The Mother’s Day Brouhaha

My family lived in the US briefly, many years ago. Prior to that life was smaller in many ways. There were no 75 channels on tv and there certainly was no Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Presidents Day and what have you.

We had Children’s Day where we most certainly did not get to escape from school; were “nudged” into elocution or essay competitions eulogizing the first Prime Minister of India. We had Teacher’s Day where the teachers got a break..sort of. The place I did my middle school from, had the 10th graders dress up in sarees or salwar kameez and the younger classes were allocated to us to manage while the teachers had a break for a day. Lunch was organized for them and there were no classes on that day for anyone. Good times all around. But the concept of Mother’s Day being a thing and a big one at that is something I got to know when I was in 3rd grade. Still a newbie of sorts to American life.

Our teacher who had an unfortunate way of looking strict while she wasn’t too bad in real life had us make little accessories for our mothers. Small pieces of what looks like particle wood to me now were available for us to color on and then a pin would be glued on the back and it would make a lovely brooch for our moms.

In theory so many things sound good. Doable even, but give a bunch of kids glue and craft products especially a goggle-eyed one from India who is new to the concept of pipe cleaners and googly eyes and you get something like this-

My mother in her infinite wisdom *never* wore this except for the time I gave it to her. Given that she had nothing which would offset this and she never went trick or treating either, this brooch was consigned to her drawer of special things, displayed prominently but sensibly not worn.

She preserved this, possibly as a reminder to herself that Art and her daughter were not intended to be friends. Over the years I’ve got a laugh out of jiggling the brooch so the eyes jump up and down but for the most part this work of art remains misunderstood and has more depth than anyone has possibly gauge.

Happy Mother’s Day all!

Discussions on life and beyond

TO’s ideas about life and death are shaped quite a bit by the things he sees online. And since he sees more grown- up content these days vis-a-vis Mickey Mouse Club House, Noddy et al, death is portrayed more in the Occidental way than it is the Oriental or Indian way. He’s seen characters who visit graves of their loved ones and thinks that’s the way we roll too. Of course, till now he’s been lucky to not lose anyone he really loves.

Last evening the topic of me and Red not being there came up. Dunno how exactly but it might have arisen out of the talk about TO growing up and doing things more by himself without our help or our supervision. And when he gets going about the future he paints a very elaborate picture. It’s seldom a few things mentioned offhand; it’s always a well-etched scenario.

So yesterday TO started off by saying, “When you and P die I’ll have to do things on my own. But I’ll visit your graves and let you know how I’m doing.” Instead of going “awww” I told him a bit tersely (I was in the middle of a challenging puzzle) that “we wouldn’t be buried because we’d be cremated as per our religion. To that the answer came, “I wouldn’t burn you!! (horrified tone). I’ll bury you so you’ll always be there and I’ll put flowers on your grave and if you become ghosts you’ll have a place to go back to after you come see how I’m doing.”

This kind of long-term logistical planning really needs a pat on the back.

Parenting: The Stuff They Never Tell You

I am a semi-helicopter mother and not proud of it. Here are some things I’ve gleaned in the past few years of parenting. I’m not sure how helpful this is but for those contemplating marriage and eventually kids, do read this once. It may give you a different perspective (read abstinence or hardcore contraception) or it may reinforce what you see and hear in front of you everyday anyhow.

So..here we go!

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#1 Having a conversation with anyone else barring your child is like being in a boxing match. It goes like this- you speak 1,2,3 and someone jabs you. You try to regain your balance and speak again 1,2,3 and this time it’s an uppercut.

There are rare conversations that you can have without being interrupted; till you decide to give it up and just focus on the kid. And guess what precious nugget comes your way when you do? It’s quite possibly something along the lines of – (imagine it being spoken in all caps) “You know what? My poop is all orange from all the nachos I ate yesterday!!” And you nod helplessly because you hung up on an overseas call with your BFF to hear about your kid’s bodily function.

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#2 Farts are important. If they stink, how loud they are. If you’ve noticed the abovementioned smell and noise. If you haven’t they’ll probably poop their pants trying to squeeze one out that the whole neighborhood can be proud of.

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#3 You have to watch everything you say. Literally. Imagine becoming a psychotic with visual hallucinations where the words you think materialize in front of your face. You reject a few and allow the rest of them to be uttered. If you don’t, the next time you may be subjected to a bout of , ” Gimme a break or a ” Oh for crying out loud!” from a 1st grader because you cut off digital media or pool access at pre-agreed upon times.

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#4 Pool times are deadly. The child *never* remembers that staying for too long in the water causes their skin to prune up. When you tell them their time’s up, they mimic dolphins and scoot away from you.

Wading into the pool and dragging them out leads to yells and screams tantamount to child abduction with people looking at you and your offspring in distaste for causing ripples in their recreation or serenity.

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#5 Some part of the body always hurts during homework or DEEEEP sleep to rival Rip Van Winkle’s comes on in droves and it goes away only when the threat of homework does. And then, the recovery is more miraculous than the walking on water phenomenon! Faster too!

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#6 Waking the child up in the mornings is a drama par excellence. The hands flung over the eyes a la Scarlett O’Hara, the burrowing into the covers like a mole and coiling up smaller and smaller like a worm or a snake makes you gobsmacked! One child going through all these changes in a matter of seconds is nothing short of amazing.

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#7 Say goodbye to your stereo and tv and tablets. The kid rules all and owns all. You don’t come in second. You don’t come in. Period.

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#8 Holiday destinations are decided by where the wild things are. Literally. The continent with the most venomous snakes, biggest crocs makes the cut. Relaxing at a beach? Sure…but can you also see the Inland Taipan or the Tasmanian Devil? No? Then it’s a no-go.

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#9&#10– these two are probably the most annoying IMHO. Your bedroom and your bathroom time are no longer your own. And that’s mystifying because why on earth would someone want to spend so much time talking to you through the bathroom door, wanting to know what you’re doing, when you’re coming out and even going to the extent of shoving their ever-growing drawings of dragons under the door for you to peruse while you’re focused on something entirely different and faar more important.

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They creep you out by looming over you in the weekends; the one time you don’t have to run and bundle them into clothes and catch the school bus. They whisper slowly into your ears, distorting dreams with reality; often shoving tiny fingers up your nose to wake you thoroughly and even body flop on your sleeping, unsuspecting self just to tell you they LOVE YOU. And you feel compelled to reply in kind while you blindly kick out, hoping to connect with that tiny butt and get them the hell out of your sacred sleeping space.

Ah parenting…what a ride!

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The Benefits of A Neverafter

That’s right. Not getting your happily-ever after with the one you long and pine for or imagine yourself to be deeply in love with has tremendous ROI.

Let’s take Romeo&Juliet as an example. Too bad they really haven’t found the Fountain of Youth else Will Shakespeare would have been a very rich bugger indeed, reaping benefits from all the royalty he’d have been getting from this one play he wrote. And it’s not even that a good one mind you. It lacks the depth of a Macbeth, the twists of a Midsummer Night’s Dream or and you don’t really feel the love. I know I don’t.

I mean take a look at this- 2 teenagers (it could only be teenagers being this impulsive and stubborn) decide that they have a crush on people their families find unsuitable. Families turn into big baddies to keep them apart and teenagers manage to muddle through it till they both end up dead. Yay…have fun making out in the afterlife nerds!

This tragedy of WS has been made into operas, movies, music videos, reenacted as a play and reread as a book and continues to persist even now. Why? Because a neverafter means the story can persist at least in your own head. A happily everafter means it’s over and done and you have no further role to play in it.

Everyone who has gone through unrequited “love” or has “loved&lost” will forever be marked with the touch of that “what-if”. They may not moan and groan throughout their lives about it but they’ll wonder and they’ll hark back to that person or the people who “got away”, “could have been” etc etc. When you get the one you wanted, it turns into marriage, babies, mortgages and the story becomes dull at some point for sure. Happiness might still play a part in it but the depths to which your mind can run when it unleashes the potential of the unknown is massive! And I think it’s fun for people, from time to time, to wander off on this particular path.

Unrequited love has spawned an entire era of work in English Litt from sonnets to prose to modern-day stalkers who have transitioned into very successful serial killers and creeps in the movies. The neverafter leads to illicit forays onto Facebook profiles of people you don’t have access to anymore, while you take in their lives as they pose for selfies or check into some minuscule coffee shop on social media or tweet about the time they last sneezed.

You don’t always check out the happily ever afters…they got their happy ending and started a predictable new story of their own…where’s the mystery in that?!

I remember going back again and again to read Love Story. Sad as shit but she died so beautifully on film and the way Oliver contemplated his life post Jenny dying…it was something. A man happy with his life doesn’t have half that appeal!

We like a little bit of the unknown in our lives. The places we could have gone, the things we should have done, the lives we would have led…it’s a fun exercise on its own and doesn’t hurt anyone. As long as you know you got exactly what you wanted- alive, hale and hearty and not swooning and dying or spouting nonsense from balconies…your very own happily never-again-but-this-is-what-I-like!

But going back to R&J, ever think what might have happened if they had ended up together?

Image courtesy- http://transmedialshakespeare.files.wordpress.com/

The Blessing Of Being A Daughter’s Mother

Now let me start off by saying that having a son isn’t a curse or a non-blessing either. Even if mine does make me long for Valium on most days, he is truly the light, noise…err..sound of my life.

But back to why a daughter specially, is a blessing. A friend and ex-colleague of mine whom I have unfortunately not been in touch with for too many years has a birthday coming up. A landmark birthday in fact but the number will not be revealed…a woman has to have her secrets after all 🙂

Her daughter got my number from her and called me up a few minutes ago to tell me that she’s making a memory jar for her mom with the same number of friends that the age her mom’s turning.

It’s a total surprise and all her mother knows is that her daughter has access to her phone book and is probably calling some friends over for a surprise party…NOT!

With my friend’s birthday falling on a school night for her and her daughter and a Ph.D looming up in the horizon, a party is totally out of the question on her big day. But she’ll be spending it reading all the stuff her friends have penned down for her.

Who else but a girl would have thought of something like this? And the child is probably all of 15 going on 16.

Jeez…people have got to have more girls! And this girl has one helluva mother!