Month: February 2010

Fun times

You know you are in for fun fun times, when little Buzz who has been playing quietly in a corner walks up to you. As you look up, a huge smile is bestowed on you, with eyes shining. You see something small in her mouth. As you lunge for her, she runs off.

Prying paper out of baby teeth while trying to catch your breath..pure joy.. Ouch..

Crossroad

Life, the biggest teacher,
So say all the learned.
Life full of choices endless,
So says boggled mind mine. 

Stood at one big crossroad,
Saw it coming miles away.
Decision made, not much thought put,
One step forward, Life laughs aloud. 

Looking back has become the norm,
Legs refuse to take another step.
Heart wants to run back, change directions,
Fog covers all, Life illuminates nothing. 

Head and heart, what a tussle,
No prize awaits no matter who wins.
Pros and cons, long tabulated list,
Precarious each choice, Life teaches balance. 

Respite comes in way of little smile,
Faith takes root with a wave of hand.
Love the balm to heal all,
Life, sprinkles hope in the mix.

Travel Thursday – Hikking up ‘The Chief’

Almost exactly half way between Vancouver and Whistler lies the town of Squamish. A town small enough that one drives past it in less than 5 mins, but a town one cannot miss because of the beauty of it. Driving on the ‘Sea to Sky’ highway looking at the sea and the snow-capped mountains all around, you drive past a monolith rock face and know you are at Squamish.

The monolith, a symbol of the rock climbing haven Squamish is, is called the Chief. And Chief has been a talking point for D and me every time we drive by. But since Whistler is our destination we never really stop, but for clicking a picture or two. But when we headed there during summer we decided to hike the Chief. After a little reading up we realized Chief has 3 peaks. The trail starts out the same and then goes different ways as one makes their way higher. We set out to hike Chief – I.
The start of the hike is amazing, a wonderful way to begin. You start out at ‘Shannon Falls’ which is a tourist spot in itself. As you walk past the falls, you see people standing and posing. Trying to capture the falls in their glory. For us, we quickly passed by the tourists but stopped a little higher to capture the fall from within the trees.
Starting out

The hike is rendered interesting because of the rushing water, iron ladders, chains and steps put in all over. The park officials and volunteers have done an amazing job to make the hike as safe and as accessible as possible. And the amount of work and the time spend on making the trail made the hike a pleasure and I can easily call it one of the best hikes I have done. And as D says we have done plenty.

Walking up the steps

After a couple of hours of walking the trails, the last part actually holding on to chains because of the steep smooth mountain, we make out way to the top of the mountain and the view is amazing. Making the entire effort worth it.

Looking at Chief II

Clear blue sky, scattered clouds, sun peeking out, water, mountains, snow. And no one around, but the two of us. Our peace of heaven.

Looking down

So we sat there at the top of the mountain, saw cars zipping by the meandering ‘Sea to Sky’ highway, were thankful that we took a break from our usual direct drive to Whistler, took the time to do the hike. We took in the peace, the calm, the nature almost untouched.

Sea to Sky highway

State of things

Except for being born in the state of Haryana and the initial year or so, I have never really stayed there. What I have done, is visit the state at least couple of times a year, visiting family. And I have looked at the state as an insider, visited various cities, but more importantly visiting the villages..the prosperous ones close to Delhi and the not so forward thinking ones in the interiors and ones with desert soil close to Rajasthan border. And not once, but a couple of times every year, for years till I moved out of the country.

So when people talk about Haryana and their views of the state, to me they come out as stating peripheral views, facts gathered from what is printed or broadcasted by the media. So when people talk about abortion of girl fetus prevalent within the state, there are so many things I want to add. Why? Because there are so many sides to a story, so many angles that get missed.

But before I begin, let me state a very simple fact and get it out of the way: Haryana is a state obsessed with a Male child.

No questions asked, but then that is true for most of the other states in India..so why does Haryana get such a bad rep? Well because the state has the most recorded number of sex selection abortions or at least the most reported.

Let me tell you a story that I saw repeated over and over again as I made my yearly visit to my ancestral village. The women were different every time..the story, exactly the same.

Picture this: A woman about 2-3 months pregnant sitting on the floor surrounded by a couple of other females from her family. On the Khaat or pidhaa, sitting a social worker. There is talk about family planning..Hum do, humaare do..The big mantra of the 80’s. The social worker trying to convince the pregnant lady to not have another child after she delivers the one she is carrying. The pregnant lady has a girl child already, so all other women in the family insist that a boy child is important and the pregnant lady can’t stop till she has one. And so goes the discussion.
Till the social worker, who I guess has a quota to meet or something, says why don’t you go to a doctor and check what you are having? If you are having a girl child, you can always get it aborted. This will be economical in the long run since you don’t have to take care of the girl child, plus if you have an abortion right now you can get back to making that male child all the more sooner.
Now you have to remember that the pregnant woman and all her relatives are illiterate, with no exposure to the outside world, no TV, not even a radio. So they don’t understand most of the what the social worker is explaining, but questions are asked, answers patiently given. Finally a doctors address is handed over to the pregnant woman, with a promise that a van will come pick her up the next morning. And if everything goes well, she will be home in a couple of hours, secure in the knowledge that she will have a boy. Else she will have her abortion and be back home to cook dinner.

So many times I saw this, so many times I saw my mother rant and rail against all of this, so many times my dad tried to explain how things really worked, so many times I saw a black Jeep stop outside the village and a pregnant woman step inside, so many times I saw her come back having terminated her pregnancy.

Now that I am older and have my anger in check and really know how things work, I feel deeply saddened at all the misinformation fed to these women. At 2-3 months pregnant, the chances of knowing that you have a male fetus are about 50%. Even at 5 months there is a chance that a male fetus can be misinterpreted as a female. So really along with getting a female fetus, a lot of male fetus were getting aborted too. Which is not to say that the statistics make the abortion any better or the intent behind it all right.

Anyways cut to current times. What happened to after all the sex selection abortions? Well simple. The male to female ratio got skewed. And like everything there are repercussions when you mess around with the natural order of things.

The repercussions in this case is that there is a dearth of women to marry those sons that people so desperately wanted. Plus the thing to remember is that Haryana is a farming community and marriages are fixed based on the amount of farm land the guy has to his name. More the number of sons someone has, more parts the land gets divided in to, less the guy is desirable as a marriage partner. And when there are lesser number of women to choose from things get really interesting.

So now marriages in Haryana have gone the opposite route than most of India. Marriages are happening without any money spend by the bride’s family. Once yes is said by both sides, a sweet is made to be had by everyone, 1 Rs given to the groom and a quick ritual takes place in front of all the people present at the time of the yes is said. Done. No big wedding, no grand dressing up, no dowry.

Again none of this makes what happened all right, but at least the current generation is learning from what happened in the past. At least the current generation is not going overly crazy about having a male child. There is hope and with a little more education and with correct guidance things can get a lot better. The first step has been taken. Now we just have to ensure that we continue to move forward in the right direction and not regress.

I would like to thank Nu for tagging me for the post contest for Indusladies and as you have guess the topic I chose was ‘Female infanticide & Sex Selective Abortions’.

I would love to hear from Titaxy, Chatterbox and Trish and anyone else who is reading this, if you have not already written a post for the contest.

Missing a bone..

I have to be..I mean that is the only explanation I can come up with.

Let me start at the very beginning. I don’t get all the things people do once they have kids. I scratch my head every time, thinking there has to be something I am missing. So here goes things I really truly don’t get.

  • Mother’s day/Father’s day – Come either of these days, Facebook status are filled with ‘Happy Mother’s/Father’s day to the bestest Mom/Dad in the whole wide world’ and all I can do is laugh out loud. I mean is everyone the best Mom/Dad? I bet you are to your kid. But to someone other than you or your immediate family reading, that is an incorrect statement. They have their own bestest Mom/Dad. I mean if you want to celebrate the day, please by all means go ahead. Even go and wish the other person on Facebook. But at least think through what you are writing and how it will be perceived. Now we, D and I, don’t celebrate either of these days along with Valentines Day, Friendship day and all the other days in between. It does not even cross our mind to wish each other. We have our Birthdays and anniversary to celebrate, not some day made up by card company. So may be that’s why all this wishing and bestest look strange to me.
  • Shoes – Shoes are advised against by doctors for kids who are learning to walk. Even a pair of socks are a no-no, as going bare feet helps the kids get a feel for walking and helps develop their muscles. But you see all these little ones wearing shoes, even newly born. I once even saw a little girl (less that 3 month old) who had flip-flops on. And I wonder why? Just because they are cute to look at?
  • Hair clips – I see parents go overboard with not giving the kid this to eat or that, because it’s a choking hazard and then putting hair clips on little girls head, which to my mind are the biggest choking hazard there is. I mean, I have not seen a single kid who does not pull the clip out of her head and put it in her mouth. The clip is slender enough and small enough for the kid to swallow, but even worse are the small flowers or animals glued on the clips to make them pretty. Enough number of times the glue gets undone and what were to happen if the kid was to swallow the artificial flower or animal?
  • Sunglasses – Now I know that kids sunglasses are oh so cute, but they are cheap glasses with no UV protective coating as with grown up glasses. So when the sun rays hit them, they are said to harm the delicate eyes of a young child. And yet we go on and prop sunglasses with a beetle and star on a babies face and then oh-ahh about it.
  • Cake – Celebration of monthly Birthdays again leave me bewildered. I get that every month is special as far as the baby is concerned. But please don’t look at me funny when I don’t cut a cake every month for my baby. I cound not give her any cake in the begining, since she was not even allowed solids till she hits the 6 month mark. So to my mind the cutting of a cake to celibrate monthly Birthday was useless if she cound not have any. If you want to eat a cake, why make an excuse out of it? Just go ahead and have some. For me the first Birthday is the special one. The baby can now have some cake as well. So that is when a candle is put on a cake, the candle blown, the cake cut and the first bite goes to the baby. That to my mind is a perfect celebration.
  • Gold – I see little (less than a month old) babies covered in gold. From bangles, to chain around the neck, to ear rings. I mean really, really?
  • Toys – How many toys do you think are enough for a kid? From what I see with Buzz, a toy is interesting the first hour or so that she sees it. After which she plays with it once in a while, but not really. So how many do you buy. Something new every few days, just to keep the baby entertained? Of course I am a bad Mom because I don’t do the same. I just divide all the toys in 3 batches and rotate them every week or so. And they seem new to Buzz and she plays with them all for a few days at a time.

But then just as I shake my head at all of the above and so many more people shake their head at me. I seem to be the odd one out. I seem to be the one people don’t get. I seem to be the one people look at questioningly.

And I still don’t go ahead and do any of the above. I still stand my ground. So I think I really might be missing the maternal bone, for continuing to let my practical side rule over my Oh-aah Mommy heart.

Travel Thursday – Whistler and beyond

Well the title should actually say..’Whistler and Beyond – Sun and Clouds’..because that is what this post is really about.

So anyways..we were camping in the vicinity of Whistler one summer, long weekend, which is un-usual for us, as we always visit Whistler in the winter. And we were thinking of things to do..well because we couldn’t ski ofcourse. So we decided to drive past Whistler and explore the area beyond, since it would be all new to us.

The drive was scenic with numerous stops for pictures and for picnics and just relaxing around a beautiful view. The day started out clear..which has to be interpreted as ‘No rain’ in the Pacific Northwest term. The snow-covered mountains and pine tress and lush green landscape was a feast for the eyes. The road less travelled which made for a very relaxing drive.

And then the clouds started moving down, which increased the charm of the view even more. Giving everything a very mystic feeling. A hide here and a peek there. The scene ever-changing as we sat and watched.

The sun tried making its way out every once in a while making for a glow in the clouds, adding another dimension to the gray, white, silver clouds and snow..

But the clouds always won. Adding an ever-changing gossamer film over everything. Moving every which way they pleased.

The sun was not to be left behind. It changed the entire view as it made its final decent on this side of the earth for the day. It added the colour blue to the mix of gray and white, drenching the clouds as it went.

The clouds not to be overtaken, changed the game again. Abandoning the mountains moving down into the valley.

The final winner..you ask? Us without a doubt. We had a very relaxing day, taking in everything, enjoying nature at it’s best. watching our beloved mountains showcased in such a spectacular fashion. Pure bliss.