If I die….

It’s one of those ironies of life that after we have children, we spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about when we die. Although more than one lawyer would probably argue that it’s not the right kind of worrying and definitely not enough time.

Everytime I see a cliff, I think of what will happen if I fell down and my kids were left without me. I can’t go to the beach without fear of rips. I can’t look at cars without a film role of all the accidents that I’ve seen both really and reel-ly:)

Its true. Once you become a parent, not only do you not sleep. Your waking hours are spent worrying about how you will die and when and what will happen to your kids when you do.

Sure you partner is doing great but how will he manage the show without you? What are the chances that they will be ok? Who will step in to look after them.

Time for me to write a will.

Whys and wherefores

Recently, I’ve had a few people tell me my writing has improved.

I believe this is true. I have found that since my time as a lowly sub-editor at the Indian Express in Delhi, my thought process really crystallises as I put my thoughts down “on paper”. It could be that I have honed the fine art of writing over the years, with practice. I’ve always written; most of it has been published.

However, I feel that the real change has come since I became a mother. I feel that many thoughts that have only lurked in the back of  my mind have become clearer and more defined since becoming a mum. It has more to do with the tediousness of being a mother, rather than the joys. It comes with being asked “Why” about ten times in the space of as many minutes so that not only am I forced to be concise and quick in my reply, I’m also on edge for follow-up ‘whys’. It makes for a certain sharpening of the brain.

OBJECT: CD cover of man who is not smiling

Mum, why is that man angry?

I think he is just thinking.

Why?

He looks like he is waiting for someone so he is just thinking to himself

Why?

What do you do when you are waiting to meet Keala?

I sing.

Ok. So this man is waiting for someone and he is not singing, but thinking.

Why can’t he sing?

I guess, he’s done singing. He wants to think now.

Why?

He is thinking about what to tell his friend when he meets them.

Why?

He likes to make his thoughts clear in his head before he says them.

OK.

????

They stop the way they start. For no rhyme or reason. While this may not necessarily sharpen the brain. Consider the example of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

SUBJECT :: News on Al Jazeera

Mum, what is that man saying?

He is saying that Israelis and Palestinians are fighting with each other.

Why are they fighting?

Because they are not sharing their home.

Why?

Because each one says it belongs to them and they want the other to get out.

Why?

They don’t want to share.

Why don’t they want to share?

Because they are not being very nice to each other.

Why?

They don’t really like each other.

Why?

They tend to focus on what is different than on what is similar between them.

Why?

I think humans tend to be like that. If you look at conflicts everywhere, its peoples who are most similar who tend to fight the most.

OK.

???

 

I believe that this sort of dialogue really clears my mind and helps me write and focus better. It’s a mix of simplistic explanations, complex denials and outright lies.

Of course, I’m not always in such a chatty mood. Sometimes, each ‘why’ is met with a ‘because’ and it just gets them Pissed Off. And that, is really, really cute.  I just smile and say welcome to my world!

Erase the men! (?)

While channel surfing the other day, the husband and I paused for about 15 seconds on some random movie channel (I believe SBS). A beautiful (willowy blonde in this instance)  with a heavy Spanish accent was complaining about her sex life and her boyfriend. (definitely SBS!)

“This is all women talk about!”

This outburst from my husband.

I fumbled a bit. Being in TV-induced coma and all. “Uhmm… Yes. I think so.” My mind clearly on all those times we’ve compared pros and cons of having men in our lives. It was a fair  amount of time I suppose. In the greater scheme of things.

“So men don’t talk about women. What do you guys talk about?” Buying time.

“We talk about career, money, sport. So many other things,” says he.

“Hmm…”

“See. Even a show that is meant to be as liberating as Sex and the City is all about men and their sex lives and lack of this and lack of that.” When he is on a roll, I’ve learnt (although not always implemented effectively) it’s good to let him talk because the sequence runs thus;

First. Reactionary statement.

Second. Train of thought leads him to the other side of the fence.

Final phase. Brilliant new idea.

So I let him have the floor.

“Seriously. Even Virginia Woolf. It’s all about her father this, husband that and rapist this. Why are they constantly talking about relationships and men. I really feel that even if we wrote a story about Hillary Clinton, it would all be about her husband.”

I do intervene at this stage. “I’m pretty sure she won’t stand for that.” I like Hillary but that’s a whole other blog. Being ambitious doth not a  bad person make.

“I really don’t want my daughter worrying so much about what the other sex thinks of her.  It’s all got to do with social conditioning. For most girls, marriage is the great Finish Point. It defines them. Everything revolves around it so isn’t it natural that they worry about boys as much as they do,” says he. (I paraphrase here.)

“Push them either way, they are sure to go in the opposite direction,” I say, waiting for the Big Idea.

“I won’t push her either way but really I don’t want boys or men to be the focus of her life.”

“When women write their story, they should not write about the men in their lives. Your story (pointing to me) should be about you and your life and achievements. It should not be about your dad or brother or me (husband).”

Now there’s a thought.

I’m not a fan of autobiographies. But is this how it is? Are women the background for men’s stories and yet men take centre stage in the stories of the women?

If not, how much of a solution is it to erase the men right out of your life?

I would love to know. Write your thoughts.

Education for the little people

So it’s come to that time of my life when schools determine where I should live rather than a cool cafe or the economics of home ownership. I’m willing to rent in an area that is good for my kids. I don’t see a stigma. As long as there is a roof over our heads, I could not care less who owns that particular piece of God’s Own Earth. This does not mean I haven’t made wise investment choices or don’t save… I’ve done both and yet I choose to rent.

Now, that was just one decision. Having chosen a good area, with a few options for schools. I now have to choose which of the three local schools I should send my kids to.

I am spoilt for choice in that they all seem like good schools. One is a school that is over a hundred years old and has architecture to match and that architecture is heritage listed. I think there is something about being Indian and heritage that sort of just lends itself to being together. we like our old buildings. Let’s look past the fact that we can’t afford to or we just don’t take care of them like we should but we’ve lived in the shadows of forts and palaces that are centuries old and therefore, we like it.

The other option is the Catholic school. Having left The Faith for many years, I find myself returning to it in small ways. It’s tough to be a Catholic in today’s world, especially in the Western world where life is so good that God really takes a back seat. I mean when the Sun is shining on that perfect bottle of wine and it looks like things are not going to change any time soon, do we really need to consider how it got to be there?

So, for that reason, I find myself leaning towards the Catholic School option and I would like my children to know the God’s prayer and the Apostles’ Creed and go to Mass occasionally. I also like the sense of community that come with being part of a church community, however antiquated that seems. It’s also a reflection on the kind of area that I have moved to.

The third being the Private option. Now this is really not an option because I should have put down my name on the list when Baby I was a zygot. So, not being one for the rat race, suffice to say that I have not done it and it does not look like it’s an option for Babys at the moment. Future is another thing altogether.

So that is how it stands. I like the public school because it’s that and I’d like to think that going to the local school wit the local kids who live locally, has it’s own charm. I am not very much in favour of the private school for this reason. Most of the kids are “bussed” in from everywhere and meeting up at the park for a quick play may not be an option. Forget about sleep overs and the like.

However, I hear a lot of good things about the Catholic school. Maybe I’ll go down that way eventually.

Meanwhile I’m doing research on the schooling system in Australia so I can get a good grasp of what the issues are. I’m like that. I like to research solely for the purpose of researching.

Politics of Rape

Now we know her name. I won’t go on to say whether that is a good thing or a bad thing. All I know is that in India, nothing is as it seems.

While so many gathered to protest the rape and eventual death of the 23-year old, it was obvious that the powers that be were hoping the problem would just go away. They refused to acknowledge the anger of the protestors or the widespread call for them to address the issues they raised. There is good reason for it. The protestors are a minority. Composed mostly of urbane, urban middle-class men and women, they do not form the majority of the votebank. While they are vocal and have clout with the media, they do not translate to numbers when election time comes around.

And in the days in the lead up to the trial, this becomes obvious. Increasingly, we are hearing the voice of the majority.  The majority that is questioning the ethics of a girl who is out late at night with a male friend, a girl who failed to beg the rapists to stop by calling them “brother” and “praying” to them… a girl who asked for it.

As the defence lawyers prepare their case, we will finally get the answers that are being asked. Why did this happen? Why are there so many rapes? Why don’t more women come forward to report it?

First is the attitude to women. This is going to become clear as the lawyers will say that the woman was not respectable as she was out late. They will bring up details about her relationship with her male friend. They will show how she is a ” loose woman”. This is why rapes happen. Because this kind of post mortem, in this case literally, is allowed. And as the case progresses, we will find out why the strongest woman would find it difficult to face this over the ordeal that she has had to go through.

I hear from friends that there is a finger test to check if you have been raped. In other words, if you are sexually active, you cannot be “raped”. I shudder to even think about a woman having to go through such a test but more so to even contemplate the fact that this may be true. Somehow, I would not be surprised if  it were.

Soon, this case will be sunk. Fast track is a band aid response to most problems in India. Soon fast track is also going to be bogged down. And this girl will become another case study in how bad things are  in India.

The only way that things can change is if there is a concerted effort to hurt the votebank of one party or another. I don’t have a plan of action for that because I don’t know the finer points of votebank politics in India but as it stands, there is more to lose by supporting the victim. More to be gained by pandering to a few malevolent misogynists.

R.I.P Jacintha Saldanha

I am very saddened by this news which continues to play out in the media all over the world. Everything from the parents  of the victim  to the ethics of media are being discussed. It would seem that there is nothing more to be said.

What I am really curious to know is this. Jacinta passed on the call sure but there is nothing anywhere about the nurse who went on to give all the details to the pranksters from Australia. Who is she? I don’t think I’ve even seen her name anywhere in the press. She is one that gave out all the details and, possibly being from the UK, failed to detect the fake accent.

Why did Jacinta who said all of “I’ll connect you” or something to that effect feel that she had to take here life (allegedly) while the second nurse has managed such annonymity?

Ok. I agree I have only questions here but I’ve been in a position where forces greater than me have used those on the lower rung to cover their mistakes. I remember being fired from one of my first jobs in Australia because I did not meet sales targets. I was given all kinds of assurances which were not assurances at all but just thinly veiled threats.

Here I go from questions to hypothesis. I feel that Jacinta was victimised first  by the pranksters and once again by those in management. They must have told her that they would stand behind her if an enquiry into the incident showed that she had come out with shining colours. Of course, she knew that they would find a way to ensure that she would not come out with flying colours.

I have worked in jobs where I would have had to potentially come to directly speak with those who had lost loved ones. This can be a very traumatic experience and the company policy was to provide full and unflinching support to those who came to be in such a situation. However, when I did find myself in that situation, I found that the letter and spirit of the company policy where completely at odds with each other. I did not feel that I had to take my life but I did feel a sense of betrayal that would, had I been in a different frame of mind, have led to such a step. I have no doubt about it.

Knowing that Jacinta comes from a region where suicides rates are high by any standards, it seems likely that she would have been pushed over with something like this which would have caused immense loss of face at the workplace.

I will not go on to speculate about the involvement of the royal family in this.

I pray for her family. I pray for her children who have lost a mother. I pray for the family that will forever be left doubting what they could have done differently so they would still have their wife, mother, daughter still with them.

 

Those three little letters

Write an entire post without using any three-letter words.

So already I have broken such a rule by using the prompt. Nonetheless, I will go on from there.

This is easier than I thought. However, in making this post without three letter words, I also seem to be writing without a coherent post in mind.

Nikhil’s birthday party is foremost on my mind as I write this. By having it at a venue, I saved myself a heap of  tidying up.

Everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves.

I will get back  continue with my other work as I have list as long as my arm leg  maxi dress :)