First blog post

Hey everyone, I know I am not a pro at writing but I have just begun. And I didn’t even knew I could until I picked up a pen and started to write and then it all came naturally to me. Through this blog I could write what I have in the heart of my heart, I could show the world what I feel and what I think. Let us all make a small family and lets begin our journey on a positive note. God bless our journey we are about to commence.

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Dear Moms, you are doing just enough!

Being a new mom can be really stressful. That too, if you are a first time mom, it is not going to be easy. I remember my time as a first time new mom and it was not a very good experience. I would burn out myself to be a perfect mother, a perfect wife, a perfect homemaker. But most of the times I failed and felt guilty all the time. I was on the edge of being depressed. But, I guess, I was strong enough to cope with it and come out with flying colors.
At the same time, I have seen mothers not doing great and blaming everyone else and themselves, for not being a perfect mother. This needs to be stopped. Being a new mom is not easy. As they say ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and hell it is true. New moms need to know that, whatever they are doing for their kids is OK. Whatever efforts they are putting is enough. No one is perfect in the world and a perfect mother or a perfect child is a myth. Whoever says they have perfect kids or they are perfect parents are lying.

Motherhood is all about learning with the baby. You learn in the process of raising a child. Yes, you will make mistakes, but they will be ok. Those mistakes are a part of your motherhood journey. Remember whatever you are doing for the baby, is for his/her best interest. Stop blaming yourself for everything.
However, when I had my second baby, I knew what to do. I knew how important it was, to think about myself too and not just the baby. How important it was, to take care of myself too and not just the baby. How important it was, to do everything to maintain my sanity because only a happy mother can raise a happy child.
So here are a few things I did. No, I did not do all of them, but they were definitely on my list. So go ahead and indulge yourself with a few of them, and see if it helps you in any way.
⦁ My doctor encouraged me to meditate and join Yoga classes, which helped me a lot in two different ways. One, it helped me physically, calmed my senses, made my trimesters easy. Two, I met many fellow mother-to-be’s and spent time chatting and sharing experiences.
⦁ I never realized the importance of spending time with myself before I had a baby. So my advice to all new moms or mom-to-be’s is, make sure and do whatever you can, to spend some time alone. Ponder over silly things, go watch a movie alone, go shopping, read a book, take a solo trip, visit a place you always wanted to, check a few things off your bucket list. You will see what wonders it does to your health and how happy it will make you and fill you with new found enthusiasm and energy. (Doctor’s advice is a must)
⦁ Visit your family, your cousins, your favorite people, your mom, your dad, your brother/sister. Spend time with them. Let them take care of you. talk your heart out with them. Share your fears, your agonies, your worries. Let yourself go back to your childhood.
⦁ It is a well known fact and no one can deny it, that after you have a baby, you spend more time with your child than your spouse. Having a baby is a life changing experience. Relationships change. Your camaraderie with your spouse is going to change. So go ahead, and plan a date night to rejuvenate your love life. If you already have a baby, arrange a nanny or your family or friend, and go on a candle light dinner, watch a romantic movie, do whatever makes both of you happy and rekindle that romance.
⦁ We all know, women love to shop, so go ahead and pamper yourself with all the things you might need after the baby or just spend some moolah and shop till you drop. Retail therapy is the best kind of therapy.
⦁ Cook some thing nice for yourself. We always cook for others. We cook what our husbands like or children or family and we adapt their taste and forget what we like to eat. So go ahead and bake some cake or cook your kind of pasta and hog on. The aroma of baking is the best kind of aroma your house can have.
⦁ A day out with friends can be really relaxing. Leave your kids with the husband and go ahead and take a day off with your friends.
⦁ Reading is always a good option and there is no better friend than a good book. Be it fiction, autobiography, fashion/food/travel blogs, history. Whatever is your taste in books, go grab one.
⦁ Fill your tub with warm water, put a generous amount of your favorite body wash, light some scented candles, turn on your favorite playlist, keep a bottle of wine or that cup of tea or coffee, and sink into that luxurious bubble bath for hours. Forget about the world. If you have kids, put them to sleep or just let your husband take care of them and just give your body this treat.
⦁ Think about the positive things in your life. Sit alone and count your blessings and thank God for them.
⦁ Netflix can be quite addictive, but if you have time on your hands, go ahead and watch whatever you like.
⦁ Fill your life with positive people. Make sure you cut negative friends or judgmental people from your life. They are no good to you and will only cause stress to you in future. So without thinking twice, distance yourself from negative people. Talk and take advice from people who understand you and help you stay positive.
⦁ Before and after you have a baby, make sure to pamper your self with a saloon visit. color those hair, get a new haircut, it helps to give a new perspective to yourself and life. Get a massage or visit your favorite spa.
⦁ Allow yourself more time to get things done.
⦁ Sit in the balcony, grab a cup of tea/coffee and do nothing. Just relax and enjoy the silence.
⦁ Make friends with fellow moms. Share your experiences , joys and failures. They will understand you because they must be going through the same and will never judge you.
⦁ Do not stress about your failures. It is ok to make mistakes. Parenting is all about making mistakes and learning from them. Stop feeling guilty.
⦁ Maintain a journal. If you can not open up easily in front of anyone else, just write everything down in a diary. It will help you vent out and will make you feel lighter.
⦁ Arrange for your kids and take that solo trip you always wanted to take or even better plan a trip with your friends. You have no idea how liberating it is to travel alone or with friends. Give it a try.
⦁ Create a hobby and make time for it.
⦁ Hit a gym, as and when your gynecologist recommends. Nothing feels better than to work that sweat out in the gym and go back to a toned body or just a fitter version of yourself.
⦁ If you can not go to a gym, go for midnight or evening walks or runs.

Motherhood is beautiful, but it is also a fact that we moms give all of our self to it and often end up neglecting ourselves. My first pregnancy was like that. I gave my everything to the baby and ended up being cranky, sad, depressed and messed up all the time. But when I became mother for the second time, I made sure, I paid attention to myself too. Because as they say ‘only a happy mother can raise happy children’.

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Why is breastfeeding in public still not acceptable?

I was in a frenzy, while my little 8 months old baby boy was wailing on the top of his lungs. I cursed myself for losing track of time and forgetting about his 4-hour feeding cycle while shopping in a local market in Delhi. He was crying hysterically to be fed. It was a hot day and I was out with my aunt who wanted my help for her daughter’s wedding trousseau. Although I thought of saying no because I knew it was going to be difficult with Abeer being so little and the heat outside, but she promised we won’t lurk around the market and just visit a few designer showrooms. “Atleast there will be AC!” I thought and went ahead with my little one. He soon dozed off as I nursed him in the nice air-conditioned changing room, of a posh designer showroom in South Delhi and I being a shopaholic myself, lost track of time. As everyone knows, women go berserk when they shop and so did we. We never knew when we reached to look for some miscellaneous random stuff in the local market around the showroom. Abeer woke up after his regular two-hour sleep, played with his rattle toy for sometime and soon started to cry. It was time for me to feed him again and damn! there was no changing room around here. The showroom we were in was far away and it was very hot outside. There were hundreds of people around and there was no way I was going to feed him there in front of everyone. This is India. It does not work like that here after all. As soon as the baby started to cry, people started to give me half annoyed and half sympathetic look. I tried feeding him some cookies, I kept for him, but he was in no mood to surrender. He wanted his portion and he wanted it now. I ran outside, not caring about the heat, to find any trial room or a restroom available. I went from one shop to another but all the trial rooms were full. It was weekend afterall, and with the wedding season fast approaching, people were all out for retail therapy. Finally, I found a shop and they were kind enough to give me some water first and then send me off to their stitching room. I thanked them and ran towards the 6*6 wooden compartment, which was already loaded with unstitched clothes piled all over and a stitching machine. The tailor left, as soon as I told him what I was planning to do there, and I without wasting anymore time shut the door and gave the crying baby, who had lost his patience by then and was nearly pissed at me, what he wanted. I was cramped with the baby in that room with no fan or AC, but I was thankful, I found a place away from the pruding eyes of people around.

I can tell you more such horror stories, where I sneaked under the big table in the conference room and feed the baby because there were cctv cameras everywhere or when I stood in the filthiest washroom I had ever seen and feed the baby, just to ignore the staring uncomfortable people around. Many times I would pump the milk in a bottle and would carry with me while travelling to places where I know it will be difficult to breastfeed. There are many, but at the same time I can share stories of the times, when I did not care about the stares and feed the crying baby in an aircraft and a train. There was one instance, when my 3 year daughter saw a cow feeding her calf and asked me what she was doing, in a car full of elderly relatives and I could feel the tension growing about my reply. I told her the fact without caring about anyone and few of them let out a sigh. Funny as it may sound, but isn’t it as natural as giving birth to the baby? why such a taboo about breastfeeding in our country whose population is about to explode soon?

At the same time in other countries, I have nursed my kids in open and no one gave me an eye about it. The world’s become quite a breastfeeding positive place. I’ve never gotten angry looks for nursing in public, and nobody’s ever suggested, that “There are children here! Can’t you do that in a room?”

Ubiquity and social acceptance vary from region to region. In rural India breastfeeding in public is completely acceptable. Definitely it is not a norm in higher sections of society, but is quite common in the lower economic sections.

I dread having to feed my baby anywhere outside of my own home. Mainly because it makes people so uncomfortable. Men and women both suddenly either stop making eye contact or you get the full attention of some creeps who attach breastfeeding to something sexual. Yes, there are men who support breastfeeding. There are men who understand what a sacrifice it can be, and think breastfeeding is a beautiful thing. But they still don’t know where to look, because they’re trying not to make the nursing lady uncomfortable.The problem isn’t me, and it’s not them, either. It’s that public breastfeeding hasn’t become normal enough, in our country.

Breastfeeding is a natural process that is important both for mother and baby. I remember myself at a wedding and my little girl wanted to be fed, so I covered myself with a shawl and started to feed. There was one guy sitting next to us, who could not take his eyes off. Although he could not see anything, as I was covered completely, still his imaginations knew no bound and he could not look away. My mother-in-law saw the look and went and asked him, if his mother ever nursed him and he said sorry and left. But the whole thing is this, that in our country, even though we know, that a child gets his best nourishment from the mother’s milk and how important it is, but it is still attached to a certain stigma. People find it sexual, to get a glimpse of a nursing mothers breast and by the time this stigma is not removed, we mothers won’t feel comfortable about breastfeeding in public and will have to depend on either formula milk or feeding bottles at public places.

Even though the practice may be legal or socially accepted, some mothers may still be reluctant to expose a breast in public to feed the baby, due to actual or potential objections by other people, negative comments, or harassment. It is not the duty of the mother alone. The child’s father and the family too should be supportive, especially in public places.

We see so many celebrities supporting the cause in our country, we see them talking about it and many celebrities went ahead and did a photo shoot nursing their babies, but the taboo around breastfeeding is far bigger.

A study reveals that more than 8 lakh babies die every year for lack of breastfeeding. It is definitely, the best form of nutrition for any child and an excellent way for a mother to connect with its child. Breastfeeding is the best form of nutrition a child can have during the starting year of its life. Breast milk contains Antibodies which help the child fight with many infection and diseases. It is equally beneficial for the mothers, as it rules out the possibility of having breast cancer to much extent.

India is definitely not a breastfeeding country but it surely and badly needs to be one.This is not surprising in our country, where cases of crime against women are rampant despite being fully covered. Feeding the baby even under dupatta or shawl feels uncomfortable to mothers. Lack of breastfeeding counters in public places like parks, shopping malls, railway stations etc. also discourage breastfeeding. Most mothers opt for bottle feeds when going out in public or traveling. Instead of giving nursing mothers some crampy compartments in trains and other places, we need special breastfeeding counters and educate people about it.

Although we seldom see few advertisements, run by government encouraging breastfeeding, we need to educate more and more people about it and make it a natural process to see a nursing mother in public, just like eating in public.

Families should be the best support system for these nursing mothers and should take good care of their health too. Eating a healthy diet while you are breastfeeding is equally important because what you eat determines the energy, protein, nutrient and vitamin content of your breast milk. So it is important to keep a tab of the diet, of a lactating mother, and families can surely play a role here.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life for optimum growth and health of the baby. Babies who are given feeds other than breast milk are known to have lesser immunity, more illnesses and require more hospitalizations.

So, in order to have a healthy tomorrow for our country, we need to make a move today and make breastfeeding a normal and natural process for everyone. That in return will make new mothers comfortable and they will be encouraged to nurse their babies whenever wherever needed.

Thank you for helping me through PPD (pre/post partum depression)

Maya has been married for two years now. She and Prateek had an arranged marriage in Bhopal, which was hometown to both of them. Maya was an ace lawyer in Delhi and Prateek was rapidly climbing the ladders of corporate world. Both were ambitious and made a bomb of salary. Their families were after them to start their own family, as the biological clock was ticking and Maya was 35 while Prateek was nearing 40, and their parents worried, if they delayed even more, they will never have a baby.

Although Maya wanted to wait some more but she gave in to family pressure and concieved a baby. She wanted to keep working through the pregnancy, but she had complications and was given bed rest for the entire first trimester. She started to work from home and was mostly stressed, as she was trying to rock both the boats at once. She had anxiety most of the times, as she was scared she was not doing enough at work, also she had confusion, fear and stress that she might loose the baby if she was not careful enough. She discussed the issue with few of her friends, who had babies, and they told her it must be hormonal imbalance.

Being a workaholic, she tried to work as much as she can from home, but she could not concentrate and her doctor told her to take full rest as mental pressure can lead to fetal loss. She took 4 months leave from her office and spent her time reading books and watching TV. But it was not enough.

For the first time in years she missed her mom. But she couldn’t stay with Maya, as she had a business to run in Bhopal. She promised to make arrangements and stay with Maya after the delivery.

After Prateek went to office she felt lonely and irritated. She couldn’t sleep much and developed the feelings of guilt or worthlessness. She felt unaccomplished and felt she was not good enough. She spoke to her doctor about it in the second month. The doctor told her, it could be prenatal depression and referred her to a psychiatrist.

Prateek was seriously worried about Maya by now and took permission from office to work from home. He also called his mother, who was happy to help and came instantly. With regular therapy sessions and love and care of Prateek’s mother, Maya started feeling better and less lonely. But still something was off in her.

She gave birth to a healthy baby boy. After the delivery, she was sad most of the time. She got irritated on lame things and was overwhelmed most of the times. She was ready to cry at the drop of a hat. The whole feeding the baby and changing diapers was a little too much for her. Although she loved her baby to the moon and back, but she felt trapped and on the edge all the time. She did not feel like talking to anyone or getting ready or going out. Even if Prateek asked her to leave the baby with his mother and go out for a movie, she refused. She was confused and disoriented.

Prateek understood the urgency of the situation only after he tried to find online the reasons behind her such behaviour. He knew it was time to visit the psychiatrist again.

As soon as she reached the psychiatrist, Maya started to cry and told her how she felt. She told the doctor she felt as if she failed as a mother. She took the blame of C-section delivery. She said she did not try hard enough. She wanted to give birth the natural way and it was all her mistake. She told the doctor she felt like a cow, feeding the baby all the time. She said she failed in giving proper care to the baby due to which the baby cried all the time and she could barely sleep. She was tired of cleaning, nursing and changing diapers all the time. She wanted to go back to her normal life and spend time with her husband too. She was irritated most of the time and wouldn’t let Prateek comfort her or even hug her. She hated her bloated body and wanted to wear nice clothes and spend some time in saloon getting her nails and hair done, but she never got free from the ever wailing and crying child.

The doctor helped her with some medicines, as well as, making a chart and a proper schedule for her. Prateek and his mother were both very supportive and they also took help from a nanny, who would take care of the baby, so Maya could catch on some sleep. The doctor advised her to meditate and join some support groups.

Prateek offered to take time off work and help her as much as possible. Over the next few months, she was exercising more and getting more sleep and had significant improvement in mood and energy.

Maya was feeling better soon enough because of the support she got from her husband and both the families. She was also thankful to her doctor. She cared for her child and family even more so, but now she took care of herself too. She went out with friends and Prateek on dates. She went to saloon. Slowly she started working again too. With the help of her doctor, family and husband, she got her life back.

So ladies and all you new moms out there, don’t shy away from taking all the possible help. Only a healthy and happy mother can give birth and raise happy healthy children and we all know there is nothing more important to mothers than their kids. Every mother will have a different journey and every woman will have different symptoms. I’d like to encourage women that they are not damaged or different, that they are not failures as moms or wives. Guilt can be a very damaging aspect of PPD. So go out and talk to your husband or friends,family or doctor, anyone but express your feeling and let it all out. Have faith that you are not alone and there is help just round the corner. All you have to do is reach for it.

Whatever your parents have, will ultimately be yours!

“Hi Kanchan, how are you?”

“Hi Vikas, I am fine. What happened? You called so late!”

“Yes Kanchan, I don’t know how to say this, but I think, we will have to cancel our booking for that flat.”

“Oh, why? what happened? Wasn’t the broker suppose to get the paperwork done before our wedding? And now with just a week to go, what is the issue?”

“Even I don’t know. That broker just called and said, we need to give the remaining 20 lakhs within a week, or else the booking will be cancelled and we will loose our token money too.”

“Oh, but how can he do that now? With the wedding preparations and all, already we have a lot on our heads. How are we going to arrange 20 lakhs now?”

“That is what I was thinking. May be I should cancel the booking. Yes 10 lakh token money will be gone, but it’s impossible to arrange 20 lakhs in less than a week. I will call him first thing in the morning and cancel the flat. It’s just that, I did not wanted you to suffocate in our small flat, with a joint family, so I booked that flat, to give you a comfortable life. But I guess, we will have to let it go and look for another one in a few years.”

“Vikas, 10 lakhs is a big amount. Can’t the broker refund it?”

“No, I asked him and he refused.”

“Vikas, wait for sometime. Let me call you back.”

“Vikas, I just spoke to Dad. He is ready to give 20 lakhs. He said, he wanted to give a nice gift for the wedding anyways and was thinking of buying a car. But a house sounds even better and he said he will pay for it. He wanted to give the entire 30 lakhs, but I refused and told him to give 20 lakhs only.”

“No Kanchan, I can’t accept the money from you. I wanted to buy the flat for us, with my own money and I would have easily paid the installments, but this broker messed the whole thing. No! I better cancel the flat. How can I take money from your father?”

“It is OK Vikas, remember, your parents are my parents and my parents are your parents. And what shame in taking help from parents? Dad is happy to help. Let him.”

“Ok Kanchan, I don’t want to, but if you are pushing so much, then I will let him help, but I will return the money soon.”

“Ok baba, whatever you want to.”

“I love you, Kanchan.”

“I love you too,Vikas.”

………x…..x……x…….x……x……x……x…..

“Vikas, Can we buy a small car for me? It takes more than 2 hours to reach office by bus. If I have my own car, I can drive to office and reach in less than an hour.”

“Ok, I will think about it Kanchan.”

“Kanchan, I have a better idea, Why don’t you bring over your old car from your house, that you used to drive before you got married? You can bring that car here and use it, meanwhile, I will book another, new one for you. This way you won’t have to wait for a new car.”

“Yes, I can, but Mom drives it now.”

“Oho, Mom use it to go to kitty parties and buy vegetables. She can always book a cab. She doesn’t use that car much. It mostly stands covered in the parking. Moreover just talk to your Mom and see what she thinks about it? I am sure, if she know, that you need that car, they will not say no to you.”

“Yes, they will not say no, but it doesn’t feel right to keep asking them for something or the other. We still haven’t returned the money we took for this apartment.”

“That is because you said your father wanted to gift you a flat and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, or else, I would have returned the money long back.”

“Yes, but you only said you will return……”

Vikas was angry by now “Kanchan, I gave you option to live in our old house, with the family but you chose to live seperately in an apartment. It was your choice and you asked your father for the money. I did not force you to take money from your parents and now you are making me feel as if I made you take money from your family. Plus you are the only daughter and your parents have many properties and so much money. What else will they do with it? Who else will they give it? Whatever is theirs, finally you will get it. So what is the big deal about it?”

Kanchan felt those words cutting through her heart like a dagger. It was not the first time that Vikas said all this. It has been two years to their wedding and she heard all this quite often and she always kept quite because somehow, Vikas made it all seem right. Plus she also didn’t want to fight with Vikas over all these lame issues. After all he was right. Her parents were rich and buying her a flat or that diamond set that she liked and Vikas sent the pictures to her mother, without telling her and her mother transferred the money to Vikas’s account and Vikas bought that set for her on their first anniversary. She came to know about it much later that Vikas took the money from her mother and promised to return it but never did.

Or that trip to London. When Vikas was going to London for some office project for 10 days and Kanchan wanted to go too. What will she do here alone anyways and they were newly married and wanted to spend time with each other and her father booked Kanchan’s ticket because Vikas couldn’t afford a return ticket on such short notice, but he wanted Kanchan to go with her, so he told her father and he happily booked the tickets and transferred money in his account for shopping too.

Or that new furniture or fridge or down payment for a property in Delhi. Vikas always took money from her parents on a promise to return, but he never did and her parents never asked for the money because they wanted Kanchan to be happy.

But money can’t buy happiness. She looked around her house. Ninety percent of things in this house were given to her by her parents. She was not sure how long this will go on and she hated to take money from her parents. She was always an independant girl who made her own money, from a very young age and never took help from her parents. Her parents always taught her to be financially independant and have self respect.

When she met Vikas at an office event, she thought he was a man with values and strong convincing power, that is the reason he won all the awards in the Marketing and Sales department every year. He was a man of words. The way he presented himself, Kanchan was impressed and fell in his trap.

Vikas knew she was from a rich family, while Vikas’s father was a clerk in the Income Tax department. He lived with a joint family, in a small government quarter, all his life and Kanchan’s big house and even bigger car, her carefree attitude, her lifestyle, her beauty and dressing sense, everything about her impressed him and he managed her to fall in love with him and finally marry him. He knew his life was going to change and it did.

First he bought the house and then he furnished the entire house in the most luxurious way. Then he bought a big car and many foreign trips in just two years of marriage. He loved Kanchan very much. She was a very nice girl who respected his family and took genuine care of his parents. But all this was secondary to him. He was always ambitious and he felt suffocated in the house he lived all his life. His dreams were big and he wanted to achieve much more and Kanchan was the key to all his dreams. He always kept her happy and pampered.

Kanchan understood now but she felt helpless. She touched her grown belly. It was just two more months and the baby will come. She wondered how much her parents still have to pay after the baby comes. A tear ran down her cheeks and fell on her belly. She knew what she had to do. She went inside the room and started to pack her bag. She didn’t want her baby to be like father.

Hello my lovely ladies! Leave your comments about your thoughts on this article.

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Waiting to read from you guys.

Love n hugs.

Beginning of the end (Part 1)

Sheena was always the most popular girl in every school she ever went because of her father’s transferable job. It was mostly because of her carefree attitude, her knowledge and majorly because of her looks. She got many modelling offers, but her parents wanted her to study, after all she was a bright student, and her parents had high hopes from her. She wanted to be a commercial pilot, just like her mother and unlike her father who was a fighter pilot. She had a thing for everything glamorous. She loved to dress up and put on make up and go to parties when ever both her parents were flying.

She was already making plans for her upcoming 16 birthday party. Her parents also wanted to make it extra special for her sweet sixteen. Sheena wanted to throw a big party for all her friends. Many of her friends from other cities she stayed in were also coming. She still had to select a dress and she told her parents she need a designer dress only and her parents agreed.

Her life was perfect and she was the hot topic in her posh school in South Delhi. Everyone wanted to be her friend, to know her, to be a part of her life. Most of the girls were jealous but still wanted to hang out with her. Her parents were open minded and they gave her space and respected her decisions. She was their only child. Although they pampered her a lot but she was a good kid and they knew it.

Today was the annual function in the school and she was the showstopper of the fashion show organised by sponsors which was a big fashion brand in India. She was getting ready backstage with the other professional fashion models who worked for the brand.

“Hurry up girls, 15 minutes to go.” Said the choreographer.

Sheena was ready and was taking tips from the make up artists when one of the models asked her to join a few others in the washroom.

Sheena and her two friends from school who were also participating in the fashion show went inside the washroom.

“Here, try this.” Sheena was handed a white powder by one of the models.

Sheena knew exactly what it was. She had seen many of her friends in other cities doing it.

“No way! How did you bring it inside? We are going live in 10 minutes and we can’t be doing this. If someone saw us, we all will be in trouble.” said Sheena.

“Hey you Miss Precious! Don’t act smart with us. If you want to go on stage then you have to take it or we will make sure you end up looking like a fool on stage.” said one of the models.

“And what’s so bad about it anyway? It helps you loosen up and gives you courage to face the audience. Most of the models do it and it only helps us gain more confidence on stage.” said another model.

“Hey Sheena, let’s try it. I always wanted to see what is all the fuss about the drugs anyway.” said Komal, her classmate.

“Komal, I have seen my friends doing it and ruining their life. I will not suggest you doing it, nor am I going to.” Said Sheena in a stern voice.

Just then she felt two hands holding her and she felt the pungent taste of the white powder in her nose and mouth. Her head started to spin for a few seconds but soon she gathered herself and saw everyone in the washroom snorting the powder just as they were called on stage.

The fashion show was a success and Sheena was praised for her charismatic presence on the stage. Everyone was highly impressed by her confidence and the way she walked the stage, like a pro.

As she walked back to the green room, she saw the same models who forced her the drugs.

“We told you… it’s awesome.”

And despite the fact that she knew how harmful the drugs were, she smiled back to them and thanked them.

Sheena knew now that if she wanted to succeed fast, she need more confidence. And she knew where to get it from?

Son, don’t de-root us!!

Rakesh and Rajni had a full life together. People knew them as a happy, 60 year old couple. They met in college and eventually got married. Rakesh was a government officer and was recently retired and so was Rajni. She was a teacher in a government school, for almost 25 years now and had taken a voluntary retirement. She wanted to be with Rakesh now.

Both had a beautiful home, in a posh locality in Kanpur and four children. Two girls, Rohini and Rashi, and two boys, Rohan an Rishi. Girls were both happily married and boys were both studying. Rohan was in America, in the last semester of his MBA, while the youngest Rishi was doing MBBS in Bangalore.

It was a rainy evening. Rakesh and Rajni were sitting with some friends in the garden under a shade, while enjoying rain and having tea and some snacks, when the phone rang. It was Rohan, from the US. “Papa, I have got a job. I am still on training but I will be paid for it. I am sending you tickets. You both have to come for my graduation next month.”

Rakesh was very happy for the success of his son and Rajni couldn’t stop boasting about it, but Rakesh knew it will be difficult to travel so far, as Rajni had a knee transplant few months back and she still had problem sitting, with legs hanging for long hours. Rajni saw the worried look and smiled back at Rakesh. They were going to see their son after two years. Nothing could stop them.

She then called Rohini and Rashi, who told her that Rohan had already called and invited them, but they both had to decline because Rohini had a 5 months old daughter and Rashi had her IAS exam coming up soon.

Rakesh and Rajni had to leave in a month. They got the paper work done and Rajni started preparing pickles and sweets of Rohan’s choice. She was very happy.

It was a hot sunny afternoon when the phone rang. Rakesh answered the call. It was an unknown number from Bangalore. He thought it must be Rishi, but what he heard from the other end froze him for a few moments. It was unbelievable. He stood there with the phone on his ears, even after the call got disconnected, with tears flowing down his eyes. The call was from a police station. Rishi was dead. He met an accident and died on spot. The police had called them to claim the body.

They both cried for hours. Their world had shattered. Rishi was the youngest and brightest of all the kids. He loved his parents too much and never wanted to go to Bangalore. But Rakesh pushed him to go and study. Rishi promised his parents to open a nursing home in Kanpur so he can stay close to his parents. Rakesh cursed the day he pushed Rishi to go to Bangalore. But the inevitable had happened and nothing can be done now.

He had to make arrangements. He called up a few of his friends, who came immediately. He then called up Rohini, who lived in Lucknow. She was close by and can come sooner. Rajni needed her. She was inconsolable. Rohini can handle her well. He informed Rashi in Mumbai too. She promised to be on the next flight and meet him in Bangalore. He left a message informing Rohan, in America, too.

After the cremation, their house was crowded with friends, relatives and family, visiting them for the next 15 days. Rajni was devastated. Rishi was the youngest and the most pampered one. The void that his demise has created in their life can not be filled. The girls had to go back home after a few more days. Rohan never made it because he was in the middle of his last semester exams and training for his new job.

Time to go to USA was fast approaching. Rakesh and Rajni although didn’t wanted to go, but they wanted to meet Rohan and not break his heart, by not being there on his big day. They thought being with Rohan might comfort their grief-stricken heart.

At the graduation, Rohan introduced them to his American girlfriend Becky. They looked happy together. From the day they had reached America, they never got a chance to spend some alone time with Rohan, because of his training. He was always busy and they both felt lonely. They never sat together and hugged each other and talked about what happened with Rishi.

After the graduation ceremony they all went to a restaurant to celebrate. Becky came along too. Over dinner Rohan said what Rakesh and Rajni feared was preordained. Rohan wanted to marry Becky and settle in the USA. He had already applied for the green card. “Ma, Papa, I want you both to shift here with us. I will take care of you. As it is after Rishi, what will you do? You both have retired now, so you can shift easily. We can have a good life here.”

Rakesh knew this was coming. He could see a change in Rohan. He knew in the back of his mind that Rohan will not return home. They both grew older, much older in the last two months. Spending lonely time in USA made them even more worn out. They only met Rohan over the weekends. Rohan took them site seeing and shopping, but that did not made them happy. They wanted their son. They wanted to sit at home, eat home cooked food, and talk and cry and mourn over Rishi. But that never happened. Now all they wanted was to go back home.

As soon as they entered their house in Kanpur, they cried. They cried over the loss of their two sons. One was dead and one was never coming back. Their dream of running behind grandchildren and having a house full of laughter, had died too. So much loss was unbearable for them. They both sat and cried for hours. They now had to spend their life alone with each other. But they were not ready to leave their home and hometown and go spend an isolated life in the USA. At least they had friends and relatives here. There in America, they would be absolutely alone. They were not sure if Becky would stay with them. They were happy for Rohan but they were happy here in Kanpur. Here, they knew people and people knew them. They can talk and meet with their friends here. But moving to America was a far cry.

Now they had to make up their minds to live their life only with each other. Of course, Rohan, Rashi and Rohini, will visit from time to time, but it is going to be just the two of them for a long time, together.

They were still unpacking, when the doorbell rang. Rakesh opened the door. It was Rohini, her husband and the baby at the door. Rakesh and Rajni welcomed them with a big smile and a warm hug. It was the beginning of a new life. They did not plan for it but now this was their new life. But at least they were happy in it.