Off the Pedestal

For the longest time, I held unwavering perceptions of people. They were bound within the confines of the labels anointed – Mom, Dad, Teacher, Elder Sister, or just plain “Adult”. In my head, the parents could do no wrong; they were secure and unblemished on their pedestal where I had placed them. Similar expectations were laid on the other adults in my life. The formula was simple: Adults have the answers. Adults are the solutions.

The term human never really applied to them, until it applied to me. Until there was a world beyond black and white. Until there was a tricky middle ground of subjectivity at the edge of which I was precariously balanced. That is when I started to extend the liberty of making mistakes to myself and my peers. After all, it is probably the most natural thing in the world.

And finally, came a day when I extended the same courtesy to my parents (and the other adults, but obviously the key are my parents). I took them off the pedestal and gave them the freedom to be, and in the process took a weight off my shoulders of trying to view the world as per the lenses I believed I was expected to see.

In that moment, I looked at the person beyond the label and tried to catch a glimpse of their journey and their pains, of their unfulfilled dreams and their doubts. It taught me to forgive, for all the times I felt they should have done something different with me. It also taught me the meaning of unconditional love, of taking in the load of good along with the pinch of “bad”.

The view up from the ground was assuring to say the least, but now at eye level where I have allowed blemishes to touch them, the perspective is now pure and beautiful and familiar.

My Nephew !!

During my vacation in US, I made approximately 7914 memories with different people, different places and different foods. I also got to meet my cousin after fifteen years – theater artist, a bundle of energy and a single mother to an adorable eleven year old boy! I met my nephew for the first time – he hasn’t been able to come to India because of some constraints and has been thirsty to meet his relatives. Unfortunately, only a few of us have been able to visit this fine little adult.

My sister is an established favorite aunt of his and I had some really big standards to live up to. Before greeting him, I collected ammunition in the form of gift coupons, a hand-picked fiancé and a loony smile 😀 And was he a charmer! We took to each other within minutes. He was the adult of the family, telling us to settle down and make ourselves at home while he took our coats like a true gentleman. He was in a rush to share and show so many things that he kept mixing them up – like a child during Christmas who cannot decide which gift to open first.

He took me through his room, his sketches, his birthday scrapbook and spoke about his latest crush at school. His piece of wisdom – “I will soon be in middle school – the ideal time to start having infatuations”

Okay then…

I shared some tips with him as we prepared a salad. He had the bright idea to add blue food coloring to our bowls insisting that I eat it up so that we can have matching blue tongues. I happily obliged seeing that this was sure to get me the favorite aunt spot! I spotted his jar of chocolate milk mix and informed him of our mutual love for having it for breakfast and that I missed having it during the holiday.

We finished our lunch and talked about a dozen different things. All this time my nephew was tinkering in the kitchen yelling his prized insights for our vanilla talks. And hey presto! I was presented with a mug of cold chocolate milk – exactly the way I like it. He shyly offered, “I hope you like it – keep the jar since you miss it so much”. I was dumbfounded! I had absolutely no words to properly react to the sweetest gesture anyone has ever done for me. I just muttered a teary thank you and hugged him as tightly as I could without breaking his bones. It was the best mug of chocolate milk I have ever had.

My cousin was shocked as well – apparently he has never done anything like this for anyone! I was officially declared his favorite aunt after this incident.

I did gloat on getting that coveted position, but I had my own declaration to make. He was my favorite-est young adult of all time. He unintentionally taught me about selfless gestures that I had mostly read about in books but never really understood. A big thank you to him!

A Parent named Daddy!

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I asked this brand-new father “How is the feeling? It has been a few months now…”

He said,” Overrated… Not a big deal honestly!”

Stumped, I asked “So it came naturally?”

“My stomach wasn’t slit, my hormones stayed calm, no weight gain or rashes or hospitalization, no breast feeding… So yeah. Being a father is overrated.”

I am not sure how I was expected to react. I did not go “Awww…” and neither did I admire his empathy. I was flummoxed!  My question was how did it feel to be a parent – a FATHER! It wasn’t “How does it feel to NOT be a mother!” I have a Dad. I also have a Mom. So do most people. There is a difference.

And… there better be a difference!

I did not like how he brushed aside being a father. He has a Dad too, and being a typical Indian guy from a conservative family where women have little or no say, he definitely has his father on a pedestal. I doubt he would have liked hearing “Ah! No big deal” from his Dad when he was born.

I am actually weirdly tired of predominantly seeing “Oh nothing prepares you for motherhood!” articles and blogs. I understand and I am already terrified of the prospects. I am going to need every little bit of advice written if my time ever comes. But the Daddy’s girl in me also wants to understand how being a father feels. The confusion, the excitement, the anticipation and for all I know, detachment with slow blooming adoration? Is it love at first sight or a step by step process? No one really talks about this.

I want to know the protective feeling when their little girl fits into their palm and falls asleep into any corner of their person. About the mild mortification when she decides to paint their nails pink and there is a meeting the next day. Or when the hair is perfect practice for the hairstyle she wants to give her Barbie. The utter chaos when Mom decides to take the day off and lunch is basically lots of cheese and butter with some bread to mop it up (yay for those days!)

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Daddy & Me! 🙂

Some of my best childhood tales include of Dad having to sterilize my milk bottles in a God-forsaken railway station. And how I used to wait as he came back from work, making happy gurgling sounds but not smart enough to actually open the door.

I just became an aunt of this gorgeous baby girl and when I look at my brother, I see a mix of incredulous happiness and utter confusion. Mostly, they are trying to figure out if she is hungry or sleepy or just secretly smirking at them. I want him to laugh and talk about those hundred tiny moments. Because it is a different kind of a beautiful than the one of a mother.

Both are important.

Happy Mother’s Day 🙂


Joining the SOCS Partay over at Linda’s wonderful blog. The prompt is “Apparent/a parent”

Because I Can – One Liner Wednesday

This is me most of the days –

From Facebook
From Facebook

Although some moments like this one below makes life worth living!

Four year old niece: “Why are you eating ice-cream?”

Me: “Because that is my dinner”

Four year old niece: “But how??”

Me *waggling big evil shaggy imaginary brows*: “Because, I can”

Four year old niece: “MOMMY!!!”


Ah! The one perk of being an adult 😀 Linking up with Linda’s One-Liner Wednesday. Because, I can.

Grown Ups

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Every visit back home adds another knot to the fine braid linking memories, relationships and feelings. This time, my home was the neatest train wreck – furniture scattered and walls hacked off for the last “Great Renovation”. After that, it all depends on my sister and I – not quite a comforting thought!  

I was playing the good daughter over the long weekend and attempted to be indispensable to my Mom (or so I’d like to believe) by giving her a much-needed break. We were like Batman and Robin you know.. smoothly tackling the renovations along with the cleaning, washing, laundry and gardening. Dad was being… err.. Fox? Temporary handicap has made him a one-arm soldier which has fueled his motivating wisecracks 😀

This visit added a jewel to the braid…

See, I am extremely lucky to have always been considered an “adult” by my parents with varying levels of responsibility and wisdom in spite of the apparent insanity.. And it feels so good that they completely trust my thoughts, my decisions and my actions – while drilling in that independence. I was never just a sounding board and my opinions were considered every time. The degree of this underwent changes as I grew up, even though I myself never realized it. But this time even as I kept wearing the young girl hat, my parents pointed out how the times, perspectives and depths of our conversations has intensified and evolved. They were shocked proud when they saw how well my kitchen shenanigans came along – according to Dad, that is a sure sign of being a grown-up.

So yay! Finally made it 😀

My “man to man” talks with Dad which includes politics, economics and finances are now natural. And with Mom… Well, that’s multi-dimensional! We welcome everything under the sun, the moon and the stars – her work, social issues, family issues, and now wedding bells *hides under blanket* And this visit was something else… For example, the renovations brought up many discussions on the antiques decorating our house. For the first time I seriously ran through some of my ideas for my future home and even bagged a few of my favourite items. Mom couldn’t stop smiling as my enthusiasm reminded her of how she been exactly the same! We totally fawned over the vertical garden for our balcony and almost brain-washed Dad into it 😀 Those few hours with grandma and mom over afternoon tea (chocolate milk for me) were so typically feminine with generation gaps rendered irrelevant amidst naughty laughter and rude jokes!

During every visit, my parents get presented with someone who isn’t just their little girl but also an individual not entirely incapable thanks to their gentle guidance. Sure she still demands pocket money and pats, but we even get those moments of being in sync as grown ups. Cheers! (I am probably a big entertainment as well, as they witness me stumbling through blocks my life as they once did – and how I handle it.)

At times, the apple doesn’t really fall that far from the tree. And I couldn’t be happier 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day to all, fathers included! ❤