Monthly Archives: January 2010

Pick Me Up Part II – Send Me Crashing

Wasn’t it a wonderful thing that I found that note yesterday? It sure was because life just turned 360 degrees on the Wheel Of Crazy Crap and the post-script to all that sighing and nostalgia has been retching and cursing long hair in the process of retching.

For the record, I never slept with the author of the wonderful note. No. Because I was 21 and full of such intense self-loathing that carnal contact required persons who despised me/themselves as much as I despised myself. And unless they were willing to climb to the peak of Mount Self-Destruction, hand in hand with yours truly, it was never going to be worth it.

Tch. All those Simone de Beauvoir pretensions. Aah, the good years.

So back to the good stuff – the retching. Its now a given in our lives that the minute the Viking packs his bags and we make out madly on the kitchen counter in lieu of farewell pecks my cheek, Murphys Law cheerfully bounds in through the front door and settles down on the couch with a cup of coffee and book. Might as well get comfy if you’re going to watch the show.

Yesterday, it started with a general queasiness as I was making dinner, intensifying queasiness as I was playing with the boys and the thrilling conclusion which saw me with my arms wrapped lovingly around white ceramic giving all I had to give of myself and my innards. Sweet stuff, Murphy. Here’s hoping you enjoyed your coffee.

And the panic. Of knowing that I was alone with the boys and that they needed me to do THINGS the day after. Lunches, bags packed, clothes laid out. EXACTLY ALL THE THINGS I was entirely inequipped to do in my paramecium like state.

All of this brings me to the part I appreciate the most in this exercise of childrearing.

The one where Murphy is still reclined on my sofa drawling, “Suck. It. The. Hell. Up. It’s not like you’re dying.”

I will argue that its perfectly valid to cuss at imaginary persons and rant about the Law of Frikkin’ Attraction at 4. a.m.

“What? I’m bringing this on myself? Oh, thats nice. Be nice to the vomitting woman. Oh, screw you too.”

I might have just forgotten my medication is all.

The alarm went off  bright dingy, grey and early at 06:30. And zombie-like, everything gets done. The lunches, the clothes, the schoolbooks in bags, the breakfast.

And because I just know that someone out there is going to think – and say – “Well, that because you are SUCH an awesome mum.”, I will beat you to it without an ounce of false modesty and tell you, ” No, I am SUCH a desperate mum.”

Desperate and not big enough to pull this off without hating every minute of it. Hating the neediness, the loneliness and the sadness that take over as I go about making life happen. The way it feels like I’m moving underwater and gasping for oxygen. The very Grrrr of having to ask for help again.

And suddenly it occurs to me that this.. EXACTLY this.. was the one thing I may have going for me in this whole Law of Attraction business. The one reason that we could have jobs that involve travelling and being apart for periods is this wonderful network of loved ones that we have around us. And even in my darkest moments, I know that there is no shame in asking for a helping hand here. Why? Because I would never hesitate to return the favour any hour of the day or night.

Phone calls are made. And I can hear my own voice – ragged, shaky and desperately trying not to be tearful. I’m sick. I really need some help with the kids. (That wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.)

Before I know it, one of our dearest friends (and the Viking’s cousin) is at our door, cuddling the kids, playing with them, like there was no place he’d rather be. Like the roads weren’t treacherously icy and it had been a breeze to drive down the disastrous slope to our home and arrive in one piece. Out came the car seats from our car into his and the kids were off, laughing and squealing because ONKEL WAS DRIVIN’ THEM YO!

Soon followed up by messages ticking in offering food and comfort. The brother-in-law drops by the get the car unglued from the icebank it was stuck in, being all nonchalant and its-so-not-a-big-deal about it all. The mother-in-law firmly and kindly telling me that she would pick up the kids and have them for the night so I could sleep it off. Yes, she had nappies and change and spare brushes AND WOULD I RELAX AND EASE UP A FRIKKIN’ MINUTE?

Okay, she’s too classy to speak like that, but lord!! I was this close to turning myself over and spanking myself. And not in the way that’s making you grin now, sicko.

I slept and slept and then – good lord, didn’t I sleep enough? – lets clock a new 40 winks. THAT is how long I slept. And after munching murukku and pretzels and hydrating with juice, I feel half alive again. Half alive and relieved to the power of 10 that I can actually allow myself to get better without having to worry that my children are scared, insecure or unhappy elsewhere.

Fair enough, Murphy’s my friend. (Incidentally, he loves Malabar Monsoon coffee beans and seems to be in no hurry to leave). And I’ll grant him his spot on the sofa as long as the religion of What Goes Around Comes Around keeps throwing me a few brownie points here and there in the form of incredible family and friends.

Goddess bless and all that, y’hear?

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Filed under In sickness and health

A Pick-Me-Up

of the raindrops-on-roses and whiskers-on-kittens variety that Julie Andrews so throatily garbled about.

On my way out of the house today, already running late for my first meeting, and with two kids to drop off at different points, I grabbed the first notebook that came handy. Y’know – just in case I needed to take notes at the meeting or doodle the lyrics of a Green Day song to kill the boredom. What? You thought bureaucrats ALWAYS had fun? Ok, there’s the odd margarita in there but tsk tsk, you poor misguided child.

I make it to the meeting on time and just when I open the book and am preparing to look busy and involved, a yellowed sheet of paper floats with casual elegance, straight into my lap. I open it and then spend the next couple of minutes not knowing whether to laugh or cry. Instead, I settle for mildly strangulated and feign interest as is expected of me.

It was a letter, a note, written by a very dear friend – one of the bunch of us engineers/ humanities graduates/seekers of good fortune who had moved collectively to Bombay after having laid our sleepy little town in Kerala to waste. It is fair to say we grew up together in the streets of that grand lady and stood by each other through all the upheavals and the magic in our lives at that point. If I recall correctly, (and if he’s reading, he gets to correct me!), this was written on the local train from Churchgate to Borivli as a farewell scribble a few days before I was to leave Indian shores.

Reading it now, I’m overwhelmed, I’m embarrassed, I’m moved and I’m all Get-a-grip-and-don’t-rush-to-mow-down-your-husband-and-ask-WELL-WHAT-HAVE-YOU-DONE-FOR-ME-LATELY? I’m also wondering how much we drunk prior to this. Whatever the answer to that is ( ALOT!), I know we laughed a lot. I will always remember laughing a lot with this bunch of boys-turning-into-men and feeling effortlessly like one of them. I don’t think I ever thanked them for taking such good care of me while never letting on that that was what they were doing.

So before I lose my nerve..

Dear S,

You taught me so many things.. here are but a few..

You taught me

that one could live on cheese toast

that one is never too tired for anything

that one can look and leap and still get fucked

that if you want something, you have to reach out and take it

that hard work and nothing but hard work pays off

that when things are taken for granted, generally no-one has understood whats happening

that waiting for you can be a real test of one’s patience

that I should listen to silence

that there is someone who is always worse than me at the stove

to stand when I had fallen

You taught me

that good guys don’t always get fucked

that there is more to life than getting laid

that bad things happen to even the best of us

that one man’s music is another’s poison

that no matter how much you give, it’s sometimes never enough

that memory can be convenient

that its okay to cry

that its okay to ask for help

that sending exe files to people with scrambled eggs for brains is a waste of time

that nobody is perfect

that one could have zero logical abilities and yet be proud of it

that there are many smart people who are technolgically inept 🙂

that flattery gets one places.

that hormones can screw one’s life and be a very powerful excuse (when do I get to use it?)

that I should never trust you with directions no matter how desperate I am

that I should never trust you when it comes to rating movies

that there are still many books I have to read

And that the most important thing in the world is sometimes the human touch.

Lets hope I learnt a few. You changed my life.

Ditto, dude.

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Filed under Life, Self, Uncategorized

The Gift That Keeps Giving

Yesterday a man with a kindly face came and knocked on our door. It turned out that he was from the Red Cross and collecting money for the victims of the Haiti earthquake. Arvind came with me to answer the door and as I walked inside to find some cash, I hear Arvind questioning him loudly as to why he was collecting money.

I hear a low, patient response.

I see my boy dash inside, open the draw that safely housed his birthday money and then he dashed back to the kindly man.

“But this is 500 kroner….” (90 dollars), says the man at a loss, holding the note unsurely.

“They have nothing. They need this.” says my matter-of-fact, unsentimental 7 year old.

“Thank you,” says the man quietly, “You’re a very special boy.”

Somewhere between this exchange and the closing of the door, I splinter in pride.

Happy 8th year, My Golden Heart.

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Edited to add: I needed to add that it wasn’t the fact that Arvind gave money or the amount he gave that made this a highlight for me. It was more the fact that he had processed enough from our conversations and discussions to stop caring about the vastly exciting world of Bakugan (if for a minute) and give his thoughts and his empathy to the plight of real people. So here is my real question:

Should we protect our children more from the media or less? I have always encouraged Arvind’s interest in the news and current affairs except when inappropriate pictures and footage are involved. Does exposure give them more empathy to situations like Haiti or will it in the long run, desensitize them? Climate change people – this ain’t gonna be the last of it.

How much is too much when they are 7 and 8?

Can we teach them about the world and tell them about wars, famine and natural catastrophes, without stealing their precious innocence? Without rubbing out their faith in a good humanity? Or is innocence overrated to begin with?

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