Monday, April 01, 2013
“Mumma, you are not my stepmother na?” Taking a fraction of second to collect my wits, I replied “no”. She gave a relieved look. “Yeah, ‘cause they are very bad na….so you are only my Mumma without the word ‘step’ na”, she confirmed her doubt in her signature style of speaking. That’s how we are presently learning news words in English by breaking them for easier pronunciation. All I could, was manage a nod. Now the relieved look became more pronounced, almost breaking into a smile and she turned her back and left the room.
Kept staring at her long gone back before returning to my newspapers. The mind didn’t follow the eyes. Zeni filled it with so many random thoughts, all rushing in. The first and immediate one that struck me was that the adoption process of ‘me’ as a mother seems to be reaching its final stage of completion with the validation phase going one. Consoling thought. After this personal evaluation of the brief exchange of words, the thoughts moved to being more objective in nature.
Why have our story books and movies type casted “Stepmothers”? There is only one category: Cinderella’s mother, rather stepmother. It’s really unfair to all those mothers who are raising kids, not their own. If motherhood comes naturally to mothers then doesn’t it take much more effort to be a mother to someone else’s kid? In fact by that logic, a stepmother ‘gives’ herself much more to the respective kid, family and society. I remember in the first month of Zeni joining our family, while both the kids were dancing, my eyes followed their own will and kept resting on Sarah. I had to school myself into looking at Zeni at regular intervals. I let the acquired motherhood take on till the induced natural mother takes over for Zeni. And time did help me. Today yes, being a mom to two daughters has become natural for me.
Brings me to the point I was making earlier. Unlike the books they read, let’s not generalize stepmothers for our kids and belittle sincere efforts of so many moms out there who are raising kids other their own, thanks to destiny or out of their own choice. …
This April, completed two years as ‘the’ adopted mother. And the journey continues….
Saturday, February 02, 2013
The beginning of the year (which always holds a unique ability of seeming promising) landed me in the hosp...ital. My second stint in less than 5 years. The last time it was an accident. Pun intended. This time it was no accident, instead a valid biological response to my doings. I ignored a pain since months until it lost its patience and ended me as a patient. Like my friend Sapna Prabhakaran rightly pointed out, we, in the pursuit of playing our assigned characters (parent, spouse, caretaker, provider etc.), tend to overlook ourselves.
In the following days, the entire episode of leaving the house with kids tucked in and bracing myself for a surgery, shrunk to insignificance against the discovery of a tumor being subjected to malignancy test. I was all brave and prepared (at least at that point of time) but the mother of two kids, was petrified. Hakim’s 20 minutes commute to the test lab was the longest I ever lived. Managed to sit against stacked pillows and nervous fingers fumbled across the tweets on my mobile. Needed that distraction. Seemed as if I was clinging to life and hoping with all my heart during those stretching minutes. Sounds dramatic now but trust me it isn’t when YOU are on the hot seat. Until Hakim called and said “Piyu, its all clear.”
And I wept like a child until late night for myself and then for each and every person I know/knew who didn't get this chance of hearing the good news. Like my friend Rahul Anand rightly said “The other side of life's just a moment away…”
And now while I am counting, hopefully the last few days of post surgery pain, some big time thanks are in order. Second time in less than 5 years, mom and Hakim Badshah held the fort with all the compassion and strength I needed. Thank you guys. Also grateful for the constant calls/sms from friends, cousins and family, regularly checking on me. Special thanks to Fatema Lakdawala and Rajni Bhatia for being there for me and us. And yeah Payal Sanghvi, I owe a thank-you to Pankaj too for his genuine thoughtfulness.
Coming back to the objective of my post, we are reminded often, of lessons of life. Life keeps putting us or people around us on a test mode to make us realize what we miss while we are looking for other things. And we do get jolts of reality with our/others’ experiences. Still, with any short gap in these experiences, we forget to revise our lessons. Here’s one for me from this experience….
At the risk of sounding repetitive to my friends, take an annual health checkup. You owe to yourself and your family
Do stop when you receive any signal from your body. And check on it. (assuming none of us here, are hypochondriacs )
However clichéd it sounds, live the moments. Take time to enjoy your kids, family and friends. Make memories.
Monday, August 01, 2011
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
More than six years back, I was in Bombay and had a similar invitation. Was always interested to run for the various NGOs I deal with but inertia and procrastination took the better of me. No, to be precise, I had the cushion of "if not this year, I have the next year". After all, Mumbai Marathon is a yearly affair. Then around four years back, work took me to Chennai. And I participated as a TV viewer wishing to be back to Bombay and take part in the same. I did return to Bombay but was on my maternity leave. There, went another year of missing the marathon. Again followed the race through its live and press coverage. But had no regrets. "It's just a matter of this year. Next year I am going to run."
It's been three years since my accident. I can't run. Earlier I had the choice to run. Today I don't. I am here in Mumbai and all willing to take part but can't. The women at the other end of the phone interrupted my reverie. "Its only 3500/- rupees for individual participation"...
If we were told, one not-so- fine day, that we have few months to live, why would we drastically change our living from the way we live now? Assume, we would begin living every second of our lives, doing everything we always wanted to do, acknowledging and appreciating our loved ones and yes feeling sorry for letting so many chances and opportunities go by.
Wonder why we don't live like that now. Especially when we have no clue on how long we will live.
Monday, October 25, 2010
It was just a day left for Diwali festivities to begin. Outside, it looked like the whole world was preparing for all the fun and gaiety which comes along with the festival. But we were inside. Inside the hospital, sitting on the spare bed, trying our best to make the inside atmosphere, if not festive, atleast a little lighter with our banter. While Didi was going thru her chemotherapy. Not sure which one, had lost count in the past two years. Didi was in pain. But as usual, hiding it behind one of her sunny smiles.
That day, the hospital was nearly empty. Didi didn’t have her usual ‘friends’ who came for their chemos and shared their experiences while the injections worked on them. The staff was busy decorating the walls with flowers and lights. One of the nurses told us that they were entitled for half day and were free to leave once all patients were gone. Didi heard this and was all pale. The fact that she was holding the nurses back was far more painful to her than the injection and her sore body. She apologized to them for the same and we could see hearts melting. Such thoughtfulness from a person who was buying time from death with these painful chemos. That was didi for us. She immediately asked us to remove money from her purse and give Diwali baksheesh to the staff. And we did what we were told, fighting our tears back behind forced smiles. And the list goes on of her generosity. While fighting cancer with all its pain and suffering, she never lost her ‘touch’ of loving people and 'giving' whatever she could. For me she is the epitome of 'Giving'. But life did gave up on her, last November…
The Art of Giving is nothing but exploring simple ways in our hectic lives to ‘give’. You don’t have to go to great extents, think of easy and effortless ways to make a difference this Diwali.
- Stop your car at non-peak hours next to a roadside pavement and give used toys and clothes. The beaming faces of the kids will be fresh in your memory for a long time to go. And yes tag your kid along for an unspoken lesson of life.
- Visit an orphanage and gift a Diwali to its inmates. Whatever it you can give. Might be one of the rare Diwalis they would have in their entire life
- If you can slightly reduce the budget for gifts for relatives, instead surprise your maids and drivers this year with something more than you usually offer.
- Give cards and gifts of only NGOs for passive giving
There are many more such ideas. Have spelled some here which work for me. What will work for you…bring it on!