How would our husband’s feel….?

We women of today are really quite reserved. I’ve come to this realisation after I heard Violetta express her love for Alfredo in one of my favourite scenes from La Traviata, Amami Alfredo.

The last time many of us spoke with such feeling to our families

. . . was probably the time we had had enough – and decided that clothes left on the floor would be ‘left’ there. We would not pick them up & put them in the wash like our mothers did, but would leave them be. Until our family came to their senses and put them in their proper place – in the washing machine or the dirty clothes basket!

And I wonder, do we need to listen to Violetta and learn?

How would our husband’s feel, if after all these years of being married, we wives declared our love for them with such passion. Would they be thrilled, or would they rush us off to the nearest doctor, thinking we had a severe stomach ache…..??

4 reasons why your family’s lucky if you’re a lousy cook

Some of my women friends are stuck. They’re amazing cooks & they were just so good at it, that other family members stopped taking turns with cooking. They loved cooking & took pains to cater to differing tastes, by cooking a wide variety of dishes at every meal.

It’s hitting them hard as they get older & their priorities change. They want time to spend with their extended family & often struggle to get time to meet up with their friends. Because running their home, looking after older family members & producing fabulous meals daily takes all the time they have.

They’re talking about it when we meet & realising that their being so good at cooking has made their family fussy. They now want to unlearn their amazing cooking skills & learn from women with cooking skills like mine!

If you are like me, and your cooking skills range from lousy on a bad day, to basic on a good one, don’t feel bad. Here’s 4 reasons why your family is lucky :

  • No one will be terribly overweight, because they’re not likely to overeat.
  • Everyone will learn the true meaning of the first line of Serenity Prayer “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.” Your family will eventually learn to eat the few things you can cook that are edible. After many years, they’ll have gone so used to your cooking, that they’ll have lowered their standards and  will even insist that you’re the most amazing cook!
  • A lot more gets done at home, because you have the time. Because you can cook what you find easy, because there will be no special requests – for snacks, deserts or just about anything else…if dal (pulses), sabji (veggies) & a couple of chicken dishes are all you can cook that’s edible, everyone will be thrilled to eat it everyday!
  • You’re always smiling when you have guests over – because you can enjoy spending time with them. Everyone will be really thrilled if you don’t put yourself out to cook for them and will even try to hint broadly saying “Don’t worry to cook dear, let’s all go out for lunch, or order in. We know you’re busy and will just be tired if you have to do a lot of cooking!”

 

I’m saying no to the requests I’ve had for cooking classes.  The truth is, all I have to do is ‘try’ to cook well and that’s enough for things to go terrible wrong….so I don’t think I can teach it. It’s just a natural talent!

😀

I could look at you in envy

I could look at you in envy

For all the things you have,

The ease with which you cope,

Your luck when things get bad.

 

But i look at you in awe,

You’re my teacher and my friend.

I look at you and learn, that i can try to change,

Turn my struggles into chances and reach up for the skies.

 

I see the work you’ve put in and i see the dues you’ve paid,

And your graceful acceptance, when all you try just fails.

I see that every chance you’ve got you’ve carved out for yourself,

And i look at all of you in awe…my teachers and my friends.

 

… this poem was inspired by all of the wonderful women i know, who’ve succeeded.  In making time for their families, their careers and for themselves. In doing all the things they do with commitment & with joy.

 

Dear Levi’s India,

Buying a pair of jeans in Navi Mumbai is mostly impossible for me.

The problem is that i am ‘the average woman’ – busy trying to find that ‘perfect imbalance’ that helps me do the things i would like to, and still manage to do the things i need to, and not always succeeding. I’m either too lazy or too busy to have a regular exercise routine. I weigh 20 kgs more than i did at 20, but in my mind, i’m really very slim..

The shops at Navi Mumbai simply don’t cater to ‘slim’, older women like me. They stop at size 34, and usually only keep the skinny fit!

So, i visited the Levi’s shop at the Phoenix mall, Kurla the other day, because i thought that you had taken the trouble to manufacture jeans to fit every woman. I was pleasantly surprised to find my size – only you now mark every size a couple of numbers below the waist measurement (for example : a 34 is now marked 30 or 32)?

However, i walked away without a pair of jeans, simply because the skinny fit just does not do it for me. Like i did before, i’m going to have to really really look around a lot, to get a pair of jeans that fit’s comfortable.

..A sad customer

😦

Dear Change,

I am grateful for your constant and steady companionship

I have not always felt that way about your many many visits, but as time goes by I’m growing to value them. When you visit regularly, I sometimes wish you away, but you know that I really do not mean it.

You bring me joy and sorrow, rude shocks and pleasant surprises,

I would not have known the joy, if you had not brought me sorrow,

I would not have known I was strong if you had not shaken me up,

I would not have known accomplishment, if i did not accept the struggles you gave me,

Through it all, you gave me hope

 

I am never alone, because you hold on to me,

I remember not to be complacent, because you slap me in the face

 

I am sometimes wise, and welcome you with open arms,

I sometimes forget that wisdom and just want a break

 

I know you are good for me, as you make me grow,

I have learned over time to accept you as you are and go with the flow

 

I appreciate your constancy and I’m not asking you to be any different from what you are.

But would it be so hard, to just give me a call now and then, and let me know you’re on your way to see me?

The colour of gold

The inspiration for this poem

To the average Indian woman, gold is beauty, security and an investment in her future. Sadly, it’s also for many women, a way to determine whether another woman is well off enough, that they can consider being friendly with her.

I learned this because I don’t wear gold jewellery and I often wear no jewellery at all. I’ve had full conversations with women, with their eyes glued to my ears and neck – showing me that they notice the lack of adornment. 

Worse still, we lived on rent when we first moved to our current location, moving a couple of times, before settling down in our permanent home. And every move meant making new friends from scratch.  Initial friendliness from women neighbours can sometimes turn to reserve once they’ve conducted their brief interview and realise they’re talking to someone who does not own her own home! 

It’s a value system that is so accepted in our society that families invest in gold jewellery, leaving nothing for the comforts that make daily living easy.

I often get told I’m lucky that my daily life is relatively comfortable. But it’s not about luck. It’s about personal choices and priorities and spending on what we value most. That’s where this post comes from.

Gold is the colour of :

  • All the machines that do my house work for me.
  • The comfort I get in shopping for convenience and not necessarily for discounts.
  • The education that my parents gave me.
  • The investment of both time and money, that I make in my ongoing education.
  • The family support I get, so that I can work at what I love.
  • The time I get to spend with family.
  • The silence of the morning every day, when I’m having a leisurely cup of chai

Concerned friends, have asked if I own a set of jewellery and my answer is NO. It’s a waste as I’m not going to wear it anyway. Maybe someday, I’ll consider buying some bling that’s actually gold. I don’t know – maybe…

But it won’t mean anything more to me than all the lovely stuff at Archie’s.

You know you’re 40 when :

  1. You no longer feel like you’re just out of college

  2. You are 20 kgs heavier than when you were 20 but you feel very slim

  3. You will never have time to do all that you have to or want to

  4. You are wise and you have given up trying – there’s a long long ‘To-do’ list which will never go away

  5. The Loreal representative at the local mall tries to get you to buy more natural looking hair dye – even though you don’t dye your hair

  6. Even the Bhaji-walla who used to call you Baby, then Didi, then Bhabhi, now calls you Auntie

 

For the non-Indian:

The Bhaji-walla is the vegetable vendor

They call all children Baba(boys) or Baby(girls), all young women Didi (elder sister), the not so young women Bhabhi(sister-in-law) and Auntie is just one step away from Nani – which means grandmother – a title you get when you look like, or are a senior citizen.

What 2013 has taught me

As 2013 comes to a close, I finally realise that I am not wonder woman, and it’s quite ok

This past year has been a year of change – new opportunities, new challenges and a year of goodbyes to some very special people, who were an important part of my life. Life can be so short and I need time to enjoy it – my family, friends and job – I want it all – I want it all – I want it all – and I want it now .. Freddie Mercury had the right idea.

Someday, when the years have gone by, I will look back at what I have done, and hope that it will be with a smile in my heart, knowing I did the things that made me happy and gave me joy. And with affection for the people who loved me and made it all possible.

 

On finding an imbalance between work and home

I am learning that there is no such thing as balancing home and work, but just different kinds of imbalance. You get more stuff done at home, and you have less resources to focus on your work – it’s as simple as that! These wonderful multi-tasting women who do it all, that I read about seem unreal! It’s just so free-ing, to realise, after years of trying to do everything, that there’s no way to succeed. So I am now striving to find an imbalance that works for me and my family

 

Maid in India

I have fond memories of the maid and cook we had before we moved house. I found it easier to deal with leaving my friends, but missed the house help terribly.  After moving, it took time to get help at home. The maid I got was really very honest, and nice – she would turn up either when I had just woken up, or when I was leaving for work, and the new cook took 3 hours daily to cook a dal and 2 veggies (that takes me 45 minutes on a bad day). So, when I finally ended up doing it all AND paying for it and figured that i could just do it all and not pay for it!  I do sometimes dream of having a maid or a cook, but right now am finding, that it’s less stressful without them. At least this way the house work gets shared, since everyone knows there’s no help at home.

 

Coping Techniques

  • If something can wait, just leave it be for another day – procrastinating is an art and it is well worth learning

  • Keep a couple of hours a week to deal with pending stuff

  • Spring Clean and give away unused stuff regularly, it reduces the time taken to clean up at home and getting rid of junk somehow let’s good energy into a home

  • Keep the vacuum cleaner and mop easily reachable, so small spills can be taken care of quickly

  • Look around – you will see a lot of other women in their 40s, like you, trying to do it all and not succeeding, and you will feel much better, when you know you’re not alone

  • Be an imperfectionist at home – it is better to be an average housekeeper who is relaxed, than an amazing one who is always upset that something at home has not been done

  • When things get too much, sit down with a cup of chai, put your feet up and think of something else – this takes practise, but works. You will feel much better after a little while and will be to handle it all when you’re done

 

Is it important to do everything for everyone else in the family, or let them learn to be self-reliant

Is the woman who does everything for everyone wonderful, or is it the woman who teaches her family to look after themselves and be less dependent on having help to do their work? I am sure every family has different thoughts about this. It is worth thinking about.

While it is nice to have help with the home chores, it is also quite a relief to know that the family can survive comfortably even without it, when necessary. I do think people who do work a little bit at home, keep much better health than those who don’t.

 

There’s a time for work and a time to rest

There’s a time and place for everything under the sun, and for me, this is the time to do my own house work. I know that when life thinks I really need a break, the most amazing maid and cook will come knocking at my door (like it happened when we were moving house earlier) and help will just come my way. Until then, it is important for me to accept that i have no house help, be flexible and do my best and simply leave the rest. At least that way, I’m still smiling and relaxed at the end of a busy, busy day.