Things that still overwhelm me.


Have you ever felt how waiting could drive you insane? Especially when those moments when you are waiting for your loved one and, even if the wait period is just stepping on the end, you find the final moments quite agonizing…. I remember a dialogue exchange between the Preacher and the diver  from the movie – Deep Blue Sea

Preacher: Einstein’s theory of relativity. Grab hold of a hot pan, second can seem like an hour. Put your hands on a hot woman, an hour can seem like a second. It’s all relative.

Tom Scoggins: I spent four years at CalTech, and that’s the best physics explanation I’ve ever heard

I second Tom Scoggins. I get the theory whenever I have to wait for someone 😀

Overwhelmed might be the word. Whenever I go to receive my parents at the railway station, whenever they visit me, I am engulfed by a wave of fast running thoughts that do not even stop over for a siesta! I prance around the station like a tigress with an impatient cub in tow (who is far more impatient when it comes to receiving his grandparents). Last time, the train ran late by thirty minutes and, I had to purchase Miss Funny Bones not because I had wanted to feel the emotion of Twinkle “Blimey!” but to kill the longest 45 minutes on the platform (a 15 minute addition last minute), and from running out on patience on my cub that was busy crafting recipes for disaster. And, when the train arrived, I felt overwhelmed……

It is not just about receiving my parents, but also when hubby returns home after long work assignments, or when we have to travel to a place by train and, the destination is a couple of days away, or even when I have to go for a normal medical check up, I can feel hormones running a circus within me. However, the moment I get through the phase, I feel ridiculously calm. The joy of feeling the mere physical presence of loved ones is the balm that pulls the brakes of the emotional train.

Why do I feel overwhelmed before the moment of calm? I do not know. Maybe the mind has actually imbibed the Simian traits from the avatars of the Monkey King that prowl around my home with the gait of the Gods!  So, I do have a loud mind and, a tongue with an iron curtain. But then, who can stop the monkey mind from venting? And so, the overwhelmed Sagittarius is unstoppable where there is a desktop, an Internet Connection and, a six year old effectively engaged in rehashing the decor of his grandparents’ home!

Stay tuned for more rant-ilicious updates from this overwhelmed Sagittarius woman!

P.S: This is probably how we look while waiting…..

tigress and the cub

Hindi Medium ~ Movie Review


hm

Last Friday, I happened to watch this movie: Hindi Medium. I did have an idea about the subject and so, I knew what to expect from the movie. And then, there are other questions like –

Was the movie good? Maybe.

Did the movie make me think? Not really.

How was the cast? Good.

How was the acting? Good.

Did the movie run in my head after I left the theater? No.

So my verdict – The movie was mediocre.

A good subject but, a wasted story that was a little far fetched from ground reality.

My thoughts on the movie and the education system:

In our country that has no dearth of wannabes who ‘walk and talk English’ as if they are the direct descendants of the Lords of England, there is also another team that sighs on every given opportunity – Angrez gaye lekin angrezi chod gaye. How a language that is not our mother tongue has become an effective tool of class divide, has been effectively showcased by Hindi Medium.

For the business couple from Chandni  Chowk who felt that gelling with the supposedly cream strata of the society, the elite, the urban, the “English speaking” crowd would elevate their status and thereby, help their daughter in making friends, is just one example among the million real life misguided parents living in the cities with utter discontentment and disregard for the very quality of life they are leading. Till this point, I found it real. I enjoyed the initial 45 minutes.

And then, beginning with the ridiculous ways of getting the coveted admission in an elite school run by Amrita Singh, the confused couple try every crooked trick, be it misusing the RTE or, earning goodwill of simple people of Bharat Nagar society for their own benefit. It is only after hitting new depths of shamelessness, they begin to notice that sarkari schools also have come a long way indeed. (Why? When the monkeys of the cap seller’s stories could advise their grand kid monkeys to not drop the caps, why on earth must sarkari schools stay behind in taking pointers from the past?) Point.

It was a little before this juncture, my interest began to wane. What a relevant subject and, how it was wasted away in the second half! Sigh.

Coming to the cast, I am not sure if I absolutely loved Irrfan in this movie (It hurts to say this because I have always loved this artist). But the person who gave me memorable moments in the movie was Deepal Dobriyal. Some of his memorable roles remain etched in my memory. As Thapa in Maqbool, as the conniving Rajoh Tiwari in Omkara, as Dukki Bana’s loyal aide Bhati in Gulaal, as the adorably cute Pappi in Tanu Weds Manu series, Deepak has run a marathon in Bollywood. But as Shyam Prasad in Hindi Medium, he has carved a niche for himself. Adorning the character of a simpleton who is unable to think in grey shades, does not come easily to every artist. And, Deepak has carried the character on his sleeve!

Hum aap jaise nahi ban sakte kyuki Hume kisi ka haq marna nahi ata!

This statement nailed the essence of the subject powerfully. Towards the end, the movie became a drag. Frankly, Irrfan’s speech at the end made little sense to me. The speech did not lack substance entirely. However, it did not leave an impact either. The ending was unreal, dramatic and a bit far fetched. Maybe, the ending was meant to create the necessary awareness on the ‘class-ing’ of English. However, for me the conclusion was an epic fail.

Can you imagine such a reality in our schools in the present? No. Even if we want it, we will not let it happen. Because no matter how deplorable the education system has become, no matter how schools have transformed into money making machines, deep down within we all still believe in the bulwark of our system, leaving aside the branching and enterprising aspects. And that root is, respect for the institution of education itself! Had this respect died, more than 80 percent of the educated upper middle class would have home schooled their children. But since that is not the case, we know exactly what we are dealing with and, we deal with them by whining, complaining and dissing and, yet at the same time believing that things will change for good.

And, no matter how much we all crib about the education system in choicest abusive words, we still send our children to the said good schools because, we believe in the institution of education. Still. That said, sarkari schools have come a long way. But, they have a long rough bumpy road ahead to catch up in the real world. What the movie showed is far far from reality.

So, let’s not over hype or under hype the reality. Truth is – The immediate need of the hour is not a change in the education system. Because, as much as the change is needed, it is not a one day, one year or, a one decade affair.  The change will take much longer than that to seep in, even though it is happening in the present on a small scale. But what has to change is our attitude towards our wards. We need to let them know that as parents and as teachers, we will stand by their success and failures with the same conviction and same faith. That is all we need to work on as parents.  We need to change. Our thoughts need to change. Our definitions of success and failures have to change. Are we ready for that? That is the question to be asked.

That said, the movie had a good collection of comic moments. In fact, the first half was sailing on Irrfan’s shoulders flawlessly with his Chandni chowk charm dishing out good laughs intermittently. His struggles of getting into the skin of the cream crowd does make one sit back and grin ear to ear. And, the second half belonged to Deepak Dobriyal. Dilli me ab bhi zameer zinda hai! People Like Shyam Prasad assert it.

As for the movie, I guess it touched too many c(s)ore points without rubbing enough salt on them. And that is where I felt the glitch in reviewing this movie positively. It showcased the dark side of education system like the abuse of RTE act, forging of legal documents and, even the great class divide that stems from the ability to speak in English. However, it failed to throw light on the real case scenario of the actual Hindi Medium schools that are struggling to achieve their position alongside the English medium ones.

With the title – Hindi Medium, the movie steered exactly in the opposite direction of its goal. It was more into showcasing the so called importance of English speaking, while the idea was perhaps to convince the audience of the otherwise. This is where the movie failed for me. Miserably.

Despite an excellent cast, a very relevant subject and, powerful messages laced with humor, this movie is just a one time watch. Sadly though.

S: Tilottama Shome as the consultant was delightful to watch.

Quote for the night.


Dear women,

This is for all those strong ones that are going through some personal hell. Do not worry. Gear up. There will be light at the end of the tunnel. Just like, after every night, comes the day, after every storm comes the calm.

And while in the storm, brace yourselves up. Because, God is there with us and, He helps those who first help themselves.

Love yourself. Respect yourself. Strengthen yourself.

Because, you are transforming into the butterfly you were destined to become 🙂

God bless.

Amen.

bb

Call a spade, a spade!


Why do bad things happen to good people?

Are some people born evil?

How is it possible for good people to get attracted towards darkness?

Or, does guilt play the big role in building the bridge into the Devil’s realm?

The mighty fall, they say….. and, how!

I will never get answers to these annoying questions. But, that doesn’t stop me from digging deep into the very root cause of these questions. Not because, I seek answers. I know, there is no answer that I will understand the right way, now. But because, I want to know my own thoughts better.

Sometimes, when I question way too much, I am calmed down by elders in the family – “You cannot come to a conclusion without hearing two sides of a story. Even though questioning the wrongs is important, the ground for questioning it becomes baseless when you are not in possession of all facts”. Agreed. But, that is not my point. I am not seeking a conclusion. What I seek, is just an effective action at a particular moment that demands courage but is not effectively supported. Sometimes, I sigh. Sometimes, I get used to the impasse. Sometimes, I rebel. Sometimes, I transform into a vigilante in my head and, devise ways of voicing my thoughts on jargons like justice.

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Justice – what an overrated word. Isn’t it? Did Nirbhaya get justice? She almost got and, then it was snatched away from her posthumously when, the juvenile escaped the conviction and, is now leading a quiet set life down south somewhere, probably with little remorse.

And yet, we feel a gleam of hope because people stood by her, if not in her bad time, but by her in her death. Why? Because that Nirbhaya could have been anyone that day if not her. And then, there were some less unfortunate ones like Ruchika Girhotra and Sonali Bose. However that is not why I began to write this post. We discuss so many issues with our big mouths. We preach on the confident upbringing of girls and, a kind one of boys. We also tend to advise each other on the do’s and don’ts of religious beliefs and rituals. And, in all this madness, we have suddenly lost the voice to speak when, some relations go astray in the confines of our own home!

And, it is at such delicate moments, the voice never comes out. It just never does!

I heard about an incident from a loved one and, it shook me. To the core. Because, when something as sad as this can happen to a beautiful balanced and a matured couple, then I guess, the world is heading towards a place where it should not go to.


The past few months have been uphill in terms of emotions and life. It all began with the demise of my dear maternal uncle. And then, the untimely demise of hubby’s course mate hurt all the more. A few weeks back, my granny passed away. However, her demise did not wound me as she had been severely ailing for a year. Her passing over was a spiritual one and, it gave her freedom from her body that was plagued with countless health issues, one of them being severe asthma. But, the void she has left behind is still sinking in. Well, it hurts, because grandparents are angels on earth. Mine has gone back.

And even as I was just trying to accept the fact that I do not have grandparents in physical form any more, I received yet another news, a distressing one rather. It was no demise of an individual. It was a demise of a relationship between two elders, an uncle aunt couple who have been married for more than 30 years. This was more surreal than horrible. Truth to be told, I felt my gut flip!

I am yet to accept that this couple that we know, who were known for a strong marriage, balanced mindset, two beautiful children and, now a grandchild too, were separating because of a third person, a woman, a family friend and an, ex-relative.

How cliché? Right?

My heart went out to this sweet aunt who never imagined that someone out there was evil enough to wreck her boat! My eyes cried for her when I heard her story through a loved one, especially the agony of having seen a partner transform into something he is not. My gut wrenched when I was told about the lines she said– “I do not want a dime. I just want him back.”

Although I have met them just a few times in my life, I felt the pain of this dear aunt through every vein in my body, as a wife, as a mother and, importantly as a woman. The very fact that she was betrayed by a friend is what hurt her the most – “I allowed her into my life and now, my family is torn apart”.

However, this incident did churn the pit of my stomach for yet another very important reason. I wonder, why none in the family intervened when they all knew about the issue for three long years. I wonder, why people she trusted as her own in her partner’s family did not take a tough stand by favoring her. I wonder, where is the spine, the spine to stand up for the right and, object to the wrong?

And, how is it ok to sit and watch a woman in pain, in a situation as this? It is towards the old age, companionship matters the most. And, at such an age, when a woman has to face such a situation, it is a big slap on the faces of the elders who have claimed big about how important families are!

How is it ok to turn a blind eye to her issues and, act as if everything was normal? Such kind of acting is pathetic! I feel sorry that I am even associated with such relatives by blood. It hurts me to see how much the elders in the family are filled with such apathy.

Would these elders be sitting quiet should such a calamity fall on their own children, or even on them? How is it ok to let a daughter/daughter-in-law of a family suffer, pray tell?

They say – It is never serious until it happens to you. This is probably the most painful reality we all have to deal with. Why people shy away from a hexed situation, assuming it is none of their business when, the people concerned are related to them, is completely beyond my understanding. What will happen if we intervene? Someone might say – “None of your business! Buzz off!”, or maybe, “You don’t know anything!” But at least, one can sleep at peace with the knowing – “I raised my voice against something wrong! So what, if it did not make a big difference? At least, I tried.”

I sincerely pray that this couple comes together again. May their dreams of growing old together with lot of love, companionship and affection come true. May the Sun shine bright on their lives and, may their nights be protected by the Moon’s pure gaze. May the stars bless them.

Having said that, I have absolute faith in God.

Dear God, deliver them, us and every living from all evil.

Amen.

To stand up and speak for the one that needs your help-

“What is wrong, is wrong! Fight the wrong! Tolerate no more”
To say a few words to the one that is hurt, betrayed and wronged-
“Don’t worry. Everything will fine soon. We are with you.”
To extend that listening ear to the one that is pained, without saying a word -. (Silence)
What does it take? For the empathiser – Nothing. 
What does it give?  For the pained one – a cord of hope and faith. 
If people in this world believe in the ‘not my problem’ misnomer, then we are already miles away from spirituality,  again a term that people often use to their advantage by treating it a getaway from their own struggles without even trying to battle them. 
We don’t need spiritual gurus. We need more of simple, uncomplicated and rational humans who can call a spade, a spade and, will stand up for what is right and, NOT side with what is wrong because some ‘spiritual guruji’ said so!

Snakes and Ladders


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

Snakes and Ladders. I never played this game much in my childhood. On the contrary, I played a lot of Chess, Business world and Badminton. My Summer vacations were all about my three picks on the games and, yes some swimming also happened. And after all these years, after decades of ‘adult-ing’, I was tempted to buy this game after the son (who has joined the primary school this year) spotted it at Big Bazaar. Yet, I held back. Knowing my son’s tendency to clutter the home with his stuff, I refused the son politely. And then, the next time we were accompanied by the wise granny (my mum)………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The snake and ladder game came home, with Ludo on the other side accompanied by a robot named The Terminator!

The Robot or, what it appeared to be once upon a time, has now been disintegrated into parts I cannot believe, were once a part of the terminator that was shooting its way through every nook and corner of my home. So, after the terminator’s disintegration, it was time for Snakes and Ladder! But for some reason, this game was allowed to live.

My mum taught both of us the basics of the game. The basics have evolved over time and, now there are many variations to the game. We followed a combination of the old and the new.

  • One – to enter the game,
  • A one and a Six – to get a second chance (In improvised versions, one is not counted for second chances any more. But we applied it, nevertheless 😛 )
  • A triple six – back to one,
  • A chance to climb the ladder assures yet another chance.
  • Step on the snake’s hood and you slide down (feels more like the free fall in real life)

I was pleasantly surprised when the son picked up the game in the first go. Besides, his counting skills were being honed in the process. Son won the first round. Followed by me and then, by my mum. The game seemed to have no end. After subsequent wins, the son had his first brush with diminishing luck. After all, who can decide how the dice shall roll. So it was the seventh round of game and, he could not even enter the game, given the elusive 1 that had, for some reason decided not to unveil! A few more rounds of defeat deflated his motivation and, inflated his anger by leaps and bounds. He threw the dice and the pawns on the ground and, walked away. A while later, I saw him facing the wall in anger with the tears that just won’t stop!

For some reason, at that moment, I became more a sibling and less a mother. And, I flew in a rage and growled – “Arjun! You aren’t sportive at all! We also lost the initial rounds. Did we get angry and cry like you? What is wrong with you?!!”

My mum instantly took me aside and calmed me down saying, “What are you doing? He has not even turned six years yet and, you are treating him like your sibling. What you said is right. But, the way you said it will have no effect. Because, at the moment, he is not in the grid where he can listen. Give him time.”

The day passed slowly. The son was not talking with me. My very first win dented his chest of ego. I wasn’t surprised. I had behaved far more unreasonably when I lost a game of chess to my mum at his age. Like mum said, I gave him time to lick his wounded verve. After he came back from park, he decide to play with my mum. Granny won. He lost, yet again. But this time, he was far more composed and, played yet another round. Round 2 was a win for him. He wanted to play more but, my mum gently explained about the cons of addiction. And, he listened quietly. He relented.

Then his tantrums stopped while my mum played. However, they escalated when I went ahead of him. I slowly sensed the feeling of competition my son was harnessing within him towards me. Although I am a sibling mommy (a mommy who reprises the role of a sibling), given that I am single child, this time I decided I will let it pass. Later, my parents had to go back to the hometown for a short while. So, it was me and him again. Hubby is away on work and, the home alone saga was not the vision we had in mind, again. Nevertheless, we played the game almost everyday before sleeping. And, he slowly went back to phase 0 where, winning mattered and, winning was all that mattered. We played two rounds of the game everyday. And, I let him win most of the time for two reasons:

  1. One, I was dead tired towards the end of each day, with absolutely no mood or intent or the energy to tackle his vigor filled with rogue electrons!
  2. Two, my mum tells me that a child must go to sleep at night in a happy state.

So, his winning spree continued. Most times, in the right way and sometimes, due to my self induced complacency. I was in touch with my mum everyday and, yesterday I mentioned about my parenting woes, in a passing comment. It was then she said something and, I realized I had to undo the wrong I was doing.

 “Narayani, game is a game. You cannot bend the rules all the time for a child. It is like opening a cocoon even before the butterfly has developed its wings. A child’s mind is like the wet mud on a potter’s wheel. Once shaped, nothing can be done. Even though it is just a game, it is a very serious thing. You cannot let him win because he will throw a tantrum if he doesn’t. And, the very game you are playing teaches you this – Life is full of snakes and ladders. So, if he loses, so be it. He has to learn to deal with failures. And, you have to let him do so, by himself. What I told you that day was the same – Use the right words to explain to him. And you, knowing how to play with words shouldn’t be asking me how to draft such an important message for your child. Right?”

Right. I thought over for a long time before hitting the bed, yesterday. And then, I had an idea, a vague idea that shall take a form the next morning.

So, today that happened to be a lazy Saturday morning started with the game, unusually. The son was motivated and charged. But before beginning the game, I told him that I will play with him only if he listens to a story from me. The expressions changed slowly and, he sat with folded legs on the bed and, looked intently at me. After some pause, he charged – “What are you waiting for? The story please!”

And then, I began,

“Somewhere in the year 1968, a young girl of 12 was studying in a municipal school in the district of Coimbatore. Municipal schools of those days weren’t exactly the part of elite schools team. They were for lower and lower middle class families. All the children did was, play, play, play! It seemed fun to this girl too. However, her father thought differently. He suddenly decided that she must go to a better school and, hence put her in an elite school. The admission test was writing a simple essay, which the girl wrote. Although teachers had reservations about taking her in sixth grade given her poor foundation in English, the principal felt there was some hidden verve in the girl and so, she was taken in.

The girl on knowing she was going to a different school broke down for two reasons:

  • One, she was being separated from her friends. The realms of familiarity had ended for her.
  • Two, fear of unknown.

But, she was her father’s daughter. And since, her father meant world to her, she proceeded with the decision. The first day felt like being blindfolded and let in a jungle. She did not understand a word being taught in class. Besides, she was bullied too. Since, English was never a medium of communication before, she felt traumatized by the words and tones of this foreign language”

The son now looked at me intently and asked, “What happened then?”

“Well son, the first two weeks were a nightmare. But with a little help from a kind classmate and a lot of encouragement from a kind teacher, she discovered the essence of hard work. She came back home one day and began to study an English lesson. Having come from a Tamil Medium school that had no subject of English, the first day felt like reading gibberish. She understood nothing. It felt frustrating. Her teacher encouraged her – “Try and try and you will succeed”. So, the second day she tried again. Again, no results. A week passed like that. And then, gradually she started reading with little fluency. The teacher too helped her in school. Yet another week passed. She read with a fewer pauses. As weeks progressed, the first unit test came and, she fared just ok. For her though, it felt like having taken the first step of the run in the long marathon! A few more weeks progressed and, it was time for quarterly exams. She studied hard, very hard indeed. She kept herself awake through the night and, revised in early mornings. And, during the exam time, she revised again.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

The results came. And, the girl had topped the class.

The son’s eyes gleamed with joy. He exclaimed – “YAY!”

“Now son, do you know how many times she stumbled before reaching the pinnacle? Countless times! But eventually, she aced her test. Now, why did I tell you this story? Because life is also a test like that. And, this game is one of the chapters in the test.

When we play a game, we either win or lose. When we win, we are happy. When we lose, we become sad. But a failure comes with a hidden cookie – “the chance to do it again!” So, if you lose in this small game, what is the big deal? You again have a chance to dodge the snake’s head, right?”

Suddenly, the son’s eyes twinkled as if he understood where I was getting at. And, he candidly replies – “Ok! I will not cry if I lose. This time you will win.”

I corrected him – “I am glad you will not cry if you lose. But at the same time, you must not give up. Begin with the thought to win. And, end with the hope that if you lose, you will strive for better next time.”

And then, we played for an hour in which we both had our wins and flips. But this time, the defeats were not a scene of howling/yelling/crying/cajoling. It was rather a scene of acceptance that came with the hope – Next time shall be good.

As we ended the game, I asked my son – “You did not ask me who that little girl is?”

The son suddenly looked into my eyes – “You know her? Where is she?”

I said – “You know her too. She is none other than your first girlfriend – your adorable grandmother – Seetha paati, your favourite Bajju Paati, my mum :D”

Lessons learned for both the mother and son:

Life is full of snakes and ladders. Sometimes, you fall. Sometimes, you rise. Sometimes, you get the chance to try again. Sometimes, you are forced to take a pause. Sometimes, you win and, you feel elated. Sometimes, you lose and, you feel dejected. But all the time, there is one thing that you do – Keep doing what you do. Don’t stop your journey. Keep going. After all, 

js

After all,

When the father and the son converse……


…..the mother sits back, puts her feet up, sips a cup of tea and exudes her trademark attitude – “Ha! Let the games begin!”

fs

A long telephonic conversation between the hubby and my son (who studies in grade 1)…..

Hubby: How was your school?

Son: Yeah..fine…

Hubby: Did you have lunch?

Son: Not yet…

Hubby: What did mum give you in tiffin?

Son: Bread jam…

Hubby: hmmm…How was your race? It was today, right?

Son: hmm..I ran well….

Son promptly hands over the phone to me.

Hubby: What happened? Why isn’t he talking? He was answering in monosyllables. All fine? Did he do something today, again? Any comments from teachers? Is he fine?…..no, wait – Did you scold him? See! I knew…why do you have to scold him before I call him up?

Me: Have you finished? Because if you have, I have to sit down with him for homework after lunch.

Hubby: ok….

Both of us hang up.

10 minutes later, post lunch –

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Son: Mum, I have to speak to dad.

Me: Why? You spoke to him a few minutes ago.

Son: Yeah. But, I have to speak. Please dial his number.

(Was this a strategy to escape home work, I wondered…) Nevertheless, I oblige.

So, begins a conversation full of crazy stuff! ENJOY 😀

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Son: Pa, are there birds in your area?

Hubby: yes..a few…..why do you ask?

Son: Are there parrots too?

Hubby: no, not spotted yet….

Son: Why?

Hubby: I mean, I haven’t seen one here, yet. Why do you ask?

Son: Do humans eat parrots?

Here, I could actually visualize a tiara of stars circling over the hubby’s head!!

Hubby (clearing throat) : ehhh…err……ummm….no…

Son: How can you say that? My friend yohan says that some humans eat parrots too!

Hubby: seriously?

Son: You don’t believe my friend?

Hubby: eehh…errr….ummm…well I do….maybe some humans who live in jungles may be eating parrots too…

(quickly sensing the need to change the topic, hubby proceeds)

So, have you got your home work today?

Son: I have to check. Only then, I can tell you. Pa, I have to ask one more thing.

Hubby: Yeah son, shoot your question!

Son: How did humans come on Earth?

Hubby (a bit flummoxed at the sudden flip in topics): God created everything, including humans…

(And, I was like – Yeah, my love! Blame it on the creator!)

Son: How do you know?

Hubby: Yes, God created everything.

Son: Then, who created God?

There was a pause! I could sense the desperate call for me here. But, I was clearly enjoying this! Sorry darling, you have to deal with the questions by yourself!

Son: hello!!

Hubby: Yes, I am here.

Son: I know that. But, who created God?

Hubby: umm…..God was always there.

Son: That means you don’t know.

Hubby: I do know!

(I felt like barging and telling my son – “Dear son, it is complicated! God created man. And, man created various versions of God…” But, I was in no mood today to let go of the fun!)

Son: So?

Hubby: I will answer it later. First tell me, what is for lunch?

Son: When will you answer it?

Hubby: I will. But first, ask the same to both your grandfathers. And do let me know what answers they gave. Don’t forget to ask your granny! She is the most intelligent homo sapien among us, right!And since they are elder to me and mum, they will know the answers better. They came before us, right?

Son: ok…..

—————————After some more random conversations on Earth and earthlings———–,

Son: So, is there any water body near your place?

Hubby: No, Why do you ask?

Son: Then, how do you get water to drink?

Hubby: We get it. There are water treatment plants everywhere.

Son: What is a water treatment plant? How does it work?

Hubby: Is mum around? I need to speak with her.

I took over the phone.

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Hubby: What was that? His questions don’t end! Where does he come up with such crazy questions?  Our little man never ceases to surprise us!

Me: Weren’t you complaining a while ago that, he ain’t talking much? And, for the surprise part – it is not us, just you! I am the self proclaimed, self certified encyclopedia here, remember? The one who gets these questions everyday……

Hubby: I concede defeat, milady! You are doing one hell of a job there! Am so proud!

YES! I waited to hear that last line! And so am I, my love! Proud of you….because you answered the son’s questions way better than I could have! And, let me tell you dear husband, you got the tough ones!

We unlearn to learn again……or maybe, learn to unlearn!

#JoysOfMotherhood

#JoysOfFatherhood

Jayam paati – I knew her, I knew her not.


With age, there is one thing that tags along persistently. Fading memories. Isn’t it surreal? I mean, can you precisely remember every day from your school life that happened decades back? Can you remember how you spent every second of your summer vacations? Can you remember how many times you fell from your cycle while trying to balance on the wheels?

Precision eludes me when it comes to recalling memories. That is also one of the reasons I blog. Because, someday when I sit on that rocking chair with silver grey hair and a cup of tea, I want to remember the people who have been a part of my life and, have made it so worthwhile and, so magnanimous with their blessings. And so, this post – which I dedicate to my paternal grandmother – Jayam pati who ascended to the higher realms of the spirit world on 26th April ’17 at around 9 AM.

She was running towards 90 and, the Almighty felt it was time to relieve her off her ailments and, embrace her. I am good at remembering certain phases with her. And yet, I do not have a precision factor associated with it. I did not have the privilege of having her in near vicinity in my growing years. However, there are some things I remember about her vividly and, those memories are the ones, rather the only ones I have of her, when I used to visit her with parents during vacations.

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Her silver white hair tied into a bun, the way she used to drape her 9 yard saree (the quintessential ombodugajam), the one time when she taught me and one more cousin about the tricks of the game – Palankuzhi, the way she used to make the chakris (murruku) and she used to do it so swiftly and flawlessly (the one time I tried when she had visited us in Bharuch and, I ended up making a mess), the seemingly free flowing fingers that weaved a bag out of plastic wires and, the smell of sandalwood talc she used in early years (a brief period when she stayed with us in Bharuch, the time when I was in college) now emerge as the beautiful patch of unbridled memories waiting to be revisited. The last I spoke to her was on my anniversary – 5th February and fortunately, hubby was in station and thereby, got a chance to speak with her. “Amogama Irrukanam, nanna irrukanam” was her trademark line that used to make me feel good every time she said it. And, she used to say it after she completed every sentence.

I have not had her around while growing up. However, many of my cousins have been blessed with that privilege. In fact, some of my cousins were raised by her. Today when I read their testimonials about how she was famous for her Kal dosai and, how beautifully she stitched uniforms for her grandchildren and how, she was a gifted story teller, I realize with a heavy heart that, I have been quite unaware of a major part of her personality given the distance and the place. And today, I profusely thank my cousins Shobana akka, Chitra akka, Lakshmi akka and Suja akka for giving me an insight into the life of Jayam Paati of whom I knew and yet, I knew not.

The eulogies from my cousins made me well with tears. After all, they were raised by this wonderful lady, my granny. Their grief at the moment is far greater than mine and, I can definitely feel the pain, the void has left behind. Perhaps, the one consolation that we all have as a family is, her demise was absolutely spiritual and that, she passed over peacefully with little pain. After all, God is kind and, Jayam Paati has earned her place alongside the stars above.

My father, her second progeny had this beautiful ritual of speaking with her twice a day. I used to overhear them talking about religion, politics, the unpredictable weather, the seventh pay commission, theBhajanais that were conducted in her presence and much more. However, after 26th April this year, I am not sure how he shall feel about those times windows he dedicated for his mother, to talk about the daily grind and, sundry. He has definitely dealt with a blow this time. I cannot possibly fathom the mixed emotions he has been dealing with since her demise. The day before my granny passed away, my father and I had a prolonged chat about her. He told me how her ailments have increased with time and how, the asthma that had been following her like a shadow for decades had only increased her health woes. She was on a limited water intake and, could not walk much around as she had earlier. I could only sigh in concurrence. And, when he did receive the news the next day, I could see his eyes trying to conceal the grief from me. For my father, she was his creator. And, her demise did take away a part of him. Although my father is the most balanced, practical and calm man I have ever met, I could sense the emotions brim over his serene demeanor this time. After all, a mother is a mother, be it 7 years or 70.

A demise of a loved one is a jolt. Having witnessed three in the past few months (one of my maternal uncle, one of a good friend – hubby’s course mate and now, my granny), I feel powerless at the moment before the Almighty. Every demise chips away something from us, a part of us ebbs away every time a loved one departs. But then, what destiny takes away from us, it also replaces those dented patches by giving back some more strength, some more courage and some more conviction to take life forward.

I am sure, my dear paati is in a happy place now, having joined her soul mate and her two sons who departed long back. A mother to eight, a grandmother to 14 and, a great grandmother to 16, Jayam Paati has lived a supremely blessed life. And, I am sure she is up there watching over us.

Amen.