Sleep and the Sleepless!!

The Internet says all ‘successful’ people wake up in the morning with a strong undying urge that drives them through their day.

Apparently, the internet is never wrong.


MY SIDE OF THE STORY

I wake up every morning with a strong undying urge too – the urge to go back to sleep.

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I love it, I need it and I crave for it. If I am not doing it I am actively thinking about it.

I have had people tell me how they were awake all night for whatever reason – work, party et al. I don’t remember a time when I got excited about missing on a night’s sleep.

No. I am not really one of those lazy bums who won’t drag their ass out of the bed for anything in the world.

I am not really that lazy woman. I love to do some work – forcefully do my chores (or I won’t find space to sleep!). I also barely maintain some sanity in the house and within myself amidst all the juggling a modern mom has to do.

BUT I do all of it so that my mind feels content enough to sing a sweet lullaby and put me to sleep right away at night. No tossing and turning – no gazing at the sky – no counting till 100.

I believe there are just a handful of things that are really valuable. FOOD and a GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP being the top 2 in my list.

SO the aim is to work just about enough to fill my tummy and sleep peacefully at night.

SO I go to bed and zzzzzzzzz………

Hence my success – In being me (Yea! I am a superstar!!)


HUBBY’S SIDE OF THE STORY

I wake up every morning I am eternally awake to fulfil my strong undying urge. The urge to work all the time.

I work for..umm..umm…because I love to work. I think it is a part of me. I love it, I need it and I crave for it. If I am not actively doing work, I am thinking of it all the time.

I have had people tell me they work for money. They get excited about bunking work. I don’t remember a time when I got excited about bunking work. C’mon how old are you guys – 13?? (Even at 13 I used to love to study though)

No. Do not mistake me for a nerd.

I am not. I love to have fun – workout – movies – trips – but all so that I feel rejuvenated to work again.

I believe that there is only one thing that is valuable in life – the ability to always think and execute new ways to work.

I eat and sleep so that I am energized enough to work again – Yeah the work pays to fill the families tummy, pay the bills, insurance and some future investment

SO I go to bed – toss turn – check the time – go to the loo twice – come back to bed – toss turn – check the time – peep over my wife who sleeps like a log and the cycle continues

Phew! Its morning and I can work again!!!

That would lead to some ‘success’ – wouldn’t it?!


At least one person happily pays the price for a whole family going to sleep peacefully and only to listen to the ‘Philosophy and eternal truth of life’ from me!

Fancy aint it and I can’t believe women complain of having workaholic husbands!!

Old habits die hard.

So I have spent almost all my childhood never once using the Public Loo.

Never.

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I am sure I am not alone in this. I, for certain know at least a handful of people like me.

This forms the bottom line of every small and big decision we make which includes but is not limited to the following:

While I book a hotel room for a stay:

Single bed / Twin bed – I don’t care, I can sleep on the floor if I have a mattress.

Room service – I can compromise there too; I could go to their kitchen (which I hope is not mice infected) and make my own food.

Bathroom – Does the website give a picture of the bath and the toilet? If not then can we send an inquiry asking for the same of the room we are allotted to stay? I am okay if they only have a shower and not a bath. Do they use a bathroom freshener by the way?

If I am reviewing a restaurant:

The food was good. I loved the chicken. BUT I think they need to put in atleast 10% of the cost of the food into maintaining their washroom..(I may then go into the details which I refrain here).

Visiting a friend’s place:

Like a recent ad rightly mentions, they are classy if they use a toilet freshener; all other mistakes are forgivable.

This has not changed despite living in a hostel with 400 other inmates. Now you’d think my hostel had the cleanest baths/toilets. Nope, the bathrooms were not close to clean, but I appreciate that I didn’t get used to the filth in all the 5 years being there!.

The phobia remains.

The golden rule every time I step out of home is – Drink water if and only you think you are going to die out of dehydration; I somehow pulled through that while I was pregnant as well!

In the rare case when I have to re-hydrate myself; I practice special yoga to retain the water within. It is not that I have an unusually large bladder. I’d rather go through the physical agony than the mental distress.

And then Dhruv got out of his diapers, got toilet trained. That should have come as a relief and I would have celebrated the milestone BUT his pee could come in a sari shop, a jewelers store, a crowded temple or the Indian Railways – which would result in him yelling out to me ‘Amma peeeeeeeeee coming..’ every time he wants to use the loo, followed by ‘Ooo Oooo Urrrrgent!!’.

Not good. Especially because none of the above mentioned places pay any attention to their restrooms. So even if I’d take him to a loo there, he’d rather pee in his shorts than pee there (followed by me puking)!

But pee he must. That is when I nudge daddy dear and ask him to run with the kid to the nearest relief point.

When we are unaccompanied, we close my senses and his and carry out the process.

Damn. I see all the public toilet signage mocking me saying ‘Its payback time – for all those years of looking down upon us!’

Can I get him back into diapers please?!

Shut up. Will you!

Disclaimer: This is a sincere dedication to all those invites gone wrong.

So you meet some friend’s friend (& family) visiting your town at some get together. You are meeting them for the first time in your life. You feel nice talking to them.

Nice people, you think.

You then think maybe you must call them over home sometime. I mean you are not a people hater. You like socializing with all its pros and cons.

So in your head you say: Wow! Nice people. I actually have something to talk to them about, more than just the weather and traffic! It would be nice to have them over. I could put together a few quickies and we could all munch on and blabber while the kids can be in theirs world of pushing and pulling.

You clear your throat to put these thoughts in your head into words.

The conversation goes like this:

You: ‘How long will you be in Bangalore?’

Friend: ‘A month or so..’

You: ‘Oh that’s enough time. You must come over to our place sometime.’

You should have stopped there. But you didn’t.

You: ‘You should call us and then just drop in.’

Friend: ‘Hmm’

You: ‘Even if you intend to come during weekdays. Just call us and come over.’

Friend: ‘Hmm’

You: ‘You can even come on weekends. Just call and come.’

Friend: ‘OKAY. Got it. We will call you IF and WHEN we come. Don’t worry, we will NOT surprise you.’

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Oops. That’s is obviously not what you meant.

You have an option to just leave it there BUT all the crisis management skills come together in your head and say c’mon clear this mess.

So you continue messing it up further.

You: ‘Oh no that’s not what I meant. I mean you are here only for a month and am sure you have plenty of relatives and friends to visit and we may not be your priority, So I mean just make time whenever you can and don’t bother if it will be inconvenient on a weekday as well.’

Clearly they wouldn’t have thought of a weekday visit as inconvenient until this point. And then you get that narrow eyed stare from your partner which says ‘Don’t you utter a word more.’

And I close my case here My Lord – utterly disappointed with my social skills.

Henceforth, maybe I should just get off with a ‘It was nice talking to you.’

My Genie!

Try this.

Go to Google.co.in.

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Type: ‘How to’ in your search window.

Trust me what you find will make you laugh, gasp and think.

Your most recent search will be followed by – ‘How to Kiss’ or ‘How to get pregnant’.

WHOA!! All I wanted to search was ‘How to make a no-bake cheese cake’ and it prompts me to this???

Is it Google or is it me? Is it trying to imply something – anything???

I am intrigued. I would have expected it to prompt me with ‘How to safeguard yourself from terror attacks’. Alas no.

‘Who’ and ‘What’ had less embarrassing answers though.

I am curious.

I go to Google.co.uk I do the same exercise.

It says: “how to make pancake” and “how to make money”.

Obviously as important as a kiss or getting pregnant!

I do the same exercise for a lot of other countries. It is thoroughly entertaining.

Then I get back to my google.co.in. And gaze at the screen after typing in ‘HOW TO..’ Deep breath.

I can hear all my non Indian friends smirking and thinking ‘you desperate people!’. I am trying hard to come up with a comeback line – which could be:

  1. I think it is a huge conspiracy. The world which includes Google is plotting against us as a Nation.
  2. We love research. We research everything.
  3. Remember Kamasutra? We own it and want to know if Google can compete.
  4. We are a nation of 1.25 billion but we still need to be sure if we have been doing it the right way.

Cannot come up with anything else.

Do I need to be embarrassed with the result flashing on my screen?

Does it say that this is all that we search for?

Do I need to be ashamed about the words staring at me from the screen?

A lot of things brush through my tiny brains – some defensive, some offensive and some questionable.

I know if I click on one of it, a range of youtube videos will take me through the whole process.

No Thank you. Not that I think it is gross, but just that I’d like to think a few things are naturally bestowed upon us and long existed before the age of Google.

So we must have done something right then – we can’t be that uninformed.

Welcome to the age of technology where we can do a google search for ‘How to pee’ which will give you a very logical and descriptive way of emptying your bowels!

Thank you my search engine for being by my side through good times and bad – for being the genie who has answers to everything – even things which needn’t have answers!

Thank You Come Again!!

So when you meet those umpteen number of family and friends in some wedding; you meet, greet and when it is time to say good bye you casually say : ‘ You must come down to Bangalore sometime. Visit us when you do. It will be fun.’

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It is evident that you don’t really mean it.

But some of them think you do.

Friday evening, the phone rings.

MIL answers and all I can hear is “Ehh?? Haan. Okay. Tomorrow?? What time?? Who all??’

Then a detailed conversation about kids, family, extended family ensue.

After about 10 minutes into the conversation she is about to hang up when she pauses and asks again ‘Who did you say you were??’

Whaa!!! What was she thinking all this while???

Now I was almost sure that she may just say ‘Oh sorry. It is a wrong number’.

She hung up. I was staring at her, eyes narrow and sarcasm brimming out of them. I say ‘So you talk to someone for all this time – everything from my son’s potty habits to his grandfather’s property – and at the end of it you don’t know who you were talking to?? Well done!!’

She rolls her eyes and says ‘How am I to know if they say – ‘Hello Ganga….I am Hari from your hometown, we are coming to Bangalore. We will visit you tomorrow. How is Sabarish and Geethu??’

In her favor, she advocates

  • He called her by her name – Ganga.
  • Asked about Sabarish and me by our names.
  • Spoke about all of my father in law’s relatives. More bad than good.

So obviously he knows us, especially after point 3.

‘But who is this Hari??’

‘In my defense, in a clan of some 50 – 60 cousins, their kids and grand kids, how would you differentiate a Hari from a Ravi??’

True. Hari Ravi Sashi are all just the same. Can’t say one from the other when you have only seen them in wedding and funerals.

So we know someone from Father in law’s family is coming to visit us tomorrow, with family. They say it is a casual visit.

And so we hope.

We also hope that it wasn’t an appointment taken by some spooky crook who got to know of us from some social media site and thinks he can rob us of the million dollars (because million rupees doesn’t sound that cool) we have locked up in our Godrej locker and flee away to his happily ever after land.

Next afternoon, Sabarish gets a call asking for directions to come home. He tells them promptly.

In about half an hour, at about 3.00 pm the doorbell rings. We open hesitantly.

We are greeted by 1…2…3…16 smiley faces – not 4 or 6 but 16!!!

16 – 8 small ones, 8 adults – 4 families!

I scan across every face – my eyes going up and down like a Bharatnatyam dancer as I do so.

Nothing familiar. I reach the last 3 and recognize finally! 2 smiley kids and 1 smiley woman I know.

The smiley woman says ‘Geethu was so sweet when she called us over at the wedding last June, we just had to come. We are all family. You know all of them don’t you?’ She points out to the crowd.

I could see MIL and Sabarish stare hard at me from the corner of their eye. Damn! I was just being nice to your relatives for God’s sake!

This world is not meant for soulful and compassionate beings such as I…I wish I could vanish.

She introduces everyone to everyone. A lot of gibberish happens..

I can only vaguely remember what ensued. Maid hurrying off to the grocery store to buy milk, juice, goodies to feed 16 tummies.

Hyper active kids climbing everywhere and everything. Strangers walking in and out of all the rooms..I could see they felt very much ‘at home’ – quite effortlessly.

It was dinner time and they were still very much at home. So food had to be ordered in.

By now we were almost certain the crowd is here to stay and that we would be stuck entertaining total strangers for the rest of our lives!

By 11.00 pm, we somehow stuffed all 16 into the minivan they came in and packed them home!

They yelled out and said – We had a nice time. Will visit again!!!!!!

Hell no.

After they went, we scanned the house just to make sure they haven’t left any little one around.

The house looked like a zoo. We sat down for an afterthought. MIL and Sabarish on one side and me on the other. I feel like a criminal being questioned.

Fine!!! It was a genuine attempt gone grossly wrong! All I said was ‘visit us sometime’ which got interpreted as ‘pay us a surprise visit along with all your acquaintances in Bangalore. We love entertaining unknown people.’

Yes. I shall use my words more judiciously henceforth..

Lure my mind not!

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I am driving my way to work and I am fiddling with the various buttons/switches on the car still trying to figure out what many of them do anyway.

All I can hear the radio scream is:

‘Wake up to the chirping birds. Step out into a garden full of lovely flowers; Buy a property at ABC villa properties and this dream could be yours..’ – says the realty commercial on one FM station this morning.

I roll my eyes and punch the next button to hear silence. I increase the volume. No use. Utter silence.

Damn! My stereo is broken, another unexpected money drain, I think.

Just then the radio blares: ‘Is this the silence you wish greets you every morning?! We assure you a silent, most peaceful haven – far from the hustle bustle of the city…’

Whoa! 10 secs of air time wasted on … silence???!

I hit the next button again and I hear:

‘Can’t find like-minded people? Buy a home at —— and be sure to find neighbors you can go jogging with, who you’d love to call home for tea….’

OMG!!!

3 radio stations – 10 minutes of drive – that is 30 minutes (?!) of airtime for realty commercials??

So apparently the ingredients for my Dream House is as follows:

Main ingredients:

  • Chirping birds.
  • Flower/vegetable garden to step out into.
  • Silence – even if it feels ghostly – is a key factor.
  • Jogging park.
  • Like minded neighbors.

For Garnish :  a club house, sports amenities and so on.

Now at the next signal, I do a mental analysis of My Home versus the Dream home.

  • Bird Chirping..well..crows count as birds don’t they?? – check.
  • Flower/vegetable garden – I can potentially convert my limited space on terrace into the Hanging garden of Babylon and then step onto it first thing in the morning OR I can continue to step out into cow dung/dog shit et al that welcomes me on the road my gate opens into. Well, either way it is nature and there is nothing more Holy than cow dung – Go Mata Ki Jai!
  • Pin Drop Silence – Hmm. Hmm. Don’t know how that feels. The closest I can remember is my 1st grade teacher holding a cane in her hand and saying PIN DROP SILENCE, and all of us felt small and helpless. NOPE. No silence thank you.
  • Jogging Park – Well, the treadmill has successfully been transformed into a clothes line. So now I imagine a clothesline as long as the park – the New Dhobi Ghat!! Wha!!! Maybe I can do the same with the park some 5 minuted from my home?
  • Like minded neighbors – I believe I am unique. I do not want any other like minded person around me because that would mean people who can read my mind around me. My world would then come to an end. Moreover, I am happy with the absolutely diverse crowd around me by all means – social economical cultural and religious diversity is what we stand for remember??
  • I can however do with a clubhouse and sports facility; not because I will use it but because I can brag about it – I need something to brag about don’t I?! I obviously can’t brag about the dung or the crows..

Voila! The conclusion thus formed is: my home is my dream home. Well done!

I must admit that this reflection struck in only after I saw a hoarding which stated – Register now for Your Dream Home – starts at Rs 88 lakhs only!

That is quite an expensive dream and then when I thought of all the maintenance required to keep the dream house dreamy – damn I’d rather not have it!

I rang up Hubby to tell him about my realization. He is Euphoric about my transformation from a thankless wife to a content one. I almost saw him jumping hooting and doing a Naa Nana Naana to the commercial people.

Noone can mess with my mind now, he thought. I am past all the material love – a halo appears above my head.

And then the next 2 minutes of my drive enlightened me about how ‘Diamonds are forever’ and if Raymond is for a complete man then diamond is for a complete woman..umm..yes..I somehow am willing to be called a ‘woman’; a huge step from the ‘girl’ or the ‘lady’; for a diamond.

And then I ring Hubby dear again, His voice was still buoyant from the previous call. I then tell him: ‘So my darling husband, I do not need that dream home. Not now.However I could do with a diamond set for now, because the commercial says and frankly I can’t come up with an argument otherwise and if you wish to differ hubby dear, then tell me why am I not ‘Worth a Diamond!”

And he sighs! Not quite there yet! Some day..

Quality test anybody?

I have had one of those blissfully ignorant childhoods where I thought tomatoes and potatoes are just vegetables.

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And then I got married. And suddenly tomatoes and potatoes were way more than ‘just vegetables’.

So when you are just married and in a joint family, you try to do all those tried and tested things to get into the good books of everyone in the family. Imagining me as one of those sari clad Hindi soap opera heroines will only be a slight exaggeration I would say, because I may have checked everything in the to-do list of a good daughter in law.

As part of the exercise, I decided to be proactive.

Wrong decision. It is only later than I realised that proactive was ‘the ultimate’ word only in a corporate. On the domestic front you NEVER (well, almost never) do anything until asked to.

A few days into wedding when my entry into most territories at home was restricted (because I was under probation so I was expected to just observe everything and then get into the role gradually) I decided to please my MIL by buying veggies home.

It was May in India. Damn hot. I will save her the trouble of going out in the heat and buying stuff, I thought.

I just bought a little bit of everything from an air conditioned super market.

Came home and kept them in the sink to be sorted, washed and stored. (C’mon in a few days I at least realised that buying veggies and dumping them straight into the fridge was a big NO NO)!

Enter MIL.

She sees the veggies and does not show even a slight change in expression.

Picks up every single tomato and inspects.  She then studies every stem and leaf of the bunch of spinach that I got.

Lets out a deep sigh and says: ‘These are no good. You have done this once but I expect you to do it NEVER again. We will finish them since YOU have gotten them.’

I hate disappointing people. I mean not that I am a people pleaser but when I do something to please them, I expect them to be pleased and not disappointed..

I summed up the courage to look at her – not quite into her eyes but all over her face, trying to fix my gaze at something – the mixer behind her, her earrings .. something!

‘Amma, what’s wrong with these??’

What ensued was a long lecture about :

  • The different varieties of veggies and how they need to be handpicked.
  • How vegetables are made to ‘look’ good in these supermarkets but rot as soon as they are brought home.
  • How the vendors and shop owners cheat us of our health for petty money.
  • Waxed apples, artificially ripened mangoes and grapes, endosuphane coated curry leaves etc.
  • How there is that one vendor which promises to sell only home grown veggies and how only she can find him!’

Attention all the supermarket owners, the AC and the convenience doesn’t seem to appeal my MIL, so time to rethink your USP guys or you’ll lose out on one valuable customer!

She then drops the veggies in the sink looks at me in the eye feeling deceived and says: ‘What good is all the money you earn if you cant have a meal worth your tummy? You earn primarily so that you can fill your stomach with quality food, good food good health…’

So I got a agriculture-horticulture-dietician crash course in about 20 minutes.

Too much to handle. I phase out.

I had to listen to the disappointed groans every single time the food was served. I was like the outlet for any food made bad – ‘the sambar tastes awful – blame it on the tomatoes.’

Quality surpasses anything and of course MIL does better quality check than the food co-operation!

Now that I have a son and am training to be ‘The MIL’ someday,  I am gradually acquiring the talent.

Handpicking the best quality veggies (and looking down upon your naïve daughter in law) seems to be the ultimate quality of ‘The MIL’

Am getting there, slowly but steadily!

Meanwhile I’ll just go to an ‘organic store’ and get everything from there.

There you go; take home lesson :

  • Always let your MIL do grocery shopping.
  • Healthy family happy family.
  • Money that can’t buy quality food is no more than paper.

Well?!