Monday, August 29, 2011


An Obituary printed in the London Times.....

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense , who has been with us for many years.
No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.
He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
- Why the early bird gets the worm;
- Life isn't always fair;
- and maybe it was my fault.
Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).
His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.
Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.
Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.
It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.
Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.
Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.
Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.
He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;
I Know My Rights
I Want It Now
Someone Else Is To Blame
I'm A Victim
Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Open letter to my son.

Dear Rubic,

I would be lying if I said I loved you from the moment I saw you. It was my wedding day and you had come to my house with Ziggy and my first memory of you is of your face peering at me from behind the curtain, big eyes, uncertain and hesitant: you were just a little boy in this extensively large family that I was marrying into. But then you wormed your way into my heart, you with the shy smiles and two fingers in your mouth! I had not shaken the rice from my hair when I found you and Zim often peering out at me from behind the door, tiny faces full of curiosity, smiles instantly heartwarming. You had turned three and your sister was almost two and it did not take us long to become friends. I had entered an adult world to play adult games but you made me a child again. You happily adjusted your lives to make space for me and I learnt for the first time, what it was to have children in one’s life!
Real affection, contrary to popular belief, does not come out of thin air or at first sight, it is built with blocks of mutual love and regard and needs nurturing. I proudly say today that many unfortunate people do not get the love, respect and affection I have received from you even from their own children! And I don’t think it was only because you were a well brought up kid!
And of course we have the memories: joyrides in the Maruti van…sticking you two on the baby seats in the dicky….”when Chachi says jump”…. Swimming in Saturday Club (I’m still faster than you!)…gorging on chips and stuff….unlimited coke…..hopscotch on the terrace, those crazy running-catching games we played…you walking into our room unannounced (ask your mom about that one!)… dark-room and ‘chor-police’… downstairs with Isha in a sling!….getting wet in the rain….our escapade to the video parlour in pajamas!….and the Mulberry Bush thereafter!… blasting in the car…fighting about the front seat…”Chachee, I want a brother” when I was on my way to the nursing home for Amisha and being happy about yet another sister!….gorging on brownies…and candy…..your ‘poite’, the shaved head, those earrings we pried out of your ear…. ‘Buddhi’…. ‘upparwali’…. ‘halooom!’…..The Christmas breakfasts, the family gatherings.....the swimming pool at Puri….. the trip to Pantaloons...changing in the elevator!!!!!!!!......cockroach in the daal.....fresh lime sweet and salt...........4 pm rum n coke!.....the moonlit feast, the sound of your laughter as it echoes its way into my heart….memories too vivid and dear: too many to put down on paper, I thank you for each one of them!
My heart is full. Over the years, I have come to learn that this family is not just extra large in size but also has an extra large heart to match and you are no exception. Love you for it and for all the love and affection you pour into your sisters’ lives and the lives of your elders!
As I write this I can imagine you teasing me, “wot, you senti?” Yup. For you are the first of my children to be leaving home: unimaginable, but last night after we returned home from dinner, I lay awake for a long time, unable to sleep, initially refusing to admit that the softness in my eyes was there because I’ll miss you! But even as I know we all will miss you, I am also very happy for you. So go out there and do us proud, as I know you will!
(And farewells? Don’t be dismayed at farewells; a goodbye is necessary before people can meet again! That’s Richard Bach for you, not Chachi gyaan!)
So…. Spread your wings, fly free and unfettered, live, be happy, laugh a lot and I’m sure we’ll meet again and again in the midst of this celebration that has no end!
Love you,

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Manic mothering!

I’ve been quiet for a while, I guess routine got to me. Routine and the skullduggery of a mundane unexciting existence! Its not that I haven’t been writing either but most of it have been words and thoughts that drummed about in my head, destined to stay unread, lost long before it got to see the light of page.
But even that’s not what’s on my mind just now. Its this mess I have made…..It's the girls, it's their childhood, it's their days when day after day they come home to prepare for yet another test, collect stuff for yet another project on a MUST DO basis. And I am on their case as soon as I am home, from the minute I see them I think I run out of patience and tolerance! Later, much later, when they are fast asleep, sometimes a wave of tenderness overcomes me and I actually have my quiet moment with them secure in the knowledge that they cannot hear me. So what a surprise it was a few nights ago to sneak onto my daughter’s bed and kiss her and say, “Goodnight, I love you” only to have her mumble “I know, I love you too Ma” back at me. Awww. Seriously. Moments like these warm the cockles of my heart, I resolve then and there that I will be more indulging and kind and give in to their chocolate cravings. But no, next morning I am back to being a harridan again, the monster mother who hounds her kids off to school! So will they look back in frustration at their childhood and find it in themselves to laugh about it or shall they wallow in dread and suffocation and curse the Gods for a traumatic time?

Well, there’s hope for me yet. The other day I found this on a friend’s FB status and promptly shared it, many of you may have seen it and/or liked it:
‘My promise to my child: I am your parent first, your friend second. I will stalk you, flip out on you, lecture you, drive you insane, be your worst nightmare & hunt you down like a bloodhound when needed because I LOVE YOU! When you understand that, I will know you are a responsible adult. You will NEVER find someone who loves, prays, cares, & worries about you more than I do.’

And this is not for just my biological kids but for ALL my kids, and my friends as well, whom I look upon as my own (yes, Rubic, you may be going off to college in a few days, but it includes you too!) (And the message, I guess, is not just from me but from everyone one of us stumbling today under the magical and mystical demands of parenthood!) AND it justifies my short temper and cloaks it with the wiliest of all human emotions: love!

I fear, in my kids memory, I shall be the repressed unpleasantness who was constantly eating their heads and had no patience with their unending wants and questions and cravings! The times I indulge them are short lived, unfortunately and even then, its full of frowns and “behave”, “sit up”, “who was that you were talking to?” I’ve tried not to, but I do it with my daughters friends too. I’m the nasty wicked witch Aunty who is always frowning, warts and all! But are the kids conned? Nope, don’t think so!

There are the days when I look at them studying and feel like saying “to hell with it, studies be damned!” But do I do it? Do I dare?
Sigh. I wish at this point I could say how casual I am and how my overpowering nonchalance takes precedence over my conscience but no. I don’t. So every evening it’s the same…I get worried and upset and tense and here I am yelling and losing my temper at them! “Stop that at once,” “get the hell out of here,” “you live by my rules or go live on the road…” these are common expressions my daughters hear everyday! So do they care, are they shuddering individuals insecure in their own homes? Am I doing permanent damage to them somewhere?
In our house there’s not a single soul who is afraid or intimidated by me. Not that I am the Hindi movie “MA” either! Try as I might, my personality is not strong enough to evoke such extreme loyalties. So the iron hand I rule with, or think I rule with, is actually play dough! My words fall on deaf ears. I’m not dull but they must think I am for there they are listening to music even when I told them to put the damn thing off (they just turn down the volume and imagine I cannot hear!)…and they don’t practice the piano or do the sums I set for them or eat the fish I said they have to eat! When they were younger I admit I let them get away with it. But now they are older, they should be more responsible. The other day I told them, “ fine, I retire. It’s your studies, your headache do what you want!” There was silence as two pairs of eyes looked at me questioningly. With a superior sniff, I retired to my room.
For the next half an hour, there was silence. Feeling victorious, I peeped in their room with the expectation that I would find two heads bent over their tables, studying. Oh no. One was shaking her bum to something playing on the ipod and the other was lying on the bed, legs in the air, playing something on the PSP. I lost it. Rat a tat a tat……sizzle, fire burn. My daughters looked at me in shock, “chill Ma, its only studies!”
Now if only my girls were little Einsteins, I wouldn’t mind. But then at the parent teacher sessions I am left squirming on my chair feeling like a fourth grader. I try nodding wisely but the teacher sees through me. Her voice drops to a whisper: “They are not studying enough.”
“Yes they are”, I whisper back, hoping no one will notice that I am not making eye contact.
The teacher sighs despairingly until I am feeling appropriately inadequate and then I am allowed to depart. I rush home that evening determined to leave an impact on my children’s studies. So what happens?
Nothing. Believe me absofucking nothing. (Have you seen the tails of the stray mongrels of the streets of Calcutta, what they call ‘leri kutta’? Well they have these long tails that coil up. The only way to get it to stay straight is to hang on to it. Let go and it coils back up like a spring. My daughters and I are like that.) For a week or so there is discipline in the house, they are studying every evening and I am diligently checking all they do, then it slackens and slowly the tail is coiled once again..we are back to our undisciplined incorrigible lifestyles and here I am playing on the computer and the girls are busy with whatever is the latest thing they are busy with!

Inconsistent, moody and temperamental, I seriously think I am a mothering mess!

Tell me, am I the only one?