Musing At The Waiting Lounge

I like tea. I like tea infused with herbs and flowers which many people (read husband) make a face at and deduce that either am a hippie, far-Left, tree-hugging kook or a pretentious individual who wants to stand out by ordering hibiscus tea when everyone else at the table is just fine with their latte, thank you very much!

But despite caffeine being the lifeblood, I really enjoy a good cup of tea from time to time. Brewed well, steeped just long enough and fragrant as well as flavorful.

Am sitting at the Chennai airport right now, watching humanity rush, loiter and basically mill about. A subdued cyclone brought gusty winds and heavy rains and suddenly I needed a tea fix. And while grub or anything at an airport is hideously overpriced but the heart wants what the heart wants especially with 2 hours to kill before a flight. 

So I chose a tea bar (yes…teas have their own bars now..le posh!) and found that they had a lemon-chamomile blend which seemed like a good choice. Alas…seeming and being are two ends of a spectrum at times. This blend is blah. And to top it off, it looks like a specimen one reluctantly gives at the doctor’s office and tastes like nothing. Just a big, fat nothing.I think I’m qualified to rant a bit because I’ve had the real deal and it was just lovely. 

Nearly 20 years ago, I was on a trip with my folks up in the hilly areas of Himachal Pradesh and we ran into a colleague of my dad’s who was a local there. He and his wife lived in a lovely, quaint wooden house and she grew chamomile…just because. 

She brewed it and added it to various things and also had it as a tisane. She also knitted some lovely woollen socks and gave me a pair; which I ended up giving to an ex-roomie because her toes were freezing off in Frankfurt in the middle of their rather harsh winter, but that’s another story for another day. 

My mother had that baggie of chamomile tea for years. It was fragrant, mild and soothing. It grew in good earth, without too many pollutants and was given as a going away gift by an extremely simple lady who didn’t know how that tea would travel with us over the next couple of years and become an anecdote each time it was brewed.

The only good thing to come out of this cuppa is the stirring of memories of a sunny days, hills and good people. 

Salut.

1998

5 girls met. Talked. Slowly at first and then incessantly. They sat in the last benches of most of their classes. Had some adventures. Loads of giggles, some fights. Went through a bunch of guys. Made other gal pals and 20 years later are still around in a pretty good capacity given that work, home, spouses, kids and pets do make their presence felt quite a bit on a daily basis.

College was such a melting pot. You had all the directions of the country converge along with linguistic and religious backgrounds and still found that you fit somewhere; with someone. And you wore each other like gloves and the fit just got better with time with a few mends here and there.

4-20180609_211921

There were classes where you each were at sea, and then those where you still had the chance to sail through. There were gaffes, bloopers, red-letter days and some days you’d rather really just never remember again. There were fests and fiestas where you met the next few months’ rides in the form of people (ahem..guys) from other colleges and also did a quick dipstick to see if you were on the right end of the social spectrum when compared to the rest of the lot out there. Fashion played a big role. Some were gawked at, some gaped at and some just grimaced at as a bad idea never to be repeated with oneself.

You had days when the homework hadn’t been done and the entire class (barring the usual goody two-shoes suspects) was asked to leave by the lecturer with clenched teeth and furrowed brows. There were classes which were bunked at the proverbial last minute to go watch a newbie director’s movie premiere with no money left for snacks ergo home made lunches came to the rescue…however lame the situation seemed.

These 5 girls had their own idiosyncrasies; they still do but they had FUN! They didn’t have stars in their eyes but didn’t really know what the world had in store for them either. They sat and laughed at the teachers’ often utterly ludicrous utterances and marveled at the sophistication and expanse of knowledge the others possessed. They wrote their hearts out, thought about new things; had their horizons and visions broadened by good books recommended by even better teachers and still managed to sleep through at least half of their graduation.

3-20180609_211935

Endless sandwiches were eaten along with innumerable cups of tepid coffee which kept the noggin running, however sporadically. They bitched, they gossiped, they cried, they guffawed with laughter and they made memories. In time they shared these memories with their significant others and introduced their friends to the new people they’d share their lives with thereon.

1-20180609_212020

Twenty years on, on the right side of the dreaded (?) 40s, it’s nice to look back and know there was a time and a place and people who made you carefree, kept you young, foolish (in the best way possible) and buoyant.

Here’s to you ladies…you know who you are.

8-20180609_211701

7-20180609_211747

6-20180609_211824

2-20180609_212004

Salut!

My Temporal Lobe Hurts

I have a great memory for useless trivia. I have a pretty good memory for remembering everything my husband didn’t do but should have.

I also have a pretty strong recall for little things with the help of even vague-ish associative cues et al…but getting to the fag end of my 30s, my (declining) memory for numbers is killing me.

And the person causing bats in my belfry is none other than the offspring. As usual. Sighs.

We keep quite a few things under digital lock and key to keep him from giving into temptation and over indulging viz- iPad, t.v, Kindle, laptop etc but I’ll be damned if that isn’t coming back to bite me on the hieney.

With passwords for the phone, the Wi-Fi, the iPad, the Firestick, certain channels, it gets to a point sometimes when I need to unlock things, I sit with a blank look on my face, desperately searching in the memory banks for some kind of a clue to help me find the elusive #s; and no help is forthcoming. Totally a case of GIGO.

Earlier I had passwords, codes, credit card #s everything memorized and it wasn’t tough to recall them when needed and without too much prompting.

Now, my brain plays a Hot&Cold game with while I sift through data. Of course the process would be easier if I didn’t have a kid draped over my shoulder like a boa (imitating reptile and an accessory both), hissing in my ear, “Do you remember it Y-E-T??!!”

What would be best is if I could keep it unlocked and trust that agreements about t.v. time, play time on iPads were stuck to but that’s a bit unfair to expect from a kid when his parents are binge-watching Criminal Minds or Suits even though its ostensibly done without him being in the know.

But the brat knows us so well, when he sees the last played item on the watch list, he gives me a tsk-tsk look and takes the name of the person who’d have been watching the program and says, ” Someone was watching t.v. after I went to bed!”

I can’t begin to explain how amusing and confusing it is to be chastised by your child in a manner which he’s clearly picked up from you and then having to show your contrition even if you don’t feel the slightest bit contrite!

The things we do set an example for our kids. And while I try and set the aforementioned example, there’s a mini-me tapping his feet impatiently and saying,” Ahem….I’m waiting.”

Ye Gods!

The Day Of Lurve

I didn’t know about Valentine’s Day till I was in elementary school in the US. It didn’t mean much once I came back to India. Well it still doesn’t mean much because I’ve only celebrated it about a handful times in my adult life.

The husband isn’t the roses (red or otherwise)and candy kinda guy. He does his bit on a daily basis and then some. Anyone who makes me a cup of coffee every morning is aces in my book. Even if he then leaves wet towels on my side of the bed without fail. EVERY DAY.

So over the years these are some of the more interesting V-Days I’ve experienced:

  • Circa early 2000s- a long-stemmed red rose on the eve of V-Day followed by a movie with 2 other couples and a nice, long bike ride to nowhere in particular.
  • Circa early 2000s (again)- a bouquet of flowers which smelt STRONGLY of Charlie because the flower vendor thought the natural smell of the flowers wasn’t powerful enough for such a special day. I spent half an hour sneezing and then tearing the petals off and scattering them all along the road while heading out for a movie with a special someone.The special someone grumbled on the entire ride at the stupidity of the flower guy and it made for a funny anecdote later on.
  • Circa ¬†early 2000s (boy! I haven’t lived since the early 2000s, have I?)- my BFF and I doing a nice girls night out and landing up in the auto of a creepy, fanatical Hindutva- spouting, pink-heart-hating maniac who grumbled and ranted the entire time we were in the auto. Needless to say, we stopped the meter earlier than expected!
  • Circa early 2000s- another girls’ night out with BFF and another friend, recently single; dinner and lots of laughs over Chinese food and some pretty lousy tipping on our side.

Since then 14th February has been a date in the calendar and nowhere else. But that’s fine because if given a choice I wouldn’t know where to go and what to do. Red&I normally factor in a date night when my folks visit or when we want to watch a movie badly enough to park MLM on a good friend’s couch with his faithful iPad for a few hours.

But it’s also nice to look back on those days when the day meant something ‘more’ than the usual routine was in the offing and that it included a dinner, a movie, a well-groomed guy and definitely some marked attention from aforementioned guy; for a few hours.

Oh to be young and single again!

Naaah…

Image courtesy- voices.washingtonpost.com