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

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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.

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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!

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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!!

Day 21 #Loveuary ❤ – My Lil Man

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My darling boy, my Lil Man, my son, my first born. You mean so much to me. Even though you are small, and seem so naive, you worry about whether you can do things as well as others. Well, to me, and your daddy, you are the bravest, and best son out there. You are kind and sensitive (but not to your sister!), you have a great sense of humour, you are indeed a blessing from above. I love you son.

Fly my little chick, fly
Just stretch those wings and fly high.

Roar my little cub, roar
Show them what you’re made for.

Swim my little fry, swim
You’re just as good as ‘him’.

Jump my little roo, jump
You can get over this bump.

Believe in yourself
In the power of you.

Have faith in yourself,
Like I always do.

So,

Fly my little chick, fly
All you can do is try…

By Ritu

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Remember, feel free to take part in #Loveuary! Just ping back to the daily post, as in this one for today! And if you are at a loss for a prompt, then visit my rules post here for a list of prompt s

Day 20 #Loveuary ❤ – My Little Princess

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Today it is the ninth birthday of my Lil Princess.

What a great day to let you all know how much she means to me.

 

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Hand In Hand

 

Mini Me

The biggest blessing of my life,
Becoming a mummy, after being a wife.

I love them both equally, yes, it’s true
But with my girl, the things we can do!

Shopping, dressing up, hair styles, nails
And when she’s older, advice about males!

She amazes and frustrates in equal amounts
But the love that she gives, now that’s what counts.

When there are tears, it tears at my heart,
I hate it whenever we are apart.

The giggles and laughter, that beautiful sound,
She lights up my life, when she is around.

I love my girl, and I’m lucky to be
The mummy to someone so very crazy!

A verse I wrote and published in my book, Poetic RITUals.

Happy Birthday my precious girl!

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Remember, feel free to take part in #Loveuary! Just ping back to the daily post, as in this one for today! And if you are at a loss for a prompt, then visit my rules post here for a list of prompt suggestions!

Landan Tahn! A Snapshot of Our Little Break

Though you may not have guessed it, or missed me (since I still managed to keep my presence on here!) I have just arrived back from a lovely two-day break in London.

We’ve had a tough few weeks with work and life stuff, and all needed a break from these four walls, so as it was the children’s (and my) half term break, we rented an apartment in Canary Wharf for two nights.

An apartment is perfect when you have a family. Yes, room service is wonderful, but at least you have space to yourselves, access to a kitchen to cater for those fussy eaters, and more than one bathroom! Canary Wharf is a good location as we could drive in and not worry about the Congestion charge, then park up in the apartment for a minimal fee, and use the Tube to go in and out of Central London itself.

The apartment was pretty cool!

We were right on the riverside too, so the view was good. If you looked out, you could see the O2 (Millenium Dome) too!

We did a little Tesco shop, and grabbed lunch, then after an afternoon siesta, we jumped on the tube to Picadilly Circus. I love the West End! Had it been purely my choice, we would have caught a theatre show too, but not everyone is as into the arts as me!

The view at dusk near our apartment was so pretty! We saw the famous Eros statue, and the great scaffolded corner is where usually you’d see the bright lights of Picadilly, but they are shut (for the first time in, like, a bajillion years!) for refurbishment.

20170216_182552We were thinking of popping into Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Exhibition, where they had a Peculiar Happenings special exhibition, but at £80 for us all, it felt a little steep!

The Square, Leicester Square, brings back memories of our university life, and all the nights out we had here! Obviously, we couldn’t drag the kids to a club, but the general feel of the place is something all can enjoy!

The street artists were there, and the buskers too!

Then we had to stop off at M & M World… naturally!

We had dinner in TGI Fridays (even though it was Thursday!) and then headed home, but not before I could check on the horses!

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We got back and chilled together to watch a film on TV before heading to bed rather late.

 

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A little drink to accompany the film!

 

The idea was to get up early and maybe go swimming or take in a museum or two…

Firstly, the late night meant no one wanted to get up, and secondly, as some of you already know, I had some sad news regarding the passing of my cousin. My mood wasn’t in it initially.

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We just relaxed at the apartment, until the rest of the family woke, and after lunch, we popped back into the West End, but not before a visit to the iconic toy store Hamleys!

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And a stroll down Carnaby Street!

There we found this little store which Lil Man described as a ‘Kitchen equivalent of Smiggle! Have you been to Smiggle? It’s an overpriced stationary store, very kitsch and all that, but secretly I love it… because stationary is my downfall!

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The kids were starting to flag, as was Hubby Dearest, so we headed to China Town for dinner.

We ate at Wong Kei’s.

Have you heard of Wong Kei’s? It’s kind of an infamous Chinese restaurant. No frills, fantastic food, 4 floors which are usually always packed, and the customer service is to die for!

Who am I kidding? It is actually famous for its great food, and rude staff! They are hilarious! I have been several times in my life, and when I was at University, the first time we went, a waiter served us, never cracking a smile (and considering there were 10 attractive young ladies there, that was hard work!) until the end when we paid our bill! He piped up, as he handed the receipt to us, ” And I hope I never see you again!” and beamed at us!

Since then we have been served by staff who didn’t speak the whole time we were there, just using hand gestures, and we’ve been told off for requesting a spoon or fork to eat with…D’oh, that’s why the chopsticks are there, dummy!

The kids have been twice with us, and it was their request to go again, and we are but their humble servants, so off we went to Wong Kei’s!

After a very filling and tasty dinner, we went back to our apartment, and took in another family film before a slightly earlier night!

It was a 10.30am check out so by 11 am we were back home. The washing machine has been on, shopping done, homework sorted… now just one more day until school starts again…

I need another week off!

( I had so many more photos, but as you know, if the kids are in them, I don’t use them! But suffice to say, all enjoyed themselves !)

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