Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bits and Ends

I'm kind of tired of these bloody landlords. They act like they're doing you a goddamn favour by considering you as a tenant for their flats. I mean, hello? There's this teensy weensy little thing known as 'rent' which is payment for occupancy of their property. That makes us the customers - and the customer is always right. Right?


So there's snotty Mrs. L who has a whole host of requirements ' less than Rs. XXXXX per month, maintenance to be paid directly, I will need two cheques, part payment in cash ( hmm, shady lady!), 3 months advance, 3 months security, 1 month extra for some work I'm getting done on the flat, yada yada yada....'

Vijay and I ( prostrating ourselves at her feet) : Oh Thank you! We're not worthy! We're not worthy!

Sigh. Cry. Moan. Groan. 'K, I'm done with this.

Hopefully the house hunt will be over soon. Hopefully.

I have decided to start another blog - you may put this down as 'Coming Attraction'. I am thinking of basing it on Marketing, since that's what I do. Of course, as Vijay pointed out in his usual sardonic manner, nowadays even when a housewife goes to pick up alu-pyaaz, she refers to it as Marketing. Therefore, everybody is a Marketeer. I am hoping that unlike this blog, that blog actually says a few things that make sense - or otherwise, is confusing enough to impress a few people, who will in later years hire me for a high-paying consultancy-type role.

You may say I'm a dreamer. But I'm not the only one.

I will probably be inviting guest contributions, given the lack of time I seem to be giving to this whole blogging thing nowadays. Are you interested in being a guest contributor on a new, fantastic blog on marketing whose name I haven't thought of yet?


Peanut's new name is 'Chipkushka' because she's a total Chipku with me. She's going 'Mamamamamama' all the time when I'm around and I don't really get much time for anything else. Heck, who wants time for anything else! But still. Anyway, she's learnt quite a few gestures such as 'Kangi Karo' ( touches her head and runs her fingers through her hair); 'Namaste karo' ( folds hands together clumsily); 'Taali bajao' (tries to brings hands together and misses, sometimes gets it right) and so on. She even 'scolds' me when I refuse to feed her after being bitten by her - she cries unhappily as I cover up, and waves her finger at me wildly, in an accurate imitation of my 'Don't do that' gesture.

Her latest is 'Wah' - which of course is being taught to her by her father. I mildly suggested that may be a little more useful to teach her a few signs such as 'I'm hungry' or 'I'm tired' but Vijay looked at me blankly and went back to stretching his arm out dramatically towards the ceiling and saying 'Betu, do like THIS with your hand - and say 'Wah!''


I was a bit bored one day last week and decided to give myself a different hairstyle. Oh, all right, so I just thought I would part my hair on the right instead of the left. I did so while looking in the mirror, and immediately wished I hadn't - because there they were, irrefutable proof of the fact that I am now old - two distinctly white hair.

I couldn't believe it - I've never had white hair in my life, not even one. And almost everybody around me has some white hair - friends, colleagues, younger siblings...I've often privately pitied their premature aging and thanked the universe that my hair has stayed its original colour.

But so much for that, eh? I'm now officially old. What the early marriage, the 6 years of corporate life, the childbirth and motherhood couldn't do - the simple action of parting my hair on the right that day, has done.

I went back to parting my hair on the left, but it's too late.

I would have liked to end this on a happier note, but I can't think of anything else right now and it's Sunday night and I'm tired and I'm just thinking about how a one-day weekend isn't really a weekend at all and how it's going to be another action packed week at work from tomorrow morning and how I have to pee right now and I'm going so Goodnight.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Working Moms?

I usually stay far away from any remotely serious topics, and am not particularly interested in controversy - I just don't have the energy or time to deal with it regularly, anyway.

That's why I've always been a silent observer of the entire Mommy debate - the 'Working Mom' vs. 'Stay at Home Mom' thing.

I had a good long set of months to observe this debate too, when I was on maternity leave with Peanut. It was a very much-needed break for me and I focussed totally on the baby - and realized that I need to work - actually, I want to work. It's just that I needed to find the right support system to let me do it, and also, to find work that I would really enjoy. Both of these happened when we decided to move to Delhi.

Of course, when I started work after the long break, I had a lot of things on my mind as to how it would work out - I hadn't actually left Peanut for more than a couple of hours - was continuing to breastfeed her, and she was still very fussy about taking solids regularly. I thought she would continue to be on my mind all the time, and that I wouldn't be able to concentrate. I also thought that my restricted travel could prove to be an issue. As would the coming back in the middle of the day to feed her. And so on.

Well, it looks like it's all going to work out, and has been working out just fine for the last couple of months. A lot of things have helped in this regard:

- Having a boss who is a Mom of three kids and openly supportive about my needing to go home at lunchtime to see Peanut. Being able to see her in the middle of the day is a very big plus, for both Peanut and me.

- Having family around for support - even though they all work, I know my mother and sister can be called upon to come home a bit earlier than usual on the rare occasions that I get late. Oh, and Vijay too.

- Having a maid who has been with us for a quarter of a century to watch over Peanut. I can't actually imagine trusting Peanut with someone new or unknown. I suppose one would have found a way to survive without her, but I'm glad I haven't had to.

- Breastfeeding. It is very relaxing, and ensures that Peanut and I get some alone time together at regular intervals of the day - before and after work, and even during lunch. I was planning to wean her at 1 year, which is just a month away now, but I actually see no reason to now. I'd like to hear from the moms who continued beyond one year, most of the mommy bloggers I've read seem to have stopped at 1 year or earlier. 'Benefits of extended breastfeeding', anyone?

- Having work that is engaging, and ensures that I don't sit around thinking 'Why am I here and not with my baby at home, sniff, sob'. It's not easy to leave her every morning, especially when that quivering pink lower lip and those frantically flailing chubby white arms come into play. I'd hate to be pining away for her while I was at work. But it doesn't really happen - I'm always glad to be back home, but I'm never dragging my feet to work either. ( Except that post lunch sleepy time is a killer for a few minutes, of course!)

Anyway, the point I was eventually hoping to meander around to - I was slightly - okay, very - inflamed to read an article on some study in Australia or New Zealand or something - which said that a recent survey showed that working mothers are treated as 'relatively unskilled' and given far less preference in their fields of work than their non-maternal counterparts. The time they spend on maternity leave, or if they choose to take a longer break, all goes against them when they do decide to go back to work.

I don't know about this. I have myself faced some slight bias in this regard. Even though my previous company gave me an enviably long maternity leave, I know there was some khit-pit ( a better word escapes me right now) about my wanting to work flexi-time. And this, when I worked on a branch of marketing which involves a lot of thinking time, and is eminently do-able out of home. Plus, I've done well for years at work and was rated fairly highly. When I finally decided to move to Delhi and quit, I was asked a number of times to reconsider but I really didn't want to reconsider anymore. I was told I was a highly valued resource but I didn't feel particularly valued. I was asked to give an exit interview, and I was very candid in my feedback. My candour probably had the HR person's ear hurting by the end of it. To be fair to him, he was very supportive as a person, but I think it was just a larger thing, a very real thing : there is this - in varying degrees of intensity and openness - bias against working mothers.

And even though I don't really face this in my current role, I think a large part of this comes from having a boss, who by virtue of being an effective working mother of multiple children, is just very understanding about the whole deal. What about other working moms, who may not be that lucky?

In short: it kind of sucks! What's your take?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

An Important conclusion

I just came home at 7 p.m., and Peanut decided to drift off to sleep while I was feeding her. So I find myself with an unusual bit of free time and thought I'd write.

It's not been the best couple of days- both at work and at home. There's a lot going on and a whole bunch of issues to deal with. I will refrain from getting into the specifics. Let me just say this:

Everybody is an idiot. With the sole exception of Peanut.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Can't Win 'Em All.

....or maybe it should be Can't Win 'Em At All.

The house hunt goes on without much success. We have found a couple of places we like, but the foul landlords have bene ghastly, stating all sorts of funny requirements such as - pay 6 months advance, another few months security, part payment in cash ( to avoid tax!), the payment in cash upfront for the full year, token advance (to be forfeited if we change our minds, to be refunded if they change theirs), two months rent to be forfeited as 'fine' if we move out before the year ends, yada yada yada ad nauseum. We have had to resist from flinging ourselves at their feet screaming 'We're not worthy!'


Work goes on and it's launch time for one of the brands I'm working on, so it's been rather hectic of late. I haven't been sleeping well, and feel a little dazed of late. It doesn't help that this Saturday and the last have been working Saturdays and the one-day-weekend just doesn't work, really. You might as well be coming into office on Sunday as well.

Scratch that.

The point is, it's been quite crazy, and it's now Sunday evening again and I'm like 'Where did the day go?'. My eyes are all swollen now and burning and my head feels heavy. Just not getting time to do anything much nowadays apart from work and I think it's beginning to get to me just a little bit. On the bright side, I think the launch is hopefully going to go well. But if things continue this way and Peanut doesn't let me get proper sleep during the nights, I'm going to launch myself out my bedroom window soon. Good thing there are bars on it. And that we're on the ground floor. Damn.


In the spirit of complete superstition, let us all say 'Thoo thoo' for the beautiful weather we've been having in Delhi. The mornings have been just magical, and while some people may say that the days are a bit muggy, I say to those people 'Try being here when you're 8 months pregnant last year'. And while that thought doesn't actually make much sense when phrased that way, I think you know what I mean. Anyway, for the weather in Delhi, here it is, one more time, courtesy Dotmom:


Peanut continues to be a rock star. She has started swaying and clapping her hands in time with music and I refuse to be embarassed about the fact that her favourite song is 'Soni de Nakhre'. Come on, you know you love it too! Look at Govinda Go!

O Kaindi Pump up the Jam, Baby, O Jaane Jaana!
(Or something)

I assure you I had several more brilliant things to say but have now forgotten all of them and am so tired that I'm ready to pitch forward into my laptop. Let's see what that would look like?


Am back!

Am gone!

Anyone up for a blogger meet in Delhi sometime soon? If interested, leave a comment, won't ya?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Why is it so hard to rent a place in Delhi?

We've been looking to rent a place for the last couple of months now. Are these criteria a little too stringent, you think?

*Must be ground floor or first floor only( I don't want to pant up too many stairs to reach Peanut if the lift isn't working), but yet very safe and well-protected ( a veritable fortress)

*Must be reasonable rent (But, of course)

*Must be large and spacious ( Hey, we've lived in Bombay for the last 1.5 years. Enough of feeling cramped)

*Must be in a particular colony where we have relatives (And which is notoriously prime property with hardly any empty flats)

*Must have nice flooring ( My husband has a fascination for wooden flooring. I have no idea why)

*Must have a balcony with a nice view (So what if it is the ground or first floor, we demand an aerial view of the city)

*Must have a servant quarter (I no longer remember why this is important, considering we've done very well without this all our lives)

*Must have excellent club facilities (After all, we see ourselves using the gym, swimming, playing squash and doing aerobics every day of the week)

*Must have plenty of greenery around ( We're nature lovers and Peanut deserves to grow up with a park nearby)

*Must have an easily accessible shopping complex, availability of home delivery for food and other groceries ( We're a busy lot)


What's unreasonable about that?