Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Snippet of conversation

From the Birth and Babies class, about a month ago..

Instructor: So, now that baby is here, how has your relationship with each other changed?
Some guy: I find our conversation has changed. Before we would talk about all kinds of things. Now all we discuss is the contents of the diaper - the color, the consistency and the frequency...

If it weren't so true, I wouldn't have found it so funny!

Friday, November 09, 2007

A month later

It hasn't felt like a month really...
On one hand it seems like time has just flown by. My baby is a more than a month old already and I know he has grown bigger, grown more alert, seems to know my voice and is growing by the the minute.
On the other hand, life does seem like I am stuck in a post-partum version of the movie 'Groundhog day' where I am endlessly feeding and changing diapers...

Some days when I am totally exhausted, I am cranky, weepy and frustrated.
Mostly though I am amazed at the cuteness of this little creature in my arms. I knew babies were cute - but really I had no idea that they were this cute!!! Even when they're crying or cranky!

Having him inside was easier than having him outside, but if there was an undo button, would I choose it and get back life as it used to be? Not a chance! Well, at least not just yet...
I've gone through labour; I've given birth, I've held a baby, I've been feeding him, I've been rocking him to sleep. All these have been amazing and Iam glad for having a chance to experience them. Oh its all so worth it!

Monday, October 15, 2007

After a week of parenting....

Heres what I can say:

No books, nothing anyone says, no amount of theoretical knowledge really prepares you for the actual experience.

Sleeplessness was just an empty word to me (despite all-nighters in college) till about a week ago. I now know how much I value any extra moment of sleep that comes my way...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

And the babe was born

Saturday morning - 10:48am, we were blessed with our little cutie pie.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Just another post

Been a while since I posted anything mainly because there is so much going on here. The baby is not out yet but it could be any day now...any week now...

Meanwhile here is something I read today.

Monday, September 03, 2007

September maatham

5 weeks left before the official due date...Of course when the baby actually decides to arrive is anyone's guess.

Tis Labour day today - a reminder to me that winter is not far away. The weather is gorgeous outside and we hope to go out somewhere later today to catch some sun. Some of the trees are turning yellow already. How do they know!

Time hurries on.
And the leaves that are green turn to brown,
And they wither with the wind,
And they crumble in your hand

- Paul Simon

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

And here is the official obit

Came to know today that the NYT had published an obituary sometime back on my former boss...

Here it is!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Maternal desire

The universe is much too small to hold
Your longing for a lover and a child
Virginal, Nissim Ezekiel

I remember reading this poem when I was about 15 and being struck by the power of those words. I thought then that the poet was exaggerating to make a point. Years later though, the words seem more meaningful and true.

A lot has been said about sexual desire in a woman and among other things, the women's lib movement helped women recognize and give expression to this desire. A lot has been said about maternal desire too - mostly in corny sentimental movies (Amma sentiment) and such. Women themselves are not aware of the force of this desire till they have a child or at least till they decide they want one. It's no wonder then that the women's lib movement with its heavy emphasis on career and independence seems to view childbearing and childrearing as intrusions that must be dealt with as little inconvenience as possible (daycare, nannies, forcing husband to take care). But what about the very real desire that women have to care for their babies? This unexplained 'maternal desire' that somehow gets in the way?

I've been kind of thinking about this since I started reading a book called "Maternal Desire" (duh!) by Daphne de Marneffe. I've not gotten past the introduction though, mainly because there are too many other things I am trying to read at the same time.

Whats the point I am trying to make here? Quite a few different ones if I had the time or the mental energy to coherently present it all...The entire issue of career, choices and motherhood is always a charged topic especially to one already prone to angst and uncertainty like I am. But I'll leave that for another day.

Seen from the maternal desire perspective, my friend's comments on my birthday (See prev post) don't seem weird at all. Actually they never seemed weird since I've been there. Irritating perhaps, but perfectly normal. There was a time when it seemed that I may not have children and I do remember getting envious when I read stories of child abuse and such. "How come those CREEPS get to have multiple kids?"

Of course I went through this only for a few months. I imagine this gets worse and worse as time goes by till you can't look at any baby or any parent without feeling faintly resentful. And then there is the feeling of somehow being a sub-woman, not on par with the other 'fertile' women out there that comes up - regardless of whatever else you may have accomplished. But now that I am pregnant, do I think any lesser of the women who for one reason or another cannot be? Heck, no!! But the obsession and the worries and fears are such an integral part of the mindset of a woman who wants to conceive but cannot.

I read an excerpt from "Waiting for Daisy" by Peggy Orenstein a couple of months ago in the Oprah Magazine. The online version of the article can be found here. I was amazed at her candor and horrified at the hell she went through to get pregnant - a self-imposed hell that seemed inevitable and necessary from her point of view. Its a happy ending - she did get pregnant - but she did go through hell. Was it all worth it?

Towards the end of the article she says:

Sometimes, sitting at a miniature table, covered in Play-Doh and reading 'Where's Spot?' for the 30-zillionth time, I don't recognize myself -- and that's not a bad thing: Identity, I've learned, can be sliced many ways, and there is gain with every loss. Even so. Becoming a parent can't give me back the time -- the entire second half of my 30s -- that was obliterated by obsession. It doesn't compensate for the inattention to my career, for my self-inflicted torment, for the stress I put on my marriage. Steven and I may never reclaim the ease of our pre-infertility days. All we can do is move forward -- tenderly, kindly, with mutual forgiveness. And with the knowledge that our love for each other has never, ever flagged.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thirty plus

So I had a good birthday. Like I said, I don't really feel older or different from this time last week.
But based on conversations with friends who've done this already, I think this age-worry is predominantly female.

"Happy Birthday. Welcome to the dark side! It's all downhill from here!"
"Happy Birthday! 30? Doesn't feel like it does it? I went through it 6 months ago. Where did all the time go?"
"Happy Birthday, you old thing. Now you're finally in the same boat as I am!"

Gee, thanks girls! Of course all of these are meant in jest, but its hard to miss the underlying wistfulness - Why DO we grow older?

And of course there was the comment that irritated the heck out of me.
"Happy birthday! The big three Oh! Well, at least you're pregnant even though you're 30. Look at me, I am 34 already and still not pregnant!"
Now, that wasn't a birthday wish, was it? I've got so much to write about this, I'll save it for a separate post.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

My last post in my twenties

Tomorrow I'll be 30! Yeah, somehow I did think that the twenties would last forever. Not only did they not, but they've actually gone by pretty darn quick.

In this past decade, I've finished college, come to the US, finished grad school, gotten married, moved to Canada, bought a house and become pregnant.

What was I doing when I turned 20? 10 years ago, I was in Ahmedabad, doing my 4th year internship and having a lot of fun seeing the sights and living the life. I don't remember my birthday being particularly angsty (Gosh, I am turning 20!) or particularly remarkable. I do remember going to work that day as usual, getting a bouquet from my co-workers there - I still have some of the petals stuck in my diary in remembrance. That may well be the very first bouquet I got! I might have gone out for dinner with my friend Zahra, but I don't remember if I did. And add to this the usual number of cards and phone calls from family and friends - It wasn't a bad birthday!

In fact all my birthdays have been reasonably good, although my 26th was particularly memorable for the multiple parties I got from friends and also the fact that being 26 was probably one of the best years of my life! It was my last year being single and the world remained open in terms of possibilities (I love being married, but that feeling of romance and suspense in the air is wonderful too!) I'd finally finished up the Master's thesis I'd been struggling with for 2 years and had all kinds of freedom to go around, see places and do things. I was living the free, unfettered existence I'd dreamed of since childhood and boy, was it heady!

Still feels like yesterday, but apparently a few more years have gone by and here I am suddenly a woman in my thirties! Yes, I know I'll really feel no different tomorrow from what I am today, and yet on paper it sounds somehow like a really big deal!

So I'll sign out now and go enjoy my last few hours of being 29.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

some links

My husband sent me this link this morning from CNN.

The stats are startling - According to new numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 74 percent of mothers try breast-feeding, but after three months only 30 percent still exclusively nurse their babies. After six months, the number dwindled to 11

The comments are interesting too!

Later this afternoon, I came across this site when googling.

Don't know how true the stats are, but it seems kind of reassuring. But as with googling anything, you can always find some other site with different data and conclusions. As for example this:

But if washing and flushing is what we do when we become toilet trained and if its really the same amount of water that we'd use to wash the cloth diapers as we would to flush the toilet 5 times a day - cloth diapering doesn't seem like a bad option at all...cheaper too.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Money money money

Tons of pregnant women in Calgary - not surprising considering 10,000 babies were born here last year! Still, its quite a sight to see an auditorium full of pregnant women or for that matter only pregnant women lining up in a queue outside the restrooms. That's exactly what I saw and was part of yesterday, when I attended the course 'Budgeting for babies'.

The course itself was okay. The presenters touched on various aspects on how the new arrival would impact our finances, ranging from living on a reduced income, to setting up RESPs to save for the child's college education. Also discussed were birth certificates, wills, life and other forms of insurance and child tax benefits (if applicable). For a free course, it did a fairly good job of at least introducing the several topics new parents will need to consider.

Under the section of cutting expenses and coupon clipping were of course the 3 standard recommendations:
1.) Breast feed
2.) Cloth diaper
3.) Make your own baby food

Apparently these measures can save you about $2000 - $3000 over the course of a couple of years! Impressive, but easy to implement?

1.) I see too many people around me - people I know personally, people on TV programs, people I know distantly from online bulletin boards - all having tried and failed to breastfeed successfully. On one hand there is Jack Newman who insists in his book that its fairly simple and straightforward. On the other hand are all these people, some of whom have gone through considerable pain and difficulty before moving on to formula feeding. Would some of these cases been resolved with some professional assistance? Some maybe but not all. My friend consulted 2 different lactation consultants and 2 different breast surgeons and went through a lot of pain before throwing in the towel. My point is that while breastfeeding should be encouraged and supported, its not really a question of choice for many people. Certainly I will 'choose' to breastfeed. But I also hope luck is on my side to help.

2.) Cloth diapering: Don't know enough about this to comment yet. Intend to find out more over the next couple of weeks. Good for the environment and the wallet for sure, but how troublesome is it to keep doing additional loads of laundry every other day? And if you factor in the the water and the detergent and the electricity for the laundry, is there really any savings in money or in terms of environmental impact?

3.) Baby food: easily 6 months away. Sure, I'll make my own baby food.... Or something, when I get to it. Again, I've got to wonder though, how much is the cost savings really? Baby food does not seem very expensive - 65c for a bottle of Presidents Choice Organic baby food, that will probably last for a couple of feedings. Is it really worth the time and effort to make your own food at home? One benefit that I can see is that baby will get used to things that we eat at home (rasam and sambar saadam) - but that's not a cost benefit really.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


I originally had some clever title for this post and the content all thought out. I'll be darned if I can remember what it was. Pregnancy brain has certainly struck and how! Its fairly commonplace these days for me to leave something cooking on the stove and forget all about it and start doing something else, till my husband asks about the burning smell. Other forgetful things I've done recently: misplacing things, keeping the oil can in the fridge and the milk can inside a kitchen cabinet instead of vice versa, forgetting to keep leftover food back in the fridge and consequently wasting it the next day etc. Luckily, nothing major has happened as a consequence so far..

Been browsing, and craigslist till I am almost sick at the mention of cribs, changing tables and baby monitors - these being the major items still unpurchased. The crib is not an immediate need though and I've been doing a lot of back and forth reasoning on why we need or don't need a crib. A pregnancy brain doesn't help with the logical reasoning part and I find I can actually argue and convince myself about completely differing things...

In any case, since I am planning to co-sleep I won't really need a crib much except for naps. So maybe my money is better spent on something else. Like a playard? I almost bought one yesterday. Today I am convinced that the thing to buy is this:
Who knows what tomorrow brings!

I did buy a ton of clothes - a lot of boy specific clothes in blues and browns. Then I read about someone who was told that she'd have a boy but ended up with a girl instead. Neutral colors, here I come...

Oh, I saw the Harry Potter movie recently and I quite liked it - better than the other ones anyway. Although its not quite something I'd want to see again and again - unlike LOTR or something. Its funny how the two keep getting compared, while they're not in the same league at all - not even close! Anyway, I read the 'Deathly Hallows' book too and again quite enjoyed it, although the ending was not as well written as the rest of the book. A series finale deserves much better, doesn't it?

Monday, July 23, 2007

A lull

After all this blogging I've done for the past month or so, I've come up against some kind of block. Don't know what to write about.

I guess I could give an update of sorts about different things..

1.) Microwave: Yes, we went to the Brick and picked up a brand new one for the store credit we had. So we're microwaving our coffee and the frozen veggies and anything else microwavable again...Whether its advisable to do so is a different topic - one I've not bothered to research really..

2.) Neighbors: All solved and all is at peace again.

3.) Baby: Still in there, kicking away. Hoping he stays there full term and comes out a happy healthy baby! Yes, I went for one of those 3D ultrasound places and shelled out the money in exchange for the pleasure of seeing him move around and knowing that its a 'him'. Was it worth all the money we shelled out for it? I don't know....Was it safe? I really really hope so. I hate to think that my selfish desire and impatience to 'see' the baby could have harmed the baby..

4.) Baby stuff: More stuff acquired. A car seat first hand since you're not supposed to take a chance with car seats (never mind they might not be all they're cracked up to be). Clothes, a diaper disposal can and an infant bath tub - second hand. Oh, and also a Baby Bjorn second hand. I like buying things second hand because its waay much cheaper for things that are in still in good condition. There is also the feel good aspect of 'better for the environment' and all that. Although in the case of my diaper disposal system, I've got to wonder...Since it uses exclusive plastic bags, its really not cheap. For the same reason and also because of the whole 'disposable diaper' thing, its not really environmentally friendly either. But I am intending to switch to cloth diapering once the baby is 3 or 4 months old and I am sort of more familiar with diapering in general and my baby in particular. Hopefully my intentions will actually translate into action!

5.) Relatives: We had a great time at Banff. Now they've gone back and I am back to trying to fix simple dinners that are nowhere close to being as appetizing as the food they made.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


A friend of mine sends out a monthly newsletter that contains links to stories pertaining to what he calls pseudo-secularism. If you're interested in such reading, you can visit his site ( and subscribe to it too.

I don't always agree with what he says but his links are interesting and his sarcasm makes the newsletter entertaining. Here is a story that stood out from his recent newsletter.

Americans disrupt Hindu prayer

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Interesting article

Will I be a 'Hindu Mom' too? I don't know! In the past decade I've gone from being a complete believer to an agnostic to an atheist to back to being a quasi-believer. Quasi-believer because I like the comfort and the familiarity of going to the temple and going through the motions of praying. Also because the question of whether God exists or not does not seem as important or relevant to me as it did 10 years ago...the psychological comfort that comes from believing that there is indeed a higher power and a greater purpose and that everything is not random is immense and I am not strong enough to deny myself that feeling of comfort.

But I do wonder what I will teach my child about religion or traditions or customs...I don't see myself bombarding the poor kid with Sanskrit lessons and Veda classes like the lady in the article. On the other hand, I do feel that our religious literature, philosophy and mythology is so rich and that my child should have some appreciation of it all...But philosophy and mythology is different from actual religion and rituals. I know of many people who are well versed in poojas and rituals but hard pressed to explain what it all actually means. So does my child really need to be a believer to have an appreciation of Hinduism?

I think if I can bring up my child to question things and learn for him/herself and reach his/her own conclusions instead of blindly following whatever I/someone else says, I would have done a good job! Easily said!

Friday, July 13, 2007

So is milk good for you?

Maybe it is, since apparently it fends off diabetes and heart disease and such.

But wait, don't head to the grocery store yet. Would you rather have Diabetes or Parkinson's?

And if you're a woman, how about some ovarian cancer?

Romba conpeeshinga keedu!

In other news...

Here are a couple of links I came across while browsing some blogs today.


Apparently tiny but powerful little magnets the size of baby aspirin, inside big toys, can cause a lot of harm if the big toy breaks and the tiny magnets are ingested. 1 death and 4 near fatal incidents later, the toys still haven't been fully recalled and are available for sale widely! Scary!!!! And Magnetix is not the only company to blame either. Here is a link to a follow-up story.,1,5991469.story


Unrelated article to the first link, but a good read nevertheless. I've a friend who went through something very very similar and so I can totally understand. Again it goes back to the whole being judgmental thing that I talked about in an earlier post. I am lucky that my friend experienced this whole pregnancy and childbirth thing before me. If nothing else, I've learnt from her experiences that unexpected can and will happen in this process and there is truly no way to expect and prepare for it...

Come to think of it, the same holds true for life in general doesn't it? Except we all like to think we have some kind of grip on things and some measure of control. But if we didn't think so, would we be able to function at all?

Going to Banff tomorrow with the relatives...Have been really pampered this week with the varied delicious home cooked meals I come home to in the evenings. I'll really miss them when they leave next week. Especially now that the 'joys' of pregnancy such as back pain and edema have struck, I really really appreciate all the help around the house.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

And when he lived he lived!

I came to know yesterday that the CEO of the company I used to work for in US passed away last week. He was 80 something and died of a heart attack while sailing on a boat with his wife and daughter! Not only did this man live well, he also died well! No prolonged agony - no months of deterioration, vegetating in a wheelchair being unable to care for himself, frustrating himself and others...Just a quick and a simple death while he was doing what he loved, among the company of those he loved!

And when he lived he lived! I didn't know him very well....But I've seen his infectious enthusiasm and his high energy. I know he loved the company that he started from scratch based on an idea and developed into one of the most well known luminaire manufacturers in N.America. I know he loved his family. I know he loved sailing. Sounds like a pretty good life to me! Actually change 'pretty good' to 'fantastic' in the previous sentence. I don't know many others who at 80 something were still actively running their company and coming up with innovative solutions everyday!

I saw him last year at Lightfair in Las Vegas and he was his usual self then, asking about Calgary and my married life and showing me the new products displayed in the room. I was so sure I would be seeing him again at the next one I'd be attending a couple of years from now!

I cannot say he was a sweet old man because he wasn't - at least not all the time. He could be gruff and stubborn with a cranky temper to boot and I was sometimes incredibly nervous around him. Yet, I immensely admired this very stubbornness and his insistence on doing things HIS way. The customer was seen as a person who must be educated in the use of better lighting instead of being pandered to by offering cheap low quality products. Accordingly his company was associated with quality and I am extremely proud to have worked there.

I am glad to have known him even if it was a short time and my interaction with him was limited.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Count another blessing

Something else I am thankful for - for being born in the culture, religion and the family I was born into. Not that I am claiming that its the best or anything - but at least none of these factors have ever stood in my way of doing whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.

I talked with a woman today who has been through an immense ordeal for the past 6 years - an ordeal made worse by her religion and its laws. It started with her marrying the wrong kind of man belonging to an uptight conservative family and ended with her separation from this man and losing custody of her only child! I shouldn't say her ordeal has ended though - what mother can bear to be separated from her child? Her pain continues....and yet through it all in everyday life she hides it remarkably well with her smiles and constant cheerfulness!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The weekend

Happy Canada day and all that...The 3 day weekend just rushed by and I don't have much to show for it - not even a microwave. We spent the day going from Sears to Sears only to find out that they were all out of stock of microwaves of any kind! So now, we've decided to go back to the dreaded Brick (gasp!) and buy it from them...after all we do have the store credit.

What I did end up getting were some glass bottles. Had advertised on a 2nd hand site that I was looking for some because of all that stuff about Bisphenol A in plastic bottles, that the Globe and Mail has been publishing. Can't just go to Toys R us or Zellers and buy glass bottles for babies since they seem to have only the plastic stuff! Granted I am hoping I don't need em bottles at all, but who knows! So when a kind lady wrote to me saying that she had 10 glass bottles that she was willing to give away for free, I jumped at the offer. So thats something I've acquired during the weekend.

Going to have relatives visiting for the next couple of weeks and in the midst of going to the stampede and taking them to Banff etc, I don't know how much time I'll have to blog. Just as well...considering no one reads this stuff anyway. :-P

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Another view of co-sleeping

Making choices

Actual conversation with a friend a few days ago.

She: So did you know Y is also pregnant?
Me: No I didn't! Wow, this is awesome! When is she due?
She: Oh six months from now! And she's quitting her job next month.
Me: Quitting or taking medical leave or something?
She: No, quitting! She is going to stay at home and be a full time mom.
Me: Wow!
She: I know! How can she just give up her career like that? I asked her about it and she tells me that she was never interested in it anyway.
Me: ....
She: Why did she go to grad school at all if she didn't want to work?
Me: (defensive now) Hey, at least she knows what she wants, instead of being confused on a daily basis and trying to juggle everything.
She: Oh, is that how you feel? Are you going to quit working too because you're pregnant?
Me: No... I will be taking a break though. I've not decided yet how long the break will be.
She: See, a break is different from quitting your job.

But is it? What if Y changes her mind a couple of years from now and decides to work? Would my friend think better of her? To me it seems like our lives should be about what we want and what makes us happy - using the tools that we have available at our disposal such as our education, our finances, our state of health etc. And we each try to use our judgement (good or bad) to make choices towards getting what we want. So why are we so critical about others' choices? Because of our need to validate our own choices?

Here is a blog I really like and find myself reading a lot.
Its a blog about her adventures in motherhood. I am currently lagging behind about a year and reading posts from early 2006 as I've been trying to catch up on all her posts from the very beginning. Here is why I like her blog.

1.) She is a good writer and her posts are engaging

2.) She loves her child and seems to relish the teeniest things about being a mother. When someone enjoys something so much, it is pretty infectious. I am starting to fall in love with her child!

3.) She seems totally at peace with her choices - be it her career or her style of parenting. At the time of my reading, she is a reporter with a good job - intentionally working part time (3 days a week) so she can spend more time with her daughter. Not once over the past year and a half worth of posts I've read so far, does she seem to be in angst about her career or her motherhood. No self doubt. No endless questioning about the future that prevents her from enjoying the present.

4.) She actually has done many of the things I want to do when my baby is born - such as cosleeping, attachment parenting, breastfeeding. So I am getting a sense of what worked and didn't work for her as I read her posts.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Reading list

Reading three books at this point in time - depending on the time of day and what I am in the mood for.

1.) Maya by Jostein Gaarder. Haven't gone beyond a few pages. Promises to be thought provoking and interesting.

2.) Jack Newman's guide to breastfeeding: Self explanatory title. Seems to be an excellent resource and will probably be more useful after the baby is born, but because its a library book, I need to return it in a couple of weeks. I am flipping through pages randomly at this point and am impressed at all the topics that he exhaustively covers ranging from things that can go wrong such as a colicky baby to medicines you can/cannot take when breastfeeding. I'd highly recommend this for any pregnant woman/new mother.

3.) Baby proof by Emily Griffin: I am about halfway done with this book. Light, fast paced and a much better read than I thought it would be, this book is about a woman who does not want a child. Unfortunately her husband does. How they deal with it and the emotional turmoil that surrounds it is the main story. It seems to be packaged as yet another fluffy chick lit book, but is actually surprisingly deep.

I've actually been wondering about similar issues recently - about how a baby is usually the woman's decision and is seen as primarily her responsibility. So if a woman chooses not to have a baby, it should still be a personal decision but for some reason she is usually perceived as being heartless and selfish by society! Good reading so far!

Monday, June 25, 2007

"These are the moments...

.. I thank God I am alive" Its from some song - I don't know who sang it or what the rest of the lyrics are. This is how I felt this weekend when I went on a road trip to Waterton Lakes and then further into Montana. The scenery is spectacularly beautiful - especially Hwy 49 in Montana and the Going to the Sun road where the road just falls away into sheer dizzying drops at the side and a small river winds through the valley floor far below and there is the wind and the sound of birds and little else..

So this is why I work! To be able to go on a trip like this every now and then...There are so many levels of gratitude that if analyzed would go something like " Wow, I am thankful to have some money apart from my immediate food and shelter needs to be able to come here. Wow, I am glad to have a husband who likes this as much as I do. Wow, I am glad I've got the eyesight to be able to appreciate this..." and so on. You get the idea.

There were so many nice things about the trip. We saw a grizzly up close, right in front of us on the road. We stopped the car just in time and backed off a little just in case the grizzly was headed that way. He just stood there oblivious to our car's presence, fussing with something on the road. A few minutes later, he walked away! What an unforgettable moment!

Other wildlife we saw on the trip included plenty of mule deer in Waterton Lakes village and a Steller's Jay in Cameron Lake. The Jay caught our attention because it stalked us and the potato chips in our hands. When we turned to look at it though, it would turn away as if supremely disinterested. When we finally left a single chip on a nearby bench, it watched to see if we were looking and then when it thought we weren't, it swooped down to grab the chip! Here is pic of this crafty bird.Also had some nice conversations during the trip. A long car journey is a nice time to discuss all kinds of things instead of just about the groceries for the week or our respective schedules.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Neighbour amaivadellam...

We're not the most outgoing couple on the block. Others gather around and share laughs and have beer in their backyards. But not us. We're perfectly happy vegetating on our couch watching reruns of Raymond or Seinfeld. Occasionally we go out for some reason and we run across our neighbors and then we wave and smile. That's probably the most contact we have with all of them - the ones next door who play loud music in the middle of the night, the ones on the opposite right side with the dog who poops on our lawn, and the ones immediately in front with an immaculate garage but don't wave or smile.

The one exception has been our immediate neighbors on the other side. From the very beginning they were kind of friendly, coming over and introducing themselves when we moved in, shoveling snow when we went away on trips (and as a result we shoveled their driveway when they were away...tis not all one sided) and in general being nice. The lady of the house suddenly mowed our lawn a couple of evenings ago much to our pleasant surprise. We'd been putting away mowing the lawn till the weekend and we were pretty grateful that someone else had saved us the trouble...although we were a bit perplexed. Maybe this was the neighborly thing to do and what would we FOBs know? Or maybe she was doing this because I am pregnant? At this point, I do need to clarify that our lawn is not big. Its a strip of grass thats maybe 8' wide and 16' long. Not a biggie to mow!

So this morning when I saw the guy next door as we were leaving for work, I went over and thanked him and told him to convey our thanks to his wife. To which he responds something about his son not needing to mow our lawn everytime. Huh? What? Turns out 'someone' told his son that it was his duty to mow their lawns and that if he couldn't do it, his parents should! Looking at our overgrown lawn, they assumed that we were the 'someone'! Unless we're really stupid or have signed some kind of bonded labor contract with their son, why would we do something like that? I told the man that it wasn't us but he wasn't satisfied. He called my husband over and asked him if he had spoken to his son about mowing the lawn. Talk about disbelief!

One part of me is mad that they could assume something like that about us! I wonder if the son had lied for some bizarre reason. I wonder if some other neighbor had actually spoken to their son like that. I also wonder if maybe the neighbors are a bit nutty after all...A part of me feels stupid for having accepted their favors unquestioningly... But what can you do? Stop her when mowing and say "No. thanks, I'll do it when I do it. Now get off my lawn?"

On the other hand, they have been nice to us after all and so I do want to clear up the confusion. How should I do that though? Any ideas?

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Not really... Not awake at all in fact. Fell asleep during a lunch and learn presentation at work. Yikes!

Now armed with a cup of coffee, I am trying to wake up enough to start working again. The coffee is doing me some good, but apparently there is another coffee enthusiast in house. My baby kicks up a storm inside as soon as I consume caffeine. Am I going to have a baby addict on my hands?

Interesting news I read about recently: Color Kinetics being bought over by Philips lighting. I don't know why this is interesting considering I don't own shares of either company(Actually I don't own shares of any company, but thats a different issue)...Nevertheless it is interesting and a bit disappointing. I thought CK was all set to become a giant all on its own. I love their products! Actually I love their marketing and all the colorful brochures and photos they have. I do like some of their installations too - like that Lake of Dreams at the Wynn Casino in Las Vegas.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Petfood, toothpaste and now toys..

Here is a news item about toys made in China being recalled because they contain LEAD paint!!!

Among the toy recalls, the problem is most acute with low-price, no-brand-name toys that are often sold at dollar stores and other deep discounters, which are manufactured and sent to the United States often without the involvement of major American toy importers.

So when a product is recalled, it means the new stuff in stores goes back...but what about people who already have bought it before the recall? Too bad, your son or daughter gets brain damage??

Monday, June 18, 2007

Feeling better

Maybe I shouldn't blog when depressed judging by my past few posts. But feeling better now - must be the preggy harmones responsible for the mood swings...

My weekend was pretty unremarkable. Went to a couple of garage sales in search of baby gear, went to a tamil movie and then attended the birthday party of a friend's daughter. Oh, we also went to the Brick for a replacement microwave...

A word of advice for anyone in Canada who might read this - Do NOT buy anything with an extended warranty from the Brick. . Actually don't buy anything from them if you can help it. Their service sucks!!!! Our microwave stopped working a couple of months ago after emitting some foul smelling smoke from underneath. No problem, we had extended warranty, right?? Wrong! We dropped the microwave off at the service centre where we were told that we would hear from them within a couple of days. A couple of days turned to a week and we had heard nothing. So we call them to discover they've lost the service order and misplaced the microwave.

We visited the service centre again in person and they managed to locate the microwave and we were sent back with new reassurances. Now that it was found, everything would be all right. I wish! Days went by and then weeks...and everytime we called we were put on hold, transferred to some other department which would then transfer us back to the original dept and always the answer would be the same 'I'll check on the status and call you back in a couple of hours'. Never happened - not once was a call returned. Meanwhile we adapted to life without a m/w - somewhat inconvenient but not a show stopper. It would have been bad if it was the refrigerator that had conked out.

Finally innumerable calls later, two months after we dropped the m/w off, we were able to get store credit for the m/w - and even there we had to face unwanted attitude from some customer service chick. So we have the store credit but were too nauseated to get the replacement m/w there. So we're still microwaveless at the time of my typing this. Maybe we'll find one at a garage sale somewhere...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


More to clear my mind than as an actual post to be read..

I was thinking back on the past couple of years here in Calgary and I realized I've been happier and more relaxed lately than before. I think with this pregnancy at least there is some immediate sense of purpose and direction - There will be a baby and I will need to care for it a lot in the next couple of years. Neat and defined - I like it.

This sense of purpose wasn't there before and hence all the unhappiness, doubt, guilt and endless self-questioning. Am I doing the right thing? What is the right thing? How come I don't know what it is I should be doing? Is this why I was educated? What do I really want to be doing for the rest of my life? Could a better person somehow use these circumstances better and have built a better career? Am I really sad because I feel I am in a dead end career? Or am I sad because I feel I should be sad about the non-career? Am I sad because I am scared that I might actually become complacent and enjoy the non-career and non-stress? Would I really feel happier elsewhere or am I just finding a convenient excuse? Wouldn't the added stress of an actual career make me more unhappy?

Somehow all this is tied up to my 'career' and what I feel I should be doing for the rest of my life. The problem is that I've no idea what I want to be doing and never did. Growing up, this scared me sometimes but I figured things would become clearer as I got older. I will be turning 30 later this year but am no clearer than I was when 13.

But staying at home and cooking day in and day out does not quite interest me either. I am fine with doing that for a couple of years but not beyond that if I can help it! So what then? Work in a dead end job like scanning groceries at Superstore? Sure...but where is the intellectual challenge? It would be so BORING! Okay, so I need intellectual challenge - I could sit and home and solve puzzles and do the Superstore thing part time, right?...But no, what about my education? What about my peers? Shouldn't I be trying to compete with them and make myself known in my field? Or something?And there is all the comparison with them- Here is where I SHOULD be just as they are and here is where I am and oh my god, look at the gap - I am falling short so much! Nevermind they live in a different city, have different circumstances and more importantly WANT different things. But.. but.. what do I want? If I don't know what I want, is it wrong to want what everyone else seems to want?

And so continues the endless cycle of self doubt and depression. Unless its broken temporarily by some external circumstance like a pregnancy. Another way to break it might be to figure out what I want - but how does one begin to do that?

A friend once told me a few years ago that most people start working not because they want to but because of imitating others who are working and later they're too entrenched in the system to stop. Of course we do need to work for our food, shelter, etc. but there is more to it than that. I scoffed at him then because I was still young and idealistic. Now I wonder if he had a point..

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

metaphorically speaking

If you lived in an alien land where they spoke a strange language - say you'd lived there for a couple of years now - and you thought you'd learnt enough of the language to manage - Then you attended an event where you couldn't figure out what was happening - Would you be upset?

Would you blame yourself for not adapting well or justify it saying that you didn't grow up with the language or learn it at school - so how on earth can you manage?

If you felt bad about it, would you take lessons? If you didn't feel bad about it, would you still do something about it anyway?

What if you knew you were leaving this land in a couple of years? Would you still be motivated to learn the language - even if you knew you'd never need it again after these 2 years?

If the sign of an intelligent and interested person is his/her ability to continually learn, by failing to adapt, haven't you failed at a larger issue?

Monday, June 11, 2007

On second thoughts

Finished reading the book "Three in a bed". The fact that I managed to read the book from cover to cover within 3-4 days should in itself be an indicator of its content.
If it were heavy with information, I wouldn't have been able to plow through it so quickly. I am onto my next book and unable to read more than a page at a time for this very reason.

The book told me more about why I should co-sleep rather than how I can do it safely, what I should look out for, tips from people who've been there done that etc. Somewhat disappointing! And it gets repetitive very quickly - Yes the tribes in Malawi, Uganda, Palani etc co-sleep and have amazing results, but really can we move on to the everyday world we live in? Also the author would have you believe that murderers and rapists are created because we don't co-sleep with our children. Kinda far fetched IMO.

There are a couple of reasons why I am going to give this a shot.
1.) Breastfeeding will be easier. Consequently no sore nipples, infections and all that sort of thing.
2.) Child feels more secure. No sleeping problems initially (and later on as well, if you believe the book).
3.) Both baby and me will be well rested (I can hope!)

At home today since am feeling flu ish. Must be all the people at the food fair yesterday...
Who knew so many people in Calgary liked South Indian food? Hopefully the event is better organized next year and there is more food to go around.

Friday, June 08, 2007

risk taking

A friend of mine told me yesterday that she was changing her career - after having been in the lighting industry forever - at least 20 years if not more....and changing it to do something quite different; something she's not tried on a business scale before but something she loves doing anyway. I was shocked. I was also filled with some kind of envious admiration. Way to go!

To be able to shrug it all off and try something new, after all these years on one kind of a career path - wow! So many of us get attached to the idea of being in a particular career and we keep moving along in the career path - joining associations, aiming for professional development, making contacts and trying to stay ahead in the field. The career becomes closely tied with our ego and our very sense of self. How do you introduce yourself? I know that in my case 'I am a lighting consultant' is the sentence that follows 'Hello, I am ...". And this does not even have to be a business meeting.

Not that there is anything wrong with all of this. We presumably entered the field because we liked it. But how many of us question it after 10 years, after 20 years? Even if we did, would we have the courage to start all over again in something completely different? What if we sucked at this new thing? At least we had the previous thing in a solidly established way... and what after doing this for a while we discovered that we didn't quite like this either? I know these very questions would make me hesitate and probably not take the risk.

But then I was never much of a gambler anyway...Everytime I watch 'Deal or no deal' on TV, I am always encouraging the person to walk away with whatever money they made in the first round. But I do admire the ones who persist round after round despite losses and then come out with a million dollars in the end. I would never do that, but I admire them nevertheless. Just like I admire my friend I suppose.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Feeling groovy

Feeling stuffed after a good lunch. My friend was astonished at the sheer quantity of food I ate..
Strangely I am not sleepy as I usually am after a good meal. Maybe thats because I've nothing to work at and will be leaving soon. Funny how the prospect of an idle afternoon is so delightful!

i've got no deeds to do, no promises to keep
i'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep
let the morning time wash all these troubles from me

life, i love you, all is groovy

I love this song especially on nice summer days... like today.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Three in a bed

This is the title of the book I am reading today during lunch break. No, its not a risque book about ménage à trois. It is about the benefits of having your child sleep in your bed with you instead of in a crib in a different room.

Have read only about 50 pages into the book so far and at this point there is a lot of ranting about what is wrong with the Western Society in terms of child birth and child rearing. Interesting ranting though!

I sure am glad to be here at this point in time instead of a couple of decades ago when babies were routinely separated from their mothers and put in a nursery at hospital, when breastfeeding was recommended on schedule instead of on demand and people were encouraged to let their newborn infants cry so that they'll learn to behave. Sounds shocking but what would you or anyone else do if that's what the doctor recommended even if that wasn't quite what you wanted? A lot of prevailing theory still conforms to these beliefs...but at least the alternatives are gaining some credibility!

Cosleeping is still a controversial theory even though it has been routinely practiced in several Eastern cultures including India. That's one advantage I have - this being from India bit. It makes me more open to this and willing to experiment. With all the terror being spread about SIDS and how the baby MUST sleep in a crib, I cannot blame the people who want to play it safe though.

I think this book would still be interesting reading even if one didn't want to co-sleep. Just getting that different point of view and knowing how certain practices started can be thought provoking and can make a difference.

A quote from the book:
Helplessness is the vital condition of the human baby, because he requires the company of those who are teaching him what it is to be human. His frailty is our cue to pick him up and hold him. A baby has to sort out his own ego from the muddle he sees around him and he does that by first identifying with his mother. ......... At the beginning the mother and infant are as one - the rest is a slow struggle towards independance. ........ When you put a newborn baby down to sleep in his cradle, he thinks a part of himself has gone - the part that sustains life and gives him comfort. He does not have many resouces to cope with this separation. Whether he protests or not, he needs you. It is such an obvious explanation for infant misery that medical handbooks tend to overlook it. Experts keep telling us to put the baby down, because it is easier, and mothers should not be subject to the whims of their children. They are missing the point altogether.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Too much to read. Too little time.

Went to the library yesterday and got even more books on labour, delivery, child development and everything inbetween. My husband is amused at my zealousness and also a bit apprehensive that all this reading will only serve to confuse me further and make me a nervous wreck. I hope not!

I am thinking of it as targetted reading rather than directionless reading though. Lets see. One of the books was titled 'Easy Labour' and the librarian checking out the books was amused. Is labour ever easy? Turns out she had somewhat of an easy labour with the entire process lasting only a couple of hours - so it was quick even though painful. Thats very impressive for a first delivery and I could hope for nothing more...
And she assured me "once you have that baby in your arms, you'll forget all about the pain you went through.

Lets see..

Thursday, May 31, 2007


Tis lunchtime - although being self employed, I don't really have a paid lunchtime. It is whatever I want it to be. I just like to have lunch and take some time off at the same time as the people around me...

Been reading another blog for the past half hour and I am trying to do this chronologically so this all makes sense. I am still in 2004, reading about the birth of her first child and the entire process in the hospital. Its amazing! Its also horrifying! In my usual procastinator style, I've not spared much thought to labor and delivery till now considering that it is pretty far away. Suddenly 19 more weeks seem like very little time and I don't think I am prepared at all in any way...But what can you do to prepare? It is what it is, right? Well, in her case her hypnosis tapes seem to have helped her a lot among other things, although she still needed an epidural at the end of the day. Maybe I should join some breathing/relaxation classes - or buy some tapes or something..

I liked what she wrote about the delivery itself - how she always thought the process didn't matter as much as the end result and how she thinks differently now. It is one of the most significant experiences (not to mention prolonged and painful) that a woman goes through and she cannot help reflecting on it again and again later wondering if there was something she would have done differently. At least we have options at this day and age that gives us the luxury of wondering about it- epidurals and picotin and whatever else...

Well my self assigned lunchtime is over and I should head back to trying to floodlight the exterior of a high-rise building using some LED fixtures! Sounds more fascinating than it really is... like anything else I suppose.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

What I am reading right now

Upamanyu Chatterjee's book "English, August". I started this book reluctantly since it seemed very dense and pretty pointless not to mention pretty depressing as well. I have since started admiring this book and I am only about halfway through it. I am not even going to try and summarize it or analyze it. Here are some favorite passages of mine from this book, from whatever I've read thus far.

' In the government, you'll realize this over the years, Sen, there is no such thing as absolute honesty, there are only degrees of dishonesty. All officers are more or less dishonest - some are like our engineers, they get away with lakhs, some are like me, who won't say no when someone gives them a video for the weekend, others are subtler, they won't pay for the daily trunk call to Hyderabad to talk to their wives and children. Only degrees of dishonesty. But, of course, honesty does not mean efficiency.'

'Bhatia made Agastya's secret life seem so ridiculous, he wanted to laugh. Its major consolation had been the possibility that it was a profound experience, something rare; now it seemed as common as a half-bottle of whisky, something he shared with Bhatia. Agastya faintly disliked him for this, for shattering one of his last consoling illusions. But he could not admit to their similarity. He realized obscurely that the sense of loneliness was too precious to be shared and finally incommunicable, that men were ultimately, islands; each had his own universe, immense only to himself, far beyond the grasp or the interest of others. For them the pettiness of the ordeal was unrecordable, worthy at best, only of a flicker of empathy. He was really not that interested in Bhatia's life; later, Dhrubo would not be interested in his, and his father would not be able to understand it.'

'The inhabitants of his world moved so much, ceaselessly and without sanity, and realized only with the last flicker of their reason that they had not lived. Endless movement, much like the uncaring sea, transfers to alien places, passages to distant shores, looking for luck, not sensing that heaven was in their minds. I was not born for this, said Agastya silently. He had said that all he wanted was to be happy. Now alone under the stars, he could finally admit this to himself without embarrassment. '

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Been a while again

Its May 1 already! Time sure flies...What has happened in the while that I've not updated this blog? Not much and plenty - depending on how you look at it.

In february, I discovered that I was pregnant - something I didn't really think that I'd be blessed with so soon...Its funny how something becomes so much more precious when there is a possibility of it not being attained. I had always kind of wanted kids, but not in a desperate must-have way. When some medical problems made it seem like I may not have them after all, I did become a bit more attached to the idea of having em. How far would I have gone to have kids though? Luckily, that's a question I did not have to answer since this happened spontaneously without fertility treatments and expensive operations.... I suspect that if need be, I might have gone part way on this road, and then turned towards adoption. I truly believe that having a biological kid at the price of thousands of dollars is a terrible waste of money.

So I am excited about being pregnant and terribly nervous about being a parent. I find myself constantly referring to the past... What did my parents do right that I didn't turn out to be an axe murderer or cocaine junkie? I remember bits and pieces from my own childhood - stories my mother told me for instance, that I want to pass on as memories to my child as well.

I've been reading plenty of pregnancy and parenting books and magazines. In fact thats all I read. Admittedly my career has been relegated to the back seat. But I know (and hope) this won't be permanent - regardless of all the people who seem to suddenly think that having a child spells the end to my career aspirations.. I do want to focus as much time and energy on the child for the next couple of years though..

What else happened over the past couple of months? My father-in-law visited us for 3 months.
I joined Toastmasters and am having fun at their meetings every Thursday evening. I also sang a song at a local event for South Indians. We've met some new people in this city as a result...

life is good...

Monday, February 19, 2007


There is a lot of work to do...
Instead I am laying around doing nothing. I've also managed to finally add a couple of more installments to the Barcelona trip blog, easily 5 months since the trip.
Hope to finish up the remaining two installments by the end of the week.

Monday, January 08, 2007


"In one often-cited study, researchers at the University of Kentucky analyzed the essays novices born before 1917 wrote on entering the School Sisters of Notre Dame and correlated them to the nuns’ life spans. They found that 9 out of 10 of the most positive 25 percent of the nuns were still alive at 85, while only one-third of the least positive 25 percent were. Overall, their study showed positive emotions correlated to a 10-year increase in life span, greater even than the differential between smokers and nonsmokers. "

This is from an article in NY times about Positive Psychology. Basically a new 'science' that teaches people about what can make them happy and how its different from hedonism (Pursuit of pleasure instead of happiness). If plain psychology deals with depression and what goes wrong with the human mind, positive psychology deals with all the positive things - how and why humans feel good. Reading about it reminded me of the 'Art of Living' class I attended a couple of years ago. Similar principles and same objective and even similar methods of instruction!

No wonder this 'Science' is accused of being a cult and not really a science at all! What does it matter what it is, as long it makes people happy? Does it make people happy though? Or are they pretending to be happy? I have no way of knowing, but I hope they're happy! Everyone could use more happiness...

In the end I don't know if I need a class to teach me what Ayn Rand wrote about all those years ago:

Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values. A morality that dares to tell you to find happiness in the renunciation of happiness - to value the failure of your values- is an insolent negation of morality. By the grace of reality and the nature of life, man - every man- is an end in himself and the achievement of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose.

Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy - a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that deos not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction, not the joy of escaping from your mind, but of using your mind's fullest power, not the joy of faking reality but of achieving values that are real, not the joy of a drunkard but of a producer. Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals and seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions.

Tall order, but surely gives us a reason to pursue happiness.

Today's random image

This is a street performer in Las Ramblas - a photo taken during my trip to Barcelona a few months ago!

Saturday, January 06, 2007


Titled thus since I am eating dosais while typing this...good dosais I might add since my husband has nearly perfected this art form. Mine always seem to get torn or worse get glued to the Tava unless I make them really thick, but where's the fun in that?

My holidays were great although they went by a bit too quickly and so much still left undone. Visited family and friends which is always a nice thing when you're in N.America and are dying with lonliness. Okay I am not dying with lonliness...but could do with more company. The problem though is deciding how much is enough. Having a threshold seems to make it more difficult to make friends, but then do I really want 'friends' in my face all the time? And if they were really 'friends' would I consider them as being in my face or would I be grateful for their company? What about degrees of friendship then?

I want to go take off this uniform and leave the show..
The only reason I typed that line was because I am listening to 'The Wall' as I am typing this. Talk about multitasking - I am eating dosai, listening to Pink Floyd, running an AGI calc and typing this blog. Although that line does sort of fit in with the whole lonliness theme thingie I am trying to write about here.

I finally got hold of 'Forward the Foundation' by Asimov at my Aunt's place a couple of weeks ago! Good book and certainly better than its prequel, but I still like the original 3 books the best. The part of communication between minds (telepathy) is so fascinating! I also reread John Wyndham's 'Re-birth' - another great story about the very same thing - a superior variant of the human race who communicate telepathically. Great imaginative fiction! Still have 2 more Foundation books to read before I finish the series.

Enough said for today. Bye...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year

Its a year - a day already... but Happy New Year anyway!