light humor

So, you want kids?

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Indian society has a problem. We somewhat detest the live and let live’ philosophy. Rather we’re followers of the live and let’s tell others how to live their lives’ movement. And true to this ideology, if you happen to be a single person on the slightly northern side of the age scale that begins at twenty-one, it is highly unlikely that you haven’t been asked even once - “So, when are you getting married?”. And even if you somehow manage to run away from that question and eventually with someone you want as your better half, they come up with the next question - “So, you’ve been married for ’n’ years - no kids yet?”. Sadly, there's nothing much we can do about it apart from silently mouth, 'Mind your own business!' Or deliver that witty and sarcastic one-liner we've been carrying around.  

As the father of a 33-month old cuddly, yet at-times overly active toddler, I have my hands full. Pretty much all through the day. Anyone who says that looking after young one(s) is not considered as a ‘job’ in the real sense of the word - kindly get a rectal examination done - your head seems to be stuffed all the way up your behind. Because, trust me - it’s the mother of all jobs. And hats off to every single mother on the planet for making it seem so effortless. I guarantee you - it isn’t as easy as it seems.

 

Ever since we’ve had our little one, there have been times that we’ve questioned the sanity of our decision to have kids. Yes, it is incredibly delightful - sometimes like living with walking, talking, laughing, utterly cute and cuddly teddy. But at times, it is also a rather dreadful experience when neither you nor the kids know why each of you are throwing a tantrum or bursting into tears over something as silly as a broken glass vessel. Yes, it’s a mixed bag of emotions, feelings and experiences, to say the very least.

 

During my pre-fatherhood days, I’ve often mused about this whole parenting thing.

What is it that a kid brings to that already healthy equation of two loving partners who mean the world to each other? Is a kid necessary for you and your spouse/partner to complete the picture of a ‘perfect’ family? Or is it because you are really worried about your lineage and that without kids, it may stop with you? Or is it because you love your parents so much that it has been your life long dream to give them grand kids?
  There were plenty of such questions running through my head when we were trying to decide if we wanted kids. And to be brutally honest, even as we waited for the home pregnancy test unit to show either the plus that would make us jump up for joy or the minus that would just make the optimists in us try again, I still did not know the answer of many of these questions.   I got around to writing this post because over the past year, ever since my ‘Daddy Journals’ started gaining a bit of popularity, I’ve had a few friends and readers ask me this question - if fatherhood/parenting is so awesome as you make it out to be, then why aren’t more people taking it to it? I could be plain blunt and answer that question with the charismatic smirk of a know-it-all diplomat and say ‘To each one their own’. And while that as a phrase is as good an argument as any, on a more personal level, I can only tell you what I’ve learnt.   For what it’s worth, I’d like to share it here:  

Do not let anyone rush you into this parenting thing. Because once you’re a parent, your very life as you know it, will change. You will still have late nights - except that the drinking and dancing will now be replaced by a feeling of helplessness while trying to figure out what a confused little soul wants. Oh, did I mention a confused ‘crying’  little soul? Enjoy.

Parenting is complicated. It always will be. People will try to 'un-complicate' it for you, but remember this - only YOU can do that. Because every kid (yes, even each of your own) is different.

There are no shortcuts or right ways to parenting. And no, there are no coursebooks. It is mostly a learn-on-the-go kind of practical lesson and you must be open to trying out what best works for you, your partner and your kid(s).

Having kids is like trying to eat your favourite ice cream while trying to navigate a heated obstacle course filled with LEGO bricks and other every day objects. Yes, if Daddy Journals ever got made into a movie, LEGO bricks would play the supporting cast.

If you’re lucky, until they grow up and are ready to clean after themselves, every day will involve either dirty diapers, poop-y behinds, sniffling noses, watery eyes, various bumps all over the body, chipped tooth, messy clothes, wiping drawings of Picasso off various surfaces such as walls, tables, sofas and sometimes even your favourite white shirt, projectile food and picking out stuff from your hair or pockets and being held to ransom over going to bed and wanting to play.

If you’re extremely lucky, you may get to see all of these in a single day. Sort of like the weather in magnificent England.

 

However as with everything in life, parenting has this balance which you must experience to see the blissfulness.

Like in my case, I was happy as a person before I met my wife. But having her in my life gives it a whole new meaning - a new dimension of happiness that I cannot begin to describe. And with my little one added to the mix, I’m now happier than ever. For it is a strangely humbling experience to realise that you will do everything in your power to make your kid’s life as perfect as you possibly can.  And despite the constantly messy, confusing and exhausting life that I have now, I am richer and feel more loved than ever before.

 

Plus you have the perfect excuse to eat ice cream almost all the time and play with toys and video games.

Jokes aside, there is no right or wrong answer to why you would or wouldn’t want kids - there are just careful, deliberate choices. So if you do end up having kids, make sure you give them the best you can. And if you don’t want kids, well, you can always be the fun uncle or aunt - all the fun but not much of the pain.

 Image courtesy - shutterstock.com


The evolution of Dad-Hood

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I first came across IMC  - Indian Moms Connect - when one of their regular authors had contributed a rather interesting piece, titled "Curious Case of the stay at the home dad". The part that caught my attention the most was the line :  

"I am sure that if these stay at home dads were back home in India where they were susceptible to being judged they would have abandoned post long back."

 

This got me thinking. Here I was, a work from home/stay-at-home kind of Dad who had recently moved to India after a reasonably long time in London. And while yes, I did bear the cross of judgement for a long while, over time I discovered that the best thing I could do was to continue doing what I wanted to and pay no heed to their head nods and judgemental glances. And then out of the blue, R's Mom, who blogs here,  contacted me to ask if I would do a piece on the perspective of a SAHD (yes, that's what the public call us - It's also pronounced s-a-d, which is just really...well, sad!). After pondering over it for a few days, I said yes, and like they say in the movies - "It all worked out quite well". They loved the post and well, as for me, I mean every word that I've written. So here's a snippet of what to expect.

*******

Somewhere in a deep cavern, hidden amongst the darkest corners of our world, exists a mysterious species. A species that has over the past decades, both adapted and evolved very rapidly. While they closely resemble all of us in terms of physical features, they do differ in one aspect -they go against the “assumed norms of society”. They live amongst us, going about their daily chores. You might spot them on the playground, sometimes at school drops; sometimes even mid-morning at the supermarket going about their own business. With a reported number of two million members and growing, this mysterious species could be considered as potential trendsetters - if what they do could be considered as a trend. But the frank reality of the matter is, they just do in their own style, what their better halves have been doing for thousands of years. And just like their other halves, this species too neither requires nor requests accolades or awards. All they need is some respect and not to be judged. Today, I wish to confess - I too am a member of that species.  I am a work-from-home dad.

Click here to read the  rest of the post on the IMC Website.

P.S. - I seem to have a problem replying to the comments there, so kindly leave your comments here too, so that I can reply. If you, intend to, that is :P

Lessons from a toddler

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Parenting is often compared to a roller coaster ride.“Why worry?” you think to yourself, rather smugly. When your time comes you take your seat on the ride, buckle up and hold on to the handrails tightly, hoping that everything goes smoothly. But nothing can prepare you for that ride full of twists and turns. I’m a father to an active toddler, and over the past 26 months, he’s taught me more than education, books or even my parents could have in almost three decades.  Who would have thought, eh? Whilst some lessons have been about realisation of self-worth and resilience, others have been about the more humorous side of life. Collectively they’ve been my guide to live a more positive life and today I’d like to share some of them with you.

Click here to read the rest of this post.  (Opens in a new window, so don't forget to come back and leave a comment)

I was fortunate enough to be invited by Sumeetha Manikandan (a friend and author of The Perfect Groom to come onboard a new project that she was taking up on behalf of a client. The project is all about sharing lessons that we've all learned from our experiences. And I thought, what better way than to pay a little tribute to my little monster who, as I mentioned, has taught me more about life than education or my parents could have. Check out the contributions by other authors at Lessons Learned

From Aw’cheu, with love

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  Dear Humans,

I need to own up. Though I’m part of a species that has been around for generations, I am not from your planet. I come from the square-shaped planet - Aw’cheu (Pronounced as Ach-ooo; Yes, the same sound that you humans seem to make when you sneeze.) Thousands of years ago,  the then king of Aw’cheu, my great-grandfather Ack’isu (Pronounced as Acc-iu) had a visitor from another planet. As is the norm in our land, whenever we have a foreign dignitary visit Aw’cheu, the king orders for the twenty-six characters that form the Aw’cheu Hieroglyphs to be sparkled, shined and displayed in the public courtyard. And it was no different this time around too. But fate intervened. One of the aides slipped on the rung of the ladder that was holding him up, and the entire set of characters fell down the chute that led to your planet. My great-grandfather immediately ordered the assembly of a recovery team who would go down the chute and bring back the characters that were the very symbol of Aw’cheu. However, no one had ever been to Earth before and was therefore cautious about the dangers that lurked in the shadows of the blue planet. The bravest of them all, my grandfather  Prince Schucergha (pronounced Shoe-sera), promptly gathered a band of Aw'cheuites warriors and decided to undertake the mission to retrieve our most prized possession. On the day of his departure, he sought the King's blessings and slid down the chute into the unknown with his team.

 

Days soon turned into months, and we heard nothing from my grandfather. However one day, there was a knock on the door that had been built over the chute to prevent any further mishaps. Our weakened King ordered the chutes to be opened to welcome our unknown visitor. As the giant wooden doors opened up into the grey skies, a giant blue creature rose from the chute with a large piece of parchment tried to its feet. The parchment turned out to be a letter from Prince Schucergha with updates about his mission.  My grandfather had discovered that when our Aw’cheu characters had fallen through the chute, they were collected by your forefathers who refused to hand them over. A battle ensued in which my grandfather and his band of warriors were defeated. In order to restore peace, my grandfather agreed to teach them how to use the characters to build a proper and effective communication system. And that’s how your English Alphabet was born.

 

It is quite natural to wonder why I may be writing this letter to you today. But I assure you that it is not without reason. As generations flew by, we continued to keep tabs on how you adopted and adapted to the language. Initially, we were ecstatic. You managed to develop it a lot further than what we could have ever imagined to. However, at some point circa 2000 years after that man JC passed away, two discoveries known as the Internet and Mobile Phones, started to create a bit of disorder. So we took matters back into our own hands. Together with many learned scholars from our peers, we formed an elite group called the IGPD, who were committed to right any wrongs that had been done to what was once a very special vernacular. Yes, we make mistakes too. Some of you are still alive because of that. If we had our way, you’d be languishing at the bottom of the deepest cavern on this planet while hot, molten lava poured from the top slowly consumed your physical being. Are you shuddering at the mere thought of that? Well, that’s how we feel when you vandalise the language.

 

Normally, we wouldn’t hesitate to kick your lovely, plump behinds. However we have been specifically told that there are rules that govern these sort of activities. So we’ve had to take deep breaths and walk around with a fake smiles on our faces, while silently correcting your grammar and spellings. But the world of blogs and social media opened up new worlds and avenues for us. They let us interact with some of your more learned and esteemed figures, who were proud to join forces, to battle this unprecedented evil. Together, we realised, that we could be the bigger (and better) beings and just try to teach you those skills again. Yes, the same ones that my grandfather and his warriors taught your great-forefathers. Given how wide-spread the epidemic is, we realise that it may take a lot longer than we originally anticipated. But we will not give up without a fight.

 

On that note, as part of this welcome letter, here are a few tips (and cheats as you call it) from our newly published e-book : English 101 for the Modern Online Human.

 

The Similar Sound conundrum

There are many words in the English language that sound very similar. But let me assure you that they are not interchangeable. So get a dictionary if you want to. These are some of those words that you may come across:

multiple

off_of

Your

Punctuation

A missed comma or a period (don’t laugh!) can create a lot of havoc. So please pay attention when you write sentences. Even if it is on your blog. It may save a few lives. For example: “Don’t wear black people.” and “Don’t wear black, people.” could be the difference between you being construed as a racist or a normal human being.

CommasMatter Punctuation

 

 

The Short character syndrome

The Short Message Service (or SMS as you humans call it) undid all the hard work that my grandfather put in. And then came that cheeky, little blue bird that masquerades as “Twitter” restricting everyone to 140 characters or less. Hence I understand the need to use slangs and sometimes acronyms in order to ensure you don’t overshoot the imposed character limits. But aren’t you taking it a stretch too far when you decide to use these “short characters” on a daily basis? Sometimes even in professional emails, letters and articles.

For example: The word “before” is spelt “BEFORE”, not B4. It’s English, not a game of Bingo.

SMSLang Write_comBLOG

 

The curious case of the English Language  

English is a funny language. Not everything is pronounced the way you read, nor is everything written the way it is pronounced. Deal with it! You will get used to it. Haven't you heard  - Practice makes perfect. For example: Did you want to “ask” me or “axe" me? I’m pretty sure one is murder.

English_GHOTIEnglish Pronounciation

 

So you see, we aren't entirely cruel. We appreciate that the English language is not easy to master. And we don’t judge humans based on creed, race, colour of skin, religion, gender, like you do. None of those classifications matter to us. That’s not to say we don’t judge. We totally do. But we base it on spelling, grammar, punctuation and sentence structure.

So the next time you vandalise the English language (which is rightfully ours), do not be surprised if we slowly creep up behind you and whack on the head until you get it right.

Thank you for your attention.

Grammatically yours,

seraquee

Ser’qua'eeq Burdraurnelmy Communication Lieutenant IGPD - Intergalactic Grammar Police Department To Correct | To Serve 

P.S. I’ll let you off for good behaviour if you can pronounce my name correctly. 

[This post is written for the Project 365 program at We Post Daily aimed at posting at least once a day, based on the prompts provided. The prompt for today was  "Tell us a joke! Knock-knock joke, long story with an unexpected punchline, great zinger — all jokes are welcome! " I agree that this is not really a joke-kind of post. But Ser'qua'eeq has connections who are holding my family hostage until I publish this post. Since there had to be a joke, here's one that keeps with the theme:Grammar JokeAll images are courtesy of Google Image Search. And my sincere apologies to the IGPD for any grammatical inconsistencies.

"Ouch! That hurt!" *rubs the back of his head*

Four Seasons - A Guest post for Pixie

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Strange as it may sound, Pixie and I bonded over a conversation that started on a rather crazy note. Needless to say, we both saw the reason behind the “craziness” and bonded over our love for food, writing, Bangalore, Mysore, reading and most of all, Enid Blyton. Pixie, just like her pseudo-name, has a streak of mischievousness and just like the folklore, she is someone who is very fond of dancing. She writes with a passion that is so rare these days amongst lot of us writer-folks and her blog represents her space and her thoughts on anything and everything. When she’d originally asked me to write her a guest post, I was apprehensive. I mostly write fiction and humor posts, which are based on the principle of generalisation. Though she didn’t impose, I knew she wanted something that was simpler and purer, sort direct from the heart, so to speak. I spent weeks trying to come up with ideas, and when I saw this prompt, I knew this was something that I could write on. And of course would fit the style of her blog. And with that note, I’m going to jump right in. divider I grew up in a magical Arabian desert land where it was summer, pretty much all year long. Now, before some of you go “Wow!” and “You’re so lucky!”, let me tell you this. It’s not as fun as you’d imagine it to be. Yes, we had seasons too, but it wasn’t the typical Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter that you would so often read about in those lovely books. Oh no! It was more like “Warm, Warmer, Warmest and Hell", particularly during the months of July and August, when the average temperature was often just shy of 50 degrees celsius. But then again, I suppose I shouldn’t really complain about the heat so much. After all, the only time that I was exposed to the sun was during my weekly P.E. class and when I tried to fit in a game or two of basketball after school hours and before my tuitions. Like they say in those MasterCard advert, “everywhere else, there was air-conditioning”. But even so, I’ve always complained about summer. Particularly because my threshold for heat is minimal. There are plenty of things I’m appreciative about. Sweat running down my face and down the my back and into my underwear, is not one of them. For me, the only things that’ve always been synonymous with summer have been those two-month holidays (which were promptly reduced to one month ones when I started 9th standard) and of course, the mind-numbing heat.

Read the rest of the post here on Pixie's blog : Click here

Please do leave comments either on her blog, or back here.

[This post is written for the Project 365 program at We Post Daily aimed at posting at least once a day, based on the prompts provided. The prompt for today was “For many of us, winter is blooming into spring, or fall hardening into winter. Which season do you most look forward to?"  ]