Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder-2

The other OCD the Husband has , is his obsession with names beginning with "D" for our to-be child.
After we were married and some of our friends were expecting children.. a common party conversation would be "what should we name the kid?" Every set of to-be parents wanted suggestions.. and these parties would resemble that famous Standard Chartered Manhattan "Dinkoo" ad...hilarious and lots of fun...
But for us the naming game wouldn't end at the party . The Husband had bought Maneka Gandhis "Book of Hindu Names " and would spend hours browsing through it. So after each such party we would sit down and look for "nice" names... the ones in the book are horrible by the ways.
However, this' looking for names' exercise would invariably end up with the both of us fighting over names for our future kid . According to the Husband... everyone in his family had names starting with the alphabet D and so his children would also follow the family tradition and be named with D. Initially I didn't say anything and so we started looking for "nice and modern " names with D. The great book had some awful suggestions..... like for boys.. Duryodhan and Dritarashtra and Drona and for girls...Draupadi, and Daman and stuff... I was horrified..
The husband then says ... not only should the name be with D but also be pleasing to the Bong ear and also be easy to pronounce by the Bongs none of my modern names would do.
So we would end up fighting....and end result in tears and him facing away from me and fast asleep. All this mind you when we were no where near any plans of starting a family.
Then we suddenly found ourselves in a position to actually seriously look for a "nice" name for our -to be child. So we too had a party for cousins and help us by giving us name suggestions..... it was a disaster... We still had that D stipulation.. but had come to an understanding or so I thought.
We would stick with the D business for him but I would get to choose the name and since Bongs always have pet names or what we call Daaknaams....we would choose that together.
So suggestions came pouring in from all quarters... From the senior citizens quarter ... we got names like Deependu...Diptesh....Deepankar....etc.. all very very Bong names... and very sad as far as I was concerned...from my cousins... who are mostly from Delhi...we got suggestions like Devinder and Deepinder..and Damanjit....(they thoroughly enjoyed our pained expressions..i am sure)..from some others we got Damodar and Dushyant..... even a Deen Dayal and Deena Nath....yes... horrifying...I know. My Mom came up with Tridip...completely ignoring the D business saying it was a bit of both our names.. cute ma...but sorry!!! There was also a suggestion of Don Chaudhuri and Daroon Chaudhuri....which thankfully both of us laughed over but VETOED!
I suggested Dhruv...but was promptly told in Bongland he would be called... Dhroobo.... which was awful....
By the ways, most of the suggestions were for boys names.. as thankfully both the Husband and I had reached a consensus on a shortlist of three girls names.
Even for girls names ,in fact, I like Dia..which would be written as Diya but was promptly told .. that she would be tormented her entire college life with "Eh Dia! Kisko Dia? Kya Dia?".Actually come to think of it now.. which ever name I suggested was vetoed for some reason or the other.
The Husband.. was fixated on Dhritiman...for some reason.... and I hated it ..for it remined me of Shaktiman and Hanuman. The saving grace came from my sweet new Brother-in-law. ( The husbands Sisters new Mallu husband)... When he heard of the Dhritimaan option... he promptly SMSd me back saying " Drit? what? Man?" . Thankfully that settled it... If the poor kids own Uncle couldn't pronouce his name what was the point. Thanks Nitin for that.
In the middle I got fed up with the D business and announced that I would name my kid with S as the two men in my life and family before marriage ( Dad and bro) have names with S. So i suggested Shantanu... there was also a hunk in college by that name who was also a brain and an INLAKs scholar to Cambridge. But was told by the Husband... that the poor chap would be teased with Shanta"nonu".... it seems... and to top it all and much to the Husbands cheap thrills it was substantiated by a friend.... who when he heard the Shantanu suggestion.... also came up with Shanta"nonu".....Ufff!!!!
The husband was also dying to find a "cute " daaknaam for his kid... He by the ways loved "Dinkoo"(yuck!)...then told me one morning that we would call our first kid... Tumtum and the second Pikpik....( he was given silent treatment for the entire weekend)....then came up with a list of pathetic ones like Potla and Choochoo and Puchka ( will leave my reactions for you to guess)
Anyways , we finally managed to shortlist a name for a boy and a girl. Something Bong but not really typically Bong...something everyone would be able to say with ease. I even have the Daaknaams settled.. as in I chose them and the husband has had no say.... you see am pregnant and have tears on a leaky tap....
We shall let you know the name of the child when it does finally arrive... as I have said in my previous blogs... am still waiting !!!!

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder-1

What does one do with a husband who has a severe case of OCD ..?

In my case... The Husband has a number of OCDs.

The latest one being .... "formatting blogs ".

I go to my address pop up list and click on my the saved blogging address and suddenly get redirected to Sykpe... i don't know how..!!!!!
I then try going on to the main blogging homepage and type in my username and hope for the best... and get directed to a page with a new blogname....and a whole new look.
My old blog was dark blue and snazzy.....or so i thought.... but naturally the Husband.. thought otherwise.
The new brown...and sophisticated... but not "snazzy" if you get my drift....and has a grainy texture and feel...
Its nice... actually not bad really , but still something my Mum would have chosen... for her Blog.....
Then he has "formatted" the whole thing....checked for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors... and all this has been done according to him while he was on tour...When i spoke with him... and heard about it ...he got a earful... about being on tour and working for his company and not formatting my blog... which can be done here in Delhi ....while he is with me...and with my inputs.

Monday, August 28, 2006

My Mother-in-Law

When I write about my mom, I cannot but write about the other mother in my life - my mother-in-law (I call her Mamoni).
She is a dear. Very well read and articulate and also ahead of her times. She is a mother-in-law all women should have. My respect for her and her attitude was established right when my wedding was arranged.
We had an arranged marriage and The Husband was living and working out of Calcutta. That being his home town, he lived with his parents. Coming from a household where we lived with my Thakuma, I naturally expected to move in with my in-laws.
But Mamoni was very clear. She told me that the husband and I could live next door if we wanted to, but not with them. She said this would maintain cordial relations between the family. Despite my protests she argued that she was used to her space and i was used to mine, both of us got along... so why upset the peace and harmony? We could see each other as often as we wished and do things our own way and still be best of friends.
At that time i was upset, thinking that my mother-in-law wasn't even going to give me a chance. But in retrospect, she was just being wise and intelligent.
I remember that just before the wedding, The Husband changed jobs and moved to a new city. I asked Mamoni if she was going to go and help him set up his new home before the wedding. And she surprised me by asking my mother to send me instead (which, in traditional arranged marriages, would be a complete no-no) as it was going to be my home and I should do it up the way i wanted to and not be forced to live with the choices she had made for me.

Over the years, we have come to share a wonderful relationship. I look at The Husband and see how wonderful he is and understanding and different from the normal mould of men we all have in our families, especially the previous generation. And I realise that I owe my mother-in-law a big hug and thank you for making him the way he is.

It reminds me of something a friend wrote in her blog about making our sons sensitive and understanding so that they can be responsible men of the future and not grow up to be MCPs. So true. I am seeing an example in front of me.
The past few months of pregnancy have been quite trying and The Husband has been travelling on and off. Mamoni seems to share some kind of telepathy with me. Whenever I feel depressed or low, I seem to get a call from her on my cell. Just seeing her name buzzing on the phone is reassuring.
I have to also thank her for giving me a set of grandparents (The Husband's grandparents) who are loving and always cheering me on. According to the husband, I have a fan following in them.
I am now waiting for Mamoni and Bapi (The Husband's dad) to arrive and be with us when the li'l bundle arrives. I am sure they are as excited as we are. After all they are going to grandparents for the first time as well. And as my mum says, grandparents share a special relationship with their grandchildren and that relationship cannot be defined.

Both The Husband and I are determined to let that relationship flourish. Like ours did with our grandparents, who spoilt us rotten.
I am sure we shall be there to discipline our kids the way our parents did... And well, we turned out alright - didn't we?
Dad, Ma, Mamoni and Bapi - I hope that we are able to bring up our children the way you did yours...


Since I have become pregnant, I have started valuing the relationship I share with my mom and also with my mom-in-law.

My Mom has all the qualities a mother should possess.
She is caring, can anticipate all my needs, can guess what is wrong or right just from the tone of my voice, listens patiently to all my weird ideas and also all my tantrums and complaints. But that never stops her from ticking me off when i go out of hand (which is pretty often) or become unreasonable.
Despite being a career academician and a writer, despite being bogged down with classes and academic meetings, despite being chased by editors and deadlines, despite being tormented by a machine called the computer which keeps hanging and software which suddenly makes hours of typing with two fingers vanish - she still finds the time to look after a pregnant daughter who lives close by, a mother-in-law who is aging (and suddenly not herself anymore) and a 25 year old son.
This list does not include a list of relatives and different groups of friends who can't live without her. Sometimes I wonder how she manages it all and also keep her sanity.

Though hints of "losing it" are becoming evident. For example, she went for a movie one evening with an aunt and a friend and suddenly I get SMSs from her asking "Are you alright?" I got this SMS three times wondering what was wrong. I call her back to find she was frantic, as she had a few missed calls from "the plumber" and, in the darkness of the cinema, read it as the nursing home. Thank God, she did'nt call the plumber asking if I had delivered or whether my contractions had started... Can you imagine his expression ?

She has also gone completely overboard shopping for her to-be-grandchild. When The Husband and I protest we get brushed off with "It's going to be my first grandchild, so both of you don't have a say".

Between her and my grandmom, The Husband is now finally getting a hard time. Something he never expected, 'cos he being the son-in-law was getting used to being the reincarnation of god on earth.
The minute he mentions a tour, my grandmother (I call her Thakuma, my dad's mum) looks at him with these very worried eyes and her expression is priceless. She is quite certain that he won't be there when the D-day happens.
My mum just gives him one of those "I will kill you" look which is followed by a look which says, "Don't leave us alone with her. Only you can handle her. We have tried for so many years and have actually given up".

Losing my Dad suddenly hit us all badly. Not only was our family young... my brother and I were both studying. And my mum had just started to enjoy a life without the tensions of childrens exams and my dad suddenly had started showing his romantic side by sending her flowers on their anniversary, shocking both my brother and I who were away in a different city. Both my brother and I would not have made it if it hadn't been for Mum. She took over and didn't let our lives get disrupted any more than it had already. We both went on to finish our studies and never felt the absence of Dad expect for his physical presence. He was in the Merchant Navy, so I guess we just thought of him as away at Sea.

My mother organised my wedding in the grand scale that it would have been done if Dad had been there, despite my fretting over all the expenses. She wouldn't let me get involved. She helped me find The Husband, who is my perfect match. I am eternally grateful to her for that.
I am grateful to her and my Dad for bringing my brother and I up the way they have. I think they would be proud of how we have turned out.
My brother makes me glow with pride. He is the perfect gentleman - caring, responsible and wise. He is controlled and sensible in his dealings with the family, friends and I see his pals swear by him.
The little things he does - like on hearing of a classmates mom or dad passing away, he would quitely go and meet his friend and be there with him/her.
Speak at a condolence meeting for a teacher or relative or someone known to him.
Patiently answer all my Thakuma's queries about all the girls in his life... with a straight face.
Call me once a day to see how I was.
Buy a car and gift it to my mum and drive her old about-to-collapse car instead.
Surprise my Mum with a new television in her bedroom, especially after she had been watching TV for the past five years in only two colours.
Drop in and take me for a walk or a gellato, when the Husband was away on tour
Give the husband a searching and warning look whenever i seemed unhappy with something.
All these makes me so proud of him and the way he has turned out.
Once when I was visiting home just after the wedding, The Husband didn't think it important to call and speak with me everyday. It just didn't occur to him, now that i know him well enough. It was quite natural. He had lived alone for 28 years of his life without having to make such "missing you" phone calls.
My brother noticed my sad expression and spoke with his brother-in-law giving him a piece of his mind (this was a 20-year old talking to a 28-year old - mind you!), saying he hadn't seen his sister cry earlier and didn't expect to see her do so now that she was married.
I was so touched and The Husband was quite foxed, not knowing what to say. I think that talking to worked. I get called by the Husband multiple times during the day now and sometimes "Just to speak with you"... and it makes me so happy.

Thank you brother dear... And thank you mom for making us the way we are...

The Waiting Game

Yes, I am still waiting... In the 37th week of pregnancy now... and still waiting...
Am running out of a fuel called PATIENCE.
Irritability levels are at an all time high.
Vocabulary is getting richer and more colourful.
Tears and mood swings are controlled by a very very leaky tap.
The gravitational pull between the belly and the ground is very strong.
Nights are sleepless and the route from the bed to the loo is wearing out.

Relatives and friends have been so kind the past few months and I am so grateful to them for their visits and caring attitude and efforts to keep me busy and happy the past few months. And am not being sarcastic here. I really want to thank each and every one of them.
People call me and instead of saying "Hello!", they say "Still inside?"
In case I take more than a minute to reply to an SMS, I get calls asking the way to the nursing home.

Everyone seems to have advice to hand out. In the past few months, it's been ok. I have been so excited that I have not really rolled my eyes when people gifted me with lots of free advice or "you wait and see looks". But now, I am fed up.

The range of advice is amazing.

Here are some of the gems:-

* "Keep checking for the water to break"... Considering I am a first time mom, I sure as hell know what that means, don't I?

* "Look out for Bloody show"... For someone who has no idea, that is scary. And let me tell you, no amount of reading will give your imagination a clear picture. By the way, there is also a "Greenish black show", which means the baby is in discomfort or eating its own potty. Talk about psyching out a to-be-mom.

* "Try and keep an ear out to get hints from the doctor whether a C-Sec is about to happen or any other complication"... Will I be able to "keep an ear out" for anything at that time?

* "Go and return whatever feeding bottles you have bought for the baby. Only buy Dr.Browns or Mother Care"... This despite my telling her that I have bought the latter. She actually asked me to describe the bottles and the packaging and logo, just to be sure. Talk about being paranoid....

How can I write without mentioning The Sweet Husband....
One night, while we were discussing the days events in bed, The Husband came up with the solution.
"Just ignore everyone. Or say yes to whatever everyone says. Or even better still have them speak with me" So cute.
Both of us have decided to leave everything to our doctor whom we trust and let her do the best.

While I am on the subject of my sweet husband, lately he has been arriving from tour with boxes and boxes of sweets and biryani and kebabs, demanding that i eat everything. Which is also sweet, especially since he never did so before.

Anyways, he is back on tour. After being told by the doc that we can rest assured we still have a week or so more to go before anything major happens.
What can I say? Poor guy has to work and make a living for his wife and kid, I guess...
I would much prefer him to be around when its time to change diapers and burp the kid than now. Though i wouldn't mind him being around now either.

Its just a waiting game...

Monday, August 14, 2006

It's Been a While...

I know, I know... It's been a while since I wrote last. Have been just too busy. Am starting off my last month of pregnancy and haven't been able to do too much. There hasn't been much happening in my life as well. That is, other than having a baby...

The Husband has been travelling. The promise "Am trying to wrap up all the travelling before the D-Day" seems to be never ending.

We have some cousins visiting us from the US of A... my aunt's daughter Enna and her American husband Mike. They are sweet... The last time my cousin was in India was a month before my wedding. So as she says, "I always make a trip before a major event in Tina's life... first her wedding and now her Baby". So true.

Her husband, Mike has won all of our hearts. He is so cute. He has come all geared up with information on India and what to do and where to go and most importantly What and Where to Eat. He is a complete foodie and ready to try everything and anything. He produced a list of places he wants to try in Delhi and I was very impressed.
Here we were trying to serve them bland food and ensuring that the spices didn't run riot in their "oh! so delicate tummies" and here was this sweet Umricaan, who wanted to eat at Karims and Paranthewalle Galli and try Thuggu ke laddoo.

He is so unlike another Umrican brother-in-law of ours. Who was "Oh! In America, the air is so clean... Don't you all watch American football, it's the best... Who would want to watch cricket, it's such an uncivilised game..."
(I shall write a completely different blog on that brother-in-law later. His stories can keep me going for a while.)

I tell you... there are some Americans and then again there are some Americans. After meeting Mike, I shall not club them together in the same mould.

Anyways, back to Enna... This cousin came loaded with gifts for her would be niece or nephew. And she was actually carrying the most appropriate thing - a little baby waterproof photo album meant for bath times (as well as normal) where one can put li'l snap shots of the people the baby should recognise first. Her advice, after seeing The Husbands travel schedule (she has been here two weeks and has met The Husband - ONCE for two hours), was to only put pictures of him. So that the kid would at least recognise the DAD, if not really see him.

I must also tell you about the recurring dream or nightmare - for some, thatI have been having ever since the ninth month has started.
By the ways Nightmares and Dreams are pretty common at this stage of pregnancy... especially ones about 'Water breaking and rushing to the hospital'.

So I too have been having a similar one. It went/goes like this...
My water had burst and contractions were starting. I checked the clock. It was 3 am. So I reach for my cell phone and dial the first number on my emergency list. Naturally, I call The Husband but he is on tour in his favourite city Kanpur or Cawnpour or whatever he is calling it now. (He actually had the time to find out the 20 names for the city) And his phone is on silent. And of course, he is asleep and cannot hear it.
Then i call emergency number 2: My ever-dependable brother, who is awake but is out partying and due to the music being very loud can't hear his phone ringing. And also cos he is dancing with a cute chick, he can't feel the vibrator on the phone either.
Emergency number 3: I call my mum, hoping she wouldn't have the phone on silent or be in a pub (!!!) or dancing. But no such luck... she doesn't pick up either. I hear later that she was charging her phone in the next room and was asleep in front of the TV. So, in other words... couldn't hear it!
Finally, almost in a state of collapse and desperation - I call my driver at his home and yell at the poor guy who must have been in deep slumber and demand he come over and take me to the hospital. Which he does. After all, rozi roti ka sawaal hain...
At this point I wake up in cold sweat, look at my cell phone and immediately make a change in the list of emergency numbers.
The first one being the hospital's emergency ambulance number and the second one being the driver. And then the previous list except for the Husband's, who by the way is now last on the list.
Actually last in the phone book.