in the little moments that make up this routine: waking up next to H, the twins' countless smiles, gurgles and hugs during each day, the short but touching whatsapp messages that connect me to my family and friends far away, chocolate (!) and so forth.. :P

having just finished hidden buddhas by liza dalby, which was one of those unputdownable books, i am finding it hard to get into something else.. i started moth smoke by mohsin hamid, but realized i didn't want to read about pakistan's degenerate elite right now.. similarly, the characters in barbara kingsolver's the lacuna also are not enthralling me.. ugh. a decade ago, i would solve this problem by simply reading 3-4 books at a time. now i am lucky if i can get through one book in peace.. most of the time, i know what i want to read and it is a painless experience to transition from one book to the next.. when this is not the case however, it is a huge pain, and i get quite irked..ugh.

on a more positive note, i came across this amazing poem on facebook yesterday, 'shrinking women' by lily myers, very much worth a read (or a listen