Let’s Catch Up

It has been a while since I wrote. Been a while since I even thought of writing, to be honest. In the words of John Lennon, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans” and it it holds true even now, decades after he said it.

I turned a year older recently. Had my peeps around for a bite of birthday cake while TO manned or should I say preteened a live sundae counter. Kids were happy, dentists will be made happier still somewhere down the line.

The year started off well enough but came with a few hard knocks rather soon into the first week of January with us losing a loved family member and in March me losing someone very dear to me. My process of grieving is usually to write about my feelings or the person who has gone and pay them a tribute in some way but this time around it’s been rather hard and the words don’t want to come forth.

Apart from giving it time, I suppose there’s not much one can do but not everyone’s life is one we can celebrate in toto once they pass. Some lives you look back at and hope for all the turmoil they were in or caused, they gained a modicum of peace somewhere and didn’t feel agony or fear in their last moments. I find it a crushing thought to even imagine anyone I’ve cared about experiencing pain in their final moments. But one must try to accept what life throws their way, however jarring to the senses and move forward. I read an article sometime back about moving on vs moving forward; found it made sense. Posting it here for those who don’t mind a bit of gyaan but not an avalanche of it.

This morning when I started off with my morning routine of Wordle and a quick crossword, I realized how much TO’s influenced my life. The child isn’t a Ross Geller in the making from what I have understood. He can love dinosaurs and other buried prehistoric creatures without wanting to devote time in academia to truly enjoy it. The reptiles he loves have become integrated into our lives and our minds. One of the clues this morning in the New York Times Quick Crossword was Spitting _________ (a five lettter word) and I automatically filled in cobra. Once the crossword was filled, I found it was a different word entirely. Once upon a time I’d have been able to lead with the other word more easily but now life has a place which is dedicated to animal quizzes on road trips and amorphous plans around the world to see dangerous creatures or the slithering ones.

With summer break on the horizon along with exams, our days are busy and minds busier still. Hopefully the writing bug bites me again and I reenter the blogosphere properly and soon!

Ciao.

Kiss Your Right Bicep!

Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

Red is a very good teacher. Primarily because he wants the person he’s teaching anything to, to genuinely learn and enjoy themselves in the process even if it’s something that they didn’t seek out on their own. The prime example of that is the time spent with TO and getting his concepts clear in math. Red will research long and hard and find the best resources which simplify things in such a manner that it doesn’t seem difficult at all for the person trying to learn.

Red is also a very good teacher when it comes to sports. He’s good in tennis and pretty decent in cricket and has spent countless hours tossing the ball back and forth with TO over the years. Thankfully TO hasn’t inherited my spastic movements in any form of athletics; he’s a decent bowler as well and like all young boys, frequently dreams of hitting a BIG one over the boundary and taking his team towards victory in a major tournament!

For our first anniversary, Red and I were vacationing in a lovely waterfront resort which had a pool table. Being slightly clueless even then about the talents of his new wife; Red wanted to play pool and very enthusiastically I might add. After the first few balls left the table, one being airborne enough to nearly give him a lobotomy, he quietly and decisively gave me a book, led me to a pool side lounge chair and left me there to do what I do best- not be athletic in any form.

Photo by Josephine Gasser on Unsplash

This morning, possibly feeling enthused about having started off the year on a good note, Red tried to introduce me to tennis; again. He brought TO along as back-up for when I inevitably failed miserably but still persisted in teaching me the basics which kind of went like this: ” Try to find the sweet spot when hitting“, “wherever your racquet faces, that’s where the ball will go”, “don’t just hit the ball, brush it so it spins and moves better”.

In time his inputs became a bit crisper and to the tune of, “You’re using a racquet, it’s not a dosa pan!” And after a few times of my hitting the ball too high, too far away and once entirely outside the building fence, he told me to “kiss my right bicep“.

I thought that was too meta but I stopped and kissed my right bicep and got an utterly bemused look from him because he had meant that while moving the racquet I should move my right hand so far along that it would align with my face and close enough for me to “kiss my right bicep“. Ohhhhh…the a-ha moment had come in quite a bit late in the game. He did not, at all, intend for me to come to a standstill, turn and kiss my right bicep and ask, “Ok, now what?”

Photo by CARL HUNLEY JR on Unsplash

But you have to give the man props for his optimism. To try and nudge a myopic wife who’d rather be stuck in books all day long, to come and run all over a tennis court so she could develop a bond with the game after 17 years of knowing how bad her hand-eye co-ordination is truly the heights of optimism.

He also had to deal with my, “Oops, I did it again” look every time the ball left the confines of the court and went somewhere unreachable. Of course each time I did hit the ball with a wild swing he still ducked, because while he is optimistic, he certainly is not dumb!

Red-1 Me-0

I am a linguistic snob. I was educated (read thrashed into proper pronunciation+enunciation) by my teachers; majority of them who were Anglophiles or were brought up to regard Wren&Martin at par with their particular religious canons. And while I’m not always right, am not usually too off the mark.

This morning over breakfast, I mentioned the word caveat and said it the way I have been my entire life- which is KAV-EAT. Red jumped on the moment and V-E-R-Y smugly told me I was wrong. He also very politely told me to SUCK IT (sic)!

In my defense, people rarely go around actually uttering caveat and write it or read it more so…my rare foray into being wrong can be overlooked!

The takeaway here is this-The joys of married life are varied and occasionally you get to stick it to your spouse- excuse the unfortunate and unavoidable puns.

Dish-ing On the Hubby

There’s a new thing Red likes to do and no it isn’t kinky at all. It’s so surprisingly clean that I’m amazed it even caught his eye since as a family we all share the slob-gene though in different degrees.

He’s into technology. I mean *into* technology and while he does switch off as and when needed; he likes gadgets and automation. There are things he’s pushed us to buy during the lockdown which have changed the way we look at our lives; certainly the way we live it.

We got a dishwasher a while back and it’s become Red’s go-to-place, go-to-thing to do. In the initial months after our marriage, any help with the dishes would mean he’d tackle the Corelle ware and leave the greasy metals for me to plod through. With the lockdown, he understood that not only are dishes fun to do, they are a great way to catch up on stuff you can do while being stationary and still getting work done.

But since the arrival of the dishwasher life has become a bit creepy. If I go to check if I can put some dirty dishes in there, the dishwasher’s either full or already running. If I got to check where a particular kitchen item may be, 9/10 times it’s in the dishwasher- hot and ready to be used. It’s freaking me out! This level of adherence to cleanliness and not dropping the ball at all isn’t the man I married!

The man I married can look at a bowl full of corn in the fridge for 10 minutes without being able to locate it, need help finding his glasses, wallet, phone, belt and underwear on a very regular basis. So this level of efficiency is very hard to swallow.

He loads it himself. He unloads it himself. He knows how much detergent to put in, which wash cycle is optimum for the number of dishes/utensils in it- it’s like living in the TWILIGHT ZONE!

And whenever I’m rinsing out the dishes after a meal I almost always find him looking over my shoulder saying the dishwasher can clean anything and I don’t need to rinse things out before putting it in for wash…and his eyes sparkle with an eerie glow when he says it.

If I stack the dishes on the kitchen counter or in the sink, he’ll creep up undetected and do his version of this-

It’s got the extent that after finishing off any kind of a meal or even a cup of coffee, I sneak into the kitchen and just to show my defiance, I rinse out the cup and put it on the counter and run off before anyone (Red, always Red) can find me and tell me to put it in the dishwasher!

Of Feet and Mangoes

My feet are dry and the heels are cracked but I can’t figure out why. I badly want an hour long pedi but that’s not gonna happen in the foreseeable future so… am blaming it on the heat and lockdown because it’s du jour.

Red was busy tapping away at his laptop and I told him that he needed to take better care of me and wiggled my feet in his direction hoping he’d take the hint.

” Do you want a mango?” was the reply I got instead. And after internally warring with myself whether to get snippy, snarky or sad I decided a mango was the way to go. Whaddya gonna do, these are tough times…gotta roll with the punches!

Saturday Facepalms

My kid rates fairly middling to high on the maintenance scale. As a family am sure we all do. In each others’s eyes if nothing elseImage result for keep calm+family

We rate above average on the drama scale too. And not the kind that rates the good drama and invites curtain calls and huge bouquets of roses. This is the soap opera kind which has varying quantities of MELOdrama, pathos, angst and ire. And that’s all in the first few sentences uttered by TO. I am perpetually the evil witch and boy am I glad! It maybe in the genes but when I see a kid who acts up, my palms itch to connect with their backsides and bring out all the shades in the spectrum of red.

One thing that TO has been pulling on us is threatening to run away each time he gets UBER exasperated with us. The first time he pulled that nonsense I admit, I was taken aback but then knowing his love for peanut butter and the telly; I knew he’d be back. And he was.

Fastforward a couple of years and this morning suddenly the “I’m leaving” bomb gets dropped on our head. Again. Red was no help at all being the good cop.

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Thankfully I was fully caffeinated and had happy things to do for the rest of the weekend so I didn’t sweat it. I asked TO to make out a list of places he thought he could go and stay in and keep the list a bit long in case some people were unavailable to have him crash at their place long-term or use their wi-fi free of cost- whichever is the bigger transgression.

Not surprisingly, he quickly changed his tune. He started negotiating with me and started tell me that for the low, low cost of screen time, I could have the pleasure of his company at home forever. Clearly this mom found that too high a price to pay so I insisted that he keep the list ready since he was going to get the digital media taken away sooner or later and he’d again get upset and want to leave.

I even suggested putting the list up on his door, in big, bold font and colors so it would be easier for him to choose where he wanted to go and live. Weird how soon the threat fizzled out soon after that. If this were a cartoon, TO would be like a balloon, whizzing around the room, rapidly deflating.

Evil Mom-1. Whiny Kid-0

Nuff said!

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Alexa…Get Me A Gun!

I got too busy catching up with my folks and forgot to publish this last night.

A little girl who’s become a part of our family of 3 was paying us a visit this evening. Needless to say with TO turning 10 and his cuteness factors dipping day by day; a chirping and twirling child always scores higher on the Awww scale. And they know it too!

TO was busy utilizing some unscheduled screen time when his little friend dropped by. After giving her some toys to play with, he snuck back to the living room to watch some inane crap that he’s very fond of these days.

When I asked for a quick sitrep, the little one promptly ratted him out and smugly waited till he came to play with her. Ah..girl power!

They played, they made a dinosaur park, fenced with dominoes and then they started tormenting my poor poor Alexa.

Now our Echo Dot’s a Gen One and getting on in the years. After going back and forth trying to decipher TO’s accent and then just going back to her factory settings, she now had to contend with understanding chipmunk. Because that’s how fast and perpetually talking 3 year old girls sound like.

Today Alexa had to shuffle between Baby Shark, Faded and Bulleya, which she kept interpreting as Imagine Demons’ Believer. After getting barked at by an increasingly annoyed munchkin and being spoken to by a giggling older child, Alexa gave up the ghost and just rebooted. That’s how she lets us know she’s not going to take our shit anymore!!

Soon after I was dropping a reluctant munchkin home. I’d already disappointed her by not forking over chips before dinner time and limiting the cookies to plain vanilla ones and nothing worth licking in leisure.

She was a bit miffed with me and to recover some ground with her I told her Red’s birthday was coming up and asked for gift ideas. She said, “Give him a gun. A big one.” Seeing my surprised face she added, “Give him some polos too. They come in green colors and they are nice to eat. Polos and guns are the best gift ever!”

There. It’s settled. Red’s going to have the oddest 40th birthday ever. Tons of polos and hopefully a gun. But maybe El Munchino isn’t too far off the mark. Look at Red instructing the flesh&blood in the fine art of aiming and shooting. Ah..out of the mouths of babes…

Saturday Morning Conversations

I crashed by myself last night…was listening to music, sorting out playlists…everything you need head space for and which can’t always be done effectively with someone staring at you with googly eyes and asking, “what are you doing?” for the millionth time.

I avoided weird bedtime conversations but couldn’t avoid them during the next morning when someone decided to wake up and smell the roses with unbounded enthusiasm before his mother got caffeinated.

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Imagine having slept off to music spanning the decades along with conversations with friends on and off till the middle of the night and then waking up to the most #dafuq question one can imagine first thing in the morning viz, “How old do you think De Villiers is?” And on seeing my glazed, semi-blurry vision starting to go the angry, snorting bull way, TO preemptively turns his face skywards and says, “Why me?!!” Nothing quite like having your angsty moment stolen and impersonated by the person who brought it on in the first place.

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So on we went with the good morning kisses and inane questions till my brain cried out for coffee once more. Red being the coffee guy at home was hollered at and he promptly went and made some for HIMSELF and not me. There’s only a few things a woman can say to her husband at such times and I tell back on Barb#1 aka ‘ I gave you a kid, can’t you even get me a cup of coffee?’

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We are fond of our drama in this household. Be it me trying to bury myself under the covers so I don’t have to hear my kid drone on about some ODI post which Tendulkar decided to retire from cricket

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or trying to bargain for more screen time or me giving the evil eye to the placidly coffee-sipping spouse who’s going to need me to find his stuff for him soon; this is just how we roll.

Slainte!

Red Reblogged

In order to write I need to read. Sometimes reading what’s passed through my head ages ago isn’t just hugely entertaining but quite enlightening. This one wasn’t enlightening in any way; caused major eye-rolls because things with Red are still status quo in some aspects of our lives.

Here goes:

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Red likes me to tell him Sardarji jokes.
I do it in my Punjju accent and put in plenty of “oye papeys” to punch things up.

A few days ago he told me via mournful sms that I hadn’t told him any Sard jokes of late.

To rectify the situation, I sent across a joke today that goes like this… A Sardar declares: I will never marry in my life and I’ll give the same advice to my children also! 

My Homer Simpson-loving husband mails back, baldly stating that one doesn’t need to be married to have children. Now, I know that and apparently so does Red…but who’s going to tell the poor Sardar? 

On the flip side, think of the facepalm moments of a person who lives with! a guy who tries to make sense of Sardarji jokes!

Oh teri!”

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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.

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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!