Ma men and their genes

Author: Anu Karthik / Labels: , ,

I have always considered my son to be a relatively shrewd individual.  He is quite aware of his surroundings and of the people he interacts with. Or so I thought until today morning.

I have been growing my hair out for a while now. I donated 10 inches of it yesterday and converted from a long braid/ponytail to a bob. My hair does not even reach my shoulders now. So it is a big change if you get it. My dear son and husband came with me to the salon as they wanted to see how it was done, then when I got home with the new haircut, not a single reaction from him (V I mean). I took a shower, came down and asked if he noticed my hair cut. Zilch, nada and nothing! So I figured ok maybe kids don’t notice these things and then went about our usual routine. I fed him dinner, took him to bed. And woke him up today morning and again asked him about my hair. Nothing still. Oh well.

Then we had breakfast and I took him to daycare. I open the door hardly a crack to the Giraffes’ room and I hear in a loud voice.  

Seany* asks “ Heyyy..your hair is short! You cut it?”

And my son just walks oblivious to all this towards him and shows Seany* his Spiderman toy.

Sigh..why are all the men ONLY in my family like this???

*Seany is V's best friend and Spiderman buddy at daycare

Ten Ways to Bring the Zing Back in your life

Author: Anu Karthik / Labels: ,

Here is an article I wrote for this month's - Nov 2011 issue of Spark. Very often we find ourselves stuck in a rut, not sure of what we are doing, wondering if we are happy. Here are some ways that one can constantly find happiness, live tension free and enjoy every minute of a life that is so short!

For the love of knives

Author: Anu Karthik / Labels: , ,

When you see the words "Uma" do you say it "uma" or "Uuma"?
Do the names "Kill Bill", "Quentin Tarantino" and "Hattori Hanzo" ring a bell?

If you have no idea what I am talking about; then I am sorry that you have spent this much time of your life not knowing about this phenomenon. Please read this and this before you proceed.

I was introduced to QT and to Kill Bill not too long ago and though I normally don't watch gory, blood thirsty movies, somehow this was different. Somehow I could see myself rooting for The Bride and wanting her to taste revenge. And the build up for the Hattori Hanzo sword, I wanted to hold it in my hands as much as she did.

If on your journey you should encounter God, God will be cut.

I was looking for steel too, Japanese Steel. So, now let us not get carried away since I am no Uuma and not out to kill any vermin, the knife I was looking for was for my kitchen. And when I felt this knife for the first time and sliced it through that carrot, I knew my search had ended and I had found the knife of my dreams. I am talking about the Santoku.

I am sorry that I spent these many years not knowing the feel of this and not enjoying the way it slices through almost anything {yes, be careful of your fingers}. I have always enjoyed chopping but with this new find, it takes on a new meaning and I look forward to my cutting sessions every time. There are many brands out there (Wusthof Shun Henckels Chicago Cutlery Calphalon) and many stores that carry them (Amazon Cutco Williams-Sonoma Walmart Target)- go find your perfect match and don't delay any further. It will be love at first cut I assure you!

PS1. Do not use a glass cutting board, it will dull the knife and abruptly end your love affair.
PS2. Thank you Mayuravalli Mukunthan and Sangeetha Seshadri for showing me what I was missing all along.

Band Baaja Baaraat

Author: Anu Karthik / Labels: ,

March 29th 2011

Three words. Anushka Sharma. Ranveer Singh. Chemistry.

Now if you have not watched the movie..go watch it for the above three.

And then I will say a few more words. I enjoyed this movie and totally fell for pretty much everything in it J It is a wonderful entertainer. I loved Anushka, I liked here in Rab ne but she owned the screen here. And the costumes…sigh! Now to Mr. Bittoo Sharma. He was not bad either, especially for a newcomer, he did wonderful. The thing that really appealed to me was the crispness of the dialogues and the way these two oozed confidence. They totally were the characters they played. Very nice. And their chemistry…less said, more felt the better.

Another thing that I liked about this movie and Hindi cinema off late is the fact that they explore new settings; such as this movie set on the background of wedding planning. I thought it was a nice way to infuse a newness in the age old romance of Bollywood movies. And for me my career choice after retirement is set! 

Women - Let's empower Women

Author: Anu Karthik / Labels: , ,

Happy Women’s day to every wonderful woman I know!

As we celebrate the 100th anniversary for this women's day- What does it mean to celebrate women on one day in a year and not do much the other 364 days, not much I say! And when we as women don’t do much to empower other women, and are in fact the cause in most cases for how society treats us..well, I am not sure where to start, so many thoughts plague my mind and I’ll try to focus on a few.

Obsession with the Male and all things associated
It has never stopped bothering me how most of the society we live in still unabashedly prays/wishes and blesses a pregnant woman that she birth a male child. Not a healthy child first and foremost mind you, but a male child. I can understand why the male child was so coveted in the past – easy enough to understand. Earning member in the family, progeny, no expenses for weddings, claim to dowry, bearer of all family burdens. The son is considered the one who will take care of parents, especially as they age and succumb to needing help. But correct me if I am wrong, it is the daughter in law or the son who *actually* does the taking care part, the tending to the whims and fancies part, the raising the children part, and finally giving up her own family to accept the new family as her own from the day she steps into the house. And in today’s world, add to all of this the paycheck she also brings home. So why why why is the female child not the one who is coveted? Should she not be the one who is a boon to have and the one whom every mother prays for? And pray why is it that a lady – who is a female is the one who prays/wishes and blesses for a son and not a man doing it? Why is it a mid-wife who is again a woman again who kills the female child.  Maybe because she does not want another daughter to undergo what she underwent? Beats me.

Marriage, Dowry and the associated
It is sad that most of our society still looks up to a lady who has borne only sons. It is sadder that they look down upon women who only have girls. And what do these women who have sons do – demand a big fat wedding from these other women who have it is a woman to woman dealing here?! And while the son will go to any length to procure that cell phone or the bike that he wants or the romance at college that he will lie to his parents about, he will not go against his parents’ wishes being the obedient boy when they ask the girl’s parents to bear the wedding expenses. How convenient. Really? If you have not watched the movie “Father of the Bride” please do and that is the kind of worry a father should have. About the kind of love his daughter will receive, about how he is going to share her, not how he is going to afford the wedding. And to be frank what bothers most parents our generation is not even the question of affordability but the fact that it is taken for granted or assumed that they foot the bill and the groom’s parents think it is their birthright to ask for the same. Worse even is when they don’t even realize that what they are doing is wrong and in fact laud themselves personally that they don’t ask for a dowry. Really?

So it is wrong to have a grand wedding one might ask? Most definitely not. Weddings are usually once a lifetime affair and who says you should not celebrate it when those memories are with you for all your life. But how you go about it, who foots the bill and what you request vs. demand vs. own yourself will make those memories even more pleasant and will set a precedent for every member who attends your D day too.

Women – our own enemy

“My husband absolutely needs variety, he will not eat what I cook for lunch at dinner, I need to make something new every time.”

“Yes I come from a very modern family, we both work. But I still do 80% of the household chores too. After all that is the least I can do when I am allowed to work.”

“My daughter already has a daughter, I pray that at least her next one is a son.”

“Yeah, she is a real hi-fi type. Always wears make up and jeans. I don’t think she is family oriented at all.”

“Stop it! Don’t keep crying like a girl. Buck up and be a man!”

If any of the above sound familiar to you, just think about how you as a woman are putting yourself down. How you are empowering the male all the more in our society. How you personally by judging other women, are your own enemy. And the sad reality is much as we think we belong to a generation that is no longer facing these issues, if we take a moment and pause and think, it might not be these but I am sure there are other similar ones that you would have experienced. It would not hurt to stop a moment and think if each of us are doing anything consciously to hinder the progress women are making or actually helping it. Are we treating our own friends, our own children and our own parents –male and female alike? A small change personally will go a long way to change the ways of the world.

PS1: I have had the good fortune to be associated with some men and women who are exceptional in putting to practice what they preach, what they want to have, being the change they want to see. This post talks about the problems that plague us in general even in this generation and these individuals through their small ways impact the world around them in more ways than they know. Hopefully we can all be one of them!

PS2: While these touch on some issues that come to my mind, the worst undoubtedly is child sexual abuse and there it is a boon to be born a female as they are the ones in demand for trafficking, in the most pitiful sense definitely. And in most of these brothels it is other women who are the matrons who break these young minds and hearts.

While we may not be able to change everything in a day, with our thoughts, words and deeds let us help create a better world for the women of tomorrow. It is a pledge that every woman must make so that in the next 100 years, discrimination against the fairer sex will only be seen/read in history texts. It should never be ok that women are meant to be beaten and broken and violated - be it physically or mentally. And all this in many cases by another woman. And for that to change, the women must first take note and come together.

Is it too much to hope and ask that the women in our world come together so that *female* and *girl* become synonymous for how our scriptures intended us to be - revered and respected.

Things that fueled this post:
  1. This link shared by Gayathri, and this one by Bhargavi on Facebook. 
  2. Krish Ashok in The Alternative - here.
  3. These books - Half the Sky and Three cups of Tea.
  4. March issue of Spark.
  5. Many a conversation and personal experiences.

Overdue, Yet Again!

Author: Anu Karthik / Labels: ,

It is not uncommon for a library to have more than one copy of the same item. In fact it is expected I would think. However when you start having more than one copy of the same book (3 to be precise) in your home, you surely have a problem.

Our son loves Spiderman. If you don’t already know that, sorry to have left you behind. So anyway, he loves Spider man and he looks that order. So we visit the library like 5 times a week. Every day when Appa comes home, V opens the garage door lovingly, not to welcome dad home but to ask 1) If a book Appa had requested at the library is here and has he got it? 2) If that that did not happen, then please can we wear jacket and go immediately to library to see if they have any Spiderman book?  And with the rain we get here in Portland, this is an activity that we allow him to indulge in gladly. Between Amma and Appa, I agree he has made one too many visits there.

Ok Ok I am getting to the point. So on Wednesday last week I got a notice that some of the books were due and I remember checking and returning all 5. Friday I saw on overdue notice for a book called “Spiderman Saves the Day”. I was surprised because I thought I returned it but hey my memory is not too good anyway, so I searched his pile and I found it. So I took it and returned it tsk tsking myself and reminding self to be more lenient with the Mr when he forgot to return something the next time. And then again today I get another overdue notice for the same book. I was just shocked because I began to question my eyesight, my memory and also the fact that I could not rely on myself to do anything right. And just for the heck of it, I looked in his pile of books and there was yet another “Spiderman Saves the Day”.

And finally I got it. Our son has been grabbing multiple copies of the same book on each of his trips to the library ?? As a result I was returning the book but not THE ONE book that was due!

As I was chiding myself for not being more watchful, I see Mr.V sitting in the middle of the living room, with 2 books in front of him – Identical Winnie the Poohs. And he points to Pooh bear calling me loudly, “Amma, paaru adhiliyum idhiliyum”. [Amma, see Poooh bear both in this and that]. Sigh..what do I do with this kid J

A Mom's World

Author: Anu Karthik / Labels: ,

  1. Losing their night’s sleep for what seems like forever and still continuing to smile and love the *being* that causes it J
  2. Reading the same story for the nth time with the exact same intonations and still feeling joy every time it is read if only to see that smile and the eyes light up!
  3.  Giving up taking strategic projects and influential roles just so she can come home to focus on her child learning his colors and abcs.
  4. Not knowing which date/day of the week it is because her measure of morning and night are by the teeth brushed, the mouth fed and the snuggles felt.
  5. Only a parent can understand that *color TV* literally means coloring the TV for some and take pride in the fact that their child can think cognitively.
  6. Shopping now means buying diapers, toys, puzzles and clothes always for someone else.
  7. Going through every hour of every day imagining the joy in picking up their child from childcare, searching for eye contact, in spotting that little head bobbing amongst the many others in the playground.
  8. Anything that does not get done in the 1 hr nap time that her child takes can wait.
  9. Joy and Sorrow take new meaning now because they are experienced through another being, in his/her smiles or tears. Being a mom is allowing a part of you to walk out of you.
  10. Feeling more pride in the fact that her child is potty trained than in the fact that she helps Moore's law become a reality or that Obama is visiting her workplace.

 Yeah I know the last part got your attention, right :P