Monday, June 18, 2012


What a roller-coaster year this has been so far. Born in India, I'm what one may call a true blue Delhite. Never been out of the city for more than a month at a stretch, and that also always on a vacation. And suddenly Anshu got a job in UAE and my life changed completely.

From staying a stone's throw away from my parents house, I moved thousands of kilometers away. Till then I had never looked after Aanya single-handedly. Always had a host of people to look after her. I realised that now my baby is only my responsibility. What a terrifying thought. What if I can't look after her? What if I spoil her? What if she's not happy here? The list of "What if's" was endless.

But what I had apparently forgotten while this entire gamut of emotions was going through me was my dear loving hubby. Unlike for me & Aanya, for Anshu it was just not about settling in a new place, but also joining a new workplace and excelling here.

While in India, we both were working and jointly sharing the responsibility of running the household. But here all responsibility was Anshu’s alone. Plus he had to ensure that both Aanya & I were settled comfortably. Obviously he had not counted on the tantrums that we regularly threw ;) but that's just the way we were.

We reached UAE on August 10 and within a few days admitted Aanya to a playschool. And then started "Mission House Setup". From buying furniture to electronics, it was so much fun. Going from shop to shop and finalizing things :) Soon after Anshu enrolled me to a driving school. He himself did not apply for a license but insisted that I learn driving first as it'll make me independent. And I managed to get my license in the very first attempt - a rare feat in this part of the world.

As winters approached the weather improved and it became easier to move around. When we had arrived in UAE, the weather was so unbearable that it was next to impossible to move out. But with the change in weather we started exploring the country with new friends – Amit, Sharmila, Madhu, Priya, Achal, Deepanjan & Jhumsum and of course the kiddos Vedant, Tamanna & Cherag.

Beaches, barbeques, desert safari, cruise… we had so much fun and more importantly my baby was so happy. She was thoroughly enjoying the new place. Of course we missed India, but thank god for Skype that we were constantly in touch with family back home.

My parents, Dadi n sis came to visit us in Jan this year. The weather at that time was awesome and we explored all places of visit mentioned in the UAE tourist guide :) From Burj Khalifa to Atlantis, from Dolphin show to Dhow cruise, I made sure that the trip was a memorable one for my family. After all Dad was taking this long break after 10 years and I wanted him to have the best time.

It’s been 10 months now and we have settled in completely. Aanya has finished her playschool and has joined Kindergarten at one of the best schools in UAE – GEMS Millennium. She loves going to school after all Vedant & Tamanna are also in the same school. She is also learning swimming & Karate and is having a wonderful time.

Soon Aanya's summer vacations will start and we’ll go back to Delhi for 2 months. Can’t wait for the break and meet my parents and family. Here’s wishing the “RAY FAMILY” Happy Summers!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Aanya’s First Day at School

That day is already here! Monday, April 4, 2011 was my big girl’s first day at playschool. Somehow I thought that I would have a lot of time before my baby has a life out of our sphere.

It seems like moments ago that I was reading up on becoming a new mommy. Then one day I realize its time for my baby girl to start her playschool. And I was running from stores to stores (of course making Anshu crazy in the bargain, but I’m sure he too was lovin it!) to find that perfect dress she will be wearing on her first day of "big" school.

I was sad and happy at the same time, it is a weird feeling, almost a milestone that she isn’t a baby anymore, she is growing up. Despite my mommy nerves the day before about sending Aanya to playschool, everything went really well – for all of us :)

It was a big day for all of us and Nani dearest even went the extra mile to do an Ardas for Aanya at our Gurudwara in the morning. Nanu & Sabu Maasi too got ready in the morning to bid her goodbye for school. And then it was time to head to school. And accompanying us to school were daddy dearest and Aanya’s favorite Dadai.

My little angel looked perfect in her papa’s arms wearing a pretty pink top and denim skirt with cute little pink sandals at her dainty feet. With matching clips, cute little Hannah Montana bag and bottle (courtesy her favourite Sabu Maasi), it took her all of about 30 seconds from walking in to acclimatizing and starting to play. My little bird is spreading her wings.

Of course, daddy had to take a few pictures to document the morning.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Frozen in time and space

This was no Jallianwala Bagh where thousands of Sikhs were massacred while protesting against the British rule. Children born post 1980 (me included) had read about the anguish and the atrocities Sikhs had to bear during partition. I had heard stories from my grandmother when she along with her family had to leave behind their ancestral home and all belongings in Rawalpindi to move lock, stock and barrel to Delhi. I could hear the excruciating pain she had suffered and still lingers on in her memory, 63 years of Independence. I had developed a deep abhorrence towards the Britishers who had ruled our country. But this was worse. In a span of just three short days (October 31-November 2, 1984) over 3,000 Sikhs were massacred in New Delhi. Reason: On October 31, 1984, India’s then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her two Sikh bodyguards – Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh – in retaliation for the storming of the Sikh holy shrine of the Golden Temple in Amritsar in June during Operation Blue Star.

I grew up as a regular Delhiite, without a care in the world. I never bothered about the political scene in the country. I was untouched both emotionally & physically by the ghosts left behind by the 1984 carnage on Sikhs in the Capital or the 1992 bloodbath in Mumbai or for that matter, even the ghastly killing in Godhra.

Meanwhile, the political scene in the country was heating up. On April 17, 1999, Atal Bihari Vajpayee lost a confidence vote in the Lok Sabha and consequently tendered the resignation of his coalition government. So, on April 26, then President of India, late K. R. Narayanan, dissolved the Lok Sabha and called for early elections.

I had just turned major, but I didn’t have the Voter’s I-card, so couldn’t cast my vote. Being an Army man’s daughter, discussions around politics and government were very normal during the dinner table and the entire family used to chip in.

On turning 18, my father insisted that I get a Voter’s I-card made. The only motive behind getting a Voter’s I-Card was that I should have a valid document to prove my identity!!! By now the Vajpayee government, along with its NDA coalition, had successfully completed its five-year tenure and India was once again gearing up for elections in 2004. And since now I had my Voter’s I-Card, I though of putting it to good use.

Staying in Lutyens Delhi, our locality belonged to the prestigious and prized New Delhi constituency. Known for its ‘elite’ nature and Sikh voters being the decisive factor, my constituency always witnessed lively contests. In 2004, standing from our constituency was Ajay Maken who as Power Minister played a key role in privatising electricity and bringing relief for the laid-back Delhi Vidyut Board. No guesses then that I had voted for this young and enterprising Congressman, as opposed to BJP’s veteran Jagmohan. Maken won hands down.

This time too, we saw frenzied excitement and energy. Congress has once again walked away with the top honours. Even the black shadows of Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar were not able to turn the tide in BJP’s favour. The Tytler issue made me think that I knew very little about the 1984 riots on Sikhs and since I belonged to this minority community, I decided it’s time that I better know what happened 25 years back.

I got hold of the book “When a Tree Shook Delhi’ by Manoj Mitta and H. S. Phoolka. I was hooked from page one itself. It was such an intriguing book that in less than a day, I had completed it entirely. I felt deep revulsion toward H.K.L Bhagat, Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar.

I also felt a sense of betrayal as I had always claimed Rajiv Gandhi to be my favourite leader. A chance meeting with Mr. Phoolka (he stays near my house) and learning about his great sacrifices made me wonder: Why vote for Congress?

But then again, who says BJP is any better. If Congress was to be blamed for the 1984 riots, then BJP is equally responsible for the Godhra carnage. It’s just a matter of concluding which is worse of the two. Even though I was shocked with the revelations, my decision to vote for Congress remained intact. After all, 25 years is a long time and one needs to let things go. By letting issues to fester will only bring in deep sorrow and nothing more. Tragically, the current imbroglio does not seem to end. Solving it would be the big final laugh.