UMM O+N is now at

Umm has moved to Wordpress.
And those of you kind enough to list me on your blog, please update the link:
Let's go...

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

ummm mum...!

First the disclaimer: I do not endorse her, her antics, her music or her products in anyway.
Still, this is in defence of her as a young mother. Give her a break!!
Britney Spears has always been under scrutiny, for the songs she sings, the man she marries, the clothes she wears and now for the mother she is. While everything else seems justified enough, the last mentioned is simply sad.
Ok, so she really goofed up driving with her child in the lap, and she didn’t know how to read the instructions on the car seat manual.
Let the parent who has never made an error in judgement cast the first stone.
How many of us have done things out of ignorance, have tripped – literally or otherwise – on our parenting skills… so what makes her different. Why should she be treated as the mother from hell.
From what we see, at least she seems to be spending time with her child, she seems enthusiastic about parenting. Especially since she can afford a hundred nannies to take care of her little one, and restrict her participation to good night kisses and photo ops.
None of us mothers is perfect – motherhood is a work in progress. We try our best, learn from our mistakes, we slip up and hope to be forgiven, we show care and love and are gratified by the kisses and hugs. We can take the tears and tantrums from our children, we can take the help and advice of others around us.
But to be judged, breaks us. To be judged as a bad mother or an inefficient mother is not easy to deal with – especially when one is trying.


another fire.
More people die.
This place is literally being built on the blood, bones and flesh of expatriate labour.
The buildings are strengthened by the sweat and blood of those who lose their life so cheaply.
And their souls will haunt the place that promised prosperity and delivered death.
So cheap are their lives, no one is surprised by its loss. No one learns a lesson.
These deaths make more precious the lives of those around you. The ones to whom you grudge your time and attention. The ones to whom you owe your joys -- small and big.

Sunday, January 29, 2006


Ok, yet another blog on racism.
Last Thursday I was at a fancy test-drive luncheon to do that my magazine was partnering.
So the who is who of Doha's rich housewives fraternity were present.
Sticking out three sore thumbs were three Indians. May I add, probably the three most qualified people in that crowd!
One is an architech and journalist, one the asst dean at a bigtime US unviersity and moi, the assoc editor of not 1 but 3 monthlies!
now the looks going around was -- what are you three doing here. of course, the housewives got over it quickly enough, but not the organisers. they were smarting.
so I tell myself, there you go again with your racism and persecution complex -- and before I could convince myself, the asst dean walks up to me and tells me 'this place is so racist'.
she, who has been living in the Americas since she was 4... hmm.
the fact is, it is not just the arabs and westerners who are racist. it is the indians, other asians everyone...
the indians think they are far too smart to hobnob with the banglas and nepalis, the nepalis think in each of them lives the reincarnation of the Buddha, the lankans think the filipinos are vague... and it goes on.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Driving miss lazy

ok, finally I started it. Driving lessons from Jan 1. And believe it is the most annoying thing I have done in my life.
So much better to be driven around. But I push myself forward: two months, and my husband will lose his last vestiges of control over me. I am my boss.
No more driving Miss Lazy.
And I will be able to have more fun than before, go and come as I please.
Just wish this damn thing could be done with.
I am so nostalgic of Madras, where I went around in my 2-wheeler for 6 glorious years, without licence, thanks to the Press sticker.
But here in Qatar, the Press sticker would probably invite an extra penalty.
So here I am after a long hour of reversing, and with an aching neck to boot!!
42 hours to go!!!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Feel like a Star... Am I a Star?

She wants to talk the way I do; dress the way I do; smile the way I do; shout the way I do.
She wants a dab of my lipstick; my pottu (bindhi); my perfume; even my moisturiser.
She wants a jacket to match mine; a dupatta too; my shoes can't be newer than hers; hers shouldn't be different from mine. She even wants to play Scrabble, just like I do.
I can't sit with HIM or hold HIM; She wants to, too.
She tells me, though not in words, that I am worthy of imitation.
I am overwhelmed, because this is the first time someone feels that way; at least openly.
She tells me, watch what you do and watch what you say; because I am watching you, and will do just the same. She tells me I love you so, but I will grow up and do what all daughters do.
I will shun your ideas, go against your advice, I will eat what you don't want me to, wear what what you hate, read what you detest, and question every principle you hold dear.
In small measure I have already started to rebel, she says.
By talking louder than you like me to; by smiling at strangers -- something that bothers you so.
And in public, I stick with empathisers who condone all my misbehaviour because I am just all of four.
The minute we are alone, I smile an apology, because I know all my indiscipline will be forgiven, because you are my mum. Putty in my hand, she grins.
I can make you feel guilty with a frown, sad with a cry, confused with a smile, and happy with a laugh. You think you are in control, and then I start playing my tricks.
And I will get away with it, because you keep saying I am too small to do this and that, I am just all of four.

Friday, January 06, 2006

New Year pains ease...

...but still has not delivered.
Ok, so far so good. I like to believe that I am optimistic not greedy. But the line between avarice and hopes is rather blurry.
Like I hope for a happy and peaceful year. And hope that these two factors would be the result of or result in, success and prosperity.
See, it is almost like the line doesnt exist.
A week into the new year and my resolutions (that i claim never to make or make and never to take seriously) all ready begin crumbling. for one regular blogging hasn't happened yet.
Anyways, back to that blurry line I spoke about.
A lunch party with a group of friends/acquaintances. And then I hear some of them start off about how they have to earn every penny, and nothing comes to them easy. That they are not lucky, but are thankful that they are no unlucky, they add wistfully. Something my sisters say very often about ourselves. We have always had to put in a bit more effort, wait a wee bit longer, for things to click. but no complaints, things always clicked. never a free lunch though.
Now these women are oil mistresses (married to men working in global oil conglomerates or work in one). Their monthly income is about 3-5 times what most 'middle-class' families in Doha earn, they have longer vacations, more perks, etc etc. So where was the need to be wistful?
I guess each to his opinion.
And I come back to my LQ -- luck quotient. I am not joking. If there is a scratch and win, everyone is a winner contest, everyone of our 20 scratches will give us M&Ms.
If there is a gift for every contestant, my husband and I will end up with similiar papermate pens.
You get the idea??
So back to hoping 2006 is happy and peaceful and, and, and...