NYC!

A place I live and I’d rather be, Covid or not!

Mothers in the Animal Kingdom!

Hello my dear readers!! Before I flit off my next blog on mommies of the animal kingdom, here’s -a big thank you to all of you reading my blog. Thank you for subscribing and thank you for sticking around. Just to ensure I don’t disappear away like I always do, I renewed (in time, phew!) my website and have armed myself with a whole bunch of things while constantly reminding myself to relax. The one thing I apparent can’t do but am determined to master this year. So while I’ve been missing in action here, I became a part of two book clubs. Yes two! One on Instagram called the IKIGAI book club where we read eclectic, vibrant books and converse with fellow readers virtually, spam their feeds with quotes from the book, remind them to read, bug them literally to pick up books we are reading and challenge them to an experience. It is also by the way, the worlds first experiential book club which I am personally super excited about. The second book club is one that is so real and hence so endearing. In the company of 6 girls, we read, meet, eat, laugh till tears well up in our eyes, opine and actually have book club questions that we answer. So so fun and so so amazing. So basically I’ve been upping my reading game and have given My Royal Bookness a comma, not yet a full stop. And since then I’ve also began ‘arting’ about and have put up stuff on my art page on Instagram. So you see I’ve been mostly on Instagram and have also been scattering my energies away. As my son is soon going to be a toddler and is halfway through his 1000 golden hours (the first three years of a human life) I’ve been a little more free and mulling on a few many things in my best interest that include an architecture career, investment lessons and yes ofcourse parenting styles.

One of the books I read this year, precisely this month is one that focuses on Tiger mothering. The “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” was part of no book club but a recommendation from one of my favourite people and also a wonderful fellow Mom! While she herself working on attaining a PhD in architecture she inspires me endlessly while I languidly while away my intellectual prowess and be a hands-on Mommy to my lil T-Rex. But mothering is no monkey business. We mothers are shaping the future, (yeah, yeah) battling existing norms, challenging traditions and preparing a generation that is smarter than us for sure. It’s just Darwin’s law of evolution I am making reference to 😜 your children are bound to be smarter than you. So then well, while our hearts beat and pray for their glorious future our parenting styles may just make or break their future. I think of Lady Gaga. And now I’d like to make a reference. When she was at her peak, in an interview she said how her Mom would smack her knuckles and made her play the piano for a minimum of 4 hours in a day. Certainly a product of A Tiger Mom. And then I think of the Mom’s who are wannabe cool Moms who’s kids are just that, cool, chilled and if the Gods are kind, maybe Bill Gates. So antagonistic to the Tiger Moms, the Moms who expect nothing but perfection, who’s kids have immaculate cupboards and starched uniforms are the whole load of Elephant Moms, Jellyfish Moms and my favourite the Dolphin Moms. Dolphins are my favourite animals and hence I am severely biased. But here’s a look at the Mommies of the animal kingdom. As a disclaimer I’d like to say that no one way may be right, no kids future rests solely in the hands of the mother, much as we’d like it, (it ain’t fair then that we carry our children for 9 whole months, all by ourselves and then be singularly subjected to childbirth, but then life is unfair and we must be grateful for that) mothering may well be monkey business and we all need to take a chill pill. So presenting my case for the Mommies of the animal kingdom!There are lots of animals in the wild, but let’s focus on a few, for now at least.

Starting with the TIGER 🐅 mom. Now this one is a no brainer. First of all it should be the TIGRESS mom because Tiger is in actual effect the Dad. But hey, either way the Tigress does all the work in general, hunting-gathering food, protecting the territory, having the young and then raising the young. With such a high- pressure job, the tigress then demands nothing but the best on her children. Straight A’s, prom queen, Ivy leagues whatever, the drill is that if I can do it so can you, rather, so bloody you. Failure is not an option since it never was an option for the tigress. Do unto the young as the elders do unto you seem to be their mantra. Have you ever seen a Tiger in the wild? It’s glistening cost, it’s manicured talons, that’s just how the tigress Mom is. Well turned out, immaculate and perfectly in sync with her day and her universe. If you happen to be from another universe then well, may God help you! The children of the Tiger moms are either those who reach scales of height in their life, whether they wanted it or not, or then those who develop stammers and can never value themselves high enough. It was never taught to them to be more than their achievements and hence they will only slave away their life to achieve. Or if the parenting style backfires the children then just go numb and can turn to rebel in action, word or deed. This style of parenting takes the most effort, draw up action plans, send the kids to the best tutors and make them achieve, for in their achievement lies your achievement! Given all kids are not born equal and some are inherently talented in different spheres but the Tiger Mom does not acknowledge this fact. If you polish it enough, even steel will turn to gold this one thinks! Being a Tiger Mom is a gamble for sure, and the Tiger Moms lives are seldom larger than the lives of the children.

And now for the next Mommy of the Animal Kingdom, the Elephant Mom! The Elephant Moms are touchy feely Moms and make sure to be in close contact with their kiddos for the first 5 years of the childs life. It could mean co-sleeping, tons of hugs, oodles of kisses, being around, having a watchful eye, staying close, even carrying the child around while going about tasks if the need be. Like Elephants these Moms are very strong, ofcourse they’d have to be if they carry the kids around! But still, elephant Moms maintain close contact and stay with the child, without forcing, not once chiding or even stirring the child in any particular direction. It is the parenting style that takes unconditional love. A friend of mine said oh this is so you when I was describing this style to her. No I do not co-sleep with my son nor do I not stir him (gently) in the direction I want him to go, but then yes, I never chide him and I do love him unconditionally. (Although I wish I am a dolphin parent, you’ll soon see why.) The benefits of Elephant parenting are many. For starters here is a kid who is poised to grow into an extremely emotionally secure adult. No insecurities for this one. No matter where life takes them, no matter the people they encounter, they know that they are enough, they are complete. The prodigies of this style of parenting are said to have stellar relationships, with themselves! 😀

The Jellyfish Moms are those who stand or enforce structure, they are extremely free flowing to the extent that they cannot make decisions, schedules for themselves or their offsprings. Picture a jellyfish flowing away disconcertedly all over the deep blue sea, with no goal in mind, very content and happily away. The good side  may be that the child will have to take the initiative for everything, be proactive, but the downside is probably that the child will not be able to exercise will-power or the zeal to take a stand when push comes to shove, floating away relentlessly in the ocean, as in life. Its wonderful to need little from life to be contended and free-flowing, to have no structure and no form, to be like water, that is if you really want to be so. Having great will-power is having a great sense of control, sometimes relinquishing will-power and listening to the flows of the universe may also get one to places you never knew existed, it may all well turn out for the best!

The Dolphin Moms on the other hand do not relinquish total control, they are more like partners or friends and get the kids to listen through logic while also getting the kids to do most of their work, all while lending a hand when necessary. These Moms follow a parenting style that is relaxed, based on negotiation and gently guide the child, flooding them with choices while also letting them know that the choices they make will have consequences they will have to live with. Playful, they do not take on the burden of their kids, knowing fully well where their lives end and the child’s life begins. Perhaps hard to do in the initial years, this style of parenting for one allows the parent, to have a life of their own. In a zest to give the child the best, parents end up sacrificing everything and look back at years of non-activity, something that a dolphin parent would never do. This Mom, is aware that as time goes by, the child grows and she grows too. Its a life of equality where there is no hierarchy and the child does not have to listen to Mom, just because she said so, the child can apply thought, the Dolphin Mom encourages thinking for oneself and makes it clear that help though will be offered, its up to the child to make use of it. No spoon feeding or no forcing. Such Moms are chilled, its more of a personality trait, playful and know when to leave the party!

And for the final type of Mom, the Monkey Mom! This Mom is literally the child. And the child is forced to grow up matronly and as the wiser one. The Monkey Mom wants to live like her child and does not see the child as one who needs help. They are a part of nature and they will grow she says as she dabbles with art, fun puzzles and plays on (literally) the monkey bars! Happy, eccentric and munching on smileys, mac and cheese, this Mom has not let the child in her leave. She’s full of fun and frolic, a trend that children would love in their Mom in the initial years or may even see how enthusiastic and lovely she really is. Such Moms enjoy the birthday parties, making friends with the children’s friends and generally have a very cheery attitude to life. The dishes will be done, things will move but for now lets focus on the fun they say. The kids in this parenting style never forget to laugh at the silliness in life, to never sweat the small stuff and let me add have a penchant for orange. (just kidding) But still Monkey Moms love monkeying around and the children will never know the boundary between childhood and adulthood. On the flipside though these kids may simply be embarrassed and turn into the worrywart since no one seems to be worrying for them!

There are more mommies in the animal kingdom and more ways to parent than written about here, but we can all agree that the very purpose of life is to enjoy it and as I sign off, its definitely a case of each to his own. But I would definitely like to say, in bold, caps, that, LET THEM MOMMIES BE!!!

Swan among Rats

The mornings are of wonder

A sweet mention they render

With chirpy birds on a branch

And squirrels tied in a ranch

When waketh a malely matron

Unfurling a bleakly spectron

Of chattering and battering teeth

And a rosy cheeky chewy tweed

While pottering and pattering

There is certain hammering

Shrinking every little pride

Into the oblivion far and wide

Nobody can question the sense

Or the uttering fluttering lens

Of how the two chicks vent

And get their way easily lent

The easy glide on pessimism

Can break the sprightly prism

Making a reality ever so grim

That one can go very crimson

There is no shred of kindness

In a mind of mighty snideness

With no love or wa

The hand on the neck choking

Every thought or not forsaken

One cannot absolutely breathe

There are disdainable frets

Of being a swan among rats

Hear me now!

 

The bells are chiming aloud

marking the journey abound

 

There are but a few twinkles

those worth many a wrinkle

 

Where laughs bring together

curves tumbler after tumbler

 

A hope is a prayer surrendered

to the mighty heavens rendered

 

Lots to come and lots afore

words are but slight vendors

 

Selling dreams if not relief

sharing tomes of stories brief

 

Breaking the sound of silence

with chatter without violence

 

The chirpiness of my voice

will leave you with no choice

 

But to embrace the peppiness

bespeckled with sheer happiness

 

So go on and hear the leaps

of silent poise and deep belief

 

The buoyancy of the matter

lies in never-ending chatter

 

Tune out the quiet wonder

for a witty whimsical launder

 

Hear now loud and hear again

for life is short to over begin

 

While you wait for warm appeal

toasting stars that you can see

 

and all the joy you can feel

For then, allow me to speak.

Humayun ka Makbara

Of all the tombs in the world, none is as poetic and grand as the Taj Mahal, the symbol of love, though tainted with a zillion stories in the books of history, never fails to impress. The Humayun’s tomb, another one such architectural spectacle is not so tainted as it is celebrated. Taj’s lesser known cousin, the Humayun’s tomb hosts several Mughal royalties, but as a piece of architecture it sure is unparalleled. An assembly of Turkish and Mughal architecture, the structure includes several delightful elements of Indian architecture, mostly Rajasthani elements of design.
Set on a platform, the structure is flanked by the traditional Mughal gardens with the Char Bagh and rises up to the bright blue sky with all the perfect tenets of scale and proportion. Unlike the traditional Islamic tombs, the mosque is conspicuous by its absence, instead, the complex includes the tomb of Humayun’s favorite barber apart from the family members.

While the jaalis are stunning the most beautiful part is the domed structure of the tomb. Its a poetic wonder, and gazing up to the white plastered dome, one cannot help but marvel at the sheer genius of the ancient craftsmen. The jharokhas and turrets atop the tomb adds many an Indian element while the pointed Islamic arches speak of its origins. Great architecture is classified by it’s ability to photograph beautifully, like they say, its gorgeous from every angle, in any kind of light! The Humayun’s tomb easily passes that criteria and shines as an example of great design in the country.

Woo-a-woman!

Woo-man is a superpower

Its a rare kind of a flower

That refuses to grow very far

For what if there is that tar

In close quarters it stays happy

If twisted turns a tad snappy

The moods are for the rich

Who could afford to twitch

Planted once it is seasonal

If antsy it could be treasonal

When planted again it blooms

Otherwise casts a nasty gloom

From mothers, sisters, friends

To beauxes deeply christened

A woman can be a strength

One that takes the length

In good health and happiness

Or simply a growing weakness

Its not so much for the men

But for its very own brethren

There is a exact specific tense

That is seen with a clear lense

Though it makes no sense

Is extremely intolerably intense

There is nothing more hard

More heartening, tough and sad

Than it is to woo a woman

Especially if you are not a man!

#internationalwomensday #sorrynotsorry #livefree #impressnowooman

A day in Kodai!

My quest to experience the hill stations of South India has been taking me on an expedition across the south over the past two years. Thanks to the Roads and Highways department of the Indian Government, all roads that connect to hill stations are simply said, in one word, motorable. And that’s how we a family of three, with another family of three got to the “queen of the Nilgiris”, Kodai, a short for Kodaikanal. Though closer and most often reached from Madurai we went the tour via Coimbatore. Roughly six odd hours later, crossing the temple town of Palani, we reached Kodai sighting welcoming clouds all through the ascent.

With a star-shaped lakee as the star-attraction of Kodai, the hill-station is a lot less noisy and a lot less crowded too, than Ooty, but its  just as beautiful or even more. It did brin back memories of Coorg to me. Probably the mistiness of the two, or the chill vibe the two have as such. However much the physical topography of the land was gorgeous to say the least with conical trees and bellowing clouds touching down, every now and then. With private boarding schools like the Kodaikanal International School right in the centre of the city, we could spot very many students all over the quaint cafes and restaurants. With their Louis Vuitton backpacks and Armani glasses none-the-less. Uber chic and uber cool. Karan Johar may not be off point with his Student of the Year franchises I’d say!

But the best part of Kodai is not so much the visual feast it provides, not even at Tamaraa, the gorgeous property with a stunning location, it is undoubtedly the food. Every cafe serves undoubtedly the best hot chocolate, cheese, ice-creams made fresh, the cows are definitely happy in this locale ;D With the Kodai brand hitting the stores across the country, we all get to take a little bit of Kodai back home. If not for the cheese, it’s the chocolate. Ooty chocolates have always been very popular, but Kodai chocolates are unmissable too. Our short stay at Xanadu in Kodai was homely and luxurious at the same time, with lovely food and great hospitality. Cycling around the lake has got to be the best part of Kodai, mostly engaging with the starry lake is the high-point of the hill-station. One of the most beautiful in Southern India. For Sure.

Shine bright like a diamond!

The atmosphere at Gachibowli is electric!

Koh-I-Noor literally translates to a mountain of light and it was the name given to a very large oval diamond mined at the Golkonda mines on the Deccan plateau of India weighing over 108.8 carats. The diamond was long looted by the British and sits in the Queens elegant crown but back in the roots of its origin, the famed hotel chain ITC has named its newest addition in Hyderabad, the ITC Kohenur alluding to the mountain of light. This one though not only is a mountain of light but it also offers spectacular views of modern Hyderabad, the city whose gems are now data, skills, panache and willingness to embrace the new and the mighty, an open mind. Pearls and diamonds don’t shine as bright as the newest locales of Hyderabad do. This city has always been a gem, holding precious jewels not just under the soil but also uncanny and precious characters over the soil. The Nizams for that matter, with their eclectic choices and even eccentric ventures. A trip down the memory lane of this city will definitely take your heart away.

Bidri work at ITC kohenur

The Kohenur celebrates this city through paraphernalia on the walls, the bidri work on the columns, bevelled and faceted mirror work on the ceiling and enthralling art at every turn. It is poetic and magnificent with a generous dash of sustainability but mostly a time of delight. The dazzling lobby for one features art inspired by local finds and also houses a singer rendering some interesting notes as life happens in the lobby. The hotel talks of responsible luxury, employing radiation harmonisers, supporting local crafts, alluding to cultural pride, but it also boasts of state of the art air conditioning, expensive materials, neatly finished interiors, global architects, foreign interior designers and that takes away a lot of merit it talks of. I ask again, like many Indian architects and interior designers do, as many Indians in the creative industry do, as many business leaders in the country do, why do we need someone non-Indian to help us interpret our culture or even worse help us celebrate our culture. The more laudable thing for ITC to do would have been to employ Indian designers, Indian architects, if they can’t find what they want then groom their own like their competitors do. Why can’t LEED include something on the lines of local designers and saving several carbon points by avoiding flying designers and teams from halfway across the world. For that itself and many other things I’d like to pull up LEED today. I believe they try to make things more sustainable by not turning into literal tree huggers but there has got to be a made-in-India element to this one, otherwise it’s completely defeating the purpose.

Let’s not upturn ourselves in this zest for the foreign!

Here’s a takeaway, know that we are diamonds, maybe rough and unpolished but diamonds nevertheless. Even if we prefer Yi Jing over Kebabs and Kurries or Ottimo over Dum Pukht, we are enjoying foreign finds But if we lauding to the merit of the local and celebrating Indianness may we just as well make sure a it’s Indian, literally. For interpretation and fallacy we have the Westins and the Novotels to work their charm. I’d expect better from a home grown luxury hotel chain, ITC for sure. And well maybe then they’d shine bright like a diamond.

Build India!

Lose it aka Let.it.go.

Today is World Suicide Prevention day and on this day I’d like to take a moment and talk about this gem of a Bollywood movie, Chichchorre.

Stay with me on this post and more so watch this movie till the epilogue song. For no matter what if you have had the great fortune of going to a National institute in this country and have survived its hostels, this is a movie for you to watch. Don’t mind the language and the spin-offs, not all hostels are the same, but do capture the essence of this movie and hold on to it for dear life.

We put so much pressure on ourselves and our lives in general, making sure nothing goes wrong and the minute something does go wrong we get to work trying to set things back on track. It’s like we take the wrong bus to miss our destiny only to find later that the wrong bus was very much that same destiny we were trying to avoid. There is so much power in letting go, in losing, especially and only if the best has been served. A corollary of the same is what the Bhagavad Gita prescribes, in Hindi, ‘Karm kar phal li chinta Mat kar’, translated as, ‘do your work and don’t worry about the results’. Even if you do agree with this statement, the movie drives home the point.

It’s fabulous on many accounts to know the difference between aspiring to be the best and losing with grace, celebrating both with equanimity. A dear Grandma of mine once told me to treat wins and losses with equal elan and indifference. Perhaps that is the only way to live in mildness marked by a positive mindset, to be of a middle path rather than an excited soul, or simply to choose excitement equanimously with no shade of sorrow. To be excited then consistently rather than being an oscillating soul. But mostly to not be plagued with worry or negative thoughts of any kind. Aloofness is also as debilitating a negative thought as any other. Charlie Munger has repeatedly told reporters the secret to living a long and happy life. “Stay cheerful”, he says, “and let go of negative thoughts”. Let go, being the key word. Do not let go of life, let go of the thoughts. Choose enriching ones. Ones that support, ones that live.

Am no newbie to suicide. My college was so harsh and I saw several cases where students were so badly criticised that there really seemed to be no hope. For a super high achiever failure is never an option and can be literally life threatening. No one should ever be driven to the extent of ending their own lives, but more so no one should should ever care about the opinions of anybody, including themselves, over a life, even if their own. No situation is so terrible that it cannot be improved. Life changes more than we can ever imagine, the only thing in our control is nothing. So we must know or cultivate the drive to buckle up and enjoy the ride. Lives matter, opinions don’t. Success is even more fleeting than failure. We will all fail at something or the other, we will all lose at something, something that will blow the wind out of us, something that we never saw coming and when we do instead of chiding and guilt tripping ourselves we must let go of the failure but hold on to dear life.

Take a trip to the mall,

take a trip to beat the toll,

take a trip to Vegas

or take a trip to the moon,

but never take a trip to where guilt is,

Cause you never know too soon!

Let life play it’s cards,

And hand out it’s awards,

For what you think is a lemon,

May just as well be a melon,

A subtle relay of lessons,

To chill relax and simply give in!

Go ahead, give it a listen 👩🏻‍🌾

https://g.co/kgs/VRwE9K

The thing about Play!

Being a mother is exhilarating and exhausting if we dont also add emotionally daunting to the mix already and then it becomes equally excruciating. Enough with the e’s already you say. Well its the sleep deprivation that causes alcohol inducing traits in most of us and then the tolerance levels of painful people hits an all time low. The seriousness of life, the responsibility of raising a child, the society building careers of childcare are then put forth to the naive mother from all and sundry. You cannot even shop for clothes without imagining in your head how cumbersome or not the dress would be while holding your little precious. The monsters make your life hell and then the mother starts questioning her own ability to function in her life let alone influence a little tucker. All the best laid plans are distraught with ill-informed aunts saying, oh she can do more or faraway relatives proclaiming how they built the taj mahal with an infant on their back. The seeming endless throes of judgement are so ridiculously sticky that one with the proverbial sensitive skin will dive promptly into a rather large can of gooey cookies and come out with all kinds of skin issues if not for the bulge. The acne, the inflammations then start a very vicious cycle involving all the brownies and the best bakeries in town. Phew what a mess. Poor woman I want to tell the poor me who laps up all the judgement and drowns myself in chocolate from the nether world. People are good or people are bad but mostly people are opinions, which absolutely shouldn’t matter be they good or bad. For I may not build the Taj Mahal much as I want, or I may not run a sprawling 10-acre house much as I need but I run my head and definitely the future of mine depending on how much of the blistering, boisterous advice I let seep into my skin. The political drama nevertheless.

So after being down in the dumps letting in all the judgemental frowns enter my airspace and headspace I made space stumbling quite randomly on this thing called play.

As I netted and replayed another harrowing conversation in my head I found my little pie pull at the ends of my dress. Finally at an age to be able to communicate through sigh and sign language he pulled me to his box of toys. And then we played. What a riot it was. Though I would constantly take him to play dates and swimming trips, looked up recipes and forayed into the kitchen, make healthy rules hoping they would instill healthy habits, create fun art time, buy lots of toys and clothes, learn and sing new rhymes every week I simply forgot to be me and play with no rhyme or reason. While I religiously clean and fed my munchkin I forgot about playing with him. And children are adept at this thing called play. So thrilled to have his Mommy around to play with him he was cackling away to glory. The laughs produced, the fun in running around pointless circles, the camaraderie generated was epic. If not for anything it reminded me of my school days frolicking about in the sun with my best friends. Afternoons spent hunting for treasures, painting, doing craft or evenings spent cycling around the neighbourhood with my brother for no rhyme or reason. Those were the extraordinary carefree days where doing nothing was not an option. We always did something and most of it led to nothing. In short we played. The opinions of others didn’t really matter. SO much so that parents-teachers meetings where the teachers complained that she talks too much didn’t get to my head. Or standing outside class for talking didn’t get to my heart. We still marched to our own drums even if the drums were frayed. Cause all in all we had this thing called play. As my brilliant son (am allowed to think so) did downward dogs, ate his toes, rolled on his tummy and played catch he drew me immediately into that beautiful thing called play. Something that I stopped doing as I was listening to the loudest instead of the soft voice of my conscience and the humble beating of my own heart. This isn’t a lifestyle post or a rant, it’s just me doing a facepalm and saying, ‘Oh thats all it takes to melt the innocuous world away!’ a little bit or more of Play!

Of course lego, sundials, abaci, music, paint, brushes, craft, ocarinas, drums, stuffed dolls, balls, paper, water, buckets, bats, bricks, mats, arrows, trucks, cars, buses, pencils, aeroplanes or companions in small scales help too!

p.s. though this could be for anyone this post is mainly for mothers who are so caught up in the rigmarole of childcare and lousy peoples opinions and barking instructions that they forget the basic premise of childhood – a thing called play!

translates from Hindi as – ‘to each his own preference, just, everyone should know how to be happy <hugs>