Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Money, Money, Money...

... must be funny in a rich man's world.

Well, even Abba can't make me smile today.

If I had to look at my relationship with Goddess Lakshmi, I'd say she's been around, benevolent, but we haven't really gotten to know each other. I remember, even as a child, I'd ask for Goddess Saraswati's blessings first, even though my mum would says that Lakshmi only 'comes' to those who seek her. It was never money I asked for, it was always, always and irritatingly always, wisdom. Make me wise, I'd say, ever since I was six I think. 22 years later, I've been put face to face with the inescapable fact: what I know versus what I need are two completely different equations.

Nino's school admissions are on: and we've several options lined up, all the lesser of the evils that are home to the school system in my city. I've considered boards, teachers, first-hand experiences, my gut instinct, other people's freely doled out wisdom - everything - but for the fees. For long, I've been torn between knowing what can make my son happy and make him bloom, versus the fears (some mine, and mostly fed by others) of 'elite' groups, Nino growing up with complexes, about us having just one car in a 'social group' where every family has an obscene number of cars for itself, yadda, yadda, yadda. I've always believed that my socialist attitude to life would be helpful in shielding Nino from the trappings of economic status, but I've been told again, and again, that I'm not being entirely practical in my outlook.

The better of the schools are also expensive and my dad often points out that I went to a regular state board school and did pretty well for myself. And I'd always counter-argue that if we removed fees out of the equation, we'd still choose a particular school because it was so good for Nino. So why should lack of money prohibit me from giving my son the kind of education I want him to have? Because, dad reasons, there's no guarantee the brochure will be as good in real life. Be practical, he said. That's one refrain I've heard my entire life - I guess it is the one virtue I've missed out on entirely.

Today, I've been handed a fee slip for a possible admission that will break my already weakened financial plan. As I frantically thought this morning of what I'll borrow from whom, perhaps sell all those silly gold coins that I received in the wedding, I've been feeling like someone socked me in my gut. There's a voice in my head that says impractical idealistic fool, and I can't help the anger that stems from within me, for me. For all the books I keep spending money on. For being completely clueless when it comes to money, planning, saving.... Perhaps it is true: they were right about me. And yet, there is also this voice that asks me why would I mind being a fool for my son? He may not need it, or like I'm always told, he will not know the difference, and yet...

My childhood was filled with stories of heroism, of people who were brave and foolhardy who went forth to fight for what they believed in. These stories features mothers and women too. In a way, perhaps, this will be a heroic battle on my part. I too am brave and foolhardy, so what if my fight is monetary in nature.

I don't know if this time around I'll say 'Buddhi' before saying 'Lakshmi' when I pray, as I invariably do when I think of what I truly want from the Almighty, but I hope the lotus-wielding goddess is listening: I do want her too.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

When you have the time to stand and stare...

... You sleep in the afternoon, cuddled next to the warm body of your child, breathing in his hair in a calm sleep that usually evades you in the night as you race against time.

... You eat a lot :) Because at 4:00pm, there are just too many options in the fridge waiting to be cooked.

... You read a lot. Old stuff mostly. But I'm back to my 400+ pages in a few hours timing. Feels good. Feels like I'm 'back', somehow. And the genre doesn't matter. I did Potter's 7th book yesterday, for the nth time. And I still felt the same panic and thrill when he met old Voldy. The day before yesterday? The Other Side of Midnight. Today, I hope to conquer My Name is Red.

... You walk a lot. Errands. Evening walks. Nature trails. Feather hunts. Track the tailor/electrician/carpenter tags.

... You talk lesser. I'd so much to say and seek in the two-hours I got every evening when I got home from work - from everyone - and now I see and hear my answers in real-time: being present is an efficiency that makes me feel like I've a massive boulder off my shoulders.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night

So what do you do on the first day of not being employed?

Well, I'd planned to go back to bed once Nino goes to school. But my body clock is still hard-wired to the mad rush to head to work once his car-pool departs. And so I sit here, at 9:00am in the morning, blogging :D

I hadn't told Nino I would be 'more available' to him. I told him last night that you know, I'd be around more. It started out with his favourite question, 'so what stories did you do today'... and I did not quite know how to sum up my last day at work - considering it had been emotionally exhausting. I've been working there for three years now... and when I took the rickshaw home last night, after a full-day of goodbyes and goodlucks and confidentiality agreements being signed, this was playing in my head. I'm many things we could argue about, but there's no denying I'm a good girl .... who's free falling.

Anyways, so when I said 'well I did not do any stories, just checked other people's work', he groaned and said 'you've been checking for days now'... That's when I said that I don't think I'll be writing any stories now. And he sat up in the dark and asked why. I did not want to literally say I gave up work... so I just said I'm cutting back and I'd enjoy being there in the afternoons instead of getting home in the evening.

He heard me out, quietly. Then he made sure. 'So you'll be there in the afternoon'? Yes, I said. 'Not evening'? Evenings too, I said. 'Working from home?' Hahaha... my smart kid. 'Maybe' I said. 'But mostly not. Gonna do things with you'. With me and Gitaben, he prods... 'Yes'.

And then, just as quickly came his 'Yahoooo' and 'Yippeee'. And a flurry of activities got planned, including a visit to a nearby garden that he loves. Show me the way, I said. Then maybe you can show me what you guys (Nino and Gitaben) play in the afternoon... and then we could paint that board we've been meaning to, stick those wooden cars.... And the list went on.

Goodnight Nino, I said, finally prodding him to go to bed. But I can't sleep mum, he said. I've to 'teach' you so much...