Sunday, December 11, 2011

Of friends and friends...

Last Diwali, we had just moved back to India, specifically Delhi. It is hard to believe a year has already passed since then and here I am now in the last month of the year, still wondering how the months flew.

Settling back in India was not a breeze.  Sadly most things which i enjoyed, like blogging came to a standstill. My mind seemed always in a volatile mood and it was not easy to keep it still long enough and write my thoughts all down .

Then not so recently I got a lovely email from a college friend , L.

Among the many things she wrote, was "Are you going to give me lame excuses for not updating your blog or do you just want to spare yourself the trouble by posting something? "

erm...yeah, she can be very subtle :)

so here i am posting.

This post's for you, L, for always giving that wallop...erm..little nudge, when I need it. 

Funny thing is L and I were nothing but nodding acquaintances in college, and I sort of used to compete with her as far as English was concerned, *in my mind. I always used to think that she would become an author or something close to that.

After college, we went our separate ways, and were nothing but reminders of another age, another era, another world. 

Then years and years later, we both got 'facebooked' . It brought back college memories, past teachers and a lot of "wow, you look good" comments. 

I have this nice feeling about this developing friendship, not because she writes the nicest stuff about my writing but because I feel she is a lot like me. We are both nearing our forties, we have teenage sons and hence similar apprehensions and we don't write to each other much. 

It probably needs some nurturing, because we both are also erratic writers. I go through this phase of intense communication then suddenly i get into my 'hibernate' mode, because mostly i have nothing useful to say. I am a pathetic emailer and I guess she is too. 

Even then, I feel that if we were to spend a few days together, we would feel at home, reading books, just enjoying the silence, and talking because we needed to , not because we HAD to.

I remember in Dubai, I was quite content to keep to myself and indulge in things that I wanted to do. I had made up my mind that I had no time in investing in new friendships when I knew that I was not going to be in Dubai for ever. And yet I made two very good friends. It is the kind of friendship which I like best. Where we knew that we were there for each other when needed and we didn't keep tabs on who did what for whom.

I have this lovely friend in Delhi, who always makes me feel good about myself, and who never lets me put myself down. 

I've had an ex college mate landing up at my old house in Bangalore trying to find out where I was. These are surprises I love.

I've had people who thought that being friends meant also keeping tabs on favors. I wish I could let them understand that, when you don't a put a price on the friendship, you reap greater benefits. Sometimes, the person cannot return your favor, and it is not fair to make him/her feel guilty about that. It makes me value a home-cooked meal sent over when I'm unwell, that much more, when i know that it has not been recorded in a 'good favor' book to be recalled on a later day. 

I've been told that I come across as a very social person. Which I find uncomfortable, because I think I 'suck' at social talk. 

That is why perhaps, the internet is such a scarily comforting place to be in, you can be your worst, but none will ever know it.

Just goes to show that you can't plan friendships, they just happen. In perhaps the same way, this post happened unplanned!

Now I better go and shoo the Murphy guy away, he's proving to be too friendly for my good!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Head banging moments, anyone?

I've been having these little moments where all I seem to do is either pick up my remains of my jaw from the floor or bang my head at the wall steadily.

The 9yr-old seems to be in a hurry to reach 14. And it is not very easy on me. Not at all.

He likes Slipknot Psychosocial! "Slip knot what?" I spluttered.

He nonchalantly replies: 'Oh, its heavy metal!"

and then he gently goes a step further "and slipknot is the group's name. Psychosocial is the song's name!"

OHHH! *drops jaw, first checks to see that he is still 9 and then rushes off to google

He wants a pet, any size, any kind, any make, any shape. I offered myself, since i do dance to all their tunes and love them unconditionally. But he was not amused.

"If it makes you feel better we'll get a girl dog, okay?" he says

Sigh, i had no answer to that except  the urge to say "erm not girl dog, bitch" then thought better of that! Who wants to willingly fall into the fire from the frying pan? Who?

and then, he dreamily says " I'll name my dog Metallica!"

Aiyyo! *drops jaw, sees a dog named Metallica dancing with a kid who likes unpronounceable bands and bangs head on wall

Every time something like this happens, I let go a little bit. He is growing up, I just need to grow up a wee bit more too. But my heart breaks a bit each time.

Then something like today happens.

I had been out yesterday, and I received this sms. It was from him and it said "Amma, my thoot fell out and I didn't cry" *he's been having major dental issues and has had almost every tooth extracted. this was the second time he had pulled it out himself.

I reached home much later and oohed and aahed over the gap in the smile. Managed not to mention the wrong spelling of tooth (I'm nice like that) and the day ended.

Next morning, it was the usual morning drama. I had just donned on my 10 arms and feet, and was perfecting my art of magically appearing in all the rooms at once, waking up the entire block in the process of waking up two kids, and I hear an outraged cry.

"The tooth fairy didn't come. My tooth is still here!"

Three things made their way into the fog of early morning dimwittedness that lingered over my eyes.

1.  this particular tooth-fairy must have been a male. Someone's going to have a lot of explaining to do!

2. This hard metal loving 9yrold, believes in the tooth fairy? Really ? He actually looks devastated.

3. Gosh, I don't want to be the one to dismiss a childhood belief. I have like 5 minutes to do damage control!

So I hurried him inside to change into his school clothes, and morphed into my tooth fairy avatar.

Two minutes when he came out, I straightened the bed and said" Oh look, S,  i think the tooth fairy has after all left u something, it seems to have gone inside the pillow cover.  Must have been in a hurry"

An absolutely delighted 9 yrold put his hand inside the pillow cover and drew out a 10 rupee note.

What? only 10 rupees you, my readers, say? Shhh...that's what the tooth fairy could get in the last minute panic!

I turn around very very happy that a crisis has been averted, and do everything but a jig there. I'm so so pleased with myself.

Then a puzzled voice says "hmm... strange... she forgot to take the tooth"

Uh-oh!*THUD...THuD...major head banging moment

and then the 9 yr-old reasons out, " must be absent minded, nah?"*he must really really be believing in this tooth fairy!

All I could do was give him a big big hug, he's so forgiving isn't he?

Monday, July 4, 2011

The bench

This was a picture I had taken in Singapore.

The 12 yrold had smirked:: "Why would you want to take a picture of an empty bench?!!!"

Why indeed!

I think I've never seen an empty bench in India, because most benches seem much in demand in space starved urban cites, occupied as they are by couples trying to grab some 'together' time and a whole lot of each other in the process.

This solitary bench  spoke to me. It said "Come, sit down, no one will gawk at you or disturb you. Come and  watch the world go by."

and so i did, after shooing the boys away to go far away, ofcourse!

Have you ever done that, sitting down just by yourself and watching nothing go by?

That day i did just that, and as i sat there, surrounded by nature, my thoughts just came swirling around. It seemed that there are a whole lot of thoughts jostling for the right to be heard. Your worries, your hopes, your wishes  come gushing from the subconscious mind to the real.

and you wait and slowly they sort themselves in aan orderly fashion and let you think each thought with the attention it deserved.

Sometimes you think 'a what if' and feel regret. It's best to blow those thoughts away because it is no use dwelling over a thing done.

 You think of roads taken and some ignored. You wonder about your journeys in the future and whether you will be able to choose the path right for you.

and you take a deep breath, and feel peaceful and content.

That's why i love an empty bench.

there were so many in singapore

and none here.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sleeping beauty!

There was once a little girl, let’s name her A, who was quite the worrier. Among the many things she kept thinking about, she worried about not being beautiful enough.  She fretted over the size of her feet and her unruly curly hair. She was much loved in her family but she still suffered from low self-esteem. Why oh why did she not have her sister’s natural grace, she often thought.

One summer holiday, in the lethargic mood induced by the heat, she watched her grandma wash her face with soap and water. After smoothing talc on her face, she dipped her finger into the red kumkum powder and made a perfect red dot in the center of her forehead. A thought that her grandma, must have been the most beautiful looking person on earth.

“Ajji” she said adoringly, “you look so beautiful”.

“Child”, Ajji said, “Beauty is in the mind and heart. As long as you nurture a healthy mind, you will look lovely on the outside too. Always remember that.”

She paused.

“Of course you must grow your hair, oil it and plait it tight. Eat healthy and laugh lots. Live your life well and believe in your dreams” She hurriedly added, not wanting to waste a rare teachable moment.

Having said that, she called A over and expertly put the eyetex (kajal as it used to be called in those days) on her eyelids.

“That’s confusing“ the little girl thought, as she widened her eyes to avoid the stinging which followed.

As A grew, she slowly understood what her grandmom must have been trying to tell her. It took a few unpleasant experiences to drive home the point, but she understood. She now knew what Confucius meant when he said, “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. “

She realized that beauty had so many interpretations. Life was so full of beauty. She just needed to open her eyes wide.

It surely was present in a face lined with wrinkles and laugh lines, each one sharing a tale.

It must be in those folds of cellulite too, perhaps the scars speak of the life nurtured inside?

It could be the first rain on a dry parched land.

It could describe that scene where a bird carries a morsel of food for the newborn chicks in her nest.

It is definitely that moment when the butterfly emerges from its cocooned existence.

It is evident in the uninhibited laughter of a child.

It is in that nurturing spirit with which a 6 year old adopts an 80 year old great grandmother, pampering her making the latter feel loved and wanted.

It is in living healthy and enjoying life.

Beauty was within A too. She just needed to know that. It is in the laying of a strong foundation of positive attitude, self assurance and inner peace (yes, Panda Po is quite influential). 

It does not matter who A is. It could have been me, it could be you, it could be the girl next door.

Beauty is how YOU look at the world, not how the world sees you.

In a society, which lauds a pencil thin figure and perfect face and hold pageants glorifying the same, it is easy to forget the value of the beauty within.

But, to me,

Real beauty is living life on your terms, with a smile, spending time with the ones you love, and living every moment, like A fortunately found out.

It is not a crime to look beautiful.  Go on, pamper the outside you with those gorgeous smelling creams and oils. Perhaps they do work. But age is just an increasing number. The challenge is to be beautiful inside. 

So wake up that sleeping beauty within and go charm yourself.

Now that would be real beauty, wouldn’t it?

This post was written for Yahoo! Real Beauty - 'what does real beauty mean to you?' contest.

Dove Real Beauty on Yahoo! India

Monday, April 11, 2011

What's up?

What's up? the sky of course...

Poor joke, i know...but then if I've been hearing jokes of this calibre (courtesy my 8yrold and his friends) for the past few months, who says i can't inflict the same on you all? There is also a potentially hurtful one he's learnt...there are these letters written all over his body and you read it to one by one, and then WHAM! you get a slap...why? because the letters read HIT ME!!! Yeah, there's a flaw in that one, but try explaining it to an 8yrold!

So getting back to what's up? I've made the big move back to India. We had an anxious month waiting for school admissions to be finalized. It is always tough moving house, more so as the children grow up. This time it was more difficult because the kids had settled in well, but then the reasons why we moved? That's another post, another day!

A lot has happened in the last few months. I played Holi and convinced myself that i liked it. We won the World Cup and it was worth getting back to India just to savor the win on home ground. The apartment complex had put up a special screening for the semi finals and finals and we screamed ourselves hoarse, egging Dhoni and his men on...

In other news, my pint sized censor board is convinced i wear his tee shirts...somebody please tell him i couldn't fit into it even if i hold my breath and suck my stomach all the way in. He's having a better social life than I do. The phone calls are for him, the doorbell rings for him! I've resignedly donned on my secretary's hat in addition to the other hats I've collected so far.

And I'm seriously considering disconnecting my doorbell, it seems to be the most used, from 8 in the morning to 7 in the night!

That's around 10% of the news on hand...This post was long overdue and thanks to the few who keep enquiring. I seem to have got a severe case of 'the empty thought' syndrome, but I'm working on it.

Let me answer that doorbell while you guys be nice to me :)