Monday, January 12, 2009

an organisation called ikageng

an acronym for SOuth-WEstern TOwnships, soweto is nothing like i expected it to be. after all i'd heard about it, i was anticipating a "dharavi-like" spread of kachcha slums, no roads, insane filth and acute poverty.

but what did i find? a sprawling maze of roads that is actually better than many of the main roads in mumbai. a network of pukka homes, which are small but decent, with concrete walls and brick/concrete roofs. a few patches of slums that resemble the blue-plastic -covered dwellings in mumbai, but these are few and far between. many many cars. and, hold your breath, the largest mall (yes, mall) in the country.

the people do not appear impoverished or under-nourished. children are not quite the naked, bloated-belly and snot-nosed variety often depicted on TV. the youth are fashionable, even.

after my initial surprise and confusion, i realised i felt a sense of indignation. people here sympathise with THIS, when the poverty in india, especially mumbai, is so much more abject? i'm supposed to feel moved or affected by this, when i'm amazed that the main roads here provide for a bump-free and spacious drive, a luxury in bombay. no, i didn't. no, i don't.

and yet, what really moved me was the spirit of the people i met. a lady called 'mum carol', who has taken under her wing 2000 HIV orphans and is tirelessly providing them with more than the bare necessities. having started out with 6, her organisation has grown remarkably, and one can see why. who would not donate generously to a woman of such unwavering dedication, continual commitment and steely nerves? HIV orphans are growing at a shocking pace in this part of the world, and to think that mum carol simply decided that enough was enough, the kids need help, and did remarkable stuff with them. she got them enrolled in schools, got them their daily bread, paid for the funerals that happen very often in their extended families and most importantly, gave them a sense of belonging.

and some of the kids themselves are simply amazing . r, especially. you called me a dynamite, but it is you who is far more deserving of admiration. i'm coaching these children, but they are the ones who have opened up windows in my mind.

thank you ikageng for giving me the opportunity to share your lives and partake of your inspiration.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

for the ghost who talks

it's time to write, GOTJ said
so here i am, trying to get around my head
these old streets with new names
smilingly thinking of all that was read
right here, 2 years ago.
as i struggle
with my rusted knack
for the random rhyme
i feel lame and slack,

but who knows what the year will bring
and the pretty songs that our hearts may sing.

PS: to all the old-timers: hope all is well in your worlds.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

all this time, you were a part of me. now, you are a little person. a separate being. with your own volition, intention and understanding. and it tears me up inside.

i see you being pushed by another, and i want to protect you. then i think, you must learn to protect yourself. you scream at him, and stand up. and you're back in the game. i am so proud of you. sometimes, i see you fight me, i cannot force you to sleep. then i wonder, what really is influence? where is the line between letting you be your own person and me staying my own? i see in you an independence so fierce and a spirit so luminous that i can only be humbled by it.

i hope the path laid out for you is pure gold. i hope that i can pick out the brambles that obstruct your way. maybe, i should hope instead that you discern them and pick them out yourself. and may i learn attachment and detachment.

Monday, February 04, 2008

as if nothing has happenend

a friend of mine was trying to mend her little girl's toy. she struggled a bit with it, and before long her 2 year old daughter goes "mama, papa will do it. you can't do it. it's too hard for you". can only imagine the mama's shattered self-esteem!

why don't they have 'parenting' as a subject in school? fine, not school. college?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

the mummy returns

with pun intended please! i have begun this post numerous times. each time i've had to discontinue thanks to my inability to become superwoman :( now i know why the goddess has multiple pairs of hands.

now that m is more than 3 months old and last night slept a record 6 hours straight, i am feeling more like a 'normal' human being. no matter what anyone says, nothing, and i mean nothing, can prepare you for the three months after your first baby arrives. i had grand plans of resuming swimming after the 1st month. i was mental. through and through.

so coming back to NOW. m smiles a lot and is very interactive. he's FINALLY big enough for me to swing him in the air. i can't wait for him to be slightly bigger so i can throw him up and catch him, and then even bigger so i can sit him on my shoulders, and then even more so i can chase him around the house. and then he shouldn't grow any more :)

and "where have all the bloggers gone"?

Thursday, February 08, 2007


a friend came over to meet m with her daughters, aged 4 (A) and 6 years (S).

S: he's so cute.
me: thank you...and what do you think (i ask the 4 year old)?
A: i don't like him.
me (amused): why not?
A: because he's so little.
me: yeah..that's true.
A: can he walk?
me: no, not yet.
A: why? he has legs so why can't he walk?
me: ummm...

a little later, after m had a bawling bout -

S: why does he cry?
me: he can't talk, so he cries when he has to say something, eg, if he's hungry.
S: if he can cry, why can't he talk?

answers, anybody?


we took m shopping. at some point, the new daddy decided that he wanted to do 'men things' with his son and give the two women (my mum and myself) time to do our own thing. so he went to 'media markt', a haven for electronic-geeks. mum and i went to a cafe and chatted. we met up with the 'men' after some time, and s looked completely psyched. before i could ask, he said:

"so i'm having a wonderful time looking around at gadgets, and m is very well-behaved. he sleeps throughout, while i choose dvds and other stuff. when i reach the counter to pay, he wakes up and whimpers. i peep into his stroller, smile and say sh-sh, and continue my attempt to manage the bulky carton with the printer and all the other stuff i bought. the next thing i know, m is howling. REALLY loudly. so i put everything down, and pick him up and try to comfort him. he cries even louder. by now, people are staring..some giving me really pitiful looks, others glaring. and there are these 2 indian-looking guys close-by and i hear one of them say 'arre iski ma kidhar hai?'

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

more rambling. read at your own risk.

the thing about becoming a new parent is that really, nobody else has the patience or the interest to hear you gush except for your spouse. so a typical conversation about the entire event and about m goes like this:

x: so, how is the new mommy doing?
what i say: very well, thanks...quite tired, but still very well.

what i want to say: i'm doing super and terrible at the same time. super, because the feeling is simply out of this world. i thought getting married was the best thing, but this is way better! terrible, because when my baby cries and i have no clue why, or i can't help him, it feels like shit. i mean, he's SO tiny and helpless and can't even say what he feels. once you know he isn't hungry, dirty or sleepy, you really are clueless. is he just doing drama? is it discomfort/pain due to gas? it's really heart-wrenching to see him bawl and not know why. but you know, nobody warned me that the first few days after the delivery can be quite tough. sure i knew it would be a bit uncomfortable, but nobody told me that it can be really painful to even pee, forget walking. you can't exactly leap out of bed and leap back in when you want, like i wanted to when the baby made the slightest sound. after the fairly healthy pregnancy i had, i was really upset and irritated that i couldn't, especially because people always spoke about how the birthing process is so painful, but nobody talked of the pain after that! also, nobody told me that breast-feeding is really not a joy-ride...not at the start at least. why do women not tell other women these's a conspiracy! of course, all this is not a patch on actually becoming a mom.

x: and how is m?
what i say: he is just lovely. of course he cries really loudly and i don't always know why, but he's just adorable.

what i want to say: he is SOOOOOO cute. you know, the pediatrician said he has a really strong neck and is one of those babies with naturally well-toned muscle (whatever that means for a newborn!!!!!). and he has some priceless expressions. and big fat eyes, when he opens them, that is! and he doesn't look like either of us...he just looks like himself. and so ON.

x: and s must be so excited.
what i say: oh yeah...he is thrilled, naturally.

what i want to say: you know, i'm seeing sides to him i never even knew existed. he is so gentle with m, and so involved.not just the nappy-changing and putting him to bed. he talks to him and is actually quite of the first things he has tried teaching m is "force is equal to mass into acceleration", can you believe it! hilarious! never mind that i tried teaching him the gita, but trying to teach him physics of all things! and s carries m's snaps with him. i've always teased him that he never carries my snap in his wallet like a true romantic would. of course, for m, he does...isn't that sweet?

x: so how did the labour go?
what i say: actually, not as bad as i thought. very long and very hard, but still not like i thought i was going to die. some moments, i even managed to have fun.

what i want to say: it was insane! you know, we wanted our baby to come between dec 18th-20th instead of 28th, just so that s could get more leave. and 18th afternoon, s sms-ed me saying tell the baby it's time for contraction no. 1. as if the baby was going to do that...and you'll never believe it, but the pain started 18th night, after s returned from munich. it's as if we willed him to wait for s to return, and then come! what an obedient he better stay that way! post midnight, we marched into the hospital. s was practically delirious with joy, and i was ridiculously calm and excited at once. and then the labour went on and on...and s played some music that i wanted and kept cracking jokes, which was counter-productive, because it hurt me more to laugh! and then he did the breathing exercises with me, that helped. s of course was completely disappointed that i didnt claw him and draw blood or hurl abuses at such melodrama, just me breathing slowly and steadily. and i had these cool indoor slippers that looked like cows and made everyone smile and so i had to smile back. and finally when the pain got really bad, s couldn't see me go through it and insisted upon the epidural...i was too exhausted to argue, and i'm glad i didn't :) and they gave me the baby as soon as he came into the world, and i was like, oh my GOD! and they took him away right after that for the APGAR test, and then i saw s walking back into the room holding the baby...OUR baby. it was such fun. and then...AND this...AND that...