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Archive for November, 2013

Love you Naani!!

“Ahhh!!  What could be more refreshing than this?” I think drinking my cup of green tea, sitting in a chair in my garden. “Rukma.. where is my specs? Where did you keep it? How many times have I told you not to misplace it. I’m not able to find it” a voice shouts from inside. I rush to find my husband turning the living room upside down searching for his spectacles. I go near him pinch him in the cheeks and take his specs from his pocket. He smiles sheepishly wearing it. “What would I have become if not for you” he says and winks at me. “You would have been better if not for me. I’m the one spoiling you. Now clean the mess that you have created. ” I say and stand there as he begs me to clean it. Our little fight is interrupted as the phone rings. I pick up the receiver “Mom. Please come to Bangalore and stay with us for some time. I’m not able to manage with these kids. They fall sick often and I’m afraid.” As much as I love to spend time with my grandchildren I can’t leave my husband alone here and go. All these years he wanted to stay in the same village where he was born, refusing to leave it. Seeing the worried look on my face he gets the receiver and says “Don’t worry Steffi. Mom will be there in Bangalore tomorrow“. I wonder how he knew this is what we were talking about.

After giving him a list of Do’s and Don’ts I half heartedly pack my stuff and he drops me off in the nearest city airport. Having reached there a bit earlier I wait in the lounge observing the things around me. To my left is a small cramped glass cabin with a maximum capacity of ten people but I see nearly twenty people packed in it. At first I’m intrigued. “Is it some end of season sale?” I wonder.  Then I find a signboard “Smoking Area”. I am taken aback. “Have people become so much addicted to cigarettes that smoking is like breathing for them , instead of inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide they inhale and exhale smoke.  Apart from polluting the environment it also pollutes the minds of small children who see adults smoke. People want their children to be healthy but they forget that the very smoke that comes from their cigarette will be inhaled by their children. So next time you smoke think that your child will inhale the same air. Automatically you will stop smoking.

I am roused from my deep thought as I hear my name being called. “Last boarding call for Mrs. Rukma”. I wonder how time flew and rush to the terminal to board my flight. After a comfortable journey of nearly two hours I reach Bangalore. I see my daughter waiting at the entrance waving at me with a big smile on her face. It is like yesterday that she was a small girl waving at me when I dropped her at school. She is a mother now with two children. I hug her and we start chitchatting on our way home. For every five minutes we get stuck in a signal waiting for nearly ten minutes in each. Having lived in a village for long, breathing pure air, it is disturbing for me to see the pollution around. I see many cars around me with only one person sitting inside. Travelling by bus reduces nearly forty cars on the road. I pity that people don’t realize that in the name of luxury we are spoiling the environment where our children live. As we cross Marathahalli bridge I see paintings in the walls of the bridge. A particular one catches my attention “We don’t inherit earth from our ancestors but we borrow it from our children.” I feel that Government of Karnataka also agrees with me.

Bangalore Traffic

Bangalore Traffic

After nearly two and half hours (it took only two hours from my village to Bangalore) we reach home. Sarah comes running towards me “Nani nani nani!!” and she hugs me. What more joy than getting hugged by your grandchildren. I ask her “Where is Dhruv?”. She says “Bhaiya is not feeling well. He has cold and mamma has asked him not to come out of the room”. I kiss her and go to see him. I see him lying in the bed with a weak smile on seeing me. Next to him is a box of covers with medicines written Morning, Evening and night. I wonder what is the need of so many medicines for a normal cold. I tell him “Beta don’t worry. Nani is here. I will make your cold fly away in two days.”  The following night I apply a paste of naamakatti on his forehead and above his nose to stop the running nose. Then I make him a glass of milk with freshly ground pepper, pinch of turmeric powder and honey mixed in it. In two days he starts to recover. According to me instead of taking tablets for small health problems, curing through home remedies is the best without any side effects.

As days pass by I notice the children eating more junk food than nutritious food. Whenever we leave the supermarket it will be followed by Dhruv’s cry demanding for either soft drinks or burger. When I ask Sarah “What do you buy and eat during break in school?” She replies “Pizza, chips or burger”. Eating such food once in a while is of no harm but eating them daily is surely a health spoiler. I decide to change their food habits. But I know that merely advising them won’t help. So I call them one day and ask them to make a list of both junk and healthy foods they ate that day. Both had a long list in the junk food side and managed 2-3 items in the healthy food. I tell them “You get 1 point for each healthy food you eat and -1 for each junk food you eat. At the end of each week the person with maximum points will get to choose the place we will visit that weekend.” Both their face brightens as I know they have completely different interests. Dhruv likes to go to movies, cricket matches whereas Sarah likes to go to parks and shopping. For the sake of winning they start reducing their junk food but without their knowledge it will become a habit for them to not eat junk food. They start to eat dry fruits and nut, milk, egg, vegetables and fruit.

More than the addiction to junk food their biggest addiction was television and computer games. Each one has a tab where they keep playing 24*7 oblivious to their surroundings.  I never see them going out and play. So I start to organize games daily for an hour in the play area for the kids in that block. I give a chocolate to the winner daily. Even a small chocolate makes a child feel satisfied and brings a thousand watt smile on its face unlike an adult who gets satisfied at nothing.

I make them sleep early and get up early every day. I go for a small walk with them in the morning daily. The fresh, non polluted morning air does wonders to your body. You feel relaxed, happy and energetic for the entire day. Most people don’t realize that their mind and body is interconnected. They are like the two wheels of a vehicle. Both should be good for us to drive through the road called life. I hang a chart in the refrigerator with daily to-do list for children with activities like brushing at night, washing your hands and legs after playing, drinking minimum ten glasses of water daily etc. I tell them “Whoever completes all tasks will get to watch tv for an extra hour”. This motivates them to do all tasks for the sake of watching television.

Example to-do chart for children

Example to-do chart for children

I monitor the children for three months till everything becomes a habit for them. Once something becomes your habit you will automatically do it, be it the habit of getting up early or the habit of not eating junk food. Such is the power of habit. I gradually see their health improving. Dhruv who used to fall sick often seems to have become immune. I don’t restrict them from playing in either rain or mud. Being overprotective of children will make them less immune. As we do mistakes and learn so does our immune system. As a child grows the immune system learns different defense mechanisms for fighting diseases. If you maintain good health your immunity will automatically become better. You need not care about whatever new disease scientists discover.

In the blink of an eye a year passes. It is time for me to leave Bangalore. I pack and hug the children before leaving. They say “Naani. We love you. Do come again soon” and they give me a beautiful handmade greeting card written “World’s best Naani”.  I’m moved to tears.

With a heavy heart I leave Bangalore and reach my village. My husband stands at the gate to welcome me. He asks me “How are the children now?”. I say “I hope I made a difference in their life”. He hugs me and says “Like you made in mine.” I hug him back thinking that he will always be my child however old we become.

This post is a dedication to all grandmothers out there, especially my grandma(seen in pic) who have seen us grow from a little toddler till now, telling us stories, giving us company, saving us from our parents and what not. Moreover it is she who gave us our parents.

Me with my grandchildren NOW!!! :)

Me with my grandma!!! 🙂

This post is written to participate in Immune India contest organised by Dabur. Having trouble with your little one’s health? Just give 2 spoons of Dabur Chyawanprash daily. Having trouble with your health and are you calorie conscious? Don’t worry. Try the sugar free variant. For more details refer www.daburchyawanprash.com

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How I met your Father

Priest: Rajesh, do you take Steffi to be your lawfully wedded wife?

Rajesh: I do.

Priest: Steffi, do you take Rajesh to be your lawfully wedded husband?

Steffi: I do.

A teardrop falls down my cheek as I stand here watching my daughter, my princess getting married. It is like yesterday that I was standing in the same church with Naveen, exchanging our vows. Twenty five years have passed and he still makes me feel like a princess. I watch the wedding, holding his hands. When they exchange the rings few more teardrops roll down my cheek, though I try to fight them back. I believe that rings are exchanged in marriage since they symbolize never-ending and immortal love. A ring represents wholeness, perfection, peace and also implies “Hey that’s my man. Stay away from him”. I lean on his shoulders admiring the platinum wedding ring in my hand which shines as new.  He turns and winks at me and then smiles. It is this smile that made me fall for him and propose to him. Yeah you read it correct. It was me who proposed to him. It is quite contrary to the common belief that only boys propose to girls. Anyway who cares? All is fair in love and war.

A small smile appears at the corner of my lips as old memories start flooding in.

It was the first day of my college. I was nervous and tensed because none of my friends had joined my college, not even my school mates. Everything was new around me. With orientation on the first day I was searching for the auditorium for nearly 15 minutes. Finally I found it and on entering I saw thousands of faces staring at me. The hall was nearly full except for a few seats left in the first row. I managed to find a seat next to a girl who gave me a How can you come late on first day look. I was busy trying to ignore her when the principal of the college entered and he introduced himself. He then continued “It’s not possible for me to get an introduction from all of you. A lucky few will get the chance.”I was praying god that I shouldn’t be one among the lucky few. Then I consoled myself telling, what are the odds of me getting pointed out from 1000 students. He said “The lady on the first row can you introduce yourself?” I turned to see who was that unlucky girl and my heart stopped beating as I realized his fingers were pointing at me. I stood up and started introducing “ My name is……..” and my mind went blank for a second and then I remembered my name and continued “Rukma” after a long pause. “What? Upma?” a voice came from the back and the whole auditorium burst out laughing. I was embarrassed and I turned in time to see the guy. He was tall, fair and was sitting 2 rows behind me diagonally laughing. I wanted to strangle him. People say first impression is the best impression. Definitely my first impression on him was the worst. I never wanted to see him again in my life.

On the way from auditorium to class, whenever people laughed around me it was as if they were pointing at me and laughing. Controlling my urge to kill him I was searching for my classroom. I was put in section ‘F’. I found my classroom and entered. The room was empty except for a few guys sitting in the last bench and there he was again sitting like a king in the last bench. It was as if he smiled at me mockingly, but I was not sure if I was imagining. He was the last person I wanted to see that day. Cursing my fate I entered the classroom.

The first day ended with no further disaster. I wanted a fresh start the next day. It was physics lab for the first two hours. The professor started dividing the class into 6 groups telling that each group was supposed to do an experiment. Then he started dividing each group into 5 teams with 2 members in each team. I was standing there sleepy and bored as he was calling out individual names and pairing them with their partner. I was roused from my sleep as the professor read out my name “Rukma” and he scanned through a list and continued “annnnd Naveen”. It was like a day mare for me. With no other option I started doing experiments with him. Lab was for only once a week. So I talked with him only when required. I came to know that his name was Naveen George. We didn’t exactly become friends but the hatred I had on him started disappearing.

We completed first semester successfully and we moved into our respective departments. I had opted for Computer Science and he Electronics and Communication Engineering (ECE). Time flew by and we had completed 4 semesters. I saw him occasionally either in the corridor or canteen. But whenever I saw him I heard a chorus song in my mind “Upma upma upma”.

Third year of college was quite hectic because we had placements at the end. You could find either “Quantitative Aptitude” by R. S. Aggarwal or “Modern Operating System” by Tenanbaum in everyone’s hand. We were busy preparing resumes and on one fine morning I realized I had only two certificates. So me and my friend were searching for contests to participate at least to get a participation certificate. Luckily we found a hardware contest the next week. But Computer science and hardware is like an oxymoron to me. Basically I was allergic to circuits. But for the want of  a single certificate we decided to participate in the contest. After getting a big list of “To Buy” from our friend who was in ECE we purchased all the circuit stuff. With her help somehow we had managed to assemble the wires and other circuit stuff on a circuit board which was thrice the size of my palm with infinite holes in it like the stars in the sky. We prayed god and switched on the circuit. None of the LEDs were glowing. We didn’t know whether the problem was with the wires or some component used or with the circuit design itself. It was not like a JAVA code easy to debug with just print statements.  After getting help from almost everyone from ECE department we were frustrated and about to give up. On seeing our pathetic condition one of our friends suggested us to contact a guy named Naveen telling that he was an expert in circuits. Ahhhh once again he entered my life. At first I was reluctant to contact him. But with no other option I got his phone number from a common friend and called him. I never knew that, that phone call would mark the beginning of my love. He saw the circuit, removed some wires, added few wires and the circuit was working. Till today I don’t have a single clue as to how he fixed it. We didn’t win the prize but I din’t expect I was about to win something more valuable, him. That night I called him and thanked him for helping us. We talked for nearly an hour and my feelings for him started changing. We started to message and call each other occasionally. Occasionally turned frequently and in no time we were calling each other daily, talking for hours. Whenever I see him in college it made me happy. I started searching for his face during lunch hours.  I had heard somewhere “There is a thin line between love and friendship”. I never knew I was standing on that line about to fall on the love side. The chorus song of “upma upma” which I was hearing earlier on seeing him got changed to romantic chorus songs.

In third year he got internship and was supposed to go to Japan for a month. The thought of him going far away made me uncomfortable as if a part of me was leaving. I talked with him right before he boarded the plane. I was restless the next day not able to talk with him. One more day passed. I felt as if someone was suffocating me. The next day I got a mail from him asking me to come online in skype. I logged in an hour before and was waiting for him. When he came online, on seeing his pic I wanted to hug him. I remember studying that hand movements were voluntary actions. But that day it became involuntary and I started the conversation typing “I LOVE U”. The reply came “I LOVE U TOO”. Only then I noticed I was crying and smiling.

After four years of madly loving each other we tied the knot officially declaring our love. The moment we exchanged our platinum rings I felt as if I had conquered the most lovable man on earth. I wanted to shout “This is my man”. I had chosen a platinum ring for our wedding because I thought platinum represented my love. Platinum is a noble metal, rare in earth’s crust and resistant to corrosion, so is my love, rare and everlasting.

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I am waken up from my reverie as my daughter comes running towards me showing her platinum ring “Mom..I’m married”. I see the same happiness in her eyes that I had 25 years back. When my daughter told me she was in love I asked her about the guy. She told me “Rajesh treats me the way dad treats you”. That was all that I had to hear from her. Her marriage was arranged and here she is hugging me.

Suddenly I hear a voice calling “Hey Upma..”. I turn to see Naveen standing there winking at me and showing his ring “I’m also married”. I punch him and hug him thanking god for all that he has given me.

This post is a dedication to all people who are married, about to be married and lovers who have already found their Platinum Day of Love and also to all singles out there wishing them luck in finding their Platinum Day of Love

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