How do you make a sandwich?

‘How do you make a ham sandwich?’ This was asked off me last night while I was making my green vegetable juice. I looked up in shock and said ‘Bread, Butter, Mustard and Ham’!  Was this what my purpose in Life was coming to? I wanted to scream. No its not PMS, it just baffles me as here was a Grown Man who was so self sufficient with everything when he wanted to be. Who Had actually gone out,bought the sliced ham and fresh bread. If I wasn’t in the kitchen at that moment,would he have searched the Earth for me to help him with his Ham sandwich.? Or was it just cos I was in plain sight and looked like I made the best plain Ham Sandwich? It was not The Question but more the inopportune moment.

7.30p.m, I had just returned from our Daughters’ 50 meter swim practice. 45 Minutes of driving through traffic, sitting in the early evening heat, no breeze, surrounded by the stench of urine, driving back in 45 minutes of traffic filled with aggressive drivers heading home after long day at work. Walking into the house to hear Loud rock music and their Dad was head banging ( this could have just started as I walked in or going for awhile) , but it was happening as The Son had his laptop opened pretending to study for a very Big Science test. Sure give a Boy rock music and an excuse not to work and he will take it.

Fury. Nerves at the back of my head twitched.The Dad wants to be the Fun Dad. Assessment are on, Son is on a very tight schedule, and knowing that Time is of the Essence,Son should have been studying. Instead of having it out with Fun Dad I did the thing that I knew is always affective but unfair. I lashed out at The Son. I  was borderline nasty. His Swimming is his Life and I threatened to stop taking him cos I knew The Dad would never be able to commit to that kind of a schedule. It brought an abrupt end to the Fun!

How many times do we do this? How many times do we take our frustration out on our children? How many times do we threaten to take away, lock up, disallow our children because they are the only ones that fear us. We do this because after a while couples become immune to ‘The Look’, ‘The sarcasm’, ‘The Public Put-downs!’ What gets the message across is when we Hurt the one thing that we love more than Life itself and that’s our Children.

No marriage is perfect. Mine has seen a fair share of Downs.I am a very Pragmatic person. Kamal believes in his Fairytale. If you asked us anything about how we met or our Love Story, the versions would be very different. 15 years, supporting him through three films. All came with its share of Turmoil, Insecurities, Highs and Lows. We survived. His Passion is His Family and then Film- Making , Mine will always be the Children and then Family. I can never be selfish, or take Time-Off. No mother can and that takes a toll especially when you have to wake up at 4am, 6 days a week because The Sons passion is to swim and then six evenings at 5pm  because The Daughters New Passion is to also swim.

6 weeks ago, Kamal went away to Goa, to write! He went For a week and came back a month later. There was no driver and no live in maid in Mumbai. The Three of us managed. In fact the children moved into our room. We like to Cuddle. This was the best thing to happen to us.

In Goa, Kamal seemed happy, he could sleep in late, write, drink,sleep, smoke, write, sleep, eat, smoke, drink,sleep, write. No Judging looks, no exasperated monosyllabic answers from me. No ‘UFF-UFFS’

At home in Mumbai, I had complete Monocracy ( a system of gov’t by one person) Peace reigned. Cook would fall in line for fear of being sent home. Seat lids were always down, No glass left on the TV room floor, No smell of smoke. Homework was finished way before Due dates. All Bills would be paid on time and not piled up or forgotten near the work laptop. Meals would be regular. And TV would be all mine.

Patience is the Key, If you find it’s getting too much. Find an outlet. Cross-fit, Yoga,Spas Cycling, Running, Book clubs, Girlfriends, Holidays. Don’t take your frustration out on your children. I’m going to make a conscience effort from today to be kind to my children. They are definitely not Innocent Bystanders but they should not be Victims of the  circumstances of your marriage. Pawns to be played with. It doesn’t end well for children. They get torn and they will always love and be loyal to both parents. Maybe Fathers and Daughters as much as Mothers and Sons : )

In my short marriage I have noticed that everything shall pass and if there is enough Love, Everything will Last!

P.S. Kamal leaving for Goa tomorrow. 🙂

Sir, Miss or Ma’am

This is how we address people who have taught us, teach our children, elders, people who are higher on the food chain. But we also use these terms to those that will get our work done like the Municipality Peons, the US Visa security guard, the Police Man who has asked for our license. (In India, It’s a term to show Respect )                                                                   We have the utmost patience for those we feel we need or may need in the future. So, why do we teach our children to respect their elders? Is it because we were taught by our parents or we are soon to be Those Old Uncles and Aunties?                                                              It’s just good manners. Nothing more or less. This is something we as parents are constantly reminding our children. Just as our Mamas kept nagging us.   ‘Say Please, Say Thank you!’ ‘Did you give that Aunty a hug?!’ ‘Did you call your granny/ grandpa/ nana/nani/dada/dadi?’                                                                                                                             This is so easy to do. What happens when we take this simple action and transfer it towards our Teachers and Coaches? In India they are known as SIR, MISS or MAAM forever!   Teachers or Sports Coaches are ( according to WEBSTER): someone whose job is to teach people to improve at a sport, skill, or school subject:                                                             If the people that teach our children do not get the results that we expect of them. What do we do? We sit and huddle, we bitch we moan. We want quick results, we want change. Everything and everyone is dispensable. We move from one school to another. One swim club to another. We are not careful of what we say, angry words trickles down to those Sirs, Misses or Ma’ams. Plotting and planning on Whats-app groups. Discussions of Take-downs happen at home, sometimes in the presence of the very impressionable children. But no one will have the courage to come right out and Be the Voice. Most fear that their child will be victimized. Or they may not garner enough support!                                              We have stopped trusting those that have years of experience, especially since we are book read smart and have You-Tube. Of course we know what is best for our children. No one is denying that. But take into consideration the hours put in by our coaches and teachers. The past results.                                                                                                                       The children’s successes and failures are a reflection of their work as well. If a child does well the parent will take credit, if a child does badly it’s everyone else’s fault. Many Parents are well versed and more knowledgeable but pointing out the Sir, Miss or Ma’ams faults constantly are a sign of disrespect.Children tend to mimic parents. So imagine the scenario if they are corrected by their Teacher and they feel their parents know Best! Train or teach them in secret. So less stressful for all. 🙂                                                                      When I was 11 years old. My swim coach was a terror to me. He brought his unhappiness of me to school. I felt that if I didn’t do well in practice, my day in school was going to be Hell. He was The Head Coach for Swimming and our School Principals Husband. Imagine the Power! My parents could say nothing or I would be off the team. I loved swimming so I endured it. Puberty blessed me, apparently I became ‘Top Heavy’ so that was slowing me down J. I was asked to quit. I did gladly, discovering football and basketball was more my thing. BUT not before realizing Sybil Bezmer from Holland.Blond, 5ft 11”Chest 40 DD was so welcome in her Red Baywatch Speedo swimsuit to the CIS swim team.                                To show respect is not about bowing down and touching their feet as I know many in India, and many Asian countries still do. It’s being grateful and appreciative of the time Teachers and Coaches spend on our children. The sacrifices that they have made. Many can barely make ends meet. (Ok maybe not the private TUITION teachers,J) It’s about supporting them if need be. Most are too humble and ashamed to ask, just as a parent cannot ask their child for financial or emotional support. For them kind words make them feel all of this is worthwhile. Or Cake on special occasions.                                                          We love our parents and have an inherent need for our parents to feel respected and loved. We make/teach our children to love and respect Elders. Even if we have to punish them or threaten them. Children must talk to them politely. How do we react when someone says something to upset our Ma and Pa’s.  Their Boss, their colleague, their next door neighbour? When they don’t get their Bonuses, their Pensions cheques? Elders have specific plans with their hard earned money. They have learnt to live within their means.    After all Money doesn’t grow on trees!!!                                                                                          With Age comes Health issues. Grumblings. Complaints. We are sensitive to our Parents/ Grandparents/Aunts/Uncles feelings. Well most of the time. Many of the Sirs, Misses or Maams in Mumbai have been working tirelessly for decades. More importantly they are someone’s else Ma or Pa so let’s learn to treat them as we would like the World to treat OURS!

With respect and dignity.!

 

Sport bringing Women Together

As Bandras’ self-appointed Sporty-Spice and someone who is creating awareness to all things that make us smile and bring back that zest for life, I am so happy and proud that our Throw-ball Team, LOVE ALL, has been welcomed into the Surburban League, in Mumbai. In fact we are in demand. St Peters is having a tournament next weekend, and they have been trying so hard to get us to participate but it’s very difficult for all of us to commit another weekend to the Game.

Team Sports at any age brings a sense of belonging. It forges relationships with people we would have not come across in our daily lives. To organise such events in Mumbai are a Mammoth tasks. Everything costs and for Women’s Throw-ball sponsorship is hard to get, unlike soccer and cricket.

Suburban Clubs like Bandra Gym, Willingdon Gym and St Peters School are trying to promote Throw-ball and encourage Womens Teams from all ages to take part. And as they say Wine tastes better as it gets older. These women cannot be underestimated. The older they are the Harder they Throw, the Bigger the Spin and the Smarter the Placing of the Ball.

12 teams with women ranging from 16 years till 60 years. Otters LOVE ALL are the newbies. The ‘Elitist Otters Club”  formed the LOVE ALL women’s team with support from the Managing Committee for all Expenses. Be it thin cotton t-shirts, Numberings on the back (it costs more), 2 Throw-balls to practice, P.E. Coach to train us, hiring of a nearby grass court so our knees don’t pain. Nannies, Cooks, Drivers that make sure that everything is smooth on the home-front. We began practising 6 weeks ago. Most evenings. Out of 24 women, Different 8 LOVE ALL  would be regular and the rest had work, family commitments or pre-booked holidays.

We invited another motley crew of ex-school throw-ball team to help us practice.  Fierce in their serves and spin, we were happy to have them help us. Since they had no court, no club backing them, they were gracious and grateful to just be able to play. They came from Hours away by Train or Bike, many leaving their children with in-laws, few brought their husbands, who sat in the darkness and watched. They were instrumental in raising our game. Our Coach was patient to handle 14 women.  In two weeks this motley crew became The Flames.

Tournament Day.

MISFITS, MIX AND MATCH, SMASH, MAD BAWIS, LAVA GIRLS, FLAME, ACES, ORLEM STUNNERS, WILDCATS AND LOVE ALL. There were so many women, so many smiling faces. A march past with children, placards, mascots. It was a carnival. It was how sport at Our age should be played. In the Spirit of Fun. There were Hi-Fives, Hello-Hugs amongst all the teams playing. But during the game, inside the court the attitude was different. Everyone was there to win, or try their best. Team spirit and positive encouragement was abundant especially when foul upon foul was being called. Many under the breath swear words were uttered. Tempers were being controlled. Most of these women wouldn’t have been as patient with their men, children, Mother-in-laws, Sister-in-laws, Traffic!            But here there was a Sister-hood. There was love and support. Respect for their Captains decisions. There was Patience and Forgiveness for all, even the Referee.

Many of the girls from the other teams whispered game tactics, gave us advice, many cheered us on.The Flames were our cheering squad. We behaved like one big Team.      After the games all hugged each other and laughed. No ill will, no hard feelings. Maybe a little disappointment but that will always be present if you don’t qualify. But we have learnt, we have more experience. Everyone of us wants to come back again.                       This is the reason why I play. This is the reason why I will take part again and again. Whether we Won or Lost, We came out of this knowing we gained something. A Place of Belonging. Respect as a Team. All of us are more than girlfriends, wives or mothers, we are a part of a New Family-The Suburban Throw-ball League of Mumbai.

The Other Child

How do you justify the amount of time spent with on Child 1 . (The months, weeks, days, hours)  The Athlete, The Swimmer, The Medal Winner. Especially, when Child 2 grows old enough to question you on your Absence at her swim practice, or her kick-boxing practice , homework, birthday parties or The latest Animation films release. It’s Just LIKE I’m Not There for Her!

For the last 4 years, Child 1, Angath Boy 11 years old, has been qualifying for State Level Swimming. Last 2 years, The Nationals. The Training intensifies from January right up to July when Nationals are held. This means that I am with him at morning practice before school, I drive him to school and evening practice after school. I make his meals, pack his school bag. I have to be a lot more patient with his bad habits( not brushing his teeth, flicking boogers on the sly, clothes on floor,seat pot down when he pees) his homework, his ability to lie about homework. His Tv time. His Playdates. His Gaming timetable.

School Year ends 1st week June. Child 2, Leia, female 9 years now want’s it put on record that she is already feeling neglected and the summer holidays haven’t begun.                   Her Grouse: her schedule revolves around his. Her meals are those that are cooked for him. Her holidays begin when he can take time off. Her friends are constantly helping with car-pooling between classes.I supposedly set her up with so much math EVERY SINGLE DAY and Her bedtime stories and cuddles are shorter cos I am so tired and irritable by 9 pm.

I ,on the other hand, make sure I’m home when she gets home by Bus after school. I rush back. I drop her to swim practice and watch for awhile. I make every concert, every Student Led Conference, every sports day, recorder recital, piano recital, reading recital, creative writing class. I cuddle and kiss her millions of times at night, every night. I have made 15 idlis for her every morning since Jan ,even though its the most painful thing to do at 4am. This in between dropping Angath and coming back to wake her up. I make sure there are Ketchup sachets in every pocket she has. I buy her choice of seasonal fruit in bulk so there is never a lack of. She can eat 8 Mangoes a day. Do you know how often I have to go to the Fruit surplus store? Dahi is always in her fridge. BeBes( her cuddly bears) are washed and laundered twice a week. She gets to watch NETFLIX during the week. But this will never be enough. There is a need right now for all my attention. There is a point she is making. At 9 she is stating her claim on her Mommy.

So I can only come to a compromise. One that will hopefully make her happy and secure in the knowledge that I do not have a Favourite. My love for her is Boundless.                     Come 3/07/2016. The day Angath’s Swim Nationals get over. I am Hers. Just Hers. Till The New Year. I will split my year in HALF for each child. Angath will become The Other Child!

Her father is already at her Beck and Call. He loves her like no other. She knows that. With him TIME STANDS STILL!