Treating ‘others’ differently

Unsure of everything happening around, he stood there quietly, his eyes darting in every direction and his mind seemingly filled with a hundred questions. Am standing near the right gate? Am I late? Do I stand here or go to the main door? He didn’t say anything aloud, but from experience I could read his mind clearly. He seemed to be a new addition to the many of his kith I saw everyday.

A Jr’s school has three different gates and they are divided section-wise for us to collect our children from after school. The idea helps keep errant, restless and impatient parents (there are plenty!) in check, but for someone new the whole ‘find the right gate’ exercise can be slightly overwhelming. Even more so when you have the kid’s anxious parents waiting at home to interrogate you even after a lapse of five extra minutes.

The Uncle I mentioned in the first paragraph was one such overwhelmed soul that day. I observed him in passing, shifting his weight from one leg to another nervously. Every time the teacher called out a child’s name, he would be on his toes trying to tower over the people standing in front of him. For a moment I felt like talking to him, but didn’t.

Soon, I mingled with a group of my friends standing at some distance from him. It always amuses me as to why parents give their kids a hero’s welcome once they are out of school and that day was no exception. These blinded-by-parental-love people didn’t stop to apologise even if they knocked someone else’s child down. Strange and ironic!

Anyway, since our kids are in separate sections now, after a quick chat and a hearty laugh, all of us dispersed. I stood there, since I was the only one at the right gate. I held on to Angel’s hand tightly and was trying to shield her from any untargeted school bag, badminton racket or cricket bat, along with its current handler, coming her way. I, however, didn’t see what was happening behind us.

After spotting his grandson at the gate, I assume this Uncle boisterously raised his hand up in the air to get the kid’s attention and even excitedly started jumping in his place. That’s when he lost control, slipped and fell straight over Angel. While the poor girl recovered from the shock of what just happened and I stared in disbelief, this Uncle got up and without as much as an apology straightaway went to fetch his grandson.

I’m not sure how I felt at that moment, honestly. He was my Dad’s age and a part of me understood his confused feelings, but his brazen attitude towards Angel was unpardonable to say the least. I was all prepared to confront him and give him an earful, but was focussed on my girl. She was rattled, but thankfully not hurt. In some time, A Jr was out and his mere sight was enough to bring a big smile on Angel’s face.

I looked around for him later but he was gone. Once my anger subsided, I tried to reflect on who exactly was at fault here. Sure, he was wrong, but so was the person who sent him for a job that he clearly wasn’t meant to do. Had he come there voluntarily though? Was he just a cranky old man after all? I tried not to think what would have happened if Angel had gotten hurt in any way and thanked all my Gods silently.

Some might be doing it happily, some hoping to make themselves useful, some might be forced into it or it might be a respite away from home for some. Whatever the case, I see many senior citizens battle the traffic and heat, holding on to the tiny hands of their grandchildren or even carrying them on their shoulders along with their quintessential school bags and water-bottles everyday.

Is this right or wrong, or just subjective?


Dreams, guilt and parenting

As I blearily open my eyes after a well-rested sleep, I’m pleasantly surprised to find my two bundles of joy partially hidden behind the Big Book of Fairy Tales which I got for A Jr some time back (and which is still in an amazingly good condition!). Despite Angel’s endless interruptions while pointing at some or the other picture, A Jr is patiently reading out the Cinderella story to her.

The home looks impeccably and incredibly clean and tidy. Delighted, I give them both a peck on the cheek and make my way to my wardrobe to find the perfect dress for our romantic date that would make a smitten A’s jaw drop for me, all over again. I steal a look at myself in the mirror and am completely love-struck, simply for managing to age not a day beyond twenties.

Sounds too good to be true, isn’t it? Dreams such as these usually do. Sigh! Reality, as it turns out, is far removed from these awe-inspiring moments.

Whether it is my perennially sleep-deprived state, the grossly accumulated post-partum weight which refuses to budge because of an oft-disturbed workout schedule, the incomplete ‘running a marathon’ dream, the ‘gone in 60 seconds’ clean house, the praying for quiet when Angel threatens to tear my eardrums apart with her screaming, the questions which I wish A Jr didn’t ask or the patient but ignorant husband I wish A wasn’t, I yearn to be one of those well-groomed happy moms in the baby commercials who smile and assumingly play lovingly with their kids all day.

Looking at life on a screen or through rose-tinted glasses can be alluring, but are any of us naïve enough to accept it as a reality? Guess not. Mothers aren’t fools. We know that raising a child is like walking on a rope. We have to maintain the right balance between being indulgent but not getting exploited and being disciplined without isolating our kids. How our parents managed to bring us up without getting so worked up about it, I wonder.

I haven’t tried or craved to be the ‘perfect’ one at anything, ever. I’m far from it and make no bones about it. I am a work-in-progress and a mother learning on the job. I make mistakes and learn from them. Of late though, I feel like I’m being too hard on myself and am seriously not able to fathom why. I never went on a guilt-trip like this when A Jr was younger, but it is like an everyday affair for me now.

I attended a Women Writers Fest few days ago, where amongst many other interesting topics was one where the discussion was about ‘Why women should put themselves before family?’ Whatever the panellists said made a lot of sense in many ways and I agreed with it, but honestly if it is possible, it made my feelings about my lack of control in my life even worse. I felt like an under-achiever all over again.

I’ve read all those ‘We should be happy to make others happy’ kind of quotes and am of the opinion that whoever wrote them were certainly high on something at that point of time. I’m not trying to garner any sympathy for myself here, but raising two kids in a city like Mumbai with no support can be taxing and that is the truth. Paranoia about the safety of our kids isn’t misplaced either. Parenting comes with a huge set of responsibilities. How can we put ourselves ahead of them in this case?

I seem to have digressed and blabbered a lot through this post. Yet, I believe that it might’ve resounded with a lot of you. Please feel free to add your own opinions and experiences.

55 Non-fiction~ Kitchen Nostalgia

“Pay close attention! You’ll need it someday.” she said, exasperatedly.

“Why? You are making it for me!” I retorted and waived it off.

Forlornly, today I missed the familiar sight and aroma of Mom making my favourite pickle.

Armed with memories and an expert’s lineage, I created my version.

Did I do it right, Mom?

Gulabjamun and Woman

​What does gulabjamun and a woman have in common?

They are both sinfully tempting, not everyone’s cup of tea yet mostly loved and lusted for (depending upon the drool quotient of a person) by everyone and beckoningly sweet (alright, this is debatable).

The most important thing though is that despite the inclusion of a certain ‘gulab’ and ‘man’ in their spelling, they are both fiercely unique and independent of their partial name-bearers. 

When I say I love gulabjamun, by no way do I mean that the gulab in it has any influence on my liking for it. Similarly, when we like, love or appreciate a woman, it is entirely owing to her own individuality. Nothing else.

After being flooded by messages everywhere on social media and chat groups yesterday on occasion of International Women’s Day, mostly by women, about how ‘There is a man in every woman’, honestly, beyond a certain limit I got tired of the whole drama. 

I had done a post about International Men’s Day some time back. A had simply waved it off, and I believe most men do that. Granted. Although, I do wonder if they acknowledged it and decided to celebrate, would they valiantly say that ‘A man exists even in a woman’? I guess not. 

I agree that the world is incomplete without both the sexes, but we are both complete within ourselves. I would give a slight edge to women here, since they are naturally more stronger within, nurturing and caring than men. 

I am a woman and proud to be one. Yes, the men in my life are priceless for me, but in my own, I believe I am, and every woman too, the entire world.

To Space and back! #ColgateMagicalStories

Handing A Jr an encyclopaedia that was way too heavy for him to even hold in his tiny hands and taking him to the Nehru Planetorium, Worli when he was just about 3 years old was entirely my doing. While a reluctant A kept elbowing me unremittingly for burdening him with too much information, I went ahead abashedly since I had discovered how receptive he was even at that young age!

A Jr loved looking at pictures and the chapter on space in his encyclopaedia was his favourite. Understandably, he couldn’t remember names of many planets back then but he did ask intelligent questions like why is one bigger than the other, why does only one have rings or why do they have different colours, and I tried to answer them all as earnestly and simply as I could.

Hence, to say that A Jr was thrilled when I received the Colgate space adventure pack would be a serious understatement. Before I could even cut-out the images from the pack he had begun spinning one story after another, trying hard to keep Angel’s curious hands from tearing away his space muses. As expected, he featured prominently in his space odyssey and made Angel as old as him so he could take her along!

A Jr and Angel are both 8 years old and love to read from the ‘Space book’ that their mother got for them when they were younger. Angel’s friend Pony often joins them in exploring the space world. They look at pictures in the book and then stare longingly at the night sky from their balcony wondering how it would be like to travel to those celestial bodies and see them for real.

Their mother and teachers are encouraging of their dreams, but their classmates often pick on them for talking about ABJ Abdul Kalam, Indian astronauts, satellites, space shuttles, UFOs, befriending aliens, rovers or rocket launchers relentlessly. Yet, all three of them continue with their imaginary space journey, confident that some day their time will surely come.

One day, a scientist from ISRO comes to their school to talk about the emergency situation they are facing with a few naughty kid aliens and how they would like a few fearless earth kids to help control them. A Jr and his space junkies are the first to volunteer for this exciting space mission and are completely ecstatic as it feels like living the dream they’ve all been seeing for a long time.

They interact with real scientists who’re harried because of the destruction of their property on Mars by aliens. They train extensively in their custom-made space suits and learn to drive a space car (without a valid license). When they are armed and ready, they take off in the rocket to Mars! Once there, alien kids attack on them and they respond with their own guns. However, soon enough all of them get tired (as they are all kids) and decide to take a break.

They don’t know each other’s language, but in time they realise that they aren’t that much different from each other. While A Jr and team give alien kids their chocolates and teach them how to operate the rover, the alien kids help them in putting back their broken stuff together and promise to never harm it again. They also give A Jr and his friends a sophisticated inter-planetary phone to keep in touch with them!

While looking at earth from space, they suddenly get homesick and realise how tiny they are compared to the vastness of the universe. Beyond doubt, after this adventure A Jr, Angel and Pony are the undeniable heroes of their school and the country and are loved and adulated by everyone for their bravery!

I’m blogging my #ColgateMagicalstories at BlogAdda in association with Colgate.

Being there for someone

Have you ever been in a position where you are privy to someone’s dark and murky secrets, don’t feel any need to be the moral police, and what more, end up abetting/supporting some of the misplaced incidents because you hold that person very close and dear to your heart?

I consider myself accepting of others’ desires and am also ready to identify with their weaknesses towards them, much as most of us are capable of being weak about. Afterall, we are all free to make our choices and mistakes, if any.

Sometimes though, despite my blind allegience to people I love, my inner self pesters me about the unnecessary risk I’m putting myself at. Shall I take the higher ground and bow out, shall I confess it to someone or shall I simply beg to be left out of it?

These questions come and go and I carry on with the job at hand. Being there for someone, completely, without judging. Just, for the sake of it. That’s what friends do, right? 

Kyunki Main Hoon..

This post got selected in the Spicy Saturday Picks on Blogadda this week! Yay and thank you so much!

I had written this poem for the Women’s Day function in one of Mom’s social clubs. She had read it out on stage and gotten very emotional while doing it. Undoubtedly, this is one of my favourites! Hope you all like it too. ☺

A Vibrant Palette

ना खुद को बड़ा जाना, ना अस्तित्व को अपने,

जाना तो सिर्फ ये की इश्वर की कल्पना हूँ.

अधूरा सा जहां था मेरे बगैर शायद,

पूरा करे जो उसको मैं वो ही चेतना हूँ.

अगणित हैं रूप मेरे, अगणित सी छटाएं हैं,

समा सके किसीमे वो शब्द बहुत कम हैं.

ना एक नाम मेरा, ना एक ही जनम है,

कण कण में मेरे बसता पीढ़ियों का एक संगम है.

ममता की मैं हूँ मूरत, मुझमें ही प्रेमिका भी,

संसार चलता मुझसे, और मुझसे ही बढ़ता भी.

जिस राह पर चली मैं उसे पूरा निभाया है,

मैं जननी, अन्नपूर्णा और मार्गदर्शिका भी.

ना हार मानी मैंने, ना टूटना है जाना,

विपरीत भी जहाँ हो, खुद ना कम है माना.

इश्वर ने श्रेष्टता का वरदान जो दिया है,

उसमे यकीन करके,संसार को है पाना.

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