Monthly Archives: November 2009

Random Thought

You know all the ways people assess long, happy marriages? If you and the dear ball and chain are – years down the line – still happy happies?

Why? I’m wondering – do people place such importance on companionable silence? Finishing each other’s thoughts? Being best friends?

Why does no-one talk about the husband, who 30 years down the line, will still growl deep in his throat as he reaches for his wife from behind, inhaling her hair?

That would totally make me happy.

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Oh No He Didn’t – Again.

But of course he did – again.

Arvind: “Mamma, now that Pappa is back, are you going to make out? Like boyfriend girlfriend with tongue?”

WHAAAAA????

“Because if you’re really crazy about each other you have stick your tongues in each others mouths.”

*Parents paling*

What the hell are they teaching them in public school anyway??? And are we talking a touchy feely prevention talk at the age of 10 here?

Can I abdicate my role as guide, I’m wondering?

I’m going to spare you all the follow up questions, go to bed and let my friendly little ulcer fester now.

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Civil Disobedience @ Home

One of the my key reasons for wanting to be a parent was the most obvious one really – the utterly sadistic pleasure of completely breaking a small person’s will.

Today Armaan staged his first civil disobedience movement. How? By sitting bolt upright in bed and refusing to sleep. And by staring me down. This was particularly rich given that his face was full of zinc cream dots (recovering from chicken pox) and he could easily have given Bozo the clown a run for his money.

I stood at the other end of the room, folding laundry. Uttering in the practiced smooth and placatory tone preferred by true sadists, “Sleep, sweetheart” and such niceties. My true inner voice was throwing the kind of profanities at the boy that would have kept him in therapy for life – as opposed to the mandatory 5 years he will need after living with me.

After a heroic hour of Gandhian salt-march-like gritty resolve with the occasional rubbing of eyes and smothered yawns, he ..well..toppled.

Toppled like a bowling pin, no less. Eyes shut, mouth wide open and will power worn to a nub.

A disappointing end to a great stand off.

Ma – 1 Toddler  – 0 should have been a whole lot sweeter!

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Knowing

Arvind loves this bedtime story. The one where I tell him about how privileged I was to cradle him in my stomach for 9 months. How I loved every minute of feeling him grow and move and stretch within me. How his father would lie with his head on my stomach touching him and talking to him every night  as we delighted in perceived elbows, feet, hands and head. All the kisses that rained on the stomach that bore him. The songs I used to sing to him, particularly Come Away With Me and Beautiful Boy.

It is his favourite love story.

Tonight, post narration, his thoughtful head on my shoulder, he says this:

“So you loved me more when I was in your tummy than you love me now?”

My boy. Not just cutting close to the bone, but straight to the heart.

Of course I say, “Of course not.” And then I stare in the darkness at that naked half-truth.

The romantic notion of a child was easy. Loving the idea of my son was simple. That blank canvas was my great comfort. The intimate physical and spiritual relationship in utero that you couldn’t screw up with words, wounding looks and irreverant thoughts. The idea, the potential, the possibility of the perfect connection. See why romantics are doomed?

And now. Separate physical entities with strong personalities. Both headstrong and stubborn. Both moody. Both sensitive and tough. Sometimes hard. Always articulate. Hurlings words that splinter. Whispering words that warm.

I never bargained for finding my twin soul in my son – a son who outwardly could not be more different.

Yet we are the same. When we collide, its the armageddon. When we are one, the joy lifts us to another plane altogether. The blessing and the curse of that rarest of connections – the mirror to yourself.

It is harder to love someone who is so much you. Especially when you have not arrived full circle with the concept of loving yourself – warts and all. Sometimes it is easier to lash out at you, my love, than to haul myself up for a good look in the mirror. Sometimes the anger directed at you is no more than my incomprehension of myself. My frustration with those pieces of me that I would have loved to spare you, only genetics obviously had a different plan.

All those years ago, nursing those lofty notions of motherly love, I never realised that loving you – really loving you in flesh and spirit – would require such a rearrangement of my inner self. I never realised then that knowing you and loving you would be the single most important pathway to learning to love myself.

Epilogue: I forgot everything today. I forgot gym shoes, I forgot new toothbrushes, I forgot snacks. I sat defeated on the sofa and apologized to my son for being a terrible mother who forgets things. Without looking up, without taking his eyes of his toy, he replies in an even voice, “No you’re not. You are a wonderful mother. The perfect mother.”

*gulp* Yes, I know an undeserving compliment when I hear it, but it sweetens life nonetheless.

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Still Here..

.. but life is spinning at some crazy velocity. Busy weeks, busier weekends. Its getting tiring planning posts in my head and never getting to write them down. Today is unfortunately no different. My body and mind are begging for bed, but I had to let you lovely people know that I am well – we are well and thriving – and (BAWWWWL) I just want to be writing again. And I will. Soon.

Working less was supposed to lead to more writing time. But a number of projects @ home have ensured that everything  – LIFE – is not only busier than ever, but also dustier and building-site like and in dire need of planning, logistics and management. These are strange words for us in the most organized of times, so we are little short of breath now:-)

While I get my act together, I want to share with you one of my favourite poems.

AMONG THE MULTITUDES

I am who I am.
A coincidence no less unthinkable
than any other.

I could have different
ancestors, after all.
I could have fluttered
from another nest
or crawled bescaled
from another tree.

Nature’s wardrobe
holds a fair
supply of costumes:
Spider, seagull, fieldmouse.
each fits perfectly right off
and is dutifully worn
into shreds.

I didn’t get a choice either,
but I can’t complain.
I could have been someone
much less separate.
someone from an anthill, shoal, or buzzing swarm,
an inch of landscape ruffled by the wind.

Someone much less fortunate,
bred for my fur
or Christmas dinner,
something swimming under a square of glass.

A tree rooted to the ground
as the fire draws near.

A grass blade trampled by a stampede
of incomprehensible events.

A shady type whose darkness
dazzled some.

What if I’d prompted only fear,
Loathing,
or pity?

If I’d been born
in the wrong tribe
with all roads closed before me?

Fate has been kind
to me thus far.

I might never have been given
the memory of happy moments

My yen for comparison
might have been taken away.

I might have been myself minus amazement,
that is,
someone completely different.

Wislawa Szymborska

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