Lessons on death

I was watching some movie on TV the other day while my son was playing with his toys. There was a particularly noisy scene (crying, screaming, etc) and the kid happened to look up and the scene was of a person dying. He saw that and just said, “Uncle jo-jo” (jo-jo is his word for sleeping). I obviously didn’t correct him ‘coz it’s still too early to teach him what death is. He’s only 2!

But time flies. Before I know it he’ll be old enough to understand it’s not sleeping. And I’ll have to talk to him about it. Explain what happens when a person dies.

I don’t know how to do it. Yet. I know exactly WHAT I want him to learn, though. The HOW is still a work in progress. It’ll come. Until then, here’s what I’d like him to know –

1. Death is not something to be scared of. It’s a part of life, like everything else. It’s not in our control, so there’s no point worrying about it.

2. Death is final. So don’t take life for granted. Don’t take people, esp your family, for granted. Cherish everything and everyone. Don’t hold grudges..well, at least not for too long. Live.

3. When a loved one dies (because they will. It’s inevitable.) it will hurt. A lot. You’ll feel like it’s the end of everything. Like nothing will ever be the same. That’s completely normal. Things will not be the same, yes. But in time, you will get used to it. So give yourself time, even though all you can think of is just curling up in bed and never waking up.

4. Crying is good. Cry as much as you want, as long as you want and as loud as you want. But cry. That said, if you don’t feel like crying, don’t beat yourself up over it. You probably got that from me – I’ve lost 3 grandparents and a great-grandparent and I couldn’t shed a single tear. It’s ok.

5. No matter how weak or alone you feel, there will probably be someone else who feels weaker and lonelier. If you can, be there for them. You don’t have to be strong. Just be there.

6. The only way to beat death is to be remembered even after dying. So keep the memories alive. Forever.

7. The only indispensable person in your life is you. Everyone else will come and go. So love them when they’re there and let go when they go. Time heals everything. Death is no exception.

Some of this, I know, he’ll understand only by himself when he’s much older. I hope he does. His mother figured this out only when she wondered how to teach him about death. :-)

I took this photo yesterday, when he was all lost in his own magical world of crows, butterflies, gates and cars.

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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.