Motherhood again

January 3, 2011

I read this experience of a father in a book. He was sitting with his sick boy in his lap, caressing him, when he saw a book lying near by. He took the book with his free hand and started reading it while still caressing the boy. After a few minutes, the boy opened his eyes and said, “Father, please don’t read.”

Kids always want our complete attention. I was sitting with my baby in my arms, planning to use the free hand on my laptop. I opened the lap top and she started growling. I started typing a mail and her growling became more frequent and louder. I took my hand away from the keys and then she stopped. I wonder how she understands what my hands are doing.


The one month hospital stay was really an unforgettable one. So many babies with so many complications!  Mothers patiently waiting for the apple of their eye to recover and get growing. I saw a mom, S, staying at the hospital. She had a pre-term delivery and the baby, about 1.5 Kg, is in the NICU. Her hubby is abroad. She has a elder daughter, 3 years old, staying with her grandmum. S is staying in the hospital alone. Every two hours, she squeezes milk from her breast into a feeding bottle, goes to the NICU and feeds the baby. She puts a cotton piece inside the nipple of the bottle so that the milk comes out only in drops for the baby to drink. It takes some time to complete the feeding process. I saw her feeding the baby. I still feel my heart weeping when those thoughts come to me. Hospitals are really boring even if you are staying there for full body spa. Then how can a mum with her baby in the NICU stay there alone for one (or more?) month? That too with nobody to talk to, no one near her to console her. Her days would have been long, and nights longer.

There were other mothers too with such difficulties. Moms of babies born with heart diseases, babies whose respiratory and digestive systems are not functioning well, new born babies with major illness like jaundice, measles, flu etc. Babies who had some operations and then they got infected. May God cure all those babies and give them a healthy life. I don’t have words to describe the feeling I had when I looked into the eyes of these mothers. Everyone eagerly waiting for their baby to get stronger. Standing in queue for their turn to feed the baby with the squeezed out breast-milk in their hand. Everyone in prayers for their kids. Are they enjoying motherhood? I was also one of them for a few hours.



Heard that phrase many times, many places. On soaps that makes your skin softer within weeks, Terms and Conditiions Applyon beauty creams which promises to make you fair within 3 days, on coupons which says you are going to win a Limo or something, on contracts for reality shows with million rupee prize money, on applications for mobile/phone/internet/cable connections, while installing software, etc etc. But usually, nobody is bothered about it. Whatever be the terms and conditions, we need the product. But sometimes, our carelessness might rob of our money and time. You can get the proof from the Gulf News column, Reader’s Issues Solved. So many people who have not gone through the ‘*terms and conditions apply’ phrase, later write into newspapers to get their problems solved. But even then, sometimes they have no success and they feel cheated.

I too had an issue regarding this phrase. When I was at home in India, I applied for a IDEA mobile connection. When I got the connection, I searched their site to look for a internet connection, and found out a suitable scheme for it. Rs 9/- per day for unlimited time and data transfer. I was so excited about it, that I never bothered about reading their ‘*terms and conditions’. I called them, and they sent me the settings for the scheme, which I installed in my mobile phone. I had recharged my phone with Rs 20/-, and the phone was used for browsing only. I never called anyone with the IDEA sim card. After two days, they had deducted Rs 18/- from my phone, as per the scheme. On the third day I was not able to browse using the phone. Ok. May be because I have no enough credit. But on the fourth day, when I checked my credit it was Rs -7. I was not ale to connect to the network, but still they have deducted the money! Is that fair? Either we should be ale to connect to the network and browse the web, or they should not deduct the money. Well, the problem doesn’t end here. I recharged my phone with rupees seven hundred something on the next day. I browsed the web for three hours that day and then it got disconnected. I tried to reconnect it again and again, but in vain. When I checked the balance credit money on my phone, it was Rs 1/-. Where have the rest of my seven hundred gone? I called the customer care and talked to them. At first, they replied they will look into it. No reply from them for two days. By the third day, with my balance credit -17, I called them again. They asked me to call another number. I called that number. They told me that if my balance goes below zero, my scheme of Rs 9/- per day will be automatically changed into another scheme, with 2 paisa or something per kilo byte. Why didn’t they tell me this at first? Isn’t this cheating? I don’t know if this term or condition is written on their site because I never went into their site again, for I never wanted to see the word IDEA.

So next time you get into anything like this, please go through the terms and conditions of that product.

Mummy Is The Best.

September 30, 2009

Two weeks ago, my friend in Dubai, asked me if I could take tuition for her son. And he studies in – would you believe it, KG 2. I was, hmm… what should I say, shocked, surprised. Tuition for a KG2 student? What will I teach him? Isn’t school more than enough for a 4  year old child?

I talked it with my husband. He asked me to help her and go on with the tuition. He might have thought that a tuition would bring a change in my otherwise boring nothing-to-do life. And so I decided to go on with the tuition.

I called my friend, S, next day to tell her that I’m ready to help her son. We talked a lot.

“I cannot make him do his homework as I have my five month old daughter to look after. ” She explained her helplessness. I thought of my mother.

My brother was five, when my mother delivered me. He never had any kind of tuition. But that was in India then, where we lived as an extended family with uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents. So taking care of the little ones was not a big issue. When I was one and a half years old, we moved to UAE. My mother gave birth to my younger brother when I was two, and then another brother when I was 5, and the youngest of us, the fifth, when I was 11. All these from UAE with no one to help her, and no one to help us. Dad did his best during these times, but he couldn’t do much because he was a polio victim and has trouble in walking.Mother_Teaching_Child

The part that still surprises me is that, none of us went to the KG classes of our school. Mom taught us at home the lessons, and we took the exam to get admission to first standard. I think we got a strong base in our education system, because of the procedure. Mom was able to take care of our education very well, because she had only one kid to teach at a time, contrary to the school method. She was our mother-cum-tuition teacher till our 5th standard. I wonder why parents with even one child sent their little kids to tuition, as if school was not enough for them!

My student, in KG 2 now, doesn’t know the full English alphabets yet. S told me that he has missed his second and third terms of KG1 and first term of KG2, ‘coz she was in India for her delivery. To make things worse, he learned the alphabets ( a totally foreign language for him as him mother tongue is Malayalam) in normal handwriting earlier, but now its in cursive they teach him. The boy is burdened with a lot of work. He has started hating English, for the cursive. While doing his homework, he ‘draws’ the alphabets instead of writing it. Does this come in the section of child labour?

children at school

Wasn’t it best for the Mom to keep the kid at home and teach him the basics thoroughly, and then sent him to school? Isn’t it best to miss a year now and get a strong base than to miss the whole education? I think it that way, but may be everybody won’t. Parents hurry to get their first child to school, and they dream of the day he/she starts earning and taking care of them, while they can retire peacefully. But sometimes this dreams gets shattered because of their haste. I am not able to make S understand all these. I don’t know how she will take my words. May be I could change some of your minds, if you are having a child of 3-4 of age, and you are sending him to a tuition class. So I thought I would write about it.

The first years of Ramadan for me were spent in Fujairah, an east cost emirate of UAE. Fujairah is a peaceful place, unlike Dubai, with some farms, many villas and a peaceful and wide sea – the Gulf of Oman, reaching up to the costs of Cochin in Kerala. The thought of my homeland on the other side of the sea made me more attached to the sea than anything in Fujairah. I also loved it for its calmness, there were only few people at the beach, and so we had our own area in the beach.

There isn’t much to remember about the Ramadan in Fujairah. Ramadan came during the school days, and we were not allowed to take food to school on those days. One thing I remember about those days were lying that I was fasting. Also, our parents encouraged us to take half day fasts only. So it was two half day fasts into full day. And when somebody asked me about the number of days we had fasted, we would say four and a half or five and half and so on. I would compete with the number of days we had fasted with my younger brother, who is two years younger to me. The most difficult thing for us then and now is the shuhoor, or the late night dinner which you have in the middle of the sleep. I remember my brother getting for the shuhoor, and then the next day he will be saying, “I don’t remember anything I ate for the shuhoor.” On day he said, “I saw only the white walls when I got up for the dinner.” Hehehe. The thing that fascinated me more was the plates full of fruits and snacks at iftaar.

We were shifted to India, when I was in seventh grade, to an Islamic residential school. During the first two years, the school closed during the Ramadan. That was the time of mischief for us, me, my brother and our cousins. We had nothing particular to do in the mornings of Ramadan and so we all get out of the house into the near by farms. We would steal mangoes, gooseberries and guavas from the farms and hide it under our dresses till night. Sometimes, we will also go to the near by shops and buy some locally made toffees, with the money grandpa would give us. At night, when the elders have gone to sleep, we would get up and share the pieces of mangoes and other things between us. For this, we would all sleep in the same room, or near by rooms. We used to take all the 29 or 30 days of fast.

During the last days of Ramadan, grandpa would give us money to buy bangles and hair clips for eid. The boys would buy fire-works or toys like guns and cars. We would also buy some sweets. Grandpa loved us so much that he won’t allow us to take fast till the dusk. According to him, children need fast only till the noon. For him, I was a child even when I was at college! He used to scold grandma for making us fast till the dusk, even when I was in my late teens. According to him, we were still his kids. He passed away some three years back, or we would have been his kids even now! May Allah shower his forgiveness and peace upon him, make his abode wider and gather us in his paradise. Ameen.

From my ninth grade onwards, our school started working for Ramadan. That bought a change in me. We had schools only till noon, unlike normal days when we had schools till the evening. After school we, me and my friends, would sit to recite some Qur’an and we had Islamic classes in the mosque. I was getting into the real Ramadan, with all its life in me. The saddest day and the most memorable day of my life in Ansar, my school, was the day when my friend’s mother gave birth to twins, and they died with in an hour. Friendship in Ansar was something that I have not known before or after, it was a very special bond. My friend’s tears seemed to be my own, and it was the same for everybody. We all wept a lot that day. The Ramadan was also special in a way that we had great and good seniors to guide us, who were very loving. And yeah, I remember the day when one of my roommates’ father died. I came to know of the event before her from my teacher. My teacher asked me not to tell her about it until somebody came from her home. She was good at singing, and used to sing a song which meant something like this:

Why is my father, who gets up for fajr everyday, sleeping under this white blanket today….

Why didn’t my father call me today in the morning, to pray the fajr with him…..

Why isn’t my father talking to me, what I have done to make him angry with me….

Those words of the song still echo in my ears, and that was the last Ramadan she sang that song. During the last year of my school life, we celebrated the last Eid with our friends in hostel, one of my best Eids!

After school, I went to an Engineering college. Thanks for the Muslims friends I got at college, or Ramadan would have been a difficult time for me. There were some 20+ Muslim students in out hostel, and some really nice boys in our college. A lady in the town promised to cook iftaar and shuhoor for us, and the boys would deliver it on time. That was how we spent our first year at college. During the second year, we changed our hostel to another one, owned by a Muslim management. Fasting was made easier for us since w had iftaar and shuhoor cooked for us by the hostel cooks. We had tharaweeh prayer in jama’ath and we celebrated the Eid with our friends, while usually we did it with our family. Ramadan lost its life when at college, since we had a busy schedule of exams, practical works and records while at college. And yeah, we were in our late teens, which meant years with boiling blood in our veins. We used to fight with our wardens, cooks and management for every silly problem that came across our way. Even though we had jama’ath prayers at hostel, we would never take part in it because we hated our warden so much. Forgive us, Allah. It was bread when we wanted bun. S we would go to the warden and shout at her. It was fish when we wanted chicken. We would sit there without eating anything, and the whole fish would be wasted.

But we soon realized our mistakes, when our college lost its recognition and we were transferred to another college. That was the last year of our college life. We decided to take a rented house, as we were all tired of our hostel life. It was one week before Ramadan that we got the house. We had no cooking utensils with us, and so we were not able to cook anything. We decided to seek help from a hotel near by, and Alhamdulillah, they agreed. They delivered the food for iftaar and dinner. It was tough, taking the food from hotel everyday. We started to regret for the problems we made in the hostel, when they would provide us with food. Here we had no choice of bread or bun, and chicken or fish. Just eat what we got. May be it was a punishment we got for making mischief at the hostel and a way Allah chose to teach us to be thankful to the food we got. That was the most difficult Ramadan we had so far, and a memorable one too. We had seminars at college, which extended till seven or eight, and magrib would be at six. We would keep apart the snacks we got at seminar, and use that to break our fast. We would be so tired, with the long busy day at college, and sometimes seminars would turn to sleeping time. It will be somewhat eight or nine, when we reach home, to the food from the hotel. The food would taste better by that time. We missed home so much those days.

After college, I was married. Ramadan was easier then, at home, with so much of spare time to do the ibaadaths. Ramadan became lively once more, after the school days. Food was also not a problem, when at home. The next year, I came to Dubai with hubby, and there was my co-sister’s mom to help during the first Ramadan at Dubai. I find the heat a bit of problem in Dubai, but I think I can stand it. And this Ramadan is my first Ramadan alone, with me doing all the cooking myself. I sit here, now and think of the days of Ramadan, every Ramadan special to me, in its own way. Some Ramadan bought so much of time and rest to me, so that I can pray and make a lot of ibaadaths. But during some Ramadans, I had to fight to keep up with the feelings of Ramadan. I believe it’s all over now, and Ramadan would be the same for me from now onwards, with no friends, brothers and cousins to make the days active. The life as an adult is really boring, na?

Heat, Fast and Me.

September 15, 2008

So i have left out two days of Ramadan. I feel very sad, not being able to fast, but what can I do when the doctor says a ‘NO’? Its the urinary infection again, that made me leave two of my days in Ramadan. Seems I cannot take in the heat and the Fast together. Doc has asked me to take 1 or 2 glasses of Pocari Sweat every hour ( that leaves no place for food which mean I have to fast on Pocari Sweat!!), along with some medicines to be taken thrice daily. This happened last year also. But that time I left only 1 day of Ramadan. Heat has been my enemy since my childhood. I used to get all sorts of heat sickness during the summer. But once in India, I had no problem at all. Thanks to the moderate climate of India. And now again in the burning Dubai, all the heat diseases that left me years ago have come back, stronger, I think. So what do I do? 😦

Orderly Disordered

August 26, 2008

At school, college and now at my home, people come to my room and wonder, “How neatly you have arranged the room!” I used to take pride in these exclamations, until I found out the disadvantages of it. At college, in our boarding, there were three of us in a room. We had our own shelves, beds and racks. As I said, I always kept my rack neat and tidy. There were separate columns for text books, note books, files and other paraphernalia. I kept my dresses on the racks, with separate columns for civil dresses and college/school uniforms/dresses. I prided myself in the “Oh! How neat!” exclamations of my colleagues.
My room mate, Seena was just the opposite. Her books used to be on her bed, below her cot and in her dress rack. Her dress rack was one whole pile of everything, uniforms, civil dresses, socks and towels! Sometimes her files turned open with papers from it flying around our room. Now I feel the fun of running behind the papers, while I used to feel very angry with her at those times. I used to ask her to keep things neat, but she never bothered to do so. I sometimes tidied her shelves myself, but it was of no use. Within two days, the shelf will be looking like a place after a storm. Even with this difference between us, we were good friends, and went along very well, although I used to complain to her of her disorderliness.
But one morning all my pride in my neatness dried up. The story goes like this:
We were asked to submit our semester’s bus fee bill, to get the free bus identity cards for us. Students with the identity card could use the bus service provided by the college. As soon as the notice was read in our class, Seena started panicking. She doesn’t remember where she has kept her bus fee bill. I scolded her for being so careless about the bill, and internally prided myself in keeping all the bills in one of the files. That night I found Seena busy searching her bill. I went to my book shelf, opened the file of bills and started looking for my bill. To my surprise, the bill I was looking for was not in the file! I didn’t know what to do or where to search, for I never kept my things out of place. But still, I searched my bags, my purse and everything I could. It was nowhere to be found. By this time, Seena has dug out her bill form her dress rack and came up with that to me. I told her about my missing bill, and she helped in searching it, but without success. I had to pay Rupees 25 for a duplicate of the bill the next day, to get my bus permit.
After this incident, I started observing Seena more. When someone came to her for her books, she would reply, “It will be on my book shelf, you can take it.”
The person won’t find her book there, and will say so to her. Seena will think for a while, and then answer, “Ok, can you please look in my dress rack, under the blue file near the white CD?”
The person will find it there.
But in my case, if someone asked me my text book, and if it was not on the bookshelf column of text books, then that meant trouble to me. I had no other places to look for, even if I must have misplaced it somewhere. And I hated searching for anything, because searching meant throwing all the articles out of their place!

So what is better: to be neat and tidy and ordered or to be orderly disordered?

People Who Never Learn.

August 25, 2008

It was my friend, working in the HR department of XYZ company, who related this incident to me.

One fine morning, she saw a tall and blonde women waliking towards her. She seemed to be in her late twenties. The women upon reaching her, asked, “Good Morning, Madam. Can I get an appointment with the HR of this company now?”
My friend, Nancy, replied, “Good Morning, and I’m from the HR department of the company.”
“Oh, thats good. I’m Augusta Denwarks, working in ABC company for the past three years. I’ve wanted to leave them since last year, but they are not going to give me a leave.”
“So why don’t you work with them?” Asked Nancy.
“Because I want to work in this company. You see, I speak English very well as I am an American with a scotish mother. I’m beautiful, tall and intelligent. I can …….blah, blah, blah….” The lady went on speaking.
“Fine”, interrupted Nancy, “Give me your resume so that I can forward it to the HR Manager.”
The women started searching her heavy ladies bag. After a few minutes, she dug up a visiting card, and handed it to Nancy.
“Thats my visiting card,” said Augusta to a stunned Nancy, “You can call me in that number for appointing an interview.”
“But we need a CV from you, to give you an interview.” Nancy tried to make her understand.
“You need a CV?” asked Augusta. “No problem.” She started searching her bag again. After some two or three whole minutes, she came up with a pen.
“Give me my visiting card.”
Nancy returned her her visiting card. She scribbled something on it, and gave it back to Nancy.
“Now that’s my site address. You can download my CV from it.”
Nancy felt herself fuming. She wants the interview, and I should download her CV for her, Nancy thought. But she had to be polite with customers.
“But madam, we want a CV with your photo in it.” Nancy explained to her. She saw the faces of her co-workers turning towards her.
“You need a photo? Please wait.” Augusta searched her bag once more. This time it was a CD.
“Please take a print of my photo from this. There are five of them, you can print whichever photo you find suitable.”
Nancy had no more politeness in her towards this weird job seeker.
“I want a printed or emailed version of your CV, Ma’am. And it must be in the MS Word format.” Nancy found her voice raising beyond the limits. Her colleagues where curiously watching her to see how she managed the situation.
“Ah! Have you got an email id? Please give it to me so that I can forward my CV to you.”
“Its nancy dot 1982 at the name of this company dot com.”
“Ok, what’s the name of this company?”
“You don’t know the name of this company?” Nancy was more than stunned. She noticed her surprise on the faces of her co-workers too.
“Sorry Madam. No.” A geek reply.
“Its XYZ, madam.” Nancy replied.
“Thank you, Madam. I ill forward you my CV within two days.” Augusta replied.
“You are most welcome, Madam. Have a good day.” Nancy smiled, happy to see off this person.
The entire HR department roared into a loud laughter as soon as Augusta closed the door behind her.

I remember my earlier post about the interviews I had, and how westerners are good in their behavior. But when Nancy described this incident to me, I felt there are some westerners who haven’t yet learned the way to behave. And yeah, Some People Never Learn.