Discovering Barcelona-III

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.

Street artists who busk all day at the main square

The wall of an art museum there.

Huge wooden doors with wrought iron knockers dot the area

A Brit watercolor artist who’s called Barcelona his home since the 70s.

Lladro statues being sold so casually at a flea market.

The saints outside Barcelona cathedral

Discovering Barcelona-II

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…

Discovering Barcelona- I

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.

Apparently Annabelle resides in Barcelona

A bit of Argentina on a Barcelona sidewalk

St.Joan’s church..FYI it’s a he and not a she.

In the midst of elegant balconies and facades is graffiti.

Butcher shop store front

Grocery stores are a riot of colors

Happiness Is A Hot Towel

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.

Stella’s a good companion

Grumpy Grandpa who couldn’t take his eyes off my movie screen but kept tutting at my choice the whole time.

They feed you well in Business class…right down to laying your napkin out with flourish!

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!

Packed roads are a must in all metros..

Barcelona from the skies

Cod fried and spicy beef empanadas with a glass of local white wine

Watch this spot for more updates!Ole!

Typo Bloglet

Some mornings are just bloodthirsty and sadistic. Or maybe…it’s a not-so-smart smartphone?

Why Kids Should Come With Disclaimers

It’s a longish title I admit but sometimes you have such a doozy of a week that you just need to get it out of your system and can’t be bothered by the aesthetics of formatting or “optimum” title lengths. Apparently blogging tip#1 is that one needs to keep the title ‘short and punchy‘ to attract more readers.

My kid is 10 years old. He acts half his age at times and then there are other times when I have no idea what he’s acting like except that it A-N-N-O-Y-S me.

Blogging tip#2- occasional allcaps in the midst of a post lends some gravitas and also attracts attention.

Anyhoo…for those who have arrived late onto this particular blog, I chiefly write about my kid. Why? Because he fills up my world rather like the John Denver’s Annie Song but in a less melodious way at times. Blogging tip#3- it’s easiest to write about what you know and see around you so I kinda didn’t have a choice when it came to my topic of blogs since being a M-O-M is pretty much all I do. Note: a effective use of tip#2 in the preceding line.

Another anyhoo- this past week TO and I have been butting heads quite a bit. It’s almost as if his agenda for the week was let’s see how much my mother’s head can swell before it explodes or how high she can screech before she hits a frequency only dogs and bats can hear. I think he hit his targets pretty often and that’s why there were loud popping noises coming from the direction of our house a few times this week and often dogs in the community were seen running around in a frenzied state looking for the source of the noise that left their hoomans mystified.

There is usually a good amount of push and pull when one wants to get a kid out of bed in the mornings. But being told off by a buck-toothed midget that I should come back later because I’m disturbing his dreams, isnt a way I like to start off my week.

This continued for a few days with TO shooing me off like I was a pesky bug on occasion as well. All of which my ego withstood admirably. Since my ego was coming a poor second to my eyes which were firmly fixed on the clock that was counting down the minutes till the school bus came.

Imagine this- you get a super reluctant kid out of bed only to have him lollygag on the livingroom couch as if it’s a weekend siesta. You then kick his butt into the bathroom only to see him stare off into space with gormless look on his face for another precious five minutes more.

You get him on the Express brushing schedule and drag his body to the dining table where his milk has been impatiently waiting for him. There he contemplates the glass of milk as one would the mysteries of the universe and then, after another irreplaceable 10 minutes have gone by, asks the one question you did *not* expect, “Ayu…how do you say the name for Thor’s hammer?”

You instinctively start to answer before you realize that in the next seven and a half minutes your kid has to finish his milk, poop, bathe and meet the bus-a short walk away.

That’s when your inner Hulk breaks loose and you think some rather painful thoughts about where Thor could stick his hammer and get into the shrieking banshee mode.

You think the weekend is going to be better however it’s anything but bereft of drama.

So for all the parents out there who aren’t always looking at your flesh and blood with undiluted love oozing from your pores; fret not. You aren’t the only ones who fantasize about having a catapult that would fling the brat to a galaxy far, far away.

S-I-G-H.

P.S: I haven’t even tackled the mad rush we get into when there’s just 2 minutes left on the clock and someone realizes that he hasn’t packed everything he needs for school day that. There’s not enough Xanax in the world to counter that.

Saturday Facepalms

My kid rates fairly middling to high on the maintenance scale. As a family am sure we all do. In each others’s eyes if nothing elseImage result for keep calm+family

We rate above average on the drama scale too. And not the kind that rates the good drama and invites curtain calls and huge bouquets of roses. This is the soap opera kind which has varying quantities of MELOdrama, pathos, angst and ire. And that’s all in the first few sentences uttered by TO. I am perpetually the evil witch and boy am I glad! It maybe in the genes but when I see a kid who acts up, my palms itch to connect with their backsides and bring out all the shades in the spectrum of red.

One thing that TO has been pulling on us is threatening to run away each time he gets UBER exasperated with us. The first time he pulled that nonsense I admit, I was taken aback but then knowing his love for peanut butter and the telly; I knew he’d be back. And he was.

Fastforward a couple of years and this morning suddenly the “I’m leaving” bomb gets dropped on our head. Again. Red was no help at all being the good cop.

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Thankfully I was fully caffeinated and had happy things to do for the rest of the weekend so I didn’t sweat it. I asked TO to make out a list of places he thought he could go and stay in and keep the list a bit long in case some people were unavailable to have him crash at their place long-term or use their wi-fi free of cost- whichever is the bigger transgression.

Not surprisingly, he quickly changed his tune. He started negotiating with me and started tell me that for the low, low cost of screen time, I could have the pleasure of his company at home forever. Clearly this mom found that too high a price to pay so I insisted that he keep the list ready since he was going to get the digital media taken away sooner or later and he’d again get upset and want to leave.

I even suggested putting the list up on his door, in big, bold font and colors so it would be easier for him to choose where he wanted to go and live. Weird how soon the threat fizzled out soon after that. If this were a cartoon, TO would be like a balloon, whizzing around the room, rapidly deflating.

Evil Mom-1. Whiny Kid-0

Nuff said!

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Turbulent Toosdays

We’ve been having slightly wonky weather here. It’s rainy and overcast one minute but suddenly bright rays of sunshine will burst through the clouds and blind us all.

TO has been slightly under the weather. His usual scheduled spell of cough-cold-almost-guaranteed throat infection during the monsoons is slightly delayed this year but it’s finally made an appearance.

He’s been home since Monday and my good cop’s taken a hike and left the bad cop on indefinite duty.

This morning after meeting our family physician, I told TO that he’s not really sick so he should get cracking with his chores and not spend the whole day whining about screentime.

The love of my life, flesh of my flesh did his chores…with aplomb! He made his bed by folding the bedcover in halves like a door. And he proclaimed it was a coffin. For ME.

I told Red that I’d need a lot of alcohol to get through today. Or maybe a Valium. It’s all the same when your kid prepares a coffin for you with glee and adoration.

August Recap

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 comeĀ  down this road.

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The munchkins who keep the good times rolling!

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The usual suspects Part-1

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Trio from the usual suspects

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Birthday cake #1

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Birthday cake#2 that paid homage to Godzilla: King of Monsters

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The bouncy birthday boy in the background.

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.snapchat-12868228883841078127944242142.jpg

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.

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Before the all important toss!

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The rare photo where the V sign didn’t make an appearance.

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And the fake smile’s back!

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!

A Weekend In The Balcony

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.