Monday, July 24, 2017

The Bench!


I am fascinated by benches. Especially  the lone ones.  I saw this weathered beauty near the waterside, in a little seaside town,  near Edinburgh.  I've rarely seen an empty bench in India, because most benches seem much in demand in space starved urban cites, occupied as they are by couples trying to grab some 'together' time and a whole lot of each other in the process.

This solitary bench  spoke to me. It whispered enticingly "Come, sit down, no one will gawk at you or disturb you. Come and watch the world go by."

and so I did, after shooing the boys to go far away, of course!

Have you ever done that, sitting down just by yourself and watching nothing go by?

That day,  I didn't have my book and so I sat there, surrounded by the perfectly blended gorgeous blue,  yellow and green colors of nature, staring  into the far horizon.
Have you ever done that?
At first,  you don't hear them,  but slowly they become audible enough and force you to pay attention to the numerous voices clamouring for the right to be heard first.

My worries, my hopes, my aspirations ,  my regrets, my memories, they all come gushing forward from the depths of my subconscious mind.
and I wait patiently for the cacophony to cease.  Slowly they sort themselves out in an orderly fashion and allow me the luxury of dwelling upon them with the attention they deserve and store them in their own unique space.

I think 'a what if' and feel regret. I blow those thoughts away because it is no use dwelling over a thing done and dusted with. I keep the learning from the experience and file it away in a folder in my mind, for later retrieval if ever needed. 
I think of roads taken and those ignored. I think about people I've met at every stage and the ones that drifted away and the ones that managed to stay on in my mind, in my memories,  in my life. I wonder about my journeys in the future and paths to be taken. I think of dreams and goals. I think of new stories to be written and worlds to be explored.

And then I take a deep breath, and sit back, feeling peaceful, content and strengthened. The chaos has now settled into a happy murmur and the day seems beautiful  and welcoming. The water is blue, the sky is dotted with little white cotton puffs,  the seagulls are energetically flying about, the air is crisp and cold  and the trees sway to a windy tune of their own.

I love an empty bench.
Because it allows me to get to know those voices in my head better.
Because it transports me to a place where Time stands still, for a wee while,just for me.

Bench Therapy rocks!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

One day at the movies


Few days back, my son and I had decided to watch "The Guardians of The Galaxy". He got his mandatory bowl of popcorn, after confirming with me that I was not hungry and that I would not eat multiples of five popcorns at a time and eventually finish half his tub. He exaggerates, I have no clue where he gets that trait from!

We entered the audi, took our 3 D glasses and settled ourselves, cleaned the glasses with wipes, and got ready to watch Chris Pratt in action. and Baby Groot. (love that little creature,  rooted teeny soul that he is)

Few minutes into the movie, I was pretty disappointed by the quality of the print. The images were blurry and the print quite dark. I poked my son once or twice to ask if his 3 D glasses were okay. Figured out from his impatient nodding of the head, that they were. I took one look at the filled seats to my left and resigned myself to watch the movie with my defective glasses at least till intermission. When I couldn't take it any longer, I channeled my inner ' crouching tiger, hidden dragon'  spirit, muttered a series of "excuse me , so sorry", (who in the world booked our seats right in the middle of the row?) , and hobbled to the bored looking attendant, near the exit. Cornered him and in my perfect blend of an accusatory and a hurt, 'How could you fool me? ', tone, whispered,  "these glasses are spoilt, please replace them."

The guy peered at the glasses, and then at me and then said "Erm..Maam, you've been watching the movie through your sunglasses." 

Uhoh!  I touched my head and sure enough, found the ugly square rimmed 3D glasses, perched unapologetically on my head. I grabbed my sun glasses back from the 'trying very hard not to laugh" attendant,  and went hopping back sheepishly to my seat, with as much dignity as I could muster.

The son when he heard it , rolled his eyes and laughed : "Why am I not surprised, Amma?"

I've always been err, to put it politely, quite absentminded.  I married a guy who's equally so. He's misplaced 3 sun glares, one of which he placed on the roof of his car and then drove away. He used to forget which grades the kids were in (I NEVER forget that!!) We've forgotten flights and luggage and lived to tell the tale.

I think that marriage to him has definitely given me more than two kids. It's increased my tendency to umm...forget. Thankfully, he seems to have toned down a bit, thereby balancing the family sanity scale. I,on the other hand,  seem to be aiming for some doctorate in the science  of forgetfulness. 

There was this time when I opened the door of my parked car and sat down, only to see a stranger there. His jaw dropped. My eyes popped out. It happened to be someone else's car. He was too busy sweating(probably his wife was due back any minute) by which time I had made good my escape to my own car,  where my driver (a necessity since a car in my control is always out of control) was hyperventilating because he thought I had lost my mind!! In my defense, it was not my fault, it was a white car, it seemed the same size , I just hadn't noticed it was from a different company.

This syndrome seems to have rubbed off on my driver too. The other day, after buying the week's groceries, I walked back to the car, dumped my packets on the seat, and had barely walked to the other side, when the car lurched forward. A long 5 minutes and 500 metres later, the car slowly reverses,  back to a gaping me and a sheepish face pops out " I thought you were already sitting in the car".

Sigh,  he thinks too much. 

Three thoughts occurred to me.

1) So that's how it feels to be on the receiving end.

2) Goodness, could this absent mindedness be contagious?

3) Poor poor G!








Monday, June 5, 2017

What's in a name?


I get invited to join kitty parties or coffee morning groups, which is probably a good way to acquaint yourself with your neighbors or the community residents. Of course it would help if you are socially  inclined and you don't mind some gossip and general bitchiness. I end up declining most invitations,   because I'm not exactly an extrovert, I prefer small gatherings where there is more possibility of having a fabulous  conversation  and I happen to be quite possessive about my 'me time''. 

And so when I apologetically  decline,  they look at me as if I were an alien and whisper "But then what do you do, how do you spend your day?"

That question puts me in a dilemma. Do I give them an hour by hour analysis of my day or do I break it gently to them that I sit there and blink my eyes and 5 hours pass by just like that. Going by past experiences, and depending on how communicative I feel at that moment, I reply 

"Nothing" or "Something" (You cannot have teens in your life and not have their monosyllabic responses rub off on you)

There are times when I turn amnesiac and I animatedly answer " I love to crochet"

Which is the truth. After story writing, content writing, paper quilling, painting and blogging, crochet is my current passion and work. Creating contemporary trendy designs from colorful yarn fuels my creative energies and gives me immense satisfaction.  

I get various reactions to this simple statement.

Reaction 1: " Blink, blink blink, and then a very knowledgeable " What's crochet?, aah you must mean knitting?"


I roll my eyes, heave a sigh and hiss ferociously  "NO, it's not knitting, knitting is different, DIFFERENT. You hear me,  DIFFERENT. This is called crochet, it uses a hook and yarn and have you heard of google....hello, come back I was talking?!"


Reaction 2: "Blink blink blink" 
a pause 
and then "but I thought only old people do crochet"

I roll my eyes, and peer at the offending soul who has just realised what he/she has implied. Before I can get myself into sarcasm mode, the person has beaten a quick retreat, thanking her stars that her good sense has kicked in faster than my tongue. 


Reaction 3: "blink blink blink"" and an "Okayyy" accompanied by a "deer caught in the headlights" look which implies  "I have no clue what you are talking about"

That's when the fog of temporary amnesia lifts and I realise the futility of even trying.


So the last time I got asked this, I answered "I'm a yarn artist". After all, my eyes needed rest. Rolling those eyes can get quite tiring, besides there is only that much that they can roll back.

Reaction Magnifique : "WOW! Can I have your card? Do you have a website? What do you do? blah? blah?"

And just like that , with just two words. my image got a makeover. 

Sigh.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Just another day at the supermarket.

One day, I found myself at a super market. Actually a hyper market. You know, the kind of place where you go for 4 items and come out with 50, most of which you never needed in the first place. The vegetable and fruit weighing sections are generally the most crowded , with everyone clamoring to get their packets weighed and stamped, to be billed later.

So there I was , minding my business, selecting the vegetables and fruits, putting them into packets and throwing them into the cart. That's when I noticed, or rather, sensed him. A guy looking at me intently. I look at him too, and move away.

I wheel my cart over to the soap section, because as usual, there is stuff that needed to be bought a week back.  I see the same man again at the end of the lane, looking around as if searching for someone. "That's strange" I think to myself "Could he be following me?"

Taking tips from all those TV shows, I swerve through alternate lanes, when I see him again on the opposite end. He catches sight of me and walks purposefully towards me. Annoyed  and a bit alarmed by the unwelcome attention, I start walking to the billing counter,  when a thought strikes me and I stop midway.

"Hold on" I think to myself, "Why am I slinking away? He really needs to be put in his place. Some nerve he has, following me around."

I have enough practice, giving people a piece of my mind,  thanks to the teen brigade at home. Compared o them, this should be  a piece of cake.

So I turn around, just in time to see him approaching me. I put on my best scowl, and rehearse a few sharp sarcastic lines, and get ready to snap at him.

That's when he says " Ma'am, can I please have my cart back?!

Uhoh! His cart?!

 A perfect "Mother Earth please swallow me right now" moment.

I look at the cart and realise that I've left mine back at the vegetable section and have been wheeling his all over. I push his cart towards him. Red faced and sheepish, I manage to squeak out an "Ohhh I'm soooo sorryyy!" to no one in particular, considering that the annoyed gentleman is walking away as fast as he can. Of course he needn't have clutched the handle bar of his cart so tightly. As if I'd grab it now!

Ah well, it's been  just another day at the supermarket!




Friday, March 3, 2017

Oops, we did it again!



It is exam season here and I've been working extra hours in the kitchen to satisfy those "I'm hungry' cravings. Understandably, my mood's not that great. So yesterday was a holiday in between his exams and S was sleeping in. I was at my sudoku puzzle, sipping my tea and G, was busy doing what he does best , asking for the zillionth cup of tea. The point I'm trying hard to make here, is that Ive been working hard, very very hard, not hardly like certain people who I live with, would like you to think!

So there I was, listening to old Hindi numbers, and solving my Sudoku puzzle, when my mobile rang. Annoyed at the disturbance, I glanced at the number. Unknown! I generally avoid picking up calls from unknown numbers,because then I have to tell the caller who is generally peddling some scheme or other,  to go to hell, and I do not want to spoil his/her day and mine too.  But this call I did answer, probably because I was in the exam mood and hence jusified in wanting to give someone a piece of my mind. Besides, I've been working too hard for my own good.

Female Caller: "Mrs R?"

Me (in my gruffest tone, already annoyed at the audacity in presuming that I was a Mrs) : "Haan ji?"

Caller : "Mrs R, I wanted to know if S is coming to school today?"

Me(spluttering) : "erm..whaat?"

Caller, patiently " I'm T, his teacher"

Me,( in a total unrecognizable squeak)  :"Good Morning, Mrs. T. No, No, S doesn't have any exam" while my mind feverishly tries to recall his date sheet which he and I had glanced through two days back.

Mrs. T(really really patient) " erm..ma'am, he has his Art I, Paper today!"

Me: "Are you sure? oops, didnt know. Thank you for letting me know. Sending him right away".

Mrs. T (In a very relieved tone) : "Yes, Im sureThank you," 

She kept the phone down before I could utter a syllable more. Yes, she is a very impatient lady.  I thought so too.

Knowing S would be  shocked, I sprinted off to wake him up, resolving to break the news to him gently.

Threw his bed sheet cover off and shook him, (whaat? that's as gentle as I can be) screaming "Get up, get up, get up, you have your Art paper today"

S : "Amma, don't joke, let me sleep"

"Seriously", I think to myself, " this child has chosen the wrong day and time to be like me!" 

Shook him some more till he got up, still in disbelief that we had forgotten about an exam. Both he and I were convinced that surely his teacher was mistaken. We pored over the date sheet intently and then looked at each other.  Oops, we had looked at next week's schedule. In our defence, who puts Art in between heavy duty subjects like Chemistry and Geography. Who?! It's all the school's fault. Always!

I pushed S to the washroom and sprinted  to the other room and barked at G : "S has an exam today, get the car out"

His eyes popping out assured me that he had heard and I sprinted back to the kitchen to make a sandwich for the boy. And then sprinted back to S and then to G again.

10 minutes later, they were on their way to school, and I heaved a sigh, partly from relief and mostly from all that sprinting. Thought for the day, sprinting in the morning is injurious to breathing. Please don't try it. 

Then I remembered thisand this (click on the links) and I chuckled. Nothing had changed much since then, and the Apple hadn't fallen too far, from this tree either!

I then practiced  a suitably chastened and apologetic expression to face G, when he returned from the impromptu school run.  He should be happy though, both S and I are not likely to forget an exam ever. I have it all planned out. We just need to print the date sheet in bigger fonts. Maybe color codes will help too.

Yes, that should work!

Yes, poor G, indeed!




Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Nostalgia Toast


Nostalgia on a toast!

I loved my summers, which we spent at my grandparents' place in Bangalore. My cousins from Bombay and Coimbatore, my two sisters, and I would spend a few lazy weeks, playing elastic, Hopscotch, bouncing a ball from a pillar and counting till we missed, playing hide and seek, and solving the crossword puzzle of the Deccan Herald and eating!
That crossword puzzle must have started it all. My cousin, and I particularly would compete to see who would get the paper first and solve the crossword. We would try to get up as early as we could, take a shower, gulp down our milk and wait for the newspaper man. Which was a good thing. The not so good thing was, in our eagerness to be the first, we sometimes woke up before 5am, and though my granny never showed it, I'm quite sure those tears i saw were not so much from happiness, but from despair. She must have thought "Oh no the brats are up, couldn't they wait till I had one tiny sip of filter kaapi couldn't they?
And ofcourse, being a grandmom who equated love with food, she had to think of a quick and filling pre- breakfast meal which would please us and yet not distract her from the cooking of the actual breakfast. I remember her in the kitchen, smearing slices from two jumbo loaves of bread, with homemade butter and chutney powder. While they would be toasting on the tawa, she would be washing the grinding stone for the chutney and setting the pressure cooker up. We would be given the very important task of getting the toasted bread to the table. The towers of bread slices would vanish in no time, and each one of us would be in a corner, eating, talking, fighting or reading and of course one of us would be solving the crossword puzzle while the other one would sulk and resolve to get up even more earlier the next morning.
Every once in a while, I make this, not just because I like it but because it takes me back to a world only I know about. My happy place! Today I made it almost the way my doddamma would make it, I curled up on the chair and I savored nostalgia with every bite I took. and Time actually stood still for a wee while.
This is a memory that uniquely binds the seven of us even though we are all in different parts of the world and I'm so glad for it. If this had a happiness quotient that i could rate, I would give it a perfect 100.

Grannies are the best, always!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The precise art of saying hello!


I looked at her, she looked at me. She came towards me, with a very determined look. I cringed knowing that I would goof up again. Was I sweating? I hoped not!

Was it going to be on the left or the right, left or right?

She inched towards my left while i inched towards her right.

So intent was I on getting it perfect,

that I never realised when she changed directions!

Clash!!! splat!!
*$#& a bruised cheek, an even more bruised ego!!!

Many years back, I had written this after a cheeky air kiss greeting went amiss.  A hello seemed to require a lot of precision and grace, just to safely connect.

Last evening, at the Lohri gettogether at my apartment complex, I realised not much seems to have changed with me, since then. Atleast with the ones I didn't know well.

I seem to have confused quite a few, when I decided to change mid track and offered my hand instead of my cheek. I'm sure kissing my hand was not the greeting they had in mind. And when I thought it was time for a cheek to cheek greeting, I got popcorn and gajak. On my cheek!

So that's why you see all my enthusiasm in my smiles, while I buy seconds and tick all the criteria in my mind : do i know her? distance of a cm, an inch, a foot? side hug, full hug, bone-crushing hug? right cheek, left cheek, no cheek?

Aargh!

I'm kidding. I love you all. And you will be patient with me while I make up my mind, wont you?