Tag Archives: family

The second-child syndrome

“You said I am gonna get a sister. But it’s a boy. I can see.”

“How long would he be lying on your lap? Tell him it’s my turn now.”

“Ask him to shut up crying. Tell him I have got school tomorrow.”

“Put me to sleep like you do with him. On your lap.”

You think it’s another hapless case of ‘two under two’? Well, you’re not entirely wrong. My elder son who was almost 5 at the time of his brother’s birth, behaved worse than a child under 2. The smart, sensible and slowly-getting-matured boy of mine showed bouts of unreasonable outburst, the moment he casted the first glance on his sibling.

When I got a call from one of my friends, who had given birth to her second child just days before I had, I expected a similar cry for help. But since her first-born is a girl, she had a different story to tell.

“She can’t get enough of holding her brother. She wants to baby sit him already! How’s it with your boys?”

“Oh! They are happy to be together, it seems.” I said, with not much conviction as I eyed the elder one who was sitting in a corner with a grumpy look. (I had just turned down his demand to carry him to school that day.)

Life was ‘oh-so-perfect’ when Parth, my elder son was born. I had come across a lot of families where even after a child, there’s a want for another.  Some yearn for a little princess after a naughty little boy. Others feel the need for a boy to complete the family.

But with us, there was no scope for another. We were a perfect small, happy family. My son was growing up fast and was quickly approaching the age when his immunity could be trusted upon. The harrowing fortnightly visits to the paediatrician, were gradually becoming less frequent events. We were glad for being able to spend more time together as the kid was becoming more independent.

But as fate had it, we were to welcome the next bambino in the family. And with him coming, we couldn’t help notice the chaos that came along. We knew we were going to be neck-deep in mental, physical and financial mess. Still, we jumped in.

To make matters worse, it was a troubled pregnancy. There was no trace of the much-famed pregnancy glow on my face! Acidity, nausea, dark patches, pre-natal depression and to top it all, blogs on pregnancy asking me to ‘celebrate’ the phase made me want to punch right into every smiling face.

No, I didn’t rejoice even a minute of my second pregnancy. I couldn’t wait for my due date, not because I was excited to hold my baby, but because I wanted this phase to get over.

And then came ‘Shivaan’.

Life rewound 5 years.

We found ourselves back in the paediatric ward – Fortnightly vaccines, repeated checkups, rushing in for common cold, diaper rashes, colic and what not.

I had progressed to the tab named ‘school-going’ on parenting websites. The new one’s arrival was all the way back to the ‘newborn’ tab for me.

I changed from a sane, sensible mom to an irate, baffled one, who would snap at everyone (including the kids) at the drop of a hat.

Apple pies, surprise stuffing paranthas, cupcakes and pizzas gave way to quick-cook oatmeal.

Weekly art and craft hours, visits to the park, weekend drives were things of the past. And that turned my perky 5-year old into an impulsive brat who believed his brother is the villain in his life.

For the first six months after my delivery, I reminded myself every 6 minutes- This too shall pass.

Yes, we didn’t plan Shivaan. But as they say,

“if it’s planned, it’s human; if it isn’t, it’s divine”.

Shivaan is now 6 months old. And the family of four looks saner now.

When I see the brothers play, I breathe out.

Now when I see the little imp pulling his brother’s hair who replies with a smile and a cuddle- ‘Shivu, soon, you’ll get your own’, I feel like celebrating!

“Mom, save my worksheets for Shivaan.”

“Another story, please. The more stories you tell, the more I pass on to Shivaan.”

And life is beautiful again.

It’s a divine plan, I am convinced.


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Twitter in Defence

A usual evening after work-
“Tired? What work you do all day that makes you feel tired? You should have seen me working when I was your age? Could cook for a family of a dozen members, used to go 8 miles to fetch water, stitched my clothes myself, ground spices, used to go on our paddy fields, fetched fish from the family pond……embroidery…origami…… knitting…. papad-making….. achar-making…. …. ….. …..

Mom-in-law with super-powers

I wonder what would I be left with to boast to my daughter-in-law, considering I don’t have any of the above mentioned skills (read: super-powers) my mom-in-law possesses.
Days like these make me fetch for an excuse to save myself and my generation from further assault by the uber-workaholic mom-in-law generation.
“Ma, you people didn’t have water connections at your home, and we have it now, so is it our fault? Should we hold a pitcher on our heads and walk till the nearest leaking pump to fetch water? Should we go fishing in the open drains of our colony (I doubt if fishes can survive the odour)? Or leave everything and sit on the terrace watching over the sunbathing spices so that we can grind them on your 5 decade old silbatta? Or cook for the neighbours as well since our family fall a little short of a dozen?”
Seeing that she is close to getting convinced on our inability-but-willingness to work-our-arses-off, I would take the opportunity to continue,
“I agree you had much physical work to do. But, what you don’t realise is that we need to do mental-work all day. I can almost feel my brain calling it quits at the end of the day”.
So the mom-in-law would bring out a momentary sympathy until she raises the issue once again the next day. I am relieved, that until she witnesses in-person the ‘mental-work’ I do in my office, I can keep using this excuse as a defence-mechanism.
On second thoughts, it wasn’t a lie entirely. Infact, I do have to tire-off my brain muscles at work. After all, I belong to the age of Twitter, guys! On top of that I work for a company that specializes in digital and social media. And further, on top of that too, my boss is head-over-heels for all things digital. And he is on Twitter.
So that left me with just one option. To wake up my Twitter account that was made years ago for God-only-remembers what reason. It went into indefinite hibernation soon after it was born.
I saw a huge bunch of people ranting about something or the other in unison. Some singing hymns of the things they love, others churning out choicest of words that don’t qualify for an urban, civilized dictionary for the things they abhor. Gradually, a realization stuck me. People don’t tweet what they observe. Infact, they observe things so that they could tweet. Yes.
I stayed passive for a while to learn the art of tweeting. You can say, I decided to put myself for a crash course on Twitter. Soon, one thing became clear. I was trying to complete PhD in 6 months. If there really was a course that could teach you to Tweet, there would have been as many modules as the number of Twitter profiles. Needless to say, I gave up.
But the shame of a social media professional lacking the skill of tweeting was too much to bear. So I thought, I’ll do what everyone on Twitter does. Blabber pointlessly.
So you see, how much mental exercise it takes to survive in the age of Social Media!
You come to work. Fire up your system. Fight the urge to type http://www.twitter.com on the URL field instead of opening your office mail to look if there’s any abuse from the client.
Thereafter, you browse through the news sites. No. Not to catch-up with the latest news, but to come up with a topic to tweet. It takes me months to come up with a new blog post and Twitter expects me to come up with a new tweet every single day. Wait. Every single hour, infact. What yar?
You don’t get anything in the papers. What will you get? You don’t understand politics. And much of the irony, humour and satire begins and ends with Indian politics. Sports? Everybody is talking sports. If you too will say something about the already-publicly-assaulted Rohit Sharma, it will be like whacking a dead-donkey. So that too would not work.
Now start rummaging around quotes of wise people. Pick something that sounds intelligent. When featured along with your smiling picture, it will seem as if it’s you who is preaching the thought. But as you are about to do that something wretched speaks from within “Chee, you call yourself a writer? Can’t think of a silly tweet? Copying words and proudly posting in full public view. Aren’t you ashamed?”
Okay. Indeed I am.
So I go back to reading other’s tweets in hope of a thought that motivates and helps me tweet something.
In between, I remember the mail from the client that seemed as if he had whacked me with slippers dipped in scum. Trying to set things right for him while resisting a glance at the timeline, scrolling up and down and again up to read the tweets, usher yourself to links, blogs, videos and pictures recommended by the much-revered following, trying to comprehend what exactly made them tweet this non-sense, and then telling yourself, if it has been tweeted by ‘so and so’ then it has to make sense. If you can’t comprehend it, then accept the fact that ‘you are a duffer’.
Now tell me people, isn’t that a labour? Am I not entitled to feel tired, mentally stressed? How would those who belong to the pre-Twitter era understand this dilemma?
Hmm.. perhaps one day when Twitter gets extinct, I could explain my quandary to my daughter-in-law.
“Is that what you call ‘working’? You don’t have an idea, what was it like when I were your age.” And the Twitter saga would be brought up in defence once again.

This is where I struggle to keep up my job as a social media ‘expert’ @creativwins
P.S. Follow me, no?

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