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Monday, March 30, 2015

Six years and counting !

It may seem that writing software codes for a living is the most mind-numbing thing a person could ever end up doing, as it does not involve creativity. Software codes are not so bad, I tell you. They are kind of high-maintenance and all that but people who do it are not dead inside. I am a living example of that because six years ago, when there was a recession globally in the IT sector, I was stuck idle for over six months in a reputed IT company without any projects in hand. That was when my blog was born.

Programmers get extremely creative when they are on ‘bench’ (not literally). They do interesting things like, err…start a blog! Meanwhile, numerous projects came, new stuff learnt, changed roles, changed employer and shifted to Oman,  moved on to another domain, however the blog remained true to its origins and never made an attempt to improve. I started with mundane blabbering and six years later...voila ! I am still doing that ! The highest point of my blogging journey was reached when I won Rs.10,000 in a Yahoo-Dove contest, back in 2011. Later many contests came and I chose not to participate because it was not my thing. I am still bad at writing when a topic is given to me, because my mind just refuses to focus. It wanders a lot when I write and my blog is evidence. One may not find any logical connection between paragraphs of a post. Well, that is who I am, not that I don’t like prizes that they announce for contests. ;-)

So in September I was interviewed by a friend who works at Deccan Chronicle and it appeared in the Kerala edition. I saved it for five months to show off on this day!

This month I wrote a little something about my son Aaron, and his love for corduroy pants (you can read it HERE), concluding the blog by mentioning Dulquer Salman, his idol. Well, the star himself read it and messaged me on Twitter! I am enjoying all the envy coming from Dulquer fans :D

So as I complete six years on Blogger, I fail to find enough words to thank my husband, parents, sister and cousins who are the pillars of this blog, for the unswerving encouragement they have extended to me over the years. All my friends and bloggers-turned-friends, who never fail to leave a comment, be it on Facebook or on the comments section – you guys are my rock. Everyone else who have kept visiting this space  - thank you , please visit is okay to not leave comments!

So as my blog turns 6, I just want to tell all my readers to just keep reading…who knows, one day I may actually improve my grammar!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Kindergarten admission is not a child's play.

Image Courtesy: Here
There is no right way to select students from a pool of application forms into a school which has limited seats. Every school has their own little algorithm they follow to ensure that quality students get selected. This algorithm can be biased, illogical or downright ridiculous but one cannot do anything about it. You don’t like it? Okay Bye.

My friends who are settled in different continents across the world gave me really interesting insights about admission processes they know about. Sadly for us in Muscat, the algorithm to selection of students to Indian Schools is a bigger secret than the secret ingredient in KFC chicken. All we could make out from this yearly unpromising ritual is that kids who have a sibling already enrolled in the school stand a better chance, which effectively means that we have gone back to the dreadful times from the Bible wherein first-borns are screwed big time. 
If my son came to know about this  he’d probably ask me ‘Amma why did I have to be born first? Why? Why?  WHY???!!’ and I will probably say ‘Excellent question’.

Some schools resort to customized skill tests and friendly interviews and rate children based on their performance in the same. This process starts a lot of stress and pressure on parents, because the chances are that the kid will refuse to disclose anything including his name at the interview. We all know kids do not give a damn about social norms. They also display extreme intolerance to interviews. They know all rules in the book to freak us out. Oh well we are all freaks anyway.

In some countries the authorities ask the parents to produce their payslip and tax returns with applications. Schools that are so concerned about the earnings of parents should also run a background check on them just to ensure that they are not smugglers or members of any underworld mafia gangs. After going through brochures of different schools and their fee structures, I am convinced that this is how normal hard working, straight forward individuals become business minded, tax evading people who usually end up above the law. I have also heard of schools that give preference to double incomes, so that hidden charges (without receipts) that crop up from nowhere can be met without too much fuss. Other schools do not consider kids whose mothers go to work, because some of the age inappropriate projects and assignments are meant for parents. Like we haven’t suffered enough already.

I am making my son continue in the same school where he went to nursery; however this school has classes up to KG-II only. The Indian Schools admission results (first draw) did not come in favor of him, so we are waiting for second draw results. This is not fun, I tell you.

The person who cares the least is none other than the primary applicant, my beloved son. He wants to go to a school which has a swing in the playground it seems. If only it could be that simple!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Corduroy trousers, tee shirts and other ultimatums.

There are few things my toddler can’t live without, one of which is his brown corduroy pants.  I remember buying it from a store at the mall on an impulse. My three year old instantly fell in love with the trousers and there was no looking back. Until then he never cared about his clothes but it was the corduroy that woke the sartorial devil in him. Stepping out of the house meant these very pants to Aaron. Other pants were worn when it went missing (I may have something to do with temporary disappearances), or if it was still wet from laundry.

 As I am a working Mom who loves to shop and hangout with him at every possible break, I took him everywhere since he was tiny.  I never had my parents or any relatives babysitting him, so I am used to going to trial rooms with him in a stroller, and as he grew older and started yelling ‘Mama shame shame puppy shame!’ I started trying clothes on top of the dress I wore. I involve him in my every shopping trip and seek his opinion about new stuff I pick up; he gives me honest (sometimes really brutal) remarks. Thank God, toddlers have a way of making everything sound cute. He always gave a close look at the dress or shoes and at me before voicing his professional advice and thus, he grew up being a little fashionista himself. As long as he is not tired or sleepy and if he is wearing his favorite pants, he is good company.

No compliment can be more genuine than the one that comes from a child, so he makes my day whenever he compliments me. In every crowd or TV show he identifies the shirts that look like those of his Daddy, or a bag that looks like mine. Wearing his father’s shoes when he is not around and looking at the mirror is only one of his favorite activities.

Like a lot of other little boys I know, Aaron is also a tee shirt lover. He does not like wearing shirts with collars and buttons. So today, I ironed his denim shirt and waited for the ruckus to begin. I paired it with his favorite corduroy strategically. However this did not go down well with the kiddo who understands strategies better than me. Usually hubby gets him dressed in the mornings, so as expected, arguments started between them over the shirt. Hubby gave up and left the scene. I tried to convince the predetermined toddler, but the water works had already started. Aaron walked across the room, wore a wrinkled red tee on his own and sat on the sofa happily, with his school bag, trying his best to ignore me as I walked past him. I made generic statements on how denim is cool but no favorable reaction was seen.

I refused to back down. After all, I ironed the denim shirt and I did not want my efforts go wasted. I lured him back to the bedroom and told him a little secret. What followed was a smooth and happy change in clothes, and his father was shocked to see him in front of the mirror checking out the denim shirt and looking happier than ever.

Dulquer Salmaan, my son's
favorite actor.
Image Courtesy: Here

Hubby asked me, ‘Oh My God what happened here?’

‘I told him that Dulquer has a denim shirt too and that he looks exactly like Dulquer when he wears it’.

Thus potential rampage was effectively evaded, and our week began on a happy note, thanks to Dulquer.

On a different yet very valid note, I wish all my readers a Happy Women’s day. I don’t want to brag or anything, but only a mother can get something like this done without declaring war or offering bribes! Cheers to all women!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Between the lines!

I got the Oman driving license in November which was already announced from the rooftops, I can almost hear it still echoing from the mountains. My trainer bid me goodbye, his role handed down to the guy who had been trying to speak louder than me since 2008– my husband ;-) 

I must admit I miss my trainer.

Trainers in car driving are the ones whose jobs, by any means is no less hazardous than that of a suicide bomber. They have to focus, be patient, behave, teach and stay alive at the same time, not necessarily in that order. To achieve the staying alive part, one may forego at least one of the expected skill set – patience. My trainer’s voice and the subsequent reverberations can actually cause an accelerator to push on its own. However every time I had to be blamed. How mean is that?

Car training sessions are also the times one is expected to cry internally. The guy terrorized me to such an extent, that even tears were scared and shut themselves in. I held on to the steering wheel like one would hold on to a piece of slab just before falling off a 17 floor building. The suspense thriller may make one sit at the edge of the seat, but if I did that, there would have been more reverberations which could have resulted in opening a dam of tears.

My trainer taught me during the office lunch break, which was coincidentally his lunch break too. I’d have my lunch only after the session, which meant that I’d be dying from starvation during the session. However, my trainer prefers on-the-go lunches and juice. Which is chicken shewerma wraps with mayonnaise and salad. Drooling was not allowed. This means I had to stop two types of fluids from erupting 1.Tears 2.Saliva. I should also be alert and set my eyes on the road and play the traffic signs book and roundabout rules in the background. There are no prizes for guessing who gets paid at the end of this session.   

Image Courtesy: Here

However when the vacancy of a trainer was occupied by the husband, I did not expect that things could turn around for worse. This time I dint have to worry about stopping tears. It has been my strongest weapon since 1932. Now I have to keep my eyes on the road, focus, reach the destination alive AND talk back. I mean how is this expected from me? A little chat with my friends revealed the shocking fact that all husbands go crazy when women drive. I fail to understand this overreaction, because we do not get paranoid if they don’t move even a single muscle when yelled at or even if something is thrown at them when there is cricket on the TV. The situation is in control because I stopped listening a long time ago. I can feel the drama inside the car but can’t take it serious enough. This is a guy who cannot notice a change in hairdo or a dashing new dress but can pass a comment about the strand of eyebrow hair on the carpet.

The real challenge while driving in Oman is the basement parking in our building. Parking here is like taking a driving test every single day of my life, because 1. Basement is really dark and creepy 2. The lines between which we are expected to park = total width of the car.3. After lines there are pillars to ensure that we pay for our mistakes. Guess what, the husband makes me reverse park there. This is exactly like going to the labor room and telling the doctor that this procedure is not painful enough, I want to do it in a way I can actually feel it. The silver lining is that there is a reverse sensor, which has kept me sane since the whole ordeal started. I cannot even begin to think of the times people drove without reverse sensors. How is one supposed to see what is behind the car, when managing whatever is in front of the car itself is so hard?

It has been three months, the pillars are fine, and the car has survived some scratches. The building maintenance guys maintain that it is not ‘dark’ it is called ‘ambience’.  The scratches stand testimony to the days I reverse parked in this snake and ladder maze.

And in life, you cannot escape the lines. You will end up reading or parking between them.

Spread the word!