Monthly Archives: May 2013

The pace maker

For the longest time in my life, I’ve lived life in the fast lane. There was never a dull moment, so to say, and I kept myself consciously engaged in so many things that left so little time for me to be alone. I was a visitor in my own home, I loved being out so much then! The Guy and I were the ones making plans with friends, for movies, dinners, late nights… We were society’s ‘it’ couple, at some point I think.

But in the last two years, it’s been a different story. I’ve learnt to slow down, breathe in, exhale, and live life at my own pace. My new pace. Because the life in the fast lane was also a pace I’d set for myself.

This new life that I’m living at breathable speed is probably the stuff that would classify it as boring. And by my own admission, it’s the kind of life I hadn’t imagined I’d be happy living. Yes, it’s taken some getting-used-to, but now that I know that this space I’m inhabiting, and the way I’m doing it, it’s where I am meant to be right now, I feel so much at peace. I no longer want to be at ten places at the same time, I’m okay saying no to doing things I don’t want to do, I’m okay, in fact, doing nothing. To me, it’s the most evolved I have been at enjoying my personal space.

Some of you who’ve followed my blog in my hey days might remember my tales of partying, dressing up, and partying some more, of ‘living it up’, travelling, burning the midnight oil when it came to work. Now, I cuddle my baby and hit the bed at 10pm, wake up to his smile and the sweetest ‘Mamma’ ever said, and just go about my day doing things as they come. Yes, there are days when the baby work is just too much, and getting to office is so much hard labour, and there’s the mad morning rush to do all the chores that need to be done before I step out for work. Perhaps, those days make me cherish even more the ‘doing nothing’ — periods of quiet and calm, when I can just sit and watch my son toddle away, busy at his ingenuous games, chasing lizards, running after his ping pong balls, pushing his fruit cart around, and hold him in a tight hug when he remembers in the middle of all his playing, that he needs to smell and feel the warmth of mamma. Pray, tell me, why would I want to do anything else?

Earlier, I would be loathe to spend a Sunday just being home. Yesterday, I revelled in the feeling. I curled up on our lazy boy, and watched Hindi films on the TV from middle to end, and that’s it! No movie outing, coffee, dinner, nothing even remotely interesting.

I understand that this transition is everything to do with having a baby. But I’ve seen unhappy parents, mothers who feel too tied down, restrained, bored with their lives, for whom it’s a half-hearted choice. I’m just thankful I’m not in their shoes. Probably because we’ve been there, done that, there’s more reason to enjoy this and now. But I also think that this isn’t just about having a baby. I think I’m just happy I know how to be happy without attaching it to a hundred things outside of me.

There are people who would like me to believe I’m losing the plot, that I must get back to a ‘normal’ life now that my son is 1.5 years old. To them I want to say:

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Why Angelina Jolie’s mastectomy means so much…

…To me, and to women in general. Tell me one of you out there who’s remained unaffected by the news, not imagined at least once what it would be like to be in her shoes, to take a conscious call to get your breasts removed? It would still make news if it were any other body part, if it were Angelina Jolie, but would it affect the women so much if it were not her breasts? I’m not so sure.

Considering how common breast cancer has become in the recent years, we all probably have a family member and friend’s mother or friend who’s dealt with it at some point in their lives, and come out of it, without a boob. My mother-in-law fears the C word, because her mum died of breast cancer when MIL was still a young girl. I have a relative, who fought and survived breast cancer, she has a severely swollen arm as testimony to that, a result of the chemotherapy she underwent years ago, I am told. When I was much younger, we’d heard in hushed tones about how this Aunty didn’t have a breast, she’d lost it to breast cancer, and that she wore some sort of a special bra with a faux boob. And I remember at that time thinking how terrible that must be, to not have a part of your body. I know better now, I understand that a life is far more precious than a breast, any body part you could lose.

But I’m still trying to process how much courage it must take to voluntarily get your breasts removed, (honestly, I had never heard of preventive mastectomy before this) not because they are killing you, but because there’s a chance they could kill you. Even if you can get them replaced by two silicone substitutes. I don’t think it’s about money, it’s not that she can afford to get a double mastectomy and then silicone implants, as some people would make this out to be. Agreed, everyone’s not as rich as Jolie, but a lot of people are still rich enough to get those procedures done. Would you still opt for it? Or take the risk of letting a faulty gene in your system play out its own story, which may or may not cause cancer, as was the case with the Hollywood actress?

How much braver then for a woman to come out  in the open, and say, yes, they’re not real anymore. And think about it, does it affect the way you view Angelina Jolie if she’s got two fake breasts? Is she any less sexier to you now than she was before? Not to me at least. Why then should a woman’s sexuality be defined by the size and shape of her breasts.  We have to disassociate from this construction to be able to view our bodies for what they are, not for what they are perceived to be. No, our breasts were not meant to titillate, to be stared at, to be objectified for pleasure. Like any other body part, women have breasts for a purpose — to nurse babies.  Will Angelina’s double mastectomy help us all to put things in perspective?

The simple life

…Should be fairly simply to live? But as a mother, I’ve begun to increasingly realise that it’s one of the toughest things to ensure I give my toddler. There are no two ways about whether I want him to live a simple life, I just do. But whether I can teach him how to, I don’t know. I don’t know how to teach him to live without the unnecessary trappings of this day and age, when I’m hooked to so many of them.

Like the cellphone. We made it out-of-bounds for him when he was a crawler, and it was easy then, but ever since he’s got a mind of his own, it’s become difficult to explain why we’re never seen without our phones, but he mustn’t lay his hands on one AT ALL. He still doesn’t get one to play with, but once in a while he wants to watch a song video or his own baby videos on it. Or the ipad, on which I downloaded tons of baby songs and nursery rhymes, and such other, which I played for him every night while I was weaning him off,  just to distract him so he would forget he had to nurse. He loves the songs and rhymes on the ipad. I hate it. Because I don’t think gadgets are for kids. But since they make life simpler for us, I think we’re using them to complicate our kids.  I console myself by saying he still loves books, that he can sit and browse through his board and peek-a-boo books for long periods and enjoys it. Or that he doesn’t watch TV, no, not even cartoons. But still, the ipad irks.

Till two days ago, my son had not set foot in a train, had only travelled by flight. It bothered me. It happened so because I was breastfeeding him till January this year, and despite doing it for 15 months straight, I couldn’t do it in public. No, I wasn’t squeamish about nursing in public, I just didn’t know how to do it the way it was to be done in public. I preferred travelling by air, because my son’s been a poor sleeper from the start, and I could not imagine long journeys with him waking up every hour to nurse! So well, I chose to fly with him till now, when I finally made up my mind I had to get out of this we-can’t-travel-by-train syndrome, and took a Delhi-Lucknow overnight train with him, and my family.

You know, those are the little things that I’m talking about… There’s a bit of fondness for the old life that we all harbour, and that part of us wants that our children should enjoy the same pleasures that we did as kids. Except that the same pleasures are no longer there for having. There’s too much at our easy disposal now. The smallest of things that were precious to us when we were kids, would mean nothing to my son, I realise, because he had it before he could ask for it. Also, our world view has changed, and we don’t think those things are a big deal now. It would be a bigger deal trying to keep those things away from him now, saying no, you’re not allowed to switch on the AC, because we grew up in air-cooled houses. Or to say, no flights for you because flights just are a whole lot easier for my husband and me because they save us a lot of time. Yet, a part of me hankers after that old life, even for my baby… is it too much to ask for in these times?