Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mood Swings of a Working mom

Some months back, I would have vehemently opposed the idea of quitting my job and staying at home. This week saw my mind think just the opposite. This is a curse for all working women, I suppose. The mental battle on whether to continue work, or take a break for sometime until the kids are grown up a bit, or quit job forever and morph into the ideal housewife/mom.

When I had to stay back late at work one evening, going through the tensions/pressure of programming something new that I am not used to, I was shaken. How long can I cope up with the pressure of the IT field? New technologies and new programming languages. Concepts are the same, but one has to tirelessly update knowledge and keep swimming in the ocean tirelessly. I feel tired and exhausted. I am not in a mood to swim anymore for now. I feel like giving up.

My boys are growing. May be, I could give them much more from my part if I stay home. I am sure they will love that. At home, I could try to be the ideal housewife, experimenting new dishes and keeping the house clean and all that. easy to say, but once I quit my job, am I going to be happy?I am afraid I will regret the decision. I should not be taking drastic decisions when I am emotionally drained. That may not be the right decision. But I will never lean towards quitting a job and being home, in any other mood. So may be I should do it - when I am thinking what I never thought before.

My mind went in circles. I dreaded the start of each new day. I managed to live through them all, one day at a time. I survived the week and I am feeling better. These questions haunt my mind from time to time, but I recover from them and proceed with life, without making a change. These thoughts go to sleep for time being and rebound later. Will I ever make the big decision to change my life altogether and will I be happy with the change? Only time will tell.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Long tag

Diffdrummer tagged me and this is the first time she is tagging me, so I want to respond. She is my old schoolmate and college mate! So here I go...

Last movie you saw in a theater - Taare Zameen Par

What book are you reading - "A breath of fresh air" by Amulya Malladi (about to start)

Favorite board game - Deflexion ( laser game)

Favorite smells - Manninte manam after rain

Favorite sound - when Nithin mimics a bird cooing

Worst feeling in the world - Depression, good-for-nothing feeling that tempts me to quit!

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up
Weekdays: What is the time now? Am I late?
Weekends: What to make for breakfast?

Favorite fast food place: Taco Bell

Future child's name: Neha or None

Finish this statement. "If I had a lot of money, I'd...." ...spend it all!

Do you drive fast - Nope

Do you sleep with a stuffed animal - No.

Storms - Cool or scary - Bit scary.

What was your first car - Maruti in India which I only drove once or twice. Toyota Camry here feels like the first one.

Favorite drink - Coffee, I am budding lightly (got it?)

Finish this statement. "If I had the time, I would..." make calls to all my old friends and talk.

Do you eat the stems on broccoli? Yummy! Yes! Especially if it is in biriyani.

If you could dye your hair any color, what would be your choice? - Burgundy?

Name all the different cities/towns you have lived in - Thiruvananthapuram, Bangalore, Ashburn(Virginia) and Malvern,Philadelphia.

Favorite sports to watch: Used to be Tennis and Cricket (not any more)

One nice thing about the person who sent this to you - the strength and boldness in her words.

What's under your bed?
Balls or toys my kids dropped. May be a thomas train that is stuck there.

Would you like to be born as yourself again?
No, how about trying something else, you never know!

Morning person or night owl - Night , for sure!
Over easy or sunny side up : Not any of these. Omelette or scrambled works.

Favorite place to relax: In the basement (in front on TV).

Favorite pie: Pizza pie

Favorite ice cream flavor - Butterscotch in 'Icecreme' parlor during our college days

Of all the people you tagged this to, who is most likely to respond first?
Not tagging anyone. This tag has done its rounds too.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

One year back..same day..kya hua..

In the beginning of last year, I started looking out for a change of job.

Some emotions I recollect are:
-Determination to do something about my life then.
-Apprehension about what my value will be in the job market.
-Attending calls/sending job related emails stealthily.
-Receiving the call that I am being offered the job was a Eureka moment, but I was keeping my reaction controlled!
-Worried about the long commute in the highways, B and I did some test drives.

Just a week before the joining date, I resigned the previous job and then went on the already planned cruise to Bermuda. Just B and me. Even when we were in the cruise, the tension of the new work place and the highway-fears peeked here and there.

I joined the present job EXACTLY one year back (June 18,2007) . (BTW, on a side note, B and I also completed 8 years in United States on June 13, 2008....time flies!)

I was absolutely having nothing much to do in the initial months.The transition from the desi atmosphere in my old job to the 'apne kaam se matlab rakho' (let us all mind our own businesses!) culture here was really tough for me. I felt alienated and isolated, but I learnt to live it the way everyone lives it here. Walks along the riverside with the cell phone hooked to my ears, I started finding my avenues.

One such avenue I discovered was the world of Blogs. Reading Laksh everyday, I was inspired to start my own and soon I did. I did have a website from before ( , but I did not feel like changing anything there. What I was really in need of, is exactly this blog that you are reading now. Thanks for the inspiration, Laksh!

Then came the busy Fall season, and I had no time to breathe. Another period of lull in the winter and another crazy Spring work season. I really enjoy the work when I am busy. The job demands working through weekends and late nights, but now I know to look forward to the end of the season and chug through it.

Thanks, Laksh, UL, JustSomeOne, Suman, Akay, Anila, Noby, Achayan (my Mr.B) and my Appa for being the good e-Pals that you are. Your comments brighten my day and inspire me to write more. Writing by itself is enjoyable, but when I hear back from you, I am glad that I'm heard and I am connecting with you all.

In the tunes of old Hindi song, SAU SAAL PEHLE MUJHE TUMSE PYAR THA..I would like to sing the below lines!

ek saal pehle, mujhe blog se pyar hua...aaj bhi hai ....aur kal bhi rahega!

Athu s(h)ari, wonder how I connected my job anniversary to my blog career. You can tell I am waiting for some new task at work, right!! Ciao!

Monday, June 16, 2008

India Trip Planning Woes

Finalizing dates and airlines and booking tickets is already done. Now starts the planning for internal details of the big trip. I am going NUTS with this exercise now. I am sure some of you can surely identify with this.

We have to cover 3 cities in India in 3 weeks.
When to leave from City A to City B? Which flight? Numerous flight options.
How many days will we stay in City B?
When do we leave to City C? Flight? Train?
When do we go back to City A?
Will we have enough time to pack before we depart back to US?

This is the simple logistics part of the trip planning.

Then comes the fun trips options that are enticing and attractive.

"Last time, we went on the HouseBoat stay in Kumarakom in Kerela, it was great."
"My parents went to this resort. It is economical, not expensive as houseboat etc. And very relaxing"
There are resorts in City A and City B and City C. Equally tempting. Which one to book?

And the list of people I want to meet and things I want to do is endless.
I am a sucker for nostalgia. I probably value reliving memories more than anything else.
I want to meet all my old friends and classmates. Then there are relatives whom we get to meet only when we go like this. I want to visit my old school and college to relive memories and to show my 7 year old where I stood and sang school prayers and bore him with my 'veeragaathaa' (adventure stories).

How could I forget shopping clothes to expand my wardrobe for US Indian gatherings?

Not only do we have to meet with folks who live in India, but also there are close friends/relatives from US/elsewhere who will be vacationing in India at that SAME TIME. How nice is be able to catch them there and spend sometime with them there. Yumm..tempting again!

The temptations are enticing and overwhelming. There is always the concern of whether we will get disappointed with the choices or decisions we made. It could easily turn fun to stress if we try to cram everything into the schedule. But what to give up? How do I set priorities? How do I say 'No' to some things? I not enjoying this exercise, while I am cribbing? Daydreaming of doing this and that in India and planning for it - there is some thrill in this!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Break The Rules

Looks like B and I are really enjoying this time. Mr.Nikhil seems to be enjoying all the way at his grandparents' home in Trivandrum. Seeing him smile and laugh and talk to us on the phone tells us he is not terribly missing us. That means that we do not have to worry about his being unhappy for a while.

Going back to life with 1 kid is an interesting experience. When I am cooking, now, I can focus on just one kid's interests. Smaller quantities suffice. It is quiet period at work for both of us and B does not have any classes to take. No driving around for any child activities. It seems like we have plenty of time at hand in the evenings. So, even though, we have not verbally declared it,we have been breaking some family rules and taking it easy.

1. If you don't feel like cooking, don't. Can split a veggie pizza and be done with it. Can explore a new place to eat out, because we wont be doing a lot of this when school reopens.
2. If you are in the mood to drive around, just get up and go. Can be impulsive now as it wont affect a school-goer's schedule. No planning needed.
3. Watch movies every week day night and sleep really late.
4. No forced bedtime. Nithin hangs out with us watching movies and we don't put him to bed right on time. He enjoys the time with us.

It is good to break the rules, once in a while. Helps us to go easy on ourselves, now that the schedule permits it. We are enjoying it.

Side-effects: Nithin says 'Amma, let us go downstairs and watch a movie'. When the car takes the turn towards home, he says 'more shop' meaning 'I don't want to go home'.

Positive side effects: Some improvement on Nithin's potty training since we now have the patience to entice him into 'flushing' the toilet. Also, I have been able to read books to him and he is all thrilled to listen to me. I am now reading a book myself. Ages since I have attempted this.

See you tomorrow!

Book Tag

Laksh tagged me with this book tag last week and I am finally responding!

The rules are as under:

Pick up the nearest book.
Open to page 123.
Find the fifth sentence.
Post the next three sentences.
Tag five people, and acknowledge the person who tagged you

The book that I am now reading, is The Mango Season by Amulya Malladi. I was inspired to try this book by reading Akay's post.

"She would tell me if she felt bad", Anand said, looking up at the sky. "See the Saptrishi? he asked, pointing at the constellation of seven starts shaped like a question mark. "For the longest time, I couldn't see Arundhati" he said.

I dont know who I can tag, all I know seem to have finished one round of this.
Thanks, Laksh, for tagging me!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cold, laziness and Judging Music

Cannot remember how long ago was it, when both B and me fell sick at the same time. The cold I caught on Thursday reached its peak on Saturday. B's allergies reached the peak the same time. So here we were - coughing and sneezing and consuming Kleenex tissues every minute. Thank God, Nithin was Ok.

Leave alone, doing anything fancy for the weekend, we lazed around and did absolutely nothing.
In fact, I don't remember sleeping two afternoons consecutively in so many years. It looked like how much ever we rested and slept, it just did not seem too much.

Sunday morning, I was getting ready to be the judge of music competition for sunday school kids in our church. When I was asked if I can be the judge, several comical notions came to my mind. I sing and I have had a good relation with music in my life that would help me perform the duty. But I could not help chuckle at the thought of being the 'judge'. I was reminded me of Somayajulu in Shankarabharanam. I pictured myself criticizing the singers on shruti, laya and taala and what not. Also I visualized Nedumudi Venu saying' kutteee nirthi nirthi padoo' in Sargam, a Malayalam musical.

During my school days, I have been on the stage singing or making speeches, awaiting the verdict of the judges. It was ironical that now I am on the other side.

I enjoyed listening to the kids sing. We marked their scores in tabulation sheets and handed them over to the people who added the scores. During the whole exercise, the thought that kept coming to me was that

a) real talent will show itself. When someone is able to sing well, there is no need to debate over it and I am sure the talent wins the prize automatically. Same holds good for 'not so good' singers.

b) Participation is KEY. This is what I have believed very much all through my childhood. If you show the will and desire to take part, you deserve a reward. My point is - never refrain from taking part thinking of the success/failure. Do your job. Many times, you will see that the reward comes after you. Sometimes, you will be the only one to take part in some category and you win the prize! Heheh!

That was the weekend that was. How was yours?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Baseball game and me

I have little connection with sports. Ironically, this is my second consecutive year going to watch the Phillies game. Last year, we had a team outing to the game. A bunch of us walked to the train station nearby and took the train to go to Citizien's Bank park in Philly downtown. The first time I looked at the crowd and the stadium I was awed. It is an amazing feeling and a totally different experience. This year, when the whole company was going there for the summer outing and I signed up to be part of the event.

I carpooled with my colleague. She drove 3 of us to the stadium. The drive to the place was pretty smooth. The stadium did not look as crowded as last year. We were early there for our company lunch at McFadden's. The weather was good - not too hot. There were some others like me who did not care so much about the game and were interested in just talking. We ate lunch and chatted. The drink tickets were in high demand. I went in to our terrace deck and sat there for sometime. I got bored soon.

In the ballpark, it is all about drinking and eating. People were eating hot dogs, then icecream and carried glasses of beer all day. I walked out looking for some coffee and fries. Not that I was hungry, but you want to buy something when everyone else is doing that! I walked to a shop and bought some fries that looked good. And a bottle of water. I could not trust a coffee from that shop. I paid a ridiculous 10 dollars for this and tasted the fries. Hmm..No Good. I would have loved the McDonald's fries. Anyway, there were people in the group who liked the fries and finished it.

It was time to get out. Phillies won. We waited for a colleague and got out a little late only to get stuck in the traffic. We could not move the car for 15 minutes from the parking lot. Had a headache by the time we reached work. Since I knew what exactly to expect in the stadium, I should say I enjoyed the day. I reached home at the usual time and B and Nithin were not in yet.
I made some Puttu hoping to put a smile in both their faces when they walk in. It worked with Nithin, for sure!

Check my review on Cassandra's Dream, the movie we finished watching yesterday night.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

VCR, DVD and Home remedies

I remember when I was in school and pre-degree, there were two things I yearned for. One was a phone at home and the other was a VCR. VCR was a luxury at that time. We had TV with Doordarshan, but somehow, my Appa did not feel the need for a VCR. And when something is not there, human mind really longs for it.

There was this custom at that time, that people rented video players and the cassettes from the shop. During my summer vacations to Pammal, Chennai, I have had the privilege to view a lot of Kamal's movies in video. They used to call a VCR a 'deck' for some reason. Renting a VCR was termed 'deck edukkarathu' (in Tamil) .Kamal fan cousin rented Kamal movies and Rajni fan cousin rented Rajni movies! Coming back home, I have seen people around our house, renting them and inviting me also to watch them. I remember I tried to convince dad to rent one and he seemingly agreed to it, and I was disappointed later to find he was not really convinced. He did not want to deal with the renting issues but wanted to buy one. And soon, we owned one.

And the problems that come with it! There were bad old tapes with fungus in them. The picture was not clear and you had to clean the VCR head. Remember the spray with a long red tube that sprayed the cleaning liquid..and the cleaning tape. What a relief to see Mohanlal's face clear after the cleaning session!

And then there was this trick called 'tuning' when the picture used to jump continuously! It was so annoying and irritating. A movie just began and then the picture jumps on and on. If you have experienced this, you will know what it exactly means. We would hope that it will get better after 5 minutes of playing. Sometimes I did, mostly it did not. Tuning helped stop the heroes from jumping and limping on the screen.

Then came the issue of camera prints. We will be all thrilled to see a new movie cassette in the store and would be easily tempted to rent it. And only when you put it, you knew that it is a camera print. You could see shadows of people standing before the screen and cloudy picture and loud volume. And the comment from mom follows - why did you take this camera print - as though you knew it is going to be this bad.

Then came the DVD and VCD era. Wow..clear picture and uninterrupted viewing of the movies! I never want to go back to the video tapes and their problems. I slip on the DVD from Indian Store in US. Hey, but wait! Why is this movie stuttering and stammering? It is a DVD and it played well so far..what happened? Guess, there are some scratches or is it dirt on it? I take it out, blow on it and wipe it well with a tissue..and that could get me to the climax of the movie.

I guess whatever advancements technology makes, there will be new kinds of problems and new home remedies! Life is never perfect.