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 the  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.

 

We Need Trappings

I’ll be the first one to admit it, my kid’s sticktoitiveness comes and goes. He’s tried his hands at roller blading and then suddenly didn’t want to do it anymore. He’s resisted all attempts at learning to swim properly; preferring to channel an otter as his spirit animal instead.

Red tried badminton with him and that took root for a while as did squash and then it flooped. For now cricket fever seems to be gripping him and how! He’s been playing for a while now and dare I say is passable. Of course I wouldn’t know a good cricketer from a bad one. Anyone who’s shots connect more often than not is good in my book especially since mine never do. And when they do, they go places Red grumbles while he has to retrieve.

But more about TO- he’d been asking for a whole cricket kit so that it’d feel like he was really playing. We held off on thinking that if this went bust too we’d be stuck with a lumpy bag to get rid off or store somewhere till the yen to play came upon him again. But after we heard from the coach that he’d been making progress and was trying more often than not to learn the game rather than play “stylish” shots, we got him kitted out.

And here he is in his kickass cricketer avatar, looking like he’s already hit one out of the park! And this pretty much him throughout the day. We just need to make sure we duck while passing by.

So while I can take the game or leave it, it’s pretty damn good to see TO this happy at doing something. So maybe he stops playing, maybe he doesn’t. He gets to make happy memories now. Better flip flop as a child and learn the ropes than end up as a 30-something who can’t make up his mind.

Money-Grubbing Altruism

Woman's face peeking out of a pile of money

It is a theory of mine that depending upon the kind of ride TO is in, his thought process changes accordingly.

I had a flat tire today and had to take an auto rickshaw to get around. I think the abundance of the fresh-polluted air got to him and he came up with such gems that I had to get them out to the unsuspecting world at large.

My child has questions about life and death. Mainly death. He knows it happens but not always why and if there are aspects which predicate it; if I can call it such. So this darling boy asked about certain key family members who are no longer with us and asked how it impacted those left behind and came up with a solution: he would learn magic and bring them back to life so everyone who was left sad by their passing would be happy again. Primarily his father, whose mother had passed away while he was still in his teens.

He then went up the generation ladder and said he would revive his great-grandmother as well because she’d been 97 when she passed and should live to be at least a 100. All noble endeavors. In theory.

Soon after caame the kicker! In this process of reanimating all the dearly departed he’d make a ton of money and then be rich! rich! RICH!!! and buy up all the dueling dinos that we (Red and I) have deemed unnecessarily expensive toys.

And in that instant I went from doing this-

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to this-

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Thankfully the ride ended soon after and apple of my myopic eyes raced home to tell his father about the love he has for his fellow-man and how he wants to bring joy in our lives.

Never a dull day with this one that’s for sure. They *never* tell you these things in those damn parenting books which is why I’m writing my own!

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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!”

It’s Probably For The Best….

Life offers up platitudes GALORE. Some are self-generated and the others are ladled out by well-intentioned albeit unoriginal people.

But platitudes, clichés whatever we choose to term them, do serve a purpose. The first time I saw this scene in Victor Victoria, it struck me for a reason I wasn’t able to define or even decipher as a teen. But as an adult there have been times I have replayed it or its paraphrase in my head. There *are* moments in life where clichés seem to tell it like it is. Loud and clear.

For instance, while you were growing up if you thought of yourself as a dynamic, capable, individual who walks the walk and talks and talk and is hugely successful and has all the requisite things that label her as having arrived, well you could say that you were one of the multitude who did so.

What is also true is that you are instead a part of the multitude who are the housewives who bake, fuss about the laundry and the kind of fabric softener you need to use, which kind of flour is higher in fiber for your kids and how your husband needs a hot meal when he gets home. You have turned into a Betty Crocker of sorts and aspiring for Martha Stewartness.

You search for the man of house’s socks and wonder if you have enough baking soda to take that weird odor in your fridge away or if you should use some vanilla-soaked cotton balls instead.

And if by chance, one day, when you wake up and realize that parts of your life have become a cliché, you can either run for the hills or accept that yes; while unoriginal it does make up for things in prophecy and thereby gain some credibility. So you aren’t the Prada and Christian Louboutin-wearing, Centurion-card wielding, big bundle of hotness! Big deal

It’s not a bad thing to become a cliché. Not merely because there are others out there as well but simply because clichés are enduring and they are a truism. You might not have wanted to become predictable or a type but you have become who you could in life. If that means you cut out coupons before going to the grocery store, so it be.

While the “stand-out-in-a-crowd-types” try to maintain their individuality, it’s the clichés who silently rule the world. Or the household with the sweet smells coming out of the oven and the lemon-scented wood furniture at the very least!