Retroblogging

I occasionally got back and read stuff I’d blogged about earlier. Sometimes I can see an evolution in the style of writing and at other times it seems either pedantic or boring. But this one is relevant even today, hence the repost. It was written 8.5 years ago on a day when I seemed to have been rather prolific or just didn’t want to actively parent and just hide away in my beanbag and keep blogging.

I was worried that I’ll be fanning my ignorance quite a bit by forgoing the newspapers altogether but a quick glance at them has assured me am not really missing much.

It’s not quite so much as news as an announcement of the end being near. Take a look all around- honor killings up, scams are in they heyday, political parties are the jokers with the Indian Government providing the 3 ring circus. What does get the space in the papers are announcements of the Fresh Faces in the city colleges where self-proclaimed celebs go and shake a leg and lecture impressionable young’uns on personality and grooming. While their grooming and personality (or lack thereof) is highly suspect or airbrushed for the print media 🙂

I sometimes read my papers a day late since my son loves to paper our house and Red always takes off with the Sport pages first thing in the morning. While gathering the papers from last night’s yay-ness I came across a news feature of a German porn star who died after her 6th boob job went bust! Literally and please don’t excuse the pun. Hmm…that did grab my attention because the girl in question really was just a girl and 23 years old.

Hell at 23 if a person can generate that kind of income, why not live it up? What good would 800 gms boobs (each 800 gms mind you) do to a person except make them more susceptible to gravity a WHOLE lot more? And now she’s dead. Fatal beauty anyone?

This isn’t a homily on the evils of x,y,z. It’s been so long since I read the papers and found something genuinely informative. And felt up to date on the happenings around me.

It’s either the verbal skirmishes between the politicos in A.P that make the front page or the Naxals or the scams…and honestly all they make me think of is that people are inept. They do just enough to show that they have Johnsons and then they back off.
I get it, the machinery moves slowly. But for everything? The people who have the most influence and the potential to actually act seem to be mainly posturing and and everything is just for show.

Want to get something done, throw down and the gauntlet and see where that takes you and stand your ground! Things aren’t that stable anyhow whether it’s in the state or the central government. Or for that matter for most things.

The last few ‘newsworthy’ things I remember reading about my city and state either involve political fluctuations, political gripes, suicides, dogs mauling infants, slums, citizens grievances against the local governing bodies. And the list bloody keeps going on and on.

And it’s the same thing the next day. It’s a template of sorts if you will.

Small wonder then that I play escapist and read the comics, smirk at page 3 and get right back to my books.

Cynical but it works.

 

Semi Old Dog, Heap New Tricks

I am adaptable with technology but the kind of technology that’s been a constant with little tweaks here and there. Same goes for the hardware part of it I guess. Am currently in the limbo between Windows and MAC OS. The lovable geeks in my life (and a few of the non-geeks) have praised the MAC *quite* a bit and have looked askance at me for using an HP or earlier a Dell laptop. Ok that was just the husband but his askances don’t count since they’re a constant also.

Image result for once you go mac you never go back

Apparently the image above resonates with a LOT of people but somehow I was muddling along with my Windows 10 and all the long-used keyboard shortcuts and whatnots when a MacBook was thrust into my hands today. Red set it up and gave me a basic tutorial and has since left me to find my way through a keyboard which is further scooched up and some two-fingered jazz I have to keep doing to get things to move around. I ended up almost closing this tab a few times before being able to complete the post.

Right now, in this moment, I am a Luddite crying out for the comfort of a Windows laptop with the keypad comfortably located in a way that you don’t feel carpal tunnel-y and where you keep looking to close or minimize the page on the wrong side. Kind of driving on the right side of the road vs the left…erm yeah….Image result for luddite meme

But here are the positives- it’s so pretty!!Image result for blinking eyelashes gif

The darn thing starts up before I can say Siri (or Alexa to some of you) and the resolution is crisp and clear. Just like sparkling clean, artesian well water. I am slightly enamored if you couldn’t already tell.

Oh..conundrum thou art being caught between two OS.Image result for sophie's choice gif

Ta 2018!

I’ve been lazing in bed all day. A semi-cold grounded me. But as always, laziness plays a far more potent role than I ever give credit to.

2018 was a year of massive highs and lows. Saying goodbye for good isn’t ever easy. It’s harder still when it’s out of the blue and leaves you reeling. But thankfully there were the same old comforting things like reptiles and dinos and superhero movies to look forward to, while bingeing on nachos and setting up reading challenges.

I traveled a fair bit and I hope to continue that into 2019 as well. Caught up with the dearly beloved and some others out of a sense of familial responsibility but came away with realizations each time around which have been and will be enlightening in the long run.

We took some tough decisions as a family and girded ourselves up for potential big hitting changes but things haven’t rocked the boat yet. That we are prepared, helps me sleep better at night.

I started on my book. It took me forever to see what was staring at me all along; I needed to talk a bit less and write stuff out a whole lot more. It may never end up on a bookshelf barring my own, but it will get done and soon.

As a family we achieved big milestones of forbearance, discovery and made new memories. We had major laughs, hit our heads against some walls (me more than Red) and in the end decided to suck it up and be grown ups!

More than anything else, this year has been one for generating massive amounts of food for thought. What kind of child to I want to be? What kind of a parent, friend or spouse? And most importantly…how do I want my day-to-day to play out. Am getting to the answers despite the lure of Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Here’s to a fabulous 2019 from me and mine along with a retrospective of the year that was.

Salut! 

 

Saying When

I am a daughter of an never-diagnosed, almost-OCD father. And I mean that in semi-jest. Growing up, life was a series of bedspreads which had to be redone because of a semi-wrinkle towards the edge of the bed and the litany of “Perfection is NOT an accident.”

My mother, God Bless HER!, isn’t OCD but neither does she countenance sloppiness beyond a point. The kitchen is her domain and that is kept neat enough to pass a health inspection but not that neat that you can literally eat off the floor. I mean, who does that?

Life as a teenager was one of rebelling against having to put everything in neat piles in my closet against wrinkling my nose at the actual garbage dump I saw in the rooms of some of my friends.

Fast Forward to circa 2005 and I started dating a nice guy. I mean Nice Guy. But an unconcerned slob nonetheless. As long as he can find his shit (figurative one), then he doesn’t see the need to have after-school and school piles of clothes. Neither does he see the need to ball up his socks to make room in the sock drawer so things look and are neat. I never anticipated that while dragging my kid out of bed and out the door in the morning I’d have to locate spectacles, men’s underwear all the while letting the caffeine surge through my veins to insulate me against another day as a mother and wife.

The last 6+ years of my life have gone in maintaining more than basic hygiene and some modicum of order because of a baby. This baby has grown from a toddler to a grade school kid and isn’t much inclined towards tidying up unless his mother gets into her dragon avatar, complete with flashing reptilian eyes and slashing her spiked-tail. He’s more the sweep-it-under-the-rug kind of person, or chuck it under the bed. Breeding tells. Genes will kick you in the balls.

August this year my kid went off to school for 8 hours a day. This opposed to the 2-3 hours he has gone for the past 4 years. And I rejoiced. By doing nothing! Zip. Nada. And it felt goooood.

I let clothes pile up. Folding them but never completely closing the loop by either putting them away in the right closets. The couches became refugee camps for the clothes in our house. The futon in my kid’s room for his stuff and the dining room couches for a myriad of clothes, toys and God only knows what!

The house wasn’t a total dump but disarray was definitely the name of the game.

See, as a product of two slightly compulsive people who married a totally laid-back guy I’ve battled nature vs. nurture for the last 10 odd years. You can’t make your spouse over into a form that pleases you. You take the good with the bad or undesirable. And you make your peace with it either with post-kid-going-to-sleep whiskey or some rants in a random blog post or some disgruntled sulks aimed at said spouse when he finally gets back home.

And trust me, being inert doesn’t take much doing at all. It’s just a question of mind over matter. You stop minding it so it doesn’t matter!

You choose to not segregate the laundry piles and sit down to watch Modern Family because, hey! Phil, Cam and Jay are definitely more entertaining than putting away tiny t shirts which can (and will) yield to small hands pulling them into an untidy heap in a New York minute!

Watching New Girl is better than grumbling at the absent spouse who doesn’t give a rat’s ass that his well-ironed shirts are placed with care and consideration so the collars don’t get squished. He’ll shed his sweaty track pants on top of them anyhow and leave the closet door open as an additional insult to injury.

And so I let it slide. Disarray begot disarray. Piles moved from one couch to the other but never got unpiled. Till last night. After 2 months of being on a quasi-vacation from the must-dos at home I said WHEN.

I tidied up. Moderately. I mean I didn’t have a religious epiphany. I just looked around and saw that if I kept my overbearing-about-cleanliness parents and butt-scratching-mess-making husband out of the picture; I was actually a person who liked stuff tidy. I like it tidy enough for it to look pretty.

When I switch off the lights for the night I really don’t want to have to go hurt locker across the living room just to get my book, phone or any old thing from 5 feet away.

And looking at things in their own place makes my space look bigger and brighter than it actually is. And armed with that knowledge, I cleaned up. And will continue to clean up some more till the piles stay in their infancy and not get a chance to grow to an adolescent or let alone an adult stage.

It’ll never be the kind of home my folks would and could keep. And it won’t be the semi-bachelor pad my husband makes the house over the weekend but it’ll be space where I prevail and which reflects what I wanted growing up: the room to make the optimum kind of mess.

It’s funny being an adult. Some days you can feel yourself grow into your skin. It’s a surreal but a satisfying incident at the end of the day. At least you aren’t hopping on one foot till you hit your side of the bed because you stepped on the mini-dragon obstacle course your kid effortlessly designed all while getting ready for lights out.

Cleaning up is *not* a chore.

Amen.

Me Being Me…

I wouldn’t be who I am if I didn’t indulge in gripes about my pet peeves. So what if it’s at the start of the year? This way am getting some rants and grumbles out of my system so there’s less to spew and gnash my teeth about!

I have made a couple of decisions. Won’t call them resolutions because then it’s nearly a foregone conclusion that they’ll be deviated from sooner or later.

I am quite bugged with one of my lifelines..Amazon. I buy books from them quite often and they end up being my kid’s toy shop of choice for all the exotic variety of dragons not available in our city, nay…country! But for them to restrict the sale of certain digital media if you choose your country as India is super annoying. You get access to loads of books nonetheless. More than I could finish in this lifetime. But still! And if you do choose USA as your country then the world is your oyster but the Indian government plays spoilsport and tacks on a Swachhh Bharat tax on top of the foreign currency mark-up and what not!

Now the Swachh Bharat tax isn’t something I’m not crazy about. It might have started out with good intentions (as do most things on the road to hell am told) but levying it on all and sundry just seems bloody annoying. And pardon my French but I missed the fine print where it was notified that it would be levied on everything that generates a bill.

The last time I encountered this level of “being anal” is when the bean counters at the T.I.S.S literally tried to brainwash my colleagues and I for all the expenses we could and would encounter during our field work. Even in those small mom&pop stores where they just write down the bill for all amounts big and small. They wanted to make sure we would get the Rs.1 revenue stamp affixed on all relevant bills and then the ancient relic in the accounts office went further and said he wanted a receipt for a revenue stamp also. Yikes! The paper work was staggering…oye ve!

But that lovely little anecdote from the past aside here are some more things I have decided I’m GOING to do.

  1. Finish watching every single movie/t.v show I’ve downloaded and only keep those that I know I’ll watch again. Ergo, no hoarding the sheer “wealth” of torrents.
  2. Public a minimum of 3 blog posts every week- photography or otherwise.
  3. Use up or give away bed linen that’s been languishing in the closet because I only bring out the higher thread count ones or the ones with monkeys on them to keep the brat happy.
  4. Take more pictures and master a bit more of photo editing because that’s what makes or breaks an image.
  5. Try out one new recipe (sweet, savory anything!) a week.
  6. Try and grow taller! Psych…had you going there for a minute, didn’t I?
  7. Try and read more non-fiction because Red thinks I’m growing dumb or murderous with all the crime fiction and mythological stuff I read.
  8. Take at least 3 holidays this year and discover a new place or two. Or ten.
  9. Teach the offspring a few words of my native tongue.
  10. Keep those bleeped out words in my head and not in my mouth. Tiny ears to mouth transmission speed is shockingly good!
  11. Learn to swim with my head above water else I’ll drown if not in a pool or just keep treading water like a doofus.
  12. Publish one book digitally no matter how silly. And this one am really, really serious about.

So, 12 months and 12 non-resolutions. Doable? 2017 will tell.

Cheers!

 

 

The Best Laid Plans

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

Robert Burns- To A Mouse

I’ve not often had my plans crumble down. In fact am all about planning. Usually get into the realm of head-in-the-clouds so far do I wander off with my thoughts.

But it’s beyond daydreams and the lifestyles of the rich and famous. It’s more of the everyday things which really either help you stay afloat or pull you under.

A few years ago when I was pregnant with MLM I made plans of being the best mother out there. I certainly did not plan to turn into a screeching shrew who lives in her track pants and waits for deliverance and neither did I think that having a career was going to entail so much thought. It’s the circle of life- you grow up, get an education of some kind and get a job of some kind else you mooch off someone to sustain yourself.

But taking a conscious step back from work pretty much turned into an situation where was very little scope of being able to work the timings I wanted, do the kind of work I wanted and still be able to give the lion’s share of my time to my child. Oh and I forgot to factor in me-time..that was a joke by the way!

But I did work. For a little over a year. Did reasonably well too I thought too before the ugly specter of work-life balance (WLB) raised it’s insidious little head.

At the last place I worked before MLM was born I used to facilitate in-house workshops on WLB and I thought it was fairly doable. Provided you made it a priority and did everything possible to attain it.

Know what I think now? It’s HOGWASH!!

When your child (ren) is/are older possibly then being able to do things on your terms becomes a bit more viable without feeling like you’ve descended through Dante’s Hell but prior to that you never really know what kind of a path your life will take. Am not even venturing into the arena of curveballs. But the kind of decisions you might make for the health of your family or for your own benefit might end up making you accrue a lot more dividends that you’ll have to pay in person through compromises, frustrations and a lot of food for thought.

Bottom line? We don’t like changes unless there’s an outright benefit that we can sense and even enjoy from the onset. Anything that you need to wait for seems to come not only too slowly but often makes you lose sight of your rationale in indulging in it to begin with.

But having to make big decisions is necessary from time to time. It helps you prioritize, makes you think hard and think clearly and pushes you to do concrete things.

So the intangibles and the semi daydreams will just have to wait for their day in the sun.

In the meanwhile….carpe noctem anyone?

P.S: I want to shoot the person who propogated this WLB theory. Either it’s a man or someone who has a trust fund or a very good nanny! It’s certainly not a person like ME!