Category Archives: Life

Random

Me to Armaan after his bath:

You smell so delicious, baby! I think I’ll chomp you right up.

The boy grins wickedly

Go upstairs and eat CANDY, Mamma!

Now if only my sweet tooth stopped there.

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In response to someone dear about the state of life in general:

Life? We’re in a passive aggressive relationship

It came out as a smartass thing to write, but turns out its true. Kicking my own butt requires an agility I don’t possess right now.

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In an attempt to be brave and embrace change – as opposed to shrieking and hyperventilating every time it comes within a five metre radius – I went for a haircut. I titled the project, “Changing Fixed Notions of Self”- in this instance, my hysterical “I Am A Long Hair Person” belief.

No really. I AM THIS STUPID IN REAL LIFE. You would smack me if you met me.

Go for it, says Andrea, my lovely hairdresser.

But.. but what if.. what..

STOP thinking, she says and goes on to lop of 8 inches while I hide my face in my hands.

Chrissakes, look! says Andrea in her cheeriest voice, (she who wears hot pink tights to match hot pink nails and was a few hours away from a 2 UNLIMITED concert! Andy, you and I are OLDDDD!)

I loved it. I would have made out with my hair if not for the fact that it was too short to even sniff. I kept checking out the nape of my neck which was every bit as fugly as I imagined it would be. I kept tossing my hair till I became insufferable to myself and had to give myself a stern talking to. I do that sometimes.

This works two ways, says Andrea, chic when straight and very naughty when curly.

Andrea, hairdresser and personality shaper. I could have bought her tickets for 2 Unlimited concerts the world over.

So great was my love.

The new me. Curls temporarily in hiding. Feel free to hit me with your worst puns.

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Telling It

Here is the question.

How do you achieve balance in a relationship without one person turning to say, “It’s fine. Go ahead. My dreams and goals can be on the backburner for now. I CAN WAIT.”

There are times when I wish it could be so simple. That in a wonderful old-fashioned way it was possible to say, ” The ultimate dream is our happy family.  As long as we have enough to get by on, do we really care how we work out the logistics?”

And even if both involved parties agree upon the final destination of A Happy And Fulfilled Family Life , how do you get to the finish line together without one feeling shortchanged? Is it a measure of love you really need or is it huge dollops of sacrifice and forbearance?

How much love would it take to make you give up your dreams? Given that there were concrete dreams beyond marriage to begin with?

I am an awful fit for traditional notions of marriage. I don’t really possess the sort of soft, supportive values it seems to require. (Note how I make marriage sound like a Victoria’s Secret bra)

Too opinionated, too unwilling to bow or bend, too unwilling to give unless I can take as freely, too exacting and too demanding. I am passionate about the things that matter to me, the very things that contribute to my emotional and intellectual welfare. I am singleminded and ruthless when passion has a plan.

I look at successful couples with children and think, “Whats your secret? Yeah, the one you aren’t bottling and selling?”

Or are they also squabbling over who was supposed to take the trash out last night? And I bathed the kids yesterday, so its your turn SO THERE. Maybe they are.

My life would be immeasurably simpler if I could lean back (I can never lean back. I always lean in) and say, “Honey, go make your millions. Follow your dreams and I’ll be around.”

Maybe I have seen too many awful relationships where the common quotient seems to be an unspoken, seething resentment. An unsavoury Hillary Swank – Chad Lowe prototype where the quietly resentful “I sacrificed and contributed to your success” is cut with a crass “Yeah, like you were going to run for President anyway.”

Maybe I have seen far too many men and women of my age, of my generation, give up. Whether they chose to work or stay at home, WORKING – duh – they have somehow lost the sparkle in their eyes. Maybe it was their inability to negotiate any real power in their relationships. Maybe they believe that this is as good as it gets?

(Why is it always women rather than men that will settle for a confinement, a regulation of themselves?)

Call me Alpha Female. Call me a bitch. But I won’t do Plus One. Or Mrs.

I can’t be the add on wife at an expat club, drinking martinis and sporadically screwing the tennis instructor. Oh…WAIT A MINUTE NOW:-)

Its not about Stay At Home or Out At Work. Its not about women’s rights. All of this applies equally to men.

For a minute, lets talk about how an appetite for life can be too large to be contained. How the need for contact, stimulation and social engagement can drain and rejuvenate you simultaneously. How you can wake on somedays popping with energy and great ideas and the possibility of actualisation. How swiftly you will be crushed by depression when you feel you are treading water and going nowhere. How the sense of hopelessness can feed the dark spaces of your mind and just when you think you are NEVER getting out of bed..

You do. And if you’re lucky, you might just find a spark that never died out; that won’t allow you to give up.

My only real promise to myself was to always feed that spark  – and to remember that what a lot of people call selfishness is also self-love.

I have made my peace with the fact that compromise will always be an uncomfortable word for me. An uneasy fit if you will.

I want to continue taking chunky bites of life around me and wiping the zest of my chin.

I want to stay the young girl who was always afraid of dying young, who felt like she had to take it all in, make sense of it all in some way before she was hit by a bus. It petrifies me to let go of the urgency, to let myself be waylaid into a “ach..later” mode of thinking, where tommorow never comes.

I really want to say that mothering is the most fulfilling thing in my life, and at times, sure. It fulfils me to the point of bovine floatation.

Then there are times when it does nothing of the sort and I pick up socks and wonder what the hell happened to the Me I Knew.

Unalloyed blessing, it ain’t.

And maybe its an odd thing to say, but I want to pass on a greed for life to my children. Not sacrifice, not compromise, not apathy in large doses. Not a notion of love or devotion which always sees their needs, their energy de-prioritized.

I want them to grab their happiness with both bare hands, ignoring that it will be difficult at times, ignoring that it might be to the detriment of all that is traditional and accepted, cherished and convenient. Ignoring that it might make the significant other in their life a bit cranky for a while.

I want them to realise sooner rather than later that they will only care about truly making someone else happy when they are reasonably fulfilled themselves.

As for the balance issue – could I be happy with a man who wasn’t comfortable with my taking the wheel? Letting me be on top? Come on, I’m letting you pick the smutty metaphor here.

Absolutely no damn way.

Who will big enough to make room when there are many ambitions and plans jostling for space with family life? I can’t say just yet.

Having woven dreams for a decade now, we know how to do it without dropping a stitch. The challenge is really to keep wanting the same design, to be happy with our creation. I’m leaving that to time, talking and a belief that there is way without losing ourselves somewhere.

In the meanwhile, if someone is selling that secret recipe, I’m buying.

There’s no time to lose, I heard her say
Catch your dreams before they slip away
Dying all the time
Lose your dreams
And you may lose your mind.
Ain’t life unkind?

– Ruby Tuesday, Rolling Stones.

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Filed under family, Life

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

No

I’m out of words right now. Depression is sucking them words right out of me, the way I was helping myself to tender chicken marrow a couple of weeks ago. Too much illness since we came back, too much cabin fever and one very difficult post that has been gestating way too long, refusing to see the light of day.

Only, everytime I hear this song, all my troubled thoughts come scrambling to the surface and gasp for air, for clarity and order. I still can’t offer them that comfort because something about this song undoes me and won’t let me think enough. Not yet. Now right now.

Its a song by Shakira and if I know anything, its that the English language cannot do justice to Shakira’s voice or her spirit. English reduces her a wide-hipped bimbo and strips her voice of its sensuality, passion and pain. So here is Shakira, as she should be heard, in espanol, with English subtitles.

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Just Wondering..

When people change, is it possible that they miss themselves as much as others miss the person they were?

There. Maudlin Midnight Thought out of nowhere.

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Is Your Fortune Cookie Kind?

There is a Norwegian word – uheldig (silent “g”), meaning unlucky or unfortunate.

When I have called into work the past couple of days to inform people that I am staying home with my sick child/children (yes, today, hmm, yes you guessed it harhar, they’re puking all over us again) or if I bumped into someone I know on the street, people insist on pointing out that we’ve been rather unfortunate , “uheldig” with the childrens health.

No. We are not “uheldig“. No denying that our offspring are germ magnets. They fall ill, get the necessary medication and poof! before you know it, they’re throwing their spaghetti at the ceiling and sassing us. Thats not unfortunate. At worst, its an inconvenience.

What is the deal with the alarmingly low thresholds for using words like unlucky and unfortunate? Shouldn’t that require a greater stretch?

“Uheldig” would be losing them.

Never seeing their gorgeous, heart-stopping smiles again except in our minds eye or never again feeling the weight, the softness, the scent of them. Never again hearing their voices call out to us.

The scenario I can never let myself imagine. The one my keyboard practically had to wrangle off my fingertips. What about reserving the strong words we use so casually for real tragedies?

What Heather and Gorillabuns, (two bloggers I have been reading for a while) are going through is every parent’s worst nightmare. I wouldn’t have imagined that I could grieve so much for two children I have never met or held. That I could be so heartbroken for people I have only known virtually – through their blogs.

Heather – totally shattered yet so strong. I am awed and speechless when I read her because I don’t know how she gets out of bed – leave alone writing posts, attending fundraisers and talking publicly about her beloved daughter. For me, she has become synonymous with strength, grace and compassion. Celebrating the life rather than mourning the death. Even with the worst waves of anguish washing over them, Heather and Mike have used whats left in them to help others, to honour Maddie. They have resisted the sad labels and the unnecessary valourization. I won’t call them heroes because they would balk, but I sure as hell will think that thought.

Its such a sign of our times. Overrating physical health/the physical being and underrating the power of the mind, the power of hope, humour and happiness to sustain us in the most adverse situations. Why are we so easily seduced into negative auto-suggestive patterns? Is it easier for people to feel sorry for us if we feel sorry for ourselves?

Now that is what I would call “uheldig”.

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