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Showing posts from February, 2010

I Don't Hate Facebook....

Everywhere I seem to go, people seem to love to hate Facebook.  Why?  I can't understand it.  If you don't like it, then don't go there.  Who is forcing anyone?

Don't misunderstand me.  I am no Facebook fanatic.  I go in there maybe twice a week.  I am not into Facebook games like 'Farmville' or  'Cafe World'.  If anyone has seen me playing, then it was my kids playing on my behalf.  I don't have the time for that.

I belong to a large Irish family and have relatives in many parts of the world.  My Indian family could be described in exactly the same way.  Many of my blogging friends have become an indispensable part of my life.  My page on Facebook has a varied assortment of people on it.  I use the social networking system to stay in touch, to see their updates and send and receive short messages.

I recently re-connected with a niece of mine after a gap of twelve years.  Now we are in regular touch, quite effortlessly.  I also accidentally discover…

One Year Ago...

This day one year ago, one of my neighbours passed away after a short illness.  This death shocked our neighbourhood.  This woman, whom I have called 'Indu Kapoor' for the sake of discretion, as it's not her real name, was mourned by everyone in our locality, as having been a perfect wife, mother and daughter in law.  I often thought that if Indu had taken more care of herself instead of giving everything to others, she might still be alive today.  It was such a shocking waste of a life.  A few months after her death, I  published a  post on my main blog about her, as  her tragic death at the young age of 42 shocked me terribly.  I'm reproducing that blog post here:


We learn many things from the people we meet in our daily lives. I’m thinking particularly of a neighbour of mine, Mrs. Indu Kapoor (not her real name!) whom I’ve encountered during recent years. Although four years younger than me, I had originally thought her to be several years older. Why? Well, her styl…

An Invitation from the Dead.

I saw Yash laughing last week for the first time in weeks.  I couldn't believe it.  It is such a relief to see that he may be coming out of depression.  That he can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel.

He left some papers on a chair one evening when he came in from work.  I had a quick glance at them.  There was an English newspaper.  Great, only Hindi newspapers are delivered to this house.  Nothing  wrong with that, but I can't read Hindi very well.  An envelope to be collected from our house by someone.  And a wedding invitation.  From whom?  I picked it up, glanced through it and found it extremely odd.  I called Yash and showed it to him.  It was an invitation to the marriage of the daughter of one of his colleagues, he told me, but he hadn't yet read it.  So he read it.  This is what it said: 

"The late Dr. Om Prasad and late Mrs Kalawati Prasad have pleasure in soliciting your auspicious presence at the marriage of their granddaughter Neha Prasad (…

No Place Like Home

“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned” ~ Maya Angelou

We've been married for fifteen years.  But we have not yet created our own home.  Are we crazy?  Of course not.  It's just that in India, my husband's country of origin which is also our country of residence, there is a tradition of combined families, that is several branches of one family living under one roof.  We are at present a family consisting of my husband and our four kids (plus me, of course), his younger brother, sister-in-law and their college going sons.  His widowed mother lives here too.  The house was built some twenty years ago by my late father-in-law after his retirement. 

I originally agreed to live this way just so we could be together.  I couldn't wait until the day we would move out.  I was sure that  it was only a matter of time.  He was working in the next city, and as far as I thought, he couldn't commute forever.  Well, I…

Hair Cutting...... Saloon?

The word 'saloon' is a word which I associate with westerns.  That is, Hollywood films set in the old days when the United States was pushing it's frontiers as far west as possible.  In that time, the west side of the United States seems to have been referred to as the 'wild west.'  The saloon was the place where these cowboys would hang out, play cards, drink liquor and challenge each other to pistol fights.  There usually wasn't a woman in sight except maybe a certain type of woman.  Certainly not your churchgoing type, no disrespect meant.

When I was a young girl in Ireland, many years ago, the word 'salon' (and NOT saloon!) was a fancy name for what we commonly just called 'the hairdresser's'.  It referred to the place where women go to have their hair cut, coloured and styled.  It  could also refer to the  beauty parlour where people (mostly women!) go to have facials, manicures and  pedicures, sunbed treatments etc.  Hairdressers in th…

A List of Dos and Don'ts

Specifically for anyone considering getting into an interfaith, inter-cultural or inter-racial marriage.

DOS

#1.  Do expect that  people will remark on it now and then.  It happens.  You just have to be cool about it.

#2.  Do expect to be surprised.  That's inevitable.  When you consider that people from the same religious/cultural/racial group get surprised at times about each other, you can imagine how the opportunities for this are multiplied when you are from different backrounds.

#3.  Do have a positive attitude about it once you've decided to go for it.

#4.  Do learn as much as you can about your partner's faith/culture/place of origin/whatever, preferably before jumping in.

#5.  Do decide how you are going to handle important issues like money and how to bring up your kids before you commit. And stick to your decision.  The attitudes on these issues vary from community to community.  This will prevent a lot of disagreements later.

#6.  If you are planning to live in…

Better Red than....

If I didn't colour my hair, I would probably be completely grey.  I've nothing against grey hair.  I just don't think it suits me.  Not yet.

I started using henna (Hindi word 'mehndi') to colour my hair shortly after I came out to India.  My sisters-in-law all use it all the time.  Henna  comes from a plant.We buy it in the local shops as a green coloured  powder.  From my sisters-in-law I learnt that it has to be soaked along with amla (gooseberry!) powder in an iron vessel for about four hours.  It is applied to the hair and left on for the same amount of time..  I usually put it on before I go to sleep so I don't have to walk around looking like a creature from outer space.  My kids hate when I put it on and make a laugh of me when they see me applying it, so this helps me to avoid that situation.  For some strange reason, when both my sons were babies, they would not come into my arms when I had applied henna on my hair.  They would wait until I had washed …

Abscessive!

I never knew what an abscess was until I moved out here  to India.  And even then, not until after the birth of my fourth child.  Back in August 2003, I was working quadruple shifts, caring for my (then) new baby and taking care of my three older children under ten years old.  I developed what seemed to be an irritating boil on the skin below the right shoulder and above the right breast.  I just ignored it, thinking it would go away in due course.  In what seemed to be  the blink of an eye, the 'boil' swelled, hardened, reddened and developed not one, but several 'heads'.  And I was literally crying with pain.  I did not know what to do.  My husband was extremely busy with work and having taken a few weeks off to assist me in the aftermath of my delivery, had a big backlog on which to catch up at the office.  I didn't want to bother him, as he has to commute to the neighbouring city every day and was already under a lot of stress.

However, once I showed the 'b…

Ten Things I Never Knew Until I Was A Mother....

#1.  That having a baby changes your life so thoroughly that you will never, ever, be the same again.

#2.  That my attitude to my mother would undergo a sea-change.  That the things I once hated about her I would love about her once THIS happened to me.

#3.  That I would be so exhausted and drained that I would rejoice when they went to sleep.

#4.  That I would turn into a lioness protecting a cub if anyone upset my kid.

#5.  That my life would stand still when they were sick.

#6.  That I would be absolutely gutted and wounded when my kids rebelled against me and answered me back.

#7.  That putting them in school for the first time would be major trauma.

#8.  That I would be jealous if anyone else i.e. grandparents tried to take them over.

#9.  That they would grow up so fast.

#10. That my husband and I would actually forget to have time for each other....and not even notice!

One more thing - it's all worth it!  I mean, what would I do without them?  All four of them...

This post w…

Dress Code

When I was visiting Grannymar's blog today, I was amused to learn that in Wales, a woman was prevented from entering a supermarket to buy cigarettes because she was wearing pyjamas.  I commented that one man's pyjamas is another man's designer outfit.  The post started me off on a train of thought.


As my regular readers would know, I am from Ireland, and I live in India.  I live in a combined Indian family along with my husband and our children.  I would say that our family, which lives in city, is as modern as any other family.

But it wasn't always so.

When I got married over fifteen years ago, my father-in-law's elder brother was still alive, and remained so for five more years.  He was highly respected in the family.  He would often arrive, unannounced, and stay for several months. He was called "Taoji" which is a title often given to a father's elder brother in north Indian families.   It was communicated to me, through my sisters-in-law, that as …