Nostalgia Endures

My father moved around a lot while I was growing up. And it was a good way to live, everything considered. Met new people every few years, or met the same old faces in different cities and towns and had a good time catching up.

India of the late 80s was a vastly different place from what it is now. And while that is a rather DUH kind of statement to make, it’s still very true. In 1988 my father moved to US for a few years. And we were as FOTB as they came. While my folks still knew something about the country and the people, I knew bupkiss. And when the learning began, I was like a sponge. Red still likes to say that I’ve yet to leave the accent and thought process behind although the country was left behind decades ago. With emphasis on the decade. Husbands!

Image result for husbands gif

For me it was a magical place. Imagine if the height of television watching till then had been the weekly mythological serials that the whole family lined up to see on Sundays and then cut to an 8 year old totally having a braingasm in front of a telly with more than 2-3 channels (back then) just for cartoons!

Image result for blow my mind gif

And there began the journey with music. Till then music was what my folks played on the turntable or what was on the radio or the Bollywood stuff on the t.v. There had been a brief exposure to BoneyM as a tiny tot but that was quickly forgotten as well.

Suddenly there was VH1, and MTV and music videos galore. And it was amazing. It played 24/7 and all you had to do was listen and you’d find something that stuck to your mind. Good or bad it stuck.

Things which kids are exposed to in their formative years always stays with them. And so the 90s with its big poofy, hairsprayed hair (for both men and women) stayed with me. The ripped denim, Gene Simmons’ make-up and guitar smashing and for some reason Slash’s weirdly placed bellybutton…all made an impression. I don’t like B-52 but remember their music. I don’t like any songs from Shakespeares Sister but can listen to Stay on a loop at times.

And that’s why even after all those years, after having spent more time away from that influence rather than time with, I still fall back to that music when I feel restless and fidgety. Listening to Winger (never heard any other song except Miles Away), Skid Row and even Heavy D…all seem very very comforting. Because that’s what music does to you. It transports you to new (and old) experiences, emotions and by the time you descend back to yourself, you’re set. For that moment.

I have a varied playlist on my phone and every now and then when I hit shuffle it comes up with things which really make me stop and listen purely for the nostalgia quotient. And that’s when reality intrudes with a rather jarring sound- that of DJ Snake’s Magenta Riddim because small hands found the phone and thought it would be fun to shake things up a bit from the boring U2’s With Or Without You….kids!

Image result for dont mess with my music meme

Don’t Have Kids…

but be around them. Children are Nature’s balm. They may come across as incomprehensible, demanding, whiny brats who you often fantasize about leaving on someone else’s doorstep, but kids have something we end up losing as adults- an ability to laugh at the silliest and simplest of things.

Take a little boy who’s recently become a friend of mine. He’s suffered an irreparable loss. That of a parent. He’s asked all the questions kids do when they don’t really understand death. He’s cried. He’s been sad and am sure he’s looked up quite often when the doorbell’s rung, hoping to see a particular someone. But while adults around him grieve and struggle to let go of their pain, shared and individual, he has his armor on and it’s keeping him safe. And the beauty of it is that it’s intrinsic 

He’s laughed at oranges that rolled off a table and went under a couch, a squishy grape that hit him on the chin while being deseeded, a wobbly banana that could no longer hold its pose and fell down with a splat or the little toy engine that went off the tracks and into the belly of an alligator.

He laughed again when he remembered what seemed like utter and complete silliness to him and seeing him we laughed as well. And felt a little better. Because unalloyed laughter is precious. And rib tickling, clamp-your-hand-over-your-mouth kinda laughter is infectious, uplifting and makes things seem just a little bit better; even on the really tough days.

Thank god for children. Thank god for all they find silly and thank goodness for fruits that’ve stopped being firm. It would seem that there’s plenty to be thankful for at the end of the day after all.

Coffee Is The New Glue

Somedays are TOUGH. You get up and move along without realizing that you’re putting one foot in front of the other. Zombies have a nice shuffling gait and make it very evident that they are in lurch-mode. But there are some days when you can’t remember how you got from one room to another because somewhere in your mind you are still sleeping.

Image result for sleepwalking gif

That happened to me today. I was reading till late at night and had to get up this morning to get T.O off to school. I’m ashamed to say this is how I did it. I stuck my nose in the container where we keep the coffee powder and I inhaled it like a junkie looking for a fix. I may even have snorted a bit of caffeine but it’s all good because I woke up. Desperate times= desperate measures and all that jazz.

Image result for where's my coffee

You semi-wake up one day and realize your life is centered around addictions. Caffeine, your phone, digital media and even the need to share thoughts, images and stories across said digital media. Call it a malaise or just the order of things but I really surprised myself today. I was coffee sniffing just to be able to open my eyes today.

So this is what glue-sniffers are all about…not a happy realization.

Image result for smh gif

A Post From The Past

I wrote this post on a Word doc years ago and didn’t get around to publishing it. Discovered it today and publishing it because it’s still relevant and I’m still fighting for my space on the bed!”

Travails of Sleepytime

Many of us sleep alone at nights. And they are the lucky ones. The ones who don’t aren’t unlucky per se but they’ve lost that God-given privilege of rolling about on their bed all by their lonesome, unless something bad happens and well…that’s where couches (in conjunction with angry spouses) come in.

Why am I suddenly tripping on sleeping alone? Well let’s see now- the only child that I am, I graduated to a bed of my own at a fairly early age I’d say. And after that I’ve found that a bed mate (even a chaste one) just didn’t do it for me all in all. Something would happen that’d make me long to sleep. A-L-O-N-E!!

The current trigger is the hubby’s death grip on my coverlet. Boy! You think it’d be easy to shove a slender guy out of the way and dig out my wrap from under him. You’d think wrong. I’d have better luck excavating dinosaur bones somewhere. The sheet’ll be free once he moves. And he doesn’t move. Much.

Image result for fighting for space on the bed

Which leads me to another bone of contention. I’m a wriggler. When I get into bed for the first time I HAVE to wriggle till I mush out a nice cozy space for myself and get the place a bit warm in the process. Not everyone’s a natural bed warmer like my father. I remember some pretty cold winters as a kid when I’ve tried to sneak under his comforter because he radiates furnace-like heat when all covered up.

I sadly, warm up only the place I lie in and since I’m a twitchy sleeper by nature I seldom lie in one place long enough for it to get properly toasty. I inevitably used to wake up from a cold spot on the bed during the winters in various places I’ve spent my childhood in. Hyderabad not really having much semblance of a winter is definitely easier on my malfunctioning heating coils. Anyhow, I realized that sleeping alone is a gift that is never given again post marriage and during the times when you have clingy roommates in the hostel. But that’s a different cuppa tea altogether.

Take me for example- I frequently smacked the new groom across his face while we got used to sharing a bed. Now I can sleep pretty much anywhere. But he NEEDS to be on his left else he feels as if he’s deprived himself of a good night’s sleep. Don’t ask me why. It’s not as if the mattress people stuffed his side of the mattress with more foam and left spikes in mine right? But adamant he is and on the nights when I’ve occupied the left side, the following mornings have brought me face to face with Monsieur Le Grumpy.

Bonuses of sleeping alone #1 your posture can be anything at all and you don’t ever have to have people grumbling over you at odd times of the night about why you are mimicking the Karate Kid’s Crane kick in your sleep. So whether it’s a pose of a bird hatching an egg or a midget hatching a plan, your posture is your thing and you get to indulge in all sorts of jungle gym activities all while sleeping beatifically.

Advantage # 2- you can emit any kinds of noise from anywhere you wish and not be thought as disgusting or get an elbow in the ribs right in the middle of the gorgeous dream of you and….never mind who else. It’s a great and understandable provocation for bodily harm leading to murder if you’re startled away by a monstrous snort of your partner. That pillow never looked handier for smothering, am I right?

Drool is also another dread to have to encounter. Imagine while fast asleep, you roll over/ reach out and your hands, feet touch something cold, sticky and thoroughly unpleasant. It’s enough to recreate the bedroom scene in the Godfather!

Image result for godfather horse head gif

Another reason to not let others in your bed, especially kids, is that they’ll never want to leave!! Mine starts out in his cot and somehow always ends up draped over my head, feet in my face, fingers tangled in my hair or moving around between the sheets like a wraith from the horror movies. Am convinced the hubby sleepwalks and then picks up El Munchkin and places him between us. And after a few attempts of his kicking his father (whose bones hurt your hands and feet when you make contact) my son’s permanently turned his limbs towards me. Courtesy my cellulite.

Apparently I often go *bleep-bleep* in the night after being kicked in the face or almost being pushed off the bed. I don’t remember them of course. I’m told about my runaway mouth across the dining table, over a cup of life-restoring coffee I’m; by a disapproving spouse in stern tones. But in my defense, I was in limbo you see. Formed of fatigue and memories of the days when I ruled my own bed and rolled around in circles, formed odd geometric shapes that were a puzzle to my mother.

For now I’ll just dream of sleeping by myself instead of tugging the sheet free (it aint gonna happen) and get a few winks in before the sheet usurper and the child repo agent (it SO feels like that) both work in tandem to have me lying awake through the night and working on another blogpost.

Nighty night!

Image result for no space for mom on bed

1998

5 girls met. Talked. Slowly at first and then incessantly. They sat in the last benches of most of their classes. Had some adventures. Loads of giggles, some fights. Went through a bunch of guys. Made other gal pals and 20 years later are still around in a pretty good capacity given that work, home, spouses, kids and pets do make their presence felt quite a bit on a daily basis.

College was such a melting pot. You had all the directions of the country converge along with linguistic and religious backgrounds and still found that you fit somewhere; with someone. And you wore each other like gloves and the fit just got better with time with a few mends here and there.

4-20180609_211921

There were classes where you each were at sea, and then those where you still had the chance to sail through. There were gaffes, bloopers, red-letter days and some days you’d rather really just never remember again. There were fests and fiestas where you met the next few months’ rides in the form of people (ahem..guys) from other colleges and also did a quick dipstick to see if you were on the right end of the social spectrum when compared to the rest of the lot out there. Fashion played a big role. Some were gawked at, some gaped at and some just grimaced at as a bad idea never to be repeated with oneself.

You had days when the homework hadn’t been done and the entire class (barring the usual goody two-shoes suspects) was asked to leave by the lecturer with clenched teeth and furrowed brows. There were classes which were bunked at the proverbial last minute to go watch a newbie director’s movie premiere with no money left for snacks ergo home made lunches came to the rescue…however lame the situation seemed.

These 5 girls had their own idiosyncrasies; they still do but they had FUN! They didn’t have stars in their eyes but didn’t really know what the world had in store for them either. They sat and laughed at the teachers’ often utterly ludicrous utterances and marveled at the sophistication and expanse of knowledge the others possessed. They wrote their hearts out, thought about new things; had their horizons and visions broadened by good books recommended by even better teachers and still managed to sleep through at least half of their graduation.

3-20180609_211935

Endless sandwiches were eaten along with innumerable cups of tepid coffee which kept the noggin running, however sporadically. They bitched, they gossiped, they cried, they guffawed with laughter and they made memories. In time they shared these memories with their significant others and introduced their friends to the new people they’d share their lives with thereon.

1-20180609_212020

Twenty years on, on the right side of the dreaded (?) 40s, it’s nice to look back and know there was a time and a place and people who made you carefree, kept you young, foolish (in the best way possible) and buoyant.

Here’s to you ladies…you know who you are.

8-20180609_211701

7-20180609_211747

6-20180609_211824

2-20180609_212004

Salut!

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen

This is going into the category of a bloglet viz it’ll be brief.

There’s a book my husband bought me once the brat started pre-primary…it’s called How To Talk So Kids Will Listen And Listen So Kids Will Talk. Since the book did not mention anything about how to talk so husbands will listen and stop leaving wet towels all over the place; I decided not to do much about this book reco.

I already knew then and still know how to talk so my kid would listen- dress like a giant lollipop, have Play-Doh in one hand, the t.v. remote in the other and preferably enter riding on a dinosaur!

Maybe then….and maybe Utopia is just around the corner! Pshaw!!

utopia_in_four_movements_filmstill5_utopiasign.jpg (1650×1050)

 

What I Learnt From My Kid’s School

Courtesy Facebook’s memories I get to know about how and what I was thinking not only on a time a specific time in the past but also how I was feeling. And when I wrote this post I was a bit more of an anxious mother, fretting about my kid’s school, academic “career” as it were and basically uncomfortable about not knowing what lay ahead. Fast Forward two years I’m still sipping at the font of wisdom that is Life and learning loads while my kid goes to school. Here’s how it is…

  • A child will learn at their own pace no matter what!
  • A teacher who loves kids (genuinely) will probably be able to teach more through affection and warmth rather than another more knowledgeable individual who is distant or doesn’t form relationships with the kids.
  • Digital media, chalkboard, flashcards are all props…native intellect needs to be stirred and awake for learning to occur.
  • Making things interesting is all fine and good but it helps that the biological age increases and life experiences help kids understand why they need to learn.
  • Getting a good night’s sleep and cutting off from anything academic goes a long way in learning taking place.
  • Physical activity- silly and unstructured or properly regimented aids in learning as well.
  • Learning can come from various sources provided it’s pitched at the right time and the right way.
  • Parents need the teachers’ presence more than the kids…just to be assured that all’s going as it should.
  • Taking a small step back from policing the child (even with all the best intents in the world) is a fantastic thing to do while they’re below the tweens.
  • Reflecting on what were turn-offs and stumbling blocks while we were students helps empathize and give the child space to assimilate their learning material.
  • Accepting that there’s a Bell Curve and your child will grow into a more permanent place in it, helps be good parents as well.
  • Trusting the people you entrust your kid’s physical, emotional and overall well-being to and yet realizing our role is constant in the whole scope of things.
  • Acknowledging that improvements- slight, steady or sporadic; are still a step in the right direction give you a good night’s sleep.

Long story short? The AC bus and the pool helps because trappings are important. But a teacher who makes sure your kid has a balanced meal daily and who can come back and share positive and negative feedback with indemnity goes a long, long way in knowing how to be supportive while your child learns about life. Be it from a tablet, a workbook or just from a walk in the park. Because a big part of being a parent is taking a backseat while your kid gets the controls of life just right. You have to deal with not always being able to call ‘shotgun’.

Here endeth the lesson.