The Mother’s Day Brouhaha

My family lived in the US briefly, many years ago. Prior to that life was smaller in many ways. There were no 75 channels on tv and there certainly was no Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Presidents Day and what have you.

We had Children’s Day where we most certainly did not get to escape from school; were “nudged” into elocution or essay competitions eulogizing the first Prime Minister of India. We had Teacher’s Day where the teachers got a break..sort of. The place I did my middle school from, had the 10th graders dress up in sarees or salwar kameez and the younger classes were allocated to us to manage while the teachers had a break for a day. Lunch was organized for them and there were no classes on that day for anyone. Good times all around. But the concept of Mother’s Day being a thing and a big one at that is something I got to know when I was in 3rd grade. Still a newbie of sorts to American life.

Our teacher who had an unfortunate way of looking strict while she wasn’t too bad in real life had us make little accessories for our mothers. Small pieces of what looks like particle wood to me now were available for us to color on and then a pin would be glued on the back and it would make a lovely brooch for our moms.

In theory so many things sound good. Doable even, but give a bunch of kids glue and craft products especially a goggle-eyed one from India who is new to the concept of pipe cleaners and googly eyes and you get something like this-

My mother in her infinite wisdom *never* wore this except for the time I gave it to her. Given that she had nothing which would offset this and she never went trick or treating either, this brooch was consigned to her drawer of special things, displayed prominently but sensibly not worn.

She preserved this, possibly as a reminder to herself that Art and her daughter were not intended to be friends. Over the years I’ve got a laugh out of jiggling the brooch so the eyes jump up and down but for the most part this work of art remains misunderstood and has more depth than anyone has possibly gauge.

Happy Mother’s Day all!

Movie Review: The Godfather (The Poster Version)

Image

The Dementia Diagnosis

One of Red’s cousins will be visiting us soon and I was telling TO about him. He’ll be meeting a brand new set of cousins and an aunt he’s not seen before so I was trying to give him some background while we set out for errands this morning.

This uncle of his is a neurologist and the moment I told him that, TO exclaimed in an excited manner that he was a doctor of brains and probably treated people for dementia. And that’s when the Universe intervened and turned it into an ” Why-Hast-Thou-Forsaken-Me” moment” from a “Man-My-Kid-Knows-So-Much-Awesome-High-Fives-All-Around” kind of moment.

It went something like this, ” TO: So this doctor can treat you and P also right? Me: Why would he treat us, we’re fine?!!” TO: No! You guys are old and you keep forgetting things! Me:We don’t have dementia. Sometimes people forget when they are distracted or they are doing a lot of things at the same time. Dementia doesn’t happen much in our age (yes it does, but he doesn’t need to know that!);it happens to older people. TO: I can see *ALL* this white hair on both your heads and you are really old. Not as old as Avva (his great-grandmother) but OLD! So you could get dementia. Ask this uncle when he comes home.” Me: I don’t have dementia but I will become demented soon baby! TO: What’s that? Me: Nevermind, we’re here! C’mon out of the car you little quack! (muttered sotto voce)

Accurate But Politically Incorrect

TO is learning about genetics and most things associated with them. I’m ashamed to say that barring being familiar with terms, I can’t recollect the definition without looking it up and most times I look them up with a keywords “for dummies” because they have the easiest definitions to understand. Unless I understand them properly, I can’t explain it to Mr.2000 questions aka TO.

Red on the other hand, remembers pretty much perfectly and can explain it to varied audiences without having to recalibrate his verbiage much. He’s really *that* good. *Grumble grumble about smartypants husband*

Anyhoo, today TO had an off from school because of a slight bug and with exams coming up, Red and I decided to use the time to quiz him a bit on the salient points of the science paper. And as always, it had it’s funny ha-ha moments, usually aimed at the unsuspecting parents. When talking about traits, we were going through the list of traits that are easily observable and asking TO to see which ones he could spot at home.

We chanced upon the free vs attached earlobes ones and after some amount of ear pulling to see if they were attached or free, mine were pronounced the ‘pudgiest’ in the whole world. Apparently it was a compliment but TO’s not yet familiar with the dangers of using the words chubby, chunky, pudgy and other synonyms of “being healthy” to a woman.

Conversations Over A Hot Stove

A little while ago when I was in the middle of cooking the chicken curry for today’s lunch, TO came to get a hug. Now a hot and sweaty person usually runs as far away from being held as possible. Especially more so when she’s doing the taste checks for a new recipe she decided to make on the spur of the moment. However, TO is militant about his hugs and wouldn’t leave without one.

The conversation while waiting for the hug went something like this- TO (making a face): WHAT’S THAT GREEN STUFF??!! Me: It’s coriander. You love it so am putting more in the curry. TO: No, not that green stuff, THAT green stuff. It looks like PUKE! Are we having puke for lunch?! Me: It’s not green. It’s a light yellow from the turmeric. TO: It still looks like PUKE to me. Me: You don’t have to eat it…we have daal and aalu. TO: No,no..I can eat chicken anytime..it doesn’t look *that* bad Ayu (pats my back commiseratingly).

And that ladies and gentlemen is what comes of wanting to create new culinary experiences for your family…pukey chicken indeed!

Parenting Bloglet- 02.03.2022

Image

Kiss Your Right Bicep!

Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

Red is a very good teacher. Primarily because he wants the person he’s teaching anything to, to genuinely learn and enjoy themselves in the process even if it’s something that they didn’t seek out on their own. The prime example of that is the time spent with TO and getting his concepts clear in math. Red will research long and hard and find the best resources which simplify things in such a manner that it doesn’t seem difficult at all for the person trying to learn.

Red is also a very good teacher when it comes to sports. He’s good in tennis and pretty decent in cricket and has spent countless hours tossing the ball back and forth with TO over the years. Thankfully TO hasn’t inherited my spastic movements in any form of athletics; he’s a decent bowler as well and like all young boys, frequently dreams of hitting a BIG one over the boundary and taking his team towards victory in a major tournament!

For our first anniversary, Red and I were vacationing in a lovely waterfront resort which had a pool table. Being slightly clueless even then about the talents of his new wife; Red wanted to play pool and very enthusiastically I might add. After the first few balls left the table, one being airborne enough to nearly give him a lobotomy, he quietly and decisively gave me a book, led me to a pool side lounge chair and left me there to do what I do best- not be athletic in any form.

Photo by Josephine Gasser on Unsplash

This morning, possibly feeling enthused about having started off the year on a good note, Red tried to introduce me to tennis; again. He brought TO along as back-up for when I inevitably failed miserably but still persisted in teaching me the basics which kind of went like this: ” Try to find the sweet spot when hitting“, “wherever your racquet faces, that’s where the ball will go”, “don’t just hit the ball, brush it so it spins and moves better”.

In time his inputs became a bit crisper and to the tune of, “You’re using a racquet, it’s not a dosa pan!” And after a few times of my hitting the ball too high, too far away and once entirely outside the building fence, he told me to “kiss my right bicep“.

I thought that was too meta but I stopped and kissed my right bicep and got an utterly bemused look from him because he had meant that while moving the racquet I should move my right hand so far along that it would align with my face and close enough for me to “kiss my right bicep“. Ohhhhh…the a-ha moment had come in quite a bit late in the game. He did not, at all, intend for me to come to a standstill, turn and kiss my right bicep and ask, “Ok, now what?”

Photo by CARL HUNLEY JR on Unsplash

But you have to give the man props for his optimism. To try and nudge a myopic wife who’d rather be stuck in books all day long, to come and run all over a tennis court so she could develop a bond with the game after 17 years of knowing how bad her hand-eye co-ordination is truly the heights of optimism.

He also had to deal with my, “Oops, I did it again” look every time the ball left the confines of the court and went somewhere unreachable. Of course each time I did hit the ball with a wild swing he still ducked, because while he is optimistic, he certainly is not dumb!

Reflections At The Gym

If you thought that was a pun, guess what? You’re bang on! The gym I occasionally frequent (inching towards an oxymoron here folks) has mirrors all along one side of a wall and that really helps while you’re checking out your form or lack thereof. It frequently helps me bemoan the state my body’s in although am far from the age where any kind of remedial action is off the table.

The gym also has a couple of tvs on another wall, conveniently lined up with the treadmills and people prefer to watch Bollywood videos while they work out. I usually don’t; audios are fine but videos often throw me off my stride. Either it’s too inane or it just assaults your senses and sensibilities at 6 am. I prefer my sensibilities to be assaulted after breakfast thank you very much, not before.

Even the biopics or more realistic movie plots show relationships in a more theatrical way- the college days, the bike rides (usually an uber expensive muscle bike no matter how un-wealthy the family) and the ability to cross the time barrier multiple times in the course of one three-minute song while hop, skipping and jumping across continents. They may be cinematically aesthetic and appealing but darn it if it doesn’t make you think, “That’s not how it happens at all!!

Take for example two kids from “good” middle class Indian families who would like to spend some time on their own. Managing the logistics is hard enough without some hawk-eyed auntie staring at you while you make your way out of the house so imagine a scenario where you get me-time with your crush let alone have him hoist you up in the air and spin you around in glee. That my friend, is a challenge and a half! And one that remains a daydream for most young adults.

Take it from someone who has had one or two of those magical theatrical moments; it’s all too fleeting and it takes so much doing that at the end of the day you’d rather have the opportunity to hold hands under the table or walk along side by side with an occasional touching of the hands. Way more romantic and definitely more feasible especially when you run into someone you know out of the blue. And you *always* run into someone out of the blue when you’re dating and haven’t yet disclosed it to anyone.

Dating in India is a different kettle of fish or used to be when I had first ventured into it. We were awkward to the hilt and anything that was remotely romantic was blown up to assume epic proportions in one’s mind. Imagine a rainy street, two 20 somethings cuddled up on a bike and cruising along when the bike stops and the guy gets off, kisses the girl and they ride off again- why did he stop? Because he’d read it in a book (Chicken Soup For the Couples’ Soul) and thought it would be a memory worth creating. No matter how jaded you are, you can’t help but smile a tiny bit at the whole thing. It’s sweet. Very sweet. And for those you are saying, “CORNY!” Well…you had to be there.

Dating in any small town or a place with a small town mindset also means those extremely “well-meaning” aunties who watch out for you out of the goodness of their heart and an overwhelming desire to provide the latest dirt during their veggie buying outings.

With their heads on swivel for every boy and girl who walk by, they would put the intelligence agencies to shame with their ability to predict who is going to come to a sticky end, be up to no good or what’s happening behind closed doors in which home. Sadly this level of clairvoyance doesn’t hold good for their own homes. They have the other neighbourhood ladies picking up the slack for them there though so it’s all good.

When I think of the few dates I’d been on in my younger days, it was more of the thrill of doing something, going somewhere or the anticipation of something coming together that makes me smile with nostalgia. Whether it was sitting in a hole-in-the-wall eatery while the date spoke about how he used to have his morning breakfast there before heading to college or trudging through heavy rains while on a scooter and struggling to hold onto camera bags and keep the glasses from fogging over.

It was never about being hoisted into air during a song to feel special. And while that did happen, the guy had to take the day off from work the next day because hoisting buxom Indian girls wasn’t as easy as the movies made it look. Not by half!

The Child: Lockdown Version

I started this post over a year ago and like many things which come to a grinding halt, so did this one. But it was too funny for me pass up posting it and since things are in a better state than they were a year ago, with the pandemic and its fallout, this post is one that looks back with a smile at a truly difficult time for all of us.

This lockdown has been an experience in more ways than one. Earlier I knew my child viewed me as The Enabler, The Witch, The Taskmaster, The Cuddlebunny at different times depending on his mood but now I’m almost convinced that when he sees me, he sees icons floating all over and all he has to do is just push one for a desired action to occur.

I’m also convinced that his speech has suffered a set back since he tends to bark out single words and use them like sentences. For eg: he’ll see me and say, “FOOD!”. If I stop in my tracks because of the terse and abrupt nature of his communication, he’ll look at me as if my IQ points aren’t what they ought to be and lift his t-shirt and rub his tummy signifying that food needs to provided. If I just want to mess with his head a bit more and act like I’ve still not understood him, he opens his mouth and points towards it and then rubs his tummy. Occasionally he’ll throw in a “DUH” very sotto voce.

These are the various icons I sport: when he needs digital entertainment: sadly most of which need unlocking. Am convinced he sees me like this and in this order!

Oh life…what more will you put me through…

Hey..Don’t Mention It!

Everyone in my family knows how I cling to my coffee. The bros-before-hos kind of a thing but with coffee instead. After a quick siesta a little while ago, I made my usual non-verbal gestures to Red and asked him to make me a cup so I could shake off the afternoon meal from my system and wake up properly.

The oh-so-blissful cup was borne to me regally by TO who gave it to me with the air of having ground the beans himself while making the delicious beverage. When I thanked him, he graciously accepted my gratitude and threw his father a bone by saying,”Oh P helped out a bit too.” 😀