Maid in Heaven

Maid in Heaven

Any professionally inclined woman in India, in order to foster a hope of having a rich and rewarding career, has to get two extremely important decisions, right. The first one is quite obvious. It is the decision to choose a life partner who believes in her capabilities and considers her ambitions at par with his own. As easy as it may sound, all of us are aware of the hard work it takes to find someone like that and then settle down with him. I thank God, hundred times a day, to have gotten this decision right.

The second decision, which I underestimated the importance of, and hence have been constantly struggling with, is the decision to choose the right life support system also known as a House Maid. Since Yog was born and I slowly tried to get back to a work life balance, I have changed 6 maids at home. 6 maids over a period of 1 and half year is too poor a record for anyone who needs to manage tens of employees at work. My professional reputation would be seriously jeopardized if my business colleagues got to know about my record of hiring and firing house maids.

With each new maid, I vow to make it work, no matter what happens. She might be lazy, or stubborn or might even steal a few nick knacks at home, but as long as she handles the children well,  I vow to bear with her. Tonight, standing at the precipice of firing yet another maid, I am definitely not a happy person.

Having tried so hard and yet failed so many times now, I seriously believe that just like the “match for marriage” which is made in heaven, the match between a woman and a house maid is also made in heaven. I know I have failed in finding the one made for me till now, but I do believe that someone out there is waiting for me to find her. As I wake up each morning, I pray that today will be the day that God will reveal her to me. As I go back to bed, I pray to God to forgive my sins and help me meet the right maid made for me.

Sigh! It is time to turn off the lights, seek forgiveness from God and pray that tomorrow might be the new start for the rest of my life.


The Kiss Goodbye

Pavan Shilpa Toyna Yog

Time flies by so quickly. Just a few weeks back I was writing about Yogs first day at school. Today, I am writing about how both him and me reached another set of critical milestones in our journey.

Yesterday, as I dropped him at school, I was expecting him to cry his heart out, seeing me leave.  Till we reached the school gate, Yog was smiling happily, sitting proudly in any arms. In my mind, I was counting seconds and preparing for the outburst. Any moment now, he would start screaming at the injustice of having to separate from his one and only biological mother.

We entered his classroom and the Teachers assistant came forward to take him. From my arms to hers, the transition was smooth. No tears so far. I was praying, “Yog, please remain calm for a few more seconds till I disappear from the scene! How I hate to see you cry.” Then, to my surprise, he waved his hand at me and in his adorable voice said, “Ta Ta”. He then stuck his palm to his mouth and gave me a flying kiss. My eyes welled up with tears. I wanted to go back and hug him, but prudence demanded that I leave before this moment passed.

Holding the moment close to my heart, I rushed back to office to immerse myself in work. Meetings, calls, emails, documents ate up my morning and the clock slowly inched closer towards lunch time. In the middle of an intense meeting, my phone rang. It was a call from home inquiring about Yog. Why hadn’t Yog reached home till now?

My heart sank. Of course, I knew the answer, “Because his biological mother had forgotten to pick him up from school!” It was 50 minutes past his school closing time and I was extremely upset with myself. I dropped everything at work, picked up the car and rushed to his school. Five minutes later, as I parked my car outside his school, I strained my ears for his cries. Nothing! Something must be wrong. Maybe he was so tired, he slept. Maybe, he wasn’t in school at all. Maybe someone stole my precious bundle from the school. Maybe…You can imagine how a mothers heart can cook up these monstrous stories within seconds.

I rushed to his classroom to find him playing happily with his friends and teacher. They had to call him twice before he realized I was there in the classroom. He came running towards me and we came back home happily.

On this momentous day, Yog finally settled in school and I settled in office, so much so as to forget to pick him up from school. What kind of a mother am I !???!!

Physical Change vs. Chemical Change

.Space Rocket

Teaching Science to a nine year old can make you learn some deep lessons yourself. We spoke about matter today and the fact that it is made up of molecules. We also discussed the various states of matter namely solid, liquid and gas. We then talked about the difference between physical change and chemical change of matter.

Physical change is defined as a change in matter, where only its physical form changes but the molecules remain the same. For example, cutting a paper into two pieces. Chemical change on the other hand, is a change where the molecules of the matter themselves change. For example, burning the paper makes it into ash. Paper has created a new substance called ash by changing its chemical composition.

I asked Toyna to give me another example of the same. She rushed to a world map pasted on her room wall and said, “This is India, here. This was Andhra Pradesh! They cut Andhra Pradesh into two parts. Now it is two states. This is a physical change. It does not change the molecules (the people) of the state in any way! So it is not a chemical change.”

It took me couple of seconds to soak in what she said. She looked at me to see my response and give her an affirmation that she was right. In scientific theory, I am pretty sure this example is not correct. But then, this is so so true in something which is even above science. Wow! I am still trying to digest this example and see the world from where she sees it.

(Illustration of a space rocket by Toyna, where the kite is actually flying higher than the rocket itself.)

It is OK

It is never the environment that causes the stress. It is the realisation that you are incapable of handling the environment that causes the stress.

I wish I could just close my eyes, take a deep breath and calm down. On some days, it’s OK to be late to work. It is OK to make a quick meal in place of an elaborate one. It is OK to just stop in the middle of the chaos and find the sense. It is OK to just say to yourself, “It is OK!” Life is still good.

Day Four at School

I love Mummy Daddy


Day 4 at school – Although 8 days have passed since Yog started school, he barely attended school for 3 days till now. By the end of the third day at school, he was down with a bad cold and had to miss school. Yesterday was the first night after 3 straight nights that he slept peacefully. Today he seemed fresh and shining in the morning, so I tentatively broached up the topic of school. I was quite sure, he would not want to go and would cling to me, at the mention of school. Mentally and physically prepared to handle this outburst, I gently took him in my lap, hugged him and said, “Yog, today we will go to school! Broom Broom!!” . Broom, Broom, being the sound of the scooter/car on which he goes to school. At the sound of broom broom, he immediately jumped out of my lap, rushed to the table in our room and pulled out his school bag. I didn’t even know his school bag had been resting there all these days. I was surprised to see that he not only knew this was his school bag and it was kept under the table, but more so that he was so excited to go to school.

He got ready for school without a fuss and waited patiently till I had my bath and pulled out my office bag. As soon as I took him in my arms to take him to the car, he said “Ta Ta” to his grandmother, followed by multiple flying kisses. He insisted on taking his school bag from my hands and catching it himself. All the way till the car, he waved “Ta Ta” to everyone he met on the road followed by his trademark flying kisses. I was so relieved seeing him so excited about school. In a way it meant that he was happy being at school and the school was treating him well.

Of course, when I actually dropped him to school and turned around to leave, he howled and cried as if I was leaving him in the worst World War II concentration camps. I hate his tears, but have little choice but to disappear from the scene completely, as soon as possible. Sometimes you just have to place your trust in the Upper One (in this case Yogs teacher), and remove yourself from the scene.

As I sit at my office desk recapturing the whole morning, my heart and mind are still out there with Yog at his school. Can’t wait to retrieve all of them back.

The Default Settings for Our Body

Poem on Junk Food

When Yog was small and didn’t know any of his sign language, it was often a challenge to make out what he was trying to communicate. Over time, experience taught me that there were only a limited number of things that could make an infant cry. These include – milk, when they are hungry; sleep, when they are tired; hug, when they need to feel loved; blanket, when they are cold; fan, when they are hot and lastly a change of diaper when the diaper is wet. So when an infant is crying, you normally check on all these things and address the one that needs attention.

Surprisingly, few days back, I realized these are the same few things that make nine year old, Toyna, also cry. Whenever she is upset and beyond words, I start with a hug and a cuddle, followed by talking to her and eventually leading her to food. If none of the other work out, I put her to bed. By the time she wakes up, she is fine. All the above work out as the right remedy in 90% of the cases. The remaining 10% are cases in which she is actually physically sick and needs medical intervention.

When I figured the correlation between Yog and Toyna, I started to wonder if the same correlation could apply to adults as well. After all, no matter the age, the basic human needs remain the same. At the end of the day, all we need is food, rest, love and some physical comfort. Given this basic premise, isn’t it a wonder, how differently adults react to stress than children? When children are tired, their body automatically turns them to sleep, so that it gets the chance to rest and rejuvenate. If you observe carefully, we adults do the exact opposite. When our body and mind is tired, we very well know that we need a break. However, our definition of break includes things like slouching in front of the television for hours, junking our mind with even more trash to process. Or, worse still, going to a bar and dumping our body with gallons of beer. Or, ordering junk food and watching a junk movie with our best friends. Imagine the strain, the body has to undergo to process the additional overload of junk, that too at a time, when it was already in a state of break down. This, to me, is beyond logical explanation.

When we are born, our mind is like this brand new super computer just waiting to load some operating system and programming languages to get started. However, over the years, we not only load these basic essentials in our mind, but also load large number of junk programs which eat up all the memory and CPU capacity of our mind. When our mind reaches a break down level, it starts sending us some form of alerts. These could be in the form of physical or mental breakdown symptoms. Geniuses, that we are, we not only choose to ignore these alerts, but we write a program that will overwrite the default settings of our mind and force it to accept our new defined defaults.

I am thankful for my children, who helped me trace and reset, the original default settings of my mind and body. Whenever, I am tired mentally or physically, I now prefer to sleep. One evil that I am still trying to outgrow is “Blogging”. However, I justify that to myself by thinking that through my blog, I am helping some of you learn what I have learnt from my children. Given this justification, I pray that my mind will forgive me for this one evil.

First Day at School

Boat Ride

At one and a half years of age, Yog started his first school, today. Selecting a school for him was easier than I had expected. Before I started the hunt, I was apprehensive about the outcome; not so sure if I would be able to find the right place for his budding tastes and personality. The memory of Toyna crying all the way, to her first school and clinging to me with dear life, on the way back, seemed all too fresh.

When I stepped out yesterday, searching for the right school, I didn’t have too many thoughts in mind. For preparation, I just had a list of 10 schools in the neighbourhood that I needed to scout. My checklist to select a school included 2 simple things – happy and clean. Given this background, imagine my bewilderment, as I sat in front of school principals educating me about their curriculums and philosophies for teaching a one year old. My body was there but my mind refused to pay attention. They showed me their time table, but I just wanted to look at their play area instead. They brought out their fancy toys, but my eyes kept searching for sand and water. Their classrooms were filled with cute, pretty chairs and tables, but in my mind, I was wondering , “Where is Yog going to run??”

After the first few schools, l was dismayed. They were cold, dark, cluttered and sad. I was beginning to wonder if I was expecting too much from a school or maybe my mother’s instinct was not at it’s best anymore. Maybe, one of these schools was right for Yog. Maybe, I was being too picky. But then, I just couldn’t imagine a free spirit like Yog tied down to a school chair in a dark and cold class room.  Nah!! I couldn’t be wrong here.

After visiting five schools, I was on the way to the sixth school, when I parked my scooter on the side to confirm the directions. As I looked at the sign boards around me, my gaze caught the sign of a school that wasn’t in my list of schools to vist. First, I ruled it out. If it wasn’t popular enough to figure out on Google search, it couldn’t be good enough for Yog. I still had many more schools to visit and I should not be wasting time like this. I turned around and wished the school sign board away. But somehow the sign refused to budge. It stood tall and bright in front of my eyes. I took a deep breath and thought there was not much to loose by checking it out. I parked my scooter and entered the school.  As I stepped into the school, I was bowled over by its bright sunny ground and the nice polite principal. The minute I saw Yogs classroom,  I knew this was it. The room was completely bare on the ground except for a play mat. The walls were full of drawings. The best part was the class teacher whose bright smile lit up the whole class room. I had decided on the school even before understanding the fees structure or the curriculum. I just knew it in my heart, “This was it!!”

Today as Yog went to school for the first time, my instincts about the school became stronger. He cried a while and kept looking around to find me, but overall he enjoyed his brief time there. He observed the other kids and played on the slide. He even managed to scribble with a crayon.

I know it is a little early to congratulate myself on the school. There are still too many unknown variables that can change the game at any time. I just hope my mothers instinct will continue to guide me in managing those variables as we move ahead.

P.S. I will keep all readers posted on this next phase of Yogs development.