Confessions of an FTM-1

With the little one sleeping peacefully by my side, I start writing about what I have been meaning to from a long time. Talking about time, I think it put on its fastest shoes in 2016 and is running as if it is being chased by a predator. I freshly remember how I felt when I saw a positive pregnancy test – confused + surprised. I still hold the same emotion with my junior unraveling each of his many talents every day.  As an FTM (first time mom), I feel overwhelmed and can’t help but wonder what a steep albeit good turn life took in the past year. I don’t have to romanticize pregnancy- there are enough movies that do this. I want to confess that pregnancy is not a walk in the park like they show. It is more like a roller coaster. Also, below picture please.

sq0sa7pk07sd67gsaaac7bewggll9aln_lg

 

Here’s a quick snapshot of my journey to motherhood:

The bumpy ride of nine months:

Sure, it was bumpy. Physically, my pregnancy was not exactly a breeze but it was nothing that I couldn’t handle. Emotionally, my pregnancy was a storm- especially to husband but it was nothing that he couldn’t handle (Now you know why I married him). Time went by the usual way- clothes getting tighter (which wasn’t new to me, hehe :D) , hunger pangs in the middle of the night(have them since birth), mood swings (nope, not alien to me) and  wearing loose tops to office so that no one suspected until it was time to reveal. I used to patiently wait for doctor visits, especially for the ones with ultrasound for the little lubb-dub from the machine. Counting kicks after a hot cup of tea followed by a quick walk was always my favorite part of the day in later trimesters. Researching each symptom online, talking to my mom about them the next day and getting a lecture about “how internet ruins one’s peace of mind?” became a routine. Even things going smoothly used to raise my brows sometimes.

futurama-fry-thats-suspicious

Hubby bought me a few books to read to take the heat off my head (read: his head) and of them, few proved to be very useful. Especially pregnancy books like “what to expect when you are expecting ” and Mayo clinic’s “Guide to healthy pregnancy” came in handy. I had my own relaxation drill too- Looking at babies on Youtube and IG.  I must have seen at least a million photos of different babies on Instagram and at a point, I became obsessed with one baby’s video so much that I couldn’t sleep without seeing it at least once! No, I am not exaggerating even a bit. Have done many such quirky things and I blame it all on the pregnancy hormones. Ladies, hormonal changes is a very good excuse to use when you are both pregnant and weird.

mood-swings

With firsthand experience, I can suggest the following for a healthy and joyful nine months.

  • Invest in good pregnancy stuff- maternity pants, inner wear, shoes, and a pillow. Might burn a hole in the pocket but it is worth all that. Also, now is the best time to raid husband’s wardrobe.
  • Work out (unless your doctor says no)- It helps to keep the sugars in control and a tired body guarantees some sleep (Be prepared for pee-pee monster to ruin it)
  • Eat well- Golden rule for good health is to eat fresh and in limited amounts at regular intervals. Also, be well hydrated.
  • Contemplate good things- Read good books, watch good stuff and laugh to your heart’s content.
  • Read to your baby- Though it may seem filmy and cliché, it is a terrific way to bond with the baby.
  • Expect the unexpected- Not trying to be pessimistic, but making a baby isn’t as rosy as they show in the films. There can be complications during and after pregnancy , there can be surprises with the ultrasounds, there can be hurdles in the labor too. It is only practical to expect that things may not go as planned and accept the situation with a positive mind. In my case, I delivered earlier than I had planned!
  • Kegel exercises- Do enough kegels because it helps labor and postpartum too. This is something that I neglected and I regret it.
  • Keep some baby stuff ready if not all-cribs , bassinets, strollers and car seats. Choose from the myriad options available and take some Tylenol later because the choices will blow your mind.

I had a pregnancy buddy!

One of my best friends got pregnant just around the same time I did and I am elated that I had her as my  pregnancy buddy. We also took a short trip outside San Diego which I would like to call our own babymoon! We used to talk about surviving our symptoms and our men used to talk about surviving us. A sample conversation between the two couples on a dinner date was like this:

She:   I have swollen feet. I cannot sleep.
Me:  I have heartburn. I cannot sleep.
Her husband:   Rama has weird cravings. I had to run and get her a cake last night.
My husband:  Anu roars like a lion in her sleep. I had to wear headphones last night.

She was few weeks ahead and to my surprise, we pretty much shared every symptom. It was like both of us were running a relay and she was passing each of them to me after an interval. So much that I delivered right a week after she delivered!

Attended parenting and childbirth classes:

Folks back in India laughed at the mention of classes. They gave us the classic “did we not raise you properly without all that?” but guess what- those classes proved out to be useful. We were given a trailer of how our lives would turn out to be in the next 2-3months and that trailer is no joke, dear friends. I dug internet like a mouse about pregnancy and labor from day1 but the classes still had some new things to offer. We also met other super cool expecting couples!

Labor:

I had a tough labor and to be frank, husband also took a brunt of it(a very good one). He became equally sleep deprived and exhausted. We exercised, meditated, tried to catch a movie and even sleep through the contractions. He stayed positive but my courage lapsed slowly. In the last leg of labor, it felt like I would be in that room for the rest of my life lying in that position strapped to IV and monitor like a dog with people cheering to do something that I was incapable of. How horrifying that thought is! My midwife tricked me several times saying it was the end but it never seemed to come. I heard from my mother that she had tough labor too and it felt like I was tasting my own medicine. When it was time, everything happened in the blink of an eye and I was holding the baby to my chest next second. That feeling? Empowering.

Hospital stay was fun- three of us in a cozy room living each moment without thinking about the next. Sleep depravity did nothing to us- we kept looking at the little guy without batting our eye lids as he slept peacefully oblivious to the damage he did. Postpartum was (is) very hard and because something beautiful was made, I took it well (sniff). Visitors kept coming and one of my favorite bffs Harshi flew in to see him! We went home after a couple of days with the little one- mature and thankful that things turned out to be ok.

Of course, they spiced up again for us new parents. But, more about them later. Until then, cya!

The backpack

Do you also have a backpack that is your favorite and which on emptying has restaurant bills from 325AD, one zipper that never opens or has been opened, one pocket which is meant to hold keys and coins but you never use it for them and one water bottle pocket that is only meant to hold this?

images

Which backpack carrying grownup drinks water from these yaar?

Anyways, the backpack that I’m talking about is not just a bag with padded shoulder straps and roomy compartments for laptop and clothes. It is a holder. It holds emotions inside its pockets so that people only see the pack and never realize whether  useful things lie inside or simply rubbish. It holds those unsaid words which people want to say but eat instead. It holds those memories which they very carefully treasure like those photos which can never be deleted from one’s phone. Not even when the phone threatens to empty owner’s soul saying “low memory”.

The backpack that I’ve been carrying in the recent years is rather heavy because I packed mixed emotions inside- it is as heterogeneous as a Cadbury GEMS packet. From India to USA, I’ve come a long way (both literally and figuratively) as a person. Mixed emotions because sometimes, my heart says that I miss being that old Anupama and  sometimes I can clearly hear it say “Grow up,  woman!”

Living away from home teaches one to be responsible to say the least. For example, imagine coming home from work to a bed that was left unmade or a penalty for a missed bill. It reminds you immediately of your mother/father’s constant nagging to do somethings on time and her/his warning that that laziness would hurt later.  On a related note, It doesn’t hurt to say that those little acts of discipline that were imposed upon us are really what help us survive the extended stay away from home(with lesser discomfort). Back in those days when my mother used to ask me to clean the dining table while she cleaned up in the kitchen, I used to secretly hope that one day I’d run away to a house where there was a table-cleaning maid.

Living away from home in a foreign land also helped clear a lot of misconceptions that I had. A typical “frog in the well” me used to have some bad feelings about the West that most of the Indian mob have (which I won’t list here because I care for my skin).  And I am so glad today that I’ve been proven wrong! Few things that really impressed me at my workplace about them are how well they own up to their work without a fuss,  how easy and graceful it is to admit one’s shortcomings and how important the distinction between “break time” and “work time” is (talk about work-life balance).  Even on personal front, their sense of forgiveness and welcoming the differences with other person without judging is something that excited me. It is not an exaggeration if I said that I saw this missing in some of my own people.

garfield-1997-10-13

I’ve a strong feeling that I was Garfield in my last birth.

Times that make me sad are when I “virtually” attend a family event over Skype. Amidst a thousand  “Can you hear me?” “I can hear you but cannot see you” “I can only see X’s right ear and your finger” “It’s ok , send me the pictures” , I barely get to see the actual event and that quick peek brings out the homesick feeling from the backpack. It’s really hard to tuck this feeling back in. Interesting question (8 Marks): Is quantum teleportation really possible?

I also feel meh that I can never be the same pampered girl I was before marriage. Sure I enjoy the independence and power of running a household as “the queen” but the joy of being a “darling princess” at home cannot be matched. And the fact that kids born in 2000 are hitting adolescence while I’m nearing the ugly thirties is getting to my nerves. Sometimes, I wish I was born in the times of Ramayana or Mahabharata where some people could stay young forever.  Or in the later times say 3156 or 3567 when scientists will have invented some time-halting capsule.

Coming back to my backpack, it also has a dirty chamber where all my dark feelings go into. Lack of self-control to begin with. Along with easy loss of interest and deep brooding over certain things (tch..tch) , a teeny bit of jealousy lies underneath this pile of garbage. These feelings are like the shopping bills trash that never leave the bag.  I constantly try to throw each of them out of the bag but it is still heavy(This is why I stoop a little, you know). I am society fearing so I am generally tight-lipped ( and hence tight-zipped) if I were to use these.

I know that everybody’s backpack isn’t necessarily same as mine. You know what they say- to each their own.  But anyway, here’s a suggestion to everyone including myself- Travel light because it is a long journey!

15 from 15

My biggest resolution for ’16 is to be positive. I hurt my finger 3 days back and I took a positive step by not panicking at the sight of blood and positively put a band-aid on it from a box that had a big “+” symbol on it. So much positivity is happening! Jokes apart, I am serious about being “+”. I cannot guarantee how long I will stick to this but this is how I have interpreted my retrospects for now-  a list of all my lowlights and highlights from 2015:

1. I wasted a lot of time.
A LOT! Wasted time on stupid things on internet, on incomplete projects and on useless gossip. Lesson learnt. I should have at least written sriramajayam all this time for punyam.
Anyways, I did come across some nice magazines like outofprintmagazine and good blogs like madrasink, padmum and mrigankwarrier. Please suggest good sites that you have come across{Bhagawan ke naam pe}.

2. I was open to failures and criticism.
Failure in my life is like that one FB friend whom you try to avoid deliberately but he catches you however and ruins your mood with nasty talk. And criticism is just the elder brother of failure. It’s hard to escape from these tragic bros and it is necessary to tackle them with wit and patience. In relation to this, some reality check happened this year and I have accepted that it is for my own good.

3. Cleaned my friends list.
I still have 500+ friends in my fb list for the record. But that is not the measure you want. Real friends are those people who “like” you for what you are and help you better yourself instead of picking on your shortcomings and bitching about it. I realized I’ve few such friends and I’ve been a true friend to just some few.

Free advice: Distancing from negative thoughts and gossip will save you from lot of nonsense and gives you mental peace.

4.Traveled.
Or should I say that I took good vacation? I’d been to many new places including a new continent! I had bad experiences with some flights and better experiences with ground transportation but the best experience was to chill with the group I traveled.

5. Pushed my comfort levels.
I am not a sucker for thrills. My biggest thrill is to go to the top of a green mountain (by road, of course) and drink coffee while looking at the clouds on the same level. I had this thrill couple of times already. So this year, I snorkeled (YAY!) and zip-lined through a rain forest. You people who did scuba diving and sky diving- please don’t mock!

6. Cooked, baked and ate all of it.
What else would a foodie like me say? I took a shot at cooking a lot of recipes from yummly and numerous cooking blogs that I follow. Some of them like lasagna bombed like crazy but hey- some like veg pizza were near to pro. Once you get a hang of cooking, it also relieves stress. This strictly applies to cooking and not cleaning the aftermath!

7.Tried new things.
I tried new color on my hair, did eye makeup all by myself and also baking.

8.Became health and weight conscious
I was always cautious about my health but this year I took it to the next level with next thing- my weight. Hoping to see results in 2016 or 2017 or 2032. Or may be sometime before I die.

source: 4.bp.blogspot.com

9. Made a stranger smile.

10. Got inspired.
This is not new to me because I’ve a new list every year. My list this year has one colleague who is our entire team combined into one and one fb friend who took up a challenge in 2015 and finished it. However in my case, this feeling generally has the lifetime of a cheese stick on my plate(approx 4 sec). I’ve decided to do better next year.

11. Read zero books.
Not that I am one person who reads everything that Crossword sells but I do read books. Especially when friends like Ro recommend. This year, I read ZERO. Discounting the book that airplanes have in their seat pouch with the safety card.

12. Sang something that I learnt when I was in high school and pulled it off.
Can this be something that I can be really proud of? Please please.

13. Netflix/Hulu and chill.
Imagine a kid who lives on dal and curd rice. Send him to a lavish buffet that has a nominal fee and spread from across the world. Not that the kid has never been to a multi cuisine restaurant before but don’t you get the point already? No torrents, HD Video and no pain of searching internet.
PS: Please note that the dal and curd rice are still my staple food. Masala is okay too as long as it is not unhealthy. Cannot eat stale food however.

OMG! I’m full of analogies today 😀

PPS: I followed “How I met your mother” back then for some time(but not for long). Now I wish Ted never met kids’ mother at all. ‘Kuch kuch hota hai‘ has a better storyline FYI.

14. Met a close friend and laughed to my heart’s content.
Kd, the fire star. Someone who has her name written in RED on (almost)every page of my college life. Cheers to 10 years of awesomeness and all that! There is one more that I haven’t met recently, but all in good time!

15. Spent quality time writing in Telugu.
I wrote several articles in Telugu (most of them are lying as drafts in my gmail). I read them every now and then and edit them hoping to publish but I honestly have no idea what I want. Everything either seems preachy or pointless. I am critical of myself.

If you’re still with me – I conclude this with a hope to have a positive 16th point next year. Here’s wishing everyone a very healthy and prosperous new year.

My Smartapps

Miss.Raman tagged me in her post. So here’s my two cents.

It is not necessary to be smart to buy a smart phone. And also to use one. This is probably why smart phones’ invasion to market was a great welcome to everyone. Dear reader, please buy yourself a smart phone if you don’t have one (Please consider the ones with Snapdragon 😛 ). Otherwise you will want to kill yourself when you see your 10-year-old cousin using Cricbuzz app. I saved my honor by buying a Nexus4 and these are the apps I use the most.

Hindi-Tamil-Telugu songs: To download latest/not-so-latest/big hits/classics mp3 FREE. I know there are many such apps in play store but this one is the best among all to my experience. Downloads are pretty fast and songs come with nice album art (if you are a lover like me) but wait, what will surprise you is the collection. “Pellikoduku ammabadunu” and ” Prema pichchi” in the list freaked me out. There is an exhaustive devotional songs section and also one old hits section which has picked songs from late 80’s and 90’s. The only drawback is the cap on the downloads, but who cares?

Twitter: I don’t tweet much, I am only trying to be regular. One day one sad follower sent me a PM saying please post something other than links to your blog. I was moved (read it as ashamed). Having said all this,  I am pretty much regular in reading and replying to tweets. The only way I keep a track of the outside world is through tweets. If 140 chars aren’t clear enough, I simply search for the article in Newshunt.

Newshunt: I do have google currents on phone but I am pretty loyal to Newshunt. Reading local newspaper on Newshunt is a perfect time pass when standing in any queue. The layout is sometimes disturbed but nevertheless this app is bettering everyday.

ESFile explorer:  Needs no introduction at all. I love it because it allows me to access remote files at ease. Built in RAR and ZIP facilities is an added advantage.

Cut the rope: I installed cut-the-rope much before Temple run. Because I do not (cannot) play temple run. The game is all about feeding candies to a cute little monster by cutting the ropes attached. Spiders and high tension ropes are seen every now and then. You have to give it to the graphics of this game. It is visually very impressive. “Cut-the-rope”  is highly addictive once you start playing and I highly recommend not to play it when your friend who knows how to pinch you is around (rubs on the shoulder).

Seven words: Probably the only word game that is as interesting as Words with friends.  Miss.Raman calls it easy but I haven’t even been half way through. A recent addiction is the logo quiz which is a better version of that which Playfish featured sometime ago.

Soundcloud: Soundcloud is a BGM bank for me. I religiously follow two users who upload ripped back ground music of Hin/Tel/Eng movies. Some of them even upload the karaoke versions of hit songs and covers by some famous artists. What else do I need as a music lover?

Instagram, Flickr and Whatsapp are my other must-haves though I don’t use them often. What are yours?

Where it started?

   I think it is human tendency to always trace back to the first one when we count our treasures. And the first one is obviously special because it marks the beginning of the journey. Moreover, what are we if we don’t remember our roots? This is the first one I wrote in 2006 and never stopped ever since. Here’s a thank-you post for keeping this blog alive. A sign of gratitude for the personal mails and “nice post!” pings.
A warm hug to all the new friends and foes I made 🙂 A heart-felt appreciation for sharing the blog with friends and kin. A big sorry as an answer to the “6 years industry but so less posts?” question.Thanks

Poll on the posts if you have a minute to spare!

anuiiith

This isnt the first time I have been to Tirupati.But this is the first time I have started blogging.So I have chosen this topic to have a good start.As planned before,We reached Tirupati by train and decided to reach uphill by foot.Now that was a real problem for me because me like people are categorised as lazy blokes.However snacks and drinks that would be available throughout the way have lured me to start.The luggage of all the pilgrims travelling on foot to Tirumala would be transported uphill free of cost.We started our “Marathon” after visiting the temple at Alipiri.the place from where the footjourney starts.Thanks to TTD,this route is absolutely safe inspite of being in a dense forest.This route covers all the seven hills whose atop resides Lord Venkateshwara.The seven hills are-Anjanadri,Vrishabadri,Seshadri,Niladri,Garudadri,Venkatadri,Narayanadri[I am afraid I havent listed them out in order!!!!] The pleasant mountain breeze keeps our spririts high throughout…

View original post 624 more words

Preparing for the interview!

Are you on the verge of completing your graduation/PG?
Did you recently get a job?
Are your parents taking too much interest in wedding stuff?

Congratulations, your placement season has just begun. The slightest hint you get about this is when your parents ask how do you like your recently wed cousin’s groom. Give a positive answer, they take it as a green signal for them to begin the hunt. Give a negative answer, a long lecture on “what makes a man a perfect groom?” will follow. Eventually, the search for the groom begins and all of a sudden, you start hearing about some damn relatives/family friends whom you thought never existed.

Meanwhile, Singles- your dreams of meeting Mr.Perfect will continue to be dreams and prepare yourself for changing your ideas on perfection. Others, Try watching films like HDDCS, Mounaraagam(heavy dose I know),etc to know how to get over your past relationship. Watching English sitcoms is one easier way to do it. While you are mentally preparing for the unprepared, the atmosphere gets heated up, thanks to relatives. When in a crowd, Remember to smile shyly while replying anything that has the term “wedding/groom” in it. If you don’t want to look into someone’s face, keep your head down and draw figures with your toe. If you don’t want to stay in that place, smile for one last time and rush to your room. All these are signs of your being shy.

One fine day, you will find your mother/father super jubilant when talking to you. You can easily guess what is coming- A marriage proposal! Act surprised and look at the groom’s profile with a mixture of emotions-coy and happiness. The location of the guy will certainly be US because it is your first marriage proposal. Your parents will convince you to go and meet his parents because the hero cannot(will not) fly down to meet you for the talks. Do not try to compare him with your man in dreams, there are feeble chances of any matches. You cannot express your opinion right away because it is too early and you don’t know him. You just have to say ‘OK’ despite of your not liking him (much). You feel like someone is throwing you both ends of a rope when you’re drowning(NOTE:this line is copied).

Then follows a training session on how to conduct yourself when you’re with your prospective in-laws. Don’t talk too much because you’ll seem talkative or naughty. Don’t talk too little because you’ll seem dull or haughty. Greet well, speak well and fare well to show you’re the right person for them. But of course to be selected, you’ll have to be better than the other shortlisted candidates.

Had your stars been lucky, You’re done with one such interview and the wedding follows. You still cannot express your opinion about the guy because it is too late now. Even if you dare to open up, thousand mouths will convince you saying you’re lucky enough for being liked by someone so early in the hunt and lucky for flying to US. Before you even accept whats going on around you, you will sit in the plane and go whee!

If you do not clear this interview, the same people who were mad about that alliance will start picking holes in it and and say it is good that it has been called off. You can whine about it for some time but will have to smile as if it makes no difference to you. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll be asked your preferred qualities at this time and henceforth coming proposals will be of some value. Else, the whole process repeats. What a pity!

The whole process of arranged marriage seems flawed to me. What makes it to a successful marriage? Learning about groom’s family history through someone else- how reliable is it and how far does it help? Is it enough if he is employed with some dream company and earns dream salary? Is it enough if his parents are well settled and the boy has no financial responsibilities towards them? Nothing can ever guarantee a successful married life. If at all there is something that can make some difference, it is the comfort level the boy and the girl should have with each other. This ,of course, cannot be proof-tested before marriage. Love marriages do not guarantee this either. Love birds getting divorced is also not uncommon these days!Srija and Sirish (if at all they can be called lovers) stand the best example.

Marriage is a gamble. Whether you win/lose is your luck. The only difference is that some know their opponent before hand and some do not. Some will have people to cheer the game and some will have to play it alone. Of course, some will have everything but do not win. Few will be lucky enough to meet their Prince Charming and so they win. I wish all the soon-to-be gamblers good luck!