Ode To A Shopping Mall

Today I have seen misery. I have seen faces full of despair, hopelessness and utter exhaustion. I have also seen people look defeated and rundown and resigned to the vagaries of life.

I refer to the crowds outside the waiting rooms of the shopping malls. And specifically to the male of the species who have girlf(r)iends and wives (hopefully both not in attendance at the same time) who have disappeared into the black hole that a changing room turns into on weekends.

These females, usually arms laden with clothes a size smaller than needed, march into the fray that gets them rooms the earliest and park their better and increasingly embittered halves outside with another heap of outfits that would clothe a small county.

These hapless men have handed over their lives, their wallets and most importantly their weekends to these sirens who will ask them two of the most difficult questions a man has to face in his life:

  1. How Do I Look?
  2. Does This Make Me Look Fat?

Both answers must be accompanied by starry-eyed gormless looks of admiration towards the questioner. And in case there was any doubt of any kind, the answers for question #1 can range from – great, awesome, amazing, woohoo hot!! and others of its ilk but must never be- OK or have a shrug or non-verbal that conveys indecision or anything less than adulation. And that ready reckoner was for the b.fs. Husbands already know there is no correct answer. Usually.

Answer #2 is a bit dicey but the rule book (yes, there is a rule book) says that this noncommittal answer is usually good to go-” I don’t think so/or I don’t see it; what do you think?”

Turning the question over to the woman in question may save your hide but in 20% of the cases it may rebound on the victim with accusations of never saying anything nice/complimentary or never taking a decision. Ever!!

Like the time she asked what did you feel like eating for lunch and you said (good naturedly), “Nothing specific. Anything works for me. Choose what you want.” She said, ” Cool, let’s have Chinese” and you said, “Gawd…Chinese again?!!” and kept thinking all through your Sichuan fried rice why you were feeling a distinctly arctic chill in the restaurant. Oh well.

Back to our hapless menfolk…they stand shoulder to shoulder, united in agony; waiting for the love of their life to say the magic words, “Ok..am done.” But they don’t know something more insidious is waiting for them…the serpentine queue where they’ll have to stand for another multitude of mind-numbing minutes till the clothes get paid for and if someone really has bad karma, the significant other will suddenly remember (after the bill has been paid) that the loyalty points have not been added to their card. Because 9 out of 10 times, the check-out person will direct them to yet another understaffed, overcrowded desk to get things done!

Alea Iacta Est (the die is cast).

P.S: If I didn’t have to swat away mosquitoes while I type this out, I’d have written a few lines about the young hotstuff chica whose morale I destroyed by picking up the same culottes she was reaching for. I guess I looked old and hausfrauish enough for her to rethink her wardrobe choices in toto!

Ah! Sweet Youth.

The Non-Pathological Word Salad

Psych 101 introduced me to the notion of a word salad and initially I found it quite an interesting concept while it was still a theory in my books. Then over time I actually witnessed, heard rather, quite a few word salads while I was interning in various places; attempting to become a psychologist. And now, 19 years after I first came across the concept, I’ve discovered that word salads come in lots of shapes and sizes.

Well shapes are primarily humanoid but sizes depend on the age of the person and I also discovered that this condition can be non-pathological. How does that happen you ask? I’ll tell you! It happens when you come across a child of course! And spend rather loooong stretches of time with them. The exception to that rule would seem to be Sarah Palin but let’s not open that can of worms.

Take these snippets of conversations with my flesh and blood for example:

  • Yumm…this fish is delicious!!can you scratch my butt?
  • I can’t do subtraction, it’s too hard OOOOH! there’s a plane!
  • I promise I’ll be a good boy…HEY! there’s another plane!
  • I love you so much, you’re my best friend can I have popcorn chicken?
  • I don’t want to bathe because I’m not dirty and Africa has the most poisonous snakes in the world, did you know?
  • I’m getting scratchy all over from wearing clothes can I watch tv upside down?
  • I love Dumbo and his ears, will you make chocolate cake for me?
  • I love you because you have a squishy tummy and I want spasghetti for my lunch!

These are many many more gems of its ilk are a part of my daily diet. The offspring has a mind which is extremely pliable methinks. It changes from being like a sieve to a metal vault with the blink of his beautiful long lashes. The vault is for all sorts of trivia and the sieve-like stage is during my instructions to him. Without fail.

I frequently have these “wtf” moments when he opens his mouth. And my mind promptly hashtags them as #dafuq given the times we live in and I file them away under my “Crazy Mommy and Crazier Child” blog post fodder.

Images courtesy-http://www.patheos.com

 

Right As Rain!

I’ll be the first one to admit-my kid is a bit of a digital media junkie. He’s a tater tot who’ll transition into a full-blown couch potato unless Red and I nip it the bud!

When we travel, he like most brats..erm adorable children of his ilk, prefer to bury their noses in an iPad or a phone rather than look outside and see the landscape zip by.

Although blaming this generation isn’t fair by half….when I was his age if I didn’t look out the window or sleep, I’d go stir crazy and 3-4 hour car journeys were the norm rather than the exception. On train journeys, it was climbing up and down from the berths till my mom put a stop to it or I conked off. And it was a damn fine way to travel!

The offspring has been on planes since he was 4 months old so any journey that doesn’t get over in 4 hours max is like a life sentence to him. And even in flights he’ll usurp the window seat and *still* have the iPad on, playing his neverending dino games. God have mercy.

Today Red and I kibboshed his unending whines about watching something he wanted (his grandfather is currently alternating between the French Open and the Champion’s Cup) and wonder of wonders and miracle of miracles, Boy Whiner wanted to go and ride his bike in the rain. And not the blink and you miss it rains mind you. The halfway decent ones.

I saw him zigzagging from my window while Red walked behind him and he just came back thoroughly drenched, hair in spikes but damn! I really love that kid right about now!!

Life is made of little moments like this which make you feel that the little tater’s going to end up just fine.

So let it be written.So let it be done.” quoth Rameses.

Guilt-Free Goa

We have our own version of Vegas in India…G-O-A…what happens in Goa stays in Goa and Goa seems to be built for everything you’d do while you’re away from home, boundaries, restrictions and the humdrum of the everyday.

How else can one explain the most prim and proper of “aunties” who is carrying enough weight on her hips and belly to feed a colony of starving cannibals, strut around very confidently in rather iffy outfits that leave nothing to the imagination whatsoever!

Or the sudden craze the biggest beer bellies get for wearing Speedos and jiggling their way along the beach, without a care in the world? Or the most hirsute of men jumping into crystal clear water where the hair on their bodies is practically at par with the sea anemones one might expect from the fathoms? Those are some sights people were not meant to see and be able to unsee.

It’s not just about being more daring with attire, people leave their food dos and don’ts behind…way behind I might add! Stuff doesn’t have to be kosher, in a manner of speaking…it just has to look and taste good. And nothing tastes better than the forbidden fruit or the bacon!

This isn’t a critique, mind you. It’s interesting to see how people loosen up with their inhibitions and just enjoy themselves in a way that they normally wouldn’t on any other holiday destination…unless it actually was Vegas or the French Riviera maybe.

Years ago when I was working with a B-School, I remember the spring break-like fever descending on the students. The senior class wanted to go to Goa together but they also had exams coming up and had to prepare for the campus interviews for the placements etc. My job was to prepare them for those interviews and wouldn’t you know it? I had to do it during the time they were in the Go-Goa mode! So little by little excuses started coming my way…suddenly a whole bunch of parents had silver wedding anniversaries that their loving children just couldn’t afford to miss. So many grandmothers fell sick and apparently a glimpse of their beloved grandchild is what the doctor had prescribed above all things! It was quite fun to watch and I didn’t have the heart to say no to any of them because this too is a right of passage.

When I took a mini-vacay with some girlfriends I went to Goa. We ate, drank, slept, gabbed and frolicked in the utter Goa-ness. And that’s the beauty of it…it’s not just the beaches..it’s the place. It’s where you head to get drunk, it’s where you head to for a romantic weekend, honeymoon even and it’s where you take your hyper kid to cool off while you sip cocktails by the pool in the am without a thought for time of day!

Goa was made for relaxation- be it quick or a long-drawn one. It’s for gorging on seafood, eating spicy stuff your stomach can’t stomach and still having a great big smile on your face because it’s satisfaction all the way! So if you want to get high on sun, fun and the occasional dram…this place is a surefire fix!

Cheers!

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0351.JPG

 

The Malady of Summer Holidays

I’ve noticed that there’s a strange and inexplicable condition that happens to kids, especially mine over the summer holidays. They become deaf, louder, motor movements mimic being like marionettes with their strings cut or like mini Boomerang videos. Polar opposites but somehow they seem to be able to switch between them effortlessly enough.

The specific keywords that they don’t seem to comprehend are these:

  1. Get up.
  2. Slow down.
  3. Enough.
  4. No more (pool time, t.v., iPad, laptop, playing with water…till infinity)
  5. Get out of the pool.
  6. It’s late.
  7. Come home.
  8. Go away.
  9. SHUSH.
  10. GO. TO. SLEEP!!

Barring that it’s the same ol’ symptoms of childhood+boredom+curiosity all rolled into one delicious little buck-toothed package of silliness!

Saturday Bloglet#2

Meanie Mommy recommends pretending to be seriously and totally grossed out when your offspring threatens to pour slime on your ankles and legs. 

The child will pour and rub like a zealous slime-pourer and rubber and you will get a lovely little massage from those soft little hands. Accompanied by wicked cackles from a munchkin of course!

Realizations: Gym Diaries

For all the smart alecky stuff I’ve written about my gym experiences, one thing stands out sharply in my mind; people have no business not being healthy!!

The larger you get from eating unwisely, the flabbier you get from not having adequate activity to stay fit and strong; the longer it takes to get to even the starting point of good health. And it’s hard; to say the least.

Being a short and heavy person, it takes me that much more effort to leverage my body up when I’m trying to tone up my torso. My upper body gets in the way of my trying to tone up my lower body and due to a sedentary lifestyle, even my wrists and ankles aren’t as steady as they ought to be.  The problem is we seldom break down our bodies beyond the cellulite, chunky parts and consider the wrists, elbows and ankles unless we sprain them somehow. The fact that they need to be and should be strengthened as well does escape most of us. Ironical since they are the levers and fulcrums that keep the body moving.

Today I was feeling Sisyphus‘ pain. Imagine doing something that’s supposed to get you to a better place and feeling bone-weary at the end of it; then resting up just to do it all over again. The means justifying the ends or the ends justifying the means has also never been more garbled for me.

And all this contemplation isn’t because the sweat got into my eyes, burning me this morning but because each time I came up against resistance in my body, I kept thinking that all this could have been avoided.  And should have been. But hindsight is usually 20/20 and all it can do is help us learn from the choices of the past.

So here’s to more protesting muscles, sweaty and dishevelled me staring back in the mirror but hopefully headed to a lighter tomorrow when climbing stairs, swimming laps continuously aren’t going to be viewed with trepidation but as something that’s can be achieved as a norm and *not* as the exception.

PS: Tomorrow we will return to the usual tone of the blog posts. Reflecting too much on what could have been is giving rise to major existential angst and my brain is too tired from the hip hinges I did today.