Tag Archives: Mothers

140: For Ma

20 May

This cake was a long time coming; one that I’d been dreaming of making but just never got around to investing time over, until today when it just happened. Needless to say, it was the most effort I’ve ever needed to put in for a simple tea-cake, but the results, as you can see, were fabulous, and just thrilling, to be honest.

Today is ma’s birthday, and it was absolutely fitting to have this bubble up in my oven and fill my house with the fragrance of love, and all things that ma is to me, and each of us. Besides, she loves her teacakes, and I cannot wait to make this for her, because we all have an Alex in us that needs to bite the Marty in us too. :)

This reminded me of two years back when I made ma her birthday cake at home; it was also the year I was moving away from home and her nest. It had to be doubly special for reasons still too emotional to describe.

Time flies, and here I am, sitting with another cake over yet another year that has arrived at our doorsteps.

While I can’t be with her on this day, and couldn’t be with her on this day last year either, this sense of serendipity makes up for it somehow.

Love is ma. Love is a freshly baked homemade cake, too. :)

74: Gratitude

15 Mar

My MIL’s here on a flyby kinda visit and there’s nothing more nerve-wrecking than not having your shit together. We’re still under the possible after effects of the bhaang we excitedly had, what with us being trailed by a pain in the ass headache, among other symptoms such as a general state of blahness, fatigue and what have you. So not having my faculties up and running to keep my house in order for her visit is the last thing I ever want, for anyone for that matter. And so it was with quite some trepidation that I left home for work having made just tea and breakfast soon after I woke up (there was only so much that my mind and hands could do at that hour!). I instructed her to relax because before she’d know it, I’d be back to handle lunch even though that was the last thing I ever wanted to do.

Telling a mother to sit still, telling a mother to relax, and most importantly, telling a mother not to work is a massive HAHA YOU’RE KIDDING ME AS IF I’M EVEN GONNA LISTEN TO YOUR BULLSHIT situation. I think they have it in their eyes, their expressions, their being, if you ask me. So when I got home, she’d already done everything I’d asked her specifically not to do. There was hot lunch of the perfect motherly kind waiting for us. Hot dal, sabzi, rotis, and raita – what more does a hungry child from school need? Every single effort spoke of a mother’s love. Every single scolding to go change my clothes and come for lunch made me feel like I was back home. The proper home home.

There’s nothing I’ve ever been more grateful for, today. Nothing.

69: Straying Dandelions

10 Mar

While I was waiting for WordPress to open, which took an inconsequential sum of 92374 minutes to happen, my eyes strayed away from the dull whiteness of my laptop screen (and the endlessly rotating cursor within it) to the madness that was happening outside my window. Our balcony overlooks Ficus trees, which at this point in time, seem to be having a salsa party of their own. They’re wild, they’re unapologetic, they’re certainly unabashed. I just hope they don’t take off with the frivolities of this strange whirlpoolish wind that’s got them in this frenzy in the first place. My mind skipped along in the company of my now voyeuristic senses, flitting from one thought to the other, as if being kissed by dandelions that crossed their paths while floating in this wind. What a mad rush.

During this tête-à-tête, my mind waltzed from thoughts about nature to goddesses to religion to spirituality to the connection between them all, and then finally settled on the idea of what nature really means to me. Notwithstanding my views on certain ideologies (?) that seem faceless now because of the turn these concepts have taken, and not stepping on the line that is the precarious balance of genders and sexes (and everything else that now is a part of this spectrum of being), I’m beginning to realise a stronger and deeper affiliation with the concepts of Nature, Mothers, and this energy called Shakti. To very simply and lazily put it, they’re all the same thing in my worldview, and the more I think about them, the deeper their connections just seem to go.

There’s something immensely powerful about these entities, in a beautiful non-vengeful clean way. To be able to invoke your inner shakti, to be a mother or to have a mother (in the truest sense of the word), and of course to take lessons from an omniscient nature are some of the best gifts to ever have. I hardly can imagine anything else that’s this overwhelming, empowering, or even sacred and sacrosanct. When I look around and within and feel the presence of these powers, everything else just fades away.

55: Not Counting

24 Feb

I’m not counting days.

…days since I woke up at an obnoxious hour, but in excitement.

…days since I couldn’t contain my elation as the magnetic doors of the airport opened and took me a step closer to my Bangalore-bound aircraft.

…days since I easily breezed out of BIA’s airport, strode to the bus stand, boarded it, got off and took an auto to get home…all without any creases, any worries, any stress.

…days since I got home to welcome post-it notes.

…days since I sat with ma and talked, argued, bickered, laughed…

…days since I lay next to her and slept like a baby.

…days since I revisited my memories of growing up.

I’m not counting days because they flew by and I’ve lost track of them.

*sigh*

47: Small Things

16 Feb

The one place where a woman gets to be a girl all over again is at her mother’s place. It’s not about breakfasts in bed or exclusive luxuries which never were a part of our routines before (we never got to eat breakfast in bed unless we were ill). It’s about realising the little things that get left behind when you move on and put your own home together. The ease to sit down,

the gentleness of her stroking my hair,

our endless bickering over the smallest of things,

her powdery fragrance lulling me to sleep,

the touch of her hands,

that filled jug of water that only I drink from,

welcome post-it notes,

pink lilies blooming at my arrival,

my fluffed up quilt,

and the best of them all…

sound sleep without the care of responsibilities.

It’s all in the smallest of things. Always.

In Ma’s Words

13 Sep

I got an email from ma today; a precious letter filled with everything that symbolizes my mother. She has a way with words and now it’s evident that she thinks and talks in poetry. Something told me I’d find an email from her in my inbox after that heavy previous post of mine; though I wasn’t so sure given how she’s at work despite the sorry state of affairs Bangalore is in. Here are some of her words because there’s no way I could or would want to paraphrase them. They’re splendourous with a capital S.

Love you!!  I thought that its rather ambitious for either of us to
sit down and pen letters and post them though I pretty much want to do
it. The joy of receiving letter is so huge that I dont know how I will
feel to get one. I open the letter box to only get insurance papers or
BSNL bills..

This phase of being alone with both you and sam now on your own
journeys has been of sorts. The small corridor from the living room to
the bedrooms looks so deserted but I begin to listen to peals of
laughter of you and Saby and Sam springing out of his room and asking
me hey mom do you want to order something?. These memories that should
make me sad are so precious that I would never allow them to be greyed
with sadness. Time has flown just as it flies for everyone and I don’t
rue it. I like being alone as if its a joy. I am joyful that you both
are now living your lives with the small battles amid big victories of
self discovery.

Even as it’s difficult for you to change not because you dont want to
but because you dont wish to attribute to others for the change know
that in change lies the universal destiny.. You will always belong to
yourself and years from now you will realise that it was you
chartering your path most often with fellow travelers and often times,
alone. Make every day a day of personal discovery and celebration.
Watch the birds in your balcony as they nest or fly for food..the
trees that are still and suddenly burst in a rhythmic dance..the sky
that turns blue,grey, orange and a dull pink before retiring for
night..the moon and the million stars…

… find yourself and
your laughter; with your friends, in the books that you read and
mother nature. Be the child born to freedom.

I love you.

—-xxxx—-

I told you so.

Have you picked up the phone and said I love you to your parents?

Have you ever felt so rich with just words?

Isn’t it the best feeling ever?

Currently Adulting

14 Aug

So this is what it feels like; this adulting business. When July made an appearance on my not so big calendar which PepperFry sneaked into my bag in the guise of what I was hoping was a beautiful sofa wrapped and folded till it fit in my palm (AS IF!), I knew that a lot of my month was chalked out into neat and not so neat plans. Most of my month was spent out of home, a lot consumed also in recovering from being away from home – adulting cue one.

Leaving for a vacation was always a delightful prospect and still is, even though my mind now makes space for the aftermath of said vacation, which wasn’t the case earlier on. The thought of coming back to a house that is not only dusty, but musty and not the way I keep it is a bargain I don’t particularly like engaging myself in. And so I’m reminded of the many, many times my mother felt the same way…except now I know why she felt the way she did and what it really means – adulting cue two.

We are now in the throes of house hunting which, while great and thrilling and exciting, is exhausting, stressful and really hard. Couple that with the weather here, which even though very kind, is still supremely humid and sneaky with when it decides to rain. We’re blessed with small mercies in that it isn’t gruellingly hot and unbearable in general. The reality of shifting base, packing, unpacking, setting things up, and doing it from scratch as moving always feels like – adulting cue three.

In the midst of all this, I’ve to constantly remind myself that we need to be fed…and that the cooking responsibility is primarily my forte and consequently my headache – adulting cue four.

Of course I’ve found myself consuming ragi porridge to get as much fuel as I can, a choice I wouldn’t ordinarily make for breakfast options – adulting cue five.

However, it’s another story once the day draws to a close; what with me being too pooped to even think about entering the kitchen. I’ve no idea how ladies do it, which is amazing and wow all in one, except I don’t particularly feel inclined to thinking about it right now. We’ve been ordering in and what a life saver that’s been. To be able to put my feet up, guzzle some much needed breezer and sink my teeth into some soul-stirring food is a luxury and also cue number one to regressing away from adulting. Yay! Of course there’s some guilt felt – adulting cue six, but it’s important to let go and not care so much, I tell myself – regressing cue two.

So that’s six points for adulting, and two for regression. Not bad, but we’re oh so tired. Plus the overcast, rainy, indulgent weather outside makes it harder still to even gather our will to go out. But responsibilities and priorities strengthen us otherwise – adulting seven.

On a not so side note, I’m constantly reminded of my mom having to do this, and everything else, and still holding fort, feeding us, keeping us happy and healthy, focusing on her work, travelling across town to get all this done by bus and auto, and not breaking down in front of us. Ever. I’m not even going to attempt figuring out that kind of adulting here, for my measly seven might just hit the negative mark, for sure. Life goals.

On Procrastination And Other Delights

29 Jun

When we were growing up (read: under the complete and direct control of my mother; a time whose disappearance she still laments about, naturally), there was order everywhere. There was an order to our day, our waking up routine, our study time, our food habits (oh man, do you remember those times!?)… there was a sense of strict order everywhere. It went to the extent of my brother and I ordering our lives in such a way – as if like some back alley sort of dealings that siblings especially are famous for – just so that our mother could maybe not worry so much about having to keep our life in order. Not that that worked or happened. But it was a time of infinite hope propelled by childhood fantasies, let’s go back and remember. So we fixed who would go for their bath first, who would make the bed, who would get the tiffin boxes out of the kitchen, who would water the plants, who would do the dishes… These decisions never really ended amicably, but never did we seem to learn or care much about them anyway. What had to be done, had to be done. And if mom said it had to be done, then it really had to be done now. There was no question of five minutes later.

This is applicable even today, when one of us (I’m not going to name who) is inching towards their fourth (omfg!) decade at a speed that is blasphemous on all counts. Okay I’ll just replace that ghastly fourth decade phrase with thirties. Meh. So yes, this happens even today when it comes to answering her calls or messages. Whether our phones are next to us or that we’re probably in the middle of something else which doesn’t permit the presence of a cellphone is completely negated and shunned, even. Oh well, some things won’t change. I’m sure you have your list too.

However, some things have changed. Drastically.

It was the other day when my mom’s youngest sister exclaimed in horror at my procrastination skills, going to the extent of asking me if I was even one of their own, that made me sort of look back and ponder over the course of my life and its changes. I beamed with pride at the exclamation, while she continued to remain aghast. It’s not like I’m proud to be a procrastinator as much as I am proud of my ability to function despite it. When I look back, I’ve no answers to when it happened and how, or even why for that matter – because isn’t a planned, systematic, timetable-like life good, stress-free and most importantly, brimming with success stories of one’s own past? The change, it seems, was not as sudden or as drastic as I imagined, but one that took gradual conditioning and learning. On looking back, I found that the obvious answer lay in the one key and underlying fact of it all – the relaxation of my mom’s control over our life. After a point a parent becomes less authoritarian and more authoritative about the right things, where the need to control the academic life (in particular) of their children takes a back seat slowly (or so we all hope and wish for). After Standards X and XII, the change is too drastic to even recognize sometimes. It’s a different ball game and you know what I mean. Haha!

So here I am, procrastinating as proficiently as ever. Panic attacks come and go, guilt trips fade even before they can fully make it, and well, life feels like a bundle of laziness that’s just too good to be true. Till the shit hits the fan or is about to. But by then we’re up and about and have somehow managed to steer the course of events from disaster to foreseeable results. Well almost. Like I said, it took some time, lots of trials, some amounts of panic-driven crying and attacks to have arrived at where we are today – seasoned procrastinators in just about any and every single thing!

My mother and her sisters don’t understand the need to cramp it all in and work like the world is on our shoulders, but then again, there’s not much to contest in this matter. It was just the other day that my friends and I were talking about our expert procrastination skills and we did a whatsapp hi-five to celebrate just how common and pathetic we are in this respect. It looks more universally prevalent than meets the eye, and it certainly has seeped into more areas than just our former academic years. From pesky college assignments to projects, unending classwork (oh god, those practical record submissions!) to Master’s dissertation deadlines; it went on to work where I remember my ever so sweet former manager inching from reminders to gentle reminders to plain silence and walking away among other guilt-causing tactics that would make us scramble and fret. Today, I see it in postponing small errands to do (my chappal snapped over the weekend and I’m still hobbling in that broken pair) to visits to the parlour despite the awareness of the pain I’ve brought upon my own self, to something as stupid as delaying the need to make us some food. It’s ridiculous, this disease. And so addictive, no?

The past few days have been busy and I’ve kept away from my blog by force of my own accord. The next few days may also spell the same story, but hopefully things should get a bit more clear after a week. Posting has been and may be sporadic, and I do sorely miss my blog and blogging in general, but I will get back to it after I’ve got this pile of work off my hands. The shit’s waking up to hit the fan, bro!

July seems to be exciting and filled with a lot to do. So fingers crossed on that and I’ll speak of more details once I’ve got the headspace to. Talking about headspace, I was describing the weather here as totally mindfuckable, just yesterday. The heaviness, the heat and the omfg humidity is a crazy heap piled on us all. The temperatures are considerably lower than what they were in the summer what with the 40s off the weather apps now. However, the air is pregnant with I’ve no idea what because it’s almost opaque enough to be sliced through. It promises to rain mean storms, that’s for sure. I’m looking forward to that, as I’ve mentioned in my previous post which feels old and dusty now. We’re all just waiting with bated breath for the green to stay, for the rain to not come and vanish within a couple of hours… we’re all just waiting for some good old celebratory relief, till the drainage systems conk off of course.

Keeping all that aside, I love staying in a place which has distinct seasons. It makes celebration and the cause for celebration even more special. Humans, animals, birds, plants – we’re all on the same plane here – parched, cranky, so spent. But we’re all being patient and waiting.

The best part about all this is the feeling of oneness. We’re all one and we’re all in this together. That makes me happy and that’s more than enough reason to hold each other’s hands for as long as it takes till we burst into song, dance, celebration and general elation.

And We’re Back Again

15 Jun

The past month has been a particularly stressful and demanding time on my mother and her sisters because it was discovered that my maternal grandmother was haemorrhaging (I never get this spelling right) in her brain. Needless to say, it required the coming together of my mother and her sisters to work hard and to work very fast. My grandmother lives in a city that isn’t very easy to access in emergencies; where a flight takes much longer than a train journey does. But their presence of mind, agile ability to gather themselves and their resources, and their timely action has helped my grandmother make it through. It hasn’t been an easy time for the family especially since we’re very strongly guided and held together by our mothers and aunts, who at this time were not only entirely consumed by this emergency but who were also living in a parallel reality…close but almost disconnected from us. They’ve taken turns to ensure their mother has been attended to on all fronts and it’s been nothing short of marvellous to see them hold fort in unison even here. My grandmother has now been shifted to live with one of her daughters who also lives in a more easily accessible city. She has come a long way and is slowly picking up the fragments of what was once her life, her capacities and her faculties. It turns out that neurosurgeries are far more trying and exacting than one imagines…not that we imagine stuff like this unless pushed against the wall, do we?

From learning how to feel again to mastering one’s grip to every small movement/action we perform without a millisecond’s thought is extremely challenging. It helps put a lot into perspective and once again, helps showcase just how much we take our senses, faculties and our body for granted. It’s astounding.

Once she had been shifted and was a little more stable, I decided to go pay her a visit and spend some time with her. Therefore I took the first chance to scoot and be with her, which is why I’ve been absent from my blog. The one thing I realized a while back was the illusion of time we are often trapped in, especially when it comes to special relationships. For the longest time I always believed that some relationships, and consequently the people I share those relationships with, were eternal and immortal. A lot of me still lives in that delusion. I believe that some people will always stay and that nothing or no one can touch those relationships or people. But that’s a fool’s paradise to live in, really. No one’s staying forever and no one is immortal. It makes the D word very real, very intimidating yet accepting…because that’s what the eventuality of it all is. What comes, goes.

And so I took the first flight out and left. Not many of us get second and third chances. Not many of us get moments or opportunities like these. And not many of us get to relive the many times we’ve passed by; the many files of unfinished business we leave incomplete; untouched. Have you looked at certain relationships and felt that way?

I now have arrived at that phase of life where the tables are very surely turning…where roles are getting reversed and where it’s time to take on more than one would want to…because don’t we all want to be children and not have a care in this world? Time with our grandparents is now like that last bar of chocolate you were storing and saving to relish…only you never know when it’s too late to have it. It’s harsh, but true.

The past few days were spent in the company of my grandmother, my mother who is there with her to help her, my aunt, my uncle and my cousins. It wasn’t meant to be a holiday and neither was it meant to be a getaway. But when you’re with family, it’s hard to not feel like you’re on vacation. We chatted, talked, laughed, cracked jokes, argued and fought as if on cue, ate and ate, reminisced, watched my wedding photographs, ate some more, took drives together, relished ice creams and mangoes, slept late, gossiped, smirked, prayed, shopped and just vegetated. I’ve no idea how time flew by but it usually does when you love doing what you’re doing. My visit to meet my grandmother was a surprise; she wasn’t told. Her look of disbelief and confusion all at once, is unforgettable. It’s lovely to surprise the ones you love. I couldn’t wait to run into her now very frail arms and bury my nose in her super soft smooshiness.

I watched her undergo physiotherapy and I watched her push herself. From not being able to sit, she slowly began sitting and sitting for longer periods of time. She made the effort to climb a flight of stairs and even get into the car (she loves drives and drives that result in ice cream). It’s extremely heartening for all of us; her children and grandchildren alike, to see her. She is our driving force. It hasn’t been easy, but nothing can combat the power of a family that stands together especially in crises.

Time is invaluable, our close relationships even more so given how they constitute our idea of time. Sometimes all it takes is the dropping of everything else and the refocusing of one’s priorities to really see what needs to be seen. At a time like this, I’m compelled to see all that I take for granted thanks to this delusional blanket I cloak myself in, and I’m startled.

Yesterday, Once More

31 May

While I was preparing to get married, and boy does that take a lot of preparation to the extent where you even become unaware of just how much you’re going through, there was a whole host of things I had planned out for myself. I made lists, I made a lot of lists; some in new diaries which I thought I’d use to chronicle my journey, some on my phone, many in my head, some as whispers that passed my mouth when I didn’t even realise I was talking to myself. There was a lot to do and a lot that I needed to do for my own self, my own sanity; for my own awareness because sometimes these sort of events overshadow one’s abilities to realize just what’s happening and what’s to come.

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I remember the juggling of decisions and responsibilities, the balancing of work and of these many items I had conveniently hung on the hooks of my to-do lists. I remember the madness that it all came down to, the rise and fall of my thoughts, confidence, patience, stress and my entire planning. I remember the crescendo it reached when I was in my final week of work and counting down my days in Bangalore. Time seemed to stand so still that I was passing each day of my notice period in a weird haze that rendered me incapable of thinking beyond that single day. And then once time permitted me its luxury post my office hours, I would run right past the secured gates of what would soon be my erstwhile second home into the madness of my wedding and its million chores. They call it taking the plunge for so many, many reasons, they do.

My bank was perpetually starved of money thanks to the many things I had dreamed of having. The small things, mind you, take the largest part of you sometimes. I never really imagined the big things to come my way because they were beyond my grasp. It’s at times like that (and many others) when you wish you had more not because you wish to be greedy and get more than you need, but because sometimes the mingling of dreams and reality can prove to be more expensive than one realizes. There were always so many trials, so many visits, so many considerations just so I could get what I wanted without having to feel completely drained out. It’s a fine balance and quite a task. Assembling my trousseau was my favourite part because I’d been doing that years before I even decided to get married. It was my special collection of the things I wanted and of the things that I held dear to me. I remember skipping meals from outside just so more money could be saved because weddings need money, you see. And the day I saw my wedding sari, I remember the feeling – it felt bespoke, it felt like it was only mine to be… it felt like it was made just for me. It’s a grand feeling especially when something as simple as a piece of clothing can make you feel that way. Imagine the feeling of discovering the bigger stuff out there that’s made just for us? Special.

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I remember evenings drowned in yards of sparkling silk, grand designs, special trinkets and accessories as it poured outside. Those days were especially difficult to sleep by – I hardly slept the night before my wedding – which is why I’d spend them designing my suits and figuring out ways in which my lists could feel more complete. Hurried auto rides, rushed chai and snacks, my mother and her bountiful support and strength, her stresses she made invisible to me, my stresses I gave her by the bundles, her small and plentiful wedding gifts which made me realise I was really going…leaving, our bickering, my frustration… We made it through. We made it through all that and more.

This universe makes things happen when you really want them to happen. Sometimes we’re so caught up with all that’s going on, we often fail to see just how the universe works in our favour. I’m a true believer in things happening for a (good) reason, I always have been. Those times were crazy but will always be cherished. Always.

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I came to write this post because I’ve been looking back and forth a lot these past few days…of what’s changed and what hasn’t. What has changed is that I’ve managed to put on all that weight I’d magically lost when it was time for my wedding. A bride magically manages to glow during her time…she manages to look a certain way, almost so that that moment can always stay timeless to her especially. I don’t remember doing much to lose all that weight barring those trips to Commercial Street and that occasional yoga. I spent a lot of my last days in Bangalore eating just so I could stamp every single corner of my memory box with its tastes, sounds, smells, experiences. I didn’t hold back. There was no reason to hold back especially when you know your time at home is limited and you have days marked on your calendar disappearing in front of your eyes. My hair was in place (I had cut it 45 days before my wedding much to the shock of my beautician), my skin was disciplined and my hips and thighs were extremely kind. Today is a different story and I’m pretty sure I don’t fit my wedding clothes already.

Yesterday I had a plan, a goal, a schedule. Today, I don’t. Yesterday was filled with byes. Today isn’t. Yesterday was heavier on my mind and body. Today is more forgiving. Yesterday was brimming with home food. Today has been taken over by FreshMenu more than I would like. Yesterday was full of celebration. Today is quieter and more sober. Yesterday was more painful. Today feels more healed. Yesterday was precious to the very last second. Today’s worth lies hidden and unseen. Yesterday I had one family, one home. Today, I have two of each. Yesterday I had the comfort of friends and their company. Today I have their thoughts and memories for instant gratification instead.

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I remember the last day of work and this is a picture from when I was getting back home. Being a believer in symbolism, this spoke to me in more ways than one – of things to wash away and of things to come. The universe has its way of speaking to us, if we listen or look carefully.

A lot has come to happen in these past six-seven months. There is more to time than a calendar’s flipping pages. A lot has changed, a lot has been reborn into something new. And while I love today even with all that has changed, I sometimes, just very rarely but sometimes, I wish for yesterday, once more.

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