Saturday, April 09, 2011

ye tera ghar ye mera ghar or Ek tha Gul Aur ek thi Bulbul

For my state of mind this month, perhaps you should pop in for a moment. You enter our house to the "containment area", this is where the boys two are encouraged to sit down and take off their shoes, perhaps if we were living in times of "goods and services people apartheid" the drivers or gun men would sit there twiddling their thumbs (remember gun man? and the times of yore when it was such a comforting notion? making some of us sleep better at night, rather than.. well you know how it is!)

As you notice, considering I cant beat the office issue cane and red cushions I am joining them with all the red I could salvage from the Melbourne garage. The containment area also serves well for the Toddler to exercise all his curiosity and innate "Gotta see how it works" to a silly chandelier tea-light holder

Clearly I was not joking about the red in mein haus. The chik/blinds waley baba was requested to weave in a bit of red

 The resident bhabhi ji who has been given the brief to have thoda bahut interior decoration ka shauq, (operational hazard for where I am in my life)  has been concentrating on creating Rooms with A View (To Read).

Yup, there is a lot of reading going on in our house.

When we are not reading we are out confusing the kid that it is still 1930s out there. 

What do you mean press 2 to go back to menu?

This is where I will hide all the remotes so the Toddler never finds out it is 2011
(though it was a bit spooky to watch The King's Speech last month and notice that over the years I have unconsciously channeled the regal blue and gold in the homes i have lived in. Colonial hangover and fixation with King George V anyone?)

The Toddler was really thrilled that his new Itunes does go with him everywhere
For the past two months it has been ek tha gul aur ek thi bulbul every freakin' afternoon until Im ready to dig into the cartons and take out all the confiscated Bubbles (The Monkey who should Not Be Named).
 Why Mohammad Rafi why?
 Leading me to believe that the first salvo in the vales of Kashmir might have been fired by an irate mom listening to the record for the 5 millionth time.

It has not been all House Beautiful the past couple of days though. Often when people who have grown up quoting Ferris Bueller start living with people who have no idea (and were made to watch it one weekend so they could understand  what their partner was saying. Perhaps partaking in some light popular culture banter so for one week we could be an episode in a popular American sitcom) we have as I was just telling Houston last week A Problem. We are trying to get there, but it is not easy. One of us in a convoluted chain of events is blaming FERIA , growing up in a small town and the whole 1970-80s ban on foreign goods So yes small town India got the Gods (and a lot of heavy metal) but anything starring Mathew Broderick, Molly Ringwald or John Hughes listed in the credits, binnnnggg Ghalat Jawab. a Anything to drive home the point that he needs end notes every time I am through cracking a joke or moaning my cause. 

Being responsible for a Toddler is making the process of finding a frame of mind to participate in friendly banter a fair bit impossible ( considering we follow what some people might call  Risk Aversion Behaviour , frankly we just see it as a complicated route to avoid being the one changing his pamper). The trick of getting out of Pamper Duty is to never mention the word  Arhaan and poop in the same sentence, you name one and the other person can scream Go Check His Pamper, leading to the You found it So you clean it scenario. Which leads to pretty interesting conversations like:
Person A who has watched Ferris Bueller 300,00 times: Do you think someone might have pooped?
Person B who watched it the one time and remembers it as the guy who married Sarah Jessica Parker: It could be that a person might have farted.

It is also difficult to stomp off and have a good cry about the world and feel better in ten minutes as the Toddler follows you with tissues and whispers Why Mama Cry? Yes how horrible would you be to continue being terrible tantrummy after that question hmm. The Toddler continues with his hunger strike which began when he turned two  (though I have told him that Anna Hazare did have some juice this morning). There is a lot of attitude from him lately, and so The Man is stepping in some more and I wave to them from my desk.

So well that is all from me for this month. We return from our travels some time in May,  HongKong, Thailand, Malaysia please wave and say hello if you see us. I will fingers crossed get to see my sister for a week in Bangkok as she is conferencing in town. She being the One Who Has a Job and Gets to Stay in Fancy Places and me who is the full time Plus one for the Toddler.

 I am hoping I have a half decent camera some time soon so I can take pics of the house. I am all done prettying up our place and am dying to share the results. The Man did ask me what I would do if we have to pack up and leave this place in a  month or so. I did want to get back at him for being such a buzz kill. But being the cool person I am decided to  warble Any place I Hang My Hat Is Home.

Or as I will have you know "home  for me is wherever teddy and the boys two can put  their head down" 

Saturday, April 02, 2011

CSAAM April 2011-The Importance of Raising a "Rude Child"

The good people at CSA Awareness are marking the month of April with blogs, tweets and other forms of social media to raise awareness about the child sexual abuse. Do head to their blog here:
share your story on your own blog or email them at
Follow them on twitter at @CSAawareness
Join their Facebook page here to join the debate and stay updated about the latest posts and discussions.

Folks far eloquent than me have been blogging about it, so I will not repeat some of the arguments about being Aware and Alert, I will just share my concerns about how most initiatives regarding child abuse awareness continue to being restricted to survivor's stories. Yes it is important to come out and share, but with 53% of us having been abused at some stage (and let me add to this 99% of us do know of someone  who has been abused as a child) is it not time we discuss What Makes For An Abuser? I am really curious. For in majority of cases it is People Just Like Us. A family member, friend of a family, someone who might be a care-giver for us. So when we as parents sit our children down to have that talk, it is important to start the Other Conversations Also. For instance deconstructing the psychosexual metaphors employed in popular culture, I am not saying that you start Derrida 101 but right from the start share your problems with "dilwale dulhaniya lejayenge and no means yes" sab chalta hai attitude. When bullying anyone less powerful than you turns into abusing someone because they are just too naive. I am sure I have opened up a Pandora's Box right now, and at the risk of repeating myself I know it is important to have the "survivor's testimonies" but do remember that people who will click on this website are people who are already sensitized to the issue. Where do we go on from here. I dont know, yes I have nightmares about the child being abused but I am also sensitive to the fact that the child doesnt grow up to be an abuser too!!

Coming back to Raising a Rude Child. I wish we would never equate hugging or kissing a grownup as good manners. I am not saying that children (and we as grown ups) should not be physically demonstrative, but I am a firm believer that when we are small we do have some kind of in-built radar. somehow we kill those instincts in children by forcing them to give that hug when they dont want to.I t is damn confusing for children too, yes right now this uncleji or aunty ji is not  a predator but how do you know the next one esp. when you are not in the room is not?! And over time children get into the vicious cycle of the "disease to please" and suppress speaking out when they ARE being I am very happy when my child is forthcoming with hugs or  blowing you a kiss but I am also comfortable in future if someone goes tut tut  how rude is your child , sahi sey salaam, helllo hi hi nahi karta.

A pox on the house of all whom have abused me over the years, and woe upon me for just freezing every time but when it comes to The Toddler I am going to follow what my sister very wisely told me, Yes Our Children May or May Not Get Abused, but when they do (God Forbid) let them be Strong Enough to Come Up to Us. 
and to that I add and May We Have The Spine to Then Fight Their Battles For Them.

Edited to Add:
Dipali has made a very interesting comment which asks for a blog post of its ow.

do realise that in Indian society at least (and to this I add it can be any community around the world), male children are brought up in a very faulty manner if so many of them are, at various ages/stages of their lives, perpetrators of abuse.
Popular culture depicts random acts of molestation as romance.
Female relatives generally indulge the male child.
Where is the moral training of our sons?
How do we sensitize them towards other members of the family- the old, the young, the opposite sex?
How do we tell them that violating another person’s space is wrong?
Touching someone against their will is wrong?
Touching a younger person’s body inappropriately is wrong?
(There are female abusers too, but not as common as male ones).
And yet we need to trust others. Such a tricky tight rope walk this is.