Dear School, Please note that I am the Primary Caregiver for my Children

My School

Dear School,

I am the Mother. In case you are not aware, I am the one behind waking up the children in the morning, getting them dressed, checking on their school work, packing lunch boxes and dropping them to school. I am the one, attending Parent Teacher Meetings, participating in school events and networking with like-minded parents in the school. And in case you didn’t know, I am the one who searched through multiple forums, spoke to endless parents and finally shortlisted you, as the school for my children.

In return, don’t you think, it is my right to be considered as the Primary Caregiver for my children? But No, something in your old traditional system stops you from bestowing that title to me. You would rather stick to history and tradition and chose the Primary Caregiver as the “Father”. Don’t get me wrong! I am still happily married, and I love my children’s father. He is a great Dad!!

But how do I explain the situation to you!?! You see, my husband and I run a business together and he needs to travel most days of the month because I choose to stay in town, with the kids. However, in your records he is listed as the Primary Caregiver and therefore, the person to contact for anything related to our children. You send him text messages, emails and invitations which bounce off his phone most of the times because he is traveling. The ones that do reach him, do reach us, just a few days late. I have waited on bus stops not knowing if it is a holiday and missed school buses, not knowing that the bus timing had changed. For my younger kid, I have been waiting patiently to see if he has even qualified for the school interview. I admit I have sometimes cheated and marked my phone number under my husbands name. I still wonder how, but your smart IT system figured this anomaly and punished me by marking me as a mother of someone else’s child.

Sigh! Don’t you think this is unfair?  I think I deserve to receive information first hand and have the ability to act on the information on time. It is my humble request to you to please consider the Mother as the Primary Caregiver. It is not that the Father doesn’t need to know. Please be assured that we do keep the Father informed on each score, award, or remark from the school.

I sincerely hope that this simple request is not bloated into a Womans Rights Issue debate. This is a simple reality not only in India but largely all countries in the world. Most women take pride and pleasure in being the Primary Caregiver and love the fact that our husbands earn enough to support us in playing the role. You can speak to my husband, if you need any confirmation or validation on this distribution of responsibility. I wish I could offer you to directly speak to him on the same, but sadly you will need to go through me to get an appointment on his calendar. He is travelling right now and will pass all unregistered numbers to me to follow up on.

Yours truly,

Frustrated Mother

Dreams

mermaid

When we dream with our eyes closed, our mind knows no boundaries. We can walk on water, live on the clouds or win Ms. Galaxy beauty pageant. In our dreams, the entire universe, and beyond, is just waiting to be conquered by us.

However, when we dream with our eyes open, our dreams are constrained by the extent to which our vision can see and our heart can believe. Therefore, I believe, we should always close our eyes and shut the world out to dream the dream that we actually want to live.

 

Lesson God Lakshmi would want Us to Learn

Happy Diwali

When you are at a stage in life when money ceases to be a problem, you realise that it was never the problem in the first place.

In essence, one does have to earn a lot of money, if only, to learn to stop blaming Money for the problems.

Dear Lakshmi ji, I respect you even more now. Not so much for what you can provide to us, but for the amount of patience you would have to deal with fools like us.

A very Happy Diwali to all my friends and family!!!

Doc says, “I have another two years to live!”

Ambulance

I had been suspecting something wrong with my mind since a long time. I just didn’t know it was more physical than I had actually thought. The doctor confirmed my suspicion. I had a tumor in my brain and had probably two more years to go. I laughed and told Pavan, “See, I always told you I had a good reason to be out of my mind most of the times!” I felt no fear. I had no regrets. I had led a fulfilling life. What more could I have possibly wished for?

As we drove back home in silence, my mind started chalking out a plan for the coming two years. Considering these were going to be the last two years of my life, I should make sure I close all open chapters and live all incomplete dreams. My first thought was to spend more time with Pavan. I wanted to be with him every minute of every day for the rest of my life. But considering his travel, the only way to make this happen would be to travel with him. But then what would happen to the kids?? No problem, they will travel with us too!! Two years, no school, no projects, no exams – just complete exploration of the world with their parents!! This sounded super fun!

Done! This was a good decision. During our travel these two years, I would share everything with my children; everything that I wanted them to remember in life. Maybe I could even write blogs for them to read in times they missed me or wanted to ask me something.  I would write about everything, that I think they would need their mother for, as they grew up.

As the trees whizzed past on the road, my mind started plotting the questions Toyna would ask me as she stepped into her teens –

Toyna: Mama, should  I get a Tattoo?

My Response: Yeah, of course, if you are sure about it. Follow your heart my dear. Let it guide you.

Toyna: Mama, I really like this guy! Do you think I should go out with him?

Mama (thinking I hate this guy! He doesn’t even comb his hair): Toyna, think about it! There is no rush to move  forward quickly. If he likes you too, he will be willing to wait. Take your time, and be sure of your decision. I will always support you in whatever decision you take.

Toyna: Mama, my best friend cheated on me! I hate her.

Mama: Tell me more dear! I have all the time to listen.

Toyna: Mama, I am not sure whether to join Dad in business or go for higher education.

Mama: Both sound super exciting! I am so proud that you are thinking of your future. Do what you feel is best for you. Mama will always be there to support your decision.

The evening was wearing off. The sun was almost hidden. I was still deep in thought. I preempted many more questions in my mind and the answer was always the same, “Toyna, follow your heart! It will guide you. Mama will always be there to support you.” This conversation in my mind told me that the only thing that I wanted Toyna to remember in her growing years was to learn to follow her heart. I knew she would succeed sometimes and she would fail at other. But as long as she followed her heart, she would find the courage to overcome the failures on her own.

I was forced back into reality with a sharp jerk of the car. Pavan was honking loudly. He was trying to control the car, but something had gone terribly wrong. We were crashing into the side of the big red truck. There was something written on the side of the truck, “D…E….”. I couldn’t finish reading it. The final thought in my mind was, “Oh!! I don’t have two more years with my children!”  Then, there was darkness.

I woke up to Pavan pulling at my sleeve lightly. We had reached the meeting place. I woke up to a trance. Oh! This was all a dream. I was fine. I had my entire life ahead of me – not two minutes, not two years, the entire life.

As reality sank in, I had tears in my eyes. In my dream, I was never scared. But now, in reality I was scared to leave my children behind. I knew that my children needed much more than blogs to help them deal with life. The way I had been bringing up my children till now, I was under the implicit assumption that I was going to be around, for them, for the next twenty years. But who knows what was going to happen to me, or for that matter to them, in the next two years. Who knows whether, in reality, I would even deserve a warning that time was running out?

Given this, wouldn’t it make sense to spend every golden moment with them and Pavan, right now? Wouldn’t it make sense to let them follow their heart, right now? Wouldn’t it make sense to live my own dreams, right now?

Should Women keep Karvachauth?

Negotiations

If this was the title of a Group Discussion given for a job recruitment or a college interview, I would have walked out of that interview there and then. Because, for me, this question is not worth a discussion at all. It is not about whether it is right for women to keep this fast or whether it is wrong. It is about the futility of such discussions. What do we hope to gain out of such discussions? It is not about women empowerment, because as far as I know modern men don’t force women to keep this fast. If there is any form of duress at all, it is from the mother-in-law or the mother in the house. So, in essence, by empowering one woman to break the ritual of the fast, you would be depowering another one at the same time.

In fact, most women, I know, who practice this fast,  do so because they like to do it. It is their form of expressing their love for their husbands. While I don’t believe in expressing love using such means, I, by no means, disagree with the millions of women who do it. They find pride and pleasure in it and that is absolutely fair. In the land of customs and rituals, this is another beautiful ritual. Whether there is any science or meaning behind it, who cares?

If one has to actually take time and effort to debate and create awareness about topics on women equality and empowerment, talk about child marriages or girl foeticide or objectification of girls in our day to day lives. If you care about life in general talk about why RSS is propagating beef ban, why farmers are dying, why genetic disorders are on the rise? I am sure there is much more to be gained discussing topics that will help us in improving someone’s quality of life even if it is by 0.01%.

As for Karvachauth, I think we should just let it be. As long as women keep this fast out of their own free will and don’t make their husbands feel guilty all day (or all life) long, it is a beautiful festival that need not be questioned. We all know that a fast will not save thy husband and a thread will not create thy brother, but we still choose to follow these traditions. These customs don’t make a girl weaker or a boy stronger. These just make our family closer.