The Day I Shut Down the Motorway -#angelsdoexist

Saturday 25th February 2017.

That’s a date I won’t forget in a hurry.

It was a hard enough day, attending the funeral of my cousin, then I had to drive back home, 3 hours to normality… or so I thought.

Basically, I’m lucky to be here writing this post.

As I sit here, still in Birmingham with my Pops, sore as anything, I can’t help but flash back to what happened yesterday.

I had an accident. A pretty big accident, on the Motorway, the M6,  not long after I left here.

In a nutshell, I lost control of my car, possibly a burst tyre, or a sudden gust of wind (remnants of Storm Doris), and went careering into the central reservation. I tried to turn the steering wheel to get back on the road, but it started to spin around.

Hitting the barrier on all sides, it spun round into the middle of the busy motorway. Somehow I didn’t hit any other vehicles, and no one went into me.

I sat there in shock. A

few cars went past, and some stopped to help. A young Eastern European man asked if I was ok, and went to call an ambulance. Another couple of Asian men came to my door and encouraged me to get out if I was able.

Two other cars stopped. A young British couple and an older British couple.

I was given hugs, and reassurance and the younger lady brought me a drink from their car.

Standing there at the side of the road, adrenalin coursing through my veins, I couldn’t quite believe what was happening.

The next thing I know, the police had arrived, to cordon off the road so they could clear debris, and an ambulance arrived.

In the space of 5 minutes, there were five squad cars, an ambulance, Paramedic car, the Doctors on Call car, a Fire Engine, and even an Air Ambulance on the scene! They tried to get the helicopter to not land, as it wasn’t needed, but the message arrived late, so it touched down, then went straight back up in the air again!

And I had, single-handedly, shut down both sides of the M6. Debris strewn across both sides of the M6…

My poor car… It took a hell of a beating, and I fear I will be saying goodbye to my precious Bebe. The bumper came off, it crumpled, the sides and boot were all hit severely, all the tyres burst, but it looks like Bebe took the brunt of the force, leaving me still standing.

I was checked over, and the paramedics were worried about my spine as I had tenderness around the spinal area of my neck. Next thing I know I was in a neck brace and strapped to a board so I couldn’t move. Precautionary, of course.

I had called Hubby Dearest who was at home with the kids, and contacted Pops, who hared over to me, as fast as he could, considering I had caused a huge traffic jam.

My basic luggage (and Lil Princess’s lunchbox, strangely enough!) was rescued, at my request, and I had my handbag, but the rest of my stuff is still sitting in Bebe, in a garage somewhere…

As I was being strapped down, the Policeman turned the radio up and said “Here, listen, you’ve made the news!”, as the details of my accident and the hold up were announced on the traffic alerts.

Pops arrived as I was being prepared to be driven to the hospital. He was so worried and nearly ran across the road, after parking the wrong place! The Paramedic joked “Is your dad in a blue car? He nearly got himself in a pickle there! Your BP seems fine, but his may now be sky high! Tell him we don’t do 2 for 1 on the ambulance!”

The Policeman said Pops needed to turn around and come back. He was hoping to get some stuff from the car. By the time he arrived back, the car had been towed, and the ambulance had also gone!

I was taken to Accident and Emergency, where the staff were so great. X-rayed quickly, by which time Pops arrived. The result came in, no bone injury, thankfully, and the doctor checked me out. I was ok, nothing broken, but I was to expect soreness, and tenderness, and shock.

I was then released and sent home, so Pops and I left.

I spoke to Hubby Dearest and the kids, who were all very worried. Lil Man was concerned about the stuff left in the car, especially the chewing gum! As I explained that we probably wouldn’t see the car again, he said, “Rest In Peace Bebe!” Hubby Dearest was distraught being so far away, and unable to be there for me, but someone had to be there with the kids, and I had my Pops, after all.

Speaking to a cousin of mine after, she recalled when something similar happened to her, but her mum was in the car with her. She prayed that the car get hit on her side, not her mum’s and as they spun across the road, and went up the embankment, she continued to pray. The car came to a stop as if it had been parked up ready to go again, and she realised that miracles do happen. No injuries… and a good thing too, as she was getting married the following week!

She said to me, ” I realised then that angels were with me, protecting us. Ritu, you had your angel by your side too.”

And she couldn’t have said a truer word.

Someone was looking down on me, protecting me from something that could have been so much worse… Maybe it was my cousin…


And now… I am sat here waiting until 10 am when I can call the insurance and the garage up. Hopefully, I will be able to go home today. Hubby Dearest will get me.

But, you know what Peeps? I am so grateful to be here, able to write this post. And I will never take being alive, and able to do so much, for granted again.

Thank God  I was in that car alone. The children weren’t in the car with me.

Thank God no one else was involved.

Thank God for the wonderful, compassionate souls who stopped to make sure this idiotic Indian woman was ok and reassured her.

And thank God for The Paramedics, the Doctors, the Police, the Air Ambulance, the Fire Service. They were so amazing, working so fast and efficiently, to help me and make the road safe again for the rest of the drivers.

So here’s to a less eventful Sunday… ❤


#SoCS Feb. 25/17 – How

Linda’s #SoCS prompt this week…

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “how.” Start your post with the word “How.” Bonus points if you end with it too. Enjoy!

I am attending my dear cousin’s funeral today… The following #SoCS entry is for him.

How will we get through today
When goodbye is the word we have to say?
Why did you have to leave us so?
Who told you it was your time to go?
What should we feel, sorrow or gladness
That you suffered little, but left us with this madness?
Where will you go, some place peaceful now?
I guess that you’ll let us know, somehow

Ritu 2017

RIP Manjit Virji

Peace be with your beautiful soul 😢


… we say goodbye to my cousin. 

I will be attending the funeral so will not be as prompt as usual with answering notifications tomorrow.

I drive to the Midlands tonight to stay with Pops, so I’ll check in then.

I have scheduled posts tomorrow though so I’ll theoretically be around, and I will catch up… but apologies in advance if I miss any wonderful posts in that time.

Enjoy your Saturday  and I will be back to full Ritu-ness soon.


Explaining Storm Doris to The Kids!

If you live here in the UK you will have been bombarded by the multitude of weather warnings that have accompanied the latest storm to reach our shores from across the Atlantic.

Storm Doris!

We were warned of high-speed winds, some areas hitting over 90mph (we got around 60mph in our area) and high tides, 30cm of snow in the Scottish Highlands…

And sure enough, it was a pretty blustery day!

There was wind (a lot!), rain (brief but heavy!), cloud (all day) and blue skies too!

The wind blew all day, and as per government guidelines, we have to allow for indoor as well as outdoor play in nursery unless it is unsafe outside. Today was not unsafe, but dang cold in the wind! Nevertheless, as kids are, they wanted to run around like loonies in the gales!

Who am I to stop them?

My colleague and I wrapped ourselves and the kids up, and let them go crazy, as we stood there, rooted to the spot unless a rather strong gust of wind uprooted us!

Sitting in my classroom every morning, we talk about the day and the weather. They all commented on the wind, and I mentioned that we were welcoming a guest for the day, Storm Doris.

Doris is a very old lady. It’s her birthday today. She is 1,000,000 years old! A million candles take a long time to blow out, so she will be huffing and puffing the whole day long!

Some of them asked to see her, but I said she was too far away, high up in the sky, like the Giant in Jack and the Beanstalk (our focus story this week!) but that we could still feel her blow!

So I apologise in advance to the parents of my students, who might be babbling on about Old Lady Doris, and her candles! That is what happens when my imagination comes into play at nursery!



Love vs. Arranged


A revisit to an earlier post!

This particular discussion has been on my list (yes, I have a list of bloggable items on my phone!) to blog about for a while now, but a conversation with Lil Man prompted me to write this today.

I have to admit that I’m a sucker for Bollywood films, and some of the Indian serials that come on the Asian channels – cringe, I know, but hey, I’m Indian, what can I do?! And the kids like to join me in watching them some times. Today there was an engagement on one of these shows, and the couple in question hadn’t been seen together before yesterday. Lil Man hadn’t seen yesterday’s episode, and he was quite confused. I could see his mind working, the cogs whirring inside…

” But mummy, how is there a wedding? We haven’t even seen these people before!” So I tried to explain, simply how sometimes people meet themselves, and fall in love and then you have marriages where people have their life partners chosen for them by their family.

He was gobsmacked! “That’s not fair!” Why I asked why it wasn’t fair, he couldn’t get his words out clearly. And almost gave up, but I could hear what he wanted to say! How can you be made to marry someone you don’t even know? In his short life on this earth, all those adults closest to him, his parents, and uncles have all married people of their own choice, love marriages. An arranged marriage is a total alien concept to him!

And in many ways, nowadays a traditional arranged marriage is pretty alien to most of us westernised Asians. The concept has changed now to how it used to be.

In days of old, marriages were arranged when children were just that. Children. I know, in our Punjabi culture, going back a a few generations, girls as young as 6-7 were promised to a boy. And the marriage ceremony took place too. But don’t worry, they weren’t sent to start marital duties straight away! They then went back home, after the ceremony, and on hitting puberty, and becoming a woman, they then joined their husbands.

There are certain ceremonies that stem from those days that we still carry on using now. One is that when we take the 4 rounds around our holy book, The Guru Granth Sahib,the bride is led by her maternal uncles and brothers. Originally, the uncle, Mamji, would actually carry the girl in his arms, because she was so young. Another is that after the marriage ceremony, the bride goes back home for a few days, or couple of weeks, then returns to her in laws, her Muklava. This is reminiscent of then the child bride stayed at home until she was ready to take on marital duties.


Slowly the age bracket for getting married changed, and a bride was no longer a child bride, but still she had not much say in who she married. Some marriages were such that the couple met on the wedding day, as it had been arranged by two families many years previous. There were even cases, when the sons of the families were sent abroad to find their fortunes,and due to visa requirements, they couldn’t return, so weddings were even conducted between girls and a turban… Seriously! She would take the sacred laps holing a turban, and a photo of her intended!

This then morphed into introductions. Two adults were introduced, two like minded individuals, and similar families, matched by a match maker, a bacholan, and they were expected to make a decision based on this one meeting, as to whether they were happy to spend the rest of their lives with that person.

And now, it still happens, but the introductions take longer, there is almost a dating feel to it all except you didn’t meet in a club, or the pub, or at work, and the guy/girl,you are dating already has the approval of your parents. However, go above 3-4 meetings then it’s pretty much assumed you will be getting hitched!

Then there is the addition of the matrimonial websites too! Your online matchmaker! There has been a lot of success in them too. Even though some of the younger generations use it as more of a dating/link up/Tinder style system!


Love marriages, in contrast, are just that, based on love that you find before committing to one another. Hubby Dearest and I met at university, and the feelings we had for each other were so strong, we knew we wanted to spend forever together. We fell in love. We were just lucky that we hailed from the same backgrounds, so that wasn’t an obstacle we had to overcome.

In other similar situations, you get that old chestnut, you can’t help who you fall in love with, and it’s true. Your heart doesn’t ask lots of probing questions before giving itself to someone. I’ve had it in my own family. We have mixed caste/race marriages, and luckily, they are all going strong. True some had rocky starts, because of others perceptions of the ‘wrong’ partner, but love held strong.

Love is key to being together, but you have to have other aspects of your life, and thinking in sync too, for marriage to be a success. The divorce rates for love marriages are so much higher than those for arranged marriages. Granted, there were, and are many women stuck in arranged marriages, from the older generations, who in this day and age would have been able to walk away from it, but it wasn’t the done thing. They came from that generation, ‘if something’s broke we try to fix it, not like today, when you chuck it away and get another’. But with many love marriages, couples have got carried away with the emotions, and once married, especially within Indian families, the responsibilities of being a bride within a family, not just in a couple, can put immense pressure on a relationship.

Nowadays most couples do meet themselves, partners are chosen, and they are older, girls are more independant, career women, who don’t expect the ‘daughter-in-law’ tag, alongside the wife one, to carry such importance. But, you know what, it does. In an Indian family, a daughter-in-law has many responsibilities, and they can be taken care of, living within an extended family, or with the couple living apart, as long as everyone’s expectations are laid out in the open from the beginning.

I’ve heard it countless times, young newly wed brides, commenting on living with their in-laws, and how they can’t wait to get their own place and space. This is because we have grown up within a Western environment, and our expectations are somewhat confused. East/West mix. We want the best of both worlds. And you can do it. But it takes time.

My own parents had an arranged marriage, as did my in laws, and most Indians in their generation too. They have so much love in their marriage, a love that developed after marriage, not before. My mum and pops kind of knew of each other before marriage. They lived in the same area in Kenya, and it was agreed that their families should link up via their marriage. It wasn’t easy by any means. My mums family was pretty educated, my pops was educated but not many of the girls in the family were. But mum still mixed in with them, and did what was necessary, to create a happy home. They are alone now, at home, I’m married in my own home, and my brother is married and settled in Finland, but they are happy.

They always said that for my brother and I, it was our choice. If we wanted an arranged marriage, then fine, but if it was to be love, then fine too. After all we were choosing our life partner. It’s only right that we choose the right person to spend the rest of our lives with. And we’ve done it too. Chosen love over anything else, but we knew there were family expectations, which we have tried hard to fulfil. We’ve lived with the family, provided the heirs, and now are in our own home, but still we keep our link with the family. It’s important.

So you know, I don’t know which is better, to be honest. I’ve seen success and failure in both. But the key, I think is respect for each other. And each other’s families. Compromise is important, especially with Indian marriages. But for those girls out there, never lose yourself. Sometimes we have to change a little, to make things work. It seems to be expected, in our culture. But don’t change so much that you can’t recognise the woman you once were.

Going back to Lil Man, I said to Hubby Dearest, I think that he will definitely be one who needs a girlfriend first, arranged marriages are soooo not it for him!!

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