The melodrama of everyday news.


Last week on the final day of our company meeting, we had an inter-departmental quiz contest based on current affairs and other general knowledge. To our horror we realised that from our accounts team of 8 women, nobody reads newspapers. Myself included.

Its not that we do not glance at the news and have an outline knowledge of what is happening in the world, but ask us the chemical name of Meow-meow (Mephodrone), or the exact number of seats won by AAP in the current assembly elections (67), and we were dumbfounded. I have always found reading the newspaper very depressing and hence I skim through it. But on seeing all the others in my team sailing in the same boat, I was shocked.

It is true, that even now in almost all households, the men can sit with their cup of tea and breakfast in the morning and read through the newspapers while women make breakfast, get the kids ready, plan meals for the day etc etc before leaving for work or starting other chores of the day. In my office team, all of these women have kids aged between 2 to 15 years and I am sure they must be juggling a lot of roles before they come to office by 9.30. I have seen my mom do that forever (although dad does make coffee for her and she gets those 5 minutes of peace drinking coffee) , and my mom-in-law makes fresh breakfast every morning even before we have gathered our senses together, newspaper kept aside till then. My baby is now 6 months old and my mornings are way busier than ever before, but that is no excuse for me. Even before the baby, I found very less time and inclination towards news.

When we were kids, my dad would everyday sit with me and The Times of India, and we had to read the headlines and atleast one entire article of my choice from the first few pages. I always found myself going over to the centre of the newspaper to read editorials, I loved them and still do, but the main pages were dreadful. And dad being the disciplinarian that he is, that ritual of the day could not be bypassed. 20 years later and there has been no change in my attitude. On the other hand, my husband voraciously reads all the news albeit on his tablet /phone. All real time. No stale news for my man in the next morning’s newspaper.

Long time back during a period when I was anxious and upset, worried about life, I had read some motivational book that said “Don’t read depressing news in the morning”. I do not remember any other details in the book, but this line became my alibi. I absolutely hate to read everything that is wrong with the world every morning. For instance todays news : “Greece debt crisis – markets set for a crash”, “BEST bus mows down 2 women” and so on and so forth. The Black Monday would then follow me through my Tuesday.

Of course, this as I said earlier is not an excuse. In global times like these, we have to be aware of what is happening in Mulund, a tiny suburb of Mumbai as well as the new metro opening in Chennai or the gay couple marriages legalised in USA. Although the later has been made hard to miss by all those Facebook rainbow filters used by folks in India, even when the desi section 377 bans LGBT rights.

But technically, if it can still be called a newspaper, I love the Bombay Times. Such happy and gay times, who got linked up with whom, who is starring in the next movie with my favourite actors, which destinations in India are a must visit before turning 30, 5 tips to get that acne free face and those hilarious sexual advice columns, all are my preferred items of “news”.

Nevertheless, let me go pick up my phone and go to the Newsreader app and see if there is any sign of the service tax to be reduced back, or if any import/export concessions will be allowed for our high-tech machinery under acchhe-din. Because I am a Chartered Accountant after all, and for Jignesh – business is business.


Sleepless Nights and Tired Days

Arjun book

With a little baby at home sometimes days begin with an inexplicable tiredness. Nights come and go without even a couple hours of sound sleep, the baby tossing and turning besides you, demanding to be breastfed every hour. It feels like an unending cycle of soothing, patting, feeding, burping, swaddling and trying to sleep yourself and then its 4 am. Birds start chirping outside, soon there is a tickle of a mellow light into the room and then the stark daylight of 7 am. But you feel unrested, the night never gave a chance to recuperate to face the next day. But it is okay. The baby wont be a baby too long and they say later you will miss the nights when he wanted you to comfort him. For now, I wait for that one night when 5-6 hours of sleep is even remotely possible.

Having said that, I know that is was my conscious decision to have a baby. it was not an accident. Husband and I planned this baby and the baby singularly brings more delight into our lives than any other other thing has. He has made us a family and I love being his mother. Breastfeeding him exclusively for six months is also a very thought out decision. I feel proud of it while at the same time I cannot believe how physically taxing it is. After having a proper dinner, if the baby feeds twice in a couple of hours at night, I feel famished. A deep hollow in my stomach. And once the baby sleeps again all I want to do is lie down and sleep for whatever time possible, but I have to get up and eat.

It is true that life is easier now than it was in the first 3 months since the baby was born. But I had very little expectations from my day in those first three months. Taking care of the baby and heeling myself after the rigours of childbirth was all I had to do. It is not the case anymore. I got back to work once the baby completed three months. I have to bake and blog. I need to meet relatives and occasional friends who take the effort to come down closer to my home to meet me as I can’t leave the baby for more than 2 hours at a time. It definitely helps that my workplace is 5 minutes away from my home and that it is our family business where I have a lot of flexibility with work timings. Mom-in-law and mom take care of the baby while I work and do other things. But with such ample support it becomes binding on me to live a full life and not laze around. It is almost as if I feel ashamed of taking an occasional nap in the late-afternoon when I go back home, because there is always something more worthwhile that I can do while the baby naps. And then after 4-5 days of round the clock baby care and work and other paraphernalia, the brain gives up. Goes in a zombie state and I shut myself out from the world with some music. While I work.

At times I feel it would have been easier if I had less expectations from life. And less tendency to feel guilt. I massage my baby with oil every morning before his bath. If in a hurry I miss it one morning, then the entire day I feel I was derelict in my duties. If one day I reach home 10 minutes late for his feeding and he looks at me with those “where-were-you” eyes, I hate myself for being late. Work immediately piles up if I leave even an hour early than planned and my to-do list starts getting longer. And to top it if I haven’t blogged in an entire week, I cant sleep at night. Words keep forming a plot in my head till I write them down. Its an unending cycle I have created for myself and I cant get out of it.

But I suppose that is the only way of life I know to live. I cannot not work. I need it to stay sane. I cannot stand the thought of feeding formula milk to my baby when I am producing enough for him to grow. I cannot take a break from the blog, the stories in my head will get suffocated. I cannot stop baking, the creative energies need an outlet. And I cannot not live. It’s the only life I have got.

Maybe tonight if the baby is relaxed and I get some sleep, things will be better and easier tomorrow. Maybe. But it is better to take it as it comes.