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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Redemption At Long Last…

I don’t always deal well with extended weekends where my kid’s a part of the equation and Red isn’t around or not going to be around to be a buffer. We, TO and I, get along well for a few hours and then I feel like asking his school principal to keep the school going all days of the week for the sake of my sanity. And just a day back I wrote this rather sentimental blog post. Oh well, lunacy in all its forms is also par for course in parenting!

Anyhow after a whole day of playing the 5Ws and 1H series of questions I was looking for divine or devilish intervention when the skies opened up and the rains fell and whole petrichor experience did its bit to soothe the savage beast aka Moi. And then the offspring asked Alexa to play my favorite Def Leppard songs and sat next to me, semi head banging.

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Bliss. Oh bliss bliss bliss. Oh damn…I spoke to soon. The queries about all the icons in the Macbook’s dock have started up while I wind up this post. I know when I’ve been bested.

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Mucho Loco Motoring

TO loves to dance. He does his own thang and is unabashed about it while at home or in any place he feels comfortable.

He’s lithe, has expressive eyes (which he widens mainly for more effect) and he loves to twirl, swirl and get his groove on.

Any song he likes becomes our party track for a few months or till the next earworm sets in. Last night I was surprised with an impromptu dance performance to this song

One always hopes that one’s child will be limber and active but this one seems to be choosing artists if their names and songs are animal related. Case in point- Maroon 5’s Animals is another anthem of his.

I wonder if he’d take up belly dancing if I told him snakes can probably writhe similarly…

Of Romance and Fried Eyeballs

Four years ago I wrote this blog post and I’m still laughing about it. Sometimes all the way to the loo because when Red ends up being funny inadvertently, it’s bad for my bladder.

One of the biggest yarns ever spun in my home is about Red getting a 92 in Hindi many moons ago. Anyone who knows him knows that to be the biggest crock of malarkey. Ever.Not surprisingly, no documentation of this mythical “92” has ever been seen.

Every now and then I’ll listen to a couple of mellow, Hindi songs which particularly pluck at my romantic vein. And that’s when Red strikes. With a seemingly innocuous question, a guileless face and completely out of the blue, he’ll make me go from a mellowed out woman to someone who looks like this- Image result for dafuq gif

Tonight was no different. I was looking up the lyrics to Roz Roz Aankhon Tale. Now it’s not entirely phonetically spelt out in English, I accept, but the husband cottoned onto just ONE word from the entire song, took it out of context and changed the meaning from love to cannibalism in one fell swoop!

“Taley” in Hindi means below, underneath. Talna means to fry. Somehow, Mr.92-in-Hindi grabbed onto that random memory from his vast, spacious vault of Hindi vocabulary and asked me, “Doesn’t tale mean fried?” And now, instead of remembering Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhonsle’s mellifluous duet, I’ll see eyeballs sizzling on a skillet.

Don’t be too surprised if I walk around zombie-like after sometime and turn into Cole Sear and say  substituting eyeballs of course!Image result for eyeballs gif

 

 

 

A Peppy Earworm

Dale a tu cuerpo alegría Macarena
Que tu cuerpo es pa’ darle alegría why cosa buena
Dale a tu cuerpo alegría, Macarena
Hey Macarena

The offspring has been introduced to the joys of Macarena courtesy Hotel Transylvania-3. It was a silly movie with funky songs popping up at silly places but you know kids…they love monsters! And so when everyone from Drac to his cloak started to Macarena with total abandon, it was an eye-popping moment for the monkey.

We normally wake him up to music because there’s a bunch of them on loop and it beats me having to yell him out of his cocoon inside the covers. It’s a win-win.

So this morning, without knowing it, while he was getting his residual nap done on the couch, I was getting coffee and his milk ready and realized I was grooving to the song myself!

And now…it plays at least 5-6 times a day if the offspring’s got his playlist airing for our listening pleasure. While doing the Macarena with him has been fun but having to halt everything to let a Macarena-ing kid cross is wearing out it’s welcome. S-I-G-H

Of Deaf Leopards&Animal Scat

I’d overslept this morning and headed out to the gym midday, MLM in tow. Boy! That should have tipped me off exactly what would ensue while driving those measly 4 kms. But by all means, let me wax on and wax off Daniel-San!

Sorry, couldn’t help the last bit. Watched the original movie after ages and have been saying Wax-on, Wax-off in my head. Damn you Pat Morita!

Anyhow, among the less than pleasant traits that the offspring has inherited from moi is his urge to listen to the same song till he tires of it. Never mind others are already stuffing their ears with whatever they can to stop the earworm from advancing, but MLM and I remain oblivious to our surroundings and keeping blaring the songs.

After a few weeks of Fugly- Fugly ruling the roost in the car, I was finally given an opportunity to play something I wanted to listen to. A random selection brought up Vault and Hysteria came on. The little man instantly liked it (YAY!) and asked me who was singing. I often think about filtering my words before speaking to him but I was navigating through midday traffic and thoughtlessly said, “Def Leppard”. And we were OFF!

From laughing his hieney off about leopards being deaf to talking about big cats; I heard it all. I heard about animals marking their territory albeit in the uncensored version aka the leopard does “susu” on the tree and then kicks some sand on the tree with his feet backwards et al”.

Note: Anyone who doesn’t know how kids talk might think it was a very special kind of leopard or it was a mutated one, but “with his feet backwards just means with his back feet.

On we go…once he started talking about the big cats, I had to hear about each animal marking it’s territory, one by one. After the leopards came the tigers, lions, cheetahs, the jaguars, the ocelots, the panthers, the pumas and the snow leopards as well.

Just as he was running out of breath and I was pulling into the parking another thought meteorite hit him with a bang! “But why don’t they poop when they pee?” is the question he wanted answered.

As I herded him out of the car and up the steps I thought to myself, this kid is either going to be a naturalist a la Attenborough or he’s going to be a zookeeper! In any case ‘deaf leopards’ is a moment etched firmly in the annals of mother-son time.

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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)

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The Sitar Diaries- Anatomy of a Sitar

Last Friday I went to a neighbor’s house and saw a veena propped up in a corner. And it brought to mind the little time that I’d spent learning to play a sitar. It made me think of this series of blog post titled- The Sitar Diaries which will explore the structure and form of a sitar, how to play it, what is typically played and a bit of intro to some of the most famous Hindustani Classical raags and taals.. Am not delving into the Carnatic style at all since my exposure to that methodology is absolutely nil!

So here goes and I hope that more people will continue to embrace musical instruments as a way of self-expression, recreation and pleasure. I, unfortunately, was not able to continue with my sitar lessons but I have a yen for the instrument and still wish that a time comes when I can reconnect with it. Till then the days of my air-sitar will continue instead.

Alors!

Parts of a sitar labelled.

When My Mom Learnt To Rock

My parents are fairly cool. I say fairly because given the fluidity of our lives during my childhood and adolescence they were usually ok with most of the things they came across when dealing with me.

One of the biggest changes came when we relocated to US for a few years while I was still in elementary school. Flinstones gave way to VHI and MTV and that change too they took in their stride as well as they could.

I remember that ours is a home always filled with music of some kind. My mother sings while she cooks, we ask my father NOT to sing at all and the record player was on during the weekends and used to stay on for a good, long, while.

Stuff from my parents’ youth like The Ventures, some Joan Baez along with classical Indian music is what was around. 

Then came the Era of Music Videos. And that was “interesting” for them because the videos aren’t always just freaks of nature depicting their freakiness, sometimes I guess it was tough for them to let their young and impressionable daughter watch videos of Kiss and Billy Idol’s Cradle of Love (to name a few that rattled my mom up). My father’s all time favorites feature We Didn’t Start The Fire, Unchained Melody, some Bryan Adams and nothing of rap or rock. 

But the audio is what they always liked, thank goodness. So I could get away with listening to stuff if they found the video unsuitable for some reason.

I remember one morning my mother heard me watching Enter Sandman while doing something in the kitchen and somehow she thought it was “nice” and am quite sure she hadn’t heard the chorus 🙂 she came out of the kitchen and was confronted with Hetfield’s face and saw the video (which is quite tame by most standards) and got a frown on her face. Am sure over the years she would come across videos which would make parents run for the child lock on television as well. Rap too didn’t fare too well. I guess she wasn’t able to connect with it or find melody in it. The only rap song I know she remembers is House of Pain’s Jump Around for the distinctive shrill sounds through the track

She also used to get mucho annoyed by the smashing of music instruments on stage and the lack of clothes by many- another reason why I wasn’t allowed to watch the full Blonde Ambition Tour being aired on tv. Madonna started her presence on screen with the F words and my mother got irritated, “she’s there to sing, why does she have to use bad words?”. Although watching movies like Good Fellas or for that matter ANY Joe Pesci movie was ok for her because the curses were in context to the situation and therefore acceptable.

Over the years Ma’s liked MLTR (such clean looking boys with no holes in their clothes and no screaming), Scatman (just because he could scat!) and of course Elton John’s songs along with the stuff she grew with- Engelbert Humperdink, Cliff Richards, Elvis and the other oldies. She enjoyed the 3 Tenors and Barbra Streisand and of course Celine Dion. But she also tolerated me blasting Def Lep’s Vault when the album came out among others but was also quite happy with I started watching more things on Youtube or listening to stuff on the iPod.

I want to show her how innocuous my selections were back then and have her see some of Miley Cyrus’ videos and antics on Youtube and see what the now-grandmother has to say!

This should certainly be worth a watch 🙂

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Nothing Surprises Me…I’m A Mom!

Ermm…that’s a contradiction actually. Nothing does surprise me because a child’s mind is SO elastic that it works in ways I can’t begin to imagine and wish it didn’t.

And yet when the unimaginable (for adults) happens it’s also a surprise because the offspring chose to do (read destroy) yet another thing in his own special way.

This is what we call predictably unpredictable!

My child, who shall be referred to as Mommy’s Little Monster (MLM) hereafter, has always has a fondness for CDs. The round shape, the shiny surface and the fact when it’s put into a drive it emits sounds and images makes it totally magical for him.

He also has a VERY strong procedural memory (again a mixed blessing) and is ALWAYS doing what his father and I do. CD changing in our house is nothing short of a battle. And changing CDs in the car is CHAOS personified with one of us adults having to rescue the CD from being inserted upside down or with too much love (read FORCE)!

A few days back I tried to play one of my CDs, a rare occurrence, and found that the car music system was literally spitting it back out at me. Naturally I suspected that tiny hands of terror had been busy at work.

Today I finally got around to taking it to a repair shop for an estimate of whether the CD player was to be put to rest once and for all or if there was still life left in it. The technician opened the entire bracket to see what was wrong with the unit and out tumbled not ONE, not TWO but FIVE CDs.

Everyone was amazed. MLM was clapping for joy and chanting, “Look Look, so many CDs!”

And me? Well..am unsurprisingly surprised. And waiting for the estimate on the stereo. I have a feeling they’ll go by the DNR (do not resuscitate) instructions I gave them.

I have a feeling the remaining CDs will make  interesting wall decals until I get someone to keep their grubby little hands to themselves!

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