Monday, June 08, 2009

The Doctor Will See You Now!

Kids complain about sore throat, belly aches and all other sorts of childhood ailments as the years go by. During the first few years of their lives, parents are over them like white on rice at the sound of a sneeze, cough or even a sigh. But as they age and siblings follow suite, parents become less and less obsessed with the wellbeing of their children and learn to tolerate more.

Still every now and then, a child will complain and the parents for the most part take their place at the virtual triage area and complete the normal assessment. More often than not, a dose of cold medicine or kiss will make it better and all is happy once again. But there comes a time where a kiss will not magically cure what’s ailing them and that, my friend, is when you have a problem on your hands.

Gayathri had been complaining of a sore throat for a few days now. Sore throats, as we all know, stick to a kid more than her own shadow. So, like most parents we really didn’t jump the gun when she started complaining. Doping her up with OJ and slathering her upper body in Vicks was the normal routine. For Indian families, Vicks is the epitome of cure alls. But that didn’t help…the complaints kept pouring in every morning.

You would think by now any normal parent would be concerned and call the pediatrician. But not I. I laugh in the face of reason - HA! HA! HA!....I did what any other tech savvy mom would do….I “googled” for a cure!

I was looking for something along the lines of some concoction that I could brew or mash up to help her throat. There’s something to be said for an Indian parent using high speed internet to find some form of Ayurvedic cure. There’s a sort of cynical irony in there somewhere.

There must be a word for that….let me know if you find it.

As I kept getting webpage upon webpage of homemade concoctions and rubs, a teeny tiny voice inside me kept yelling…."CALL THE DOCTOR"….ok, so it screamed more than it whispered. But you get the idea. So, a day later, I caved. The diagnosis was nothing but a bout of allergies gone awry.

Although it was nothing serious, these past days did make me think about my actions. Why is it that we postpone calling the doctor these days? Is it because we know have so many resources at our fingertips that we’ve mastered the art of practicing simple medicine ourselves?

Is it because there is talk of so many new diseases that we are afraid the doctor might actually find something wrong with us? However I don’t think the doc finding the illness is what actually causes us to have it in the first place. But that’s another discussion.

Why is it that we trust strangers over the net to diagnose our problems than the flesh and bones person who know not only our history but our family’s history?

Whatever the reason may be, our docs are beginning to miss our visits. So the next time you get a headache, sore throat or even a nagging feeling in your back, pick up the phone and make an appointment to see your doc. It could be nothing…and the sooner you find out the sooner you can rest comfortably.

Cheers to your health!!
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Friday, May 08, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

It’s been a bit hectic at our house the past few weeks. I switched jobs, had papers to finish and finals to take, we’re having work done at our house, and the kids always have something or other going on. I was beginning to crack under all this pressure until Gauri came home from school the other day with a card and drawing for Mother’s Day. Thinking it was still a couple of weeks away, I was a bit confused until she set me straight on the days that have been flying by.

Do you have anything special for Mother’s Day? Regardless of what day the government has set aside for mothers, know that everyday is special. As long as your children are healthy and with you, consider yourself blessed.

I leave you with this excerpt from Nicole Johnson’s novel The Invisible Woman (W Publishing Group, 2005):

I’m invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, “What time is it?” I’m a satellite guide to answer, “What number is the Disney Channel?” I’m a car to order, “Right around 5:30, please.”
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.
She’s going … she’s going … she’s gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it.

I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, “I brought you this.” It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: “To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.”

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

•No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.
•These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.
•They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, “Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.”
And the workman replied, “Because God sees.”

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, “I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.”

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book goes on to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice themselves to such a degree. As mothers we are building great cathedrals. Hopefully, as the years go by, the world will hold its breath and marvel at the beauty that we’ve created.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Never judge a book by its cover

Remember when your mom always told you to never judge a book by its cover? Well she wasn’t just talking about books but also about people. How many times have we judged a person solely on their looks?

Well, the judges and audience of the show, Brittan’s Got Talent were no different when 47 year old Susan Boyle came on stage. The plump yet cheeky lady instantaneously reaped jeers and eye rolls even before she introduced herself. Her dream of becoming a famous singer and the fact that she had never been kissed just added fuel to the fire.

With the music cued, Miss Boyle starts her rendition of “I dream the dream” from Les Miserables and UK was shocked. That shock has now spread to the US.

Now, I’m not a fond listener of such music but this lady caught my interest and I’ve found myself listening to her several times.

I encourage you to watch this. And remember, don’t judge the next “book” you see by its cover :) Read more!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Dealing with Death

Death comes to us quite sudden at times.

Although it was a loss, we did know his end was nearing. Yes, my friends, it is with deep sadness that I am informing you of the passing away of Mr. Guppy. The poor dear passed away in our sleep last night. At least, we considered it was a “Mr”. Never really had that check out.

This aquatic creature of the sea (or the glass bowl on the kitchen counter) came into our lives over 3 years ago. Our youngest daughter Gauri was in kindergarten at the time and her class was learning about the miracle of life – in relation to guppies and snails only. Please people, we are talking about kindergarteners. Months later, upon graduating, her teacher Mrs. Gamache handed all the willing kids a little plastic baggy filled with about three or four guppies. Since Mrs. Gamache was also the kindergarten teacher for our oldest, she had a special love for the Subramaniam girls. Because of that special bond, we were also the lucky recipients of an additional baggy filled with snails. Yeah for me!!!

Well, throughout the months and years, the snails deteriorated – and I do mean deteriorated. All I saw were the carcasses of dry shells. And, one-by-one the guppies bellied up. All, except for our lone Mr. Guppy. Yes, that was his name! You see, by the time we needed to name this fish the girls were loosing interest and I was left to my own devices. Believe me, I tried. But there is only so much you can do to find a name for a 2-inch, cold-blooded vertebrae that was practically invisible at times. Besides, no one else even bothered with the organism other than “you know who”. Of course, on paper and in conversations Mr. Guppy was always the sole possession of the person who first held the baggy. But after about 2 weeks, I was appointed as the sentry to the bowl and all orders of care were bestowed upon me. I repeat... Yeah for me!!!

Anyway, I figured my duties would be relieved soon enough, when I began to notice the Mr. Guppy was not using his right fin. Now, I’m no marine biologist but I do know that when fish start to swim with a slight lean to the left, something is wrong. But both girls wouldn’t have anything to do with it. Gauri was sure that we just had a left-handed guppy on our hands and wanted nothing more to do with the conversation. Gayathri, on the other hand, didn’t give a hoot. After all, it wasn’t her fish. The guppies, she had brought home years before, died within the first week. So, as any mother would do, I let it go and figured that fate will eventually decide.

And it did.

I had to break the news to Gauri this morning – not a pretty picture. As I had expected she cried, her sister made dead-fish jokes, she cried some more (and loudly, this time), her sister got grounded for being so heartless, and I promised to go to the pet store this weekend so that we can fill the real fish tank, which is sitting in the garage, with lots and lots of fish. As the crying subsided we realized it was time to dispose of the body. All three of us stood around the ceramic tunnel to "fish heaven" and gave Mr. Guppy the proper 3-Flush Salute. Good bye dear. You will be missed....sniff sniff.

And where is Subu in all of this commotion? He was in shock.

He didn’t even know we had a pet. Go figure!
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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Wedding To Go To

Let’s just get this out in the open – We love Indian Weddings!!!

What else would help explain the fact that we take great pains to make it so colorful and have it drag on for days. We were born to Sing, Dance and Party.

Since traditional Indian weddings in North America are far and few in between, we were thrilled when an invitation arrived in the mail the other day. If you knew anything about Indian weddings, you too would have also been hooting and hollering just as my daughters did when they saw it. However, their glee soon dampened when they got a glimpse of a particular line on the RSVP card.

Numbers attending....(2)!!!

What a shock to their childish, happy-go-lucky minds. They were not invited.

It was more of a shock to them since they have been talking about this shindig for the past two months. As most pre-teens girls do, mine have been chit chatting with their friends as to which Lehenga they will be wearing, what songs they will be dancing to and who will be sitting next to
whom. No more! Well, all those plans went flying out of several Indian windows within the past 3 days.

Indian weddings, in general, have always been considered to be a family affair. Kids laugh and Run around. Grandmothers cast knowing glances as well as unnecessary remarks about the overabundance of the bride’s jewelry, or lack of. Mothers wish (or offering up pujas) that their daughters were next in line. Fathers and grandfathers, oblivious to the wedding at hand, just stand in a corner and wait to make good use of the happy hour. Former grooms try to catch a glimpse of what they can no longer have while former brides try to subliminally pass on an Important wedding day message to the new bride..."DON'T DO IT".

You've seen it. It's the same basic chaos that goes on with most weddings. But hey, what’s an wedding without a bit of chaos?

So, now that the number of attendees has been answered for us, let’s move
on to the next question. What do we do with the kids while we’re partying
it up? Since most of the Indian community has been invited, the finding of
a babysitter has become the proverbial needle in the proverbial haystack.
A majority of the parents are racking their brains in trying to find a
solution to this conundrum. Maybe we can herd all the kids in one house,
throw some non-perishables in through the window and escape before they
realize what has just happened.

You think it will work?
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