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.

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! ❤

1977 – A Love Story

I am the smallest :) Some serious swag there!
I am the smallest 🙂 Some serious swag there!

’twas a time of bell bottoms and high collars,

Slim skirts and large paisley prints.

 

Standing tall was a jovial ambitious man,

Aspiring management guru post University.

Skipping petite was a spirited rational woman,

Caught between art and medical school.

 

Different circles and prolific ambitions –

they were brought together by a college play.

Ignited by scenic sways of a train journey

Sparks exploded underneath the calm waters,

 

The man – always a creative magician expelled

A puzzle for the entire troop to solve on the train.

Hoping to win the woman’s favour, a tiny letter

was discreetly handed to her as the “solution”.

 

The woman – always a mischievous pixie called

him over to her home to discuss the said “solution”.

Secret: the letter professed his love for her – risky!

She, the beloved daughter of the University’s Dean.

 

But love cherished, blossomed and went beyond,

It was them NOT against the world – but with.

Joined together in holy matrimony and growing

together for a promising future – they were.


And that is how I came to be. This is where I come from. This was my parent’s love story 🙂 Stronger after almost 35 years together!

Written for dVerse where Mary wants us to write where we come from. Do share your story!

Oh!! To Be a Kid Again…

I miss being a kid – well who doesn’t! Apart from the fact that now I can have ice-cream for lunch and can splurge on a dress without feeling too guilty about it, I pretty much want my childhood back. I am specifically talking about my childhood – not the pouty selfie nation of the present-day kids.

So tada! Here’s presenting a list of 7 things I miss about being a kid –

  1. The inexhaustible energy! Running here and there, slipping down and under, incessant scampering and shouting … Whew! If only there was a way to bottle all that energy! I hope there is someone out there inventing a ludicrous way to store that energy. Then I am going to chase those loud and noisy munchkins like a scary energy-leeching parasite!
  2. It was a beautiful time when my only worry was whether him borrowing my pencil and not returning it meant:
    • He was an angel wanting to keep a piece of me close to his heart or
    • He was a rotten thief with sticky fingers and a sniveling nose.
  3. The bedtime stories! The whole process of being tucked in bed, being narrated a nice story, then taking a pee break only to demand one more story was  priceless. I mean, who wants late night texting and Angry Birds when you get bed-time stories! And if you are really nice, mommy (or daddy) can be manipulated into making you a cup of warm chocolate milk.
  4. The certain reality that anyone and everyone who smells good can double as a human mountain! Or a horse, or a goat or a frog. It is inevitable! You climb all over them, use them for piggy back rides or make them your mattresses. Ah, good times!
  5. Fall asleep anywhere but you will still wake up in bed! The couch, movie theaters, cars or someone’s lap – irrespective of where you start off, you will wake up in that snuggly bed with no memory of which considerate person carried you to bed.
  6. It was a time when terms like carbs, low fat, calories and lean anything were just stupid, meaningless and boring words that did not belong in any happy place. One more cheese fry please!
  7. The clothes! Have you realized that it is extremely difficult to see a badly dressed kid? Because almost any color, any style will look amazing… the cuteness factor comes to yet another rescue.

Bonus point as I am feeling extremely generous about doing my bit for the world –

  1. Be able to wear a gigantic cowboy hat and be appreciated! Look at this… I had a happy time wearing this piece of beauty. And no one even considered getting me checked for damages 😀
My Awesome Hat 🙂

Written for the prompt 2.) List 7 things you miss about being a kid. So, what do you miss the most about your sweet time as a kid?b

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The Fountain of Youth

My grandparents 🙂 Eons Ago!

“Where’s the fire, what’s the hurry about?  You better cool it off before you burn it out” – Billy Joel in Vienna.

I have a life. Or at least I claim to have one. But off late when I am jobless or just not doing my work, I find myself thinking about my life and what I am not doing with my time. A Morgan Freeman-like voice goes in my head, “Congratulations! You are born. Dying is offered with full compliments!” Mortality at the age of 23 is not something one takes seriously. I need to live before I start dying right. Yet, I am also going through a stage when some of my family members may not be around after a short while. And I am sure I am probably not the only one going through this.

I lost my grandfather some months back, and I admit it was the first death of a close family member that I was old enough to grieve and feel. Oh that dreaded phone call, “Come home ASAP!” I am glad that I could make it on time to see his piercing blue eyes twinkling while he enjoyed his last cup of tea. While I was holding his hand, this memory from my childhood came to me. I used to clasp his hand tightly and refused to let it go while crossing the road. When I was eight, I had gone crying to him when I failed to run an errand for mom. He accompanied me, not letting go of my hand while he sorted out the issue. He was my rock and my shield from the big bad world. Fifteen years later, that same man could barely move. When he passed away, I realized that I had done my grieving a long time back as he slowly became a shadow of the man he once was. The tears I shed were for the pain he went through, the look on my grandma’s face and the gaping absence in the room. That night, I didn’t see my father and my aunts when they were repeating “Baba” “Baba”. Instead, I saw three children calling their dad.

Our parents have lives. So do their parents. Many of us have not been around for even half their lifetime and yet we often treat them as if we are their sole purpose of living. We have incessant demands for which even a grateful ‘thank you’ is not spared. But there was a time when they all were ten, baking mud pies and writing dirty words on cars. They used fly down the stairs and scramble up on all fours as if hooligans were chasing them. They flirted in their own style and had the same showdowns with their parents. But now, they have slowed down. Their bodies have slowed down. They look at what they eat. There is a faint trembling in their hands while handling stuff, an apologetic look in their eyes when they request you to pick something they dropped or repeat something that you just said, and they are completely out of depth when we hand them a smartphone because it is “easy”.

And us? We don’t worry about savings, future or our health. We live for the moment, and often live for our friends and peers. We fail to give consideration to that gentle nurturing that comes our way at home – especially from Aji Ajoba. I swear, no one can love us the way our grandparents do, not even our own parents! And touch wood, their amazing sense of balance and control has left them healthy, satisfied and content, free to pursue what they want.

Our parents, grandparents are a mirror and a time-machine put together. We talk about our futures yet we are blind when a big part of it is right there in front of us! We build ambitions and want to do ten thousand things (Oh God those “31 things” and “27 places” listicles!) But maybe the one thing we need to is to pause and take a quiet trip home. Have a glass of wine (or bournvita) with your parents, talk about small immaterial things which suddenly take a new light and feel that weight get off our shoulders. We may be older now and independent, saddled with millions of issues – but when we are with family, there is that comforting assurance that everything will be all fine – because one part already is!

Looking forward to the long weekend with family 🙂