Here Comes The Tough Stuff

Quite a few times it’s happened that I wrote something but couldn’t publish it because my inner crazy lady didn’t allow for anything to get sent out unless the requisite tags and categories had been ticked off. While cleaning up the blogging space, I’ve come across stuff I’ve left half-written, written but unedited or written with just the publishing bit left. This is one of them.”

The offspring is in Upper KG or Pre-primary-2. It’s the step before 1st grade commences from next year.

Last year, any homework he was given was just over the weekend and it was a rehash of the stuff done over the weekend. A minimal rehash. This year he’s getting homework almost everyday. Which isn’t a bad thing because 1st grade will come with homework assignments for multiple subjects irrespective of what kind of prior academic background the child may have.

Only, the problem isn’t with homework per se. It’s with *what’s* given as homework. It would seem that the little man is anti-Hindi handwriting practice and pattern writing.

I should explain that anything repetitive which seems non-fun from the beginning is entirely unlikely to hold his interest for more than a few seconds.

So we try to build up his interest by getting a fun pencil box, erasers, sharpeners…the works. Or rather as much as a kid in primary school is likely to require. And what does he do? He wants to sharpen his pencils down to nubs because the shavings can be made into flowers. He wants to scribble on his homework notebook because then he gets to erase and as all know how much fun that is!

When I tried to show him how to write his letters he stiffened his hand into near rigor mortis mode. Of course put a plate of cookies next to the same hand and Lo! and Behold! Resurrection occurs and a small hand reaches for the chocolate chips yummies at lightening speed!


Waterloo-Circa 2014

Quite a few times it’s happened that I wrote something but couldn’t publish it because my inner crazy lady didn’t allow for anything to get sent out unless the requisite tags and categories had been ticked off. While cleaning up the blogging space, I’ve come across stuff I’ve left half-written, written but unedited or written with just the publishing bit left. This is one of them.”

Ordinarily I am a card-carrying agnostic but today I am ready to drop to my knees and give thanks to the Galactic Amoeba if it means that MLM will conk off early and give me a wide berth while he does so.

Today has been mind-numbingly exhausting and I have begun to think that I’ve lost my temper for the last time with no clear roadmap to find it again. I just wanted MLM restrained in one place. And since they don’t have straitjackets in preschooler size…well you get my drift.

Some days are so extraordinarily taxing that you end up questioning what the heck you thought you were getting into when you were happy to see those 2 little red lines. Let me illustrate…I’ve had dinosaurs in my food, in my coffee, in front of my face, going up my nose, peeking into my ear, poking in my gluteus maximus and all because I sought to foster his love for the wretched reptiles by buying him more dino figures to boost his pretend play and keep him from the evils of the idiot box! *bangs head against the wall*

Right about now I have no problem if he turns into a tater tot on his way to becoming a couch potato if it means I’ll get 2 minutes of peace while I use the loo.

Till then I’ll give my knees some workout and pray for sleep…

“He that sleeps feels not the tooth-ache.”
Cymbeline (5.4.176)

Or the aches brought on by the force of nature in the guise of a child!

Image courtesy-garthandkaceyhamilton.blogspot.com

Music Vs. Melody

Getting MLM up in the mornings was usually a bit of a struggle. I tried all the methods my folks tried on me: stern wake-up calls after a point, taking the blanket away and even shaking him awake when nothing would seem to work. But because he’s made of sterner stuff and mainly because he cares two hoots about displeasing his parents; my flesh and blood would make like a snake and coil up good and proper and it was tough to get him to uncoil.

This child has always liked music. From sudden forays into Sufi-based stuff to Cars to jarring Bollywood beats he likes pretty much most things. They just need to be uptempo. For the past few months we’ve been waking him to music. Thanks to the advent of Alexa in our lives, the songs can be changed even if I’m not nearby and that helps because this kid goes through playlists like the Flash on steroids!

Anyhoo, after weeks and weeks of nothing but Bollywoody stuff my ears were begging for a change and I was determined to give it to them! A search for Indian raagas I hadn’t heard in a while got me to a beautiful arrangement of Raag Jaunpuri played on the Esraj by Pandit Ashesh Banerjee. And my ears felt blissful!

See, there’s a thin line between music and cacophony. One person’s music is another’s headache. Cacofonix has been a poster child for that for years. But not everything has a melody to it. Lots of notes can be strung together to make an arrangement that isn’t jarring but it doesn’t always uplift, soothe or invigorate. Now, I’m up there with most of the Bollywood song junkies here. Most songs I like and dance to at home are the stuff auto rickshaw drivers blare over their cheap, tinny, scratchy speakers. In fact, I heard my go-to song while travelling in an auto a few years ago and it never fails to disappoint or do the trick when I need to get out of a funk.

But a properly arranged and played melody liberates you…the gradually rising tempo, the adding of new, more complex notes and musical arrangements seem to mimic the cadence of your breathing, your exhilaration and finally your sense of joy or contentment. That’s not been happening with the daily dose of Swag Se Swagat and Kaala Chashma blaring on the speakers.

Still, once music enters your life, it never leaves. It may take twists and turns and you may find yourself in musical alleys of folk music, kiddy movie OSTs or even a Brahms lullaby but it never leaves.

Thank goodness.

The Joys of Living Alone

I am not averse to sharing my living space with another person or other people. I’ve lived in a dorm, as a boarder and lived with my folks till I was an adult and those things really drill it into one’s head about the utter necessity of having your own space for your own shit. I mean, it’s critical!! Especially after a more permanent cohabitation starts with someone and they just leave their things all over the place like goat droppings. It can vex you like nothing else truly can.

Picture this- a smallish studio space or Praise Be To The Gods Of Personal Space, a loft…a few bean bags or bean bag chairs scattered around the room. A few non-skiddy throw rugs with vivid geometric designs on them. A large white wall designed a la Jackson Pollock viz this-  

There needs to be an island in the area designated as a kitchen for the cutting and chopping and sleeping is either a sleeping bag or a water-bed in a corner.

Not a very pseudo boho-chic manner but a messiness that gets into every living space but also one which is just short of a tornado-hit area.

Because at the end of the day it all boils down to this- my shit is my shit but your shit is just bloody annoying!

The Benefits of A Neverafter

That’s right. Not getting your happily ever after with the one you long and pine for or imagine yourself to be deeply in love with has tremendous ROI.

Let’s take Romeo&Juliet as an example. Too bad they really haven’t found the Fountain of Youth else Will Shakespeare would have been a very rich bugger indeed, reaping benefits from all the royalty he’d have been getting from this one play he wrote. And it’s not even that a good one mind you. It lacks the depth of a Macbeth, the twists of a Midsummer Night’s Dream or and you don’t really feel the love. I know don’t. I mean take a look at this- 2 teenagers (it could only be teenagers being this impulsive and stubborn) decide that they have a crush on people their families find unsuitable. Families turn into big baddies to keep them apart and teenagers manage to muddle through it till they both end up dead. Yay…have fun making out in the afterlife nerds.

This tragedy of WS has been made into operas, movies, music videos, reenacted as a play and reread as a book and continues to persist even now. Why? Because a never after means the story can persist at least in your own head. A happily ever after means it’s over and done and you have no further role to play in it.

Everyone who has gone through unrequited “love” or has “love&lost” will forever be marked with the touch of that “what-if”. They may not moan and groan throughout their lives about it but they’ll wonder and they’ll hark back to that person or the people who “got back”, “could have been” etc etc. When you get the one you wanted, it turns into marriage, babies, mortgages and the story becomes dull at some point for sure. Happiness might still play a part in it but the depths to which your mind can run when it unleashes the potential of the unknown is massive! And I think it’s fun for people to do from time to time to wander off on this particular path.

Unrequited love has spawned an entire era of work in English Litt from sonnets to prose to modern-day stalkers who have transitioned into very successful serial killers and creeps in the movies. The Never after leads to illicit forays onto Facebook profiles of people you don’t have access to anymore while you take in their lives as they pose for selfies or check into some minuscule coffee shop on social media or tweet about the time they last sneezed.

You don’t check out the happily ever afters…they got their happy ending and started a predictable new story of their own…where’s the mystery in that?!

I remember going back again and again to read Love Story. Sad as shit but she died so beautifully on film and the way Oliver contemplated his life post Jenny dying…man! a man happy with his life doesn’t have half that appeal!

We like a little bit of the unknown in our lives. The places we could have gone, the things we should have done, the lives we would have led…it’s a fun exercise on it’s own and doesn’t hurt anyone. As long as you know you got exactly what you wanted- alive, hale and hearty and not swooning and dying or spouting nonsense from balconies…your very own happily never after!

But going back to R&J, ever think what might have happened if they had ended up together?


Burying The Hatchet

It’s inevitable that when people live together, work together, do stuff…again together, there’ll be occasions when there is acrimony.

Acrimony can get bumped up into enmity or also a severe case of I-don’t-recognize-your-existence yada yada yada. But in the whole scenario, the one thing that no one quite figures out how to do is burying the hatchet.

The question now comes- where the heck is it to be buried? In the head of the person you’ve had the falling out with or just in some neutral ground where it doesn’t bother anyone anymore?

Well till the hatchet is good and ready to be buried, we are ill-fated to carry it around like those unimaginative serial killers, dripping with blood and guts aka our angst and ill-will.

The hatchet bumps into things, nicking stuff, causing bleeds which are some extremely out there metaphors for saying it causes us harm in turn and growing heavier by degree since the ill-will hasn’t been washed away.

Laughter is an exceptional antidote for the hatchet. Either at yourself or at the object(s) of your derision. Laughter caused by the prolonging of a situation where even the absence of the provocative stimulus causing bile to surge up in your gut without any occasion for letting it out. Essentially at the futility of things.

Once the laughter bubbles over, a spot magically appears bearing the words, “bury hatchet here”. And thus it ends.

Till something or someone causes you to go medieval on their ass and again swing the hatchet.

Get Your Placebo Groove On!

“This is the follow-up post to this one. Both were written a while ago…am currently meandering down nostalgia lane at a less than sedate pace.”

I tried out a detox routine for a day. I did it all day yesterday and let go of my precious java (the drinkable kinds not the geeky one) as per the norms of the routine. And before I get to my observations on this I want to get on my soapbox for a few sentences and just say that our bodies are precious. We literally aren’t going to get another one. Might as well take care of the one you have or at least love the taste of the grub you put into it if you aren’t going to maintain it in a manner that gets you the most mileage. Because it’s no fun to be an adult and feel like you’re compromising on things on a regular basis especially highly personal things like food. It’s just NO FUN AT ALL!

Back off the soapbox and down to reality- I can’t lose weight. I can’t diet effectively. I need a whole new infrastructure and logistics around me to exercise in a manner that I want before my body becomes fit again. I have two adorable lumps at home- husband and child. They are lazy, complacent and very loving so me trying to be a hardass falls flat more often than not. The husband can’t be bothered to find stuff-essential stuff, on a regular basis and usually forgets things if I’m not around to marshal it all into place where he can trip over it and therefore remember to take it with him on his way to work.

The child needs work because he’s a child and doesn’t know a thing about the world. Loosening the reins at this juncture means he grows up to become his father, the less than attractive aspect of him i.e., and more work for me when I’m older and menopausal. Sounds like a recipe for murder at first glance.

Anyhow, various factors get in the way of my getting into the gym, working out, walking, dancing- whatever! On a regular basis. And while none of those factors are critical, I still haven’t been able to offload them courtesy the lumps I mentioned. So the looking better, feeling better has been taking a hit consistently and my perseverance has eroded over the years. Easier to be an overweight housewife in soft track pants watching tv while I fold laundry or vacuum the couches. Not a very sad or dreary existence. It needs to be done and I’m the one who has to do it. Period.

I thought trying out a detox might “fix” the problem, as it were. Give me a little edge or boost before I start the actual process of toning, slimming, getting fitter. But I realize that I don’t feel all  that different. More than anything else, the thought of actually doing something and getting off my cellulitey butt had me feeling better. Honestly, my body doesn’t feel so much lighter today than it did before. Whatever minute differences there are, are too slight for me to keep investing this kind of money (not cheap this treatment) on a regular basis.

But the fact that I tried something out has done more to release endorphins for me than a lot of stuff of late and that’s where the placebo factor comes in. I feel better without having done much to aid an existing condition of sorts. I took something akin to therapy and just the thought of it made me “feel better”.

We all need some placebos in our lives at times I guess. One less crap to flush out of our systems at the end of the day.

And what about my chubbiness aka lard? Well I’ve got a nice new playlist that makes me want to dance so I’ll get my jogging shoes on, pop the headphones in, ignore my kid and just walk. Not fast. Not slow but just walk.

You have to play with the cards you’re dealt. Mine is telling me to take a walk. And dump some dressing (low-fat) onto veggies next time rather than blitz them into a homogeneous mess of a juice that I tell myself is “helping me”. A honey-mustard piece of lettuce never hurt anyone 🙂

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