Problem Of Plenty

A few years ago I was sitting with a bunch of gal pals on a gals’ weekend away and we were talking about how our lives are. Essentially the “why” of needing to ‘get away from it all’. One of them said (with a sigh) that mornings were quite hectic because: a) the milkman would turn up b) the newspaper vendor could then come c) the cook would follow d) then the maid e) and finally the dog walker. And while it totally sounds like first world problems to anyone else who’s eavesdropping, but it can be exhausting in its own way.

When I was gainfully employed but still clawing to survive, I did everything on my own. Dishes, clothes, go to the bank yada yada yada. I didn’t have a car of my own and was dependent on public transport and all its vagaries but life was just dandy. Fast forward to circa 2019 and am rotunda housewife who genuinely needs nothing. Wants are a different thing that we won’t touch upon. That’s a longer endeavor than trip down to Tartarus!

TO has been a bit under the weather recently. Summer fevers can be a real beeyotch. It’s hot outside and he’s hotter than he’d like inside- good times. Anyhoo, Red’s out so that meant that I had to channel the patient and placid parent along with my own snarky self. Bipolar parenting is never an easy thing in my book. And yesterday was the day that the door bell rang at almost regular intervals and made life that much more interesting. Thank goodness I’d already got all my parcels the day before.

We get organic, farm fresh (queue the angels’ chorus) milk 2xs a week. Yesterday was one of those days. The morning started with the cook coming in aka Bell#1. Bell#2 was the garbage collectors. Bell#3 was the cleaning lady. Bell#4 was the ironing guy coming to collect the stuff to be ironed. Bell#5 was the milk guy. Bell#6 was the ironing guy coming to return the ironed clothes. Bell#7 was a friend of TO’s. Bell#8 was a friend who dropped by for a chat.

Thankfully for the last two ding dongs TO was asleep else with each bell he called out like an entitled Upper West Side grande dame who lounges  in bed with two lap dogs or like this piece of sunshine and goodness stepmother on Tumblrand calls out instructions for every little thing. He’d go, “Can you get that?”, “There’s someone at the door Ayu”, “Hey, the bell rang”. Lord! blessed are the lives we lead.

 

 

Redemption At Long Last…

I don’t always deal well with extended weekends where my kid’s a part of the equation and Red isn’t around or not going to be around to be a buffer. We, TO and I, get along well for a few hours and then I feel like asking his school principal to keep the school going all days of the week for the sake of my sanity. And just a day back I wrote this rather sentimental blog post. Oh well, lunacy in all its forms is also par for course in parenting!

Anyhow after a whole day of playing the 5Ws and 1H series of questions I was looking for divine or devilish intervention when the skies opened up and the rains fell and whole petrichor experience did its bit to soothe the savage beast aka Moi. And then the offspring asked Alexa to play my favorite Def Leppard songs and sat next to me, semi head banging.

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Bliss. Oh bliss bliss bliss. Oh damn…I spoke to soon. The queries about all the icons in the Macbook’s dock have started up while I wind up this post. I know when I’ve been bested.

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Offspring-100, Me- 1

 

We Need Trappings

I’ll be the first one to admit it, my kid’s sticktoitiveness comes and goes. He’s tried his hands at roller blading and then suddenly didn’t want to do it anymore. He’s resisted all attempts at learning to swim properly; preferring to channel an otter as his spirit animal instead.

Red tried badminton with him and that took root for a while as did squash and then it flooped. For now cricket fever seems to be gripping him and how! He’s been playing for a while now and dare I say is passable. Of course I wouldn’t know a good cricketer from a bad one. Anyone who’s shots connect more often than not is good in my book especially since mine never do. And when they do, they go places Red grumbles while he has to retrieve.

But more about TO- he’d been asking for a whole cricket kit so that it’d feel like he was really playing. We held off on thinking that if this went bust too we’d be stuck with a lumpy bag to get rid off or store somewhere till the yen to play came upon him again. But after we heard from the coach that he’d been making progress and was trying more often than not to learn the game rather than play “stylish” shots, we got him kitted out.

And here he is in his kickass cricketer avatar, looking like he’s already hit one out of the park! And this pretty much him throughout the day. We just need to make sure we duck while passing by.

So while I can take the game or leave it, it’s pretty damn good to see TO this happy at doing something. So maybe he stops playing, maybe he doesn’t. He gets to make happy memories now. Better flip flop as a child and learn the ropes than end up as a 30-something who can’t make up his mind.

Selectively Linguistic

My native language is Bangla. Am not entirely proficient in it. I can speak it but the “purists” can usually gauge that I’m not one of them. Apparently it reeks of being an “outsider” aka from outside the hallowed boundaries of West Bengal.

I can manage to read and write it but it’d be better if I didn’t. I can manage better with Gujarati and can more than scrape by in Hindi. Not counting English here since it’s the global ‘must-have’ language we were brought up to regard and revere.

Red’s native tongue is Telugu. He’s proficient in speaking, reading and writing. The less said about his spoken Hindi the better. I’ve written a few blog posts trolling it and he hasn’t been a happy camper.

The Offspring (TO) has chosen English as the language he’s most comfortable with and is sticking to it with the tenacity of barnacles on a sunken ship. See…all those years of cramming figures of speech in my head finally did some good.

Anyhoo, back to TO. He has been spoken to, yelled at, cajoled at, cooed at in both the languages Red and I speak in but somehow it was the whole water&duck’s back scenario.

But every now and then, he slips up and answers, verbally or non-verbally, in response to a question asked in Bangla. And it makes me annoyed and smug at the same time. Would it hurt his otherwise perpetually busy mouth to speak a few words in other languages? Especially if they’re a part of his cultural make-up? But noooo…one cannot hope to prevail upon children of today over these sentimental issues. They (the kids) are pretty pragmatic and don’t see much value to doing the ‘little things’ which make their folks giddy with happiness.

This morning over breakfast at a resort we’re staying in, I asked him if he wanted a repeat of his soupy noodles. I asked him in Bangla and he shook his head no. I asked him again just to be sure and he said “No”. When Red asked him a bit later, he still said no. So no was the way to go.

But am onto his little tricks. He pretends he doesn’t get what I’m saying when I speak in a different language but I know better. No kid can spend 7 years being scolded in a language and not pick up bits and pieces. No sirree!

Although, and am just playing devil’s advocate here, given his Bong genes that are predispositioned towards food and gluttony, he could just have memorized every tense of the phrase containing the words ‘eat’ and ‘more’. Going by my luck with this boy, it’s far more likely that’s what he did.

There go dreams of my conversing with him and teaching him the mix of Banglish (Bangla+English)+Hinglish (Hindi+English) I usually speak.

I is sad. I is annoyed. These kids! #smh but since every parent’s goal is to get their kids to do things without telling them 20,000xs or throwing stuff at them; as long as he answers back in ONE language I guess that’ll have to be enough.

Siiiiigh.

Oh God! You Ape!

The Offspring (TO) had his second brush with the Big Questions- where did all life come from, does God exist et al? The first one was when Red’s grandma passed away.

Apparently the child who can believe in different categories of dragons, is having trouble believing that a “Supreme Being” created Man.

He got off the bus one day, engaged in a minor aggressive strap fight (hitting someone with the strap of the bookbag) with a classmate. The reason? The classmate sided with another child who said God made the Earth and people and is R-E-A-L. TO took exception to all of the above and then the problem began in earnest.

Most parents tell their kids that God exists and He should be deferred to because he made the whole universe etc etc. For Hindus, we have a whole smorgasbord of Gods to choose from and we even mix it up depending on the days of the week or festivals or situation that’s on our radar. Might sound flaky but it isn’t. Just years and years of indoctrination in following and believing in a way of living that works for most of us.

Red and I discussed raising TO to either believe or not believe and decided that we wouldn’t stop him from getting exposed to religious practices that are a part of our traditions and surroundings but neither would we fill his head with stuff about Heaven and Hell.

However, we have not got around to taking him to temples or any places of worship either; proactively. If it’s happened, it’s been purely incidental. And in the process we have a child who has questions about a LOT of things but who essentially perceives the world mostly in black and white.

His thinking hasn’t allowed much of gray to seep into his cognitive palette (ooh that’s a nice example of a neologism) and he tends to be rather absolute as for the most part.

When I was listening to him talk about the “incident”, I asked him how he knew there was no God or that He/She hadn’t created the World and he said that he’d learnt in science that homo sapiens came from apes. And that all life started from small “things” in water and then they started to grow and change and we got reptiles, birds and dinosaurs. The conversation unfortunately lasted too long while being expounded on dinosaurs but that’s par for course. *rolls eyes*

Then came humans who were weird looking (am paraphrasing here) and who crawled and then they learnt to stand up and walk straight. Then we got apes and “normal” human beings.

I kept trying to ask him in as many lay terms as possible about the point of origin of creation etc and finally simplified it to stating that reptiles, birds, mammals are all different from each other so how did all these different forms get created. For example, where did the monkeys come from? And pat came the reply- from monkey parents. Can’t top that can you?

So cheers to you Darwin and whoever and whatever created the world. We’re sticking to our monkey parents, thank you very much!

P.S: Maybe when he’s 30 I can tell him my theory about the galactic amoeba who may be responsible for the whole kit and kaboodle!

Movie Review: Deep Blue Sea-2

Verdict: Spare yourself. Seriously.

Sharks are beautiful creatures with rows of serrated teeth and soulless eyes that would scare the bejesus out of anyone who saw them up close and personal.

But they are worthy of that respect that comes with fear. They aren’t the Jason or Freddy of the scary creature movie world. They are the Damians and Michael  Meyers who stalk silently and without too much brouhaha. Because brouhaha isn’t classy. It’s massy and doesn’t have enough gravitas.

I have proved again and again I have rather low standards when choosing movies. I’ll usually watch anything once without feeling too snobby about it. But when a movie is so ridiculous that it just makes you want to throw things at your beloved telly, then there’s truly something rotten in the state of Denmark. Note: Author has no idea about the sudden and inexplicable segue into Shakespeare. Let’s put it down to the brain getting scrambled by this movie.

Back to the ranting! I usually screen whatever movie my child wants to see especially if it’s beyond a PG rating. Deep Blue Sea is something he’s not seen yet so I was wary about the part-2 since they usually go OTT trying to get people to like it as much as the previous one. But this installment of the movie is a joke. With baby bull sharks being confused about their sharky heritage and acting like a bunch of piranhas instead. Yech.

The acting is so sub-par that is doesn’t behoove me to mention it at all. With the movie copying the iconic scenes from the 1st movie you are just in a hurry to switch it off and move onto something like White Chicks to restore your faith in creature flicks.

 

So, will TO be allowed to watch this film? NO! If he has to hurt his eyes by watching crap, I’d rather he watched Sharknado. It has the distinction of ‘being so bad it’s actually good’!

The Magic Of Coffee

Caffeine is defined as ‘an alkaloid compound which is found especially in tea and coffee plants and is a stimulant of the central nervous system.’
I, on the other hand, would call it the life-giving and life-sustaining elixir which enables me to tolerate my fellow man, open my eyes in the morning without wishing a piano fell on people around me; basically not putting a hit out on people who keep me from my coffee.


Take this morning’s scenario- TO has trouble getting up in the mornings. So do I but I have been given the divine duty of getting my kid off to school ergo sleep can be sacrificed for the joy of knowing he’s boarding the yellow bus. Anyhoo, after what seems like eons in getting him to get out of bed and the zombie-walk to the loo where he can brush, he decided that *now* was the best time to lie down flat on a skateboard and S-L-O-W-L-Y roll his way to the dining table that was maybe 5 feet away.

Why, one might be tempted to ask. Well apparently the flesh and blood wanted to have his morning milk ‘on the go’ as it were.

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In such moments, coffee is the most glorious of gifts. It prevents you from turning into a banshee, dumping said cup of milk onto otherwise lovable offspring’s head and as the caffeine enters your system, you feel calm and barely-there tolerance pervade the space around you.

I do agree, I might have a wee addiction towards the bean. It has been my constant support for more than 26 years now. It has got me through many a thing. Kept me from throwing things at odious people and throwing odious people off other places.

A few weeks ago I was asked to cut back on milk and caffeine as a part of a “diet”. That it didn’t work out is a given. I took to lingering in the kitchen gazing at the cupboard where the coffee is kept. I sniffed the coffee powder a few times a day and wished I could mainline it. Yup…total junkie.

But all jokes aside, we all have our crutches in life. Some worse than others. Of all the things I could be doing, coffee seems to be the most benign.

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