Saturday, March 28, 2020

Life in the times of COVID 19

We are under a 21 day lock down as an effort by the government to curb the spread of Corona virus. It is a different life. The husband and I are working from home and there is no need to struggle through the Mumbai traffic every day. This doesn't necessarily translate into more time for ourselves. The house help is off like everyone else and so work from home is compounded by the work at home. We are spending a disproportionate amount of time on household chores. It gives us some opportunity to move the rusty joints and a strange satisfaction of exercising a greater control over our own home and lives. Like I said.. it isn't bad, just a different life.

Pari is home all day. I think that she is the one least affected by the lock down. She has already gone through the annual exams at school and therefore, any study related activity is blasphemy. The new teen is doing exactly what she does every summer vacations: precisely nothing! Leisure reading, TV & mobile phone games keep her happy and occupied. Pari has always been averse to any sort of physical activity. In the past, when I got too worked up, I threw her out of the house and shut the door on her face - which compelled her to go to the society park and spend sometime outdoors. I watched her from the window - she usually just dragged her lazy self to the park, parked herself on the bench and gossiped with our neighbor's daughter. On rare occasions, the two 11 & 13 yo's chose to amble around the park in a relaxed fashion. I cringed as the grandmother living on the 2nd floor overtook them and walked three rounds in the time our girls finish one. Anyways, those days are passe. I cannot send her out anymore and Pari is spending blissful days.

Continuous TV coupled with non-stop reading fills her head with strange ideas. Last evening, I was wrapping up work('office', household work doesn't get over, ever!)  when I suddenly realized that it is almost 6 pm and Pari hasn't had anything since lunch. I turned around and posed some rhetorical questions..

Me: Pari, did you get milk?
Pari: (Nodding slowly) No.
M: Did you eat any snacks?
P: (Nodding even more slowly, creating the slo-mo effect) No. Nothing!
M: Aww.. poor baby!(sympathetic noises) You must be hungry!
P: (dramatic drawling) Mumma.. have we become destitute's?
M: (shot my 'are you crazy' look, it is less than 3 hours since the last meal)??
P: (realizing that she may have used a wrong word) Or have we become prostitutes?
M: (shaken, but firm) Neither. We haven't become anything yet.. we are just hungry!

I really need to check the books that she has been buying and reading on Kindle. My control over our home and lives is already lost.. 

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Pari ki Jung ka Junaid..

My little nephew, A dotes on Pari. Pari worships the very ground that he treads upon. It is the perfect love affair. Last year, they were together for summers. Every morning, the two would wake up early to play, invariably get into fights and make up again before the end of the day to continue the play until one of them passed out of exhaustion and the other had no option but to call it a day. I remember Pari telling me very cheerfully - 'Mumma, these vacations were so much fun. A & I fought so much and we cried everyday!' Yes, I agree. Thats what makes a great vacation.

The fact that A is almost 5 years younger to Pari doesn't have a bearing on this relationship or the power-equation between the kids. A does call Pari 'Didi' but more out of habit than actual reverence. He is 7 while Pari is 12 but considers himself the oldest and the wisest, and with him, Pari behaves like a 6 yo. It all falls in place nicely and they make it work, using every moment of togetherness to play like possessed.

Talking of last summers and Pari, at times her juvenile behaviour and wild spirit really got to me. It is not easy to observe your carefully raised 11 yo transform into a 6 yo and keep your composure, only because she is playing with a much younger child. I have anyways never been too tolerant of kids. I snapped at the children a couple of times and A - the 'oldest and wisest' of the household retorted with verve and really got to my nerves. Subsequently, I learnt better and directed all my following screaming towards Pari. This worked well - Pari doesn't answer back to me and seeing Pari Didi scared, also mellowed down A significantly. During one of my tirades, I was deprecating Pari for strewing her clothes on the floor.

Me: '12 saal ki ho rahi ho aur kapde rakhne nahi aate??'(You are almost 12 and you leave your clothes on the floor?)
A: Whispers sheepishly, even before Pari can respond 'Abhi to bus 11 saal ki hui hai'(But Pari is only 11 currently)
Pari & I couldn't contain our smiles.

The following afternoon, Pari & A were having lunch.
A: 'Bua, Pari Didi has finished her lunch. Can she come to play now?'
Me: 'How about you? Have you finished yours?'
A: conveniently ignoring the difficult-to-answer part 'I reminded Pari Didi thrice to finish her dal, and she is finally done. Can we go to play?'
Me: 'Have you finished your dal?'
A: selective hearing at its best  'Alright! We go to play now.' bolts out of the room!

It is amusing to see how kids fight among themselves but become so protective of each other when faced with elders.

ps: Jung: war; Junaid: soldier

Friday, November 16, 2018

No means..

..'No'. Not when it comes to my mother though. Sample this:

At the dinner table
Mom: 'Shall I get you a second helping?'
Me: 'No'
Mom: 'Alright.' <Proceeds to add more food to my plate>
Me: 'No Mom, I am full.'
Mom: 'Alright, just finish this. I won't give you anymore.'
<What just happened? I obviously finish off the second helping.>

Me sitting content on the couch
Mom: 'The cushions need to be washed.'
Me: 'No. I had them washed a couple of weeks ago.'
Mom: 'Alright.' <Proceeds to pull out the cushions from under me and around me, ripping off the covers and placing the bare cushions back on the couch. The covers obviously go into the wash.>

Me leaving for work
Mom: 'Shall I pack a snack for the evening?'
Me: 'No. I will be back by 6.'
Mom: 'Alright.'
<On the way to work, the lunch bag feels heavier than usual. I check it to find 2 additional boxes of snacks. Gah!>

I can go on and on here.

Please Mumma, 'No' really means 'No'!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Of spring cleaning..

Disclaimer: This post was written a long time back, as a hurt woman's response to a cranky, whiny husband. It is my reference guide- intended to be pulled out to justify myself everytime I invest a little too much time in spring cleaning. Other than that, it serves no better purpose and you wouldn't be any wiser reading this. 

I used the last weekend for spring cleaning and it took me the longest time to organise the 3 wardrobes shared between Pari and me. And the husband, saddened by the colossal waste of time and being the master of generalization kept lamenting on how I always manage to turn a simple task into an endless chore that eats up the better part of the precious weekend. Actually, here he is only stating the fact. I indeed take a very long time to organise my clothes. And I think I have good reason for it, and it is unfair to compare his wardrobe to mine. I provided him with a detailed explanation which I think is important to be documented, for quick reference, should similar questions arise in the future.

I have the following sections in the 3 wardrobes(Pari has just 2 shelves, so we can ignore her at the moment). And not to forget the 4 suitcases that I use as extended wardrobes!
1. For Office wear - western semi formals
2. For Office wear - Indian formals
3. For Fridays - Jeans, capri's & t-shirts
4. For executive meetings - western formals with jacket, full sleeve formal shirts, skirts and stockings
5. For office wear on small occasions - Indian salwar kameez with glitz
6. For office wear on major festivals - Sarees with glitz but still classy - no red, yellow, golden!
7. For leisure - casual local outings - casual clothes
8. For formal outings - like to Pari's PTA's or dance classes
9. For beach vacations -shorts, wrapping skirts, jumpsuits, sarongs
10. For city vacations - nice casual dresses
11. For vacations with parents or parents-in-laws - conservative version of 9 & 10
12. For vacations in winters - trench coat, jackets, scarves
13. For staying at home during winters
14. For home wear at my house
15. For home wear at my parents/aunts/uncles' houses
16. For home wear at my parents-in-law's house
17. For festivals
18. For family weddings
19.For friends/distant relatives' weddings
20. Night wear when it is only me, husband and Pari
21 Night wear when we have company
22 Yoga gear
23 Gym gear
24 Rain gear
25 Travel wear for flights
26 Travel wear for trains

I don't think that I am done yet, but you get the drift, right? 

Monday, June 18, 2018

And we move to Grade 6

I realised that this post is still lying in the drafts and we have already moved to Grade 7. I have hardly blogged last year, and will soon forget what my Grade 6 child felt like. The damage cannot be undone, but let's post this one quick and dirty.

The child has moved to secondary school. The first day in a new class is usually exciting and insightful. Pari comes home happy and enthusiastically proceeds to relay the events of the day and whatever has managed to make an impression on her at school. In the middle of her jibber-jabber, she says something that catches my attention and perks up my ears.

'Mumma, this year we have 3 new subjects - Physics, Chemistry & Biology. But you know what.. luckily Science is over! We have finished it last year and don't need to study Science anymore.'

The irony of this statement doesn't escape us. She is the daughter of 2 engineers and we have each dedicated at least 10+4 years studying science. Oh Pari.. I really don't know to laugh or to cry! I just pray that you stay this innocent and blissfully unawares of the rather painful facts of life some more.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Of modesty and saving the family's honor..

Cousin E is visiting. We pick her from the airport and on the way back home agree that the weather is far too pleasant to be spent indoors. And so we decide to spend the day shopping - in a mall, where else! Allow me to skip the irony of it all. We reach home, drop the bags and E gets dressed. She swaps her travel clothes -  t-shirt, trousers and jacket for a ripped jeans and an off-shoulder + cold-shoulder crop top. Pari is scandalised, to say the least. She makes a big hue and cry about the dress. We try to calm her down while hyperventilating ourselves. A compromise is struck - the ripped jeans is exchanged for a normal untorn albeit skinny alternative, but the crop top stays. Pari wonders aloud as to what keeps it from falling off, and evaluates at length, the chances and consequences of such a malfunction. Thats when I start getting worried, but E assures us that the top is held firmly in place by her contours and trustworthy elastic.

As soon as we step out of the car, and even before we can enter the mall, Pari is overwhelmed with shame and concern for E mausi. In a futile effort to cover E's exposed belly, she starts pulling down the by now famous crop top, subjecting E to a real danger of undress should the elastic give way. We take great pains to explain to her that it is alright to expose some belly, and even Nani does it when she wears a Sari. I think more than the explanation, what forces her to let go is the sight of many more women wearing similar or worse clothes - ripped jeans and crop top does seem to be the flavor of the season. We are in the Zara store when Pari whispers to me, pretty loudly for a whisper - 'Mumma, this woman's jeans is even more torn than E's!' Fortunately, many women in the store are wearing torn jeans and are too busy shopping for more distressed clothes to  pay attention to a child's honest opinion.

The following day is a lot of fun - E dresses appropriately in shirt and shorts, eats pasta and plays house and monopoly with Pari all day. She leaves in the evening. As we tidy up the house and get ready for bed, Pari walks up to me.
P: Mumma, I will never ever wear clothes like E.
Moi: Hmm.. alright.
P: Torn clothes are so disgusting.
P: (Still hurt and needing to vent) E wears such clothes, other people can see her organs!
M: (Aghast! She is taking it just too far)Organs?? Which organs did you see? You can see her skin, but you can't see her organs unless you have an X-ray vision.
P: Yes, skin is our largest organ.
M: (Appropriately quietened.. thinking of a response which just doesn't come! Finally, I manage to mutter under my breath) Baby.. I only hope you keep thinking like that through the next 20 years!

This post is recorded for training purposes and future use. It will be pulled out for reference the moment I see Pari wearing anything that can potentially expose any of her organs.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Where we make our own Binaca Geet Mala

I heard this on radio while driving to work today. Pulled out my phone at the traffic signal, opened chrome and searched it on the internet. Located the video on youtube, played it in a loop and drained my phone battery in the process. Because I couldn't hear, see or think anything else, I had to figure out a way to somehow continue to listen to this on a dying phone. Either that or be miserable and wait for 5 pm which is the earliest that I can push off, and reach home and download it on my laptop. I couldn't manage to download the song on my phone, so I downloaded app, and played this in the loop again. Finally, after about 2 hours of continous listening, I am at peace. Still not composed enough to focus on work, but good to form coherent sentences to talk about this.

Every once in a blue moon, there is a poem/song/musical piece which puts me through this ordeal. I am trying to think up of more of those, and put the list here. These are not my favourite or anything, just the ones which have haunted me in the aforementioned fashion - stirred my soul and created this unsatiable urge for more after the initial tryst. OK.. so here are some from the top of mind recall!

Bawra man dekhne chala ek sapna..

Kuchh aur zamana kehta hai..

O Rangrez..

Hamare baad ab mehfil me..

Zihale miskin makun taghaful..

Moh moh ke dhaage..

Chain se hum ko kabhi..

Tang aa chuke hain kashmkashe..

Piya haji ali..

Chhupa lo yun dil me..