I am liking it ! amma …

Hammer in hand, a little 8 year old sits in her balcony on a rainy Diwali morning bursting the inane pottu pattasu of the previous year . It can be weird like that you know. It used to rain on some Diwali mornings. It can be boring when it rains on Diwali. Even more boring if you have pattasu from the previous year that fails to ignite. And this rainy diwali has etched itself on my grey cells for many years now. It was a diwali that didn’t exist for us. Born in a TamBrahm family meant every few years not celebrating at all – what with distant cousins of the father, grand fathers, kollu pattis and thathas passing away. And what is smirk worthy is that you only mourn when a distant cousin from the fathers side passes away . Technically speaking you could even go ahead and marry even if a close grand parent from the mothers side passes away. oh well that’s a discussion worthy of another post altogether. Lets get back to the ganga snaanam business

As kids, we felt very disappointed with such Diwalis – we missed the badushas amma made, the pattasu  that was so carefully bought so as not to surpass the budget or the only  other occasion other than a birthday when we got new clothes.

So passing away of a distant aunt or a thatha meant no diwali – no badushas, no hoopla surrounding the diwali galatta.

This Diwali reminds me of that diwali in Neyveli, where I sat bursting the previous years crackers. The father in law who was very very dear to us passed away. We have been ingraining no diwali into the head of the 4  year old . When  I was pleased when he said ” No diwali for us. because thatha became a foto” , I  thought the boy has come of age, mature and all that

But the things on this side of town has been so tempting – what with lanterns, bullet pattasu and all that. The boy wanted everything – from colors to lighting to pattasu. First I got home the bullet pattasu , hoping it will satisfy the pattasu cravings.But alas , when I cannot resist the inane purchases I do on jabong, how can I resist pattasu temptation from a 4 year old

Off I went, him and me in an auto to the nearest pattasu store and got back home shanku chakkara and flower pots and many sparklers, and me muttering under the breath – please forgive us thatha !

On the way back home, holding a huge pattasu agarbati, the boy proclaimed – I am liking it amma . and also mouthed – battameez dil  and a  mini jig to match it , all on the road . . The boring curd rice too was devoured with much gusto, because we were waiting eagerly to do pattasu post dinner.

So we have been having a diwali – bursting crackers , squealing in delight, happy with all the pattasu kuppai (cracker mess). In the Tamil world, your happiness quotient during diwali is directly proportional to the kuppai you manage to accumulate.

… what I intended to finally say was that amidst death, amidst mournings and amidst remembering the father in law when you have a satisfactory meal, you revel in the happiness that children bring in , what with their quirly dialogues and all . . “Every body is doing diwali, because their thatha didn’t die” ..

… What you give to your children are memories. worthy of a lifetime. Of squeals, of laughter, of bathameez dil and dialogues such as “I am liking it amma”

So laugh, have fun, enjoy the long weekend minus the status calls and emails, have fun family moments, eat food – Kya pata. Kal Ho na ho

But in all that remember your loved ones – remember them in the arachu viitta sambar and remember them in the beans poriyal that you cook for lunch . mourning happens . Every day.  In the meal you cook, to the curd rice you lick off the plate . and sighing ” Thata used to lick his hands off the plate like that “.

Thata – you are missed dearly!


The right to brood

If there is one additional advantage that men possess – I would call it the right to brood

Brood, to show deep unhappiness of thought. To ponder over issues, find solace and solutions

I have watched the husband do that in his previous job. He was handling tough people, tough bosses , tough work and what not. Every evening he would lie on the sofa, look afar , at the cieling and brood- pondering over issues.

Now as a working mom, I see how women cannot brood. On the way back from work, I try to brood. My son points to a house under construction and asks what is happening. I say they are constructing a house. He answers back asking a lame “Why”

At 3+, he is now the why why boy. He always ends up his conversation with a why. Why are we climbing stairs. Why are we entering this place. Why are they playing. Why is it not raining…Why is the doctor not there.

…as a mom, I think you cannot brood. You may face same situations at the work place as men. But you need to stay cheerful and answer questions .

So rather than find solutions to why a process is failing, why some behaves the way he does, why we fail as a team, I am seen pondering over why the sun has to hide behind a cloud or why the fox needs to eat Red Riding Hood

Is that fair at all.? The losing the right to brood and find solutions

Another socially relevant topic

All around me I see friends having a baby no 2 after a gap of say 3 or 4 years. My friend had her in-laws and her parents alternate every few months to take care of their first.Somehow day cares left their daughter very sick and hence the arrangement. She herself had a very difficult 1st pregnancy what with being asked to stay in bed for a few months.

Nothing deterred them from planning a baby no 2. I talk here of modern Indian households- where women work in software firms, draw handsome-salaries, hold managerial roles and are in no mood to give up a career.

I sat in a recent team outing discussing with 2 other mommies about kids, how they manage etc etc. One said having a baby soon after her wedding was what the family intended. The intention was to have one when the ladies (read grand moms and great grand moms ) were still in good condition.

Somehow in many Indian households , grand parents default as day care providers.India is  only slowly waking up to the day care concept. If grand parents were to double up as parents in the initial 3-4 years, one key parameter that would play a major role is their health condition. I had my mom-in-law help a lot with the initial 3 months when we had our first.She would stay up late and not shy away from rocking the new born to sleep in the dead of the night. In 3 years, I have watched her health detoriate too .Remember, parents age faster than you do and most grand moms are also dealing with their own health issues such a menopause

That makes me bring an important question. Career, finances may be 2 major questions that may crop up when you plan a baby .

Do modern Indian couples also consider the age of their parents when they plan their babies.Shouldn’t then discussions also be drawn with grand parents and consensus taken from them if they default as primary day care providers for kids ?

That also brings up another topic – Is it better to have babies in the early or mid 20’s like the previous generation , so that when your children reach their 30’s, you can help with the upbringing of your grand children?

My mom was 53 when she had her first grand child and was a VERY HANDS-ON grandmom

P.S : My friend’s M-I-L blatantly refused to relocate temporarily to US to help with her 3rd delivery. It took a lot of -if-you-don’t-help-how-will-I-manage dialogues to get her the U.S

In a way it proves , not to take any help for granted. Planning a 2nd or a 3rd definitely needs  to be discussed with parents if you intend to take their help or ask them to relocate ! Let us not take parents for granted !