Monthly Archives: November 2009

Change…

The kids don’t know what’s in store for them. They know something is coming, but they don’t quite know what. They know I’ve been going for “job interview”s and that I want to go back to “work”. They have heard Amit and me discussing daycare, but they don’t know what daycare means. I’ve told them they’ll be going to a second school soon, it seems to have got Mrini a bit worried. Yesterday, when I went to pick them up from school, she was sobbing in the teacher’s lap – most unlike either of them to behave like that. She saw me and greeted me with an absolute flood of tears. It turned out that she had been worried that I wasn’t going to show up. I wasn’t late, really, but some of the kids had started to leave, so she got worried. Poor little thing.

Today they had a class picnic. Wow! A picnic! My kids went out with a bunch of friends and not a single parent went along! They went in a school bus for the first time, they went to a strange place (a park of some kind, I gather) and somebody else took them! I don’t know about them, but this was a big thing for me. Given the uncertainty in the air with my new job and all, I thought they (or at least Mrini) might be worried about where they were going and all that, but they came back looking ok. I was waiting on the sidelines as the school bus drove up and disgorged the kids – the twins got off separately and walked off without seeing me. Tara was fine, though a bit confused (as always); Mrini had a slightly worried expression, but when she finally saw me, she smiled. If she had been really anxious, when she saw me she would have cried. So that’s ok. They didn’t say anything to me at all about the picnic, which is sad, because I’m dying of curiosity… but I suppose it will come out slowly.

And tomorrow, they start daycare. The first few days are on a trial basis to see how they take to it. If they seem willing to settle down and enjoy it, then we’ll have to shell out a horrendous amount towards enrollment, and three months’ fees.

The saddest thing about this daycare is that by the time they get home, it will be too late and too dark for them to go to the park. They don’t know it, but the era of park outings every evening with their gang, the Famous Five, is coming to an end.

Actually, the era of the Famous Five would have ended anyway, with the two boys going off to a distant land in a couple of weeks’ time. But the twins don’t know about that yet either. They so look forward to meeting their gang every evening in the park, it is going to be sad having to explain “goodbye” to them. At least daycare will give them a new set of friends, albeit in an indoor environment. The boys who are moving away, on the other hand, will have to get used to a new home, new country, new everything. They’re a few months over two, they’ll adjust quickly. Soon, they won’t even remember their gang, the Famous Five. It’s still sad, though.

It’s going to be a tough couple of weeks, as I spend long afternoons at daycare getting the kids used to the place. It would have been easier if I didn’t also have an Archaeology assignment that needs to be completed before I start work. But I know that it’s only a matter of getting over the bump – things will get easier with time as we all settle down to the new regime. I hope.

And then, soon after, sure enough things will change again.

Job-hunting

I hadn’t expected job-hunting to be so energy- and time-consuming, and so tiring! But I also hadn’t expected it to be so exciting! I can’t believe how alive I have started to feel just going for interviews and talking to people about what I used to do and how good I was at it. (There’s a time and place for modesty: neither my blog, nor my job interviews are the time and place for it.) Now that I’m actually interviewing for jobs and meeting people who are in the same field as I was and who can relate to what I did professionally for years, now that I can sniff a job or two in the air, now that people are even asking me what kind of remuneration package I expect… I feel like a big weight has been lifted off my chest and I can breathe fully and deeply at last.

Of course I enjoyed my time at home with my kids. Of course I was thrilled to bits at various stages of their development. I know that I’ve written enough about them here for nobody to doubt that. But at the same time, spending all day, every day, at the intellectual level of three-year-olds… I think I was slowly degenerating. Kids are stimulating, sure, but maybe they don’t provide all the kinds of intellectual stimulation that you need, once you are used to it. After a while, the constant chatter of “what colour is that shirt” and “say hi to your car” can leave you feeling somewhat deadened. At least I’ve had my writing, my Archaeology studies, and, of course, friends and the Park Moms Inc to keep me sane, but none of that makes up for the challenges and stimulation of a working life. And that’s just not something two little girls, however entertaining they might be, can provide.

Strangely, I never really realised the extent of my vegetation, my brain-dead-ness, until just now, when I’m finally faced with the prospect of leading a “normal” adult life again; of talking to colleagues about meetings, deadlines, products, tools and technology.

Parts of me are apprehensive about how the kids will handle it, how we all will handle it; parts of me are anxious and guilty about putting them in daycare; parts of me are worrying about how on earth we are going to keep this household running when both of us are going to be busy at work all day. But the part of me that suddenly feels awake and alive, excited and thrilled says, whatever happens, we will find a way to cope, but right now it is time, high time, that I got back to my professional life.

Cauvery Fishing Camp (Without The ‘Fishing’)

We took the kids to Cauvery Fishing Camp for a quick weekend trip recently. We’d taken them to Doddamakkali a year-and-a-half ago, when they were still too small to have enjoyed it much. This time we went to Bheemeshwari and they really did enjoy themselves.

Bheemeshwari is quite a bit nearer than Doddamakkali. We started around 8 a.m. and after a leisurely drive that included a break for a snack, we reached around noon. The kids played in some rubber rafts that were kept by the water’s edge, and then it was time for lunch. In the early evening, we went for a coracle boat ride. Unlike the usual such boat rides, which just take you around in a small area, this time we actually went downstream for a couple of km, and the water was quite fast. We have been whie-water rafting once, years ago, and this was nothing compared to that, but it wasn’t entirely placid either. There were sizeable waves, one of which swept right into the boat and wet a good part of Amit’s pants. Given that it was soon after the floods in North Karnataka, and that water level in the Cauvery was said to be still quite high – and, in fact, it appeared to be quite high, as we could see trees up to their knees in water, and roots of some of the massive old trees in the camp that we thought used to be above water were now submerged – I’m not sure how wise we were to go on this boat ride; but this was all part of the Jungle Lodges package, and they should know what they’re doing, so we didn’t worry too much about it. Besides, we all had our life jackets on… For whatever that was worth.

There was a jeep waiting to drive us back to the camp, but we decided to walk. They all thought we were crazy, and perhaps we were, but it was a comfortable walk of half an hour or so, and helped the kids work off some of their energy.

The bonfire that evening was very pleasant. It was too warm for a fire, but that didn’t seem to matter. We took a table some distance from the barbecue area, and the twins spent the evening running up and down ferrying food to the table and clearing away the used plates. I was amazed to see them go and ask the servers, coherently, for whatever they wanted. Amit had palpitations whenever the ran past the fire, logs from which jutted out in various directions, but they managed the evening without falling anywhere in the vicinity of the flames.

The next morning, we went for a mini trek. The guide allotted to us was visibly reluctant to lead us up the mountain path with the girls in tow. First he proposed a flat route, then, when I said no, we want to go to the watch tower on top of the hill, he led us a short way, then stopped and pointed up to where the watch tower stood. “Full teep” he said. It did look a formidable climb from there, but, having done it before, I knew it wasn’t that bad. Besides, after all the Himalayan treks we’ve done, I wasn’t going to be scared off a small hill like that, not even with the kids in tow. So we went on up the “full teep” path, holdin the twins hands and egging them on, and the guide took pity on them and led us up a route that eventually joined up with a jeep track and was quite as steep as advertised. We reached the tower in 40 minutes or so, and climbed the wet and slippery metal tower to the top. It was very misty, so we couldn’t see anything worth seeing, but it felt good to have made it that far with the kids. The descent, of course, was somewhat worse, but we made it without incident and were soon back at the camp seated at the breakfast table.

After breakfast, the girls had fun climbing the giant net and tackling the hammocks, and got scared by a monkey whom they rashly invited into the tent ‘for lunch’ and who appeared ready to take them up on their invitation. Then we all bathed and it was time to leave. Mrini kept us entertained during the early part of the car ride home by making up stories based on pictures in the books we keep for them in the car. She was amazingly good at it. She started each story with those hallowed words “once upon a time…” then she introduced some characters, usually monkeys, tigers or other wild animals, then she strung together 6-10 sentences about the characters, then she either trailed off, or ended with the other hallowed words, “happily ever after,” which, as she says it, would be written “happiligili after.” And on that happy note ended our first mini trek outing with our girls.