Dear Namnam, you’re 10!!

It’s a milestone! A double digit age! Can you visualize Amma with both her hands on her cheeks, mouth agape and her jaws dropping? Yup, that’s what happens every time the fact hits me.

Where did all the time go, da?

p1030848

Much as it may sound cliched, it does seem like yesterday when I had gone for a regular check up, with you safely cocooned inside me, and Dr. Rakhi told me that I was ready to bring you out to this world. Rather you were ready to come out, though you didn’t give me any signs aside the casual pokes and kicks. Was I nervous? Was I in pain? Well I can’t really remember being in pain or any discomfort for long. You were a wonderful baby, you didn’t give me any trouble all the while I was pushing you to come out. In fact I was prancing around the hospital ward all happy and gay, chatting with your Ammamma who was by my side all through. Your Ammamma was more tensed than I was. Mothers I tell you!

And then just like that, in a few hours you were placed in my arms.

I didn’t even know what to expect at that point. It took us sometime to sink in that the moment we had been praying for, waiting for, was finally here. Although your Papa & I knew much in advance that we were going to be blessed with a daughter, we didn’t know what else was to come. We weren’t even sure if we were holding you right!

We were as new to the world of parenthood as you were to babyhood. When you discovered the perfect nook to sleep by snuggling in to our necks, we discovered the immeasurable joy of just watching you. You learned your ways around your world while we learned to guide you. You learned to talk, we learned to read you. You learned to walk, we learned to chase. You learned to eat ( fussily at that) and we learned to savor your leftovers…and gain some pounds too in the process! And the stage of fussy-eating and savoring-your-leftover still continues 😉

We learned to get used to being called Amma..Papa while you learned to get used to not only Namnam but all kinds of pet names that we could think of. We learned all the baby talks and cuddles that we could possibly shower on you, you learned to decipher them and respond to our crazy lingo with your dialect!

And now. Just like that. You’ve turned 10.

dsc_0027

You’re not a minikin anymore. You’re not that one year old who had screamed her lungs out when she heard those thunderous claps of so many people known and unknown, coming at her as her first birthday cake was being cut!

You are a young girl now on the threshold of what they call “preadolescence”. I didn’t even know that a word like this existed until recently. As if adolescence wasn’t scary enough a term. Now there’s preadolescence or preteen or tween to get us parents to hyperventilate even more!

Much as I am glad that you are well over that phase of stranger anxiety, much as I am glad to see you shaping up stronger, much surer of yourself and your surroundings, much as I am looking forward to knowing how much of a fine person you will grow up to be, I can’t help wishing there was a way to hold on to the time dashing past. Then and now alike.

You’re growing up so fast!

So fast that I sometimes tend to refuse to let you grow out of my fold. Papa always tells me that I shouldn’t be mollycoddling you so much. You are old enough to be treated in a more mature manner. While I am still grappling with the speed at which you are growing, I do realize that he is right.

You are blossoming into a wonderfully accommodating, practical, sensible girl with a terrific sense of humour. An avid reader. An ardent watcher of YouTube shows, so much so that you are turning into a potential insomniac. Psst…the insomniac bit is not said in a very celebratory tone, note that ok!

You’re a bundle of energy, always ready with questions and opinions bursting through your curious mind. I look forward to our dinner sessions because that’s also the time when the three of us converse on a range of things. It’s a different matter though that while Papa and I eat AND converse, you…you only converse. And you know what I find most amazing? That you think of the most interesting, relevant questions to ask when you have a plateful of food to finish!

That said, I cherish the wonderfully interesting discussions that we have been having about Greek Gods and mythology and how they have got you to draw parallels with Indian mythology and mindsets of those times.

Oh I hold dear even those peculiar questions that find their way to our dining table. Like when you want to know how you behaved when you were in my tummy. Or if it was your finger or toe nail that did the scratching or poking from inside. Or how could we be so sure that your first word was Amma. Or why is there no such term as a person-made or human-made? Why do we refer to a creation as man-made? What if it was created by a woman?

Namnam, please don’t stop asking questions. Ever. Peculiar or not. Relevant or not. Asking questions is a beautiful way to widen your horizon. To rubbish prejudices. So ask away. Whatever you want to. Whomever you want to.

The other day you wanted to know whether people judge others solely by their looks? It was an interesting topic to broach. And I could tell where you were coming from. Why you sounded so affected. You hate, you tear up when someone calls you tiny or short to belittle your capabilities. You wonder how anyone can judge you merely by how short or tall you look without really knowing how capable you are. You are right, Namnam. They cannot judge you. They shouldn’t. But how people judge you is not in your control. They may judge you for the choices you make, for a certain way you behave, for the accent you talk in, for the way you eat, for the way you dance. What you can control is whether you choose to get affected by them. If you choose not to be affected by those shallow judgments and take pride in what you are, being confident in your own capabilities, you are proving those people wrong already.
Let me give you a piece of advice that your Ammamma used to drill into me and Raghumamu while growing up. Something that has always stayed with me.

Put your heart and soul into whatever it is that you do or wish to do or desire. Give your best and it will come your way, come what may.

Having said that, don’t ever expect for things to come your way on the very first try. You need to keep trying and pursuing. There’s a slight chance that they may not even come to you. You are not to give up on hope if that happens. Do your best. Keep trying and if need be explore other pastures. But don’t ever give up.

With that the birthday special edition of advices comes to a close. The next batch shall be offered in another week. Okay, okay..not for another month. Now  go ahead and enjoy your day. Celebrate being you.

Always know that Papa & I are ever so proud of you. Ever so blessed to have you in our lives. We love you more and more with each passing moment. Always will.

Happy 10th, darling 🙂

Amma

Dear Namnam,

Sorry, da.

There are so many things that I want to say sorry to you for. Many times I do say it to you, but a lot of times I forget. Actually the fact is that I forget because you make it so easy for me to forget.

Because YOU forget.

You forget that I was horrible to you. Then, you ever so easily put me back in your “my Amma is the best” space!

I’m not the best yet da. You deserve to be treated so much better by your Amma. But I sometimes get so caught up with things happening around me and even more, inside my mind that I go astray and cause mayhem while dealing with you.

So let me say it again. Sorry for the many things that I do or don’t do even, that eventually hurt you or disappoint you. You may just say, it’s ok, Amma and move on, like you always do. Because that’s the kind of person you are. A child still. Ever so forgiving. But that, in no way, means that I can get away, right.

I hate myself, Namnam, absolutely hate myself when I take out my monster self on you. I yelled at you today. I yelled at you last night. And the day before. Each time, probably making you wonder if it’s something that I am beginning to enjoy as a hobby.

Now, sometimes you ask for that monster mom to be pulled out, we can’t deny that, can we! Like today? I did start off by being soft on you, all the while trying my best to keep my lava boiling inside my panicking-mind from bursting, when you had to be coaxed and prodded to dress up fast. But despite being aware that you were running late for school, you had to run back upstairs in the nick of time to get your book!! And the result? The lava burst and out came the monster-mom spitting fire!

Or what about last night? When you were well past your bed time but you still couldn’t help making that feeble attempt at staying awake for that extra minute by sneaking out of your bed on the pretext of getting some water to drink? I had no choice but to resort to a roar loud enough for you to crawl back in bed meekly.

Of course I instantly regretted roaring at you, when you kissed me goodnight with a tight hug as though nothing else but your love for me mattered.

So, sorry, kanna, for being hard on you. But sometimes, that’s the only way to get you back in track.

And then there are times when I wonder if I am a little too dismissive. When you pretend to be a baby and ask to be carried and cuddled like one. Or creep and crawl to the bathroom and ask that you be given a shower. I dismiss all of your pleas at times, tell you off and remind you of your “big girl” status. Much as I hate reminding myself that you are growing up, times like this when you remind me otherwise, make me wonder how strange and weird life is.

Sometimes, much I sense that I am unfair to you, I find myself pushing you to give your best, ignoring that you probably are giving your best afterall. I ignore still, just so that you can belong to the peer you represent. I’m really really sorry for that, Namnam. I genuinely am. Sometimes I get buckled under peer pressure of my own. And I realize very well that I need to take it easy and curb my anxieties.

So please forgive for being what may seem unjust.

You are my pride. And there’s not been a single day that I haven’t said this to myself. I have re-iterated it to you at every occasion. I must say it more often, I realize that. You are the best in your own right. Be the best in your own eyes, on your own terms. Thats all that matters.

With the hope that you will be as forgiving as you are..

Love always,

Amma.

So long, Qatar..

I’d be lying if I said that I never thought I’d say goodbye to you. Because, I understand that if you’re in the Gulf, you’re never really here to stay forever, right? From the day you leave your home country, you step out with the firm resolve to come back one day. And yet you learn to embrace each domain you set up with the same kind of vigour and excitement as you would your new home. And when it’s time to say goodbye, you wonder where did all the time go? So while I did know that I’d be saying goodbye, I never knew it would be so soon!

We have had the most memorable 6 years here! A roller coaster ride with its fair share of ups and downs but every bit cherishable that will always be etched in our mind.

You know how much I hated you when I set foot on your soil first. I didnt have very many friends. I was an emotional wreck after having plucked myself from the comfort zone of my previous base which was Muscat. But today where I stand, I know I have made the best of friends, the fondest of memories here for which I can never thank you enough.

It was here that I learned to be more accepting of whatever situations and circumstances that I was faced with. You gave me lot many moments to introspect as a resident, as a parent, as a fellow being. Oh and it was here that I got my license! It was here that I learned to drive sane despite the insane driving that you have been (not so) famous for! 😀

You will always be special because it was here that R & I created our most precious gift from God. Namnam. For her, you have been her home. After every vacation to her grandparents’ and cousins’ , no matter how happy and thrilling her moments were with them, the one line that she never missed saying as soon as she got back in here was,’ Ah! It’s good to be home!’ 🙂

She learned to sleep on her own here, you know! It was here that she ushered in a new chapter, her first foray into school life. It was here that she lost her first tooth too! You have given her so many wonderful moments to learn, to experience, to grasp and enjoy!

And now it’s time to move on..again.

I have no idea what’s in store for us in the next sphere that awaits us. I can only hope and pray that it as exciting, as memorable and as special for the three of us as it has been here.

We will miss you!

********

On another note, as part of a blogging feat followed by some ego-boost, let me note that Perceptions has been listed in the Directory of Best Indian Blogs.

 

And also here’s a link to an interview that I gave to Indian Moms Connect more than an year back. Its a short interview, but my very first. Hence very special :). It was a tough year for me on a personal level because of which I was mainly off blogging. So I couldn’t journal this special occasion here on this platform then. But as they say it’s never too late 🙂

 

“Amma, you’re my most favourite mother

In the whole wide world!”, is what my 7 year old declares to me almost every day.

Now much as I know that she hardly has any choice to choose from, to base her declaration on- c’mon, it’s not as if she has some 1000 mothers to choose from, right 😀– yet, she makes my day every single time she utters the line.

Do I really need anyone to dedicate a specific day for the mother in me then? Nope. My little one makes that happen for me every other day!

I’m a mom. And blessed to be one. Today and always.