2021…A Year In Retrospect

I usually end up thinking of a year in a particular manner towards its end. Like 2018 was “The Year Of Road Trips“. 2019 now in hind sight, is “The Year It Was All Fine Before Downhill Became The Norm” 2020 was “The Year The Pandemic Hit” and 2021 had been “A Hodgepodge Year” all the way through!

While I don’t like to dwell on death and anything morbid overly much; I don’t recall any other year where the phone rang so many times with the news of someone’s demise. It got to a point where I’d ask my folks each time they rang up,”Who is it this time?”. Needless to say, a lot of people went before their time and it takes a while to reflect and then try to move past it.

As a family, we had a few more downs than ups but we managed to sneak in some good times nonetheless- a nice road trip full of songs, ‘are we there yets‘, junk food, room service, a beautiful stone sunken bathtub that TO and I were fighting over while another instance had me scrambling to find footing in a 5.5 ft of water while TO frolicked like a little otter and laughed at his mother’s clumsy efforts to not drink up half the pool!

2021 had been so fluid that it was half over before I realized it. It feels like I sleepwalked through parts of it and other parts I wish I had. But the highs thankfully balance out the utter lows.

On a slightly more somber note- mental health has become the need of the hour now. Whether it’s due to a prolonged state of having been indoors or being in a state of flux about the state of the world around us, but mental health now occupies center stage like never before.

People are realizing the immense benefit of talking to someone who is a professional. They help you gain perspective, fight your demons and also help you keep a hold onto your reality and sanity at times. Especially in a society where going to a shrink is still somewhat of a taboo and therapists rarely get their due; mental health professionals have been busier than ever before with parents and children alike lining up to seek help adjusting to the new circumstances they find themselves in.

On the topic of health, traveling( while curtailed for many of us for a long time) has become a renewed stress buster which cannot be denied. Whether it’s on the back of a bike, in a car or just making plans for a sunnier day in the future; traveling has been the solace many of us have been seeking for the past year and a half. And I am profoundly happy and grateful that I got to meet a few of my favorite people multiple times this year although it was a challenge and a half remembering to not drink too much water so I didn’t have to use the loo while flying or the first time when I did travel and I wore gloves, two masks, a shield and had the disinfectant wipes ready to be whipped out at the blink of an eye!

Courtesy the “prevalent situation” (it’s my way of doing a J.K Rowling’s He Who Shall Not Be Named)2021 also became ‘The Year Of The Vaccine’. Whether it was the difficult faced while registering ourselves for it, waiting for it to reach us, the initial jab, the secondary jab and the debate around the booster shot, our lives had been centered around vaccines, their efficacy and all the hopes we’d pinned on them.

I think the message that rang in loud and clear during the past year has been to not necessarily wait for a rainy day and be in a more carpe diem mode. Also, celebrate little things more because waiting for the special occasions could leave you twiddling your thumbs for a good long while. And while I really detest platitudes, I have realised (yet again) how much I and my family have to be grateful for. We are far richer than I realised courtesy the people we have in our lives. Doesn’t matter if you they are a few continents or just a phone call away but seeing a beloved face over a cup of coffee has often meant the world to me in the last year.

I’ve also grown older. Sadly. Mainly in my head. I don’t see value in Roblox. I wish all the piggies would fall down a never-ending hole and never come back. I am also quite the hypocritical parent who has indulged herself thoroughly in a few things (eg: horror movies) but has serious reservations at the thought of her child watching them. Nevermind I was younger than him when I saw Jason and Meyers hacking their way through summer camps and small town America but the thought of my kid seeing blood and gore disturbs me. I am not chill. At all. I also have no patience for Hello Neighbor, Sonic the Hedgehog and cricket talk. Oh god! If I hear one more play being analysed by Red and TO I might cut the cable connection! Happily.

To sum up, I rang out 2021 with a laugh and started 2022 on the same note. Let’s hope it’s a sign of the times to come. Salut!

Snark-A-Day Bloglet#4

Lost In Translation…Yet Again

At a pre-Diwali party held recently, we had mirth upto our eyeballs and then some. And while it does no good to harp on the difficult year everyone’s been through; the enjoyment for me is enhanced because everyone I see on a daily basis is healthy and largely happy.

A bunch of us started playing a silly but fun game from our childhood and it let to crazy hilarity! In a nutshell, you play Simon Says but whoever gets it wrong, gets whacked by the person next to them.

In one case the person about to do the whacking was a very well-accessorized lady with rather large fingernails and elaborate rings. Seeing that the rings could end up hurting someone, a non-native Hindi speaker spoke up about taking off the rings before delivering the whack. But languages are funny things… if you get a vowel wrong in one place, the entire meaning changes and you can end up someone completely different from where you intended to go!

The lost in translation bit was: “Take off your thumbs before you hit her!!” And there were prettily dressed up women in their ethnic finery, rolling on the floor laughing. Total paisa vasool (aka ROI) on party entertainment courtesy an unintended slip of tongue!

Snark-A-Day Bloglet#3

Snark-A-Day Bloglet#2

As far as disses go, it’s not the best one out there but it was weird enough for me to post it.

How To Tell A Pre-Teen Lives In Your House

Here it goes in no particular order:

  1. He calls you Bruh..mom and dad have left the building and Bruh reigns supreme.
  2. Angst is the name of the game.
  3. Being contrary is also the name of the game.
  4. Tantrums are usually lurking around the corner.
  5. Flashes of brilliance (I use the term loosely) can be expected.
  6. Hugs and kisses are still accepted but otherwise you end up embarrassing them by stepping into the room during online classes with your mere presence.
  7. Growth spurt has kicked in and is still kicking butt- usually the parents.
  8. Advice about music is being shared- by the child to the unfashionable parents.
  9. Eyerolls are the accepted form of communicating.
  10. So are sulks.
  11. As-if, what-the, effs are all de facto modes of answering and are often complete sentences by themselves.
  12. Everything is BORINGGG!!
  13. Parents are UNFAIR!!!
  14. Global issues (like the present pandemic) have specifically come into being to make their lives especially hellish.
  15. Bathing is optional. Also, when it’s indulged in, one must have a reservoir at home to accommodate musical talents of child that peak while they’re in the shower.
  16. Bathing without looking clean is a newly cultivated skill set.
  17. Feeling hungry while eating the main meals of the day are another newly cultivated skill set.
  18. The opposite sex is no longer dumb. Cooties don’t exist any longer.
  19. Excuses for not doing homework or household chores assume epic proportions.
  20. Parents have turned into insensitive devils who routinely torture the child…erm pre-teen for their own amusement. Ergo reinforcing point#13.
  21. Screen time is a right more precious than Right to Life since life without screen time is no life at all.
  22. Selective hearing is firmly established.
  23. Very susceptible to sarcasm. It reinforces points #13 and #20 when indulged by the grown-ups of the house.
  24. Being largely unflappable in the face of parental ire and asking them to chill is par for course.
  25. Being a big baby about birthdays and gifts- still status quo.

Can’t imagine that age 13 will bring our way!

Duodecim

TO turned 12 recently and barring the beginnings of a slight sprinkling of hair on his upper lip, am seeing very few signs of him growing up per se. There are plusses and minuses to this as can be expected. Let’s tackle the minuses first so I can get them out of my system; for now.

  1. He’s SUCH a kid even now! I can’t fathom one conversation that happens without him “but-but-but-ing” all through and interrupting us in his hurry to speak up.
  2. He’s still quite self-indulgent. ‘I’ features predominantly in his speech.
  3. He’s still quite naive about life overall and is fanciful (not entirely a minus in my book).
  4. He’s deeply embraced the tween life and is giving us a look into what teenage angst is- for the parents.

Now the plusses-

  1. He’s become quite independent wrt his needs- has turned on the stove by himself to make a snack; all without burning the house down.
  2. Is gradually learning to make tough choices from time to time- when to choose the high road and when to get down&dirty and spew *#@&E$&^#$ during the bust-ups. In case it wasn’t clear- the former is the plus here and not the latter but if I had to look for a silver lining it would be that his vocabulary’s grown!
  3. Is more understanding of our shortcomings as parents and people overall.
  4. Is a kind person and quick to forgive.

Note: I still had to tell him a little while ago that if it doesn’t look like food, don’t put it in your mouth.

S-I-G-H….

Color Me Vengeful!

TO and Red have their little skirmishes from time to time. It mainly arises from TO growing into his teenhood and Red being the perennial good cop who realises that he can also be the bad cop from time to time instead of punting it to me.

This morning’s conversation with TO brought to light a streak of vengeance that seems runs a mile wide especially when it comes to someone who done him wrong. We’ve been pretty strict in enforcing bedtime routines since TO has difficulty getting up in the morning and going for his online classes.

Yes, it does sound ironical that a child can get up without too much rancour and board the school bus at 7am for his in-person classes but treats getting up by 8 am to join a class that starts at 8:20 am, just a few feet awake from where he’s been sleeping as a task akin to that of the Labor of Hercules!

Anyhoo, Red’s had a slight sore throat since yesterday and we let him sleep late this morning. When TO got up, I asked him to go check in on Red and ask him if he wanted a cup of hot coffee to make his throat feel better and immediately the temperature fell a few degrees and a very somber and frowny child turned me to and said, “I don’t think he deserves his coffee! He was up till late watching tv when he should have gone to bed. He has his work in the morning too! He sent me off to bed saying I have classes and he stayed up late…that’s what gave him the sore throat probably too! Does he really deserve our loyalty Ayu?”

Whoever coined the phrase about hell hathing (yeah yeah I know what I wrote) no fury like a woman scorned clearly didn’t factor in children who have had their screen time cut down by parents who then binged on their own shows without thinking about getting caught! I mean to deprive one of coffee as a punishment…oh the agony!