Monthly Archives: May 2017

What time is coffee time?

My love affair with coffee did not start until my final year of high school. In our home, it was ok to drink coffee occasionally, but I remember smelling the coffee cup sometimes in my early teens, and grimacing in disgust.

I do not remember when or  how I came to love coffee. But I know that there was no looking back.  After that, any time was coffee time.  Strangely, coffee has also become an indicator of how healthy I am feeling on any particular day.  If I wake up in the morning and do not crave coffee, I know for a fact that I am coming down with something. 

Picture courtesy – Clipart Panda

I can wax eloquent about coffee,  but just thought I would jot down a few of my favourite coffee moments.

Coffee time is when I get back home after a long, tiring day of work.

Coffee time is ‘me-time’ in the quiet hours of the morning when I look within.

Coffee time is when it’s raining non stop and I sit on the couch and dream of everything and nothing.

Coffee time is also those hurried sips between chores on a chaotic morning.

Coffee time is catching up with friends on a lazy afternoon.

Coffee time is sharing some quality time with my spouse.

Coffee time is that ‘salivating time’ of anticipation when my filter starts percolating and the heady smell of coffee reaches my nostrils.

Coffee time is when my head is pounding and I know that only coffee will work that magic.

Coffee time is also trying to convince my son to smell coffee and become a member of the coffee club (right now he grimaces)….I am still working on him. 

Coffee time is family reunion time, after a wedding or engagement, when we gather for what we popularly call in the South – sweet, kaaram (spicy snack) and kaapi (coffee).

Coffee time is during picnics with friends, sipping from disposable glasses having lots of fun.

Coffee time is marathon catch-up sessions with my sisters..that stretch late into the night.

Coffee time is catching up with my mom, when I visit her.

Coffee time is …pure bliss.

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Lipsticks and little girls

It was a sweltering day, many years ago, when we had the naming ceremony for my baby girl, who was only 3 weeks old.  My mom’s home was teeming with aunts, uncles, cousins and little nieces and nephews, all of whom had come to bless and welcome our little bundle of joy.

I received hundreds of tips on being a mother, and hundred ‘must-know’ things about child rearing, and a dozen versions of who my baby resembled in the family. It was a normal, Indian family celebration.

I was a little tired by the afternoon, and when my mom caught my eye and realized that I was tired, she signalled for me to go in and take a quick nap. I slipped away, unnoticed.

I went and lay down, my eyes closing involuntarily. While still asleep, I heard something. I opened my eyes and realized that one of my nieces was in the room, before the dresser mirror.

I could see her reflection in the mirror, as she made faces at herself, and then tried on one of the lipsticks. Gently opening the tube, she used her finger to apply a dark maroon lipstick on her lips. I could imagine how good and beautiful she felt. After sometime, she quietely slipped out of the room.

Image courtesy – Shutterstock

I laughed, fully awake by then. I remembered how, as a little girl, my favourite game was to play ‘teacher’. The role demanded that I have long hair, and that I wear lipstick.

The hair problem was easily resolved. I found a piece of black cloth from my mom’s sewing kit and tied it around my hair, allowing the black cloth hair to fall over my shoulders to  the front. My students ‘had’ to see my long hair.

The lipstick posed a problem. My mom did not use lipstick, neither did my aunt. But my teachers at school wore lipstick, so I needed to wear lipstick to look authentic. Then I hit upon the idea of using the red liquid that Indian women use to wear bindis (the dots on the forehead). This was available in abundance, so during the afternoons when my gran, aunt and mom napped, I applied generous amounts of red on my lips and taught and educated many children every afternoon.

Lipsticks and makeup were forgotten till high school and university, when my mom gifted me my own lipstick for my birthday. I still remember its shade, copper brown. I still wonder how my mom knew what would look good on me! I used that tube till there was nothing left. 

After that first tube, lipsticks became a part of my life, and over the years I have tried many shades, and have settled on a few that suit me well.

A few years ago, when my son had his school concert, the little girls in his class were all dressed up like pretty dolls and fairies. However, a few girls had their lips in a weird kind of pout. On asking their moms, I found out that the girls had worn lipstick for the first time, and that they did not want for it to go away. I remember how much I laughed that day.

Now, my daughter grimaces when I talk about makeup or lipstick or accessories. She is ‘at home’ in her jeans and tees.

I smile as I look into the future, when my daughter will want to try on lipsticks and makeup. She just doesn’t know it yet!

Mystery of the missing scissors!

A few weeks ago, I was looking for a marker pen, a permanent marker. I searched high and low, in all the cupboards where I have sorted stationery by category (read OCD). There were many markers, in various stages of ‘inklessness’. When I tried to write with them, their energy seemed to fizzle out by the time I drew a mere squiggle.

This is undoubtedly one of ‘those’ laws at work. And during this hunt for markers, I only saw scissors. Every room, every pencil holder in our home seemed to be teeming with scissors. Small and big, red and yellow.

Even on my work desk there was a big, cheerful looking scissor that seemed to say, “Hi!”

Image Courtesy – Cliparting.com

My search proved futile and I had to go out to buy a marker.

Cut to yesterday. I was in the kitchen preparing to make pizza. I took out the cheese packet, and looked for a pair of scissors. I usually have two in the kitchen. 

Looked everywhere, couldn’t find them. My work desk scissor was also missing.  Could only find a blunt, old pair of craft scissors.

Where were the rest? Did they hear me whine that there were too many of them? Had they walked out? Were they all hiding somewhere, gloating at my helplessness, and hoping that I would realize how useful they are.

I do. I do. 

As of this morning, they are still missing. Maybe if I go looking for paper clips or something, I will find all of them.

Come back, you guys.

Family time

I don’t know about all of you, but when the members of my family try to get ready to step out of the house together, usually one of these things is likely to happen.

  1. Three members are out the door, while one is still not quite ready.
  2. And on the rare occasion that we are all miraculously out at the same time, one of us has to rush back inside to pick up a life-saving item like a book or a bit of paper or a cookie.
  3. One of the children always decides to wear his or her footwear only after we are inside the lift, doing a one-legged hip-hop dance (hopefully there is nobody else other than our family in the lift).
  4. A sibling war breaks out just before we leave the house, so the siblings are glowering at each other in the lift.

There are many more such things, but let’s stick to these four items to keep it simple.

So, four individuals, sometimes irritable, sometimes glowering, sometimes indifferent – manage to reach the car park.  Based on the mood before we leave home, there is a mad scramble for the seats at the rear, with each of my children marking his or her own territory; getting quite predator-like in their behaviour.

Image result for family time car drive clipart

My husband and I get in, busy with our own thoughts.  As the car leaves the condo, the gentle swish of the air-conditioner sweeps the car, and teases our faces.  We watch the world outside flit past, trees, joggers, cyclists, mothers with prams, and many more.

My son takes the phone, and plays some lovely music.  There’s Billy Joel, Cold Play, One Direction, A.R.Rahman and many more.  The melodious music wraps all of us together.  We smile, and enjoy the drive, our petty irritations and squabbles completely forgotten.

 

A Mother’s Love

There are two sides to motherhood. On one side is when you are a child and receive the love of a mother; on the other side is when you are a mother and give your love to your child(ren). And you realize the value of the former only when you experience the latter.

I still remember that my mom was the nerve centre of our family. Her smiling countenance, her commitment to giving her best to every single member of the family, her superlative cooking skills, her ability to take on her children’s problems and lighten the burden for them, her unshakeable faith in her children and the belief that they were the very best.

From home mechanic to recycling expert to instant gourmet meal producer, my mom wore so many hats with ease and changed them in a jiffy. 

I don’t remember her ever being really sick. Even if she was a bit under the weather, she ploughed on, ever cheerful. However, there was this one time when she had slipped and hurt her knee really badly, and was out of action for a week. I remember how my siblings and I moped. We felt that the lights were dimmed in our house, the thread that strung us all together and got us going was not there. So, we spent time in her room, reading our books or sitting with her, wishing to hear her voice chiding us or her ‘mom looks’ that could freeze us in our tracks. Even those were better than having her unwell.

I did not realize all that I had learnt from my mom till I became one, and knew that being a mom means to GIVE; to give unconditionally, every single day.

             Image Courtesy – http://www.Cliparting.com

To love so much that you hurt. To want the very best for your children. To care too much, but to also learn to let go..and let your children soar and fly.

And retain every single memory of the wonderful years that have flown past, and the days that are flying past even as I type this. Rainy afternoons with hot samosas and movies, cycling trips with the family, stick figure drawings on the refrigerators, playing referee to sibling wars, cuddles and hugs, laughter and smiles, and lots and lots of love.

 A mother’s love. 

Catching some shut eye

Sleep means different things to different people. There is a lot more to the science of sleep than the oft-discussed night owl vs. morning bird.

When there is an infant in the house, the baby typically cries each time you put him or her down, so you learn to  maintain a rhythm that keeps baby happy, and that also enables you to sleep walk. And the next day, at work, you unconsciouly tap out that rhythm on the carpet.

But before the kids came along there existed a time when you could stay out late, watch movies, and still have a never-ending chat with your friends, and continue to feel rejuvenated; a time when you went straight to work the next day, looking fresh and ready to take on the day, without having slept a wink.

Even before this phase was the time in college, when the concept of sleep was alien. When you studied hard, and had lots of fun.

So, coming back to the kids. Your infant suddenly grew into a busy toddler, whom you chased under tables, and up and down staircases, whom you pushed on swings and caught at the bottom of slides. And then, when your toddler was all tucked into bed, and you looked forward to catching a few winks, the said toddler came crying with pain in his calf muscles or some such.

Then, suddenly, your teenagers and tweenagers had become independent creatures, and disappeared into their coccoons. And you said,  “I can finally catch some shut eye.”

                       Picture courtesy – Clipart Panda
But now, sleep plays truant. You sleep well some days and stay awake on some days. You ponder about life and wonder about what lies ahead. You look at the stars and marvel at the universe, and then worry that the alarm will ring in a few hours.

 And then again, there are those afternoons when you get two hours to yourself (the luxury…), and you make plans to read a book or watch a movie, and as you recline on the couch to enjoy the book or the movie, your eyes close involuntarily. 

Sleep….