Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Spending time with our Parents

When my mother-in-law passed away a few years ago, the primary feeling, as we drove towards the town in Andhra where she'd lived the last few years of her life, was one of helplessness. My husband, not very communicative, has never expressed his true feelings upon the demise of amma but I do know, the feeling of not having spent enough time with her, of not having had the chance to say goodbye...these feelings were predominant in his mind.

About two years ago, a very dear friend lost his father to cancer.... He was due to visit his father just the day before the demise and suddenly, it was too late. He felt a deep sense of regret and remorse, for not "being" there...

For those of us, who live away from our parents and loved ones, in other cities, or other parts of the world, the 'fear' of losing a parent, of not being able to say goodbye, is a real one. It multiplies over time, as we watch our once formidable parents, age little by little...losing the "My Daddy/Mommy Strongest" title, and turning into frail beings. 

Calling them "elderly" was the first step I took towards the recognition that my parents were ageing.

And so we do what little we can, in their twilight years - not just for them, but more I feel, for ourselves.

We spend more time flying home to them to tend to them when they fall ill. There was a time when we HAD to move - to another town, another city, another country, as our dreams awaited us. They were young and capable of looking after themselves, and it was they, after all, who taught us to chase our goals!

We spend more time talking to them over the phone; some calls are just periods of silence, yet we don't hang up. There was a time when we would not even call once a week - "Too busy, too much work, too tied up, too bored (what will we talk about?/we talk the same stuff every time!)"

We now spend more time discussing their health, trips to the doctor, medication advices etc. There was a time when their concern for our health would irritate us; "Yes maa I will eat on time...don't worry.... You don't know HOW much I have to study!"

We never miss a festival; we fly home and make sure the whole "family" (our siblings and their spouses and children) gets together. There was a time when making a trip 'home' for a festival meant taking leave from work, and having to compromise on a holiday with the spouse and kids; then, the choice had been easy.

It isn't so today.

Some days when I hear my mother's exhausted voice on the other end of the line, I know its not enough. It breaks my heart, because my choices in life and many other circumstances took me away from 'home' since I turned 16. 

But I also know that we can never make up for lost time. We can only reach out and do as much as we can today. 

And hope as hell that we can live with that knowledge long after they're gone.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Azra Tabassum

"Kiss her. Slowly, take your time, there’s no place you’d rather be. Kiss her but not like you’re waiting for something else, like your hands beneath her shirt or her skirt or tangled up in her bra straps. Nothing like that. Kiss her like you’ve forgotten any other mouth that your mouth has ever touched. Kiss her with a curious childish delight. Laugh into her mouth, inhale her sighs. Kiss her until she moans. Kiss her with her face in your hands. Or your hands in her hair. Or pulling her closer at the waist. Kiss her like you want to take her dancing. Like you want to spin her into an open arena and watch her look at you like you’re the brightest thing she’s ever seen. Kiss her like she’s the brightest thing you’ve ever seen. Take your time. Kiss her like the first and only piece of chocolate you’re ever going to taste. Kiss her until she forgets how to count. Kiss her stupid. Kiss her silent. Come away, ask her what 2+2 is and listen to her say your name in answer."

- Azra Tabassum, 20 year old "hopeless romantic", author of "Shaking The Trees"...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

a different me

"Shit him out" said she
knowing how to anxiety I react
rumbles in my innards
escalated heartbeat
in and out, in and out
of the "ladies room"...

this is a different me


this is a different me


this is a different me

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lucky man Hugh Jackman!

I wasn't very keen on watching the X-Men movie that was released a few months ago, I recall. I had asked the children to go with their friends and save me the bother of sitting through a couple of hours of watching a movie full of blood and gore (or so I thought).

The children, insistent on showing me the 'glory' of the X-Men, begged and eventually I relented.

As I type this I am so glad that I did.

And not just because I enjoyed the movie. 

It was during the scene where Magneto drives metal rods into Wolverine that the son and I heard sobbing sounds emanating from our left. Through the darkness of the cinema and the rather cumbersome 3D glasses, we saw that it was my daughter, his older sister who was crying as she watched Hugh Jackman cringe in pain and die (of course, not for ever, but for the moment.)

As we stepped out of the cinema, son discussed the movie excitedly (as is the norm - we just HAVE to discuss the details of the films we watch), she started tearing up again. 

I looked at her and said, "C'mon, its just a movie, baby!"

She nodded and wiped her tears, hiding her face away from other passers by.

We descended the three flights of stairs and got into the car and the son I realised by now, had understood that his sister was getting emotional at the mention of the particular scene began thus, "Mom, the scene where Magneto tries to kill Wolverine..."

Before he could complete, she was crying again.

I saw her from the rear view (I was driving and the children were seated behind), I shushed her and almost chided her. "Its just a movie!"

"But I love him!" she said, exasperated, while her rather emboldened brother laughed and started again... "Mom, that scene..."

Sighing I started the car as one continued to sob and the other, giggle.

We were headed to a restaurant for dinner and hours later, we thought the "pain" of watching her idol die (but not really die) would have abated. We were clearly mistaken when we saw tears rolling down her face as son excitedly explained the plot to someone who had joined us for the meal.

Oh Hugh Jackman, dear man... Do you have any clue that there's a fan here in faraway India who can't even bear to see you die even though you emerge alive three scenes later? 

You're one lucky man if my daughter's shedding her precious tears on you! One lucky man!!!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

A lost Bf and a friendship

A message that brought back a flood of memories; of shared passion for music and books, of innocent teenage years, of gifts galore, of long chats on the phone, of stolen kisses...

When I wrote back to him, I knew that we would meet - after all that we'd shared when I was 16 and he 21 - a lunch date to catch up on the lost years of conversation and happenings in our lives was a given.

Today, we met.

Like long lost friends.

There was no discomfort.

My anxiety vanished the minute I saw him and we started talking.

We spoke about our lives. And when the conversation veered to books, and music, we were 16 and 21 again.

Thats the magic of friendship!

As we departed, he turned to me and said, "I often wondered what happened to you... Now I know.."

So here's to celebrating the return of a boyfriend from yore!

Friday, July 18, 2014

What do YOU mean when you say "I owe you"?

An innocuous word, "Owe" means different things to different people.

The Oxford Dictionary defines Owe as - "Have an obligation to pay or repay (something, especially money) in return for something received"

I have a problem with the way this word is used and abused, especially amongst friends.

When you do something for a friend, are you seeking a return favour? An owing? Like a debt that may be needed to be repaid?

When did friendships become a transaction?

I did something for you my friend because because I wanted to do it. Because we are friends. We have a relationship based on mutual respect and admiration. I did it because you're a fellow human, and because it was within my capacity to do it.

I didn't do it because I expected something in return, least of all a gushing "I owe you".

Often when I have done something, the 'better' people have responded with a genuine Thank You.

Often these are the people who understand me more as a person who does things because she can. Its just as simple as that.

I have a problem with this word, because over the years, my friends who say an "I owe you" when in the throes of excitement, forget it sooner than the turn of the tide.

I have a problem with people who resort to fanciful recompenses that they will neither remember nor have the capability to fulfil.

I have a problem with such people who cannot understand or appreciate my inner being and choose to use my random act to turn it into some sort of a "favour".

I have a problem with such untruths.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Backseat Conversation July 2014

Sometimes I think that the son is quick witted. At other times, well, he's just honest.

Daughter: "Mama, you know our neighbour is pregnant and A thought that she's become fat."

A: "Of course mama! You don't know but she eats a lot."

O H K A Y!