Sunday, September 29, 2013

His & Hers . . . Hope.

Hers
She clutched her mobile tightly against her ear. It was ringing. As always, he picked up after a couple of rings. And as had become his habit of late, he didn't say anything. Not even a hello. It always broke her heart a little bit, but she shook the negativity away. 
At least I can hear him breathing... shallow yet strong. 
She closed her eyes and pictured his muscular chest, rising and falling... his strong hands holding the mobile... his handsome face contorted with anger ... his brow furrowed, his lips drooping in a frown. She could picture him running his free hand through his hair. When the silence stretched for five minutes, she said a meek 'hello?'
As expected, he didn't reply. After all hadn’t he categorically said it was over? He had left her and the house they had so lovingly built from scratch for another woman. He had told her that he didn't love her anymore but she was not ready to accept that. She still loved him, with all her heart.
"How are you?"
Silence.
"Please say something. Don’t shut me out,” she begged.
Silence.
A tiny sob escaped her lips, “I will change. I promise I will. I will give you space. I will not snoop. I will do everything you want. Please don't leave me. I love you. I miss you."
Silence.
She didn't realize when her eyes started brimming with tears. More than his absence, this silence pinched her. With every phone call, a little part of his heart broke away.
"Your silence pierces my heart. It's creating a gaping hole in my soul and every day, with every silent phone call that hole is growing bigger... and I am scared. I really am. One day this black hole would swallow me completely and I would cease to exist. I am alive but I am not living."
She choked on her sob.
Silence.
"Hello? Are you there?"
She waited for a response.
"Please. Please talk to me. It’s been a week. I need to hear your voice. Please don’t shut me out completely. Please..."
She pleaded again.
The sobs turned into silent wails. Her shoulders shaking, tears running down her face, she held onto her mobile as a drowning person catches on to straw.
"Hello?!”
His silence was making her angry now. She started crying openly.
“Talk to me damn it! I at least deserve a response! We had been together for three years! three years! Talk to me!"
Her rage got the best of her and she threw the phone at the wall, screaming in frustration. It fell on the floor with a loud clank and shattered completely. The room plunged into a deathly silence. She stared for a moment at the broken phone lying in front of her. With tears streaming down her cheeks, she hugged her knees and lay down in the floor in a fetal position, sobbing softly.
At least he is taking my calls. This counts for something. There is still hope. He will come back. We are not over, not yet.  

His
The phone call ended abruptly with a loud noise. He kept holding the mobile to his ear. The ear piercing scream was still ringing in his mind. Finally he disconnected the mobile with an audible sigh. He stared at the stranger’s phone in his hand. He had found it lying in the bushes by the roadside a week back. There had been an accident on that road in which a man in his early thirties and his companion had passed away. The police overlooked checking the bushes but he, on his way to work, had heard the ringing phone. He picked it up intending to tell the person who was calling, about the accident and then hand over the phone to the police. But as soon as he answered the phone, before he could say anything, the woman on the other line started pleading with him to forgive her. He stood still listening to the crying woman proclaim her love and requesting him to come back. He couldn’t say anything… he stood rooted to the spot.
How could I elevate her pain? How could I tell her that her lover or fiancé or husband had left her forever? How could I extinguish her hope?
Thinking all these thoughts he disconnected the phone in a panic. But he couldn't ignore the love and sadness in her voice. He knew once the police will get hold of the phone, they will call her and tell her that the love of her life was no more. He knew it was wrong but he couldn't make himself do the right thing. And now one week later, he was as confused as before.
'Am I doing the right thing?'
The phone beeped in his hand.
'I love you. I know you will come back. I am alive because of this one hope that we will be what we used to be.'
He read the message again.
If my answering the phone gives her hope, then so be it.

‘Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all that they have. - H. Jackson Brown’

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Things No One Warned Me About . . . Being Mommy!

When you become a mother, many people tell you many things. Suddenly, even a person who has had no contact with a newborn baby or even a toddler will give you advice on how to feed the baby, massage the baby and what not. But, in spite of all the advice, all the suggestions, all the feedback, there are still certain things no one tells you. This post is about all those things that no one warned you about . . .
  1. Motherhood is all about guesswork. From the day the baby is born, you will be guessing what is the reason behind her crying . . . is she hungry? is she sleepy? is she wet? is she cold? it's like a series of trial & error and it will continue for a long long time.Even when she refuses to eat her food, the guesswork will start. why isn't she eating? is she not hungry? is the food  not to her liking? is she teething and so on and so forth.
  2. You will at one point or another will be found intently engrossed in examining your baby's poop to figure out if it's too hard or too soft. 
  3. The 'terrible twos' or the time when the little angel transforms into a yelling, screaming tyrant will not start when the baby turns two. one day she will be dancing and waving on her first birthday and the next day she will be rolling on the floor demanding a wine glass. 
  4. You may not be the one doing the hitting. As the baby develops her motor skills, she will start using her hands, a lot and on most of the time you will be at the receiving end. there will be times when in a bout of frustration or anger, she might hit you, really hard . . . right across the face. during those times, you will need to remember that you are the adult and refrain from hitting back. if you are lucky, you might stride over this phase with just a few pinches and pokes. But rest assured, she will definitely pull your hair and even try to put her finger in your mouth, your nose and your ears.
  5. Once the baby starts eating solids, you will eat her leftovers . . . And I don't mean the food that she hasn't eaten but also the stuff that she has put in her mouth, chewed on a little and is covered in her spit. 
  6. When you are a mommy, you will lose your patience many times . . . and after all those times of being impatient, you feel guilty. really, really guilty. 
  7. One time or the other you will be uncertain of your abilities as a mother. you will question your parenting technique. you will feel overwhelmed with all the responsibilities. you will think if it was the right time to have a baby. you will miss you life before the baby. you will blame your husband for not spending enough time with and / or taking care of the baby. All or some of these episodes will occur but these occurrences will be few and far between. 
  8. Motherhood = 40 percent love + 20 percent adoration + 10 percent fun + 10 percent fear + 10 percent doubts + 5 percent guilt + 5 percent regret.
This list is from the top of my head. I might keep adding on to it. And if you can think of something that no one warned you about, you are welcome to leave it as a comment. Happy reading!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Ramblings of a troubled Mother

I have a 1.5 year old baby girl, BabyS. She is a friendly, out-going happy child. *knock on wood* (Superstitions!) She is a single child and in a few months we are planning to send her to a play school where she can meet children of her own age. we are hoping she will make friends, learn to share and develop her basic skills. But recently, the milestone that I had been so looking forward to for a long time, now just fills me with dread. Everyday as I go through the newspaper and read about rapes and child molestation cases, I am, on one hand, disgusted and mortified at the state of perversion of our men and on the other hand totally and utterly petrified of sending my little baby girl out into a place full of these monsters. The thought of letting her venture out into a world full of sick, depraved and inhumane beasts is enough to give me sleepless nights. Her same qualities, her extrovert nature that used to fill me with joy and pride now has become a reason for my troubled state of mind. 

After the recent spurt of rapes, I read many articles where people were urging mothers to raise responsible men, where they tell parents to teach their sons to respect women and not see them as mere objects. But, what about the men who have already grown up with this notion. The men who have seen their fathers treating their mothers as nothing more as servants. The men who have seen their sisters getting less food than them just because they are girls. they are the real danger, right? they are out there masquerading as the friendly milkman, the nice  newspaper man, or even the educated neighbour. How do you know the difference between them and a maniacal pervert? can you tell them apart?

After reading many of these articles, another thought came into my head. what should I tell my daughter? She is a toddler who loves meeting people. If you smile at her, she will not only smile back but will also give you a flying kiss as a bonus.Recently, on a weekly grocery shopping trip, a young woman smiled and waved at BabyS who got so delighted with this tiny friendly gesture that she jumped out from her father's arms and went to the woman. it took 15 minutes of cajoling on our part for BabyS to return to the protective embrace of her father. As I said before she is a friendly baby. She likes meeting people, she loves making friends. But, not every person who smiles at her is nice. And there will be times we will not be with her to goad her back. how should i prepare her for times like those? Should I curb her natural out-going extrovert personality and instead turn her into a shy introvert baby who shies away from everyone? Is that fair? Should I tell her to not smile back? not to return every wave? Will that help? 

And if you think I am worrying unnecessarily, let me give you an example. Some months back I heard about an instance where a little girl kissed her mother on the lips. the mom didn't think much about it until the girl started using tongue. that's when the warning bells started ringing. when asked where did she learn to kiss like that, she told her much-horrified mother that the drive 'uncle' who drops and picks her to and from her playschool taught her how to do that. she was 2.5 years old. I know of another instance where the owner of a playschool raped a 3 year old girl. These are not isolated incidents. There are many more examples. A 6 year old girl was raped by her neighbor. It seems you can not trust anyone anymore. I do plan to teach her the difference between good and bad touch when she turns a little older but what do I do till now. BabyS is not even two. right now, she doesn't understand the difference between a good touch and a bad touch. She doesn't know that no one except her parents should touch her private parts. what do I tell her till she does start understanding? Should I tell her to distrust every person she ever meets? And what if the man turns out to be someone she knows? like the driver 'uncle' or the servant 'bhaiya' or her friend's 'papa'?

After reading, listening and seeing about all these instances I have started distrusting everyone. whenever the security guard or the courier guy smiles at my daughter, I hold on to her a little tighter. i know it is unfair. not everyone is a paedophile but these stories do color your perception. I understand everyone is not a monster but you never know when someone might turn out to be one. And haven't we be taught since childhood - better safe than sorry?  I am a mother and I have to protect my daughter. So I ask again, what should I do? What should I tell her? Maybe I should home-school her? maybe before teaching her how to swim or play tennis, I should make her learn judo, karate or Taekwondo? Maybe instead of buying barbie dolls for her, I should give her a pepper spray? maybe instead of teaching her to talk softly i should just let her yell and scream? maybe I should pick and drop her and stay outside her classroom everyday? Seems a little farfetched right? Maybe so.

Growing up in India, i have witnessed monsters of my own. i am sure almost all women have. i have been groped in a bus, i have been whistled at, i have been subject to lewd remarks. and honestly i think myself lucky that i didn't encounter more. There have been times when I have kept quiet and there have been instances when I have given it back, where I have made a scene and made sure that the man who was old enough to be my grandfather was left shamefaced when he rubbed against me on purpose . . . or the college student who tried to touch me inappropriately while pretending to be asleep has been taught a lesson. But does that stop the next person to try their 'luck'? I am afraid not. That is the sad state of our nation. The realization that one day, BabyS will step into this world gives me jitters. I know I will have to let her go. she can't walk holding my hand forever. I understand that I will have to let her step out of the protective cocoon that I have created for her and let her fly and reach her true potential.

but, what if my daughter is not as lucky as me? God forbid what if she encounters a big bad wolf? How should I prepare her for that? what should I tell her? should I tell her to bow down her head, dress conservatively and not trust people? should i tell her to not attract attention to herself but instead be a part of the crowd and accept this as her fate? but will that help? or should I tell her instead to be her usual friendly self and not be scared to fight back at the risk of losing her life or being scarred for years to come? and then i think what good will that do too? she will end up being just another statistic. We all know how the justice system works (or doesn't work) in our country. the 'juvenile' involved in one of the most horrific gang-rape cases could be free in three years. and the young girl who dared to fight back is no more. Another sad reality of the world we live in.

My 1.5 year old daughter is going to start playschool soon. she will be away from my eyes for two-three hours everyday. I would have to trust men and women i have never met in my life to take care of my little baby girl. I have six months to prepare her and myself for this new phase in our life. I am scared and I don't know what to tell her. I don't know what to do. do you?

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