August Recap

The month of August is usually quite festive in this household. Both Red and TO have birthdays. Incidentally both had milestone birthdays this year- their 40th and 10th. Needless to say, the 10th birthday brouhaha was everything that it should be. Between 2 cakes spanning the loves of his life aka cricket and reptilian monsters which Hollywood makes tons of money out of; this child was left delirious with joy.

We also thought we should start a phase where the gifts would come in only from family and To start associating birthdays more with the fun factor, memories to be made rather than gifts to be counted. Check back with me next year to see how far we’ve comeĀ  down this road.

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The munchkins who keep the good times rolling!

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The usual suspects Part-1

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Trio from the usual suspects

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Birthday cake #1

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Birthday cake#2 that paid homage to Godzilla: King of Monsters

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The bouncy birthday boy in the background.

By contrast the 40-year old baby’s day was fairly low-key because Red had already done a stag trip to Oz at the start of the year and wasn’t in the mood to enter his naughty 40s with a bang (‘cuse the pun) in the presence of his in-laws and his father all at once! Hopefully this weekend we’ll be able to engage in some amount of indulgence for the grey and dignified Java God.

We’ve also come a bit of a distance as a family as well. Getting TO settled into another academic year comes with its own set of ups and downs and some amount of anxiety on our parts…chiefly mine. Apparenty when your kid becomes a fifth grader, everyone’s focus gets onto punting the child up to the next grade in middle school and the whole year ends up being a prep for the latter. Phew!

However, striking a balance is what we manage to hack for the most part so not too worried on that front. Being an Indian parent, it goes against the grain to *not* worry about your child’s academics or their potential areas of excellence. After all, what would we put up on our social networks if it weren’t for updates of the child taking newer and greater strides in some or the other field. Of course there are the endless selfies with the puckered up face that most of us instinctively seem to excel at.

Speaking of which, I have rediscovered Snapchat with a vengeance! The initial disdain at the airbrushed faces and the boughs of flowers over the head-filters has melted away and I quite enjoy looking at a smooooooth, blemish-free face and have realized that I wish my eyes were a nice irridescent color and not the browns that I’m destined to sport life long.snapchat-12868228883841078127944242142.jpg

TO on the other hand has gone so deep down the rabbit hole of cricket that I’m afraid he’s lost to the non-cricket loving junta. Luckily for him, he has a father with exceptional hand-eye co-ordination and inclination to listen to his soliloquies on the subject instead of the mother who looks for a pile of cushions to dive under to stop the flow of words from battering her already battered mind.

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Before the all important toss!

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The rare photo where the V sign didn’t make an appearance.

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And the fake smile’s back!

Red as always is the buffer between the two excitable entities that live in this house. He stays calm and collected and only loses his shit during tennis and cricket matches.

So as we gear up for a season of festivities over the next two months, am just happy that all the important stuff is getting ticked off properly and we’re back to the mundane bit where I just have to drag a kid out of bed and boot his behind out of the house on a regular basis and phone the husband with the usual, “when are you going to be home?” spiel. Bliss.

Have a good weekend…Salut!

The Road Not Taken

Note: This is hardly an original title but extremely apt nonetheless, especially for this particular post. Somehow this post was particularly difficult to write. The words didn’t flow the way they usually do and I’ve made more revisions than I’ve ever done before, left it cooling on the rack as it were till I decided to just get it done once and for all. Read on…

I’ve often touched upon the nomadic life I’d led as a child. It was never dull whatever else it may have been. It was hectic at times and sometimes trying but never dull. And in the process the one thing I always wondered about was whether putting down roots somewhere was really everything it was cracked up to be and if it was something I’d be able to aspire to one day. Because after 9 schools and 11 cities you really wonder at times where it’s all going.

There was a point of time when I thought I’d got it figured out. I was much younger but without the rose-tinted glasses. Work was shaping up, other aspects of life were also pretty much where they needed to be. And then they changed. Not entirely drastically but they changed and the path that was taken has led up to today. And it’s been a good one for the most part. But a part of me wondered about the shape of things had the divergence not occurred. The all too elusive what-ifs occasionally rear their head and you can’t help but extrapolate things and wonder if you’d have been able to follow the blueprint through and where that might have got you.

Now nostalgia is just fine on it’s own, indulged from a few hundred kilometers away but when you get down to brass tacks and walk in the same paths the younger you did, sometimes it’s just not the same at all. Imagine a place, a cafe if you will, was something you zoomed into regularly like it was home base. The food tasted great, the drinks even better and the time spent there was memorable. And then one day, you walk in there after a few years and it’s not really special anymore. It’s run-of-the-mill. The place isn’t run down or shady…it’s just not what you want anymore. The younger you sure, the older you…not so much. And that can be a slightly bittersweet realization for those of us who sometimes want to desperately hang onto the vision of something the way we remember it.

I remember visiting my college with my best friend a long while after we finished our graduation.While the original structure was still standing, the new extensions to the building made it look more like a transport hub than the college where I spent 3 very significant years of my life. And while I’m not opposed to change, there’s change and there’s CHANGE. And as we grow up and older, some changes are inevitable and often seem irrevocable.

Nostalgia works well for some time but the deeper you go into it at times you realize that you aren’t acknowledging the most often critical part of whole situation- that you’re theĀ  one that’s changed the most. Older, maybe wiser, definitely healthier (we’re a body positive blog folks) and once you get to that point; at best nostalgia can be a joyful interlude but one best kept brief. Because there’s so much happening now! The future maybe unknown but the past is something we’ve already gone through. Reliving it or attempting to kind of seems like walking backwards to me. Best to grab onto whatever’s happening now and hang on for the ride.

Here endeth the lesson.

 

Oh My Angst Hurts

The Offspring (TO) has been introduced to the world of peer pressure. He has met the “popular” kids, met the jocks, met the goody two-shoes and is trying to fit into the whole ecosystem as we speak…erm type.

Being of a slightly more touchy disposition, TO is at times inclined to want to change schools if he doesn’t have a good day or have a bad experience. Of course the very next moment he can be on top of the world as well. Am told such is the world of children.

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This morning his reason for not wanting to get up and go to school was due to the kids he had a falling out with. He gave us more details while having his milk. The conversation went something like this- TO: ” So I’m not friends with X anymore. Me: Why? TO: She doesn’t want to be friends with ME. Me: (making sympathetic face) Whhhhyyy? What happened? TO: She says stop following me around. Me: Well…do you follow her around? TO: (looking sheepish)..only a little bit. Me: Well then, don’t follow her. TO: (huffily) ok fine!

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The rest of the conversation consisted of words irritating, annoying, irritated and annoyed and why the middle finger is *not* to be shown and at least a 1000 reminders to finish his milk and go for his bath.

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Turbulent Thursdays anyone? And to think that we have yet to navigate through the choppy waters of puberty. God help us.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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Nom Nom Nostalgia

Whether it was because of my turning a year older recently or me seeing that my child is slowly getting into the big kid phase of his life; I have been nostalgic to the core. It’s a very visceral feeling for me.

For every parent there can be a near-constant contradiction when you see and interact with your offspring. On one hand you see them real time, the way they are now and who they’re growing into. And on the other hand your mind tricks you into believing that it’s still the same kid who laughed, drooled, kissed you without rhyme or reason and just came for cuddles because he felt like it.

In our case, MLM has transitioned to TO a while back and still I can see the beautiful little boy he was with his infectious giggles, silly antics and utter and complete abandonment in the activities we used to do together.

He is quite close to his father as well with me having to put both on timeouts occasionally when they keep acting like…well, males.

But as I look back at the little home videos I’ve been taking of this child since he was a few days old, his utter silliness seems to have been reserved for me. From dusting my face to putting on pots and pans on our heads as helmets and me watering him and saying he was going to grow like a flower; it has been a gift every single day.

And while I usually make the snootiest possible face when people wax on eloquently or get sentimental about their little ‘princes’ and ‘princesses’, I have to say that I get where they’re coming from. But I can’t call my kid a prince…it’s too bland. Mine’s a wizard! Because he fills our lives with his own magic and inspires me even when I’m threatening to punt him off somewhere.

Good lord, the heat’s getting to me. Such maudlin thoughts right in the morning. Whaddya gonna do? We’re people with kids…going gaga over them is Parenting 101.

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So here we are again…had to be, right? Birthdays being the yearly thing that they are. I am happy to report that the girth hasn’t kept up with my age. It would make turning 40 *quite* traumatic.

As time goes by, I find that I settle into these little traditions on certain days; birthday lunches with good friends. Bonding over booze is something that we cannot ever take too lightly. The same goes for importance of Bollywood music as it turns out. More on that later.

A good friend and I made a pact this year to discover new places (eateries) and try them out all through the year. And that’s been going on fairly steadily. I also try to make it for as many of the movies that I want to watch. Just got to head back before T.O gets back though and make it look like I’ve been busy folding clothes and doing laundry all day. Moms aren’t allowed to have too much fun without their kids or so the thought process goes.

Have more leisure time on my hands since I stopped working and most days are a heady mix of streaming something on Netflix and reading. It’s actually become a lot of rereading but books never go out of style. Especially John Sandford.

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My relationship with being healthy is an out of sight-out of mind kind of thing. If I’m not focused on it, it’ll never happen. And I end up losing focus very quickly in this area. Note to self: find out if ADD can happen selectively in a person’s life. All I can say is that I’ve not been patronizing unhealthy foods as much as I used to.

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diddly squats

This past year has been one that’s been quite memorable. More facetime (not app,the actual kind) with friends and a bit of travel here and there.

I’ve basically trying hard not to make too many plans. I’ve always been a planner. Long before summer break came about, my suitcase would be packed up and I’d enjoy the process of planning for everything I’d be taking along with me. The little joys as it were.

But while planning is fine, sometimes in planning too much you kind of miss the day-to-day. And the day to day is what adds up to everything else when you sit back and look at everything that’s been done. So that’s the focus now. Plan but at a slower pace and sometimes just let things happen. My kid broke a hand. We dealt with it. He’s now swinging from monkey bars and swinging cricket bats with equal ease. Can’t plan for every eventuality and when stuff crops up, you deal. Simple. Red left his job, took a sabbatical and then got back on to the grind sooner than we thought. The only plans we made uber seriously, were about securing the future for our child and us. Everything else was icing on the cake.

So while I’ll never be the fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda person, I’m still going to (try to) take it easy. Maybe. Possibly. I’ll make a list… Sheeesh!

A quick look at the day itself and the night after.

Jager Bombs!

The jingbang who help cut the cake every year

Salut!

Harsh Truths

TO learnt a rather tough lesson today- about life, death and how you can’t save everyone.

A pigeon had laid her eggs behind the AC unit on one of our window parapets. It was sheltered from other birds, the strong winds and still gave enough access to the warmth of the sun. 

In due time the eggs appeared and eventually a chick. We’ve been keeping an eye on le chick and seeing the day to day changes in him/her. But the chick was in the infancy stage still and not strong enough to fly.

Today TO came running to me to show me something “very bad” that was happening. A male pigeon was trying to attract the attention of mother pigeon and in the process, with all the flapping of the wings and the clawing that went on, the baby bird got shoved out of the nest and is now slowly dying.

It moved feebly in a rather pathetic creeping manner, trying to get away from the danger and managed to get itself further away from the nest. 

The mother flew away in the entire commotion and now we have a tiny life ebbing out on our window. It’s sad. And what’s worse is that due to the grills on our window we couldn’t access the bird and get it back to the nest and keep it warm somehow.

TO kept hitting the glass to shoo away the bigger birds but they kept at it and in time the baby bird was well and truly done for. And such is the unavoidable aspect of life- bad stuff happens, you don’t get to save everything and everyone you want to and yet there’ll be another nest here again soon. Maybe by the same mother bird. 

Resilience, circle of life or animal instinct, it’s all the same thing at the end of the day…you got to keep soldiering on. Or as Dory said, “Just keep swimming!”