Digging Deeper

I wasn’t back to a blogging hiatus after writing this post. Instead, all this while, I was busy digging deeper with my bare hands, trying to unearth the facts, the truth, the reasons that had led me to land in a situation like this.

I won’t pretend and state that all has been going well with me. Let’s reserve all the goody talk for other places and get down to the real deal here.

I have been in a mess for a very long time, at least I feel so. I shared a glimpse with you here, but that is definitely not the whole picture. The whole picture isn’t very clear to myself either, but I am frantically trying to rub the steam of confusion off. After the many very helpful, reassuring comments on my last post, I sat back to think what had been the real cause of the unrest in my life.

” I used to spend so much time reacting and responding to everyone else that my life had no direction. Other people’s lives, problems, wants, set the course of my life. Once I realized it was okay for me, to think about and identify what I wanted, remarkable things began to happen in my life.” ~ Sye Wells

On one such occasion, I chanced upon reading the above lines and things began to change for good. What has been the real cause of unrest, isn’t actually Pari, but my own attitude. I have nurtured this habit of giving too much importance to everyone in my life, but myself. This has on countless occasions lead me to lose much more than my peace of mind but I have yet not learnt my lesson well.

In the three decades of my existence *gosh, did your jaw just drop?* I have done very few things for my own happiness. In retrospect, I can see even those handful of things were dictated by the wishes and liking of my forever controlling-my-life, parents. It is amazing that they never had to force me to do so, because my mind is programmed to let it happen as a ‘default’ function.

I have spent many days reflecting, digging deep to know when it actually started. I wished to reach the roots of the menace that is now standing tall like a beanstalk, threatening to steal the joys of my little princess. I might have let many wrongs happen with me, but ever since Pari walked in my life, I have gradually learnt to draw the line. I have learnt to say ‘NO’ and mean it.

Dawn of realization, that it is my habit of letting people dictate what I ought to be doing, thinking and how should I be reacting in every situation has been the real cause of my agony. These non-stop, unwanted, unasked for advises have been conflicting with the very loud and clear voice of my conscience, creating imaginary arguments in my mind. The noise of which has been driving me crazy over the years I have returned to live with my parents.

Sometimes you don’t realize, you are actually drowning when you’re trying to be everyone’s anchor.

But, enough is enough. I had to put my foot down for my own sake. For the good of my well-being and my sanity. The very fundamental rule of life is, till I am not happy as an individual, I can never ever be a sane, sensible, responsible parent to a child. It was this realization that had me take up the herculean task of breaking the (bad) habits of the other residents in my home to shove unwanted advises down my throat and worse still, making sure I acted on them.

From how should I treat Pari to what should I buy for her to how should I bring her up to how menial my earnings are. The blabber has been endless. I am well aware, changing people in their old age is impossible. But, making them see, what behavior is acceptable and what is not, is my responsibility. Even if it means waging a war at a mental level, I am up for it.

There is no force equal to a determined woman.

It was a given that I had been preparing to plunge in fire where the road to reclamation of my very being and my voice lay miles from the start point. But, I had to do it, if I wanted to lead the rest of my life on my own terms.

The resistance I initially faced, was purely directed to break me emotionally. There were days at length when my parents wouldn’t speak to me despite living in the same house and even eating all meals together. Then came the most dreaded phase of confrontation. It was when my parents with my daughter in their lap chose to confront me and hammer in my head the feeling that I was ‘no good’.

I was told in plain, clear words that I was nothing but a dependent woman with a child whose only responsibilities were to look after the child, take care of the house and ensure its smooth running.

As raw or blunt it may sound on this blog, trust me when I say, it felt like someone had poured molten metal in my ears. I was scalded. So was my soul. I bled and wept for days at length. Food was no longer a necessity for my existence and I had no memory of the times when I ate any meal properly for months at length. No one, yes, no one seemed to care either. But as the anger cooled down, the molten metal inside me, cooled to replace my frayed nerves and broken spine with those of steel.

It was a point of no return. After having endured so much pain, I was no way going to return being the docile, obedient weakling. Not anymore.

All this while, I had been resisting to declare an open war, but my parents had made it easier for me by starting it. Now that the tough part was done, all I was to do, was as my conscience dictated. Life isn’t a movie where at the end of three hours we come to know where our decisions would take us. Nevertheless, in due course of time, life hints us in many ways, if what we are doing is the right thing or not.

Cutting the long story short. In the past many months, I have continued to sustain on my earnings, bearing all expenses of my and Pari’s needs myself (like always), have successfully adopted a healthy lifestyle, learnt to love myself, sleep much better than I have in the past decade, have seen Pari obey my instructions better than ever before and most importantly, feel peace fill up my life, slowly but surely.

I am far from done in uprooting the many weeds I have let bloom in the garden of my life, but the results thus far have been very encouraging. As I continue to dig deeper in my heart, I am amazed to see myself reaching unseen heights at a steady pace.

The song on my mind: Ye kya jagah hai doston ~ Umrao Jaan

After The Crash

  • Title –  After The CrashAfter the crash
  • Author – Michel Bussi
  • Publisher – Hachette India
  • Genre – Fiction
  • Pages – 386
  • Price – INR 399
  • ISBN – 978-1-4746-0204-4

Synopsis – On the night of 22 December 1980, a plane crashes on the Franco-Swiss border and is engulfed in flames. 168 out of 169 passengers are killed instantly. The miraculous sole survivor is a three-month-old baby girl. Two families, one rich, the other poor, step forward to claim her, sparking an investigation that will last for almost two decades. Is she Lyse-Rose or Emilie?

Eighteen years later, having failed to discover the truth, private detective Credule Grand-Duc plans to take his own life, but not before placing an account of his investigation in the girl’s hands. But, as he sits at his desk about to pull the trigger, he uncovers a secret that changes everything – then is killed before he can breathe a word of it to anyone.

Review – The book has an intriguing cover that captures the essence of the plot with precision and beauty. One would appreciate the beauty of the cover once you delve in the realms of this crime thriller. The dragonfly on the cover, stained in ink and blood hints at the private detective’s journal that forms the spine of the plot revolving around finding the bloodline of the protagonist, Lylie.

The title of the book is simple yet perfectly suiting the premise of the book.

I am a huge fan of thriller books. The minute I read the synopsis of the book, I knew I had to pick it up because the plot wasn’t looking for a missing person; instead the identity of a young girl was unknown for 18 long years. The recommendation by The Sunday Times on the cover of the book gave me the final push and to say the least, I am glad I picked this book.

The book has been originally written in French and translated in English by Sam Taylor. One cannot miss the comparison made by The Sunday Times to works by Steig Larson. This was perhaps they share the genre of the plot, however, I personally felt Larson’s works come across as more profound (in making an impact on the reader) than this book.

However, this book is an absolute delight for anyone who loves reading crime thrillers because it’s lucid narration, rich vocabulary and fast pace keeps the reader rushing back and forth attempting to connect the dots and seek a solution to the ever-magnifying mystery. The beauty of the plot lies in the sensitive, close to reality description of the characters in the plot, where enough room has been given for each of them to grow, except Lylie.

” Even as the global economy expands, families still feel the same, age-old desire to be reunited around a Christmas tree, or a birthday cake, or a bride and groom, or a coffin.”

I felt the author holds back from talking at depth about the protagonist around whom the whole book revolves, perhaps to resist the readers from guessing the solution to the mystery. I wish to congratulate the author on successful portrayal of the character of Malvina, her pain and suffering in the years of her growing up. It not only comes across as sensitive and poignant but also moves the reader, evoking emotions of sympathy for the young girl. You’d feel similar emotions stir in your heart for Nicole.

“It is true, fate is like a playground bully, always picking on the weakest, but still… there are limits.”

As a parent, I couldn’t help wonder on many occasions, how would I have reacted or acted to protect my child had I been in the shoes of the Carville or the Vitral family. The plot is captivating and intriguing with hardly a pause in the action, thickening with every page you read.

Besides, holding back from sharing life from Lylie’s point of view the one thing that I believe could be changed would be the abrupt way the book finds answers to all its questions. After slowly building up the plot, the answers seemed to pour in fast and quick. Given the length of the story, I am sure extra 30 pages wouldn’t have hurt given the fact, the book is unputdownable right from page one to the last line.

I highly recommend this book to everyone who enjoys reading thrillers that keeps the reader on their tenterhooks, leaving you craving for more even after the mystery has been solved.

About the Author – Michel Bussi has won fifteen literary awards, making him one of the France’s most prestigious crime authors. When not writing fiction, he is a professor of Geography at the University of Rouen and a political commentator.

After the Crash is to be translated into twenty-six languages around the world and is his first book to be published in the UK.

Rating – 4.5/5

The Curse Of Surya

  • Title – The Curse Of SuryaThe Curse of Surya
  • Author – Dev Prasad
  • Publisher – Random House India
  • Genre – Fiction
  • Pages – 302
  • Price – INR 299
  • ISBN – 978-81-8400-622-3

Synopsis – Sangeeta Rao, a beautiful, feisty reporter at Channel 7 TV in Singapore, rushes to Agra on a special assignment after an early morning phone call. At the Taj Mahal, she meets Alan Davies, a charming Welshman. But a terrorist attack on Mathura’s renowned Krishna temple turns them into fugitives from justice and the duo must decipher a series of complex cryptographs and unearth the illustrious Shyamantaka that belonged to Surya, the Sun God, to prove their innocence.

Joined in their quest by an elderly Frenchman, Anton Blanchard, the duo race against time in helicopters, motor boats and yachts. In hot pursuit are the brilliant and daring SP Nisha Sharma and the most ruthless terrorist organizations. Before she realizes it, Sangeeta is trapped in a world of betrayal, deceit and horror. Fast-paced and gripping, The Curse of Surya will keep you hooked and on the edge of your seat while you unravel one of the biggest mysteries in 5000 years.

Review – The book has an interesting cover that captures the essence of the plot well. The color scheme used, cleverly hints at the precious Shyamantaka to be the centre of the plot lying midst the land where once Lord Krishna lived, well-depicted in blue (correlating with Shri Krishna’s Shyam Varna). The title hints towards the origin of the Shyamantaka that comes to fore right at the start of the book.

The story starts off with various protagonists coming to India from Singapore, UK and the US for a business trip that eventually turns into a treasure hunt filled with deceit, discovery and horror. The plot is a fast paced thriller with all the events mentioned happening in a short span of two days. The book keeps the reader on tenterhooks while enlightening the reader about the Indian mythology and architecture built during the period of Lord Krishna.

I wish to congratulate the author in being successful at blending fiction with mythology while limiting the number of characters in the plot for better impact. The book is divided into short 75 chapters that begin with the time & location of the events in the plot. However, I fail to accept the many coincidences used to keep the story going. The Shyamantaka on one hand has been talked about as the most searched, precious and full of magical powers gem stone and on the other finding clues leading to it, has been shown to be a piece of cake for someone who had not been seeking it till now.

Secondly, the ease with which Sangeeta and Davies decode the puzzles comes at an unacceptable pace. A precious jewel that no one had been able to find in the past 5000 years, is unearthed in under 48 hours. In my humble opinion, it is too big a call to be acceptable even in a fiction novel. I wish to give due credit to the author for the commendable research done with a good insight into Hindu mythology and  Indian history to correlate incidents/ folklore from Lord Krishna’s life.

Being a regular reader of the ‘thriller’ genre and having read the books by Dan Brown, Ashwin Sanghi (his Krishna Key in particular that revolves around a similar subject) and Ravi Subramanian, this plot becomes a bit difficult to swallow to my logical mind. The way the mobile network and the GPS systems have been shown to function well in the dungeon inside a well or in high seas comes across as improper and forced.

The book had been unputdownable for me but the poorly plotted climax comes across as a hasty attempt to wrap it all in a happy ending. Though I have a number of questions to pose to the author, I am holding back to avoid any spoilers. However I’d like to cite a simple example. Someone dying within minutes of being injured by a bullet in the leg was too much for my scientific mind to swallow after seeing someone survive, after being caught in the middle of the sea in a Tsunami.

The book has a simple language, revolves around an interesting premise but suffers majorly on the editing front.

I’d like to recommend this book to someone who is looking for a thriller that makes for a breezy read without indulging in too much logic. It would surely make for an interesting travel companion.

About the Author – Dev Prasad is a senior IT professional currently working in Bangalore. He has held senior management positions at various European and American multinational corporations.

He has written, Krishna: A journey through the Lands and Legends of Krishna and Pitch It! (that won the prestigious ISTD Book Award in 201) before this book.

Rating – 2.5/5

Awkwardness -2

Please read my earlier post, Awkwardness, to understand what has been going on so far.

As time ticked past, the ice between Pari, her bus friends and Nina slowly started melting. They started having fun during their ride to and from school. Though Nina’s father still wasn’t friendly with us, but since the kids had shifted gears to becoming friends, I was happy with the way things had been shaping up.

Though Nina has been quite reserved and shy, but I have seen Pari looking forward to meeting Nina in the bus. This is because Nina never gets down from her car till the school bus arrives, much to Pari’s dislike. While I was happy that the two girls had become friends, my new-found joy found another roadblock in no time.

In the school Pari attends, snacks and lunch are served in school. Children are not expected to carry lunch boxes. But my little fussy eater darling, who doesn’t like eating sweets, is often left hungry because snacks many times have muffins, cakes, porridge and the like. After having a word with Pari’s teacher, I soon started sending a fruit box to serve as a healthy snack.

But the other kids in Pari’s school carry loads of chocolates (read as,more than 3-4 big bars of Dairy Milk/ Mars/ Snickers etc.) in their bags normally. Not only chocolates but Kurkure, Crax, Lays and the like to be eaten during bus travel. Since the school is pretty strict about the children being served healthy food, all the junk is forbidden from being eaten in school.

So the party ensues in the school bus. Unfortunately, Pari’s gastro-intestinal system doesn’t quite like these snacks and gets upset. It wasn’t much of a worry till Nina got friends with Pari because Pari’s other buddies, bring fruits or home-cooked snacks. But, Nina’s bag is always overflowing with potato chips, chocolates and the like. In no time Pari started having a sick tummy. Despite my efforts at reasoning with Pari, the episode has repeated thrice in the past few months.

I have no control over this situation because I just can’t stop another child from eating what he or she likes. I can only try to make things clearer for my child who, at 4 years of age, succumbs to temptation seeing other kids eat packaged snacks and ends up falling sick. It is not that Pari is intolerant to any or all of these snacks, but over-indulgence in them gets too much for her system.

While I was still wondering how to end this chaos, something new came up.

One fine day, while waiting for Pari’s bus in the afternoon I saw two boys (aged around 26 to 32 years) riding a brand new Royal Enfield. One look at them, who were smoking at a nearby shop, I didn’t like the way they were passing remarks at the school girls heading back home. Though I was highly uncomfortable watching what these two men were up to, I kept quiet.

A few moments later, Nina’s father arrived with Nina’s elder brother (who is around 9 years of age). Watching them arrive, I looked at Nina’s father who was standing quite far from me to see how he’d react to the two boys passing remarks. He didn’t looked bothered a bit.

Hardly a minute passed and two very pretty school girls (whom I believe are in class XI or XII, because I have often heard them discuss the Chemistry lectures on their way and by the sound of it they look like they are students of senior secondary classes) passed the two boys smoking on the Royal Enfield.

The next moment the boys kick started their bike and were now trying to talk to the two girls. The two girls didn’t look panic struck but in my head, I was. I know, I over-react on more occasions than needed, but I could feel restlessness build up inside me.

Neither the girls changed pace, nor did the boys who were now circling the girls, every few seconds, bother about the onlookers. The two girls looked like they were enjoying the extra attention but the bits and pieces of their conversation that the blowing breeze trickled in my ears, hinted, this was not how acquaintances or friends or even boyfriend or girlfriend talk.

The boys weren’t scared of the many vehicles passing by (because there is a big school near the bus stop) or of the stares they garnered. After five long minutes, the two boys chose to let the girls go their way and turned their bike towards the shop (where they were seated earlier). My crazy, restless mind was about to heave a sigh of relief just when the bike stopped right where Nina’s father and brother stood. The two men got down and hugged Nina’s father. My eyes were now glued to the corner of my eye watching what followed.

The next instant, my jaw almost dropped to the road when Nina’s father along with the two rogues (ok, I choose to label them so) passed a lewd remark about the two school girls before a mad guffaw. I have to admit, eavesdropping is not good, but what I saw and heard that day has left me disturbed. Very disturbed.

I was aghast, how could a parent behave so irresponsibly in the presence of his 9 year old son. What kind of a message did he just pass on to his boy, that it was fun to eve-tease? I don’t know, I might be taking this way too far. But, I tend to judge people around me, especially who can impact my child directly or indirectly.

This was not the only time I have seen Nina’s father being friends with people I’d avoid like plague. He seems to be friends with a lot of people whom I’d not think too long before labeling as rogues (cause of their actions, despite coming across as pretty rich given the clothes, mobiles or the cars or bikes they own).

I am amazed, how this series is going beyond one episode and the title I initially gave, fitting well into the happenings thus far. I sincerely hope, I don’t need to scribble another post in this series. Fingers Crossed.

The song on my mind: Khambe Jaisi Khadi Hai ~ Dil 

When 4G saved my grace and smiles

Last month, when I was busy preparing to attend my cousin sister’s wedding, I had taken due care to plan my assignments in a way to not interrupt with the preparations.

Unfortunately, a day before we left for the wedding, I got a call from a client requesting me to submit a few assignments, due after ten days, in a day’s time. Panic struck, I at first thought of refusing to oblige right away. But on contemplation, I decided to go ahead with burning the midnight oil and making submissions despite the scheduled travel.

With an upset mind and a heavy heart, I managed to have the assignments 80% done before I dozed off to sleep. The following morning when I woke up, I had time enough to do the final packing with no possibility of finishing the assignment. My parents convinced me that since we were going to be staying at my Uncle’s home, I could finish the assignments and submit from there.

In the back of my mind, I was skeptical about this whole setup. But, I had no option of cancelling my trip or to step out from this assignment, in which I’d already invested 5 months of hard labor.

We landed at my Uncle’s home. After initial pleasantries, catching up with the extended family and putting Pari to bed, I raced to finish the pending tasks. Time was ticking fast and my 3G connection wasn’t helping me one bit. In my mind, I was cursing the moment, when out of sheer over-confidence I’d agreed to make a submission way ahead of the deadline.

All the modern technology just makes people try to do everything at once. ~ Bill Watterson

I could feel my fingers go numb as I frantically typed on my laptop. Every webpage seemed to take forever. Looking back, I can attribute it to the mix of my anxiety, fatigue, my excitement for the wedding and my effort to cram up too much work in a few hours that had got me stuck in a fix.

I was sweating profusely despite the AC running at 24 degrees, just when I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder. It was my cousin brother Aditya. Without a word, he offered me a glass of water. Tears rolled down my eyes but words failed.

Aditya gave me a moment before asking, “Would a faster Internet connection help bring a smile back to my sister’s face?”

Without a thought, I blurted, “But I am already using 3G”.

To this Aditya said, “I’ve got 4G that works at lightning speed”.

I was too stressed to be relieved by his words, but when he asked me to sit back and tell him all that was needed to be done, my eyes slowly widened in disbelief.

Picture10

Aditya connected my laptop to their home’s Airtl 4G Home wi-fi network. Not only were the web-pages loading faster than my imagination but attaching files, downloading videos, browsing and even uploading pictures and documents seemed to occur in the blink of an eye.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is equivalent to magic. ~ Arthur C. Clarke

That night, I not only managed to make submissions on time, but also found time to catch up with my cousin after a gap of five long years, all thanks to Airtel 4G. I can’t thank Airtel enough for introducing the ‘Fastest Internet Ever’ and can’t wait to get it for my mobile and home too.

P.S. –  Are you ready to take up the Airtel 4G Challenge? Watch the video to know more.

There’s Something About You

  • Title – There’s Something About You There's Something About You
  • Author – Yashodhara Lal
  • Publisher – HarperCollins Publishers
  • Genre – Fiction
  • Pages – 255
  • Price – INR 175
  • ISBN – 978-93-5177-199-9

Synopsis – This is not your typical boy-meets-girl story. Okay, they do meet, but there are some complications.

Trish is twenty-eight. She’s unemployed, overweight, single and snarky. She knows all that. And if one more person – just one more person – tries to fix her, she might explode. Sahil is thirty-five. He has superpowers. Well, kind of. He seems to think so, anyway. He’s also hot (okay, in a geeky kind of way, but still). And he plays the guitar, helps the underprivileged and talks about his feelings. Aren’t guys like that supposed to exist only in fantasies?

When Trish and Sahil meet, magic happens. Real magic, you know, like fireworks, electricity, that sort of thing. But here’s the problem. Trish doesn’t want anyone in her life. She has enough to deal with – dependent parents, flaky neighbors, bitchy editors, the works. And yet, Sahil is determined to be in her life.

Review – The book has an interesting cover with a girl and a boy overlooking the sea. The way the sea holds the story together and introduces the reader to the characters in the book is pretty accurately presented by the cover. I quite like the portrayal of the boy standing casually in the background where the protagonist (Trish) doesn’t really see him though he is around. The title captures the essence of the plot well. The fuchsia ink used for the title echoes the fact that the book is a Chic-lit.

The book revolves around the life, struggles and the battle of the protagonist, Trish (Trishna) with life, obesity, people at her workplace, Alzheimer’s disease and even death. The beauty of the plot lies in the true to life portrayal of Trish who is an ordinary girl with many imperfections, facing them all extraordinarily with her grit and sarcasm in a commendable way.

There is not a single dull moment in the book despite the fact the initial one-third of the plot pictures the mundane life Trish leads. She goes about facing hardships with pride. Her most striking quality, that comes across even as she plays agony aunt, is having her heart at the right place.

I wish to congratulate Yashodhara Lal on bringing forth the protagonist as an exemplary character who inspires even through failures and frustrations emerging as a clever, quick-witted lass who knows what she’s doing.

“There’s so much you know that you just don’t know you know.”

The book has a rich language, lucid narration and humor interlaced with sarcasm in just the right proportions. I loved the way, towards the end of the book the author has gently added that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit to acknowledge the fact, sarcasm can’t be used in every life situation.

While the author has taken care to limit the number of characters in the book, I felt Trish’s persona overshadowed the others. Sahil’s character failed to evolve to its full potential. While he is shown to bear the maturity of a 35-year-old, he fails to demonstrate the same in his brief interactions with Trish’s family. I also felt that Sahil’s powers weren’t given enough room to help in the final third of the book (I am avoiding sharing spoilers by limiting myself to not quote any examples from the climax). Having said that, I wish to congratulate the author on a sensitive portrayal of the many characters in shades of grey.

The book is in no way a romantic read as the title and the cover of the book seem to suggest. Though the protagonist has a love interest but the rushed way the book culminates to its end, left me feeling longing for a more detailed climax. The elaborate descriptions in the start of the book had set a benchmark which the climax fails to rise upto. While the author deserves due credit for spinning an interesting suspense and a thriller feel in the final third of the book, resolving it all by simple divine intervention somehow made it rushed and lackluster for me.

“Guilt and loss. Loss and guilt. Why did that combination feel so familiar”

The book successfully highlights many grave issues our society is succumbing under, trying to highlight the need for change in the thinking process. Trish’s sarcastic replies as Amy work wonders in that role. However, the book fails to make an impact by not suggesting any concrete solutions to any of the problems. The plot is intriguing in the start but falls flat towards the end, lacking fresh ideas. Sahil’s powers reminded me (faintly) of Edward in the Twilight series.

Overall, the book makes for a breezy read that’s unputdownable. I recommend this book for people who enjoy a light, breezy read, are fond of Chic-Lit and are looking for an impeccable narrative seasoned well with sarcasm.

About the Author – Yashodhara Lal’s USP is in taking the ordinary and making it hilarious. She graduated from IIM-Bangalore in 2002 and has over 12 years of experience in the Marketing Domain across two large corporations in FMCG and media.

She lives in Gurgaon with her husband Vijay, and the three small children. This is her third book after ‘Just Married, Please Excuse’ and ‘Sorting Out Sid’.

Rating – 3/5

Turbulence

There is one topic I have been avoiding to write about since over two years. I have been mentioning about it in many posts, mentally drafted the post almost 500 times but somehow never have been able to publish it on the blog.

This hesitance has resulted in a long series of articles ending up as drafts (either on my blog or in my mind) because this base issue hasn’t been talked about. But, things are about to change for good. I am finally, ready to write about everything I have been holding back.

The topic in question is Stubbornness. The roots of this problem are long, strong and deep enough to make me lose my sleep, my peace of mind and lately sanity in alarming proportions.

Enough beating around the bush. Let’s come straight to the point. As a single parent, right from the day of Pari’s birth (that was coincidentally the turning point in my life when I had learnt that from that day on, I will be the sole responsible soul for my child’s upbringing) while I knew the life of being a single parent is going to be tough. But, never in my wildest dreams had I imagined such obstacles in my path.

Though there are a number of challenges that I face being a single parent, but for the sake of clarity, I am going to focus only on the emotional and psychological aspects of the issues I have been facing.

To begin with, it is an exhaustive drill. I have no choice but to play the parent 24x7x365. There are no vacations or weekly offs of being a parent which has slowly but surely been taking a toll on my existence. Though I have a number of people in my life who are often seen as possible care-takers for my child, but somehow, I have never been able to enjoy the luxury of having time off because either Pari refuses to stay away from me or the people I trusted, gave me enough reasons to not leave my child with them for longer than an hour at most.

I am avoiding from indulging in the blame game because that would only add to the bitterness and will yield no good. This is exactly where Pari’s stubbornness comes into picture.

To begin with, Pari’s favorite word is “Nahin” or ‘No’. She uses it as a shield and a sword at the same time. My every question has to swim across like a paper boat in a sea of ‘No(s)’ for everything. I am often pushed to battle it out with Pari to have things as small as her home-work done.

I clearly remember writing this letter to Pari where I tried to explain to her the importance of saying ‘No’ and meaning it. But, before could grow up enough to read that letter, life seems to have chosen to fight back my words. The ingrained stubbornness in her is a gift from both her parents. Her father and her maternal grandmother (my mom) are epitomes of stubbornness and their refined quality has expressed as a dominant trait in Pari right from birth.

Pari’s stubbornness is so disturbing that if she makes up her mind for something, nothing in the world can make her change it. No amount of explaining, cajoling, bribing, scolding, shouting (yes, I am guilty of that) or even pampering works. The result being, more often than not, Pari makes wrong choices and ends up in trouble.

Pari’s stubbornness has caused her to fall seriously ill on a number of occasions, but still she has shown no inclination in trying to pay heed to what I (or her grandparents) keep trying to explain to her in various forms and stories. No form of disciplining has worked on her till date. Even at school, I have been told by her teachers that Pari chooses to do what she wishes to. Though she is a disciplined child who obeys what her teachers and the staff at school instructs her to, but when it comes to doing work on her own, she has a mind of her own.

Let’s take a simple incident into consideration for better understanding. Three days ago, during a class activity, when Pari performed well, her teacher gave her a chocolate as a reward. While all the other students happily took the chocolate, Pari said thank you and returned it back to her teacher. Later I learnt, that the sweet given wasn’t the one Pari likes, so she chose to give it back to her teacher. Though Pari had told me about it, but when I had the opportunity to speak to her teacher, I noticed that she hadn’t taken this incident too well.

On days Pari is in no mood to study, she refuses to budge even when her teacher in school tries to make her write or recite. What her teachers find surprising is the fact that on being asked, she says it up front that she is in no mood to study.

Blame it on my being an old school parent, but I believe, inculcating discipline in life and an understanding of what is important in life should begin right from young age. My 4 year old is, in my opinion old enough to be talked to and be explained that study is as important as play and so is food. But, things are only getting difficult by the minute.

To be very honest, I am many times left dumbfounded with her logic and the way her stubbornness encourages her to take risks and end up in trouble. Being denied for a particular thing often triggers her to retaliate with all her might. She throws a fit of anger, cries and at times screams to have things done her way. I cannot blame it all on Pari alone.

In my tryst to balance discipline with being indulgent my parents have played a key role in spoiling Pari to bits. Whatever I tell Pari that she can’t have (because of any broken promise or tasks undone or any other reason) is given by my parents to her. So Pari seems to have found an easy way out of having things done her way. (I’ll perhaps do a more detailed post on this issue because it is a multi-faceted problem.)

This has led to a war like situation in my life. On one front I am seen fighting with my parents, trying hard to make them see sense in my subtle refusals to Pari’s endless demands while on the other, I am caught up being the BAD mom who seemingly disapproves of everything Pari has to say.

While I try my best to discipline Pari, my attempts often fall on deaf ears. I spend all of my day either with her when she is at home or preparing to make thing work well, while she is at school. The stress that this madness has been pumping in my mind is slowly building up enough pressure to keep me agitated and disturbed on more occasions than I would like.

Having said that, I am nowhere close to giving up. Not because I am a warrior at heart but because I really don’t have that option. Being a single parent, my child is my 100% responsibility and I can in no way see her walk down a path of self-destruction. I am aware I sound crazy at times, but occasions when Pari has fallen very sick as an outcome of her stubbornness or my parents giving into her wishes defying logic, I seem to have totally lost it.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of the many rants that I can promise are going follow on this blog. So please be prepared for the same.

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Song on my mind: Pyar humey kis mod pe le aaya ~ Satte Pe Satta