The Road Not Taken

Note: This is hardly an original title but extremely apt nonetheless, especially for this particular post. Somehow this post was particularly difficult to write. The words didn’t flow the way they usually do and I’ve made more revisions than I’ve ever done before, left it cooling on the rack as it were till I decided to just get it done once and for all. Read on…

I’ve often touched upon the nomadic life I’d led as a child. It was never dull whatever else it may have been. It was hectic at times and sometimes trying but never dull. And in the process the one thing I always wondered about was whether putting down roots somewhere was really everything it was cracked up to be and if it was something I’d be able to aspire to one day. Because after 9 schools and 11 cities you really wonder at times where it’s all going.

There was a point of time when I thought I’d got it figured out. I was much younger but without the rose-tinted glasses. Work was shaping up, other aspects of life were also pretty much where they needed to be. And then they changed. Not entirely drastically but they changed and the path that was taken has led up to today. And it’s been a good one for the most part. But a part of me wondered about the shape of things had the divergence not occurred. The all too elusive what-ifs occasionally rear their head and you can’t help but extrapolate things and wonder if you’d have been able to follow the blueprint through and where that might have got you.

Now nostalgia is just fine on it’s own, indulged from a few hundred kilometers away but when you get down to brass tacks and walk in the same paths the younger you did, sometimes it’s just not the same at all. Imagine a place, a cafe if you will, was something you zoomed into regularly like it was home base. The food tasted great, the drinks even better and the time spent there was memorable. And then one day, you walk in there after a few years and it’s not really special anymore. It’s run-of-the-mill. The place isn’t run down or shady…it’s just not what you want anymore. The younger you sure, the older you…not so much. And that can be a slightly bittersweet realization for those of us who sometimes want to desperately hang onto the vision of something the way we remember it.

I remember visiting my college with my best friend a long while after we finished our graduation.While the original structure was still standing, the new extensions to the building made it look more like a transport hub than the college where I spent 3 very significant years of my life. And while I’m not opposed to change, there’s change and there’s CHANGE. And as we grow up and older, some changes are inevitable and often seem irrevocable.

Nostalgia works well for some time but the deeper you go into it at times you realize that you aren’t acknowledging the most often critical part of whole situation- that you’re the  one that’s changed the most. Older, maybe wiser, definitely healthier (we’re a body positive blog folks) and once you get to that point; at best nostalgia can be a joyful interlude but one best kept brief. Because there’s so much happening now! The future maybe unknown but the past is something we’ve already gone through. Reliving it or attempting to kind of seems like walking backwards to me. Best to grab onto whatever’s happening now and hang on for the ride.

Here endeth the lesson.

 

The Serenity Prayer

It’s not just in rehab that one prays for serenity. Or even on Seinfeld. Parents frequently pray, atheists and all, for deliverance or the ability to bear with those who we do not understand and want to spank the butts of.

This conversation took place just 5 minutes ago: TO storming into my room, “HEY AYU! S aunty made the bread that I don’t like! Me: But you ate it so well last time she made it, you like French toast. TO: No! I HATE French toast! It’s disgusting!! Me: Ok, just eat it today because you need to take your medicines after food. TO: I DON’T WANT TRIANGLE BREAD PIECES! Me: Just put both together and make a whole bread and it won’t be a triangle anymore! TO: But it won’t taste the same (whine whine whine grumble grumble grumble and exit stage left).

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Oh My Angst Hurts

The Offspring (TO) has been introduced to the world of peer pressure. He has met the “popular” kids, met the jocks, met the goody two-shoes and is trying to fit into the whole ecosystem as we speak…erm type.

Being of a slightly more touchy disposition, TO is at times inclined to want to change schools if he doesn’t have a good day or have a bad experience. Of course the very next moment he can be on top of the world as well. Am told such is the world of children.

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This morning his reason for not wanting to get up and go to school was due to the kids he had a falling out with. He gave us more details while having his milk. The conversation went something like this- TO: ” So I’m not friends with X anymore. Me: Why? TO: She doesn’t want to be friends with ME. Me: (making sympathetic face) Whhhhyyy? What happened? TO: She says stop following me around. Me: Well…do you follow her around? TO: (looking sheepish)..only a little bit. Me: Well then, don’t follow her. TO: (huffily) ok fine!

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The rest of the conversation consisted of words irritating, annoying, irritated and annoyed and why the middle finger is *not* to be shown and at least a 1000 reminders to finish his milk and go for his bath.

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Turbulent Thursdays anyone? And to think that we have yet to navigate through the choppy waters of puberty. God help us.

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What Dreams May Come

For every student who dabbled in Psych, Sigmund Freud is a part of the study one couldn’t escape. He was the pit in the cherry or any fruit that you had to eat around and eventually spit out. And now I’m doing justice to both my Psych and English Litt backgrounds by using metaphors and also showing my subtle dislike for the man.

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But dislike aside, pioneers usually pave the way by being the first one to *do* or propound something. In the course of time people run with it, either disprove it and tear it down to build anew or to use it as a foundation for their thoughts and research.

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Why am I talking about the dirty old man of Psychology on this fine, breezy morning? Well, he spoke and researched at length about dreams and their meanings and I can barely count the number of times I’ve seen non-psychology students get his book and flip through the pages and try and find a meaning for the dream that they had.

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I have rather vivid dreams, complete with background scores and set decor sometimes. We all pick up cues from our environment all day long. Some we’re aware of and others hover on the edge of our consciousness and come out full force when the guards are down aka asleep.

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It’s not only the bad dreams that startle us or make us think. Prima facie even a “happy person” who’s looking forward to something fun and positive could have a dream that makes them think, “why that dream? what could it possibly mean?” And the answer can sometimes elude us and at others it’s right there in front of us.

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I have no idea why I dreamt what I did last night. I don’t even know for sure if it was negative in it’s connotation. So many things get tainted with a negative slant because of fear, misinformation or just because of stereotypes when it could actually be a far more benign thing.Image result for freud dream meme

And sometimes a dream is just that, a dream and not something that needs to be dug into deeper. I’m playing Roberta Flack’s Set The Night To Music while typing this post out…it could mean nothing or it could mean the nights have to be waaaay more chillled out for me going forth.Related image

But one thing seems certain, my kid needs new toys. If I find another reptile while I’m brushing or making the bed or see him search for poisonous snake pictures and videos on my phone then the blame’s squarely landing on a particular pint sized person who clearly overshares his interests with his reptile-fearing parent.

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Mommy over and out!

 

Oh No You Did Not!!

Red and I impose parental controls on TO’s digital media views and mainly their content.

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It’s not so much to keep him away from profanity (he gets a dose of that when I drive) but also to keep him away from concepts that he may not be able to understand and end up getting freaked out about stuff in the process.

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A while back he and 2 of his cute little friends let it slip how they’d sneaked a peek at The Conjuring while playing unsupervised at another friend’s house. I was able to correlate that with a period of being kicked out of my own bed because someone was afraid to sleep alone in their own room. Or even when they did sleep alone, they wrapped themselves up like a mummy and gave me sleepless nights about suffocation and what not!Image result for kids watching horror movies

This morning I was telling Red over coffee that I had weird dreams last night from seeing clips from The Shining and being partly sleep-deprived and suddenly pipes up a voice from behind me, “Oh yeah, that boy with his cycle and those 2 girls who meet him in the hallway and that old guy who gives him icecream and tells him not to go in a room…that movie, right, with all the blood?”

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After internally WTFing with myself liberally I turned around to ask him how he knew about the movie which he did not have the clearance to watch. He told me very casually that he’d watched it at another friend’s house but only a little bit and he wasn’t scared of it at all!

A part of me is happy that he’s choosing good stuff to watch and not getting messed up in his head by watching things like Evil Dead or the Saw movies, but almost 10 may not be the best age to watch someone’s spiral into insanity and attacking their family with an axe. Just saying.

And while my mother let me watch horror movies when I was his age, I can honestly say I was in it for the blood and gore and she was ok with it because she knew it was a phase and I’d outgrow it. She steadily kept her hand over my eyes during the scenes with nudity though. Come to think of it, most Hollywood undead serial killers are such perverts! They wait till a person is “otherwise occupied” and choose that time to cut their heart out. But those days of cozying up with my mom on the couch, hogging on Hershey’s chocolate pudding cups and watching Jason slash through teenage bodies with his chainsaw…oh the nostalgia. Am almost choked up.

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But if this kid thinks he’s going to watch gore before he’s 35 he’s got another thing coming!

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P.S: This blog post and the others like it have been brought to you courtesy of a Macbook Pro that I was given so very thoughtfully for my birthday this year and about which I have not waxed on eloquently enough.

Disclaimer: This is not an Apple sponsored advertisement. More like Red-sponsored.

 

 

Nostalgia Endures

My father moved around a lot while I was growing up. And it was a good way to live, everything considered. Met new people every few years, or met the same old faces in different cities and towns and had a good time catching up.

India of the late 80s was a vastly different place from what it is now. And while that is a rather DUH kind of statement to make, it’s still very true. In 1988 my father moved to US for a few years. And we were as FOTB as they came. While my folks still knew something about the country and the people, I knew bupkiss. And when the learning began, I was like a sponge. Red still likes to say that I’ve yet to leave the accent and thought process behind although the country was left behind decades ago. With emphasis on the decade. Husbands!

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For me it was a magical place. Imagine if the height of television watching till then had been the weekly mythological serials that the whole family lined up to see on Sundays and then cut to an 8 year old totally having a braingasm in front of a telly with more than 2-3 channels (back then) just for cartoons!

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And there began the journey with music. Till then music was what my folks played on the turntable or what was on the radio or the Bollywood stuff on the t.v. There had been a brief exposure to BoneyM as a tiny tot but that was quickly forgotten as well.

Suddenly there was VH1, and MTV and music videos galore. And it was amazing. It played 24/7 and all you had to do was listen and you’d find something that stuck to your mind. Good or bad it stuck.

Things which kids are exposed to in their formative years always stays with them. And so the 90s with its big poofy, hairsprayed hair (for both men and women) stayed with me. The ripped denim, Gene Simmons’ make-up and guitar smashing and for some reason Slash’s weirdly placed bellybutton…all made an impression. I don’t like B-52 but remember their music. I don’t like any songs from Shakespeares Sister but can listen to Stay on a loop at times.

And that’s why even after all those years, after having spent more time away from that influence rather than time with, I still fall back to that music when I feel restless and fidgety. Listening to Winger (never heard any other song except Miles Away), Skid Row and even Heavy D…all seem very very comforting. Because that’s what music does to you. It transports you to new (and old) experiences, emotions and by the time you descend back to yourself, you’re set. For that moment.

I have a varied playlist on my phone and every now and then when I hit shuffle it comes up with things which really make me stop and listen purely for the nostalgia quotient. And that’s when reality intrudes with a rather jarring sound- that of DJ Snake’s Magenta Riddim because small hands found the phone and thought it would be fun to shake things up a bit from the boring U2’s With Or Without You….kids!

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Realizations…Bite!

I am currently facing a gargantuan task. I have to sort out the images I have with me on my hard drive. The device is running out of space and I know I’ll keep taking more pictures so I have no option but to optimize the usage as soon as possible.

So, what’s the brouhaha about? I should be able to ruthlessly delete stuff, right? Well, it needs to be taken into account that I have certain OCD features which have prevented me from doing this in the past. I am a hoarder *hangs head in shame* so it’s pretty darn tough for me to throw anything away especially images of my child, taken from the moment he was born till the one I took of him yesterday.

As it is with fast moving bodies, you need to click a good number of images before you find the one which isn’t excessively blurry or the one which has your subject looking exactly the way you want them to. So it stands to reason that the human hurricane that he was before he turned 6, has way too many pictures which contain if nothing else, but a part of an ear, a pinkie or the curve of his butt. And it is now my “pleasure” to sort through those treasures and keep the ones which I absolutely can’t do without.

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Did I also mention that I need things organized in a said manner so I don’t have a mini fit looking at images all lumped together? The feeling of seeing a folder arranged into sub-folders which may or may not have their additional sub-folders is *quite* a joy. Neat. Tidy and most importantly, properly labelled. I’m quite the labeler. They make it easy to locate things in life like the trip you took when the child was 2 years old and it was winter. Or the images from when he was in diapers but sporting a bald look. It all adds up…to idiosyncrasies but it can’t be helped. It’s part genes and part malaise.

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Here I go, down the rabbit hole of images…..