Sunday, April 08, 2012

Being a father - II

In my first post as a father, I intended to bring out what it is like to be a father. Basically, my life in the first three months of being a father. What I ended up doing instead was spend the real estate on the experience of Oorja's birth. So, here I am, trying to bring out how the first three months were.
First and foremost, these three months were away from Shveta and Oorja. They both were in intensive care of Shveta's parents. Under the watchful eyes of the seasond grand parents and in close proximity to trusted medical facility. So, though I was relaxed because their looking after was assured, I was anxious all the time as they were away from me.
As I visited them almost every alternate weekend, Oorja was growing into a new personality. She liked sleeping (probably all babies do) but had a very delicate sleep. So she would wake up at the slightest sound like someone coughing, rustling of paper or the likes. This meant all of were always on toes, literally! Besides, there were a lot of visitors who came to see the baby and the mother. That disturbed their routine even further. This is something all new parents should watch out for; regulating the visitors. At the cost of sounding rude, one should insist that visitors call up before coming. Oorja spent most of the time with her mother and maternal grandparents. My parents also visited them frequently. I was always under the impression that she will take long to know me since I was visiting them only twice a month or so. But, I was wrong.
The bond between a father and a child is not physical, like with the mother. Its more emotional. It comes with being with the mother during pregnancy, holding the baby, putting her to sleep. The baby doesn't really care how frequently you do the chores. She needs to know that you care. It was during my short visits home, that we realised that Oorja had majorly taken to being put to sleep by me. She didn't want anyone else. When everyone else failed to pacify her, she surprisingly found solace in my arms. As  she neared third month, she started to smile when she saw me. This recognition, this feeling of being wanted brings about a sense of responsibility in a man, as it did to me. You now know that all your actions are being watched and mean something to an impressionable mind.
I reciprocated by being more observant and particular around Oorja. While everyone wondered why she would suddenly begin crying inconsolably, I was the first to observe that she was pulling her own heir! I began understanding when she was sleepy, when she was hungry or when she was just uncomfortable. These were small things, but were a part of a sort of self discovery for me. This is when  I began to realise what being father means and what was in store.

To be continued...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

31


I turn 31 tomorrow. That’s about half of my active life gone by. Out of these 31 years About 15 to 16 years, I have been allowed to take decisions for myself – thanks to my liberal parents. However, suddenly a feeling has dawned that I haven’t done enough. I haven’t written enough, haven’t travelled enough, not enough exercise, not enough photography…just a laid back life that passed by as I procrastinated. So, I decided to first have a clear idea of what I wanted to do in my life and then achieve them one by one. Not in any particular order, but just strike them out one after the other. So here goes –
1.       Get fitter. Be able to run at least 5 Kms , swim 1 Km and cycle 100 Kms without the need to be hospitalised after.
2.       Do a road trip of the GT road. The grand trunk road stretches from Calcutta to Punjab in India and even beyond into the neighbouring countries on either side. Travel this length, possibly with family.
3.       Dedicate at least 6 months to community. As in full time work for some sort of cause. This is other than the regular community work that I should be doing day in – day out.
4.       Live abroad. Live in a foreign country for at least 2 years. Work there, make local friends and expand horizons.
5.       Visit Himalayas and every state in the country, at least once.
6.       Blog regularly. At least one post a week. However short.
7.       Create my personal website.
8.       Act in a film.
9.       Teach in a school/ college.
10.   Earn a PhD.
11.   Own and live on a farm.

To achieve these things, I will have to actively change myself. Some things, that passed off as habits will need to change. These are:
1.       Sleep less. Not more than 8 hours ever.
2.       Cut the crap. There are useless things happening all around you. Stay out of them.
3.       Learn to say no. and then say it!
4.       Be helpful at home. To achieve most of the things above, I need Shveta and Oorja to be with me. I help at home = Shveta gets to be with me.
5.       Spend/ invest wisely. Every penny earned & spent has to be in order to achieve the above.

This post seems to be tuning into a power-packed one. Since it is public, I am under pressure to comply. Periodic updates on this will be one way to ensure I am on track. Besides, there is always Shveta to keep reminding me.:-)This post seems to be tuning into a power-packed one. Since it is public, I am under pressure to comply. Periodic updates on this will be one way to ensure I am on track. Besides, there is always Shveta to keep reminding me.:-)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Should I pop a Tablet?

I have been ogling at tablet PCs for quite some time. Though iPad always seemed out of reach, the launch of Samsung Tab looked like the arrival of a affordable option. But my experience with touch-screen android phones was not very good (details in further post). So I kept weighing my options of owning a tablet - should it be the only computing device I have, should I sell of the laptop and buy a tablet, what would be the best combination? And I never came to a clear conclusion. Something always pushed me away from a tablet.
A few weeks ago in a casual conversation with a uncle, the answer emerged. A tablet computer was a consumer device. It gives a brilliant content consumption experience. Watching movies, reading blogs posts, playing games is awesome. But when it comes to creation, its a pain in the ass. My uncle owns a iPad2, supposedly the best tablet device of our time. But even he complained that a task as simple as responding to an email was laborious as compared to a laptop. Writing a blog post is far off the question. And this is exactly what pushed me away from a tablet.
If I can own a net-book for a fraction of a price, while having the capability to create as well as consume, why would I opt for a tablet? I totally agree that the consumer experience is to die for, but at what price? I hope someday I have enough disposable income (or friends with enough disposable income) to spend such an amount on a lifestyle product purely for content consumption. Till then the click of the keyboard is my favourite music!

Maternal Grandparents

As I write this post, at 4 in the morning, my father in law is desperately trying to put our 3 month old daughter to sleep. He is the only other man in her life right now; other than me of course. Sometimes, she is more comfortable with him than with me. Similarly, she is comfortable with my mother in law. This got me thinking about my childhood. How was it with me? My maternal grandfather wasn't alive when I was born, so I don't have any memories of him. But I definitely remember my mother's mother. Then I realised that especially in India, most people have more attachment towards their maternal grandparents than the other set of grandparents. This is mostly true in case of nuclear families where grandparents are not staying with you.
In my opinion this has it's roots in the tradition where an Indian lady stays with her parents during the delivery. Not only does the child hear the mother's parents while in the womb, but is handled by them right after birth. Most of the time the maternal grandparents even accompany their daughter to her home to help her get accustomed. Those sleepless nights, those oil massages, the bathing sessions and all the play and laughter creates a life long bond between the maternal grandparents and the child. The father's parents can trump this only in a joint family by being with you for the rest of your life.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Being a father - I

Yesterday I completed 3 months as a father and I decided to write on this right away. For those of you who haven't had a child, let me try to put it how it is. It's like having a new person enter your life, without any personality or baggage. You don't know the personality that will enter your life, you are going to make that person who s/he is. So obviously, it is different from marriage. Is it a responsibility? Hell yes! But then so is zipping your pants. Why did I wait three months? It took me that long to figure out what was happening. So here goes...
I always wanted a daughter. Everyone guessed from Shveta's looks, eating habits and what not that we would have a baby boy. But I deeply wanted a girl. Because I think girls are more balanced. Besides, a girl can do what a guy cannot but the vice a versa is not. Also, I wanted to bring up our daughter in a manner that would be unique with lots of freedom and adventure packed into her life. With a boy that would be given.
So, on 11th October 2011 [11/10/11], God heard me and blessed us with a beautiful girl child. I have been always been unsure when it comes to holding infants. Give me a year old kid and I will be her favourite uncle in under 15 minutes. But an infant with a wobbling head is a nightmare. I always ran away from holding any of my nieces or nephews. But when this 3.25 Kg bundle arrived, I was sure of myself. I knew I would hold her and hold her securely. She just felt right in my arms. She was too ...too...how do  I put it....too young to recognize me. We had hardly spent any time together! So on the day she was born, there wan no feeling of something spectacular happening. It all went normal and went home and slept well.
The person who felt the real pains of our daughter's birth was Shveta. She is one woman of steel. And not just her. Let me put it in black and white here - men know shit about pain. Going through a labour without passing off is the worst form of pain one can have. Period.
The feeling started slowly sinking in day by day. More on that coming up. :-)