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! 

 

Summer Holidays…Why Moms Crumble

If you’re a mother…chances are that you more than just like your kid. Who could resist them? Imps, scamps and monsters to the core but dammit if they aren’t the cutest ones at that!20180513_075244

 

The reason the charm of the summer holidays wear off so quickly…for moms, is that the child is always looking to you for the answers of “what next”. You like the fact that they can sleep in (meaning you don’t have to get out of bed bleary-eyed either or enjoy the paper and coffee in peace instead of pieces), that they don’t have to hit the sack at a particular time; again meaning you get to enjoy your dinner leisurely and aren’t dependent on their chewing speed for a tablespoon of rice and daal.

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Bedtimes are full of cozy, lazy cuddles and long-drawn out reading sessions that you get to do in different voices instead of speed reading through the entire thing so the child is in bed and lights are OUT! with military precision.

Sleep deficits aren’t an issue and you can pretty much do the chores any old-time since your world as you know it is spinning slower and slower and slower. But there’s a catch too…the time passes slower and slower and S-L-O-W-E-R as well. The child is ALWAYS there. Your clothes folding time that you used to enjoy with reruns or bawdy stand-up comedy is now highly sanitized with animated stuff playing or the ecology-supporting content. Or in my case, reruns of Jurassic World.

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The occasional beer you used to sneak in on those days becomes a rare commodity with a pair of bright eyes staring right at you and often speaking directly into your ear canal, “Are you drinking alcohol?” And you gulp it down quickly and often the wrong way and cough your way into saying, “Yes and I am and NO you can’t have any till you’re 35!”

It’s not about keeping the children busy all the time either…it’s about spending time happily. That goes downhill very quickly. The kids have a routine that works for them. With that gone for 2 MONTHS they look towards the constant authority figure to help them understand what is it that they should be doing. And therein lies the rub. You would prefer that it be productive and fun and the child is thinking only fun.

You do one pillow fight and roughhousing session and limp back to your corner and the child, still rearing to go, wants to be body slammed again or use you as a trampoline again.20180520_092022

While you’re winding up for the day and the kitchen is wiped clean, that’s when the love of your life wants to make a purple cake of all things and looks suitably disheartened when it’s refused. You give in once and by 11 pm you’re the one putting everything away, there’s flour everywhere and imp has licked the mixing bowl and spoon clean and bounded off to bed

Our kids have more distractions these days. We didn’t. Or even if we did, we sorted them out the way our folks told us to. These days, kids want us to tell them exactly what they want to hear. You want them to exercise creativity? They’ll want to design a pot on the pottery app instead. You want them to draw something they like and they turn the topic to what they want for their birthday instead. And that is an unending list or a rather expensive one.

It’s in parts tough and endearing because they are still growing up and need their parents around. And the parents (read me) don’t know how much active parenting is needed while balancing everything else that needs to be done. It’s easier to turn the telly on. But you pay for that later in spades when the kid can’t envision a minute without digital stimulation.

So summer holidays? Necessary evil that keeps you loving your kids for the first and last weeks. During the rest of the time it’s anyone guess to see who breaks first. Usually it’s the parents dialing up Dominos and booking movie tickets and shoving the kids out to door and towards the park saying, “No rush…come back when you want…TAKE YOUR OWN TIME.”

Mine starts school tomorrow and while I am genuinely happy to be getting back to my usual routine but I will miss him every second he’s gone. For the first hour anyhow.

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Roadtripping: Part Deux

When I was a child, summer holidays were partly spent at my grandmothers’ homes and part of the time was spent in exploring touristy and slightly off-beat destinations in and around wherever my father was posted at the time.

Travelling 6-7 hours in 40 degrees plus temperatures (Celsius mind you) without air conditioning in the car was the norm rather than the exception.

Homemade snacks were packed and once we stopped for loo breaks or tea breaks, a big treat for me would be to have a chilled bottle of a cola. Bliss.

Fast forward to circa 2018 and we’re trying to create some of the same situations for our child. Summer holidays are earmarked for visiting the grandparents or wheedling a visit out of them instead.

Road trips have been started over 400+kms and it’s a huge achievement because this generation of instant-gratification kids can’t always wrap their heads around a trip that doesn’t involve a plane or something over 2 hours or an amusement park.

So despite the chants of “bored-bored-bored” and the whines for junk food and the telly, we have managed to pull off 2 trips to parts of India fairly far away from our home without falling back on the digital media till we reached the hotel rooms. There have been no iPads, laptops, phones to play games on. Just music playing throughout, an occasional creative app for good behavior and loads of outdoor times in the significantly cleaner, fresher air. What more can a parent ask for?

Of course the way the t.v. in the hotel rooms has been greeted by the offspring after we’ve reached our destinations, has been nothing short of an emotional reunion between mother and child! *rolls eyes*

But be as that may, the summer of 2018 will always be a watershed for Red and I. It’s been undiluted family time, all squished up cuddling in the same bed with the brat and having new adventures and making fun memories.

Salut!

Nagpur at night.

Movie Review: Jurassic World-The Fallen Kingdom

Somethings are best left the way they are. Jurassic Park should have ended when they left Isla Whatsit with John Hammond. Julianne Moore was a very discordant note in the second sequel. William H.Macy and Tea Leoni were more believable but the real heroes of the movie were the dinosaurs each time around. But they didn’t set the screen on fire so to speak.

When Jurassic World was made, I didn’t expect it to be as fun and engaging as it turned out to be. It was a worthy successor of the original Jurassic Park in terms of tempo, newness, look and feel. The ending of Jurassic world was so decisive that it didn’t need a follow-up to make it better. The T-Rex defeating the Indominus Rex was a mike drop kinda moment. And then the big guns decided to make a sequel to JW. Why? The first movie made tons of money. Leave it and move on.

With a plot that’s hackneyed, repetitive and more boring than fun and edge-of-the-seat entertainment; this movie scored a half thumbs down in my book.

It started off promising enough but somewhere it lost its way in the same ol’ same ol’ plot about greedy industrialists and geneticists with flexible consciences wrecking havoc in the world at large.

Jeff Goldblum in his cameo does well enough I suppose. He looks appropriately tired of the damn dinos and wishes that they be left to extinction- yet again. But Hollywood intervenes, velociraptors turn heroes (yet again) and more hybrid dinos get cooked up in test tubes (yup..again. As if anything could top the Indominus Rex) and each one is smarter, more tenacious than the ones in the previous installment. With new skills of roof climbing, door unlocking, not skidding on stairs despite their big ungainly claws; these dinos have truly evolved to the level of the bad guys in slasher movies than always keep turning up no matter how many times you try to kill them!

Also, why would someone put Ted Levine in a movie and not give him enough of a role to latch onto?! This guy was Buffalo Bill…show some respect people.

My kid loves dinos. I like them courtesy his obsession that began in 2013. But since I love the kid more, getting him to these movies, even sitting in the less than stellar seats, is something am glad to do. But for God’s sake…keep it interesting people.

Nuff said.

Roadtripping

We don’t travel as much as Red or I would like. It’s our fault actually…didn’t get the offspring used to anything but comfort so the mere thought of zipping along for 7 hours or more to get to someplace he can get to in 3, starts the ‘are we there yet’ litany and am not good with litanies. At all!

Although, my ‘put on your seatbelt’ and ‘use a tissue, ‘cover your mouth when you sneeze’ can rival even the most nagging kids on a ‘are-we-there-yet’ loop.

We tried to get him understand the value of such trips by talking to him about it and went nowhere fast. Kids of today don’t get enthused about seeing windmills-moving or otherwise. They’d rather make faces and take selfies with silly filters…thanks for making a entire generation drop a few IQ points Snapchat!

Rivers, lakes and flora are treated with a ‘Meh’ unless it’s truly spectacular and a hotel room counts only if they have a tv with the kiddy channels easy to find.

Last year we decided that there were going to be more trips in our future, more time spent travelling to get to the destination and to do a good mix of travel via railways and roads so the offspring knows more about India overall than which airport has the KFC counter and which doesn’t.

And so the 1st trip of 2018 was to be a road trip. And we were off! With little delays and all the double checks to see if the water and gas had been switched off and the milk and paper cancelled while we were out.

We decided to split a 14 hours journey over 2 days so the driving bit wouldn’t tire any one person out and we could also get to see places we hadn’t hit while we were growing up.

With all the breaks needed when a kid is chugging down juice and water and shovelling down packets of nachos, we managed to make pretty decent time and are now in a place I’ve never really had on my radar-Bijapur.

It has a lot of ruins and ramparts of the forts built during the time of a ruler by the name of Adil Shah.

Seeing the people is like going into a time warp. Middle-aged and old men walking around in Nehru topis and dhotis with signs of the present seemingly in the John Deere, Kubota showrooms and not the jewellery and sporting goods stores that have become a part of the landscape of what were earlier called the tier-two cities in India.

We got turned around in one part of the city at night and had to navigate through market places teeming with people and bullock carts and horse buggies. But the eagle-eyed kid who can never find his slippers could spot a Dominos pizzeria in the crowd. Go figure huh?

I haven’t seen a single Audi, Merc or Beemer yet. I have seen Bajaj Chetaks, Lunas and loads of cycles. A far cry from Hyderabad where I can come across a Triumph Bonneville, a Mustang and too many luxury cars to count just walking across a parking lot.

Not everything is well maintained but it has a charm and that’s what we wanted to capture and give the brat a taste of.

More to follow…next stop: Belgaum!

If Thou Beest Sick…Beest Ye Properly

I have no idea why I lapse into the Ye Olde Dayes…I just do. Imagine an imp with a neck ruff a la dear ol’ Will sitting on my shoulder, nudging me to shake things up a bit.

Anyhoo, I’d had a fever for a bit. Nothing critical but it was on the higher side and I felt bloody awful. There were fevers I’ve danced my way through (literally) but barring that I felt quite weak and miserable. I had weird Frankensteinish dreams which are bits and pieces of everything around me and my consciousness, all knitted together into an unholy mess. For e.g: I had visions of cobras being milked (I know they were damn cobras because my kid loves them and because I was stupid enough to read this article on The Better India) and some friend of the family moving into the home of one Red’s tennis partners. *shrugs*

I dreamt of days of more leisure, less responsibility (because that’s what the mind and body was craving). I kept dreaming of dinos because I was camped out on my kid’s bed while I sent him off to sleep with Red in mine. I had weirdass sound tracks running through my dreams as well because my mind was still preoccupied with setting up my customized playlists on Amazon Music for our own dear Alexa!

All the dream dissection apart, I just want to take some time and appreciate my peeps. I married one of them and made the other but both are equally precious to me this weekend at least. The Lord&Master kept me quarantined and took over the running of the house, poured liquids into me at regular intervals and made sure I took meds and basically kept my germs to myself and kept my grumpy face to my part of the house.

The offspring, and this is uber cute, came up to me for multiple hugs and kisses only to be turned away each time with threats of germs migrating onto him and setting up camp. He finally came up with a solution; he would give me a massage and make me feel better and get heaps of praise for his efforts-making him feel oodles better too. As a result of which, there is a bottle of Jergens which will not see the light of day again. Apparently the surface area of my body merits almost an entire 400ml bottle. I almost slipped out of bed by the time the lotion application got done.

But I have to mention that tiny, soft little hands, gently and delicately massaged goops of aloe-scented lotion onto my face, forehead, hair, roots, up my nose, in my ear and it was *quite* relaxing for the most part. What was particularly endearing was,”Aww you poor baby, you look soooo bad. I’ll make you feel better.” Followed by waking me up from my half-stupor to make me relate to everyone how well he’d taken care of me and what a good boy he was.

And he was…they both were. They let me wallow, they let me heal and MOST importantly…they LET ME BE. Weekends are relaxed but I’m usually the one picking up the slack. Red and brat help out but obviously I wish they were more proactive (Nyah!). And here they were, cleaning up wherever they could and BEST of all…not adding (much) to the mess. It was blissy. Verry, verry blissy.

So, moral of the story? If you’re going to be sick, don’t be a half-assed kind of sick. BE SICK! They love you to bits when you are.

Here endeth the lesson.

Cough, sniffle, sneeze!

 

Trivandrum Mornings…

Here for a spell. My kid wants to see crocodiles. Look into reptile retail so we can buy one and take it back home. In the meanwhile he had his first lobster…literally willing it to come flying out the kitchen doors. And then later wanted me to turn the crustacean over so he could see the shell and make sure it was what it was supposed to be.

I woke up to a dark room because the hotel drapes are dark and thick. Two blissfully sleeping brats by my side.

Stepped outside to Christmas carols somewhere in the distance. Some busboys running around here and there but overall the place is calm. You get to hear birds chirping, no one yelling at their kids to get out to bed but then again there’s always Church where quite a lot of people are to be found this time on a Sunday morning.

Trivandrum after 14 years…I’ve come to discover you again.

Here’s to day one!