Saturday, September 24, 2016

Simple Living : Temperatures & Tempers Rising!

                          A fever is an expression of inner rage    
                                                                   ----Julia Roberts

DoormatSomebody who is always walked all over
Matadora bullfighter whose task is to kill the bull.

Last Sunday saw me in bed uncomfortable, there was a soreness in my chest and my head was throbbing, this slowly morphed into a full blown fever by morning ( 101 - yes I knew you would ask). I drag myself out of bed, pack K2's lunch box and drop him in school (just barely!) ...I virtuously go into work and stare at my computer for all of 20 minutes before I am forced to leave for the house...with a throbbing headache, spaghetti noodle legs and temperatures rising. The next 3 days are a virtual blur of rising temperatures, rising expectations ( Honey - what's for dinner? WTF, I am sick!; Ma- you made Dal again! Eat it or go to sleep hungry !!!) - more such inconsequential events adding to the rising rage, sense of helplessness ( I have never walked out of an exercise class feeling like my legs won't support me!) and isolation - the prescription cough syrup made me have these vivid technicolor dreams that had me waking up multiple times in the night...yet I played a doormat at times this week and a matador valiantly fighting the bull ( viral fever, lunch box routine,work deliverables, getting the car from the service center, other mundane routine stuff...)

In the midst of my tug of war with this viral fever - I also had an ensuing tug of war with our HOA Management Company. I have been very patiently trying to get them to fix our front lawn for four years...and they have been giving me the runaround or lipservice ( we took it to the committee for approval, we got a new HOA management company, we are currently getting a new landscaping company etc. etc. ) - so after four years of patiently exchanging emails, polite phone conversations - I*TOTALLY*LOST*IT. I waved a red flag at the HOA management company - now let's hope the red flag has positive consequences for this reluctant Matador.

My life feels like it is slowly coming back to normalcy, and the biggest learning for me has been the following :

I thought I was invincible, at least that's what I wanted you to think, and I wanted me to think it, too. Yet the past week has taught me that I will be down and out, and the opportunity to climb out of the hole and resume life is what makes me strong in life.

I went to a BollyX class today and am watching "Zootopia" with my son and am just taking it easy with a cup of hot chai (adrak maar ke aka with ginger). How has your weekend been playing out?

Friday, September 9, 2016

Tentative Parenting : Steaming over STEM!

I  don't like this tug of war between what is more important the Sciences or Arts.  What is important is that every human being deserves to learn about the arts & humanities, just as each person should be cognizant of the sciences.

I am mother to a 9 year old boy and most of the conversations happening in the past year have been all around empowering girls (and boys) in the area of STEM - and the reality is I haven't been comfortable with this propaganda. I have been encouraging my mathematically inclined son to explore nature, arts & literature and drama.

I come from a culture where STEM was over-emphasized. In India, there were only two  education options available to kids from the  ambitious middle class families in the early 90's (there I have dated myself)  - Medicine or Engineering. Imagine my mother's horror, shock and disappointment when I went into a totally obscure  and unheard of humanities field. I remember the societal pressure to follow a certain course - I remember the sympathetic looks my mother's friends gave her and the pangs of inadequacy I felt when I caught those looks. I will never forget the statement my mother made on my first day of college - well B.A. in Arts means you are getting ready to get married, so you better learn to make Rotis (Indian Bread) True Fact - I haven't made a Roti till date but then we are digressing ;-)

My sincere hope is that we don't add in one alphabet to STEM and say let's focus on STEAM  and believe that it solves a multitude of issues...the reality is every child is born with a unique set of skills, aptitude and inclination - it is super important that we nurture and help them blossom into confident, socially adept human beings who are secure in their place in this society. What I see happening more and more is this focus on Brilliance, Killer Drive and Genius and the things that seem to be falling on the wayside are - social and life skills, generosity and kindness - the ability to get along, get things done together, solve problems together (vs. just being the sole heroes). 

Dr. Seuss was seriously onto something when he said  the quote below AND this is a quote that I keep repeating to my boy when he asks me - Ma what do you want me to become :)  - You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who'll decide where to go.