One post is not enough to list down what all motherhood has taught me over the years and I am sure there are is still a lot more to learn, yet there are certain little things you will feel probably on a daily basis – some things that need to be ignored, others that need to be cherished. Here are just a few, since it’s impossible to capture all:

  • The house can be cleaned later, the laundry can be sorted later, but that moment when your child shows you that cute painting, will never happen later. Instead of thinking how you are going to clean the mess, share your child’s excitement at accomplishing a task that he/she thinks only adults can do.
  • If your child wants to wear the same dress on two consecutive days, no one is going to judge you based on that. But that smile on your child’s face when they are allowed to repeatedly wear their favorite dress, will surely make you feel better.
  • Your child cannot be good at everything that the other children are good at. Encouraging a child and forcing them into doing something are two different things and latter is never justified.
  • You believe that you turned out well and yes, your parents had an amazing parenting style. Remember that’s exactly what your spouse also believes. But for your children, you both contribute to their growing up. You both need to be a team. And it is not necessary to follow anyone’s parenting style – your parents or spouse’s parents. In fact, developing your own style is so much more fun.
  • No matter how many children you have and no matter how many times you think that you cannot have more love in your heart to give to someone, you will always have more. The phrase “love someone the most” does not mean anything! I love my two children and the third unborn one so much that I don’t understand how I can love 3 people with the same limitless depth and yet feel there is so much more I can give them.
  • Sometimes, a toy that breaks, a new bottle children lose, a pair of clothes they soil immediately after wearing it, is just that – a broken/lost/soiled thing. Every little incidence need not be turned into a moment of educating them. Sometimes, just letting kids be kids is enough to teach them something about acceptance and love.
  • Every single day is different when you are a mother, so you better not find peace in routine. You have to be prepared to learn every day, every moment.
  • Motherhood is one of those jobs in the world where no matter how much have you have read about it, no matter how much you have studied other mothers, yet you will require on-the-job training and that is the only way you will actually learn. Yet, it would be fun and worth all the worry and pain.
  • Even if you lose it with your kids once in a while and you know your treated them unfairly, it is still okay. Because as you know your love for them does not depend on their behavior, so do they. Children know you love them and your being upset with them or scolding them does not make you a bad mother. And trust me, when you apologize for your unreasonable behavior later, they will always say the same thing, “It’s okay, mama.” It is that simple.
  • Another simple fact for the children is that you are there for them, always. So you better be.
  • You will, for the first time in your life, truly understand what “crying out of joy” really means. You will have tears in your eyes on so many happy occasions that you will lose count.
  • You will feel loved all the time. You will feel proud frequently. And you will be happy even when you think you are overwhelmed. You will basically wonder what kept you busy and what made you happy before you had kids!
  • Motherhood is the most wonderful of all experiences, and there is none other like it!

As a mother, especially if you have young children, you feel overwhelmed most of the time. Most of the days, you love motherhood because you experience little miracles you wouldn’t otherwise. But some days, you just want some moments of peace, sitting silently, doing nothing. After a while, such contradictions become a part of you. As a mother, I have seen so many contradictions in my behavior that I am not even conscious of them anymore. Some of them are:

1. I am enjoying my moments of peace while the children sleep or play outside, and within 5 minutes I have the urge to wake them or check on them. I have to force myself to be where I am and relish the moment, yet my mind wanders to them every 5 minutes.

2. I keep asking kids to be quiet for sometime so that I can focus on what I am doing. When they do, I feel there is something wrong and I call them to ask what happened to make them so quiet.

3. I convince myself that they are grown up enough to take a bath themselves after a visit to hospital or park, yet I go on check on them while they are bathing to make sure they are ‘scrubbing out the germs’ properly.

4. When they ask my permission to pee, I tease them saying wouldn’t they go if I said no and then, add that they are free to pee anytime they want. But when I see them approaching the toilet without saying anything, I ask them “what are you doing?”  or “where are you going?” Of course, I immediately bite my tongue after, but it starts the permission seeking circle once again.

5. While they eat, I ask them if they want more. Mostly, they say it’s enough. Sometimes, when they do say they want another chapati, I usually say “Haven’t you had enough? Aren’t you full already? I don’t want you to complain of tummy pain afterwards.”

6. Sometimes, I tell my kids why do they keep asking/saying – mama, this; mama; that and why can’t they trouble their dad for a change. But when they do, guess what…I have to know why they didn’t ask me!

7. If something falls on the floor and I feel the house isn’t dirty and I am too lazy to go wash the thing again, I pick it up, rub the supposed dust off of it and eat it. When my son observes me doing this and does the same next time, I tell him “Do you think the thing is not dirty anymore? I think you should wash it!”

With all this happening around them, I think it’s just a matter of time before my kids turn to me one day and say “But you only said/did…” And I can imagine myself responding as “What are you talking about!”

After giving birth to two children and raising them for so many years, I thought I knew what I was doing. One difficult pregnancy and another life-threatening delivery later, I believed I knew everything there was to know about pregnancy. I was sure it would be a cake walk the third time around. So, when I came to know about this pregnancy, I was not at all worried, rather I felt so comfortable as I knew what I was supposed to do…wasn’t I? Well, I was so wrong there!

The first 3 months were hard as expected, but this time around, the nausea was as bad as it can be. And I finally realized it was much better to be throwing up all the time, than to be having the feeling without any output…errgh! I started hating food items that have been a constant presence in my life till now. I cannot even look at certain of them. On the other hand, I would sometimes have strong cravings for something and when I ate it, I wouldn’t want to have it again. I am still not able to able to understand what I like these days – sweet, spicy, Italian, Chinese…there is no constant anymore and variables are all in some other plane than my little mind can comprehend.

Anyway, I counted weeks since they say the second trimester is the easiest, and guess what…does anything in my life go as planned? The onset of fourth month brought different set of problems with it. I was even bed ridden for a week. And now, I am thinking “God, just give me the strength to go through all this with a smile.”

Then, there is the issue of finding maternity clothing….either I have too big a bump (though I see them all around, but the makers of maternity clothing seem to think so!!!) or this place is not good for being pregnant (of course another surprise since Qatar is one of those countries where people are encouraged to have more kids). Anyway, I have come up with some temporary solutions, since I know anything that I buy will anyway last only for a couple of months! I even went to the extent of using hubby’s rarely worn long and loose shirts, and I wish he was fatter 🙂 (he will hate me for this but I am desperate).

All in all, as they say every pregnancy is different…I got rid of my “know-it-all” syndrome and dealing with each day as it comes; I think this is the only way.

The best part this time is that since my other two kids are grown up enough to understand, they are pretty excited about the ‘new baby’. In fact, they are counting days and keep asking me questions – the gender, when exactly he/she will be born, how are babies born, what size are they on their birth, when can older siblings start taking care of small babies etc. Of course, their excitement keeps me excited too, and sometimes I too get impatient like them…but then I think,  it’s really easier to take care of yourself in pregnancy than to take care of a new born…so let me just enjoy it while it lasts 🙂

I have put this off for several months now…by ‘this’ I mean – writing. Perhaps I was too glad about my second book, or maybe I started thinking I am not crafted for this (imagine how that obnoxious thought entered my mind, but it did!). At first, I told myself I am taking a well-deserved break (yeah right, what exactly did I do to “deserve” it? Sell millions of copies of my books?) Then, I thought that there is so much to do at work which I was carrying home sometimes, and then…well, there were excuses and more excuses. But I did write an article for a magazine in these past 6 months (oh now that counts!!!). Anyway, I am back to writing again. I am starting with blog but am going to follow-up with the book that lies unfinished for so many months (aah!).

Okay I think the writer inside me has so much to say that there are two threads going on here…let me just catch one.

To talk about the writing stuff, I was busy but I was also self-sabotaging, by telling myself how I should treat writing only as a hobby and it doesn’t mean much if I never make it big as a writer or worse, that I perhaps was not destined to. But now, I am past all that negativity and perhaps it is time to make another promise to myself – I will always be a writer, no matter what anyone says, no matter what I think and no matter how busy I get. Being a writer is my whole being, it is my identity.

Also, I am past the stage where I could run away from commitment. I am already into this for life. It took me 20 years to actually accept that I want to be a writer and I cannot give up just in 5-6 years! I have to try harder and I have to give it at least the same time as I took to tell myself that writing was my love. So there goes that.

Now coming to the personal stuff, I want to make an announcement. God is kind enough to me to have blessed me with two angels in my life, and perhaps He thinks I need more of His love, so there is another angel on the way…yes, I am expecting my third baby 🙂

Now, I have encountered raised eyebrows and stunned reactions to that in past couple of weeks. It was not supposed to be known so soon but due to some unexpected reason, it became known to people around me. Being an Indian, where most of the people my generation opt for a single child because of financial or personal reasons; also, those who go for a third are usually the ones who are still trying for a boy, I am probably one of the very few, who just want to have another one. I am blessed with a son and a daughter, so people usually don’t understand why I decided to have one more child. So the next thought that enters their narrow minds is – it must not be planned. And some of them (i.e. those who do not fit into family or friends category) even asked me this! And I had to make an effort to keep myself calm!

I think this is a good start or restart…good news and a promise to myself. And I end with a prayer to God “Dear Lord, bless us all; those who ask for it and those who don’t; those who need it and those who don’t; those who believe in the power of prayer and those who don’t; shower your blessings and love on us, as you always have.”

I did not intend to write a second book of short stories after I published my first, ‘Love, It Is!’ (Buy it here.) But then, one fine day, I promised myself that in the year 2013, I wanted to gift myself another book. I gave myself a deadline, since I did not want to let 2013 go by. I decided to use one of the auspicious dates in my life – 23rd June. And I announced it so that I was under pressure to complete the book by that date.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to write 15 stories like I did for the first one, but I also knew these stories would be bolder and better. I understood that when I hold myself back as a writer and do not write what scares me and aim to write only happy endings, I am not being fair to the writer in me. I have no right to hold back the thoughts and plots. I have to give in to the stories…to the plot and to the reality. And that’s what I did.

I wrote these dark stories that I had heard of or read of or saw a part of, in several years. I had many stories and situations in my mind, but I chose only a few, which had affected me enough to replay the events in my mind several times. I can still write many more such stories, but I did not want the book to be a work in progress for a long time.

Also, it is a very good feeling when you write a story that ends in smiles and tears of joy. You feel good about yourself and you feel glad that you wrote something that has the potential to give hope to someone. And you forget for a while that it is just a story and life could be so different and tougher. In fact, you feel in your heart that someone somewhere would read the happy story about love and will perhaps start believing in love or maybe believe more strongly.

On the other hand, when you write a dark story that ends in a different way than you would want it to or in a way that is unfair to the character you love so much, it is painful. You keep wondering ‘what if I tweak it a bit, just a little so that the X person is happy’ and you have to stop yourself from doing it just because you know that the story loses its essence. You have to force yourself to not meddle with the story or the characters. You have to give in to the weaknesses of those characters, because that’s how they are. Perhaps you created them that way, maybe you based them on someone you knew and that’s how they are in life. But as a writer, you cannot change the character just because you want to. Hence, writing a dark story is very tiring. It keeps playing in your mind and you have to silence the voice in your head which asks you to interfere with the writing and the writer in you.

This kind of stories affect people like me even more. I am one of those people who faint at the sight of blood, who turn away their face when a nurse withdraws blood from my child’s arm, who cannot watch a movie with gross murder scenes, who are affected for weeks when they read about an abuse in the newspaper, who cry for children who are subject to atrocities by their own relatives. I am one of those people who stop reading newspapers or watching news because it’s all so sad and negative.

So, it’s no wonder that I was able to complete only 7 dark love stories for my second book. But since I am that person who loves happy endings, I threw in a story at the last-minute which ends on a happy note, so that the reader can close the book with a sigh of relief. Oh there I go…revealed the plot of the last story 😉

The second book required more effort because of several reasons – the kind of stories, the timeline, the full-time job which (un)surprisingly got busier just before the book’s publishing date, and other miscellaneous factors. Yet, I finished on time, with one story more than the number I had in  my mind. That’s a promise fulfilled – a gift to myself 🙂

‘Love No More’ was published on 23rd June, 2013 (as planned) and can be purchased from Amazon at the following link:

Love No More  (Read and provide feedback)

Love hurts, we all know this. In fact, the sweet-bitter pain of love keeps some of us going when we are on the verge of losing it. But do you really feel love can physically or emotionally hurt someone in a way that it spoils their life and their faith in this divine feeling? The crimes of passion – are they really driven by love? Love means to give, not to snatch away; love means to wish for happiness of the one you love, not to cause them unending suffering; love means to be good, not to let  the dark places in your heart take over you.
The book 2 in series ‘Love, It Is!’ tells you stories of this love – a dark and satanic form, which I believe is not love actually. Most of these stories are based on true events I have been a witness of, though I add a lot of my imagination to understand the background of those situations. I confess I add details and sometimes, even characters and situations. Yet, I try to keep the story close to its own essence.

Read ‘Love, No More…’ on Amazon and Kindle from 23rd June.

Once upon a time

I was a daddy’s girl

Then I found a life partner

And daddy thought I didn’t need him anymore

Did he not know no one could love me as much?

Once upon a time

I was so pampered

Then I had my own little ones

And everyone thought I had enough love

Did they not know that love is never enough?

Once upon a time

I was a princess

Of a story I wrote in my mind

Then I faced the real life situations

Did I not know it is really tough?

Once upon a time

I believed in myself

Then I made some stupid mistakes

And I thought I learned my lessons

Did I not know life’s teachings are rough?

Once upon a time

I thought I found happiness

Then I understood the bitter truth

It’s not easy to stand up for yourself

Did I not know high is the cost of principles?

Once upon a time

There lived a girl

Who believed in goodness

Then she experienced people

Did she not know it always ends in despair?

Picture this. It is 15 – 20 years from now. When you look back at today, would you ask yourself the question “Did I settle for financial security? Did I know that I had the passion to be what I dreamt of being and yet I sacrificed that for a mediocre (or even high profile) job?” This question haunts me every single time I want to write something and I am unable to because of work or other responsibilities. I read the biographies of people I think as great writers/poets and there is a common element I see there. Except for a very few lucky ones, all the others had a tough youth, meaning they did not have a decent job, or financial means to even support them. Many of them just wandered around, taking up some what we call as ‘lowly’ odd jobs, until one day, the fate tested them for courage. They, of course, exhibited the courage (precisely why we have their biographies) and they were rewarded with what they wanted to be! The most important common element in the stories of these great writers/poets is – they did not settle. I am sure many must have told them they are wasting away their skills or life. Many must have discouraged them. Many must even have ridiculed them. But it did not bother them. They did not settle, despite all odds against them, despite everyone around them asking to.

I dread to think that I will answer that question in affirmative. Because I have been telling myself I have time, I will be 100% dedicated to writing after I am done with x or have handled my y responsibility etc. But what if I don’t have time? I keep postponing my dream as if I get to decide how long I am going to live! I keep lying to myself every day that I will succeed despite not giving it my 100%.

So what do I do? Quit my job, a well-settled life and devote myself to my dream? Is it that simple? What about the practical day-to-day responsibilities I have towards people I love?

What is a bigger remorse – shunning the comforts and try to act on my passion, which has a risk of being unsuccessful? Or settling for a mediocre life?

Today is Mother’s Day. Ideally, my kids would have written something for me. They did. My daughter made me a wonderful card, wrote very loving things in it and she even fixed me a snack. They hugged me and kissed me and wished me. And I was touched. Again. I don’t know how the children manage to touch a chord inside your heart so often. I wonder for how long this will last. This thought scared me a little. So I sat down to write something for them today – a message for them when they are older, when they need me and I am not around.

This is what I would say to them.

My dearest Chunchu & Shiku,

If there is a God, I experienced His love through you. I felt love that I could not ever imagine existed, with you. There are many people who have loved me and I have loved, yet what I have with you both cannot be compared with any other joy in my life. I wonder how incomplete my life would be without you. I cannot begin to fathom if I would even know the depth of my own feelings, if it was not for you. So thank you, for becoming a part of my life and showing me what love is all about. Thank you for being my wonderful children and for loving me.

I would like you both to understand this. I know and I believe that whatever life throws at you, you can handle it with as much finesse as you colored with your little hands and as much dedication you put in learning a new thing, when you were little. I assure you that there will be at least equal measures of good and wonderful moments in your life as any tough moments you have to face. I can tell you that no matter what choices you make, you will achieve what you ought to achieve and you will be your best, always. I was and will always be proud of you.

Children, you were my angels, who brought light and hope into my life. Know this. My life meant a great deal because of you. Irrespective of any arguments we ever had, I was always on your side.

I wish you experience the same joy and same love with your children. I have and will always love you more than my life.

Your mom,

Manisha

There are many things that I feel strongly about, one of them being humble. Assuming that every person who is successful in any terms has become so through a lot of hard work and struggle, I think all successful people are bound to be humble. If you have achieved something that you dreamed of and worked for, aren’t you supposed to know how much effort it took to do what you did? Then, how can you just dismiss someone without knowing their struggles, their pains, their efforts? But I think the rule ‘success teaches humility’ does not apply to the following people:

  • People who think they are pretty big success in their field, though they might have just been able to produce only one thing or maybe not even that much. These individuals somehow have started to think that others cannot be a bigger success than them.  They wear rosy glasses, are flattered by their small circle to be ‘the best’, and wrongly assume that no one else can achieve what they have. These people need to look around them and accept that no matter where you are according to you, there is someone who is a bigger success in your field.
  • Then there are the insecure ones. Now, if you are a bloody good writer as you think yourself as, why are you worried if I start making a mark? If you trust your capabilities, I should not seem a threat to you, since there is enough for everyone in the world. Especially in case of writers, there are millions of readers for every genre, and a reader explores various authors and does not have to necessarily stick to only one author. So why are you scared of a budding writer like me? Perhaps you know you don’t deserve what you have achieved!
  • The assholes. There is no explanation. These people are just arrogant without any reason.

I am reminded of this woman who thinks of herself as a big shot in the writing world. Several years back, she was in an organization which is like a child organization of the one my hubby works for. So he met her in one of the meetings and happened to mention that I was a budding writer, trying my hand at different things. She suggested I should get in touch with her sometime. Now, I don’t know if she said that just for the sake of saying or did she forget the incidence. Anyway, I did contact her, many months later. She had quit from that particular organization and I knew about it. So I wrote to her saying that I would like to be in touch and learn from her since I knew she used to work in such and such organization etc. (The keyword here is ‘used to work’). Anyway, so she replied back asking me to join a group. And I understood her disinterest in meeting me. And I didn’t think much of it, until I saw what she posted on her blog. She had apparently gloated to everyone that this one lady was asking her out for coffee since she thought she was employed with a publishing house. And then, she went on to say how some people might not even know how to take a pen to a paper and dream about becoming writers, how some people just run after someone in a ‘position of authority’, how some people have no talent and yet force themselves on to the established writers. She did not stop at that but mentioned she was going to talk about it in one of the group meetings! Also she mentioned that everyone should read her book on how to publish. Ha! So that was the point! She was basically pushing her work onto a reader’s face talking all crap about me! What a wonderful writer she must be, that she has to resort to such cheap tactics! And what a wonderful person! And does she even know my work? Had she ever read what I wrote? FYI, the same magazine that publishes her articles also publishes mine 🙂

Anyway, why I am writing about this now? Well, this lady is now repeatedly sending my hubby invites to connect to him on LinkedIn. Why, may I ask her? Just because he works in an esteemed organization in this country and could be useful for her someday? I wonder if she misunderstood my message to her by such a great degree, and was way out of line to characterize me, what could be her intentions? People usually see in other people what they have in them…so…

P.S. This is one of those things I had to vent out, humane as I am.

My Books

Read the review Love No More (Love, It Is!)

Read the review Love, It Is!

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