Amma


After marriage and kids, rare indeed are the opportunities for one to spend quality time with one’s mom, especially if both of you live in different cities.

I’ve suddenly got this opportunity to make a dashing visit to my mom’s place, at the end of a long, busy day.

It is past 11 pm when I reach. I hear my mom’s cheerful voice the moment I ring the calling bell.

I am enveloped in a huge mom-hug. And, as we chatter away, trying to catch up on all news, she walks into the kitchen and comes back with a hot cup of filter coffee, prepared to perfection, just the way I like it.

I stretch out and revel in the joy of spending time with my mom, without the kids to interrupt or ask their hundred questions. Our conversation meanders from the past to the future and back to the present.

She gently prods me to the dining table to eat. And, unbeknownst to myself I wolf down the hottest, softest and yummiest chappatis, with green moong dal sabzi and tomato chutney, washed down with mom’s love and more coffee.

Memories of times past come rushing back – when the whole family used to sit around the table at dinner time arguing, laughing, singing and sharing our fears, success stories and failures.

I stretch and unwind like I haven’t done in a long time. There is a sense of peace and contentment – of being a child again, completely pampered for a few hours, of being at the receiving end of pure unadulterated love, mom’s love.

In the morning, as I leave, she hugs me, and pins a strand of fragrant jasmine flowers on my hair.

My eyes mist over. It is time to go, back to my duties and to my family.

Love you, Amma. There is simply no one like you.

Just a few more minutes…


I am sitting on the living room couch, poring over some manual, when my son walks in. His t-shirt catches my eye; it says “Just a few minutes”.

This gets me thinking. This phrase ‘just a few minutes’ plays a very important role in our lives. As kids, when our Dad would wake us up on school day mornings, especially during winter, my sisters and I would furrow deeper into our blankets, and mumble from the recesses of sleep, “Dad, just a few minutes more, please?” On somedays, we were indulged, on other days, not so.

Image courtesy – canstockphoto.com

Now, as a mother, when I wake my kids up every morning, “just a few more minutes” is their constant refrain. And I find myself behaving exactly like my father did, playing both good mom and bad mom.

But those ‘just few minutes’ are indeed very special. Minutes to savour and treasure, a few moments to prolong the joys of sleep, of not having to leave the blanket and rush into the mundane.

We hear this phrase in many other situations as well – when kids beg for a few more minutes of television time, or phone time or play time.

Then again, when one is working out on the treadmill or elliptical trainer, one has to push oneself to the finish line with these same words – “just a few more minutes.” The most difficult few minutes – minutes that truly move at a snail’s pace.

Then there are those days as school kids, when we waited for the “just a few minutes” before the school bell would ring, so that we could come home and play with our friends.

And then, there were all those super important moments in our lives, where time stood suspended and we had to wait “just a few minutes” for final exams to finish, for graduation gowns to flutter, for the first job offer to come our way, for marriage and vows, for the birth of a child.

We can never forget the anticipation, the wait and the joys of all those moments, and the “just a few minutes” that preceded all of them.

And that is how it will always be, where we try to condense the boring moments, and try to wish them away, while we try to stretch the pleasurable moments, and constantly strive to maximize the joy from them.

And now, as I sip my afternoon cup of coffee….I relish every sip. After all, what are “just a few more minutes” in the grand scheme of things.

Two magical minutes


It is 7 am in the morning, and I jump out of bed in a leap that would put kangaroos to shame. I am late, and in just 45 minutes I have to send my brood, with lunch boxes and snacks, out into the world.

I spin around the house, multi-tasking – slicing, boiling, toasting and frying. I curse my alarm clock for not being louder, and for not cutting into those thick layers of sleep.

The household is chaotic, everybody is packing their bags, looking for phones, chargers, socks, missing papers.

My menu is pared down to what can be called ‘basic, filling and healthy’, nothing creative, nothing that will cause my kids to go wow when they open their boxes.

Somehow, things get done, and the kids leave, their minds preoccupied with tests and friends. My husband leaves soon after, his mind already at work.

And me, I get a breather before I plunge into my day. I take my coffee and stand near the window. The sky is a bright blue, and the moon is still clearly visible.

The moon looks so beautiful and calm. So near, yet so faraway. Floating as it does high above, the moon seems serene and totally oblivious to all the craziness down below.

Looking at the moon makes me dream of the impossible; and makes me believe that a two minute break in one’s day can be magical – rising above the mundane and all the clutter, taking a deep breath, and sipping coffee.

A few minutes of bliss. Peace. Calm.

Little brother, big brother


My little nephew, all of six, keeps his four older cousins on their toes, whenever the whole family meets up during the holidays.

It is fun to watch these four teenagers drop all their eye-rolling and headphone wearing behaviour to play games that my nephew wants. Games that mostly involve buses, cars, airplanes and a lot of role-playing and running around.

Image courtesy – http://www.123rf.com

He demands and gets their undivided attention, from the moment he is up everyday till he decides that he’s had enough.

And woe betide the cousin, who slinks away to do teen things. He goes after them and ensures that they get back to being drivers or pilots. But the older kids indulge their little brother every single time. They call him ‘their bundle of cuteness.’

When we all met up during the December holidays last year, my son and my nephew were engaged in playing games the entire morning. By lunch time, my son wanted a break. He pleaded with my nephew, who would not let go, and the boys ended up squabbling.

In just a few minutes, my son walked out and sat down on the couch, with a loud sigh.

My nephew came to me, clutching the right side of his chest and said, “Periamma, you know he (pointing at my son) punched me on my heart.”

My son jumped up to retaliate, “I did not” and then with his eyes narrowed my son said, “By the way your heart is on the left of your body, not the right, so this proves that I did no wrong.”

My nephew looked slightly taken aback, but was not going to back down. Very quickly he shifted his palm and placed it slightly below his right chest and said, “Ok, not my heart, but he punched my right lung.”

The entire household burst out laughing.

And very soon the two brothers made up and disappeared to play.

How quickly time flies.

And, just this week, my little nephew has a baby sister in his life. A tiny, pretty doll, whom he adores.

He has transitioned smoothly from being a little brother to being a big brother. He spends all his free time looking after her, cooing to her and generally showering her with love.

Time flies, kids grow, but our love only gets deeper for little, big brothers and their even tinier sisters.

Priceless Love


The afternoon sun sheds its warm glow, as I absently flip the pages of a book that I just picked off my bookshelf. I smile. For, within the pages of this yellowed book are some small, hand-pressed pink flowers.  I marvel at the passage of time – it is nearly a decade since I pressed those flowers carefully into the pages of the book. 

pressed flower

Image courtesy – http://www.shutterstock.com

 

As I lovingly run my fingers over the petals, I am transported back in time to nearly ten years ago – to one of many evenings, when I would sit with my friends by the pool side for our evening chitchat.  And, the routine was the same every day.  At about 6 p.m. my friends would nudge me and smile.  Without appearing to do so, I would look for him from the corner of my eye. 

He usually wore bright coloured tees and shorts and would come walk-running down the grassy path near the swimming pool.  His eyes would scan the pool deck chairs for me, and his eyes would finally find mine. 

With a smile of absolute love, my son, three years old, would run and give me a small flower and a hug.

Priceless love preserved in miniature flowers!

Incy wincy spider


The late afternoon sun is casting long shadows on my walking trail. The humidity is stifling, as I plod on; on my long walk, step-by-step, not thinking, just moving, till the endorphins kick-in, and make this walk enjoyable.

But for the next fifteen minutes it is just this. To distract myself, I observe the tall buildings, the vehicles, the blue sky, the lone bird that’s braving the heat, the faraway trees in the forest trail that I have to reach.

Plod, plod, plod. Stop.

I am stopped in my tracks by an enormous spider that is on a huge web. The spider has spun its web between the metal railings on one road and the metal railing on a small overbridge. The overbridge is a few metres above the road below, where traffic is quite heavy.

The gentle breeze is causing the whole web to shimmer and sway. I worry if the web will snap, and if the spider will fall down on the road below.

I stand and watch, fascinated.

The spider is clinging on firmly. But, what I observe is that while it is holding on tight, it is also flexible enough to sway with the breeze. The spider is confident about itself, and also has tremendous faith in the web that it has spun.

There’s a lesson here for us. Sometimes, we cling on too hard to our efforts, and are not flexible enough to let go and take in suggestions or inputs that our friends or family give us.

If we just do our best, remain open to suggestions, and also have faith in our abilities, we would be just like this beautiful spider hanging on a shimmering web on a sunny day, totally unperturbed by the traffic below.