Monthly Archives: July 2011

Salaam Mumbai

I know… This line is getting over used and corny!

Yesterday morning when I received a BBM from one of my old friends telling me about the bomb blast, I slumped into my chair. Mumbai and I have had a very special relationship. Images of days gone by flashed before my eyes. I got very concerned about the well being about each and every piece of Mumbai I know. My friends, their friends and families… the places…the little boy who sat at the phone booth near my office … every little bit of Mumbai I knew. Are they all OK ?

This has happened in the past, it has happened again.Everyone seems to be getting more and more used to these attacks on humanity, I just cannot come to terms with it. This is not normal. This cannot be regular. I will not accept. And why Mumbai? It is the city of dreams… not nightmares ..

I was introduced to Mumbai by one of my college best friends. She used to keep calling me to come and join her in Mumbai, while I was happy and comfortable in Pune. Pune was home. I never could imagine myself to be a part of the fast paced Mumbai. I was far too laid back to be a part of that city. The crowd overwhelmed me, I felt small and lost. She introduced me to the restaurants where Mumbai glitterati frequented; we used to take long walks by the sea. She introduced me to the Bombay sandwiches and the cutting chais. I used to go and meet her every month and she kept selling Mumbai life
to me with every visit. I resisted. She insisted.

Fate has its own ways and I got an offer from a leading company in my field around 2002 which I could not resist. The fear of the crowd and local trains was not strong enough to stop me from taking the offer up I guess. Mumbai welcomed me like it does to the hundreds that come to her, with an open arm and a warm smile. Little did I know
that the coming 2 years would not only be the best in my life but would also change me as a person, for better!!

Mumbai has given me a lot. It gave me a bunch of crazy girl friends, some amazing moments and it introduced me to ME. It taught me the very basic lesson of life, live for your own self, if you are happy everyone else around you will be happy too. So many
memories from that city. Memories of those nights when I used to pack dinner home and sit by my window and eat, the endless traffic would never stop. I would sit there and the city by my side, and read my favorite authors at night.  It never let me feel lonely. Not a single moment. There is this one very special memory from Mumbai; I reached
Mumbai in March, and it was my birthday in April. I had never been alone on my
birthday till then.  I guess I was a little sad at the thought of being away from my friends in Pune that year, I think a few girls at work just figured that out. They had come from different cities too. We did not know a good place to go .. so they all took me to the
Juhu beach, bought a small cupcake for me and we sat feet in sand .. enjoying
the breeze .. and became friends. Shared chocolates with some street kids and
just sang the night away. I have had many birthdays before and after, at expensive places, with many other friends, but to me that was the best celebration I ever had. That’s Mumbai … Full of love and surprises at every corner. Ask and you shall receive.

It’s a city, which teaches you how to live,how to love, and how to be happy on your own terms. I eventually left Mumbai to be with D, taking a part of it in my heart, and leaving behind a part of me with her.

She has been through so many assaults, so many lives were lost … Why ? What does this prove or solve ? I do not understand how religion works, or what political agenda works behind such attacks. I am just another mother concerned about the world her kids are growing up in. I hope people start valuing life a little more. It takes a lot to create life, nurture it and give it a shape. It is not cheap. Every mother knows that. Yet so many mothers lose their children to war and such attacks.  I do not think I will ever understand why one human would even want to kill another one. How much hatred could lead to do that? I don’t want to know.  I just want to give my children a better world, like all other mothers out there. Is that too much to ask for? I want my boys to see Mumbai and embrace it like their mother had once done. I don’t want them to meet a scarred Mumbai… The spirit of Mumbai is what makes Mumbai and I want my boys to see that one day … In all its glory. Is that too much to ask for ?

-Peace.

On The Road Again

So we took the road again. The last road trip was for New Years Eve and it was awesome. On the July 4th weekend time we took a shorter trip (9 hours on the road) from New Jersey to Pittsburg. The road was scenic and the boys had a blast. We left at night around mid-night and the boys were fast asleep. The first stop was at the break of dawn, the joy and surprise on the boys face was incredible.
They loved waking up at a new place surrounded by hills and chirping birds, running around in the open parking space. I loved the sight and just soaked myself up in the moment, putting my feet up and enjoying my morning cup of coffee. It was such a beautiful morning. We took the road again after the brief stop and the four of us simply loved the drive. The boys kept giggling with
each other, pointing at every passing car truck or any random vehicle. The tunnels gave them the extra thrills.

Pittsburg was fun. BB as usual had a tough time at start. He always takes some time to settle down at a new place. Junior took onto the place like fish in water. We had gone to meet an old friend of mine and fellow partner in crime :).  D and I loved her apartment. It was such a cute little space. I wish I had taken some pictures of that house. Too bad she won’t be living there for long. My
boys call her Maashi. It was not long before BB opened up and started jumping around. The 3 day stay was extremely relaxing for all of us. Rejuvenation of sorts! We roamed around during the day and lounged at home at night over some
great (and not so great) food and loads of yapping. With the kind of crazy lifestyle we all have, I think these kind of breaks just recharges the mind and soul when there are no plans to be followed, no deadlines to be met, no place
to reach .. Just be with friends and live in the moment. People deal with stress in many ways .. some meditate .. some do yoga .. Me ? I meet friends and yap away to glory. Works wonders !!

This friend of mine will be going back to India, back to her home, hubby and life and will be so badly missed. But such is life, nothing is forever. But then there is the internet, phone and facebook ! And the roads … I am sure we will cross paths
again and have a blast as usual 🙂

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The Art of Speaking

Last weekend I went out with my gal-pal for a quiet
dinner and drinks date. She is a mommy of a busy 2 and half year old boy. Like
all mommies we started talking about our kids and she mentioned how her Baby O has been diagnosed with speech delay and started the Early Intervention Program.

The whole episode set me thinking about how common speech delay has become, particularly in boys. We are a bunch of 4 girls who hang out together and 3 of us have kids with speech delay. I know few other kids around who have it and all of them are boys. I am not sure if there is a reason why this has become so common. Life is changing, lifestyles are changing, and there might be something which is causing this. All of the moms I have mentioned above (Except Baby O’s mom and me) are SAHM and they are extremely hands on with their kids. The kind of effort these girls put in to make their kids talk is enormous. These kids
spend time at playschools interacting with other kids and they get a lot of attention from the teachers. All of them have been enrolled in the Early Intervention program.

Whatever be the reason, it is extremely tough for a parent to deal with such situations. All kids in Bumbum and Junior’s class talk and have big stories to tell! I know that we should never compare two kids, but then when their frineds run up to me telling me what my boys did during the day at school  and my boys can just manage to tell me parts of the happening, it IS difficult for
me to think rationally. That being said; my boys are really trying extremely hard. For the tiny 3 year olds the efforts that I see them put in is enormous. They went through a rigorous early intervention program at home and school. They had DI, Speech and Occupational Therapy for almost a year. I see the fruits of it now. Bumbum won’t stop until he has made one correct sentence to explain whatever he wants to tell me. Just a couple of months back he barely had 50 words. When I work with him
he completely cooperates. He wants to learn and that is my biggest strength.

There are days when I get tired and I give up; then I hear them try and tell stories in their own little way. Just the other day he told me the story of Goldilocks. He told me that there are bears.. count .. one bear, two bear, three bear, mama bear.. baby bear… They walk ..Goddilucks enter… hot soup ..do foo foo (like we blow into hot food 🙂 ).. chair breaks .. Goldilocks sleepy sleepy … All this while his eyes danced, his fingers pointed and his hands spoke .. he told me the best story I have ever heard with his whole body and soul.

I guess the biggest thing to help children with delays or disabilities is to be consistent, to get as much information and help as you can from the experts. In the US there is the option of getting the Early Intervention Program. Lot of
Indians attach a stigma to it, I would really encourage everyone to avail as much help as they can get. And while the therapists do their thing with the kids, the most important thing for any parent is to be on top of things. Our initial
experience with EI was not that great and the therapist spent a lot of time doing useless stuff or chatting with me. It took me time to realize what was going on and then I was not sure what I should be doing. I had no one to refer
or ask. But then I decided to speak up and I realized that how co-operative the administration can be. We got a change of team and I could have never asked for a better set of people. They worked hard training the boys and us on what should be done, and we saw results slowly. The improvement was very gradual. The boys are quite vocal now with their- “I need”-s and “I want”-s. They
speak only in English though. We can live with that 🙂

Like I keep saying .. Slowly we are getting there …