The cries of Ole resound in the small room. The lights are dim but bright enough to shine on sheen of sweat on the faces and bodies of the dancers.
Suddenly a deep baritone growls out notes to a song you don’t understand but can feel all the way down to your toes.
The thudding off the heels, the snapping of the fingers and the flinging of the fringed shawl in a frenzy is enough to create a tempo that you are moving along to; even without knowing.
The sangria is forgotten, the fatigue of the day is parked for a while…and you just watch the fury that is the flamenco!
This was our last day in Barcelona. We decided to skip the beach in the less than balmy weather and spend the day in the Gothic Quarter instead. A good decision as it turned out.
Browsing through a flea market, listening to street musicians and having a perfect lunch in a quaint, hole-in-the-wall place in one of many warrens of the Gothic quartets was a leisurely way to see not just see the tourists but also see how the locals look at the likes of us.
Gaudi and Barcelona are synonymous and even without anyone going too deep into the psyche or temperament of the artist, you can’t help but concede, the man had style! A glimpse of his masterpiece Sagrada Familia…
When I visit a new place, I don’t just focus on the well-known or even the off-the-beaten track kind of locales and sights; I like to capture the every day lives of the people there.
Here are some glimpses of Barcelona, the way the locales live.
Doesn’t make sense? Or oddly enough, it totally does? Whatever be the case this is the story behind it.
My sister from her own parents and I met in college 21 years ago and since then had made countless plans to go travelling together. Over the years, decades really, we have visited each other many times but never been able to get ‘our own trip’ off the ground. With a milestone birthday coming up for both of us, hers before mine, we decided that tomorrow never comes and today is what it’s all about….so a girls’ trip is taking place. One which isn’t falling through!
For the past 5 months we’ve bored the spouses thoroughly discussing places to visit and then what to do when we get there. And after 5 months of researches, plans and spending more time chatting and talking to each other than we have in all these years combined (time zones be damned!), the day is finally arrived…I’m enroute and she’s going to be starting off soon as well.
With Red happily pushing me out the door this morning and saying “Don’t calling me, you’re on vacation”, I’ve completed one leg of the journey and am about to start on the second leg shortly. The flight started with a surprise upgrade to better seats and deliciously-warm and eau-de-cologne scented towel to pushing all the seat buttons to see what each one did. Tt’s a gleeful time! I’m fairly sure I bounced once or twice.
Of course, me being me, I met my share of “interesting” people along the way as ever. Starting with the airport security guard who saw my ticket and got enthused because he’s a huge soccer fan and am off to a major soccer hub, to the elderly Arabic gent who kept tutting disapprovingly at the violent movie and booze that I consumed right in front of him, it’s been quite fun.
P.S: Reached Barcelona and had one of my country people as my cab driver. Waiting for the other half to arrive so we can finally kick things off good and proper!
Watch this spot for more updates!Ole!
The month of August is usually quite festive in this household. Both Red and TO have birthdays. Incidentally both had milestone birthdays this year- their 40th and 10th. Needless to say, the 10th birthday brouhaha was everything that it should be. Between 2 cakes spanning the loves of his life aka cricket and reptilian monsters which Hollywood makes tons of money out of; this child was left delirious with joy.
We also thought we should start a phase where the gifts would come in only from family and To start associating birthdays more with the fun factor, memories to be made rather than gifts to be counted. Check back with me next year to see how far we’ve come down this road.
By contrast the 40-year old baby’s day was fairly low-key because Red had already done a stag trip to Oz at the start of the year and wasn’t in the mood to enter his naughty 40s with a bang (‘cuse the pun) in the presence of his in-laws and his father all at once! Hopefully this weekend we’ll be able to engage in some amount of indulgence for the grey and dignified Java God.
We’ve also come a bit of a distance as a family as well. Getting TO settled into another academic year comes with its own set of ups and downs and some amount of anxiety on our parts…chiefly mine. Apparenty when your kid becomes a fifth grader, everyone’s focus gets onto punting the child up to the next grade in middle school and the whole year ends up being a prep for the latter. Phew!
However, striking a balance is what we manage to hack for the most part so not too worried on that front. Being an Indian parent, it goes against the grain to *not* worry about your child’s academics or their potential areas of excellence. After all, what would we put up on our social networks if it weren’t for updates of the child taking newer and greater strides in some or the other field. Of course there are the endless selfies with the puckered up face that most of us instinctively seem to excel at.
Speaking of which, I have rediscovered Snapchat with a vengeance! The initial disdain at the airbrushed faces and the boughs of flowers over the head-filters has melted away and I quite enjoy looking at a smooooooth, blemish-free face and have realized that I wish my eyes were a nice irridescent color and not the browns that I’m destined to sport life long.
TO on the other hand has gone so deep down the rabbit hole of cricket that I’m afraid he’s lost to the non-cricket loving junta. Luckily for him, he has a father with exceptional hand-eye co-ordination and inclination to listen to his soliloquies on the subject instead of the mother who looks for a pile of cushions to dive under to stop the flow of words from battering her already battered mind.
Red as always is the buffer between the two excitable entities that live in this house. He stays calm and collected and only loses his shit during tennis and cricket matches.
So as we gear up for a season of festivities over the next two months, am just happy that all the important stuff is getting ticked off properly and we’re back to the mundane bit where I just have to drag a kid out of bed and boot his behind out of the house on a regular basis and phone the husband with the usual, “when are you going to be home?” spiel. Bliss.
Have a good weekend…Salut!
When Red and I moved houses to where we currently live, the clincher wasn’t just the community living but also the view we’d get from our floor. It’s neither too high up, too far down and definitely doable whenever the elevators are out.
But the view is something that’s been rather remarkable over the years. For urbanites, seeing concrete jungles and cars bustling along the roads are the norm. For us, apart from the usual view of a city life, we get to see peacocks every now and then. We get to see the cityscape change in front of our eyes whenever new ground is laid for another building. We get to see cricket matches galore and also interact with the feathered ones that seem to love the aircon units we’ve so thoughtfully put up on our balconies.
And while the changing landscape doesn’t always spell progress all around, what with cutting of the trees, noise pollution, air pollution, ground water depletion…you name it and it’s happening as I type this out; but it’s happening right in front of our eyes. It’s a sense of comfort to be able to see the evolution of this city.
I have words buzzing around in my head most of the times. Some times they come out as blogs and at other times they come out as stories. They’re all stories at the end of the day. Here’s one written primarily as a short story. Cheers
THE SUMMER OF BROKEN GLASS- A VERY SHORT STORY
It started with a tinkling sound. Followed by a deep silence. So deep you could reach out and touch it. She hated silences like that. They were eerie and there was never anything good at the end of it; of that you could always be sure.
This entire summer had been tinged with what stray but nearly regular occurrences of glass breaking. Had she been superstitious, she would have pegged them as happening due to mal ojos. Her brand new Spanish classes kicked in at its convenience she thought wryly.
From her mom’s favorite vase to the beer mug, to the little Dresden shepherdess that she had labelled as super lame; each thing broke with a bang, a smash and there always seemed to be shards of glass shimmering on the floor…dangerously pretty.
She once had a couple of those shimmery pieces jammed into her big toe and while it didn’t hurt that bad; they sent shivers down her spine when she tried to probe the wound. It had taken forever to get the splinters out and then hobble around with her toe wrapped up in gauze. Lame, lame, lame!
She shook her head to clear the fuzziness and sighed in frustration about having to clean up glass YET AGAIN. Getting up to get the broom from the closet, she heard a muted kind of smash-crunch behind her. She turned only to hear the cocking of a hammer and the barrel of gun level with her face.
Her last thoughts as she saw the finger press down on the trigger were about the stupid glass…the memories that distracted her from running and hiding or even calling 911…stupid lame glass she thought, while looking into the mal ojos that were the last thing she ever saw.
Another one that caught my eye from the days of yore…
Right from the time my son was born, I was struck by how delicate he was. I knew babies are vulnerable and helpless but this one seemed to embody those qualities and more. He was a thin baby, weighing just on this side of an acceptable birth weight but he never lacked spunk.
That ‘scrawny’ baby’s learnt to run now and also balance himself on his toes to reach heights hitherto out of his reach.
One thing that’s absolute about children is that you NEVER know what they’ll do next. If you think there’s a line they haven’t crossed yet, they always manage to cross it and then some! So if you threaten your kid with that ‘last straw that breaks the camel’s back’, you’d better be prepared to have a whole herd of camels waiting out there because your offspring will find plenty more straws and with it plenty of camels’ backs too.
I used to think of little children (infant to toddler stage) as being fragile but it’s us as parents who’re the fragile ones. The kids are resilient and how! They fall, they bleed, they sprout bumps here, there and everywhere and they still keep going even after the tears have left tracks on their face.
And speaking of tracks, while you may not need therapy to get over the minor cuts and nicks on your child; it definitely takes some doing to see your child hurt and you not being able to prevent it. And some things do stay with you. Whether it makes you a better parent or a hovering one is anyone’s guess.
And by the time you’re over the initial trauma and your monkey is again gallivanting off for newer places to fall down from; you tell them what’s sure to become your motto in life- “Don’t cry! You wanna cry? I’ll give you something to cry about if you dare do something like this (fill in blank with your pet peeves about your kid) ever again!!!”
And you go on. Both of you…sometimes with one chipped tooth, a brief black and blue mark and you with a near-paranoid obsession for stuff your child could hurt yourself on again. But you do go on.
And before you know it, they’re onto newer things, more things they could make hurtful for themselves and with you still trying to be their life-long safety net and catch them before they fall. But that’s not to be…what is to be their ever-growing curiosity, activity and ability to bounce back each time.
Amen to that! The rest will keep I suppose 🙂
P.S: At the time of this blog being posted MLM’s graduated to TO and has had 3 surgical interventions (nothing critical) which includes one broken hand being reset. And we’re still chugging along! Phew…