Number 3

December 2011

“There it is.  That’s the answer to your question,” the young doctor exclaimed cheerfully.  “So it’s a yes then?” I asked, just wanting to be extra sure.  The doctor just smiled and printed out the black and white ‘picture’ of the tiny little bean like thingy. I figured it had been about four to six weeks old.  Funny that the doctor couldn’t confirm that.   I glanced at my husband and caught the surprised look on his face, in a nice way that is.  “Come back in a month time for a follow up”, the doctor advised us just before we left. 

So, that was rather unexpected.  I was pregnant with our third child!  I knew my period had been late for almost three months.   I did the home pregnancy tests – about six times if I remember correctly- and all of them came out negative!  Nada!  I didn’t have any of the signs.  I was fine apart from the late period.  Told my husband about my problem and we decided to have an ultrasound scan.  I had been reading some blogs and online forums that there were other women who had similar experiences so that kind of eased things up for me.  I was pretty certain I wasn’t pregnant.  I would have known if I was. 

Any mommy would be excited.  I was.  But at the back of my mind I was nervous and a little terrified.  I didn’t mind another child.  I have two already.  It’s the pregnancy that scares me.  I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes for both of my previous pregnancies.  The word diabetes alone scared the life of me.  So, to be pregnant for the first time (during my first pregnancy) and was told that I was glucose intolerant, had turned my world upside down.  No one had told me this before.  I was devastated.  But reading up on what it is all about did wonders.  I learned that it is a temporary condition and will go away once the child is born.  So, yeah, I had to put up with all the blood tests, the stomach churning pure diluted sugar drink and had to keep a close eye on my diet.  What I hated so much was the finger pricking routine which I endured throughout the nine months, just to see if my blood sugar was okay or had gone beyond the okay reading.  And all that were repeated during my second pregnancy.  When I was told I was pregnant again, I vowed to myself to really watch what I eat and be more physically active in order to keep the blood sugar reading normal.  My husband and I would go window shopping for babies’ stuff because most of the things we had were worn out.  We even decided to name the baby Hanna if it was a girl.  I really wanted another girl but wouldn’t mind it so much if it was a boy.  We couldn’t decide on a boy’s name.   Oh well.  Plenty of time for that.  Every day I would talk to the tiny bean in my tummy whilst stroking it in a gentle circular motion. 

January 2012

We did exactly what the doctor had told us to do a month earlier.  We went back for a follow up.  Within the month I didn’t feel any different.  Just out of curiosity I did some more tests and again, all were negative.  I wasn’t too worried as I had read somewhere that it could be due to the low hormone level.  Another ultrasound scan was done.  This time it took slightly longer than before.   I became wary.  The expression on the doctor’s face didn’t help either.  The silence was broken.  “There’s nothing there.  I’m sorry but I am very sure about this”, uttered the doctor.   I could feel my world spinning.  In disbelief I searched for my husband’s face.  He wasn’t sure how to react either.  I was still smiling, but it was bitter.  I didn’t cry.  I didn’t know what to say.  I was quiet, only nodding to whatever the doctor said to me.  I wasn’t really listening.  I had been looking forward to hearing the doctor saying something like “The baby is fine.  It’s going to be 10 weeks soon.”  I was always emotionally strong and I wasn’t about to give in.  I kept a straight face because I was raised to always be strong and not cry over petty little thing.  But I thought this wasn’t a petty little thing.  In my head I constantly asked myself if it was okay to cry.  Would people give me a strange look for that?  Of course my husband was all supportive and asked if I was alright every waking minute.  I said I was fine.  I was still asking myself where Hanna  (or Baby Boy) had gone to.  This went on for weeks.  I did cry my heart out when no one was around.  I cried myself to sleep.  I once cried in my husband’s arms.  It felt much better once I let it all out.   I learned that it is okay not to be strong all the time. 

January 2013

I still think of the baby.  I still don’t understand how it was possible.  Perhaps my experience isn’t too bad as compared to other mothers who have also lost their unborn children.   I remember my sister in law who lost her baby in the eighth month of pregnancy.  I can’t imagine myself if I was her.  I learnt to be even stronger.  And I still have the ‘picture’ of the child I never had. 

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The Dinner Date

A young couple walked into a fairly decent restaurant and before long found themselves a table.  They sat opposite each other, perhaps to have a better view of each other.

The young woman looked really pretty.  She must have spent hours (or a lot lesser) getting ready for this date.  Her hair was up in a cute pony tail.  She had a pretty blouse and a pair of skinny jeans on.  A pair of electric blue two inch heels too.  On her right shoulder hung a nice branded handbag.  She didn’t have too much make-up on.  All in all she looked rather attractive.

The young man wasn’t that bad either.  Neat, short haircut.  Clean shaven face.  Had a decent shirt on paired with some good jeans.  Shoes looked fine, not worn out.  Bet he smelt really nice too judging from the young woman’s expression.

They were a perfect match for each other.

Both had a mobile phone each.  As they got comfortable in their seats, the dashing young couple started tapping away on their phones, respectively.  No words were exchanged between them.  Just tap, tap, tap and more taps.

A waiter approached their table and handed them the menu.  Tap, tap and … “Oh the menu is here”, the young woman must have thought.  Tap, tap and then she had a quick look at the menu.  Placed her order.  Tap, tap, tap.

Tap, tap, tap, tap…. The young man thought for a while and continued with the tapping without even glancing at the menu.  The waiter waited awkwardly, didn’t want to be rude.  The young man then stopped tapping and placed a quick order.  The waiter seemed relieved that all the waiting was over.

The dashing young couple exchanged looks and smiled a little.  Then tap, tap, tap and more taps.

The food arrived.  The young couple both placed their phones on the table, ready to tuck away.  Before the first bite the young woman asked her date to snap a picture of her and the food she had asked for.  Pose, smile, click!  Not wanting to miss out, the young man handed his phone to his date and asked her to return the favour.  Pose, a manly smile, click!  A few quick tapping on both their phones and they were all set to dig into their food.  What seemed to be a conversation took place while they were eating.

“Oh, hang on a minute,” the young woman said.  As if in a hurry she took her branded handbag, had a little rummage, and fished out… another phone!  Tap, tap, tap.  Showed it to her date and another tap.  She then put the phone down and continued eating.  The dashing young man didn’t seem bothered.  Simultaneously, he was also tapping away on his phone.  So, throughout dinner the young couple were eating and tapping away.  More tapping than any other things it seemed.

A fun date, wasn’t it?  Both of them seemed rather pleased.

Meet One Eared Tom

This is the cat that inspired me to write the story ‘One Eared Tom’.  I assume he is a stray cat.  If you look really closely you’ll see that one of his ears is missing.  I am always intrigued by this cat.  Didn’t notice the ear the first few times I saw him.  He lounges at my car porch every now and then when there is no one around.   His favourite spot would be my husband’s motorbike seat.  Left some scratch marks on it too.  Perhaps it’s way of saying “This is mine!”  The thing about him is he doesn’t hurry away when he sees us but walks away as calm as a cat can be.  My husband and I agreed to call him Tom.  Hence the title of the story. 

One Eared Tom

Tom ignored the stares and continued making his way to the abandoned garden shed.  It wasn’t a luxury but it was enough for simple Tom.  At least he could find shelter.  It was pouring with the monsoon rain.  The grey sky ripped by the thunder.  Of course Tom would not mind being out and about but that would mean he’d be risking his life.

Tom was used to the inquisitive stares thrown at him.  On some occasions, he would get stones, broken tree branches and countless sharp objects literally thrown at him.  He would then stop and turn.  At the sight of this, his attacker would scuttle in a disorderly manner.  Tom was different.  His hair was coarse black with streaks of grey.  His build was rather muscular, making him appeared bigger than the rest.  He had tired eyes, possibly because he had been around for quite a while and had witnessed too much violence.  None that he couldn’t handle, though.   But what really made Tom stand out was his ear.  He had only one ear.  And that invited all the disgusted looks he received, especially when he was among strangers.

In the shed, Tom made himself comfortable.  His eyes were heavy.  He hadn’t eaten all day but it was nothing new to Tom.  The lady who owned the shed had been away for almost a week now.  Once in a while she would leave Tom with something to feast upon.  Tom didn’t mind it if the lady hadn’t left him with any food.  He was thankful enough that the lady let him stay in the shed.

“Tom!  Run, Tom!  Run!!!”   Tom opened his eyes once he heard the scream.  He tried to get up but his body felt far heavier than usual.  He tried again but could only manage to drag himself a few centimeters away at a time.  He wondered why he was asked to run.  It was his father who had told him to run.  Tom turned his head to find his father.  The rain was so heavy that Tom could barely see what was going on.  But he was certain of what he saw.  He could make out five figures a foot away from him.  Two of them were his father and Ben, his elder brother.  Father’s body was limp.  He wasn’t moving at all. The three other figures were bashing away Ben.  They were not of his kind but the beings his ancestors had always tried to avoid making contact with.   His knees became weak.  His whole body was trembling. Tom saw blood everywhere.  He could feel his head wet.  It was the rain, he thought. But it wasn’t.  It was blood.  Only then could he feel a sting on the right side of his head.  He touched it and jerked as it was excruciatingly painful.  His ear, or where his ear once used to be was bleeding.  He now realised that he too had been mauled by the beasts.  He threw another look at Ben.  Suddenly, it was all very quiet.  Tom could only see Ben’s upper limbs flailing helplessly almost in slow motions.  His father was long gone.  One of the beasts saw him and signalled to his companions to pursue Tom.  That was the cue for Tom to flee.  He wasn’t being a coward.  He just had to survive.

Tom mustered what little strength he had left and dragged himself to a safer place.  Trouble is, where is safe?  He struggled in finding his way.  In fact he wasn’t sure where he was.   The place was dark and musty, much too foreign to him.  In the heavy downpour, the sight ahead of him was more of a water colour painting washed off with water.

Behind him his assailants were moving fast.  “Don’t let him get away!  He has seen too much!” one of them uttered.  Now Tom remembered.  It was them who took the little ones from his neighbourhood.  That evening, Tom and Ben saw the beasts capturing three of Tom’s younger friends and brought them to this daunting place.  Tom and Ben told their father and hastily they followed the beasts.  There they witnessed something unfathomable to the sensible minds.  The beasts were ripping the young ones apart mercilessly.

“Stop it, you monsters!  Leave them alone!”  Tom and Ben almost couldn’t believe that those words came from their father.  Father was consumed with rage.  He glanced at his boys, nodded and then charged at the beasts.  Tom and Ben weren’t sure if this was right but they knew father had always known what he was doing.  They joined father in an attempt to save the now lifeless young beings.  The beasts were not amused.  This was how it started and now it was only Tom left, defending himself against the monsters three times his size.

Tom dragged himself as fast as he could.  Of course he wasn’t fast enough for the beasts.  He was forced to stop as there was nowhere else to go.  Dead ends, bordered by two high walls but not too high for desperate Tom to climb.   Tom realised that the only way out was to go over the walls.  He couldn’t possibly turn around as that would mean suicide.  With the strength he had left, Tom climbed to the top of the wall and was ready to leap.  He was lucky enough that he hadn’t as the ground below him was about ten feet away.  He had never leapt from that high.  It was already dark and still pouring.  Tom couldn’t really see what would welcome him down there.  He was running out of time too.  The beasts had climbed the wall too and were ready to take him down.  Tom closed his eyes, took a deep breath and made the leap of his life.

It felt like forever for him to hit the ground.  He eventually fell on something.  It wasn’t hard but it wasn’t particularly soft either.  It did not last long.  In seconds he continued to fall again, only now his limbs were caught somewhere every now and then.  He had fallen into the trees.  Finally he hit the ground.  He had forgotten about the beasts for a while.  When he finally came to his senses, he braved himself to look up.  On the wall, two silhouettes of the beasts stood still.  Tom looked around him.  There, on a huge solid rock, lay another similar silhouette.  It wasn’t moving.  Tom was certain it was dead.  Tom didn’t want to return to his neighbourhood, fearing the beasts would come back for him.  In pain, he walked aimlessly, searching for a shelter.  He found a run-down shed in the backyard of a nearby house.  Stealthily he sneaked in and tended to his wound.  That evening he had lost his friends, father, brother and an ear.  He almost lost his own life.  His eyes watered.

“So that’s him.  I can see why you say he reminds you of me”, Tom awakened upon hearing the unfamiliar voice.  It wasn’t the lady.  There was a man next to her, looking straight at him.  There was something strange about the man.  He only had one leg and had a sturdy stick to help him stand.

“I just let him stay there for as long as he wants.  We never use the shed anyway.  I’m sure he has been through a lot, just like you.  He’s such a brave cat,” the human lady explained to the one legged man.  Tom looked straight at the man but was ready to run if he had to.  The man’s eyes met Tom’s.  He nodded and went into the house with the lady.  Tom knew they both understood each other.

Home

When I was reading The Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella, these words caught my attention and made me think.

“You haven’t been home for a while,” Dad says kindly.  “Why not come and spend the weekend?  Mum would love to see you.”

“Yes,” I say after a pause.  “I’d like that.  I haven’t been back for ages.”

“It’ll restore your spirits, ” Dad gives me his endearing little crooked smile.  “If your life’s at a juncture and you need to think about things, there’s nowhere better than home.  However old you are.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.  Being able to go home  and seeing those familiar faces give me the instant boost especially when it hasn’t really been a good day.  Home is where the heart is.  Yes it’s a cliche but it is true.  No matter how far you travel, how much fun you are having away from the usual mundane routine of your home, or how many new and interesting faces you meet, at the end of the day you will think of home. 

I know I’m home when I see the comforting smiles of the people I love.  I am home when I hear the laughter (and scream) of my children. I am home when I smell that freshly brewed cup of coffee, paired with some unassuming square shaped cream crackers. I am home when my return is greeted by the taste of mum’s rich curry dhal and generous serving of spring rolls, amongst her other lovingly crafted dishes I grew up with. I am home knowing that I am needed and loved.

Home is about familiarity. Home is about comfort. Home can be anywhere and everywhere. Home is where you can just let go and be free. Home is where you start all over again when you fell. So, here is a little bit of advice. Go home!

10 things I don’t understand about Bananas in Pyjamas

1. Why are the bananas wearing pyjamas?

2. Why are the bananas the only talking fruits in the show?

3. Why are the bananas friends with animals?

4. Why are the bananas bigger than the animals?

5. Why do the bananas eat apples?

6. Are they all grown ups or children?

7. If they are children, where are their parents?

8. Are the teddies siblings or just friends staying together?

9. How come their homes are more decent than ours?

10. How can the bananas be friends with the monkey?

This is the result of me being forced to watch the show with my two young kids.  I know I am over analysing the show but a mommy has to get ready with the answers in case the kids ask.  They haven’t but one of these days it might just happen.  Do provide me with possible answers.  You can also add to the list.  Thanks!

Coffee me, Coffee you

image

A cup a day, washes the sorrow away. 

I must start my day with a cup or to be precise, a mug of coffee.  A day is not complete without even a single sip of this magical potion. 

In the picture is not a real cup.  Any lucky guess?  I’ve had it for years, more than a decade if i remember it correctly.  It’s on the diplay shelf in my living room, amongst other ornaments.  It’s a coffee scented candle!  Mind you I have never lit it up as I cherish it sooo much!  I don’t think it will ever be lit up unless it’s the last piece of candle on earth and is needed to save the world!

Give me a cup of cafe latte (that’s coffee with milk, for you and me) any time of the day and I’ll be super recharged, ready to take on the next challenge that awaits.  Here’s a little verse I wrote for this truly wonderful invention.  Enjoy!

Couldn’t resist the charm you exude,
Over and over again I seem to be
Falling into the sea of bliss you promise,
Freeing me from the walls that surround me.
Escapism is what I seek.
Effortlessly I let myself down.