Get Well Soon (in the mind)

Ambulance

After a long gap, yesterday, I was down with fever again. Around 5 in the evening, I could no longer continue to work, so decided to pack my bags and head home. Immediately upon reaching the home, I went to my room to catch some rest. This bothered Yog, as he is used to me hugging and cuddling him as I get home. He followed me into the room. Toyna followed him behind and like a big elder sister explained to him that Mama was not well and had to rest. She took him outside to play and quietly shut the door of my room. Even though my body was crying in pain, my heart smiled at her concern.

With the door shut to the outside world and the evening sun setting down, my room settled into a peaceful dark zone. All my senses crashed and I slept fitfully for some time. As my mind and body relaxed, some of my energy levels returned. I got out of bed and went down looking for the kids. They were playing in the living room, amidst a huge spill of toys and books. Toynas school books were scattered on the dining table, indicating a failed attempt to finish her homework on her own. I went to sit down with them and finally managed to give Yog his pending hug. As I slowly settled in and soaked in my surroundings, I requested Toyna to clean up some of the toys. I chided Yog for making such a mess. At the same time, I asked Toyna to show me her pending homework, so we could finish it.

Toyna came down and sat with me on the floor. She looked straight at my face, as if trying to gauge how I was feeling. She then cautiously exclaimed, “I think you are feeling better now, Mama.” I smiled and said, “Yes! But how do you know  I am feeling better?” She stood up quickly, with a look that said, “I thought so!” and said, “because you started scolding me and Yog again!” The blood left my face as I digested this comment. Was this Toynas perception about my normal self? She was quick to note that I did not felt so good about her comment, so she hurriedly added, “…and your face is also looking less red now!”

It doesn’t matter much on what she said, or what her perception is. I have known it for a long time that I need to take it easy on her. However, hearing it from her, yesterday, was a nice gentle reminder. Whenever, I think of that moment, I smile. I hope, I don’t give her many more chances to wish that I fall sick again.

Age is just a number

Happy Birthday

What is it about getting old that really makes you forget your age?

  • Is it the fact that you are now busy counting the age and the class of your kids?
  • Or is it, that your mind is cluttered with too many things to remember?
  • Or is it, simply because you would rather choose to forget a number that doesn’t seem as exciting anymore?

After a series of embarrassing moments related to forgetting my age, I am really trying to find the answer.

On second thoughts, maybe, it is because, you would rather focus on the zillion things still left to be accomplished, rather than counting a number, which doesn’t even match up to who you really are as a person.

Amma and Amuu


I Love You Mama

 

Yog said his words when he was 5 months old. These words were “Abbba” calling out to his dad. I waited a long time to hear him call me “Mama”. Then one day, few months back, he started saying “Amma”. Since that day, his whole vocabulary has consisted of pretty much one word only, “Amma”. When he sees his dad coming in, he rushes to him and says “Amma Da” ( “Mom come” in Telugu). When he wants to ask a question, he says “Amma ??” with a questioning tone, his eyebrows raised and his palms turned upwards in a question. When he is happy, he throws his head back, laughs aloud and exclaims, “Ammma!!!!” The word that I waited for months to hear, has been resounding almost constantly in our house for a long time now. Infact, it has been pretty much the only decipherable word in Yogs, otheriwse, gibberish vocabulary.

While I was basking in the glory of being the only word in his vocabulary, I was overthrown from this title, by none other than our four year old neighbor, “Amu”.  I admit she is adorable and I can image why Yog loves her so much, but I am unable to comprehend how she could ever stand in competition to me. Anyhow, Yog has two words in his vocabulary now, Amuuuuuuu and Ammmmma. Other words do come in but those are all combinations of syllables added/modified from these two main words, like Bamma, Ammama, Akka, Atta.

The other day, I was musing about this, wondering how kids hook on to the sounds of AA and MMM. It struck me that these two syllables are in fact what also represent the chant of all chants “OM” also referred to as “AUM” in Sanskrit. AUM is considered the sound of God that gives consciousness to mother nature. The sound of AUM encompasses all words, all sounds in the human language. No wonder then, that whatever might be the language we speak, the word Mother is always a combination of these two syllables – Amma, Mamma, Mom, or Maa.

By calling out to their mothers, young kids are actually calling out to the entire universe. At the same time, they are practicing all the syllables that they need to speak in their later life. Now I understand, why Yog has been chanting Amma all this time. It is not, so much to do with me, but the entire cosmos around me.

Errors in Life

 

Saave Plants

One important thing that I have learnt in my long  ex-career as a Software Tester is that wherever there is a human element involved in any product or service, there will ALWAYS be errors. Humans are responsible for adding the beauty, the emotions, and the intellect to our product and services; but let’s be honest, they also add the errors.

When someone walks up to me to tell me, “I am 100% confident there are no errors in my deliverable. Please don’t delay this by another review. ” I can only sigh and tell them that humans were made to be imperfect. It is Ok to be imperfect! I know there are still errors, out there, waiting to be caught; if not by me, then by our clients.

As a manager, my reviews are not aimed at pointing fingers and showing my team down. These are aimed at improving the product, the process that goes behind it and yes, the efficiency of the team.

Just because I constantly raise defects, that does not mean, my own systems and processes are error free. I am just as human as anyone else out there. As I step into office each day, my endeavor is to fix processes leading to errors, so we outgrow the past errors and are ready for some new ones, at the next level of maturity. Wouldn’t life be so boring, if we were to continuously make and solve the same errors for the rest of our lives?

God Bless Home Project Managers

 

KINDUZ Business Consulting in the eyes of a Nine Year Old

 

We have been working with a tough client for more than two years now. We have been abused, penalized and battered by this client for a long time. In spite of all the trauma, the team stuck on, determined to make it work. Today, as we went in for one of the few final sign off meetings with the client, we managed to delight him beyond his expectations. He was so happy, he invited us for lunch to show his appreciation for all our hard work. The drive back to office, was as expected, very very peaceful and happy. In my mind, I was glad it worked out and I was patting myself and the team for a job well done. Days like this, I really feel on top of the world. I seriously believe that given time, hard work and planning, you can make anything work (of course with due credit to the team behind the success!)

Alas, the happiness was short lived. As soon as I stepped back into office, I got a call from home. Yog had cut his finger, he was extremely cranky, and I was asked to rush home. I sighed, packed my bag and left to meet him. A couple of tricks, some singing, dancing, rocking, phone pictures later, he was calmer. I left him  out to play with his nanny and other kids on the road. I came back to office and opened my laptop to catch on my emails. I was two emails down when my phone rang again. Toyna was on the other line crying her heart out. The reason being – her stomach was hurting. My hunch told me that she was fine and cooking up a story not to go to Taekwondo class, but how do you tell a 9 year old that? I asked her to sleep for a while and see if it gets better. Five minutes later, she called up again, still crying and complaining of stomach pain. At this point, I gave up trying to be in control. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and told her to go watch some TV, and yes, forget about Taekwondo class. It’s been 30 minutes since we last spoke, so I am guessing the TV did the trick.

As I type this post, I am still wondering, how could we achieve such a dramatic turnaround with such a difficult client; when on a daily basis, I fail to get my kids to complete even a days’ worth of simple activities . I once recommended to Pavan, that we should hire full time mothers as Project Managers in our organization. I honestly believe, they know much more about Project Management, Stakeholder Management, than I can ever hope to learn through any number of certifications out there. The peace and success behind each home out there, is because of that one highly skilled Project Manager. My salute to all of them!!!

A Part of Me, A Part of You

As we enter the park, full of green hills and valleys
You leave my hand, run ahead and never look back
The distance between us grows but it doesn’t bother you at all
You are never scared to venture far
You know I will still be there to see you jump, or see you fall

Remember these days and remember your Mom will always be there
To shoulder your worries or your care
One day, you might not see me physically around
But then too, know I will always be found
In your laughter, or your eyes
In your fingers or in your smile
A part of me will always be there
Living and breathing with you in the fresh air

When you need me, just look inside
You will find your heart beating with mine
Long long ago, you used to be a part of me
Now for a long long time, till you die,
I will live on, as a part of your life

Mother Disorder

After more than an year of having shelved all my books, I really felt the need to read something today. The kids were in bed, the kitchen wrapped up and still some time at hand before my regular sleep time.  It seemed like the perfect setting to indulge in some reading. I warmed a cup of milk and leisurely selected a book to read. Since both kids were sleeping in my room, I decided not to disturb them by switching on the light there. I gingerely closed their door, and walked into Toynas room to relax myself on her bed. The moment I switched on the light, I was greeted with her Taekewondo dress on the floor. She obviously just dropped it after returning from class, on the way to bath. I rested the book on the bed and the cup on the shelf and picked up the dress to drop it in the laundry basket.  As I was dropping the dress, I noticed her bathroom light was on. I went till the bathroom to switch off the light and noticed the buckets in disarray and the soap loitering on the floor. I organised the buckets and the soap, turned off the light, locked the bathroom door and came back till the bed. As I sat on bed, I realised there was someone already resting in bed. It was Toynas favourite Barbie covered under a white school hanky. I had little choice but to put the Barbie in the toy box, and fold the hanky back with the school uniform. Now that I was in her cupboard, I decided to organise her dresses and uniforms a little. …..

I guess you get the idea. By the time I was done with cleaning and organising her room, my milk was cold and my book long forgotten. I gulped my milk and got back into my bed to join her in her dream world.

I don’t feel bad for the cold milk or the lost book. I was also not angry withToyna for the mess in her room. After all, kids are supposed to be kids. I had a choice to ignore the mess, push away the Barbie into a corner and settle myself on the bed. Of course the Barbie would have been willing to share Toynas bed with me.  The problem was not the Taekewondo dress or the bathroom light or the Barbie. The problem was what I can call the “Mother Disorder”. As mothers we just cannot rest in peace till we have a messy room around us. We can even make Yamraj wait for us, till we finish our cleaning and organising. What is a little book with a glass of milk compared to that.

To all Mothers out there,  who are still cleaning up after the tornadoes of the day, I propose a toast of cold milk, “Cheers to us!! Keep the good work on and remember that you are not alone. There are many more paranoid mothers just like you trying to make a difference. Keep at it till the day your children are old, married and have children of their own. God willing, maybe then, you will outgrow this Mother Disorder.”

The Medicine Chest

I have an aversion to medicines. Just the sight of medicines makes me gloomy and the thought of being dependent on them can cause me a severe depression. No wonder then, that as soon as sickness passes our home,  irrespective of who is sick, I am pretty messed up myself. The bad news is that no matter what we eat and how we scrub, sickness is a sure shot visitor once in a while.

The victim of its most recent vist was none other than little Yog. As he lay in bed, burning with fever for three straight days, our room resembled a mini hospital.  Steamers, thermometers, allopathic medicines, homeo remedies,  nasal drops and wipes were on each table top and shelf. Three days, I couldn’t care less to clean up and hide the medicine monsters back inside. As his fever lifted today and the spark returned in his eyes, I managed to sit down and assess the situation at home. However, before tucking back the monsters in their chest, I had critical errands to attend in office. Leaving Yog in the safe custody of his grandmother, I rushed to office.

When I returned home for lunch, I was in for a pleasant surprise.  Yog was not only completely rid of fever, he was playing happily with his new found toys – medicine bottles! The swoosh sound of the white homeo balls shaking in the bottle and the round childproof cap of the Crocin bottle were keeping him absolutely engrossed. He would shake the homeo bottle to make some music and then rotate the Crocin cap, round n round, round n round. He would laugh in between, clap his hands in joy and go back to rotating the cap. The minute we would ask him to return the bottles, he would catch both of them in either hand and run away from us. So much so, that as I dragged him into bed for his afternoon nap, the bottles were hiding with him under his blanket. If I tried to squeeze them out of his grip, he would scream and howl and refuse to sleep. In the hope that he would catch some sleep, I let him hold on to his new best friends as I patted him to sleep. I can still remember the smile of contentment on his face as he held on to both bottles with dear life and closed his eyes for his nap.

The monsters for me, had in a few hours transformed into Yogs best friends. Life can surely be full of surprises some times.

A Friend in Need

A friend from far, going through some difficult times, sent me this message online, “Shilpa, I was feeling very low and looking for something to cheer me up. I thought I will read something you have written. Since I was not in the mood for Facebook, I went to your website and read the blog, A letter to Toyna. It made me feel much better. Thank you for writing and posting!”

Knowing the pain she is going through, I am sure this particular blog would’ve helped her. But for me as an aspiring writer, the moment when I realized that what I write can actually help someone by bringing a smile on their face was one of the most humbling moments. Thank you all those who read, like and share your views with me.

Toyna n Yog

I might be the biological mother for Yog, but honestly, better than me, he has two more mothers in our house. One, without doubt, is his grandmother whom he spends a lot of his waking time with. The other, quite unexpectedly is 9 year old Toyna. When Yog was born, I hadn’t expected Toyna to be able to connect much. After all, there is a significant age gap between the two. On top of that, she hardly has any time after her school, homework and friends to spare with Yog. But as the two are growing, the connection is so deep, it seems it has always been there.

When Pavan is travelling, Toyna chooses to sleep with me in our room. I am in the middle, with Yog in his crib on one side and Toyna on my bed on my other side. I thought it would be a nice cozy feeling to have my angels with me, in the night, but I wasn’t prepared for one thing – Toynas motherly instincts for Yog. Yog moves around in his crib the whole night, wakes up once in a while, and cries out for attention some times. I usually give him 30 seconds to go back to sleep, on his own, before I intervene. This works in 90% cases and he usually goes back to his slumber unassisted. However, with Toyna in our room, it is a different story. The minute Yog makes the tiniest of sounds, Toyna, who otherwise is a deep sleeper, is up. I can hear Yog too, but I am prepared to wait it out. Seeing that I am not reacting, Toyna gets worried. She will immediately poke me and say in a concerned voice, “Mama, Yog woke up!”. Hearing someone speak, is a sign for Yog that someone else is awake too. This means that he can sit up in bed and demand his share of proper attention. I literally groan in my sleep, as I have to get out of bed to take care of Yog. As I put him back to sleep, I have to assure a concerned Toyna that I am awake now and will take care of Yog.

The concern that Toyna carries for Yog, brings out some much maturity in her. As the only child for so many years, she was quite content in her own fairy world. I could never have imagined, she being capable of such maturity and sensibility for another human being, and that too someone who cannot express himself at all.  I am pretty sure Yog will reciprocate this connection, as he grows bigger. As Yog enters adolescence, Toyna will be the role model for him. I feel pity for any future girlfriends of Yog. They will have to catch up in one way or another with Toynas role model image in Yogs mind. This means that they will have to notoriously adventurous, outgoing, temperamental, bear expensive tastes, and above all adore him for everything.

In a mothers mind, it so much fun to visualize those days. I can imagine, Toyna and Yog huddled together behind closed doors; Toyna giving advice to Yog on his relationships. Yog is definitely in very good hands. I just wish, I can provide the same comradeship to Toyna as she is growing up.