Monthly Archives: July 2017

Bread and Breakfast

This Monday morning, we all had a serious case of the blues. We dragged our feet from room to room, bracing ourselves for the week ahead.

I went into the kitchen to get started on breakfast. When I opened the packet of bread, the first slice that I took out had a hole – that was in the shape of a bird’s head – right in the middle of the slice.

This was so strange that I called out to my kids. They came running to see what the excitement was! The blues vanished, as we debated how the bread slice turned out this way, when all the other slices were perfect.

We discussed various theories and what possible bird it could be, and then finally popped it into the toaster. Just a little bit of breakfast excitement and laughter to beat the blues.

This brought back memories of my childhood, and breakfast times at home.

When we were growing up, my parents had this rule – ‘No skipping breakfast, ever.’

When we grew into teenagers ‘who knew everything’, we tried our best to slip away without breakfast, but our parents had antennae and tentacles that caught us every single time.

I remember fun times when we ran around the dining table trying to slip away, but our Dad was at the main door and mom was at the back door. We could only leave after we had had our milk, and idli or dosa or upma or bread. We frowned and grimaced, and left home, still wolfing down remnants of our breakfast.

When I left home for college, there was no one to remind me that I had to eat breakfast, but then by mid-morning my stomach would rumble and I would remember mom and her yummy dishes. But these thoughts were soon forgotten as there were so many things to see, to learn and to do.

Corporate life was no different – I would only eat a late lunch. It took a few years for the wisdom behind having a wholesome breakfast to sink in. And by that time, I had become a mother.

The cycle started again, now it was I who was running behind my daughter, and later behind my son, trying to build ‘breakfast wisdom’ from their formative years.

But History repeats itself. Now my teen tries to slip away unnoticed, if I am not breathing down her neck.

“I’m running late, mom.”

This is her constant refrain. So, I do the ‘door blocking annoying mom act’.

But if I am any example, maybe life will come a full circle again.

Fragrant pit stops

Last week, I had to rush quite early in the day to the supermarket for some supplies. Except for a few stores, most still had their shutters down. Even the escalators were asleep.

As my feet thud thudded down the escalator steps, the mouth watering smells of fresh baking came wafting up to greet me.

I stopped to inhale. Divine. Heavenly. As I went past the bakery, the baker waved out through the glass wall. I waved back and walked with a sudden spring in my step.

This morning, as I sat enjoying my coffee, the breeze brought the smell of incense sticks to me. It felt so soothing.

There are so many wonderful smells that greet us, but we have become oblivious to them, tangled as we are in the web of our busy schedules.

However, let it not be said that we have become oblivious to all smells. We do grimace when we smell something bad. We are ready to flap our hands and wave those smells away.

But do we ever stop to enjoy the lovely fragrances and smells that surround us?

Courtesy – http://www.123rf.com

The smell of freshly brewed coffee, the way the ground smells after the first drops of rain, the smell of freshly washed and sun-dried linen, the heavenly smells of spices blending as you walk past a neighbour’s home during dinner time (and when you try to guess what they are cooking), the smell of fresh grass, the smell of the breeze, the sudden joy of smelling a frangipani flower when you walk in the tropics, the smell of a baby, the smells of home…so many wonderful smells.

I vow to myself that I will try to stop and enjoy these simple pleasures more often.

The Great Wall and Time

The sun’s heat is scorching. We walk at a steady pace, completely awed. 

We are at the Great Wall of China.

 Before we reach the starting point, our guide briefs us about the Wall and its history, and loads us with many interesting nuggets of information.  We agree on a time to meet, and proceed on our long walk.

The valleys on either side watch us in silence, as we walk, stop and marvel. How was this feat even possible!

At every turn, the wall winds up and down into the rugged terrain, an off-white line that stretches away into places that the eye cannot see. 

We feel humbled.  We walk up steps, climb down others, pausing for breath, pausing to take pictures, wondering, only wondering.

We can picture the soldiers at their viewing decks, and the invading armies. 

My son and I sit down, as we wait for the others. There is a deep silence. Except from two crows that caw on and off, all is quiet.  Our hats give us some semblance of protection as the sun’s hot rays reflect off the stones.

I look up at the clear blue sky and smile. A merry little jet is whizzing importantly across the sky, leaving behind a fluff of white lace. 

Time seems suspended between history and the future. 

The Wall is unchanging, a witness to thousands of years of history, culture and human development.  The jet is too busy to stop, it is after all, busy carrying people to appointments and meetings.

The word ‘time’ as I know it seems pointless, as I sit on the Great Wall, knowing that even after we are all gone, this architectural wonder will still remain.

Expressive lemur strikes a chord

It is a rainy day and we are at the zoo. There is a steady downpour. Our shoes make sloshing sounds in the water, throwing back drops of water on our trousers.

We walk around, looking at each enclosure. Most of the animals seem worn out by the rain. They are seated in their shelters. Some, like the hyena, continue to pace, back and forth, oblivious to the rain and the visitors.

We then move on to a series of inter-connected enclosures that house a few naughty monkeys and some ring-tailed lemurs.

In the first room, a fight seems to have erupted between the monkeys and two lemurs. They tease, chatter and chase each other frantically – up and down the branches.

The other ring tailed lemurs also watch this fight, their bodies braced for action. 

We smile and move on. The second room has a few lemurs, the loners, sitting by themselves.

When we reach the third room, we laugh out aloud, for seated all alone, right in the middle of the room is a lemur. Just look at his expression – 

We just love the look on his face. We wonder what he is trying to express.

Seems like he is saying, “Whatever!” 

This expression strikes a chord.

  • This is the expression I wear when I have not had my morning coffee.
  • This is the expression my children have when I narrate a joke that they find boring.
  • This is the expression when one has just finished a difficult exam.
  • This is the expression after a high-thrill ride you have been on (one that your children have forced you on..and you unknowingly said yes to!)
  • This is also me at the end of a long day.

I can relate to the lemur’s expression at many levels.

Bye little friend.

The frog party and a rainy day

There is something so beautiful about a grey, rainy day. Life takes on a different pace, everyday sounds takes on different notes, when they mix with the music of rain drops.

Umbrellas and ponchos bloom – vibrant and colourful. And if one is lucky, like I am, you are with friends, walking down a beautiful road and get to see hundreds of frogs hopping and leaping in merriment.

We stop. Transfixed. These little fellows are surely headed to a party..maybe a birthday party. They pause, they hop, they gossip and hop some more!

I capture a short video…..

We enjoy their progress and continue to walk, the pitter patter of the rain keeping us company.

I stop to look at a cypress tree, loaded with shining water droplets, waiting to rain down on an unsuspecting passer-by or a child, who will giggle and enjoy the moment completely.

There is a solitary sparrow, hopping about and the gentle lotus leaf that plays with water droplets.

The cobbled stones have had a wash and glisten in the grey light.

We continue our walk down the road. On our way back, we stop at a cafe nearby for some hot coffee. As we head home, we see some frogs, still on their way to the party. Maybe they had to work late, maybe they had to run some errands at the last minute.

They look so cute, these frogs. The rain has petered out, but big drops plop down from the trees and ledges of buildings.