The Gift

My husband isn’t a person who does a lot of things by himself for others. He doesn’t give “of” himself consistently unless it’s for his son. For TO this man does everything I expect and then some. But neither does he wait around for others to ‘do unto him’. He takes what comes his way, if he wants more, he helps himself; if he doesn’t then he doesn’t. It’s very cut and dry and without hidden messages to decipher.

A few weeks ago I told him that instead of the family road trip that we’d planned out in this month, I wanted a few days by myself. And he agreed. He did it gracefully is what I’m focusing on. ‘Me by myself’ would have meant either I go off for introspection, fun, vegetate in a place outside my home or stay put and have the home and hearth to wander around in. I chose the latter.

Image result for me time meme

T.O almost exclusively travels with me. I have more time on my hands and it’s easier to align my trips with his time off from school but I’ve been wanting to make TO more flexible about where he travels, with whom and basically not get too rigid about anything in life. And the first ever father-son mini-vacay took place. They’re in Goa right now, our-once-every-year-holiday-spot while I vacay at home. And it’s been blissful.

I didn’t need to be away from them. I needed to be with me. And that’s not any feministic, soul searching claptrap. Sometimes you really don’t want to have to do anything beyond what you want to do. And I did exactly that. My indulgences consisted of switching off the daily alarms (yes..I have more than one) and just potter around the house while listening to everything from this to this. And no, I didn’t get drunk out of sheer joy. Alchohol did not touch these gabby lips once. And it’s nothing to brag about. I just didn’t feel like it.

I cooked. I sang. I did my usual minimal housekeeping because let’s face it, I don’t go on a cleaning frenzy till my folks are due to arrive and I need to maintain appearances about being a tidy housewife. But it’s been lovely and I’m actually looking forward to having these two back and hearing all about their stag trip that’s been full of fun, grilled fish and loads and loads of chatter and most of all, bonding.

So while I type this out, drink my unsweetened coffee (in your face sugar!) and sigh contentedly as the lovely cool breeze flutters the curtains all around, I’m going to go on record and say that for his services to preserving the sanity of this mother, I’m going to ease off on the nagging front with Red for as long as I possibly can. I’ll crack in a week, if that long but such gestures need a get out of jail free card and this is his.

Salut!

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.

All My Pretty Possessions

I love my stuff. I love getting new things. I like discovering how they work, am ecstatic when they work the way they’re supposed to and most of all I love how it makes me feel when I use them.

My all time favorites have been books and cameras…of course I keep buying knickknacks that I don’t actually need either but we’ll tackle that in a different blog post.

Red, bless his patience and general I don’t-really-care-what-you-buy-as-long-as-I-don’t-have-to-be-responsible-for-itness, bought me an action camera- a GoProHe’s rather indifferent about photography and prefers not to have to pose or scan through 200 pictures but appreciates a “pretty picture” and generally images of MLM in all his joyous glory aka whopping it up like a monkey or the occasion smiles.

Given that our travels, spare time and overall recreation seldom is a still activity, I’d been hankering for something that gave me the tools to capturing a child in motion and images where getting wet was the norm rather than the exception and GoPro was the answer.

And with the particular one I have, it’s easy enough to tote it around in your pocket and not have to deal with lens changes, filters yada yada yada!

And it’s been a JOY to use this. Very few things make me as happy as something working the way it’s supposed to work, without quirks and too much thought going into figuring things out.

I’ve just started capturing some trial shots of the offspring and other friends in the pool and with a holiday just around the corner, I should be able to do justice to some images in the sea as well.

*picture a chubby woman skipping and clapping her chubby hands in utter glee*

This is a feeling nearly incomparable and I’ve also been heard telling the offspring to handle the camera with care because I like it more than I liked him!

Happy happy days!

P.S: Images from the pool session are uploaded in my photoblog…here.

P.P.S: technology amazes me to no end!

37

I usually write a blog post every year on my birthday but didn’t get around to it this year. Reason? I was busy and happily so. 

From the cutting of the cake (usurped by the offspring) to a 2-margarita lunch with a good friend, to the usual suspects barging in to wish me a happy birthday; it was a good day full of good moments turned into good memories.

What’s been happening since I hit 36? Well, work is rewarding as ever. I play multiple roles and am a self-titled bouncer and I have to say I like it! 

I don’t think saying ‘NO’ to people is the draw there. It’s more about having some semblance of order and things being systematic; quite a few things I regularly struggle for in my everyday life.  And while that makes it sound like I live in perpetual chaos, it would be fair to say that the “order in the disorder” is a good way to sum up my home front.

A good friend of mine always says that she can turn her OCD on and off and I’ve embarked on the same path. There are days I can spend oodles of time straightening up, making more space and keeping things tidy and there are other days when areas of the house look like we’re ready to hold a good ol’ fashioned garage sale!

The biggest change for me is going to the gym from January of this year and while the results are not earth-shattering, they are steady and they are real…what more can you ask for while stomping your way to 40?

More books are being read, more pictures are being taken and more is being learnt about the self on a fairly regular basis. And new goals, essential and non-essential, are being set to explore more meaning, more fun and to mark the passage of time in more memorable ways.

So this is me at 37…looking forward to 38.

Salut!

Of Mat Jumps and Face Packs…

I don’t consciously try and make the blog titles esoteric or cryptic even..they just pop out of my head, all baked and ready to go. Quite like how this happened. And in case anyone is interested (Pshaw! Yeah right…) how that happened…read it right here.

Onto the actual stuff I wanted to convey…I’ve been doing some different things as a part of my gym routine and one of them is to jump on mats. Big deal, right? Wrong!

Jumping on 3-4 3 inch mats stacked on stop on each other in a way that you land on your feet, don’t wobble and don’t sound like The Hulk landing is something that 30-somethings may have some trouble with.

For us, jumping went the way of the Dodo. Especially for the heavier amongst us, viz moi, find it a tad difficult to do without either feeling ungainly or self-conscious.  In any case, whatever we can’t do any longer, or have stopped doing; is the focus of what we need to do to reboot this state of being unfit and unhealthy.

This morning, after a good night’s sleep and an even better awakening, I stepped into TGIF mode with a vengeance! After dropping off the offspring, something that always gets a big grin on my face a la this momand a nice stroll around the campus, I oiled my hair, put a cucumber pack on my face and was dancing blind aka without the glasses to everything from the Moanna OST to jazzy Hindi songs. And feeling quite peppy and not crying out for the oxygen cylinder like before.

All hyperboles aside, when you can and do jump up and land lighter on your feet than you have in more years than you can count, it’s a fantastic feeling! This is why kids are always jumping…it’s fun! Each time you go up in the air, it’s exhilarating and when you come down again you’re buoyed up to zoom straight back up! It’s liberating at the very least and extremely affirming.

I want to go on a trampoline right now but am not sure about the weight limitations on them so I will take it easy for a bit but I might play hopscotch. And soon!

Listening to- You’re Welcome (Moanna OST)

Image courtesy: Justin-hebert.com

36

Ask a woman if she’s easier in her mind about being 36 years old versus being 36 in the waist and you can bet you’ll be on the receiving end of the MOST disdainful look which roughly translates to, ” Yeah right! AS IF! What kind of question is that anyhow? How DUH ARE you?!” and it goes on and on and on.

For someone who *is* 36 and enjoying it (so far), the fear of turning 36 in the waist wasn’t too far in the horizon. The girth has been expanding and innate laziness and a bad case of unstickittoiveness led me to think that henceforth denim (the wonder material and no, it’s not Lycra) might be something I could find and fit into with great difficulty.

And I’ll tell you why this is. The craze for skinny, low riding jeans for women seems to have taken over the world where the words comfort-fit are possibly the worst things you can say to a salesperson apparently. Each stack of denim, whether in the time-tested brands of Levis, Lee or Pepe, seems to have variations of skinny over and over again.

When a person like me, who hasn’t been remotely skinny EVER, heads over to shop for denim the sales people seem to gulp and summon their courage to tell me nothing is available in my size and probably won’t be unless I start to shop in stores which cater specifically to those of us who are more than reasonably well-fed.

I told Red I wanted a pair of new jeans on my birthday, the old one long having given up the ghost with all the thigh chaffing and splitting at the seams from my ever-expanding ways. He took it well although I suspect he had some scenes playing out in his head of me storming out of the trial rooms ranting about how only skinny people could shop off the rack these days for basic clothing yada yada yada.

And contrary to his usual manner of tasting his feet while he talks, he did not ask the sales girl to get me the largest size they had available. He merely gave me the floor and told me to pick what I liked and try it on. Phew…birthdays sure good days for husbands to learn tact. Sadly the next day they go back to square one.

Anyhoo, I picked a pair to try out and entertained scary thoughts of my own about all the huffing, puffing and jiggling up and down, hopping on one foot just to get the jeans on and then shimmying like you know who (the ladies who like to dance around poles with minimal to no clothes on) just to get the pants up to my waist when a miracle happened………….wait for it………………………………………………………………………………..The pants rose like magic (but not like extra-large clown pants) to meet me on their own. I was able to button the waist without doing the Lamaze huff-puffs and when I squatted to see how tightly the seams were being tested, they didn’t even whimper! Ask women how often they moon the trial room mirrors when test driving new jeans and you’ll have a bunch of women fit to cry their eyes out!

Manna from the heavens on the first pair of jeans?! Someone up there (or down there) wanted me to have a happy birthday for sure!

And what is the point of this rambling and avoidable description of me fitting into jeans? It’s not about the weight entirely. The older you get you do mellow but you also realize there might not be going back to certain things. A 28-inch waist for one. Not only because your kid would miss head butting your extra bouncy tummy and your husband would end up needing pillows to lean on instead of you but also because somewhere you made your peace with the flab. You certainly don’t want to nurture it but it’s there so what’re gonna do? You love to hate it!

Finding something that goes right, the way it’s supposed to, the first time around is a nice change from everything that you need to and have to work at. A pair of jeans that slid up the on the first try without any grunts out of you and were soft enough to sleep in as well, sometimes makes all the difference.

Now if it had turned out that my waist was 36 instead of my age, that would be a descent to a whole new level of madness and a totally different blog post altogether! We are talking a new level in the Inferno for God’s sake!

Salut!

A Tryst With Disenchantment

I have never had as much exposure to any other language as I have with English. Whether it be the Indian variety or the Queen’s. There are words which help capture your moods, your thoughts, the intangibles, the indecipherable and what not! English also lets you coin new terms and that particular term is called a neologism. Fantastic, ain’t it?

One of those words which have intrigued me from time to time is “disenchantment“. Websters (my favorite lexicon) defines it as “a feeling of disappointment about someone or something you previously respected or admired; disillusionment.” To enchant means “to attract and hold the attention of (someone) by being interesting, pretty, etc. Also to put a magic spell on (someone or something)”

So disenchantment could simply be put as the state when the magic’s all gone.

There’s a kind of magic that imbues life. It doesn’t come out of Hogwarts or fairy tales but it exists in life nonetheless. It comes to us when we are flush with the happiness of something or someone; in a state in life when things are not just rosy they are effervescent, vibrant and uplifting in themselves.

When this magic with something dissipates, you often see it for what is actually is or what it has become and it no longer holds an allure. It may be that the scales have dropped from your eyes or something to that effect but it no longer calls you, has a hold on you as it were.

With people, being disenchanted takes on a different form. You go from being deeply involved, invested in their wellness, welfare to being either dismissive or simply non-caring. You just stop caring point-blank what happens with them, to them around them. THEM. In toto. That is not to say that you wish them ill. Just the opposite. You cease to have any thought of any kind for that individual. You can summon some fragments of emotion for them if a situation arises that requires you to respond but beyond that, there’s nothing.

It can be surprising that things that filled you with joy, people who added so much substance to your life suddenly just cease to signify anything at all. But it can and does happen. The human mind is full of surprises and is very receptive to fluctuating levels of magic in our lives. The magic knows it’s waning or dawning much before we become aware of it.

Here’s to remaining enchanted, always.