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There is no pill for this annoying thing

There is an ad on radio where a woman is asking another how she ‘gets so much done’ in just 24 hours. The super mommy who wakes early, makes food, presentations and evening park visits, credits it all to a pill (not THE PILL meant to keep aforementioned tiny park visit companions at bay).

Since she’s on radio it’s no secret that she’s lying, about three things mainly. First, no pill (or coffee) can make you fill your day with perfectly timed tasks done easy. Second, there is no such thing as perfectly timed tasks. Third, it is never easy.

All that the average lot of us manage to achieve on most days is avoiding a car crash while looking like a car crash. But there are some ‘highly efficient’ individuals, who spoil it for everyone really, because they have one (awfully boring) habit that unfortunately seems to work. It is called (don’t hold your breath) a To-Do list, named so that when it’s over you can end the day with the Ta-Da jig. In recent months I have had the undesirable pleasure of putting it to practice. Now I’m one of those people who either will not enter the rink at all or will go all Karate Kid on it (with many a bludgeoned face to show for it). So in my third decade on earth when I finally seemed to have a handle on what I wanted to do in life (write for peanuts & vino), I decided to begin ‘managing’ my time down to the minute.

Caution: it does not look pretty. It’s more kangaroo on acid on a trampoline (because she forgets she doesn’t need a trampoline). Here’s what the homo sapiens version looks like – you open a shared excel sheet (because it’s easy, accessible on multiple devices anywhere, does not waste paper), list down every darn thing that you need to do every day, decorate it with deadlines (I would curve the life out of them if they weren’t dead already), say ‘done’ on the side when you’ve got it over with and just to make it a party out there (if you’re the kangaroo like me) plugin the start and end time on the dreary bits so you’re racing to get out of there quick.

No one is going to put me on the radio to sell this pill but honey it works for this mama (so far) and it could work for you too. You don’t have to complicate your life exactly as much as I have with this attempt at becoming the boss of me. To your aid have come the good folks who make apps to glue us to our phones even more than we already are. They’ve created a few apps for the list lusters, so why not have a go at Carrot (lists turned into games) or Wunderlist (it’s pretty and allows you to share things like grocery lists with your partner, because c’mon, supermarket scuffles ARE the sex in cohabitation).

What lists allow us to do is break down tasks into surmountable bits that aren’t half as scary when they’re written down and ticked off one by one instead of floating incessantly in our minds. It allows us to do what writer Anne Lamott mentions in her brilliant book ‘Bird by Bird’, “Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

The biggest upside of the piecemeal approach to a day (other than the high of writing ‘done’ beside all tasks) is the patterns that appear over time, showing how you may be spending the majority of it in things that add little or nothing to your life (yes Facebook, I’m talking about you). More significantly, tracking your day can be the acknowledgement of one of life’s greatest truths – the only egalitarian treasure all humankind is born with and one we can enjoy until the end, is time (that is, when we can learn to hold down this Road Runner). Beep Beep.

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10 Things They Don’t Teach You in Pregnancy School

Knowledge sharing on Motherhood is unfairly tilted on the side of pregnancy-related information (maybe because there’s a giant woman on that side of the scale). Very little is said about what really goes on behind unbolted doors and open parking lots. Here’s my contribution to the What-To-Expect-When-The-Baby-Is-Outside-Your-Body section of the library.

1. There is no such thing as ‘private space’.

Prepare to be watched (touched, kissed even) while you’re trying to unload body junk in YOUR bathroom. No you cannot lock the door. Yes it’ll happen everyday.

2. Remember the days when you slept without a care in the world.

History, in this case, will not repeat itself. And there’s a new alarm to boot. Foot-in-mouth.

3. Put on your thinking caps, all the time.

You have to say something when your little girl points to a bra (or even what-lies-beneath) and asks “Mommy, what’s that?” Undergarment. Chest. In case you’re wondering.

4. Learn to say “Fudge”.

Its a 5 letter replacement for an oft needed 4 letter word.

5. Bid Adieu to Moaning Rights

Sex, at the odd chance that you get to indulge in it, must be carried out in stealth, like teenagers sneaking a smoke break. You could say there’s a unique adventure in that. Many wouldn’t agree. But you could say it.

6. Master the Deep Breath

Projectile Vomit on your face, Nosy Strangers telling you how to hold your baby, Chocolate hands on your linen pants. A deep breath tells you there’s a good life across the river.

7. Hide the Caffeine

If you love coffee (you don’t? seriously? let’s pretend this never happened) then you must consume it like sex (#5 above). A toddler will take to coffee like a cat jumping off the ledge chasing a pigeon. Them cuckoo. And with caffeine in their system, them the sort of young-wild-free you don’t want in your house. No Ma’am.

8. Watch the Baby Talk

Male colleagues, Twenty-something juniors, Unmarried friends might smile but frankly no one wants to hear what your little one said or did or ate or spilled. Everyday. That conversation is best had with always eager grandparents, the other parent of aforementioned baby and the baby.

9. Forget Television (or Beer/or Beer in front on the Television)

You can’t enforce No-TV rules and then put your feet up and watch Suits. If you must, there’s humping tigers on Discovery. And who needs television when life with a child resembles most features on ‘America’s Funniest Videos’. Go make your own TV. Better still, READ.

10. Get Flexible

You must have seen the cute little picture of a baby in a mother’s lap as she works from the comfort of her home.

And you thought, “Aww. I want that!”

Well, that picture is a lie.

Reality looks more like a toddler dancing in your lap pressing random keys on your laptop. As long as she doesn’t hit send, we’re safe. Learn magic maneuvers that involve arms (and legs) going around said toddler. Practice hard. Also, Proust must now be devoured under lamp-light after baby is asleep. So, (10a) Get a lamp.

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7 Things I Just Don’t (U)nderstand

1. Mascara at the Mall

Why oh why would ladies wear make-up to the mall? Save some for night time drunken safari I say.

2. Men and Stars Wars

So I don’t know if this is more about Yoda’s wisdom or Princess Leia’s derrière or both, but mention ‘Star Wars’ to a man and the facial expression changes to the look on a well-fed puppy’s face as he’s reminiscing about his recent lunch. And God forbid you should question the worship. Prepare to be given the head shake that says, “Oh, but you don’t get it.” Yes honey, I don’t get it. I might however read this for laughs.

3. Sarees at Sea

Visit a beach in India and prepare to be assaulted by the view of beautiful sarees victimised by being pulled upto the knees. Auntyji that six yard wonder never thought it would have to see this day. The Burqini has made it to the Olympics. Will someone make a swimsaree please? Watch and Learn.

4. Milk, Soggy Leaves and Sugar aka the Indian Chai

This one I will never understand. How can scores of people across the country enjoy this beverage made from the worst tea leaves of a plantation?

<There is no unappetizing Indian Chai photo on the web. It’s a conspiracy>

5. Unsolicited Parenting Advice

What makes random strangers think they can get away with telling you how to hold, cuddle, feed, scold YOUR child. These people I just want to be physically hurt. I’m always trying not to. Grrr.

6. Mother/Sister expletives

How did these even start? One day a band of boys decided they would push the limits of verbal hatred and began spewing female family figure venom? Pass by any group of boys chatting and you’re bound to hear them. And they’re communicating, apparently. And laughing, patting each other. Ha Ha, you sister-what-not. No boys, it’s NOT NORMAL.

7. Bag Elbow

What is that? In addition to looking like a very tiring activity, it is fairly inefficient in helping you do a good job of carrying anything, or managing to do anything while you’re at it. Remember that shoulder girls, get on, work it now. Or maybe I’m just a big bag girl.

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The Bare-All (B)ucket List. Or simply, “My Birthday is coming, pick a cause to sponsor”. I suggest #2 or #7

These are a few of my favourite things, some of the things I want to do, at some point, before I croak.

1. Read all seven volumes of ‘In Search of Lost Time’.

I’m on the last 100 pages of Volume 3. This one is a slow train, but there’s no rush. It is oh so delightful.

2. Watch Eddie Vedder in concert.

I’ve screamed myself hoarse at The Scorpions, Iron Maiden and Metallica. Eddie Baby Call me soon.

3. Learn to swim.

Okay, in my defence, scuba diving in Havelock has been accomplished. And who cares about the neighbourhood pool. But Robert De Niro swam to safety in Deer Hunter and I feel like I should know how to do it too. Just in case.

4. Finish a Marathon.

Honestly, this one is just so that I can shut the husband and his like. I’d love to throw that in his face the next time he launches the You’re-not-working-out attack. Toddler care and driving in Delhi are legitimate workouts. And fitting into college jeans post baby-pop calls for a celebration. But I think the marathon survivor tee ought to do it.

5. Roll-on-the-floor Laughing.

I have chuckled, grinned, laughed out loud yes, but a floor-roll? Reminds me of a play I was in at kindergarten. It was based on a fairy tale in a Hindi book, the story of a princess who never smiles. Her father, the King, calls people from far and wide to make her smile. Nothing works, not even a monkey dance. And then a man walks in with a pillow disguised as a big belly. The ‘belly’ falls off and the princess laughs and laughs and laughs. I played the princess and I did laugh. So come on world, drop the metaphorical belly so I can show you how I roll.

6. Write a Book.

There are demons in my head, on the road and in the grocery store. They deserve to be heard. And if it can be Wodehouse-funny I’ll kiss my knees. Because they’re saucy and that’s where the books rest on curl-up nights.

7. Visit a new place every year.

This stuff is real. It has worked in the past. May there always be enough cash and whimsy wanderlust to support this cause. Amen.

8. Shake at least some manic depressives out of their sad skins.

Not with fake belly acts but something that lasts; longer than a hookah high, shorter than a lifetime will do.

9. Sky Dive/Bike Ride Tutorials.

Not a stickler for these but if they come my way, hell why not!

10. Kick a Bucket.

Not the metaphorical death sentence. I mean place a bright, big bucket in a field and kick the damn thing. Someone has to do it.

 

P.S.: See the green badge on the right? I’m participating in the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. Read all about it here: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

We’re on Day 2 today with the letter ‘B’ for BucketList. Stay tuned, in April and beyond.

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5 sure-fire ways to win an argument with your Man

Francis Picabia – Amorphis collection

1. At any point during the argument, throw him down. On the bed, floor, couch, grass. Maintain I-want-you eyes throughout.

2. Play the “You’re not getting any” card.

1 and 2 are polar opposites and can be used depending on which stage of the monthly horny-ness cycle (waxing/waning) you’re on. Yes, that’s a thing.

3. Start howling in a manner that is utterly disproportionate to the issue at hand. But use this sparingly. It gets old quick.

4. Stare at his crotch between sentences. Lick your lips, play with your hair. Distract him. You know how to work it girl.

5. And finally, when the argument is beginning to heat up, get quiet and mysterious and whisper that you’ve been meaning to talk to him about something. Then go around in circles. Remember, if you can’t convince, confuse.

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12 things Toddlers have in common with Drunk friends

Parenting for the most part feels like learning to fly a jet in mid-air, guided by a 5000 page manual written in German (the pictures help). But when you’re parenting a toddler it feels more like being the only sober person at a wild party.

When babies cross the magical stage of being stationary (hardly the first six months) and move into toddler-land you begin to feel like you’re dealing with a very drunk friend.

1. In supermarkets, crowded malls, parking lots everyone stares at you because your toddler will lie flat on the ground for no apparent reason.
Toddler in a mall
2. From time to time they will touch your knees inappropriately and say “I luhve you” or “I really really like you” and mostly soon after they’ve raised hell over something innocuous.
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3. At hotels you find yourself making odd requests. “Hi, Can you please send someone up to the room. Our child threw the keys in the toilet…No we didn’t flush them.”
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4. They think dancing means jumping up and down, rolling on the floor and moving their hands around wildly. (Okay, this one is unbelievably cute in toddlers. Drunk people should just get a room.)

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5. It doesn’t matter if you’re running late. If they decide to spend 45 minutes on the pot, there’s nothing you can do about it.

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6. Everything and everyone is “mine”. The car, the dogs that live nearby, the movie they saw yesterday and someone else is watching now. “Oh that’s MY movie.”

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7. They love mirrors and posing for pictures with their cheesiest smiles, looking drunker than you know they are.

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8. Their urgency to pee is in inverse proportion to your proximity to a washroom. They want to “go so bad” when you’re on a boat, visiting a protected monument or sitting on the crowded banks of a holy river during evening prayers.

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9. Exaggeration is their middle name. Prepare to be badmouthed if you refuse them something. They will go around town howling to the heavens and saying you tried to kill them.

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10. They string meaningless words together to make grandiose statements that you surprisingly understand.

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11. They are open to being pushed around in trolleys, baskets and other curious vehicles for the general merriment of all.

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12. And finally, what really makes toddlers and drunk friends two peas in a pod is that you have no control over what they will do, play with, put in their mouth, dial on your phone, cry about, love today, hate tomorrow. All you can hope to do is take control of the extinguisher and point it in the right direction. Because when the fire starts (and it will) you better do a bloody good job putting it out.

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Laws of My Land

When you’re extremely excited and thoroughly prepared for an event it will get cancelled at the last minute.

When you enter a store and fall in love with a pair of shoes, they will not have it in your size.

Whenever you meet relatives you can’t escape ‘weight’ discussions. You have always either lost or gained weight since the last time they saw you.

Your toddler wants to use the washroom just when you’ve washed your hands and sat down to eat

When it’s finally your turn at a counter after waiting for long, they’ll shove the lunch-break sign in your face.

While you might carry your cell phone around with you all the time, it is most likely to ring in the 1 minute that you leave it somewhere.

Booking movie tickets for an 11pm show is no guarantee that you will reach the movie-theatre on time.

When you really need your hair to behave themselves and stay poker straight, they will develop a life of their own, and leave you looking like nothing on earth.

The probability of power failure or cable disruption increases with the eagerness with which you have waited for a particular TV program.

If you decide to spend some alone-time at a café, people will shower you with the “surely someone will join her soon” looks.

Pimples erupt on your face with a vengeance as a party day draws nearer.

Just when you’re having a bad-shoe/slipper day, you will be made to walk for miles.

You’re never too old to bang into things and hurt yourself while walking.

Washing-machine disasters (white shirts turning peach) aren’t the worst things that can happen to you, even if they seem to be at the moment of occurrence.

And

When you’re engrossed in overtly philosophical discussions, something rather banal (and unpleasant) will happen.