Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Glass Window

The shifting went off eventfully. Long story, so I won't get into that. But the movers were good, everything was intact except for a broken glass but even that I can’t be too sure because I may just have had something to do with it.

I already am aware of the fact that I have no sense of direction. What I didn’t know was that I also couldn’t measure space. When I first saw the flat I got the feeling the rooms were small. And I had seen the flat twice before moving in. I kept cribbing to everybody & remember telling you also that there was not much space. Now that I have moved in and kept all my furniture in place I realise I am wrong. There is space, much more space than I anticipated.

The first day was a nightmare. I walked around the new apartment with a million things buzzing through my mind but did absolutely nothing. It felt like jetlag, this feeling of numbness which overwhelmed me. I have never experienced jetlag personally. But if I ever did I'm sure its just going to be like this.

When it was time to sleep I realised none of the beds had mattresses on them.

“I told the packers to dispose all of them.” says better-half casually.

I stare at him in disbelief.

So the first night we all slept on the floor.

That whole week we slept on the floor. Because the furniture guys took one week to deliver the bedding we ordered. Though we padded the floor well with blankets and flannel we all got up with aching bones everyday. The kids were cribbing big-time & I thought I was going to fall sick if it went on like this.

On the last night of this ordeal I got up in the middle of the night for something. It was then it struck me. I could sleep on the sofa. I lowered myself onto the soft cushiony foam and sighed in bliss. And kicked myself for not thinking of it earlier.

The better-half gets up as if on cue and orders me off.

I pretend to be deeply asleep.

He wakes me up.

I mumble "5 minutes" hoping he’ll nod off by then.

Exactly 5 minutes later he wakes me again and reminds me they are leather sofas.

A few minutes later I heard an exasperated intake of breath.

Again a few minutes later I hear him sigh ‘They’ll sag under your weight’.

Muttering uncomplimentary things about where he can get off with his precious sofas, I go back to the cold floor. Atleast I got uninterrupted sleep there.

The first week was terrible. We literally lived in a glass house. All the rooms have huge windows. But the living room window takes the cake. One whole wall is a window. At first we thought it had reflective glass. On the 1st night I went out into the balcony to confirm and my heart dropped. It was clear as day. Every single thing we did could be seen from outside. And directly opposite were around 6 windows of the neighbouring apartments.

I suggested to the better-half that we cover the windows with newspapers till we get the curtains. The better-half disagreed. 

“We’ll buy curtains as soon as possible, until then it will remain bare” he remained adamant.

I shook my head wearily and placed the cartons I had already unpacked, in front of the window. After a few days we got somebody to drill holes for the bedroom curtain rods. I used the curtains I already had, so those rooms were ok.

Once the immediate requirements were completed we went curtain shopping. And came back home pretty pleased with ourselves. We went to a store who dealt with curtains and the accessories. We selected the curtain material, then the gauzy material to let the light through, then the blackout cloth which blocked out the light if we didn’t want it, chose the rods and the mechanisms to open & close the curtains. Then waited for them to give us the estimation.

The price when it was revealed shattered us. Let’s just say that for the same amount I could have brought the entire furniture in my living room. Well almost. For now it’s back to the drawing board.

Meanwhile we are all on our best behaviour, atleast in the living room.

In other news[related to the move, everything is related to the move], the kids come back home a whole hour early coz theirs is the first stop from the school. They were so thrilled in the beginning but now are complaining they don’t get enough time to bond with their bus-friends;-/.

I found a nice supermarket[nice meaning there’s lots of Indian foodstuff] tucked away in the corner. Just 5 minutes away. I’m so lucky. They opened newly around 3 weeks back. Imagine. I’m imagining that all Indians in the locality must be so pleased. 

An Indian family has moved in on the floor below mine. They are Malayalee Christians; I have not met them or even seen them but I knowJ. How??? When I open my kitchen window I can hear them. Especially when the lady is on the phone, I can hear her through the din the pigeons make. Her conversations are peppered with pullikaaran[an old-fashioned way of referring to the husband] and Ammaniamamma and Sunnychayans :-D. I’m not particularly looking to meet them, just content they are around.

My Mil sent duck roast all the way from Kerala through a cousin.

It was like manna from heaven.

I know what you are thinking??? You are wondering why this Nancy’s reactions are always OTT.

Well let me put it another way. You are bone-weary from all that unpacking, tiredly thinking of what to make for dinner when all you want to do is flop on the bed; just then the door-bell rings and this packet of delicious duck-roast is placed in your hands.

I rest my case.

If any of the neighbours were watching through the window, they would have caught sight of a fat lady clutching a newspaper covered package complete with strings close to her heart, sinking to her knees in slow motion and weeping tears of joy.

Now that is going Over The Top even by my standards;-D

The Glass Window 

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

A new lesson everyday

After the final exams the kids had a fortnight off before they started school again. I usually view holidays with trepidation but this time was secretly rubbing my hands in glee because I enrolled them for the annual VBS[Vacation Bible School] at Church. Which meant that they would be out of my hair for 3-4 hours everyday for 7 days.

What is it they say about best-laid plans of mice and men……

It all started when I was standing & talking with my friend in church. A mature member of the church interrupts our very important conversation.

Yes important. We were talking about world peace.

Seriously we were.

Anyways you can’t prove we were not.

Now the nice-looking aunty requests my friend to step in as a VBS teacher since they were facing a shortage. As soon as I heard the topic of conversation my gut instincts screamed at me to "get out of there Nancy....just get the heck out of there before...". My friend like I expected cried off because she was a working woman & the timings clashed. I in the meantime was trying to merge into the solid church wall behind me.


Because these two were blocking the exit.

When the heavy and suggestive silence became too much I peeked to see 2 pairs of eyes staring expectantly for an answer to a question I'm prepared to swear I didn’t hear. That was it. Before I knew it I was signed up as Junior teacher for the VBS.

I was not pleased. All that free time I dreamed of putting into good use evaporated into thin air ;-(. Teaching kids was the last thing I wanted to do in my ‘free’ time. If I wanted to do that I would have joined as teacher in some school long back and earned big moneys.

I spent the rest of the day kicking myself for not saying NO plain and straight out.

What is the big deal you ask????

"Very big deal" I defend myself.

To begin with I don’t like kids.

Nope, not even my own.

I love them, my kids I mean but ‘like’….I'm still not so sure.

It was always like that. Even during my teenage years I used to keep away from them. Anyways it was mutual, they didn’t like me too…the kids I mean. If any of them even accidently looked at me I’d contort my face into a grotesque mask and scare the freaking daylights out of them. Their mothers would frantically scan the vicinity to see what rendered their sunny kid into a blubbering mess.

I still do that[once in a while though] to reassure myself I haven’t lost my touch.

Coming back to my original problem, I finally came to the conclusion that there was nothing I could do but grin and bear it. And it was just for a week anyway.

The only silver lining……my kids were so thrilled about it.  So excited that it was ridiculous. Naina was building castles in the air. Like she was pretending that she was already in my class and I had made her the monitor of the class.


“Naina, it doesn’t work that way, when they find out we belong to one family they’ll put you in another class.” said I, trying to let her down gently.

“But Mama they won’t find out because we have different surnames[well she has her father’s name and I have mine]” said Naina looking at me very hopefully.

On the first day of the VBS Naina’s dreams crashed. Not only was she not in my class she was not even in my section ie. Juniors. She was grouped under Primary. She was inconsolable. I pacified her in the limited time I had[I too had to reach my class right] & waved her off with another kid in relief. And Nikita was in the Intermediate Group.

Thank goodness both my kids were not anywhere in the nearest vicinity. I don’t think I could have concentrated on my work with these two trying to catch my eye every 2 minutes. As it is I was so jittery about taking classes after a long time.

I reluctantly make my way to the Juniors group leader who assigned me Section 13.

No. 13

Wonderful, now all I needed was a black cat to cross my path.

I found a tiny group of 4 patiently waiting for me when I reached my section.

Eh, just four kids???

I mugged up all that stuff in Lesson 1 to teach 4 kids???

Introduced myself and asked them their names. Made small talk. I taught the 1st lesson really well; with lots of cunning examples and touching stories. Infact I drilled it into their heads so well that I doubt they are going to forget it anywhere in the near future. The lesson for the day was ‘Obey your parents’. Vested interests u see. I was also hoping that somewhere on the other side my kids were also taught the same by like-minded individuals.

As the evening progessed I realised I didn't have to do much. If I asked 1 question the 4 kids together had 40 things to tell me. So it was ok. And they were sweet kids. Seriously they really were. I mean they were irritating and all that but since I already had experience handling my two I was ok. Let's not forget that I was also on my best behaviour.

I cautiously declared day 1 a success.

But ofcourse all the way home Naina was acting like I gave her up for adoption or something. Huge accusing eyes followed me around for the next 24 hours. Luckily for me her teacher was a teenager who turned out to be a fun person to hang out with so she magnanimously decided to forgive me after 2 days. Drama Queen I tell u.

The next day's lesson was about Forgiveness. There were 8 students[a bunch of 8-10yr olds] in my class that day. One kid was in my class by mistake. I decided to forgive him. 8 was a decent number and I needed him to make me look good.

The next day was about Sharing; I got all of them to bring a coloured imprint of their hand on chart paper which I stapled around a decorated paper-plate[denotes sharing, get it??]. After lessons & games we all shared the donuts, samosas and mini pizzas we brought from home.

Then Humility, Faithfulness....and so on it went. All too soon it was the 7th & the final day.  There were no classes on the final day; every class put up a play or a song or whatever they could usually with a message. Juniors group was large….there were atleast 150 kids if not more. And we were given just 20 minutes to perform whatever we wanted on stage.

We decided to go with a Malayalam song and a small play enacting it. The song was about a small injured sparrow seeking shelter from the rain. The banyan tree, the mango tree and the palm tree refused to give shelter. Finally the banana tree welcomes her into his shade. Then there is a storm and all the bad trees are destroyed but the humble banana tree survives. Good wins over bad kind of story.

Considering the fact that we started practicing only the 6th day and ALL the 150 kids took part I thought we did a decent job. We managed to fit in around 50 kids on the stage…….around 5 kids held main parts, the rest were all trees, shrubs and flowers. The remaining 100 kids stood just below the stage and sang the song. What do I say??? It played out awesome. We felt a bit like frauds accepting all the compliments which were pouring in;-D

It was time to say good-bye. All my kids were really very sad that it was ending. Making me wonder if they lead boring lives or what. And I felt guilty that I was glad it was ending. I mean I was sad too but it was too much work. Once I decided to go ahead with it I had thrown my heart and soul into it but my h&s wouldn’t have been able to handle the strain if it went on much longer. 

I hugged them all and sent them off with loving & encouraging words. One of the boys stayed back to talk. Remember the little boy I told you who was in my class by mistake. The one I decided to forgive. Yes that one.

His name is Milan. He said something like this “Actually maam I came to your class by mistake. My papa showed me the correct class the next day but I didn’t want to go there. I loved your class very much and wanted to be here. You are the best VBS teacher I ever had”. He didn’t look old enough to have attended more than 2 years of VBS. But seriously, he said all that.

Ask Naina, she was there when he said it. She puffed out her chest in pride and beamed, like as if he was complimenting her.

And me I’m weird I tell you because I’m actually considering doing this next year too.

Aaah well, I'm hoping good sense will prevail sooner than later.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Home Truths

We’ve been apartment hunting for the past 2-3 months now. Found one finally. The better-half is satisfied, thinks he got a good deal.  Kids are thrilled because there is a nice little park just behind the apartment. 

Me, I’m ok…..not on top of the world or anything just ok. It’s a nice little place. Almost like brand-new. I stress on this bit[the brand-new bit] particularly because the place we are staying right now is an old building almost falling apart. My husband came to this apartment when he was 8 years old which means he’s been living in this very place now for 3 decades now.

Three decades……thirty years & more……seems like a lifetime huh; now can u just imagine the junk accumulated inside this old apartment. There are certain cupboards in this house which I don’t open at all. These cupboards are stuffed with junk…..stuff nobody needs but can’t be bothered to throw out or things which they[esp the parents] hoarded because they believed that they’ll need it at a later point……like old ceiling fans, an old VCR and the cassettes, bits and ends of electronic fittings, shower fittings, old, old books, old & broken photo frames & mountains of photo albums…….and….don’t ask…..there’s even an old school bag of the better-half. Seriously, its there. It’s not like the school bags the kids are lugging around now. It’s like a tiny hard suitcase covered with red & black checked cloth material. In these past 12 years I have taken it till the door atleast 3 or 4 times to throw it out along with other garbage. But somehow at the nth minute it disappears from the trash and if I made an effort to search for it I would find it back in the same place I had taken it out from;-/.

I may not be looking forward to moving to a new place but I’m certainly looking forward to throwing out all the junk. You are wondering why....about the former I mean??? Yeah for some reason I’m not so thrilled about the moving. The apartment itself is nice…’s a bit smaller than my present one and comes with all facilities especially maintenance; the living room is spacious, it’s got central-AC which will be a huge relief in summer, the bedrooms though are a bit box-like, the kitchen which I was obsessed about throughout[apartment-hunting I mean] is spacious with natural sunlight which is like a miracle. You’ll be surprised at how many apartments I saw which had super rooms & facilities but had dingy kitchens with little or no natural light coming in from anywhere. I couldn’t imagine staying in a place like that. The bathrooms again are small but like the better-half told me I take comfort in the fact that there’s less area to scrub;-P

The new apartment is in a good locality but there are hardly any Indians in the building. I’m not so sure I like that. I got used to the colony I’m living in. it has old shabby buildings but it is a mini-India. And I feel right at home here. It is also centrally located……all amenities like the metro, bus station, taxis’ all were available in 5 minutes distance. Whether it was the grocery[Indian], laundry, tailor, the parlour,  the kids’ Arabic tuition or the money exchange, nursery[plants], recycle bins, they were all here within comfortable reach. Whereas the place I’m going now to shift to has just a Baby shop closeby, a huge supermarket 10 minutes away. And an Ethiopian restaurant nearby;-/. 

The kids school-bus stop which is almost below the building will now be a 5-10 minute walk away depending on the traffic signal we have to cut through;-(. And not the least, the rent was very reasonable here but now we are going to be paying more than double the amount. And that’s also going to take some getting used-to.

I bet you are wondering why I’m moving if everything is soo goodJ…….like I said the buildings are getting old and shabby. The roof leaks & there are cracks in the walls; just last week an entire section of a terrace wall of another building crumbled and fell damaging 3-4 cars parked below. And not the least, it’s no longer a colony for families anymore; bachelors are making their way in. Everybody in Dubai knows what that means. Men who are not married or can’t afford to bring their families to Dubai will take up a flat together and stay. Sometimes 6 to 10 stay together in a single flat. It’s gets really messy. Cigarette butts all over the place. Paan stains. You’ll find them loitering near the entrance or lolling on the terrace. Womanfolk no longer feel free to walk about. We don’t feel very comfortable sending the kids out to play on their own. Get what I mean.

Actually our situation is not so bad but the better-half wants to get out before it becomes like that. I agree with him but it’s sad to leave behind everybody we know. Like my husband’s, most families have been here for a long time. The kids have made a lot of friends who they play with in the open spaces available. And I for some reason feel worst affected…….I’m going to miss the only home I’ve known in Dubai for the past 13 yrs.

When my sister-in-law called to wish for Easter I was telling her how gloomy I was about the whole thing and how I hadn’t the 1st clue about shifting. And she was like “It’s awesome, I’ve shifted 14 times in the past 10 years and made some really good friends”. I couldn’t help but laugh. She somehow manages to put everything into perspectiveJ.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

My Last Post on Blogger???

I know it’s been like 2 weeks since I blogged last. But this time it’s not my fault. Blogger is once again giving me problems big-time.

What problems????

Oh don’t ask, alright you can ask but ask what is not a problem with Blogger;-/??? Seriously once the ‘one-to-one reply thread’ was in place I thought all my problems were over but I guess I’m jinxed; I mean there is no other explanation for this;-/.

It breaks my heart to leave here but….I have no choice. Just have no idea how I’m going to adjust to a new space after being used to Blogger for so long……;-(.

I had registered with worpress long ago when the Hitchwriter, Deeps, Swaram, Masood, Rakesh, Sakshi, Smitha and so many others had moved from Blogger to Wordpress. The reason I particularly mentioned all their names is because they all have at one time or the other advised me to move but I like always dilly-dallied. Now they are all going to laugh I guess;-(. Won’t blame them if they do coz I called them a lot of names when they left[like rats and traitors n stuff.......should have known, what goes around comes around;-/]

I’m still full of doubts but have decided to take the plunge. 

The only thing I'm sure of.....I’m still Reflections and will remain so.

Anyways here’s the new address:

Goodbye Blogger, I still love you;-((((((((

Take care,