Unhealthy is healthy

What is it with people and “healthy” discussions? I want me some unhealthy discussions once in a while. You know, the kinds that end in a broken relationship or two. Where words are used like knives, aimed to cut and rip. The kind where voices are blowhorns. Where the chances of objects becoming whooshing projectiles is very real. When you don’t know where the next blow, verbal or other wise, will come from. When tears don’t mean no squat.

Why do I want such discussions? To know the real people behind the facades. So people can know the real me. Behind all that made up opinions and being politically right, the real opinions lay in wait..for that little crack in the armor, that little gap to ooze from.  And give the right amount of shaking (or a couple of well aimed blows, preferably below the belt) it will erupt. And everyone in the vicinity will be drenched, nay, scorched by the lava that real opinions usually are. I’d like to see that, you know. I’d like to see that naked vulnerability that remains once the real person is out. When the judging begins. The ugliness that is human nature. It should be seen, once in a while. To re-affirm our ‘faith in humanity’. Or lack thereof.

What the heck is a healthy discussion anyway? The ones where I think “what an ass!” but say “you’re very insightful”? Where’s the fun in that! :-)

In other totally unrelated news, the Christmas tree is finally finally up. This is the most late we’ve ever been.

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Freedom. To be.

Remember that Pepsi ad? “Freedom! To be! Azaadi…dil ki!” They got it right, you know. We have all sorts of freedom today, but how often do we have the freedom to just BE? You know? Just be. Whatever we are. How ever we are. Wherever we are. Me? Not very often. So much so, it took me some painful physical pain to understand that I need the freedom to just be. In the moment. Enjoy it, for whatever it is. And who gives me that freedom? Me.

Here’s how it rolled.

10:30 PM. Weeknight. Dinner is done. Kid’s in bed. And what am I doing? Chores. Washing up. Cleaning up. Loading up (the washing machine!). Refrigerating up (damn leftovers). And those chores are not even the worst part. The worst part was this acute mental tension that omg it’s 10:30 already, when will I finish, when will I sleep, when will I wake up.. get the drift? Torture. Plain and simple.

And out of nowhere it hit me – so what if I don’t sleep by 12? I’ll be sleep deprived, yes. But will the sky fall on my head? Interestingly, no. So, for the first time in a long time, I let go. I stopped looking at the clock.

Next day. Same time. I consciously kept the clock out of my mind. Same chores. Probably took the same time to finish, but I felt I finished sooner. I wasn’t rushing around trying to do 10 things together and end up feeling miserable because, obviously, you can’t do 10 things at the same time. Well, unless of course you’re Superwoman…but then again, why would a superhero be doing household chores when  there’s a world out there that needs some saving, eh? :-)

So, long story short, I defenestrated (is that really a word) the time-monkey that was sitting on my back (very comfortably at that). Right out the window. And I feel free. F. R. E. E.

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Watch a sunset!

Yes, the chores are the same. Yes, it’s still 11pm by the time I hit the bed. But whatever I’m doing, I’m doing it on my terms. Not according to Mr.Time.

I wonder why it took me so long to get this. Maybe the working-woman in me needed some time to unlearn the time bound way of doing things and just let it go. Yes, I will need it when I get back to working or when the kid starts going to school, but until then I have the freedom to be. Just be. To quit this perennial race against time to get those 5 mins of doing absolutely nothing, those 2 mins of not worrying about ‘what next?’. Because it’s ok. Those 5 mins and 2 mins are everywhere. In my mad rush to ‘finish’ I’ve been blind to them. All I have to do is stop (oh the horror of stopping in between a task?!! Yes. It’s ok.) and just be.

Damn it’s good to be free.

Some everyday magic

Flour. Sugar. Eggs. Butter. Voila, magic.

You can’t go wrong with that combination, you know. And what’s the magic, you ask? You take those eggs, with their golden yolks and glossy whites, add some of those little crystals of sugar and give your arm a good workout beating them together. You know what happens? It becomes this amazingly luscious, silky and airy mixture, so light yet so rich that you can drape it around your shoulders and walk the red carpet. Magic!

Then comes that God of all things good, butter. Yellow. Solid, but not quite solid. Satin. There’s a reason why Lord Krishna digged this stuff. So you add this utterly butterly goodness, a few drops of intoxicating vanilla and whisk it all up. Then the flour. Some ruby red tart cranberries. A little nutmeg, for luck. Fold it all in gently, but firmly. Like reprimanding your child. :-)

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Pour it into the pan. Top it with some caramelised, bittersweet cashews (or pecans or walnuts or slivered almonds!). Into the oven. And 1 hour later, magic is in the air.

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Some people use mundane terms like baking and cooking. Takes the wonder out of them, you know? It’s everyday magic, making delicious food. We’re all magicians in our own right.

Brothers-in-arms

(Wrote this a while ago and I thought I published it here…apparently not! )

A rainy day. Two little kids, forced to stay indoors. Not a good thing. So we struck a deal – sit on the doorstep, watch the downpour but not a step out, even for a little bit.

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So that’s what they did, the cousins. The 3 year old explaining the garden, the rain and the birds to the 2 year old. And the latter diligently repeating the main words, to summarise. Just then there was a loud burst of crackers and the younger one’s body gave a little frightened jerk. And his cousin quietly put his hand on the other’s shoulder, patted him and said it’s ok, nothing to be scared of..just some ‘pattaas’.

I have 13 first cousins. My son and my nephew just have each other.

I hope they grow up to be best friends. With each other, through thick and thin. Not just mere cousins. Be brothers. And more.

When you have a kid

#WhenYouHaveAKid
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1. Dumb charades become a part of your daily life. #TryingToBrushTeeth

2. Privacy is like Big Foot – everyone’s heard of it but no one knows if it really exists.
Corollary – there’s a better chance of Big Foot’s existence.

3. You don’t have the concept of morning, noon or night. It’s always one of Child Asleep, Child Awake or Time for Child’s meal/snack/drink. For about 25 odd years.

4. You have no problems talking about poop and pee at the dining table. You also forget that it’s not the same for other people.

5. A trip to the spa without the kid is like a vacation to some exotic place abroad. Like Rome. Or Paris.

6. The amount of stuff you pack for travel is inversely proportional to the age of the child.

7. You hum lines from Dr.Seuss.

8. The sentences that come out your mouth get more bizarre by the day -
“Don’t bite the orange monkey.”
“Stop licking Amma.”
“No, Amma is not the Poopy-pants. You are.”

9. You’re now an expert in sleeping with half your body hanging off the bed because someone has been rolling around, kicking you all night.

10. You rediscover the amazing and beautiful things in life. Like bubbles. Shadow play. Sand. Splashing in water. Swings and see-saws. Walking with a wee little hand holding your finger. Aeroplanes in the sky. Sparrows on the balcony. Flowers. Balloons. And bubble wrap. 

The Amazing Race

“You know X? His 1 year old son can eat almost 1.5 idlis, that too just dipped in water without any sambar or chutney!”

“You know what Y gave her barely year old daughter during that function? One big bowl of rasam rice and she ate it in no time.”

“Why is your son not eating well? He’s not putting on any weight.”

“You’re not giving him any fruits. Z’s son loves fruits, it seems. Can eat an entire apple in one go. When he came here last time, he ate an apple, some pieces of orange, 4 or 5 strawberries and even some papaya! Why doesn’t your son eat all that?”

Got tired just reading this? Imagine having to listen to this, not once, but every time you’re feeding the kid and he/she is already pissing you off by not eating properly. For every 15 fussy eaters out there, apparently there’s a superhero kid who will inhale his food, that too only the healthy type. Yeah, such children exist it seems. My mom never fails to tell me.

The proverbial rat race doesn’t begin at school (or pre-school), people. It begins when the child is conceived. “Does your baby kick a lot? Mine does somersaults already and it makes me so nauseous.” – what I heard when I was pregnant. If I were a naive recently-married girl who was pregnant, I would have freaked out and run to the Ob-gyn saying my baby is not kicking. But one is not. Thankfully. And then when the baby is born? Oh dear Lord. Color, hair, eyes open or not, smiling or not, drinking enough milk or not, sleeping well or not, colicky or not..the list is endless. The only comparison I haven’t heard yet is the APGAR score – probably because hospitals in India don’t make a big deal of this to the parents (even though its noted in the file), so the parents are probably not that aware of it.

If the baby is very quiet, the comparison is with another baby who’s like a 5 year old in Disneyland, on a sugar rush. If the baby IS like a 5 year old in Disneyland, on a sugar rush, then the comparison will be with one who’s Buddha’s long lost cousin, deep in meditation. I’m not kidding. Your baby can’t catch a break, is what it is. Of course, none of this is meant to be hurtful – everyone knows that all babies are not alike but that when did that mean there should be no comparisons, eh? :-\

Most of the time, I’m ok with the comments. The in-through-one-ear-out-through-the-other mechanism works beautifully in most cases. But there are days when I wish people would just let me and my son be. Yes, he’s not a great eater and no, he’s not putting on as much weight as I would have wanted him to. But you know what? He’s doing just fine. He’s active. He’s learning new things everyday. He’s social. He outgrows his pjs and shirts every 2 months. He’s not going to be 6’2″ when he grows up, but that’s not his fault – blame his genes. He’s learning to use his potty. He’s slightly obsessive-compulsive about things being clean and tidy, but hey, it’s cute and I’m not about to teach him to be ok with wallowing in filth.

So there. Let him be. Let ME be. We don’t want to be part of this amazing race. We’ll get there in our own sweet time. And you know what? It’s ok even if we don’t get there. We’re in this for the journey, not the destination. We’re doing just fine, him and me.

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