Monday, August 31, 2009

Of when mamma suffered a minor heart attack...

Mamma and the brat traipsed down to the park last evening. The brat was scrambling around the place, dressed in his Superman costume complete with trailing cape, flying over mounds of grass and rescuing folks who had absolutely no desire to be rescued by infernal superhero who had the knack of getting slap in the middle of games being played. Mamma began doing her not so diligent rounds around the park area, gossiping a bit with some friends enroute. And then Mamma looked around, suddenly aware that Superbrat's shrieks of rescuing were not to be heard. And realised with a sinking heart, that Superbrat was nowhere to be seen.
"Where's brat?" she ran to the group of brat sized tykes who were busy Power Rangering each other out of breath.
"I don know, Aunty," said one, after he paused to catch his breath.
Mamma ran down to the compound. "Have you seen brat?" she asked everyone she could spot in the vicinity. "He's wearing a Superman costume with a cape?"
"No," "I dont know," "I cant remember" Mamma was frantic. Mamma's friend's came down from the park and we trawled the entire huge compound and parking area, yelling out brat's name, deploying the older children and the watchmen in the search. By this point, worst case scenarios had started playing in a loop in Mamma's brain. The brat had slipped out of the gates and had been picked up by a kidnapping racket kingpin parked just outside the gate waiting for this moment. Brat had gotten into a lift in any of the three towers (three towers, with three lifts each and friends in every tower) and was going up and down in an endless loop, or the lift was stuck and brat couldnt reach the emergency button and had panicked and fainted. Mamma panicked and almost fainted. She grabbed every watchman in sight by the collar and snarled, "Have you seen a Superman costume wearing child go thisaway?" One watchman had. "He took the lift," he squeaked, rubbing his throat, gasping for breath. Mamma deployed hurt throat watchman by lifts and called every flat number which housed a friend, to find the brat snugly ensconsced in one friend's home on the 7th floor. "I was just about to call you," says said friend's mother. Brat was duly dragged home. Stern warnings issued about child beggar rackets and kidnappings and sterner warnings about not being let in if he wanders off with asking for permission. Dont know how much of it has sunk in, but mamma is not going to take her eyes off him for a second now on. Yes, some new grey popped up along the hairline too.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

How can we be blind to these children?

This is what a kind commenter left in my comment box the other day.
Thank you, Chitra. I needed that kick in the seat of my pants to get me to write on this. I dont know about the high readership you have mentioned, but whatever little can be done must be done. I can be quite ostrich like when it comes to incidents like these involving little children. I skip over the article. I shut my eyes, and pretend I dont see my son's face in those hurt, bruised faces. I pretend this does not happen. I dont read about it. I cant bear to stomach it, because I am equally guilty for letting it happen. Urvashi Dhanorkar is out on bail. Huma Khan who had kidnapped, sexually abused and assaulted her minor maid, with the connivance of a male accomplice, was arrested and then let out on bail, and google doesnt tell me what finally came of that case. Tiny Sonu, whose only crime was a curiousity about make up, didnt deserve chilli powder and steel rods pushed up her privates and being left to bleed to death, by her employer, a woman and a mother of three herself.
What horrifies me is that all these crimes have not been perpetrated by men, but by women. And so sadistically has the torture been done, that my stomach turns as I google the links to find out more about each case. My once upon a time boss, Bachi Karkaria, has this to write about these. I agree. Not every house tortures their domestic help. But almost every second home employs an underage maid. Prey to abuse ranging from verbal to emotional to physical and sexual, for every Rameshwari and Sonu, there are many cases which just swept under the carpet. Ignored. In my building complex itself, I see the children accompanied to the park by girls who are all clearly minors. They all seem relatively well cared for and happy. But I dont know what the true story is. Sonu was employed by a seemingly decent family living in a plush tower in upscale Lokhandwala in Andheri.
I feel helpless. And ashamed. And wonder what I could possibly do. What we could possibly do. It starts from you and me. We need to stop this employment of underage minors. We need to do what we can to enforce the law. You and I and all of us. It is illegal to employ minors. But yet, why are children working in every second home? Agreed, the poverty and the need to earn a living makes it a difficult problem to tackle, but can we not take a stand to educate one underprivileged child, to fund one underprivileged family to let them not put their kids to work, rather to let the children be free to have a childhood. Can we not counsel families employing underage children as domestic help not to do so? It is an effort to be made by each and every one of us. How can we even look our children in our eye, when other children in their vicinity are being subject to such abuse.
And Urvashi Dhanorkar is out on bail. She is allowed to shield her face, but her young victims black ringed and bloodshot eyes are on every newschannel, and in every newspaper, puzzled, pained and perpetually scarred. Is Dhanorkar going to get more work thanks to her notoriety, I would presume so, given the current penchant for the most controversial figures becoming instantly popular, it would seem that all it takes to become a popular TV celebrity at the moment is to be found ODing on drugs half dead in a jacuzzi, with another coke head dead next to you, and the young boys brought in for a 'party' spirited away. Are the production houses who hire her taking a call to take her off their rosters? I wonder. She will make for great TRPs.
Would kind mommy bloggers like to take this up as a tag? Write about how we need to stop employing underage minors in our homes. Regardless of circumstances and how some homes might actually be kind to these minors? And how as a society, we must watch out for our children? Regardless of which strata of society they come from. The law will take its own course on this case, like it did in Sonu's case. I trust Urvashi Dhanorkar will get the sentence due to her too. At the most, we can try and influence public opinion on the employment of minors in homes as domestic help.

Here's what Subhashree had to say.

This is what Maid in Malaysia has to say.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I'm heartbroken...

Just noticed I have one less follower. For the life of me, I dont know when one decided to drop following karmickids, but have been chewing fingernails since. What have I done to drive away the said person...who is the said person...have I offended him or her in any way...have I bored the pants off him or her...have I unwittingly been can anyone do this to a nice person like me....
Yup. I'm that insecure. Therefore, dropped out follower come back. I beg and grovel and plead and apologise if I have caused umbrage in any way. I promise to post more brat stories and go light on the philosophy and soap boxing....

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Do you believe this?

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward not tarries with yesterday.

Kahlil Gibran
The Prophet

This is a passage which has been inspiring me even before I even had the concept of being a mother myself within me. The thought that the parent is merely the custodian of a child is something I am growing to believe more firmly by the day. I can give my child my love, but cannot expect him to love me in return. I can try to mould his thoughts in the way I feel appropriate but I have no control over them, I cannot expect him to think the way I do. In him I see life's longing for itself. In him I see tomorrow. My tomorrow. My set of DNA fused with my husband's DNA, going into the future with the promise of replicating ourselves many times over, through generations, leaving a bit of ourselves as sand in this universe after we are dead and gone. He came through me, but not from me. I couldnt create him. It is a power which created him. Which blew life into the cocktail of sperm and egg and nourished the zygote to term. I am but a custodian. My son belongs to the universe. He is not mine to be possessive about, he is mine to care for, to nurture and to release into the universe, where he belongs. This is the most humbling experience ever. You can give birth, raise, and care for a child, but a child is never truly yours and will go on to live his or her own life.
Which also makes you realise your parents have done the same. When you were adult, you moved on from your parents into your own life, and so you should expect from your child. And prepare for it.

And more:
Take this analogy from Swami Vivekananda: You cannot make a plant grow in soil unsuited to it. A child teaches itself. But you can help it to go forward in its own way. What you can do is not of the positive nature, but of the negative. You can take away the obstacles, but knowledge comes out of its own nature. Loosen the soil a little, so that it may come out easily. Put a hedge round it; see that it is not killed by anything, and there your work stops. You cannot do anything else. The rest is a manifestation from within its own nature.

Yes, I am in this kind of a mood today. When I realise that the child doesnt need me, rather I need the child.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

And the tooth fairy has visited us!

The brat was sitting in a corner, silent, self absorbed, and not generally decimating the house. Mamma went to him curious, checked his forehead. This checking of the forehead has now become a reflex action, after the past few months of hell. All cool. Mamma sees him mouth open tongue pushing a tooth back and forth. Mamma sank like a stone to the welcoming sofa. The child's teeth are now shaking. Her baby is now officially a big boy. No longer a baby. His milk teeth, his beautiful beautiful pristine white, perfectly aligned milk teeth which sprouted peacefully, without giving mamma endless agony over upset stomachs and infections and such like, were now falling off. Mamma, unable to resist a shaking tooth, like popping the bubbles on bubble wrap, shook the tooth vigorously. "My baby," she cooed,"You've become a big boy. Look, your teeth are shaking, they will fall off, and you will get new teeth."
The brat grinned, pleased as punch at the prospect of being a big boy. He shook his tooth some more. "And look," Mamma billed again, "You're even growing a moustache!" This for a soft down on his upper lip. The brat inflated his chest like a prizefighting rooster. Mamma left him to his happiness and moved on to tackle her chores for the day. Five minutes later the brat went into the bathroom, stared at his shaky tooth and emerged with a gap in his teeth, and his shaky tooth in his hand. "I pulltit out. Lookatit. Now I become a beeg boy?" Hope shining in his eyes. "Yes," grinned mamma, happy that the extraction was so painless, and as she bent down to hug the brat, notices a faint redness above the upper lip, and asks, what happened here? "I shavedit, wid Pappa's shaving. I is a beeg boy now. I do shaving eveyday now. Like Pappa."

Ganapati Bappa Morya

This is a very tired little boy, who refuses to sleep. And finally insists on sleeping in the same room as his Ganapati Bappa (the small idol, which he selected for himself, to be his best fren forever for one crore days), so that Ganapati Bappa doesnt feel frightened. And who then threw a royal tantrum refusing to let us immerse his small idol. And who now says Ganapati came in his dreams and told him he was going to stay with him forever. Mamma knows this could be a direct result of too many repeated viewings of Oh My Friend Ganesha, but Mamma is willing to clutch at straws to believe this could be a sign that the good Lord is watching over the son he gave her, and will make him well and strong again. Mamma's heart breaks seeing him half his size and so weak.
May Ganapati Bappa bring you all the joys and happiness you could dream of, and take away all the obstacles to the path of your happiness and success.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Read this site

Are you buying cheap toys for your kids? I know I am, and I need to stop right now. Do you know what lead content is in the paint on your walls? I dont. But I need to find out. Are your water pipes old? I honestly dont have a clue, but given this is a new building I would suppose that the pipes would be new.
But the symptoms are scary. They are what I see in the brat. Apart from the lack of appetite and headaches.

Read this site:

This is something a kind reader sent in, and I think it is worth a look. Our children are at risk here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Where the brat becomes devious...

The brat has been on an extended summer vacation, thanks to being ill almost the entire month of July and the swine flu scare breaking out this August. School reopened on Thursday. He was duly deposited in school and Mamma took herself to office in the vain hope that she would get some constructive work done, given that her performance levels have dipped below the nadir of the nadir that she could ever imagine with no work going out thanks to running home at odd hours to supervise unruly brat, who is supposedly ill.

Barely had mamma switched the PC on, and was all sit to, when the cell phone rang. The school. The school nurse, with whom mamma is now on backslapping terms, considering the amount of times she has had to deal with her in this past month. "Brat says his throat is paining, he cant eat." Mamma picked her bag and ran. Reached school to find a crooked smile and a sly look on brat's face as he was handed over to her. "What happened brat? Is your throat paining? You were perfectly fine in the morning?"
"Id wuz painin liddle."
"Then we need to take you to the doctor to get it checked out. I cant have you with sore throat in this season of swine flu."
'No, no," protested the brat, too strongly for comfort, "I is okay now. Wen I go home I will become alright."
Nonetheless Mamma took him to the doctor, the doctor being one who administers patiala pegs of medication, promptly wrote down an antibiotic in case a throat infection lurked and advised me to put him on a course regardless given the current infection scenario and his current patheticness of immunity.
In the evening, when the brat was busy pummelling the rest of the mites his size in the garden, Mamma asked him in confidante manner, "Tell me now, why did you say your throat was paining in school?"
Brat looked up. All wide eyed innocence. "Because skul is very boreding."
Mamma collapsed and fell to the ground in sheer shock at the emergence of deviousness in her hitherto angel child. And spent the next hour informing him in great and gory detail of the privileges he was going to be denied for having thus pulled a fast one over school and parent. These being no new toys, no chickenburgerwidcheez for a month, no new DVDs, and more on similar lines which made him sufficiently distraught to beg and plead and grovel for forgiveness, the most painful being I think, no Power Ranger viewing till eternity.
No, he hasnt gone to school today. A panicky Pappa insisted he stay put at home. At this rate, mamma thinks we are going to be candidates for home schooling.

Monday, August 17, 2009

What paint do you have on your walls?

I am super sensitive about these things, because I am battling a battle of low attention spans and non existent concentration everyday with the brat. And this report in today's newspaper scared the wits out of me.
In short, the CSE tested 25 samples of five major paint manufacturers in the country. 15 on them contained lead levels much higher than the recommended levels of lead prescribed by the Bureau of Indian Standards.
Why is this harmful? Why should you be afraid as a parent?
Lead can damage the developing central nervous system and brains, leading to a child performing poorly in exams or having short attention spans.
Adults exposed to lead might find it difficult to concentrate or remember things, and feel pain in muscles and joints.
Even extremely low levels of lead can lead to impaired foetal development.

The paint companies which were found guilty by the CSE:
The highest lead content was found by the CSE in Shalimar's Superlac brand. (185 times BIS limits and 308 times US limits).
Berger's Luxol golden yellow colour (!63 times BIS limits and 271 times US limits)

The paint companies which passes the test:
Of the five companies tested only ICI didnot use lead in its formulations.
The White shades of Asian Paints and Nerolac also confirmed to BIS standards.

I plan to get my home painted in time for Diwali this year, and I am so using ICI. I dont want to take a chance with my child. I'm sure no one does. Toxic toys and now toxic paint. How much can we fight to keep our children free from these toxins?

Nanha munha rahi hoon!

The complex we live in had a flag hoisting ceremony on Saturday, which was followed by performances by the children. The older kids had been rehearsing their act for days. With props and costumes and changes and specially mixed CDs of patriotic songs. The little ones were on their own trip. Mamma decided at the last minute that the brat could do Nanha Munha Rahi Hoon. So the training began. Mamma would sing, brat would repeat. Mamma would demonstrate actions, brat would follow. Unfortunately by the time the day dawned bright and clear only the first paragraph had been perfected.
Brat went forth to perform. Brat friends joined in. They huddled around the mike in football scrimmage fashion sticking tongues out at each other. Said their lines facing inwards. And fell apart. And the brat, having said his final Jai hind with a sharp salute, looked round at his audience, who were applauding wildly, short of yelling Encore and bowed low and graciously. And then bowed again. And took the mike to say Thank You, Thank You, Thank You. And did the one arm up acknowledging wave.
Mamma's mouth fell open. The audience roared approvingly and clapped harder. Someone tell me how does an almost six year old channel a rockstar?

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Happy Janmasthami to you...

My Krishna was asleep at home when I left this morning. He had spent a restless night, battling demons in his dreams, kicking and punching us, and generally ensuring that we didnt get any sleep at all. This morning he slept, curled on one side, one arm up and the other thrown across the pillow kept to prevent him from rolling off the edge of the bed. He lives upto his moniker, he does, this child. Perhaps, I knew what was in for me when I named him this. He is naughty to the point of pushing you to the very edge of your patience. Wise in ways that takes your breath away. Demanding of your attention. The kind of child everyone wants to ruffle the hair of, or tweak a cheek. Or engage in conversation. The kind of child who makes me famous for being his mother in the neighbourhood. I never thought I would be the one to be delighted to be known as so and so's mamma, but I am. My heart swells up and does a little pop in my chest when folks from around the complex refer to me as Krish's mom.
He doesnt like buttermilk or dahi. Which is a downer, he could do with some more calcium in his body. He doesnt play the flute, but he can hold a tune when he puts his mind to it. He hasnt fought any ten headed snakes, and I pray he never has to. But in him, I see the divine. Everyday. In his eyes I see proof that the world existed before me and will go on after me. I see the cosmos in his face, evidence that old souls rest and are reborn. And come to earth to help us grow karmically. I realise the lessons he has taught me are lessons I needed to learn. Humility. Faith. Hope. Courage. He has made me understand that the only thing that matters is love. The rest is all maya jaal. Here's wishing all our babies a Happy Janmashtami, for in them lies true divinity.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

And so mamma cooked.

The brat is so never going to be of that species of man who earns his wife's eternal displeasure by insisting that nothing she ever conjures up in the kitchen could ever match upto the exacting standards of culinary excellence that his mother set. Nah. The brat would be delighted with a half fried egg with bread, because his mother manages to burn said egg and have the yellow broken while getting said egg transferred from frying pan to plate. Yup. Mamma's favourite dish is mashed potatoes with pepper and butter. And mamma's culinary skills are of the level that generally necessitates folks sitting down to dinner with the kind of expression that has been patented by the king's food tasting man. You never know which vile concoction will shoot through your gullet and lay you out. The pappa asks for prior warning and take out menus if the need ever arises that he is forced, at gun point or leave of absence taken by itinerant cook to eat vile victuals concocted by mamma.
Therefore with the cook currently being instructed to stay away from the premises until her so-called fever, cold, cough and such like subsided, the mamma has been pressed into kitchen duty. Therefore, mamma has been concocting delicacies. Yesterday mamma made chicken curry rice. (Disclaimer: Mamma was ambitious. She had never attempted this task before singlehandedly). A lot of mixing and grinding was done, chicken marinated and chucked into kadhai and cooked over slow flame until meat fell off the bones. Yup, mamma has a mamma who is a fabulous cook, and sort of technically knows the rudiments and will not starve in a crisis.
The brat was yelling for his daily dose of the dead avian creature so the creation was hurriedly ladled onto the plate and presented to him. Warily. Anticipating the standard response that anything mamma puts together gets. Mamma gently shovelled one spoonful in. The brat ate it through calmly much to mamma's surprise. She shovelled the second one in. And the third, and the fourth and the entire plate was clean. The brat asked for seconds. And finished it. Then held up his pointer and thumb in a circle of approval. "Mamma, thank you for the delicious chicken."
Mamma collapsed in a snivelling, grovelling heap of gratitude at this endorsement of her cooking skills from the most important person in her life. Maybe, there's hope yet. The brat might still grow up to nag his wife to meet the exacting standards of burnt and oversalted food his mother made.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

School is closed!

And the brat is rejoicing with jumping on the ground glee! Yesterday, mamma chickened out of sending him to school and took him straight to office, where he spent the better part of the morning viewing Ben 10 movie trailers online. And demanding, with infernal whining that permeates through cranium into brain cells, a Happy Meal from the neighbouring McDonalds of which only the accursed toy was of interest and stern threats deployed to get said burger down. The evening saw us at a birthday party which had a Chicken Mcgrill served much to the brats wrinkled nose disgust. "I don wan dis," he informed the puzzled hostess, packet in hand, poking her in the belly to draw her attention. "I oney ead d chickenburgerwidcheez. Dis Mcgrill iz nod tasty. I give it to d beggar."
Mamma did a fair enough enactment of a horrified Mother Earth Swallow Me Now to get into any Ram Lila worth its face paint.
Thankfully a chickenburgerwidcheez was ordered and devoured with much relish and chortling mirth. Mamma so must learn a lesson from this! Ask and you shall receive.
This morning, mamma woke up uneasy at the thought of sending the brat in to school when the messages started flying in. School closed till Sunday. Reopens Monday. Yup. Ask and you shall receive. As the good Lord said. Now, if mamma could only focus on asking for those millions in her bank account, she could put in a chickenburgerwidcheez assembly line at home.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Swine Flu Precautions

1. Wash your hands frequently Use the antibacterial soaps to cleanse your hands. Wash them often, at least 15 seconds and rinse with running water.
2. Get enough sleep Try to get 8 hours of good sleep every night to keep your immune system in top flu-fighting shape.
3. Keep hydrated Drink 8 to10 glasses of water each day to flush toxins from your system and maintain good moisture and mucous production in your sinuses.
4. Boost your immune system Keeping your body strong, nourished, and ready to fight infection is important in flu prevention. So stick with whole grains, colorful vegetables, and vitamin-rich fruits.
5. Keep informed The government is taking necessary steps to prevent the pandemic and periodically release guidelines to keep the pandemic away. Please make sure to keep up to date on the information and act in a calm manner.
6. Avoid alcohol Apart from being a mood depressant, alcohol is an immune suppressant that can actually decrease your resistance to viral infections like swine flu. So stay away from alcoholic drinks so that your immune system may be strong.
7. Be physically active Moderate exercise can support the immune system by increasing circulation and oxygenating the body. For example brisk walking for 30-40 minutes 3-4 times a week will significantly perk up your immunity.
8. Keep away from sick people Flu virus spreads when particles dispersed into the air through a cough or sneeze reach someone else’s nose. So if you have to be around someone who is sick, try to stay a few feet away from them and especially, avoid physical contact.
9. Know when to get help Consult your doctor if you have a cough and fever and follow their instructions, including taking medicine as prescribed.
10. Avoid crowded areas Try to avoid unnecessary trips outside. Moreover, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.

Take care everyone!
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Sunday, August 09, 2009

When pigs fly!

I will never ever say that phrase in frivolity again. Cross my heart. Swear to die. If swine flu doesnt get me before that or a truck on the road. Turns out my paranoia is not misplaced. The posts a couple of posts ago, about the kids running amok with fever and colds and coughs and happily dispersing the said viruses into the air, and the current panic about H1N1 is the kind of stuff that validates my belief that my paranoia is not misplaced. Am stocking up on them disposable masks. On the hand sanitisers. And on my calm. The last one is a toughie.
Mamma got the brat ready for school today. He had a slight sniffle and as we passed the route to school, paranoid mamma kept seeing folk wandering around wearing disposable masks and that was enough to trigger full panic alert and Mamma drove the child straight to office, rather than drop him at school and straight into the virus cess pit.

What is the latest on the H1N1 scare in Mumbai? As of this morning, this and this was on the front page of the Times of India. Four schools in the city have been shut. The brat's school is not shut. But I do know from the last day I dropped him at school, that kids coughing their lungs out were being cheerfully dropped at the gates by parents anxious that their children not miss a single day of school, never mind if the child is barely able to drag himself into class. (Yes, you mom, in the fake Juicy Couture velvet tracks and hoodie, and the perfect eyeliner and gloss at 8 am, this is for you!). I am a wuss. I chicken out. I've had a month of ill health. The child's immunity is at an all time low. It scares the hell out of me. I rather he stays home and misses school and drives me up the wall with boredom triggered antics.
Constant handwashing. OD-ing on the hand sanitiser. The disposable masks in a crowded public situation. And tonics to boost immunity is what I'm doing. Apart from praying that all those who are unwell, recover soon. And Tamiflu quotas are made realistic for our population. And these vaccines are developed soon.
And this, for all us paranoid mammas out there. Worth a try.

Here's the family in neon...

An old picture, shot a couple of years ago in Daman, worked on diligently by my very creative niece Shivani.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Of drawing classes and such like

God bless mamma's rotten little soul for doing so, but when a group of five tykes was banded up for a twice a week drawing class to be conducted in the building premises, mamma ran shrieking, holding cash upfront to sign up for the brat. Yes, its true, we live through our children. Mamma once had pretensions to being the next Anjolie Ela Menon, drop the mega sized bindi punctuating the forehead of course (so not my style!), but discovered that painting materials were expensive and writing was a cheaper profession, all it needed was the hands to type, so promptly chucked over art in favour of the written word.
The brat, as is his won't, has taken the worst from both his parents, excepting of course his mother's charm, and his fathers shy smile, and is hopeless at art. Oh he draws. Such wonderful abstracts! Such dynamic fusion of colour and strokes, such vigorous movement, such interplay of form and texture. The broken crayons are testimony to his tongue protruding just that bit concentration as he creates his masterpieces that only a mother could love. The said mother has framed a sketch of self with spouse where self has been drawn in felt (pink) with huge bat ears and Krusty the clown hair, buttons down a shirt and stick legs balanced on tottering shoes and no pants. Mamma loves it. Its captured my spirit perfectly, but I'd debate a bit on the choice of pink. Its so not my colour. Pappa got purple. He studied himself with curled lip and deferred comment.
The day of the drawing class dawned. The brat jumped up bright and sparkly. And began packing his bag. Felt pens, crayons, pastels, water colours, tempera, pencils, erasers, all the sharpeners he could lay his hands on. When the bag had reached Cannot Lift But Can Drag weight he was satisfied and dragged it behind him, thoroughly satisfied with his efforts. "I take evveything. I will draw so many things. I become very clever drawer."

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Of infectious fevers and insensitive mothers.

Okay, here is a grudge post. Something that is really, truly and completely getting my hackles up. Let me get this rant off my chest and will go back to regular programming.
Especially since the brat has been so very ill over the past month, and I've been keeping him insulated from the world at large trying to get his immunity levels back to normal (yes, iron supplementation and tonics have been started). Dropped him off at school the other day, saw a clearly under the weather child troop in and the mother telling him placidly, its only a slight fever, what would you do staying at home. I gave her a look which would have felled a buffalo but she probably required one that could have slayed an elephant, so she ignored me and trotted off in her extra tight gym wear, no doubt for her precious me time at the gym that a sick child at home was keeping her from.
There are many kids like that. Being sent into school with a fever. Because to their mothers it is just a slight fever. But to my child, a fever that is 99 degrees could send him into seizures. Please do my child the courtesy of keeping yours at home until he is fever free. And not coughing his lungs out. And non-infectious. I have done that. I have kept him home for three and a half weeks till he's clear. Surely, the school should enforce some rules. It is my child in that school. A child I have kept at home for a 48hour fever free period before I dared send him back again to school so
he doesnt infect any other children around him. Of course, me being
me, I did a little standing on the spot Rumpelstilskin hopping tantrum
about how the school should set norms about a fever free period before
a child with a viral is allowed into school.
The brat was picked in the afternoon, brought home, fed and put to sleep for a bit. Tuition done in the evening, he was taken down to play. There in the park, was a lady with her son, a tyke the same dimensions and age as the brat, and his current best friend in the whole wide world, who was coughing his lungs out, and the lady tells me cheerfully, he's been running a high viral fever for the past couple of days. I froze. My first instinct was to pick up the brat and flee. But I am anything but ungracious. I asked gently if he wouldn't be better off at home rather than exerting himself down. No, she grinned inanely, he needs to play. Not with my son, I wanted to yell. But the son had already got down to fisticuffs with him. And after a bit the son decided that he would take his friend home, and the lady cheerfully said, yes, yes, why not, I will come in an hour to pick him up. My first instinct was to pick the brat and run screaming from the park like dinosaurs had been set loose on us. My second instinct was to crank my rusted brain cells for a way out of this without the need to resort to obvious rudeness in the manner of No Way. I'm not having my son exposed to viral fever all over again. Therefore an alibi was subtly arranged and the visit avoided and the brat dragged back home through threat of dismemberment and no television viewing privileges till he grows a moustache. And much sanitiser used on his face, hands and feet post a Dettol bath and much praying.
And then the brat goes for a birthday party. Where a kid seems a little
spotted. And the mother says, he's just had chicken pox. At which point, I got up, said my good byes to the hostess and left.
I visited another friend to find her kids playing with two other kids from the building, the kids who were visiting had been sent there by their mother, who is also suffering from chickenpox.
Is there something I am missing here? Why would anyone expose other
children to an infection they or their children could be carrying?
Isnt this the height of callousness to the level of absolute criminality? And in this season, even a simple cough and cold is no longer to remain just that with children. Is this a mindset out there that just doesn't care who they pass the infection onto as long as the children are out of their hair? Why are folks becoming so insensitive these days to the risk they are putting other kids at?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

From mid July to now...

The brat has been falling ill continuously. It started with the tummy bug that had him hospitalised for dehydration, which he then followed up a seizure and kept the ante upped with cold, fever, vomiting, ear infection, etc. Suffice to say, it has been one rough month. He's just gone back to school today. Everytime the phone rings, I jump, and his father comes scooting out of the cabin to check if its a call from school. We're become paranoid. I've even succumbed and tied on a black thread round his neck and put on a panchdhatu kada on his wrist. Damn it, I would dye his hair red if it kept him healthy and well. Or pluck feathers off a chicken and stick them in my hair. And dance around a totem pole if the need arises.
I took him into school the other day for his culminating activity, a performance where the school puts up a grade wise performance of the things the children have learnt through the term along with a display of all the things they have made during the term. The brat was to be the gardener in the skit up on stage. He had been practising his lines through fever and snot. "Dont pluck the flowers. I am the gardener, I take care of these plants." Said at extreme high pitch with wide arm sweeping gestures and concluded with a Thankyou and a smart bow. He went to school trussed in a dhoti, kurta and a pagdi. Looking more Rajasthani villager than gardener, but lets not nit pick on details. The skit commenced. The brat bounced in and bounced all over the performing space, with a little plastic play watering cans zealously watering each and every plastic plant pot kept on stage. Kept looking at his classmates to hurry along so he could say his dialogue. And his turn came. He came up to the mike his eyes shining through hollowed out sockets, with the deep dark circles he's developed over the past few weeks. "DONT pluck the flower.....Thank you," he said. A big smile on his face. His eyes, seeking me out in the crowd for approval. I clapped vociferously. No one else did. His face fell. He walked back inside. When I collected him I hugged him tight and told him he had made me so proud. His face lit up again. He was happy I was happy. And I put a pox on all those who didnt have the courtesy to clap for a child who says his dialogue with such enthusiasm.
I leave in a bit to pick him up from school. I wonder how his day went. Whether he is able to cope with all he missed in the past weeks. How his friends received him. What his teachers had to say to him. I hope his day went well. I hope illness has gone far far away from him.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Because Raksha Bandhan is round the corner

The brat is a lucky fella. Despite lazy mamma and pappa doing absolutely nothing to ensure he is supplied with a sister, he got three rakhis by post last week. He has four first cousins from his pappas side of the family tree, three of whom are girls.
"Wots dis?" He asked, as I showed him the pretty threads. "These are rakhis, beta," I told him. Sent by your didis. "Fer wot?" He asked, with the wrinkling of nose expression that indicates he knows the answer but is trying to catch you out. "You have to tie this to your wrist, and promise to take care and protect your sisters for all your life."
"Who I have to pertect?" Your didis, I repeated. Two of said didis have gone into college, one is a sturdy ninth grader. I could feel the laugh coming on as I looked at my asparagus limbed, colloquially termed single-pasli superbrat. His nostrils flared, "Hau I can pertect dem. Dey is beeg. Dey wil pertect me. I tie rakhi to dem."
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