Candles bujh gayi, ab sab me cake batte hai

I turn thirty three today. That is a big number. And while I don’t want to make this a boring, contemplative post, I think I will end up doing just that, because didn’t we talk about writing for yourself and all that? Or may be not. Anyway. So this would be the last of the early 30s, before we step into the mid-30s, because that’s how I have it laid out in my head. You know – 30 is well thirty. And what follows is neatly split into sets of three, early, mid and late. So basically, this is the end of my early thirties and Oh My God if this is not scary I don’t know what is. Actually that’s an exaggeration, I can think of a lot of scarier things but I will choose not to today, because today’s my Happy Birthday.

I have always been excited about my birthday. It’s the timing of the thing; it’s like cozily encased between all our big festivals and then followed by the holidays in the West, making the whole 3 months feel like one big celebration. About the birthday itself, well, I haven’t asked for more than a cake to cut, and this year I had two – the perks of having your mom in the same city who also purchased a brand new oven last week. Other than that, I think I’d usually want to be left to do whatever I want without being disturbed – and now that sounds like my expectations from life in general.

At this point in the post, I have realized that I cannot and will not make this into a birthday post, reminiscing my birthdays of yore, now that there have been many. Instead, I will deviate into utterly disconnected topics after I mention that I have actually not taken the day off and am at work albeit without any work to do because that’s how your last week of your notice period works.

Back to the disjointed observations, I have currently been obsessing over Gerua, the brand new song from Dilwale, featuring Kajol and SRK – a couple that epitomized Bollywood romance for me for a long time. Apparently, it still does, which can be explained by the fact that I wrote a whole post about SRK-Kajol and the impact of their movies and music and chemistry on my Bollywood brain – only I did not post it because stats say some folks still read this blog. Anyway, I think the song is awesome, though the visuals, which look like they are not real at all, might be heavily impacting my judgment here. The Dude thinks the song in itself isn’t great but then I’d think an alien taken over him if he admitted to liking music so typical of the Karan Johar brand of movies. Bottom-line – I love it.

I have also quite liked the songs from Tamaasha, though I tend to just listen to two on loop – one being Mika’s Heer toh badi sad hai – a slap in my ‘What the hell is this Mika chap’ face, because the guy has some talent in his own niche genre. And the other being ‘Tum Saath ho’ which features the ‘cannot go wrong’ Arijit Singh and yesteryear favorite Alka Yagnik. Both absolutely different and absolutely brilliant numbers by ze Maestro A.R.Rahman, himself. Other than that, I think I am getting picky when it comes to music. Unfortunately no complete album has bowled me over after Lootera, and perhaps Highway. I am waiting for another magic by Amit Trivedi.

I am quite looking forward to watching Dilwale, because as I already mentioned, there’s something about the SRK-Kajol combination. While I haven’t liked SRK stand alone for a long time – can you blame me? Ra-one, Chennai Express, Happy New Year;  I think this one will work, and I pray it does. Actually, I pray it works for one particular person – that is Mr. Rajeev Masand. The point is that The Dude and I have a tacit agreement to follow Mr. Masand’s ratings when it comes to deciding on a movie. The only time he has let us down was when he rated My Name is Khan (the last SRK-Kajol movie) a 4, and it sucked so bad that there was no air for anyone else left to breathe (Haha that was a joke if you didn’t get it). So our base rating expected from him is a 2.5, though this can be challenged by the Dude. A 3 is good to go.

The last movie I went for without checking its review was Katti Batti, a movie that promised so much because damn it, Kangana Ranaut was in it. And then halfway through the movie I decided to focus my attention on ensuring the Dude did not file for a divorce as soon as we stepped out. I mean, there are movies that stay bad throughout, and then there’s Katti Batti. It starts bad, and it gets worse, and then it’s worse still and by the time it ends you think so this is what dying feels like. So no more movies before the reviews are out even if Quentin Tarantino has directed it. Oh wait – I have scenes from Sin City 2 flashing before my eyes now. Perhaps the Dude won’t leave me after all.

Now that I have successfully turned my birthday post into a mini Bollywood movie and music review, I will proceed to closing the deal before we head into another direction. That and I think I should in general leave for the day and spend the rest of it like Birthdays are meant to be.

Yes; I meant sleeping. What else do 33 year olds do anyway?

Taxi for sure

In the last 7 months that I spent travelling across the city to reach my workplace, I have only relied on Uber and Ola. It sucks that I will be thirty-frigging-three in another 5 days, and I still don’t drive. Yes, I did learn, and even did a post about it. But I never really took to the road, So my workday begins with Uber, and ends with Uber or Ola, whichever had a lower surcharge.

You’d think it is simple, and it is, if you compare it with haggling with annoying auto-walas who don’t even blink while asking you for a straight double of what an UberGo would for the same distance. But standalone, when the cab is a daily chore, and an expensive one, there is a bit more pain to it. Not in the mornings, my place is bang in the center of all the offices in Hyderabad (except mine, Oh lord, the irony. I actually have had multiple cab drivers assume I was in a night shift because what else explains going from the center of the city to the suburbs which is full of offices in the late evening?), and this ensured there were always cabs available, and at the regular rate. Uber is by far the most economical option, so I’m out and about in 5 minutes from when I decide I have watched enough Masterchef Australia for the morning.

But evenings are a different ball game. You see, evenings are ‘peak hour’, and this peak ‘hour’ usually lasts for about 5 hours. Now another thing, which you can know only if you are a daily regular, is that peak hours are a farce in general. For example, I usually aim at leaving by 7:30 PM. To be able to do that, I need to start alt+tab-ing between Ola and Uber at 7:00 PM. You would assume that the traffic flow at 7:00 PM on a Monday wouldn’t be too different from a Tuesday but this does not apply.  Also, Uber might be running at 3X, and Ola might be going at flat rate. Also, there is heavy fluctuation within the peak hour itself. As one Uber driver very helpfully told me, the surcharge goes from zero to 4x, in cycles – 15 minute cycles. The only problem is that this is not in any sequence, so it might go 1.2x to 3x to 1.8x to regular to 4x, which basically means it might hit flat rate any time. So all you need to do is stare at your screen for 15 minutes straight, so you can click Request UberGo the moment the lightning sign disappears. And if you miss it, you either pay a lot, or decide to stay back at work. Forever.

With Ola, the surcharges aren’t that high, I haven’t seen them higher than 1.8x, but it is in general more expensive. Plus Ola drivers have been very famous for calling me 10 minutes after the booking is confirmed, not moving from where they are on the GPS, and conveniently stating that they are too far to come. Basically, pissing me off and making me avoid them like plague until Uber decides to act extra pricey, literally.

But once I have boarded, life’s an air-conditioned breeze. And if I discount the time I waste on road, it is actually quite therapeutic, looking through the windows at the bright lights and stores lined up, while there’s A.R.Rahman playing in the background. I sometimes also have cab drivers who are interested in sharing a wee bit more about their personal life. Like I have met this guy who drove cabs in Wisconsin for 11 years, before deciding to come back home when it was clear he was not getting a permanent resident status in the US. And built a three storied bungalow in the heart of the city with the money he saved over the years, and is pretty set for life. Only, he decided to continue driving a cab, because that’s what he has done all his life.

Then there was this guy who was waiting for a court litigation to be over, so he and his wife would get legal ownership of a  piece of land in a pretty posh area, which would mean he would have enough to retire and return to his hometown for good. He also mentioned a daughter, who was a Masters in Sciences and was very keen on working for NASA.

Then just yesterday, there was this guy, who while we were slowly plodding through a pretty cramped rode, accidently nicked a bike on the side – the mistake not really either party’s. The rider was a middle-aged man and his wife was with him. He was visibly angry and mouthing abuses, and as we overtook them, I hoped there wouldn’t be trouble. But unfortunately, the driver started slowing down and parked to the side. I asked him why he wanted to unnecessarily fight for no reason, assuming he had seen the man growl. He said ‘Madam, Sorry bol deta hoon. Uncle gussa rahenge nahi toh’. I was pleasantly shocked, and as expected the biker came up and started screaming, his wife trying hard to pacify him. And the driver, for no clear fault of his said ‘Uncle, galti ho gayi, sorry, aap gussa mat ho.’ Uncle left pacified, and I was left with a big smile on my face.

And while these one off incidents make me feel that the whole cab ride business isn’t all that bad, I think it’s enough. Not the wisest of decisions when you are shelling out close to 400 bucks every day just on travel. The thought I would have an additional 2k to spend on stuff I don’t need, makes me want to get done with this for good. And fortunately, I am, in a week and a half.

For now, I will get back to my search for a cab and hope I am home before 10.

Sugar, sugar

It’s been 6 months since I moved back to Hyderabad, and within this short span of time, I have conveniently managed to put on 3 kilos. Now personally, I already believed I was 3 kilos over my ideal weight. So this amazing detour makes that 6. Not cool, I agree.

While I was never a stickler around numbers in the past, heck I was always in the overweight BMI range, I have become a a little more particular since the great loss of 2012. You know, when I magically dropped all the baby weight and then some more in less than 6 months and suddenly became a self proclaimed weight loss guru, giving all and sundry advise around how to eat well and stay fit. Those were happy times and while I did the entire thing on my own, without shelling a paisa on a trainer or classes or a nutritionist, I made up for it by splurging on a whole new wardrobe to suit my newly acquired persona. I also got introduced to my clavicle and we have been in a steady relationship ever since.

Only in my case, apparently when you meet your own expectations, while it does give rise to a feeling of contentment, it also gives rise to further expectations. Not very unfair ones, I’d say. I had hit an all time low on the scales and I felt amazing, but when you have access to way too much information, you over-analyse and I decided that I needed to lose those ‘last 3 kilos’ to be ‘perfect’. But fate had other plans, doesn’t it always? I shouldn’t even be blaming fate in fact. Truth is, those 6 months of wondrous fitness that I achieved took a lot of hard work – regular gymming and a crazy control over food. To the extent that I was one of those weird kinds who are jabbing the details of what they ate after every meal into their phones to ensure they don’t cross the calorie limit, for a whole 2 months.

Those are the kind of things you do when you are in distress, and I was. You see, my assumption was, if you put on 20 kilos while carrying a baby, it would take a month maybe to lose it all after the baby is born? That didn’t make sense even numerically cos it takes 9 months of unbelievably uncontrolled eating to get to that stage, so there’s no way you magically lose it in one. So after 6 months of seeing absolutely no change, matters were taken into hands and handled. Results were achieved. Happiness was gained (shallowness alert). But once you are in this zone, this ‘I’m not all that bad’ zone, you tend to lose focus altogether. My case, exactly. And the only thing that makes me reconsider the fact that I do indeed need to eat healthier and get fitter is sugar.

For example, last night, after a pretty good day of eating healthy throughout, and finishing dinner, I decided to reward myself with a Rasagulla. Fair, right? Then I decided, that one more Rasagulla wouldn’t hurt. So it was had. Then, I decided that, I just had to try one of those Swiss chocolate bites, since they were quite tiny and wouldn’t make a difference. So I did. Then, I still wanted more sugar so I decided to eat some pineapple (healthy healthy!) and followed it up with some almonds (healthy! Sort of). And then I went back to the refrigerator (this is a true story, each element was had after a trip specifically for it), to see if there was yet anything else I could have! And there was this Bar One, Zo’s (I know, bad, bad mommy), and I had the damn audacity to pick it up! And all the while, this tiny voice in my head was going, Dude, you have had enough dessert to make up for a whole extra meal, and you didn’t even miss a meal today!

Then I kept it back. And picked up another slice of pineapple. Before you think I am trying to talk about the victory of willpower over, erm, no will power, let me clarify that I aim at no such bullshit. Because a ‘one day control does not a strong person make’. Because I’m increasingly becoming the kind who will replace unhealthy sweets in the diet with relatively healthy sweets and then end up having them both. Because when it comes to sugar, I can never, ever say no. And while my reason to worry about this to look fit, I can make myself sound a wee more intellectual by saying that ‘so much sugar consumption will be bad for anyone in the long run’. There.

The only ray of hope, and the other thing I cannot say no to is clothes – pretty clothes. And I have a wardrobe full of them, only some of them feel relatively snug these days, not surprisingly. So to hopefully handle this number situation, I have decided to pit my two loves against one another. Basically, no more new clothes until I fit and as an obvious repercussion, use my current outfits well. By well, we mean at least wear them a second time (even first in some cases, I can tell you, and now you totally judge me). And I hope for my sake that this works.

And while we let events take their course, we will sit back, relax  and watch. With a piece of dark chocolate pineapple in our hand.

Saare sitaare, uske liye – Happy Diwali

Apparently, one should ensure that they write atleast 500 words each day, to be able to keep writing, even if it is a journal entry or a letter to a friend. Work related writing does not count. But if you are in profession of writing, there should be an exception I guess – because you are writing to be read. Not writing to pass on information, or ‘document’ happenings so that ‘everyone is on the same page’. If you know me, I fall in the latter category.

Now that I’m off Twitter (and a good thing to a large extent, because there’s only so much you can scroll on Instagram or Facebook), this is pretty much the only place I can be writing at. That is, if you discount the long-ish mails I exchange with a particular friend on most days – if it’s not month close. This makes me wonder about whether I have enough matter to write about without making this into a journal. Which is not a bad thought in itself, because we forget so many things so fast, and it is nice to have some place to go to and be reminded of everything.

Just last night, while we were playing Let it Go from Frozen for the nth time and Zo was standing enacting each step and singing along, we came across this old animated video called ‘Gummy Bear’ which she used to love 2 years ago. And now, she has no clue about it. It broke my heart a teeny tiny bit because how could something that was so important not too long ago suddenly be a forgotten memory? I can’t forget just how many times I used to sing that song, and she has no idea what it is even. So I played it again, and consoled myself that atleast I have it documented on the blog, along with the other little things Zo has been up to at various points in life.

The sky right now is a dull, motley grey and honestly, I don’t mind it a bit. This side of the world is devoid of winters, and I miss a bit of chill in the air once in a while. And I am choosing to read the overcast skies as a sign of lower temperatures, rather than impromptu rains, or worse still, pollution. It is odd how the mention of pollution made me think of Diwali. Diwali, I can safely declare, has to be my favorite festival. Ofcourse this has to do with my love for lights, and good food, and pretty clothes, and the general cheer in the air.

There was just so much going around this time about not bursting crackers for Diwali – because it caused pollution, because fireworks came from factories using child-labor, because it scared animals – that it almost made sense to not do it. But somewhere, it made me sad, because Diwali was always about crackers. I was never brave enough to venture into atom bombs and sutli bombs and the best I could was a ladi, other than the pansy things like Anar and chakri and fuljhadi and in the later  years a few rockets. Basically, I was all about the glitter and not about the boom. And I absolutely love the ‘fragrance’ of fireworks in the air, yes, the smoky fragrance in the cold winter night air, and the zooming rockets in the sky, and every house lighted up with diyas around the wall, and people coming with their thaalis full of sweets and all of us decked up new clothes, I absolutely love it all. And now, I feel guilty about not caring enough for the environment for actually missing the fireworks.

And yes, we skipped them this year, because Zo didn’t show any enthusiasm, and we assumed she wouldn’t like it. Only, she did. She whooped every time a rocket burst into bright stars in the skies, every time we saw an anar, and also when she held the lit ‘pencil’ two days after Diwali. So the next time, it’s happening. I am all for the environment, and I will perhaps cycle or walk to work for a month after, but we deserve some fireworks, and we will have it. It helps that as a personal choice, we do not really like the loud stuff, but next Diwali is definitely going to be brighter.

There was ofcourse, a lot of food, and sweets (still remaining and causing me to bloat) and meeting family and friends and new clothes. In fact, this Diwali, I think we did way more than we had in the last 9 years. I guess it was because we had just been lazy in the past. But this year, I took it upon myself to ensure we were creating enough memories for Zo, now that she is at a stage where she remembers and actually enjoys the festivities. And I think it went quite well. I also like the fact that though Diwali was on Wednesday, the festive mood ensured the whole week somehow felt brighter. Or maybe it was just the Diwali lights we have still not taken down.

But now we are back to a full-blown work week. It’s just Monday, and I already a wee bit tired or maybe it is because it is Monday. You know the whole ‘Monday’ feeling. But this too shall pass. And then we will have a week for it to return again.

Updates return

I have been doing some stuff lately.  And other stuff’s been happening. So all in all, I have been keeping quite busy. Though it will be incorrect to state that I have no time to think of blogging, I do, just as I have the time to religiously read all the updated blogs on my reader. It’s just that it hasn’t been enough.

Last month, actually exactly a month ago, Zo turned 4. FOUR. I am mother to an absolutely adorable, hyper, too-smart-for-her-age, attention seeking, whiny little 4 year-old and it’s been some ride. But the bigger ride was arranging for a Birthday party for this 4 year old, because she now gets the concept of birthday parties. And where there’s understanding, there’s expectations and where there are expectations there are demands. And to add to it, you decide that she gets to choose her guest-list. Which means that she chooses people who you know only by first name and face, and inviting them is based on a vague direction she once pointed to and said ‘ She lives there’. And you actually go knocking at the door praying that’s the right house.

Overall, it worked out well, with a ‘Frozen’ themed cake, an ‘Elsa’ dress, and a nice little play area for the likes of her, where the 12 kids bounced around and had to be pulled away when the stipulated time got over. Ofcourse I am skipping the part where you are supposed to decide on the menu, and return gifts (Oh My God what a nightmare that is), and also follow up with folks to confirm their attendance, to ensure the part isn’t a dud. And then follow this up with a mini-celebration at school, which gets pushed to two weeks later because the Government decides a week and a half is not enough time off during Dussehra (I’m still laughing).

There was also a very delayed Vacation we had in September. Delayed because it’s been way too long since we took one and that sucked. However, this was a Zo themed vacation, by which I mean we went to Disneyland in Hongkong. Yes, we saw the rest of Hongkong too but that was overshadowed by the two days we spent in Disneyland, and also there’s not as much to see in Hongkong itself – though we kept ourselves busy for the other 3 days pretty well. Zo was beyond happy, and has said multiple times since then that we should consider moving to HongKong and staying in that house with red chairs which was basically the hotel reception.

Then, I read a lot. A lot in my world is 6 books in the last 2 months, 5 of which were in the course of 2 weeks. Which makes me feel that I got my reading mojo back; only once I said that, I stopped again. Fortunately, I picked up a pretty interesting read the day before and am unable to put it down. Turns out that, while I do like dramas and slower mysteries, when it comes to non-stop reading, I need my thrillers. And that’s the only genre I have kept myself busy with – not getting experimental with authors and picking the ones I have loved before. But at the end of the day, non-experimental reading > no reading.

Other than that, I quit my job. No, not for good, not for a sabbatical, not to follow my passion (I am not sure I have one yet), not to be a better mother (what does that even mean), but just plain old quitting to take up a new job. The decision was an extremely tough one because this place turned out to give me the best 2 years of my career, and also helped me meet some of the finest professionals I have worked with. But for reasons, more personal than anything, like the fact that I need to travel for more than 2 hours just to get to and from work, making it impossible to spend more time with Zo, I decided to let go. And then I convinced myself that people let go of their careers for personal reasons, and this is just a job. But apparently, I am not the easiest of people to convince.

And just last week, I stepped into student life again. After a decade of absolutely no studying, not even work-related certifications, I decided to go ahead and register myself for a long distance Masters with IGNOU. And, wait for it, in Literature! When I was on the brink of choosing a line of studies 17 years ago, all geeky kids took Sciences by default. I was nothing if not a geek, and the fact that I ventured into Commerce (that’s for average kids!) and was supported by my parents, was a shocker to many. However Arts was for the below-average kids as per popular belief, and also not something my parents would have been very keen on.

Things worked out well since then, and I am more than happy about my career and the fact that it funds my luxuries, but somewhere, there’s been a niggling curiosity about how things are in the Humanities world. Now that I have the chance to, I am doing what I wanted to, though it took me a while to realise it. For all I know, this will be a complete flop, and I wouldn’t even be able to manage it, and it will be SO boring that I’ll drop it. And in any case it doesn’t add to my CV. I was on the brink of doing this 4 years ago and then Zo happened so I got busy. But I guess it is now or never, so here I am, actually getting back into the world of assignments and exams and classes, something I have been romanticizing way more since I got out of them. This might be the reality check I need.

Just today morning, I deactivated my Twitter account. Reason being, just logging off is not answer for people with such terrible will power apparently. Deactivation was the key, though it will take 30 days for it to be deleted forever. But to get out of the world of mindless but hilarious jokes, political outrage, social outrage, random trolling, and that incessant need to monitor the follower count, was absolutely essential for my general well-being. I have also decided to de-link the blog from my Facebook account for no particular reason. I guess I think these sort of posts don’t need to be publicized, especially since they are borderline journal entries.

I think that’s a lot of information for a ‘What have I been up to’ post, but I guess my infrequency warranted it. The only way to fix this is to be more regular but we have all seen how well that works! Nonetheless, one can always hope. And wait. And watch.

Yes, Baby?

Eons ago (it does seem like eons now), I had written this post about how there seemed to be certain default variables in our society, that determined whether a couple was ready to have a baby. Mind you, these are not variables that the couple uses to take a call as big as this – these are sensible reasons that are usually offered to them, free of charge, unasked for, by their well-wishers. Surprisingly, there seem to be no default variables to define if they are ‘not’ ready to have a baby. For that, being a married couple is enough, and the rest will fall in place, magically. Because isn’t it to procreate that a man and woman decide to get married in the first place?

Ahem. No would be the answer. No. Even if you are going aww at the sight of every baby stroller in sight, and all your friends are continuously sharing pictures of their ‘cute little ANGLE’ (true story, by the way). Even if your biological clock is ticking away and your mom and your husband’s mom and the neighbor’s mom and his cat’s mom are reminding you of it every day, no. Unless, you have thought through and discussed and solved and are able to counter all of the variables that say no, you’re not ready to have a baby.

Because dude, let me tell you this – babies are hard work, and responsibility, and they cost you time and money. Yes, money. Now the pro-baby brigade might go all – ‘How can having a baby be a financial decision, it’s an emotional decision, love is all that matters’. Yes, love is all that matters, but when you are in a financial rut and unable to provide the luxury that you once dreamt of for your child, trust me; it won’t be the best of feelings. So question one, are you in a position to maintain the sort of lifestyle you always hoped you would, after having the baby as well? If yes- great. If not, and you’re ok with it, great again. But if you haven’t thought of it, think.

Question two, what sort of a lifestyle do you have now? If you are the spontaneous, carefree sorts, you might want to remember that having a baby will change that. I’m not saying that you will stop partying, stop traveling, and stop the road trips, no. But will you be able to decide at midnight that you want to embark on a 12 hour drive at 4 AM? Probably, but you will need to consider things like – oh but by 4 baby wouldn’t have done her potty so should be leave at 5 when she would be done? Or, if we leave at 4, will we reach a place with food joints by 7, because baby needs food at 7. Or, have we packed enough diapers, and water, and milk and wipes? Small things, but you will need to plan them. If you have thought of it, perfect. If you think you need a few more impromptu pub-hopping nights before you get to the ‘Can we have one of the grandparents manage her on Saturday night, next week, so we can go have a drink?’, take your time.

Questions three and this is for women with jobs and careers that they want to continue with – What’s your plan for the baby once maternity leave is over? Because it gets over, in a blink, and you’re left with this tiny bundle that needs to be fed every 2 hours, and hormones that are all over the place and that will make you wonder if you’re being selfish thinking of anything other than the baby. So when the baby is 3 months old, or 6 (if you’re lucky), who is going to manage the baby while you are away?

In our Indian households, the first answer is ‘my parents or his’. And you’re lucky if you have that option. I did, and I went to work without a worry until my baby turned 10 months old, very peaceful, and aware that her grandmother was there with her. Because in my case, my mother-in-law was pretty clear that she would manage the baby until she was 10 months old, and was actually looking forward to it. The point here is, it’s ok to depend on your parents, but it is not ok to think they are obliged to manage your baby, because let’s face it, it’s your baby, you chose to have it. So do you have a back-up plan? Because honestly, our parents will never say no to taking care of their precious grandkids. But to hold them to it wouldn’t be the nicest thing to do. Also, I personally feel that our parents have every right to deny being full time baby sitters ‘cos they have done their duty with us, and it’s our turn now. I had a friend complain to me about how her friend’s ‘mean mother-in-law refused to take care of her kid and so her friend had to quit her job’. To which my only question is – who did you have the kid for? For your Mom-in-law? If yes, are you frigging kidding me? And did she say she will manage the baby full time and back out? If yes, hard luck girl, you should have planned better.

So again, do you have a plan? Are you ok with a full time nanny managing the kid alone at home? Are you confident she won’t have the TV running soaps the whole day ensuring your kids have an early addiction to the idiot box? Or are you ok with a day-care? And not worried that the children might catch infections and illnesses more often because of all the other kids? Or did you always know that you might have to quit work for the baby? As long as you have thought it through and are convinced, there’s nothing to worry about. The problem arises when you think things will automatically happen as they are supposed to. They don’t.

Which is why I admire folks who have 2 kids and are managing everything perfectly, happy with their decisions, just as much as I admire folks who are pretty damn clear that they aren’t having a baby because they are not cutout/ready for it. Atleast you have your priorities clear. Very often, I come across older relatives, family friends, who are depressed that their child has chosen to not have a child of their own, because it seems so wrong. And every time, I sit and explain to them that wrong would be when they have a child because they are supposed to, and not because they want to, and that would be a bigger wrong. No point in looking back and regretting a decision as big as bringing a whole new person to this world and not being able to handle the change.

I have even been asked, rather accusingly, how I could support these folks who are ‘denying themselves and their parents this natural phenomena of procreation’, when I myself chose to have a child at the “right” time. And the answer is, when we chose to have Zo, we were pretty damn clear about how it would change things, how we would manage things, and our back up plans. In fact, I was prepared for a baby much earlier, but I chose for ‘us’ to be prepared before we went ahead. We are lucky folks who have more ‘us’ time than most couples we know because of our parents’ support, but as I keep saying, that’s a luxury we enjoy for as long as we have it. And that we need to be prepared to handle everything sans the luxury, if the need arises. Yes, like boring old people, we make ‘if-then-else’ plans.

Thing is, babies are awesome, and babies are also responsibility for life. I personally believe (and I have said this before here I’m sure) that I did not know what responsibility meant until Zo was born. So if you want to have kids -2, 3, 4 a whole dozen, go ahead. But know what’s coming up, atleast to some extent. And if you think it is going to be tough for you to manage even one, ensure that you don’t succumb to pressure. If you think you need time to decide, take it – the biological clock doesn’t matter as much as the mental clock does.

Eventually, what matters is that you know what you are doing, and that you’re happy with it.

New post, update, or why you shouldn’t unfollow this blog

I finally quit Twitter a week ago (or, we are on a break), primarily to make time for important things in life, which in this case is apparently this game called Ruzzle. Which basically means that all that time I spent scrolling down my timeline to respond to snarky, smart-ass tweets, and at times come up with snarky, smart-ass tweets myself, is now dedicated to making as many words as possible in under 2 mins on a 5×5 grid of alphabets. My competition is my little sister, and my scrabble comrades of yore, though the latter haven’t been much of a competition lately.

Anyhow, one of the primary reasons of getting rid of one enticing form of social media was to be able to concentrate on the other, much older counterpart, the blog. Which unfortunately, I didn’t, till now, when I ended up reading some extraordinary posts that motivated me to step up to the game again. The point is, I am not in dearth of time really, unlike before, when I hardly had me time. Zo, starting full time school has meant about 3 hours of extra time each morning for me; which I am pretty aware that I am not utilizing well.

Picture this. I am now usually up by 6:45 AM, which is torture in itself, but for some weird reason isn’t hurting as much as I would have thought it would. Add to this the fact, that I’m never in bed before midnight, and if you were to go by my Jawbone statistics, have a pretty broken sleep pattern. Despite all this, I wake up bright, fuelled by The Dude’s ginger chai (which I don’t think I can live without anymore), and set about with the morning chores of getting Zo up, about and out by 7:45 AM; which is when the house settles down in an eerie sort of calm, like that after a storm has passed.

And this is when the 3 hours start – my 3 hours. Let’s keep one out, which is how long I think I need to get ready, breakfast time included. What do I do with the remaining 2 hours? Seriously, what all I could do with the 2 hours! Theoretically, a lot, but when it comes to actually doing something, the situation is different. 30 odd minutes are spent idly staring at phone, checking whatsapp updates, responding to some, checking Twitter updates, responding to some, searching for a new way of saying work sucks, weekdays suck, travel sucks or something similar – on whatsapp and Twitter, and of course, more recently, playing my turn in Ruzzle for the 10 active games.

Then I follow it up with some serious contemplation around – ‘should I go back to sleep’. This is another 10 minutes, one might say. If the end result is yes, which it is, in 90% of the cases, I fall back on the bed, draw the curtains closed, and instruct the Dude to wake me up in an hour – to which he responds to with a look of disgust. In the 10% cases I decide otherwise, I sit on bed, doing yoga-ish stretches, and giving random updates on life and work and travel, which are already up on social media, to The Dude.

Somehow, whether I sleep or choose to rant and stretch, we miraculously hit 9:45 AM, my alarm to get ready because God forbid I get later any than this. There is a mad rush, and every single day, the breakfast is wolfed down in precisely 5 minutes, the last 5 minutes I am allowed to spend at home before I call my Uber, along with a sincere surprise around just how fast time seems to pass! And then of course comes by favorite part of the day (installment 1), the long cab ride to work.

I am actually not sure how better this time can be handled. It is pressurizing, to say the least, to have this time on hand, and not be able to use it well, because now you can’t even complain about just how less time you have on hand for yourself, because you do. You just don’t know what to do with it. Ah, such are the dilemmas of life.

But for now, I shall concentrate on the good, which is the fact that I actually have too much of a cherished thing, time. Because knowing Murphy, it wouldn’t be long before I make myself this entire list of hobbies, activities, things-to-do, and he very cruelly snatches the prerequisite away. The former scenario is so much better than the latter.

Because when you have so much to do, so little time, it sucks. But when you so much time, and nothing to do, you can always sleep. And we all know how good I’m at that.