Sunday, September 20, 2015

Life Moves On for Zara

I know Zara since childhood. She has been a coy girl blushing out at every small remark about anything related to her. She is a nice person who is completely in love with human kind in general, and she can never harm anybody. The motto of her life has been to bring smiles to as many faces as possible. She loves the small little things in life, she loves playing around with her younger brother, and she enjoys playing the doll game with me. We have grown up together, so I know her each emotion, her each unspoken gesture so well by now. If she ever falls in love with a guy, I am sure she does not need to tell me that, I will be able to read her.

And thats what I have recently come to know. Looking at her facial expressions when I spotted her with a guy last evening, I was certain that she was madly in love with him. He seemed to be one of those decent guys, those take-home-to-mumma kind of guy. So I felt quite happy for her. But then all that seems to be glittering is not gold. There are complications in human emotions. She is totally in love with the guy, but doesn't seeem to be too comfortable telling him how she feels about him.There is something that stops her from being that intimate and comfortable with him. She told me all these after a lot of pestering yesterday late in the night when she was in my house for the usual after-dinner talks that we share! She tried to conceal it as much as she could but then I finally had my way. There is something we share between us that compels us not to lie to each other. We know each other's secrets. Secrets we would never dare telling the world (including our parents) but to only each other. 

She told me everything about her feeling for this guy. Obviously I knew about her meeting him in college a couple of years back and of the general conversations she had with him. But I did not anticipate for it to have gone this far. All those chit-chats always just gave me a feeling that they are classmates and that he is a decent boy who just loves talking. Lot of girls in the class seemed to have a liking for him. He was academically very bright and enjoyed spending time talking to girls during breaks between classes. I was shocked to see my dear friend to have fallen for him so badly - just through those small break time conversations! But the fact that she took two long years to decide if it was actually love or just infatuation, meant that I needed to consider the situation quite seriously.

She opened up to me to reveal that those break time conversations had also at times gone to the extent of going for movies on days when the teachers did not turn up or classes were sparse. Although they would go for such movies as a gang which would include other girls and Zara being one of them. She would spend most of her time watching him over the shoulder of the girl sitting next to him instead of the movie. The joy on his face, the smiles and laughter coming from him would make her enjoy the movie. She also revealed how once on way back from the movies to the college, they struggled to find a cab. They all had to walk down and she walked behind him with another girl. They were all chit-chatting, but her thoughts were fixated on moving between checking out the sides of his eyes and his well-shaped buts.

As Zara was telling me each  and every detail of his love for him - all I could see was how her infatuation towards him was gradually turning into an obsession. She was getting pulled into him like a magnet, whilst I felt that probably he had no idea about all this. Yesterday when for the first time I saw them together outside an ice-cream parlour, what I missed out on seeing was that the other girls who would also hang out together with the two of them were inside the parlour getting their ice-creams. Zara did not want one and the guy was the first one to get his so they both were outside waiting for the others to join. However, whilst the guy was busy attacking his ice-cream, I noticed Zara's eyes staring his lips and his tongue coming out to lick the cream. Their was a faint smile on her face, a happiness coming from standing so close to him. This whole setting of the two of them together, smile on Zara's face, him enjoying the ice-cream, painted a picture that they were a couple - although it was in reality far from that. I confronted Zara with the direct question of whether she had spoken to him about how she felt about him. As anticipated Zara replied in the negative.

Obviously as a friend I want to help Zara, so I could not possibly tell her how stupid she has turned herself into. I had a plan instead - a plan to help Zara confess her one sided love to him. A plan for him to hopefully fall in love with her too. This story will be continued here... as Zara's life moves on...

Journey of being a working mother

We recently went on a trip to Blackpool. This has to be one of the most memorable trips I have had so far. The first proper trip on our own with our new born who is soon going to be all of 15 months. Really time has flown so quickly that I have lost track of what all it entailed. The last clear memories are of the last day at work with the cake, the speeches and the card with lots of scribbles wishing good luck. And the uneasy feeling of what is there to come. After I said good bye to work to embark on a new journey of motherhood - life has been on a roller coaster ride, memories of which are now gradually fading already. Just within a week of bidding adieu to work, I delivered a little princess.

As seamless and joyful were the 9 months of pregnancy, my delivery was equally straightforward. Obviously at that time it did feel like the most arduous experience, one I vouched I will never tread on again. But with the passage of time and having heard of other more painful stories, my discomfort seemed minimalistic. My life was getting filled up with the joyous feeling of being a mother. The first three months are the toughest in terms of raising a child. From being someone who learnt everything from how to hold a baby to changing nappies in an antenatal class, I was gradually becoming a mother - one who knows how to breast feed, is able to understand and differentiate between the various baby cries, make baby burp and wee and poo, sooth her to sleep etc. It is hard work, but unlike corporate hard work where rewards are quantified at the end of the year, nature of reward here is quite different - instantaneous gratification felt at an emotional level.

The 6 months following the most difficult first 3 months were very easy - I went back to India to my parents with my new born and had the comforts and support of family back home. These 6 months flew as if in 6 hours - one of the best periods of my life. My mother was taking care of my daughter and I was taking care of the rest - which included getting 2 hours of body massage every day, getting involved and sorting out any teething issues in my father's business, renovating the house to prepare for my brother's wedding and finally actually attending the Indian wedding. It had everything I could have wished for. Before coming back to London, we decided to go for a short trip to the south of India, covering Chennai, Vellore and Pondicherry. Although exciting in its own way, it was a good lesson on how to take care of a baby on our own. This was the first time we were on our own with our 9 month old daughter and don't think we did a very good job. She fell sick, she became very weak as we did not feed her enough and was taking strong antibiotics. So much so that when my mother saw my daughter only for a night before leaving India to come to London, she got too worried about how frail she had become. In a night, whatever she could, she did to bring my daughter back to normal - this included giving her something to eat every hour or so. We just had not done a good job with regards to her food.

Coming back to London with a 9 month old with the experience and lesson learnt from the Chennai trip meant that we were better prepared and did not take anything for granted. After some initial hiccups I managed to find an amazing child minder who helped us out with taking her regular care. We started very gradually, a couple of hours initially going up to a full day in her 11th month. Once settled in with her, I started exploring joining back to work. I did not want any sudden changes in lifestyle - either for my daughter or for myself. Therefore getting back to work was also in a phased manner including moving my daughter away from breastfeeding to bottle feeding. I wanted to make sure that she was more independent and that I could trust somebody to take care of her when I am at work.

Life since then has been quite routined. She goes to the childminder Mondays to Thursdays and I take Fridays off (a clever tactic I used to not use up all my maternity leaves in one go, but spread them over throughout the year by taking a day off in the week and spending with the little one). Going back to work has been a brilliant feeling after a long hiatus. New and increased challenges have kept me busy so far. I have a busy day at work and busy evenings at home with the little one. I do sometimes miss not having the me-time, but then when I see the smile on her face for no reason or an un-demanded hug from her, all such wants disappear and I feel like spending each and every moment of my conscious self with her.