Thursday, October 30, 2008

We shall go travelling

C and I enjoy travelling. The initial preparation of scouring the internet for places to see, best time to visit, where to stay, where to eat, languages spoken - I get a thrill doing that.

Everytime C has to visit a different country, I prepare this quick guide of sorts that (I hope) helps him. Once he had to make this quick 2 day trip to Seoul and I gave him a small sheet with important sentences/phrases translated in Korean. He found it very useful and in fact used it at a Pizza joint to make sure they served him veggie food :-)

Travelling to different cities, I think provides a very good lesson and also helps us broaden our minds. You learn so much, right from art of packing, booking tickets, foreign exchange, culture, food, behaviour.. the list is endless.

I read a nice quote somewhere - 'If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home'. How apt is that?

I think C&I are fairly reasonable travellers. The only constraint that we face occasionally is food, vegetarian food that is. But nowadays there are Subways everywhere and till date we have not found a subway without their standard 'Veggie Delite'.

Travelling has taught us how to pack only the essential, how to survive on meager resources, made us relish different cuisines and made us appreciate what we have in our own country.

Now, it has been long since we travelled. I am really itching to make a short trip to some nice place. Get on a train or bus or whatever, feel the breeze on my face, go trekking, visit a temple, anything would do.

While we were in Gurgaon, we managed to visit a few wonderful hill stations. Right after our wedding, we went to Manali. Then over the next three years or so, went to Nainital (just the two of us), Shimla (with B-I-L), Mussorie (with M-I-L) and Jaipur. Well, we've actually been to the pink city four times! The two of us, with parents, with in-laws and with C's office mates. And enjoyed it every single time.

I actually had a blog (travelogue of sorts) which, I am ashamed to say, deleted in a fit of rage! I really want to write it all down again so that I can read it and reminisce years later. But I would need C's help... I have quite forgotten the details.

So, what are the places to visit as a weekend getaway? I heard Yelagiri is the most happening place right now. I would love to visit Yercaud too. How about Coorg? Will 3 days suffice? What about Pondicherry? What is there to see apart from the Ashram? Any hidden treasures on the way? So many questions... I will have to go back to the WWW for some answers. But is there someone who can give some tips? Please do leave your comments if you have some something nice to share.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Deepawali

Wish you all a very Happy Deepawali.

We had a wonderful time this past weekend and on Monday, celebrating this joyous festival with immediate family. The last 4 years, Diwali used to be the time we took a quick vacation and flew down to Chennai from Gurgaon, spend 2 days at my parents home, 2 days with the in-laws and get back to work at Gurgaon. Pooh! the vacation was always hurried and never seemed like a holiday. With the seasonal rains and all the travelling, we used to feel so exhausted.

This time around, it was much more relaxed. We did our typical last-minute but 5 minute shopping! Went to Pondy Bazaar and picked up T-shirts for Dad, F-I-L, B-I-L, Brother and Hubby. All from a single shop. Hopped next door to another shop to pick myself a Salwar-Kameez. On the way back, bought 2 little earrings for Mom and M-I-L and our Diwali shopping was complete. All of 15 minutes max! :-) And, despite the pollution risk, we indulged a bit and purchased some crackers as well.

Devouring those delicious home-made sweets and savouries, chatting endlessly, fun and laughter - it was truly a time well spent.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cleanliness next to... What was that?

Travelling to office has become an ordeal owing to various reasons. MAD traffic and the pollution, horrible roads with numerous pot holes, broken dividers, precariously hanging lamp and electric posts, hoardings, larger-than-life posters of politicians, 'film stars' - the list is endless!

People have simply lost the basic sense of cleanliness. Civic sense is zilch! Spitting where ever they please, throwing all sorts of garbage and of course for converting roads into the largest loo!

I shudder to think of the obnoxious gases that I inhale everyday. Fuel emissions, sewer fumes, malodour from rotting garbage and the retch-inducing urine stench. Yuck! Yuck!! Yuck!!!

I cringe when people make disparaging remarks about our country and compare it unfavourably with the US (mostly the US, it is always the US! LOL!). But then, they only say what they see and what is true. How much can you defend when you know for yourself the pathetic state the country seems to have gone!

Last week, an electric pole near our house caught fire. It was burning very heavily and despite numerous phone calls, no one came to put out the fire. When someone called to the fire service department, he was asked to call the Electricity dept. They in turn directed him to complain to the Chennai corporation! Finally, the residents got buckets filled with mud and after several attempts put out the fire. But, unable to reach the upper part of the pole, it was still smouldering!
No authority came that night. What if it had been a full-fledged fire accident? There were numerous cars and other vehicles parked, electric and telephone cables were hanging dangerously close. What if it had been a little slum area with thatched houses??

I am totally frustrated with this 'system'. Whatever that may mean. What is happening to all the tax money that we pay religiously? No, really, where exactly does it go? I understand cribbing doesn't get us anywhere and people need to be cautious, sensible and all that.. We can educate them on basic civic sense, we can teach them not to throw garbage, not to defile public places, not to spit where they will and not to drive like they own the road.

But doesn't the Government have a far more important role to play? Why can't they lay proper roads, close those damn manholes, build some public toilets, empty those overflowing trash bins, clear the drain and sewerage pipes to prevent water-logging.

I thought these are just basic things that ensures smooth running of a city. But I guess, not. The people at power seem more interested in things that happen in neighbouring cities, states and country!

Earnest appeal, please keep your house in order before poking your nose elsewhere.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Go Green!

At the risk of sounding boastful, I have to say, I really am a very simple person :-) My needs are very few and I don't have any craving for those fancy gadgets or typical accessories that most women long for.

While browsing thro' some blogs, I read some people tend to have 1 or 2 cupboard(!) full of shoes, hand bags, sunglasses, cosmetics... Hm, well, maybe I am a bit boring that way, but I really don't like to accumulate things that I won't be using much.

Infact, I have precisely one hand bag. I just love it and the best part is that it is just a medium sized one, but can hold an entire grocery bag. I keep wallets, mobile phones, sun glasses, assorted medicines (like disprin, the Vicks inhaler - oh am so addicted to it!), some documents and papers, a small comb, 1 or 2 hair bands/clips, 1 or 2 pens, keys. Apart from all these, I can easily pack a set of clothes in it!

And, I have 2 pairs of sneakers. A simple Reebok shoe and a baggy green Woodland shoe - my real splurge, I love it. And, one pair of regular wear sandals! It sounds a bit pathetic, maybe, I should buy another one...

And I am not into cosmetics and the like. I have my Nivea talc that I dab rarely. There is one Revlon nail enamel that my brother-in-law got for me, almost a year back. Nothing else. I like to keep my hair short, so no fancy things there, and I don't make-up, so nothing there as well.

Maybe am an aberration of sorts!

And coming to clothes - I have suddenly developed this urge to dispose off clothes that we haven't worn in like a year! They are all in very good condition, not worn out or faded. Infact, just before we moved from Gurgaon, we gave 2 huge bagful of clothes to Goonj. (please visit for further details on what they do and how you can help).

Only when we do the exercise of moving to a different house, do we realize the amount of things that has accumulated over the years. Books, Clothes, Assorted papers (bills, temporary prescriptions, ATM slips, photocopies of numerous documents), Greeting cards [not recent ones, those from eons ago, kept for sentimental reasons :-)], some assorted photos (again a few of those printed - before the Digital camera hit us), gadgets (assorted bluetooth devices, some IR devices, wires and cords of different size & shapes, many many small clocks - those with alarm, calendar and such functions, innumerable CDs - some of which am sure will not play any more)
Phew! even just listing these here tires me out.

We felt very guilty seeing the amount of paper that we have used thus far. Seriously, numerous photocopies of passport, marriage certficate, pan card, driving license, ration card, credit cards and what not! Add to that piles of printouts (official and otherwise - articles, reports and other stuff) - Just the two of us must have wiped out about 1000 trees I think. We have now decided to consciously cut out on plastic and paper. Take a cloth bag to grocery shop and DO NOT print anything which we can do without. (PDFs, reports, atm slips etc). Just two simple rules to follow, to begin with.

Maybe I digressed a bit. But the recent move showed us the amount of junk we could easily do without.

So, that's one of the reasons I am really desisting from buying 'new clothes' for Diwali. Well, there is quite some 'pressure' to buy atleast a simple home wear kind of dress - but I feel quite disinterested right now.

So, what's the point of the post ?[as if every post of mine has one ;-)]

1. Save Trees. Use less paper. Avoid plastic.
2. Am a very simple person, really :-)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Our Lost Baby

Over the last couple of years I have been reading a lot of blogs. No, make it 'A LOT OF BLOGS'. I am not sure where or when it started, but then one blog led to another and I now have my 'favourite' menu extended by a mile! Most of them are what they call 'Mommy Blogs' . Well, some of the call themselves Bloggers who are mommas. But the point I am trying to tell you is,

"I have been reading a lot of blogs on Moms and kids." Hm, I could have said that in the beginning...


So, as can be expected, my maternal instincts were slowly kindled. C and I started talking more about kids and life like that. So, despite our heavy workload and such like, we tried.. ahem.

In January this year, I conceived. What thrill, shock, and fear it was, that moment when I noticed that pink line on the pregnancy indicator stick! It was a Friday. C was away at work and I was home. I called him and told him straight- am pregnant! C was like - ah, super, really? how (??), when (haha) and a hundred different things.

Once he reached home, we (rather, I) did another of those checks and there it was! The pink line. I should mention that we were in the US at that time on some business visit. Well, C was on business and I took a long vacation and went with him (solely for the purpose I have been talking about).

Now, the US of A has a different type of medical system. I am not going into the details as I do not completely understand it yet. But suffice to say, it left us baffled. No doctors on weekends. No walk-in appointments like we have here. Heck, we couldn't even find a hospital that was functioning on a weekend! After scouring the internet and some frantic calls, we finally found a OBGYN. A male Indian doctor.

We visited him the following day and he did the internal and asked a few questions on how the spotting was (I had experienced some spotting and was scared to bits) and other stuff like that. He said he wanted some basic blood tests done to confirm the pregnancy. Fine. We got it done the same day and collected reports next week and the pregnancy was confirmed! I was like 4 weeks. After another week, we called parents and informed them. You all can again, imagine the thrill they would have felt.

Actually, sometime in June 2007, C and I underwent a regular health check up. Everything was fine, except that the Gynaec suspected me to be a PCOS candidate! I felt quite shattered. So, googled up PCOS and tried to learn what it meant. Was put on a medication. So, when I saw the pink line, you can very well imagine the state of my mind.

After another month's stay in the US, we returned back to India in March. The day after we landed, I fell ill. A temperature of 104 F for 2 days. Terrible cough and cold. Took 9 paracetamol tablets. The largest I have taken till date within a span of 3 days! Mom came over to help us. With the fever subsided, I resumed my work in office. Everything seemed normal. Did the ultra sound and saw Jr. with folded hands and tiny little legs. Played holi for the first time. C joined a guitar class. He wanted to be ready with songs to play for Jr. Ate such a feast everyday... Mom pampered me every bit. News was out to other relatives. I was 16 weeks when Mom headed back to Chennai.

At 4 in the afternoon, the next day, I had a very light spotting again. I don't know why, but I called the doctor immediately. She asked me to go to the hospital immediately. I was not very bothered and thought why is she scaring me! I called C and told him. He came home by 6 and we were in the hospital by 6.30. The resident doctor checked me and could see heavy bleeding. The specialist doctor was informed and they agreed to do an emergency ultra sound.

The radiologist and resident doctor saw something and then I heard the word 'Inevitable'! C and I were shattered. What's inevitable? What's happened? I don't feel any pain. I don't feel even a slight cramp. Nothing whatsoever. I refuse to believe them. I think they are unqualified and are making a mistake. I try to get up and am told to lie down. 'You have to get admitted. We will be wheeled into the room. Don't get up'. Things happened very fast after that. C was asked to sign forms, pay fees, get medicines, injections. I was asked to change clothes, injection was administered and was there lying on the bed, numb.

The doctor came in and checked me and gave us the news. 'Most of the sac is out'. What sac? Where is it? Why is it out? Can't you push it in? I don't feel any pain. I tell her a thousand things. Meanwhile C has informed my parents.

I was asked to lie down with my legs raised. C and I spent the night in the hospital. The first for us. I am administerd lot of medicines, IV's , injections. The next morning Mom cathces a flight and arrives by afternoon. Some more ultra sounds... same status. The sac is out they say. But the foetal heart beat... is fine...

3 days I am down with my legs raised. And the sac doesn't get in. The doctor asks us what we want to do. She says it would have been a miracle if the sac went in... but it just doesn't seem likely any more!

We didn't know what to do... and the doctor understood our silence and asked the support staff to begin the process. I was given numerous medicines again... to empty my bowel, to relax my uterus, to generally get the foetus out. So, on that fateful day, around 11.30 or so, am wheeled into the OT. All I remember is feeling the oxygen mask and after that I knocked out.

After about 2 hours or so (maybe an hour later), I woke up and saw that I was alone, in a corner... I call out and a nurse come along. I ask her if I have been operated. She says yes. I ask her what baby was it? 'Don't worry about it Ma'am' she says... I ask again and she says 'Boy'. I closed my eyes and tears rolled down on either side of my face. After another half hour or so, I was slowly taken back to the room... I see my mom and C.. Both of them have cried a lot. I could see. I was still reeling under the effect of anesthesia. When I close my eyes, Mom and C wept and when I opened my eyes they tried to comfort me... after spending that night in hospital, we return home the next day.

I won't elaborate much on what we did after that. Each tried to put on a strong exterior not show emotions but underneath each one of us were crying a thousand times! After about a week or so, C told me he had to actually sign a form...that basically asked for his authorization to dispose off the foetus! C and Mom had also seen the baby...

My heart aches to type this. But why am I doing this? For one, it is cathartic. And secondly, it is a pity that all the so called bible of pregnancy books do not mention about miscarriages and other complications adequately. So, I hope this account of mine will make other mothers-to-be cautious. I do not want to frighten them, but want them to be aware of things that can go wrong. We still do not know what caused my miscarriage. The doctor can only speculate. She said there are still so many 'unknowns' in pregnancy and in the field of medicine. Was it the 'metformin' that I took for PCOS? Was it the spotting in early stages? Was it the high fever with cough and cold? Was it because of some mild lifting that I did? What was it because of ....?

All that we can say is, if the pregnancy has to stay, it stays. And if the body decides it has to go, it goes.

It has been more than 5 months now and we still cry over the baby that could have been. It hits us at unexpected times. While we go for walks, while watching TV, while C is driving, or when we eat... it is just a numb feeling that grips us and makes us feel so weak. But what we went through and the baby has taught us a lot of things. Courage, Faith, Never-say-die attitude (the baby never for once lost the heartbeat...he was a fighter to the core!), Empathy, Endurance and so much more.

C and I fervently hope that we are blessed with another baby and get to lead a happy life with the child.