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Showing posts from August, 2010

Sundays in my City # 5

My friends know that there have been roadworks going on outside my house every day for the last few weeks, Sundays included. Today I noticed a woman labourer working on the road outside my house. This is a familiar sight in India, although unheard of in the west. The women's saris add a splash of colour to the otherwise drab atmosphere and they always seem to retain their grace and dignity in spite of working in such a rough job. Sundays in my City is hosted by Unknown Mami

How Did She Grow Up So Quickly?

About twenty years ago, I was in Ireland , living in my parents' home and saving every penny to come out to India to visit Yash, the man of my dreams.  I carefully accumulated as much leave as I could and when I had a full month's leave and enough money to buy an air ticket, I was gone to India to see my beloved. We had the most idyllic time.  We travelled up and down north India on buses and even visited the Taj Mahal.  I also hung around while Yash worked.  In those days he worked for a government organisation based in the beautiful city of Srinagar .  Yash, along with some colleagues, rented some rooms in a house nearby the office, which was situated in a beautiful, leafy suburb.  Oh, yes, it was a leafy suburb all right.  Every single house on the road stood on its own plot of land.  You couldn't see the next door neighbour's house.  Yash's landlady Zeba used to grow her own vegetables and even some spices too.  I often noticed her picking saffron, which, p

Sundays in my City #4

It may be a holiday throughout the world, but Sunday is just another working day for these labourers, hard at work fixing the road outside my house in Lucknow in north India. "Sundays in my City" is hosted by Unknown Mami .

Mother's Guilt - Who Needs It?

We all know that mothers are the most self-sacrificing people.  Well it’s one of the eternal verities that I bought into for quite a long time.  I was fully ready to play my part in all of that too.  Then I read a really interesting article one day that advised that time spent with your children is an investment, not a sacrifice.  It made me look at things differently. I fed all my kids ‘myself’ which is a euphemism for breastfeeding.  Deep down I admit that I didn’t do it as a sacrifice.  It was way too convenient for that.  No getting up at night to heat bottles of milk.  I could lie down and get some extra rest and feed the baby too.  Heck, it was the most convenient system ever and I made full use of it. I breastfed (discreetly of course) in every place you could imagine.  On the back of scooters.  In church.  Even while walking along using the baby sling.  It never cost me a thought.  If people noticed and criticized me, I  ignored them.  None of their business.   If they noticed

Building Site

A few nights ago I was rudely awakened from my sleep by what seemed like sounds of destruction. It turned out to be sounds of construction. The road outside our house has been transformed into a building site. The work goes on day and night. Huge behemoths called cranes and bulldozers toil night and day. They are laying down pipes for a new underground drain, I've heard. So it will be goodbye to the open drain. Good riddance! But for now I can't get to the shops. I'm concerned about the possibility of accidents. I hope that the inconvenience will all be worth it! ---------- Sent from my Nokia phone

In the Park - Sundays in my City #3

Went for an evening walk in the local park today.  I saw a stray cow eating the grass there.  I took a picture, or rather, I tried to, with my mobile.  In India, stray cows going around are very common.  Now, unfortunately it wasn't a very good shot so I followed the cow for a while to try to get a better shot.  I am not a very experienced photographer as you might understand from these pathetic attempts, but still...... The trouble is, I think I scared the poor thing off.  She refused to stand still and exited the park at the earliest possible opportunity.  See the picture below.  This is the last I saw of her after her hasty exit.  Oh, well.  Maybe next time........ I should also mention that today is Independence Day in India, the anniversary of the day this country became an independent nation.  I love this country which I have adopted and pray for it's peace and prosperity.  Jai Hind!  Long live India! Sundays in my City is hosted by Unknown Mami

The Daily Routine.....

.....goes something like this.  I get up at around 5.30 am to prepare breakfast and pack the lunchboxes.  The children get up around 6 am and get ready for school.  The transport arrives around 6.30 am.  They go, two by two, the boys in one vehicle and the girls in another.  Their father gets up only after they go and leaves around 8.30 am and from then until lunchtime my time is more or less my own.  My blogging and writing, reading and of course housework  must be done when they are out because when they are around, there isn't much time. They come in at lunchtime, take their lunch, change their clothes and rest and start their studies.  Around 6 pm they go and play in the nearby park if they want to.  There are other children playing there too.  After an hour they come home, have something to eat and study until dinner time.  After dinner they finish their homework, pack their bags and get ready for school the next morning.  This is the routine from Monday to Saturday, altho

A Long Drive

Sometimes our life gets really complicated.  Yash and I live in a city in north India called Lucknow, along with our kids in Yash’s family home.  However, he does a daily commute to the next city, Kanpur, where he teaches biochemistry. One of his colleagues in the world of science, Dr. Sumitra,  was about to be married.  She is a close friend of ours and very much wanted us to attend her wedding.  Both of us, plus the four kids.  Problem! Her wedding was in Kanpur where Yash works.  Dragging four kids to the next city for a wedding is not joke.  Yash is not a person who can carry tension well.  Yes, trains are available, but the hassle of bringing four kids through the busy city to the railway station, not to mention the hassle of getting out at and travelling across another busy city to the marriage venue – the thoughts of negotiating the whole thing and taking care of the kids filled us with terror.  Then Yash hit upon a bright idea!  Hire a taxi. Instead of all that hustle and bust

View from my Terrace - Sundays in my City #2

One of the things I love about the houses here in India is that most of them have flat roofs surrounded by walls and railings like a sort of indoor yard. I can actually stand on my roof and look out over my neighbourhood.  I love the roof, or the 'terrace' or 'chaat(Hindi)' as we call it.  In the summer, in the cool evenings, it is a nice place to go to get some fresh air.  There is a good space for the children to play too, although I never allowed my children to play there unsupervised when they were young.  I never had the experience of looking out over my neighbourhood in Ireland, unless I was in a flat.  Our family home is a two storey house, the third story being just the terrace and a small room.  Today, Sunday afternoon, I took some photos of the view from my terrace.  Above is the view from the front of the terrace of one side of the road. Above is the view from the same spot but down the opposite side of the road.  We live in a very quiet locality full of t


I see a lot more lizards now than I ever did in Ireland.  They are rather ugly creatures, rather like mythical dragons or prehistoric dinosaurs, but smaller. I am not frightened of them as I find them harmless.  Indeed, they never come near me.  But some people are terrified of them.  My husband's aunt Urmila is scared of them all right.  I just ignore them and they have never bothered me. My nephew once told me that a great lizard repellant is peacock feathers.  On the walls of his house, I noticed a lot of peacock feather fans on the walls of his house.  It must be awful when you hate those creatures and they get into your house.  It's good to know about natural repellants. There is a type of lizard called a chameleon, which changes its colours according to its surroundings.  About twenty years ago my sister-in-law Tapasya was getting ready for work.  She grabbed her sari and put it on carefully, knife-edge pleats and all and pinned down her pallu perfectly (that's th

Promoted to First Class

In February, I got the shock of my life.   My son Nitin, aged 6,  in Senior Infants, was due to finish his school year at the end of March and be promoted to 1st Class, for the school year commencing at the beginning of April. His teacher informed me that he could not be promoted.  Not a chance!  I was devastated.  It is not as if I am the type of parent who brags about my offspring’s academic achievements.  But another year in infant classes for a child who was perfectly intelligent?  It didn’t bear thinking about!  We had already allowed him to complete an extra year in Junior Infants on his teacher’s recommendation, so he wouldn’t feel pressurised.  Not to mention the year of pre-nursery before that.  Oh, man, would this kid ever get out of the nursery and start real school? I went before the headmaster to plead my case.  Another year wasted would mean considerable financial loss (his school is an expensive, fee-paying one).  Also, he’d be nearly 20 completing school and would get

Sundays in my City #1

Just another rainy Sunday afternoon - the view from my house in Lucknow (U.P.) India.  I suppose it could be depressing, if you let it get you down! This  feature is hosted by Unknown Mami .