Tag Archives: life

Day 4: Change

4 Jan

It was bang in the middle of last year, when I was seat-belted and on my way to Bangalore, that my life was changing in the serious adult sort of way. A change that has no excuses, no escape routes, no shortcuts, no alternatives to comfort the commitment-afraid me. Half of me saw marriage as a life change that still had the potential to give me that leeway, should I ever want or need it; much to my husband’s utter shock and then ire. It’s an all or none deal, he told me. There can be no frivolity in judgement no matter how hard it gets, he explained to me over a phone call before we were to get married. He was still aghast at my way of thinking, which to me was very natural and completely normal given the history I’ve been woven from. It was scary; exciting yes, but scary to get into something so final. Little did I (reallyknow that there were changes with a grander and firmer foundation of finality than getting married. And so it happened – suddenly, hugely, and startlingly – in the form of two very defined pink lines on the pregnancy test I held in my hand once I got back from Bangalore, after two weeks of delayed periods and a nagging subconscious.

We’d begun talking about the idea of it, the possibility of it, and the plan to start working on it with immediate effect. But perhaps the universe suspected we were fooling ourselves and decided to conspire against us, in this case. The first sign was of course my delayed period, which I panicked about but then shrugged aside owing to changes in diet and what have you. The second stronger sign was my rather sudden dislike for alcohol every time I’d sip on it. Beer tasted strange, whiskey didn’t appeal to me, and again, I shrugged it off as something to be ignored. The third sign was this unnecessary fatigue I felt constantly. Back then I didn’t realise or even know that this was an early sign of pregnancy, which I blamed on the comparatively fewer trips we made to Comm Street. Something was amiss, and ma did voice what I was pushing into the recesses of my consciousness – is it possible that you’re pregnant mun?, she gently asked while I washed my teacup one evening. Of course I scoffed and kept it aside for another day.

There are two things I’ve learnt – never scoff at your mom, and never question her acute sense of intuition. These instances have always, and I mean always, backfired in my face every.single.time. And it was to happen to me yet again. It would be just a couple of hours after I said my byes to her that I would call her up again and mumble the words – ma, I’m pregnant; the stick shows two, very clear, pink lines. She was quiet (perhaps respecting my feelings and state of mind regarding it), and then congratulated the two of us and blessed us. We were to travel the very next morning to my in-laws, and I got no sleep that night.

If there’s a feeling I won’t forget, it’s the indescribable experience of watching that white nothingness turn into a second pink line. I remember staring at it, keeping it aside, and then revisiting it again. Repeatedly. It was that kaleidoscope of emotions that constantly switches from surprise to shock to excitement to fear to tears to this tide of overwhelming feelings that kept washing over me for what would be sometime to come. I was granted and bestowed with a gift, a responsibility, a job, a journey, a learning experience, a chance within a million chances to be *it* for someone who had chosen to come to us. It was a lot to take then.

When I look back, the two of us have come a long, long way. From feeling completely lost and left in the unknown, to where we are today – a little less lost and lot more sure of ourselves as parents and individuals – it’s been an intriguing journey. We’re far from perfect and will never be because that’s not what we’re gunning for. We’re here today, standing together, a little more ready and a lot less unsure from where we started off. Faith, trust, love, togetherness, and madness – I reckon this is all it takes to get by.

PS, trust me on the not scoffing at your mom bit. It’s true.

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Day 3: Red

3 Jan

I opened the paper bag that had been lying around for sometime now; filled with the remnants of the kindest gesture from my neighbour. Out came what I’d left lying inside, for a day when I was perhaps feeling more adventurous – an uber smart navy blue and red striped maternity top. It’s a brand new year and I really ought to do away with some of my rusty beliefs and ways of thinking, I thought, as I coaxed myself into wearing this top filled with a colour I love but never wear – red. It fit and supported my belly snugly, and on I went to start my day as I usually do once I’ve had my bath. But midway through the process of lighting the diya, the doorbell rang, and I left it there to return back to it later.

I must digress in order to continue; and here’s why – because red is a colour I’ve grown up wearing and loved wearing, till I started noticing (and then associating) its coupling with negativity/the occurrence of negative events every time I wore something red. It’s rather absurd and strange, really. But it’s happened too often, in fact every single time since, which has led me to admire the dynamic colour from afar now. I did give it a chance during one of my wedding ceremonies which made me – the centre of attraction and all things amaze – end up looking horrendously raccoon-ish, and made the entire event a sad and far cry from what it was supposed to be. Anyhow, one must proceed, and so shall I – forward to today and my rather smart looking and feeling red and blue top.

The doorbell ushered in a small series of events that only left me frazzled and in an irritable mood at the end of it all. It started with the arrival of our baby’s bed – a superbly cute and lovely piece – which was too big to fit in through our doors. It is a beautiful gift from the baby’s grandparents, but one that now lies in a packed state of in-between-ness and a tangle of awkwardness and delicate sentiments. While I sat and cajoled my mood, another emergency beckoned my immediate attention – a flush that would refuse to stop flushing, with water gushing everywhere (given we stay in an old apartment with an even older plumbing system, or lack of). The emergency calls were made and there I was, in an even more rotten mood; but thankful for the plumber’s swift arrival, and for a direct target on which to focus these stupid turn of events – my wearing of the colour red.

Rest assured I changed right into a more comforting colour at a swifter pace than the plumber’s arrival, and before any other mishaps could even think of occurring. *rolls her eyes*

I really do not intend to be dramatic, but if I could express my state of affairs better, I would.

My freshly cleaned house is in a disarray just after having cleaned it, with furniture everywhere (to make room for the cot) and I’ve mustered up all my strengths to use the power of ignorance to march on forward. I’m barely sane, and this is all I can take for now.

187: The Nowhere Post

22 Aug

Hello dear reader, I hope things have been ahmayzing at your end and I trust that all is well. All’s good on my side of the turf, too. :)

It’s super safe to say that I’ve done wonders to this challenge by disappearing, and for the length of time that I have. It was a mixed bag complete with losing my mojo to write, being preoccupied with a hoard of other things, and then just losing track altogether. I’m not sure I can make up for the lost time and posts, but I’m leaving that to the writing and blogging Gods, and my willingness to bid laziness goodbye.

This was just a random resurface post; a small hi, hope all’s well post.

Till later. :)

164: 13th June, 2017

14 Jun

13th June, 2017 came just like any other day did. It was a day I wasn’t particularly looking forward to, because we were leaving Bangalore, and it’s always sick to say bye. It’s a day of sorts, and one I won’t forget for some time.

It’s the day that reinforced the grander scheme of things, to me.

I always have been a planner. I plan every single thing. It’s annoyingly boring for many of you, but I couldn’t imagine my life under anyone else’ control, to be honest. Once I got married, the truth of the universe’s ways made itself present to me in more ways than one. Plans just didn’t seem to work, and making plans was beginning to get frustrating because A isn’t an obsessive planner like I am.

As time has proceeded – we’re inching towards completing two years – I’ve learnt with a greater ferocity that life cannot be trusted with your individual, minute, plans. It’s got a mind of its own, and it will conspire to make things happen as it deems fit.

And so we’re just playing along. Yet again.

149: A Day In The Lives Of Most Of Us

29 May

I woke up very early for a Sunday. Given that I had to go in to work as well, it felt oddly fine to get out of bed before 7am; after all, there’d just be more time to do the things I’d wanted to do. Sunday mornings, according to me, ought to be spent savouring the best the weekend has to offer – it’s quiet, it’s peaceful, it’s pleasant, it’s the calm you need before the rush of yet another week begins. Therefore, in order for my Sunday to be perfect, it needs to be hearty in a subtle, non-overpowering way. For that, I have always imagined either sipping my tea whilst inhaling the aromas of a freshly baked cake rising in the oven or while digging into said warm cake as I have my tea. There’d also be the ambient sounds of chirping birds, the rustle of a newspaper, the crack of a biscuit or two (though they don’t really feature in this act when there’s cake around), minimal conversation, and perhaps the subtle seduction of a guitar playing in the background as well. I achieved some of this yesterday; except there wasn’t any cake fluffing up in the oven because I’d run out of baking powder and hadn’t bothered remembering to get a new bottle. I sought the company of my blog instead, when I still had tea to drink and was done with my papers.

Today was a different set-up. It did involve the appropriation of my Sunday morning fantasies, except, it looked and felt a little like this; something that may be all too familiar to you as well.

Please note that this is the dream I was trying to achieve – sipping on my cup of tea with A, while reading the newspaper in the ambience of chirping birds and the aroma of a cake.

I woke up and by default put on some water to boil for tea. In the meantime, I got the ingredients for my cake ready, and was just about to start on this process when; and I will use the now atrociously common phrase “but first let me…” (not take a selfie, but…)

…add milk to this boiling water for my tea.
…scoop this cream that’s collected on top of this bowl of milk and keep it aside.
…gather all the cream I’ve been collecting and make some ghee (clarified butter) out of it, since I already have the cream at hand.
…turn the tea off (it was done by then and was listlessly boiling away and becoming too strong for our liking)
…get the process of ghee-making started
…put my cake batter together
…oil my hair so I can let it rest while I have my tea, leaving me with enough time to wash it once tea is done.
…turn the tea back on (it had cooled down by now)
…wake A up, because I’ve become his alarm clock now.
…get our tea and biscuits on the table (the cake was in the oven)
…say hello to my plants which are now outside my house (as A opened the door to get the newspaper)
…read while I have my tea
…but wait, let me Instagram this perfect moment
…skim the ghee off the kadhai (wok)
…enjoy my tea-time. Babska, enjoy the present moment, always.

This is endless. This happens to each of us. This has become a regular feature of my life which, if given precedence over everything else, takes over my ability to do one thing at a time (is that necessarily a bad thing?!, you’d ask), or anything else that I might wish to do (like sleep, for example).

Some may call it the ants-in-my-pants syndrome; I just call it the this-domestication-gives-two-fucks-about-living-life-in-the-moment. Sigh.

Having said that, I did end up having my (still) hot tea with biscuits, as I instagrammed a photograph and then proceeded on to read, while enjoying the ambience of birds, the rustle of trees, the shuffle of the newspaper, and the smell of freshly baked cake and homemade ghee that was bubbling away, all in the company of A. I hope you have a wonderful week ahead, and a great Monday today. :)

145: We’re All About A Story

25 May

Yesterday‘s post still hasn’t gone past me completely. Today I found myself sharing Cory Richard’s story in class because it had some connection and relevance to what I’ve been teaching them the past fortnight. And needless to say, everyone sat in rapt attention, heat waves billowing through the windows and all. It reinforced my belief which took root in me the moment I held a camera for the first time – that we’re all about a story; each and every one of us. Of course I’d sound cheap if I said that I’ve always dreamed of doing what today is popularly called HONY. You’d most likely turn around and say, well why didn’t you do it, stupid? or you’d perhaps just laugh in my face and look at me funny, if you were more the blunt types. Perhaps one day when we need a break, I will have something substantial to offer. Someday. 

We’re all a bunch of experiences that make a marvellous story irrespective of how ornately we present it. For once words, fancy gadgets, apertures, camera angles, and privileges don’t matter – just who we are, what we do, and what we’re made up of that counts. It boils down to our innate need to feed our curiosities, our voyeuristic tendencies sometimes, and even just our plain love for stories. Some of us lap it up in the form of books, poems, movies, tv shows, novellas, even photographs and songs, and more. I guess it’s one thing that will always sell because we always want to know, even when we don’t want to know.

This was from one of my favourite visits, somewhere in a town steeped in history, mythology, and a stopped clock.

On our visit to commemorate my grandmother-in-law last year, we stopped by to feed a small settlement that had made its home around my mother-in-law’s generational family temple. And this, by far, was my most prized privilege – having this child speak to me with nothing more than a mouth stuffed with puris and halwa, his eyes, and his smile.

With every street in this mythical town lined with sweetmeat shops, because this is the land of Lord Krishna, the lover of all things milk and sweet, I chanced upon this vendor during a cool summer evening walk as I explored the gullies less travelled. He didn’t have much, and neither did his shop have the sheen of the religious wealth this town boasts of. But he smiled, allowed me to click him, and wished me as I went along. Again, a lot said, with not many words.

My favourite, after meeting the child, was stopping midway and running across wheat fields to this. The irony is that we come from the same land, the same lingual roots, but couldn’t communicate with language as I was so confident we would. But then, on she went, in her own striped shirt with her bundle on her head, off with a smile that just the two of us shared with each other.

I’ve come to believe that we really are a bundle of stories, each with a different fingerprint, and a legacy that is ours and ours alone. And we all do fall asleep to these stories, unaware that grandma’s tales are yours and mine and each other’s equally.

For more pictures from this trip, please visit my post here.

144: Inspiring, Everyday People

24 May

I woke up with an unexpected sense of inspiration this morning; once I could muster getting myself out of bed i.e. As I waited for A to get ready, I logged onto Instagram where the source of my inspiration grew deeper and richer. As is with most things social media, a trail sketched itself across the profiles I flitted past till I found what made me stay, and feel like it was a good morning to wake up to indeed. For those of you who have been reading my posts, and for those of you who haven’t, here’s something that has really found a nook in me and settled down very comfortably in the momentum of my thoughts and curiosity – the entire experience that is the Himalayan expedition. I’ve written about it here, here, and here when I got hold of Jon Krakauer’s book “Into Thin Air” after obsessively watching the movie Everest, which, upon further investigation, I found him trashing completely. But I’m thankful for the trail nonetheless. It was serendipitous then, and still is, today, when I clicked on the Instagram radio button and found the magnetism of the Himalayas drawing me to them, yet again.

It’s already been a while since Himalayan expeditions began for the year 2017, with many attempting a successful summit experience during this spring-summer window. Now when I find people talking about this, I feel more (theoretically) knowledgeable and aware. In fact, when BBC confirmed the collapse of the famed Hillary Step the other day, I felt oddly zapped by the new monumental hurdles alpinists would now face; not that hurdles defeat them, and not that the Hillary Step and the peak itself were not enough. Of course it also made me frown in the face of this global-warming destruction we’ve brought upon ourselves, but it seriously seems like we need something more drastic and severe to wake up. Anyway, and moving on, today I found myself following two people who are right there as we speak; and one of whom I found fascinating because of how profoundly beautifully and simply he expressed his thoughts and emotions coupled with the most breathtaking photographs.

Cory Richards; photojournalist at Nat Geo, swirled me into his world of words and expressions in an instant and so effortlessly as well. If my fascination and borderline obsession with the Himalayas wasn’t enough, along came this person who gave my perceptions, beliefs, thoughts, and curiosities a space to free-flow and merge into what was that ray of same inspiration I felt brightening up my morning today. Here are his words that made me feel heard, understood, capable, and not alone.

“Surrender is a funny thing. We do it constantly without thinking…when we board planes, get in our cars, or cross the street. We surrender to each other blindly all the time. Surrender in the mountains however has a unique texture. We stare up, calculate the risk, and surrender to the potential consequence. A decision is made to engage with fear and move with it. Fear is rooted in the future…an idea of something that could occur. In that sense, that which we fear isn’t real. The goal then, is to surrender to both the potential consequences and the sensation of fear. Only when I embrace it rather than fight it, am I able to move through it.”

If there was any fear holding me back, it felt more loose and less destructive. And that’s maddeningly insane coming from a normal, everyday guy, sitting somewhere in the Himalayas sending vibes to thousands of people scattered across this planet of ours. No?

Here’s his most inspirational and true (to him) story on Nat Geo as well, in case you’re interested. Enjoy. :)

143: The Twists and Turns of Adulthood

23 May

Today just wasn’t the day for me to catch a few winks in the afternoon. The internet guys called me a couple of times even when I’d asked them to kindly call and visit my sick internet connection only in the evening. Then the security guard rang my doorbell to tell me to remove my plants from my balcony, which I already had, and which I pointed out to him as he spoke to me. The painting labourers who are giving our building a facelift then decided to knock on my door with empty plastic bottles, to tell me that two balcony chairs needed moving. And then the maid arrived. So there really were just about a handful of minutes that I could dream during, post which I remained in bed slurping a creamy kulfi and a TedX talk by Shah Rukh Khan sent to me by S. Happy belated birthday, S! I figured she sent me this link because I dig the guy at some level. He really is a witty genius, okay! Anyhoo, I savoured what was left of my afternoon, in the self-obsessed but also tasteful compilation of experiences that were SRK’s.

The one thing in his speech that did catch my attention is something I’ve been becoming aware of off late too. And it is this concept of autonomy in drawing our own definitions of our experiences. It was just yesterday while in conversation with P that I mentioned the exact same thing –  that we’re so habituated to this “unchangeable” and “rigid” concept of authority without realising that we’re now at a place of authority too. Perhaps we always had the right to our own authority, but it remained unrealised and therefore untouched. It’s in the small things, and consequently in the big things; the latent ways in which we accept definitions of right and wrong formulated by others, and make them our own.

We’re at a place where if we don’t respect our own selves, no one else will, is what I said to P last night. It’s a new baton that I’ve come face-to-face with and am intrigued by. I truly believe that you and I are here, because we’re worthy by our own merit and judgement to be here; and that we have an equal hand in setting boundaries and making rules that work for and with us. Gone are the days when I remember standing in school or college, just waiting to get out and take control of my life. But somewhere down the line, and thanks to this humongous baggage of “no questions asked”, it started to feel like I was living by others’ ways and rules. I find this platform especially relevant today when I have so many looking up to me, hoping that I have answers, control, and some semblance of stability. Moreover, I find it an intriguing path to walk down, dotted with sharp turns and ridges that are waiting for me to trip and fall, or to trip and fly.

This is really the best time to be alive because there’s no telling time than this, that what you do is yours and yours alone, in all your selfish and self-obsessed glory and necessities. It’s a struggle, but it’s most real too.

139: May Days

19 May

I’m sitting in my drawing room, at my dining table, with all my doors open and the fan on full whack, with some amazing music on, and just enjoying this Friday evening that is. We’ve been experiencing the tease of cloudy, grey skies for a couple of days now; and it finally drizzled while I was taking attendance today. As it drizzled, I asked my noisy bunch to stay still, take in the weather, relax and ease into our Friday morning while I took attendance. As if and what was I thinking asking a bunch of energetic, active teens to sit still. Stupid me. However, their fate twisted in my favour when they were told to participate in a story-writing activity which required them to sit quietly and think. Haha! I looked out of my window and into the lawn, savouring in every moment of this precious petrichor that came my way, while my teens worked on their adventurous creative story.

A has just come back home and we’re both hanging around, as the weather takes a turn for the better. This maddening breeze has taken over our overcast sky, as always and on cue, so I’m just going to take it all in before the clouds dissipate and vanish to feed other parched souls somewhere else. The windstorms that visit us here, come with an altogether spellbinding force. Everything in this part of the country runs on extremes; and I speculate that generations of emotions, mindsets, moods, and ways of behaviour have taken their own sense of identity due to the weather we have here. There’s both a sense of friskiness and seriousness, black and white, highs and lows. There are no in-betweens whatsoever. And as I speak, we have a full-blown dust storm raging outside, simultaneously colouring my grey sky brown.

Let’s not get into what happened to those precious clouds. :[

But it’s the weekend, and I must find a way to step out in this madness to get my weekend in order. I hope you have a lovely Friday. :)

 

 

138: Oh Gosh, It’s Just Thursday!

18 May

A lot of me, if not all of me, has been under the presumption that every single day of this week has been Friday. It first hit me when it was just Tuesday, thanks to the number of absentees my class. I just randomly figured it must be the effect of the weekend; and what a horrible killjoy my reality was. It happened on Wednesday, and now today as well. But at least we’re inching closer towards the weekend that I so desperately want because a) weekend, and b) our summer holidays are almost here and getting to school has just become tediously difficult.

I love summer mornings, the sun is up and out at a peachy time, it’s cool outside, and it’s just the perfect ambience to wake up to. But come 8am and all hell breaks loose. Some classrooms feel like furnaces, where the functioning of ceiling fans is futile. I have no idea how students sit through the entire day of classes in that heat. What a task. I’m certain none of us can wait enough to get to the final Friday of this term. But that’s still a little while away.

Oh man, it’s just Thursday, folks! The time to unwind is here, almost. And we’ll have to just wait.